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Let's Get Better

Its was about 2:30am, and I had just finished watching a few episodes of LOST Season 2 on Netflix Instant whatever on my laptop (the episodes introducing Ben Linus). I knew I should go to sleep since I would have to be up in about 6 hours. Actually, I needed to get up earlier because I would have to wash my sheets so they could dry on the line in the basement while I was at work tomorrow. And I needed to shave my legs and wash my hair, yadda yadda. Wait- I have to go to the gym after work tomorrow- so I should save all that for when I get back from the gym. 

Turn over on my right side and see the dark shadow of my goal jeans staple gunned to the wall behind my tri-pod. Was everything that I ate ok, today? A few minutes pass as I try to remember everything I threw a lip over, today. I actually remember putting things in my mouth. At one point, I’d licked frosting off my finger before washing the bowl. Well, at least I didn’t scrape the bowl and eat every little bit I could get to, like I used to. 

I love those jeans. Toss and turn some more. Roll over on my left side. Imagination wanders to my workout at the gym tomorrow. What am I going to wear? I know when I get on the treadmill that for the first 1.75 miles I am seriously going to consider stopping for the day. I will have to beat into my brain as I fall asleep that after those first 1.75 miles, everything is ok and I fall into a rhythm and can go pretty far. 

Rhythm… what was that song last time that was on the gym tv? It fit my stride perfectly- I remember it actually helping. Oh wait- crap- it was Backstreet Boys- I am NOT putting that on my iPod. 

Yawn… 

I wonder if hot trainer is going to be there. Tom (my roommate who works at a different gym) said that the best personal trainers are natural and perfect flirts. Ha. Fine with me… 
I think I fell asleep around 3:30 am. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Obsess much, yoovie? 

Sometimes it feels like, losing weight-getting healthy-getting strong-breaking bad habits- are all part of getting over a terminal illness, in their own way. Except- there is no team of doctors helping you. There is the internet. There are books. There is advice from other people. It's alllllllllllllllll on you. 

You have to be very careful about what you eat, everything you put in your mouth. And you have to regulate. Regulate your water intake, your nutrients, your calories, your timing. Take your vitamin. Aim for perfection, fall into moderation, achieve more than you expect.

And then there is the physical therapy. I mean, let’s not kid ourselves here- exercise is physical therapy. It’s therapy to get you back where you should be, to handle what you should be able to handle as a strong healthy human adult. It’s therapy to force you to recover from an unhealthy shape of weakness, inactivity and limitations, right? And when its not that anymore, it's training. Its training to get you beyond what you can do now, to go farther, soar higher and know, as a solid fact, that you are NOT all talk. You can move mountains.

So we are basically our own doctor, pushing ourselves through this voluntary recovery process of regulation and physical therapy. 

Voluntary? 

Yeah. No one is making us turn this condition into a manageable size. No one is making us crack off this outer shell and become wholly functioning again. No one is making us take it one step further and go from average to EXTRAORDINARY! So why do we do it? 

Because we hit that moment of awakening when we shook our heads, opened our eyes wide, looked around in that crystal clear moment when we started to care. 

It’s a sickness that so many humans deal with. The sucking pull to sink into oblivion and not caring. All humans are up against it, but some are so in tune with themselves that it isnt even a threat anymore. And for some its a daily struggle not to drown. 

Oh you think Not skinny people? Oh yeah skinny people too.

 And Athletes especially! Athletes more than anyone. You think YOU regulate what you eat and how much work you put your body through? Imagine their diet and activity schedule. 

You can look around and recognize people out there that are getting sucked down into the ‘not care’, or even those who live there. You can see how differently they live their lives from others. You can see the dim creeping in on them. It hurts to break away from the pull. It HURTS to shrug off the lure of ambivalence. It requires effort to fight it. It’s a sickness. 

We feel the results of everything we didn’t feel before we started our own evolution. We feel the pain as our muscles wake up from years of slumber. We feel our brains suddenly analyzing everything. We feel ourselves being very careful as we dance along that edge between our old way of life and our new, scared to death that we won’t be able to stop ourselves from falling. Scared we wont know who we are on the other side anymore.

We watch our changing bodies in the mirror, and though we are proud, we still aren’t all where we really want to be, yet. We take off our earrings and take out our pony-tail holder before we get on the scale naked after we pee. Wanting the bare truth of only the weight of ourselves without any worldly possessions dragging us down. We pinch our tummies, and catch glimpses of our thighs jiggling when we walk. We feel that crushing pain of not being good enough yet. 

We hear every day, don’t wait to live your life until you hit goal weight! Love yourself NOW! Live your life NOW. Find love NOW. Go for your dreams NOW! But it’s so hard. In the back of our head we have that nagging, heart tugging pain in our gut that says, “You aren’t enough yet. You aren’t lovable, yet. You aren’t pretty, yet. You are obviously stupid since you let this all happen to you. Wait. Wait until you are perfect.” 

It hurts. A lot. Especially because in the beginning, so many of us- well, we believe it. We escaped from a world where we lived in a stupor of denial, bad habits and self-enabling. We didn’t care- so now we are compensating by being overly-sensitive, overly- cautious, overly-concerned, overly-aware of our imperfections instead of happily ignoring them. 

I don't wanna be the fluffy funny friend anymore!!!!!!! Sometimes I would even sell my soul to be the boring skinny friend! not really, but, maybe. I hope a genie never finds me when I am PMS. It might happen. I'll be skinny and boring as cardboard. 

We are happier now. I’m talking FOOTBALL FIELDS happier. But the brightest sunshine casts the darkest shadows, and we feel those shadows whenever we don’t feel as if we are doing enough. When we are neglecting our physical therapy – or if it isn’t paying off the way we’d hoped it would. It hurts when we feel we could be doing so much better but no matter how hard we try- we can’t yet. And we get impatient. And we lay awake obsessing over a fingerfull of cream cheese frosting. And we nail clothing to the wall. And we stare at our naked bodies and mourn the life we dont think we can have, yet. 

But would any of us choose to relapse instead? To give up physical therapy and regulating our food intake and just take our chances that we won’t suddenly be over taken by a heart attack, or diabetes, or some other disease that would require us to do all the things we are doing now, to lose weight and get strong, anyway? Do it or die? 

I don’t want a relapse. I’m glad to be awake. To feel alive. The pain reminds me that I am alive. The sweat reminds me that I am getting better. The racing heartbeat tells me I am recovering. I can feel that I am getting farther away from the edge; that I am in less danger of falling back into the abyss. 

Perhaps I associate it so strongly with physical therapy because I spent so much time in actual therapy, but maybe not. maybe its similar to more people than just me.

But a true recovery is never easy. And some days, you do just want to curl up in a ball under the blankets and give up. To embrace ignorant bliss. But now that we have started to evolve, we’ll never be ignorant again. 

It’s almost a comfort to know that we can never go back into denial. 

But we will go on. We will continue getting better and better and healthier and healthier. We’ll fit those pants. We'll lift that weight. We'll finish that race. We'll reach the top of that wall. We'll walk into the gym for the first time ever. We'll feel the amazing changes that our nutrition is doing to our fueling system. 

For every day that we stare hopelessly in the mirror, there will be a day we will dance in our underwear. 

For every time we choke back tears on the scale, there will be a time we scream out in a victory yelp that bounces off the walls of the tiled shower behind us. 

For every time that we give into the guilt of not trying hard enough, there will be the days when we silently and solidly congratulate ourselves on our own success. 

And the best part is the times we will finally believe it. 

Let’s get better. 

Thank you MFP (best friendslist ever ♥)

Thank you for your outpouring of love and kindness regarding the loss of my friend, a complete stranger to you. 

Here is a picture of Harry, Jen and Joshua the other night. 

 

Thank you Harry, for pushing me to come out of retirement and start shooting rock and metal again. Thank you for making me be brave and just put one foot in front of the other and try, over and over. Thank you for beating it into my head that eventually I was going to have to find a way to make peace with earning money for using my talent, that I needed to accept the fact that someday I was going to be a professional photographer. 

Thanks for not being surprised when that day turned out to be 4 months after you got me to shoot your show at Gramercy Theater. Thank you for letting me get away with letting your band pay me in drinks and hugs and instead of money. Thank you for never leaving a building without making sure you gave everyone a heartfelt goodbye hug, looking us in the eyes and leaving us with a piece of wisdom to take with us. 

Thanks for always pushing me to lift myself up and for being shiny next to me. There was no one else like you in the world. There never will be again. There wasnt a dry eye in Gotham Rocks last night. 

You were so so so very much genuinely loved in return. 

We'll never forget you, Harry. 

www.sjvalley-times.com/pages/full_story/push?article-Body+of+missing+swimmer+recovered+in+Danforth+&id=19944909

 

People who reach goal weight are A**holes.

This is a response to a forum topic called "what weightloss does to people", a topic that really bothers me. I mean, seriously hurts me on a level that you may not be able to understand, but I need to speak about.

When you have a body that you hate, that drags you down into the ground and you cannot hold your head high, and you beat yourself up daily and self-hate is such a normal part of your life that you dont even realize it - you take on certain qualities.  You deliberately suppress any unattractive emotions, natural responses that may cause people to not like you so much. 

No anger, no pushing to get what you need, or going for what you want if no one else wants it, or going against the group/hive mind, no rocking the boat, no taking offense. Oh she;s so sweet, she never gets upset or complains or causes a fuss, she just takes care of it. 

When they actually mean that you become a doormat to avoid giving anyone a reason to think of you as anything more than the nice girl- cause if they take a harder look past the sweet and helpful side you offer to the world, they will notice that you are the one thing that doesnt fit into their world, the one thats twice their size, brings down the overall attraction rating for your group of friends, messes up the beautiful grading curve.  

Your needs take 3rd or 4th place to everything else. Youd love to have the willpower and determination to spend time taking care of yourself- to change... but I mean, theres so much else to do. Taking care of your home and family, and everything at work, and all the relatives, and giving yourself time to just relax alone and enjoy the quiet, what would all these people do if you stomped your foot and said no more! time to make time for myself! Oh they would not like that at all. You cant be that selfish. A good person always puts others first.

Then you slowly start realizing that by constantly putting yourself down, ignoring your needs, ignoring your wants and your desires and your dreams and completely just [i]passing[/i] on any semblance of the life that little 8 year old you thought she was going to grow up to have... you were crippling your ability to be of real value to the people you thought you were putting first.

Just because you put yourself last does not mean you are putting others' needs first. It just means you've grown so accustomed to being a doormat that you go lay down and take it automatically.

So you start realizing this, and as you start getting braver and more comfortable with the idea - you start testing the waters. You take your lunch break instead of covering for someone else and you sit down and eat a healthy lunch in peace. That person you usually cover for may or may not balk at first. Then you start doing little brave personal things like this more often.

So you start feeling a little bit of self-worth. At the very least, you deserve to have that happy little lunchtime. And you dont want to stop.

So you start getting braver. Bolder. Maybe you take an evening away from home and let everyone fend for themselves in the kitchen while you go take a long refreshing walk at twilight, just breathing in the fresh air and the colors in the sky and taking that time to reflect. Sure, your family will be all pissy. But they aren't thinking about you, are they? How often do they put your needs in the forefront of their minds? Surely not as often as you think of them. First always.

But because you took that time alone, your mood was so much better, and your body felt a little different and you were better able to be assertive at home the next day. Your kids or spouse are warily wondering about these changes - but youre being a great mom cause you feel confident in the decisions you make, cause you think about them during your evening walk and have time to weight the pros and cons instead of always having to make snap decisions.

And this give you more self-respect. And self-confidence that you are smart enough and experienced enough to know what is best. Which means your family and coworkers are less likely to talk you out of how you feel about something.

Time passes and you get bolder and braver steadily. Now its a gym visit in the morning as well as the walk or short jog on some evenings. Your family has had to adjust to eating healthy, and their btching and moaning wont make you change your mind on this because you are in charge of your family's nutritional health and youve done the research and you know what is best. People at work know better than to take advantage of you and expect you to turn over and break your back handling their workloads. If they need something from you, they know it needs to be a mutually beneficial exchange.

Because you have developed not only a stronger sense of self, but you have come to love it and want to defend it.

being told that you dont know what you are talking about, just doesnt fly. being told to put your needs last is ludicrous, because how can you care for all the other responsibilities in your life is you arent feeling healthy, have a meal in your belly, have your thoughts all gathered, time to make decisions, personal rest and time for your own hobbies and ambitions, a sense of what needs to be taken care of, well rested and energized? You would be completely unable to handle everthing. besides, you have learned how to prioritize your time so no one can accuse you of getting nothing done.

Youve become a better girlfriend, friend, mom, employee, dad, boss, brother....

And you wish you could go back in time and tell the former you - STOP! you must start living now! Its ok! you're gonna make it and its amazing on this side of the fence. come this way!!! its beautiful I promise, dont be scared, dont be lazy, dont put it off, come NOW!!!

But since you cant, you continue on being awesomer and awesomer and you start noticing that some of your friends and family have been picking up on your example, and against all odds, that fluffy little doormat has become a role model for fitness and determination. And just living a good life is helping other people you know and love!

And some things remind you of the dark unhappy past. And you get so protective of your new self love and happiness. Especially once you have learned that that a healthy sense of your value (not dumbed down or dimmed so as to not make others feel less than you) but youuuu in all of your shininess and beauty in the body more closely related to the one meant for you at birth as a healthy active human being.... is not a sign of vanity or negative egotism.... but a prerequisite for happiness.

because if you believe you have legitimate value, then you know you deserve the benefits you are reaping. and you will not apologize for not being the one that does all the hand holding because enabling others to continue on a path that leaves them under the thumb of everyone in their lives, weighed down with disappointment in themselves and their lives...... is something you refuse to endorse.

So when you see someone, about to have that moment when they wake up and want help making that first step - THEN you want to rush in and say- look! I know how! I can help! All you have to really do is want it enough to make these changes! I promise! Just dont do this! and start doing this! and read this! and omg im so happy to hear that you want to make these changes! Start by just taking a walk!!! its turned my life around! Im so happy! I finally udnerstand what it means to love my body! to know myself! to destroy obstacles and upgrade my life!! I knwo that i can accomplish anything!!

And that person looks at you, and they call you a skinny btch that forgot where she came from, chose to forget that she was ever fat, is completely vain and stuck on herself and is so pushy and such a knowitall and should be ashamed of how she is behaving. The nerve of that woman. Trying to get you to change your life. So impossibly rude and heartless.  She has no idea where Im coming from. She acts like she knows me. Im so offended.

When people lose weight, they turn into such awful, stuck up sorry excuses for sympathetic humans.

...........and after getting this reaction over and over... sometimes that inspired person who lost all that weight... gives up on you. On all of the complainers, on all of the lazy ones who choose to keep their eyes closed and their judgments public. 

At least they have learned that they can walk away from the negative influences creeping into their lives.

Like those that are just starting out and accusing us of being vain, rude, self absorbed skinny btches when all we really did was finally comprehend what self-esteem and self-love really mean.

So good luck to you in your weightloss efforts and i hope one day you are one of us.

Dead Sexy

First off - I apologize ahead of time because I wrote this blog all awesome and then added a picture at the very end and when sparkpeople's link to the pic posted right there, it posted and erased every other damn thing in this box. so... its not as good but I will try to get my message across.

August 14th, 2012 - Tuesday - midnight.

I feel sexy.

Im sitting on my front steps, legs stretched out in front of me, looking all tan and shapely and strong and tight.... I stretched my toes and gloried in that feeling. That tight strong feeling. I feel like I need that feeling at least every third day.

Point my toes again, look at them in the dim street light, turn them this way and that in my tiny little sleepytime shorts.

In February I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and just give up.

I was missing some kind of evolution that just wasnt happening. If you can run a half marathon on a whim on a Saturday morning just because you woke up early enough and your iPod is charged and your running clothes are clean, then you're doing it right.

Or wrong.

I wasn't getting stronger, I wasn't getting faster, I wasnt getting more agile, i wasnt leveling up at all, I was just getting really good at running around with my camera all day and the next day feeling like I hadnt even exercised.

It was all futile. It was pointless. I wasn't changing and CHANGE was what I wanted. I was sooooooooooooooo good at it!

So on Valentine's day I decided to revolutionize my love life. And I didnt realise it was Valentine's Day and I dont mean that kind of love life. I mean I decided to change the way that I love my body and what I am prepared to do to it and for it. A revolution because it would be entirely different from what I am used to. 

Im used to cardio. Doing a few sets of like 20 reps with the little weights and 3000 crunch weekends - not realising that all of this was now working against me.

Life is defined as the constant adaptation to your environment. 
You change your body by poking and prodding at all of its weak spots until it strengthens itself to be able to handle it.

Think of it like your immune system.  You cant create antibodies for something you havent been exposed to.

Im not going to get stronger if Im not putting myself in a position where I must admit that I am weak.
Im not going to evolve unless I am constantly exposing myself to changing environments and stimuli.
Im not going to change my body unless I change what it must do.

I decided to learn how to lift heavy- and thankfully I had help, someone nearby that was already ahead of me in learning all this stuff. cause it is a lot to learn.

I dont feel like sitting at a machine and working your bicep for a half hour is going to help me. I feel like I need to use my body as the whole machine it was designed to be used as.

I want to be able to use my strength to push overhead, push ahead of me, pull behind me, lift from the ground, move from side to side... I was studying muscle trains and the skeletal system and the connective tissue between the major groups and how all of it works together as one smooth movin piece of perfection.

So I learned as best as I could to start lifting at my bare bones gym in April, which doesnt even have one of those squat rack thingies - so I learned on the Smith machine. Its got a weird angle, and i dont have to stabilize it moving from right to left so it wasnt that great for deadlifts but it was something- and I PR'd at 80 pounds- terrified that I was going to end up with bad form- correcting for the slant and hurting my back and I couldnt progress anymore. Frustrating!

Thankfully again, I had help.

Two weeks ago, I went to a full gym that had a barbell I could learn on- the first time deadlifting with a barbell after 3 months give or take - struggling on the smith machine. I was nervous, gods was I nervous.

That first day was really hard on me mentally and physically. I DID have to readjust my form but worrying about it so much at my own gym did pay off in some ways. My personal record was 80 pounds and that day I did 105. Even though i Did it, I didnt feel like I DID it. or that I should have done it. The barbell didnt feel right in my hands, it would start to slip out of my sweaty fingers and that kept me from lifting it and I just got more and more nervous- at one point I couldnt hold the bar and had to drop into a crouch just to save myself. I was humiliated.

I felt like, shouldnt I be slowly building up to this? Shouldnt I go up in increments of like 5 pounds - not 20? Shouldnt I be training to work up to this much? I lifted it 3 times. Ugh - that cant count for much.

My lifting yoda? He said if you did it that means you can do it. That I did well and lifted everything he put in front of me today and it was ok to be enthusiastic and celebrate and be excited.

I was skeptical.

Then the next week came. I knew better what was in store for me, since we were following  the 5-3-1 strength standards program (where you input your numbers of what you can lift now and it tells you what you can do next week)(http://www.strstd.com/).

I learned how to start with warm up lifts, and slowly build into heavier weights as a perfect segue to beating your personal record or gaining strength consistently. I picked things up and put them down NINETY TIMES.

And I lifted those same 105 pounds 9 times. 

NOW I felt justified.
NOW i felt that high fiving feeling.

Now this week.  This week was frustrating. And Im glad it was - why?

Cause Im not very good at this.

There is so much that you have to think about when you are lifting in these whole body exercises. You feel all of your muscles and bones and tendons and stuff working like levers and pulleys and rope and metal and its beautiful - even when you aren't that great at it yet. Even when you SUCK.

But frustrating because...

Im not good at keeping my chin tucked and my neck lined up right with my back.  I have to stare at a certain point on the floor and then make eye contact with myself in the mirror to make sure Im doing that right. While making sure that I dont lift my ass before my arms and back come into play. And one of my friends that I have massive respect for is actually scrutinizing everything Im doing right now so he can make sure to correct what needs to be corrected. And I have to remember to puff out my chest when I come back up. And Then I have to, wait correct your neck, then I have to snap my pelvis forward to finish the movement and get upright, make eye contact, aw crap did I forget to put the 2.5# weight on the right side cause I was too worried about where my feet go? put it down. pick it back up. No chin down! Wait I dont understand something- but if I ask a fifth time, my Yoda will actually throw me out the window, I know he will, he's certainly big enough to do that, head DOWN, crap I just lifted my butt first, now I feel it in my shoulders too much- quick puff out your chest and correct it! CHIN DOWN!

FML!

And my fitness pal is trying so hard to be patient with me and explain the best way he can- but let's face it- im stubborn, sassy and I make faces, so bless him.

Frustrating!!!!

but I love it so thoroughly.
 
Im bad at it. Does that mean that it isnt working? That I should give up? That its not changing me? That Im not getting the full benefits because Im not very effective at all this?? 

I went from 80 to 125 in two weeks. I'd say that's proof of progress.
 
I want those big weight plates so bad I can taste them.

They dont taste very good in my imagination. But that moment does. and I want it.

I dont want to be awesome at doing something that isnt changing me anymore - I want to put my body through hell and back so that it can withstand hell and back. Im finally getting the evolution I want. Im finally able to test my body and poke the weak spots and trigger its defenses and force it to stabilize and render it powerless and make that sucker feel weak.

Cause you don't get stronger without admitting you are weak and exposing your weaknesses.
Cause you dont evolve without exposing yourself to a constantly changing environment.
And you wont change without putting yourself through what you've never been through before.
And feeling that amazingness that is your body- working as it was meant to work, in one fluid, dynamic curve of strength and power....

Well that makes you sit on your front steps and ogle your own legs in the light of the street lamp and wonder why they are still called Dead Lifts instead of Dead Sexy.

Cause damn if I dont finally feel satisfied when Im terrible at something.

The Ugly Dark Moments

August 2000 

 

I was a teeny but tall bird boned hot lil thing in platforms and backless braless tops. 

Then I used to weigh alot. 

I mean REALLY alot. An injury threw this active spunky hyper 20 year old into the body of an old, tired, injured, obese woman in the span of a year or two. Then I had to stay there because I was in too much pain to do anything yet, didnt have a doctor's permission to do anything but physical therapy and floating around in a pool 

I stayed there and banged into everything I passed. Always had bruises on my legs cause I couldnt catch up mentally with the weight Id gained suddenly being so stationary. I couldnt grasp any sort of concept of what size I was. I just couldnt. Its not that I didnt know I'd turned into a bohemoth, I just didnt know how much so or how little so. I just knew i was not what I thought I was in my head. I was not that little active sprite anymore. I was a burden. I was too big. I was also going through some pretty terrible crap at the same time. 

Id not lived up to my parents religious expectations, or the moral expectations of the chuch (I shared a cigarette with two of my girlfriends, rode in cars with boys and ran away one night when I was 17 and came home the next morning) and they didnt like that I questioned everything and my peers listened - said I was cancer and I was banished. No correspondence allowed between my lifelong friends, or my family, at all. Be gone with you. So I ran away. 

THEN i got in my car accident and turned into the giant woman. 

 
 

This series of events in my head translated into - if you cant be perfect - no one will love you anymore and you will be cast out. Even though you cant walk and your life just got smeared on the highway. if you dont live up to expectations, there is no room for you in anyone's life. 

Instead of associating that with the moral compass of the church and my parents (Which is NOT why I brought this up and if you try to engage me in debate about it- i will ignore you), I associated it with being a fat chick who talked too much. 

So eventually I got permission from my PTs to start exercising again. 

I had to start slow. 

Walking. 
Walking more. 
Walking longer. 
Walking faster. 
Get on a bike. 
Oh hell no get off the bike. 

My weight got down to 220. 

Try Pilates. 
LOVE PILATES OMG SO SORE. 
Do it more often. 
Do it more often. 
Do it less often. 
Go to intermediate. 
Stay there for a few months. 
Add in walking. 
Add in jogging. 
Add in a little running. 
Oh hell no take that out. 
Ok put it back in. 
My weight got down to 200. 

At this point it has now been about 6 and a half years since my car accident, so about 2-3 years since I finished physical therapy visits for good. 

I went and visited England. 
I went back and forth to NYC all year. 
I briefly went under 200 while on vacation. 

See here: 



Then I bit the bullet at the end of 08 and moved to NYC at about 220-210 pounds after putting on weight with the stress of moving. 

 

until February of 2010 when I reached 199. 

 

I made a video blog where I jumped around in the snow in a Batman tshirt and put it on the internet cause I promised I would. I saw myself in that video and promptly stopped celebrating immediately before anyone wondered wtf I was so happy about when I still looked like that. 

Flashforward 7 months and I was down another 30 pounds and somewhere between a size 12 and a size 8, depending on what it was. 

 

That came out to 43 more pounds and 39 more inches in one year. 

25,353 minutes (or about 420 hours) (WTF???) 

went from a size 16 to an 8/10 (depending on the brand)(wow look at the difference 40 lbs makes LOL) 

Not only BECAME a runner- but also walked/jogged/ran 1423.04 miles - which is more than the distance between my apartment in NY and my old house in Louisiana 

went from being able to do a 5K in an hour to doing a 15K in 2 hours 

That was all great fine and dandy - except one specific thing. 

When I first gained all that weight, it took me a long long time to figure out in my head what I now looked like - and by the time I finally accepted and understood my size, I was already smaller and my body image was still skewed. 

And I still associated being anything less than perfect as grounds for not being lovable. I had still accepted my sentence. If your family cannot love you despite your flaws than you are ****ed, no one will and you definitely wont love yourself. 

So the more weight I lost, the more my self-esteem just freaking tanked. I wanted to be smaller and fit - but I couldnt make the scale go down so for the next two years, I didnt lose one single more pound. I never saw below 170 after that day again. Never. Never lost anymore weight. To this day, still havent. And the girl in my brain is still still STILL trying to catch up. 

I was starting to get more and more and more and MORE male attention and was so completely sure that this was some joke, that i was the butt of some Shes All That situation. As soon as I smile and think, oh this boy likes me for real and maybe he isnt ashamed to be seen with me in public - then all his friends will jump out with cameras and mock me and say horrible things and throw rocks at the fat girl until they can successfully drive me into a corner sobbing to death. 

Single - for about 8 years. cause, you know - not lovable until you're perfect - mom and dad made sure I learned that lesson. and perfect means 0% fat and 0 flaws and not too shiny. OH HELL NO dont you dare be too shiny, you better dim it down and apologise. 

Now, sometimes, I have a different mindset. I can usually go through this pattern of thinking on days when its too hard and I want to give up: 

What's the reason I have held on so long? 
Why do I motivate myself every damn day? 
Every time I wake up? 
Every time I stand on my own feet in the morning? 

Cause I know that somewhere under all of this... I have the perfect body for me. I know because we all do. We all have a perfect body (for us) that we would naturally fall into if there were no chemical imbalances, emotional eating, injuries, metabolism problems, stupid decisions, etc. 

I had it once upon a time. When I was a skinny young thing. I only had it for a minute between my awkward leggy stick stinny teen years and my car accident on my 21st birthday. 

I never got to play with it or really enjoy testing its potential. 

So I'm taking it back. Everyday I push to get back what is RIGHTFULLY MINE, what was taken from me, what I had to give up before I even had the chance to enjoy. My strong, beautiful, adult body. 

I'm going to cross mountains and oceans to get it, thousands and thousands of miles if I have to. I've proven that and I'll prove it again. 

I'm getting back the body that was truly meant for me. 

She is tall, and strong and has ridiculously long powerful legs and sculpted shoulders and a solid back. She can run like the wind and leap over cellar doors in the middle of sidewalks and whoosh past tiny Chinese ladies waving canes at her. She takes stairs three at a time, dives off the end of piers into the ocean and swims against the current without doubting her strength. She twirls and cartwheels like a twelve year old and doesn't care who is watching. She has tiny ankles and wrists and a sharp jawline and pronounced cheekbones and ribs that poke out. She has titties that she wishes were smaller but her not quite visible butt makes up for it. She can pedal a bike uphill and sing the Rocky theme in her head. She can swim and jump and race and lift and pull and push and fly. 

 

So why would I give up on her? 

and then there are the other times. 

the times when, Im pushing that freaked out fat scared girl in my head into situations that shake her to the core so she HAS to get stronger. 

working out with a friend I have ultimate respect for, in other words - having someone else around when im literally at my MOST vulnerable. 
being in a little black dress, not only in public, but on a red carpet with cameras. 
Saying what I feel instead of smiling and swallowing my emotions. 
For even ALLOWING myself emotions like love or desire even, self respect, etc. 

Ive been alone for 14 years, leaning on my own shoulders. 

Sometimes she cant take it. 

She will be fine, glorious, playful even and then all gets shot to hell. 

Today is one of those days. 

I was on top of the world, I couldnt be touched, because slowly, step by step im getting stronger - which I want to blog about tomorrow - I promised I would blog about it but I cant today - i cant give it the credit it deserves today cause Im all mucked up. 

Anyway, I had an amazing time at the gym this morning, lots of fun- very frustrating - which, to be honest, if it doesnt get frustrating then youre just not digging deep enough sometimes. Coffeeeeeeeeee omnomnom and high fives and great company and all that awesome stuff thats perfect to start a day with. 

Then I got to work and opened my phone and saw these two pics that my fitness pal took of me, and I felt like one of the demons in Supernatural, picked me up and flung me across the room to hit the wall and crumple on the floor. 

I have this filter across my eyes. It makes sure that I only see myself with that extra 100 pounds on me. I dont see the fact that Im standing there on my own two feet, which I once couldnt do, squatting to pick up over 100 pounds, which I once couldnt do, in front of someone, which I once couldnt do, holding a camera - which apparently still stops my heart. 

Exercise feels like this one area where I dont have to worry about how much room I take up, about not being perfect, about not living up to anyone's expectations, about what I look like and whether or not I am normal. 

So, when I saw this picture this morning, I felt like exercise got taken away from the safe zone and put with everything else in the overly-scrutinized zone. In the filtered through fat/unwanted glasses zone. 

It shook me up. 

I got really mad. 

Better than that I got defensive. 

Exercise is MINE. 

You cant just put this awful filter on that too. Its the one place I dont feel the judgement of my past. 

Its the one place I dont feel like expectations are something I cant meet. It might take a while, and planning like crazy and tons of effort, but I can do it. 

Its the place where it doesnt matter what I look like- and I cannot have that taken away from me. 

I can sweat and have my hair look stupid and I dont have to hold in my stomach so I look trimmer, and even days like today- where Im bloated as hell and im carrying around an extra 7 pounds for no reason other than my body decided it needed it right now - all that matters is what I can DO with my body. 

I hate so much that seeing a picture of myself exercising could mess me up so effectively. 

I was sooooooo happy, I was even telling other people to be a bit happier and sillier. My arms were total noodles. I was hopping up to do half-assed pull ups even though I couldnt. 

I dont like that it happened that way. I have a million legitimate reasons for not putting pictures on the internet - because I sometimes dont see a difference between 260 and 170 (or 177 like today for no damn reason -flips off scale) and all I can see if omfg who let me leave the house looking like that??- is not a good enough reason. 

I let that happen. 

I dont want to let that happen anymore. 

Exercise is MINE. 

Im a photographer - I simply cannot hate the way I look when Im at my most real and my most genuine and, to be quite honest - though it may not seem like much to you, my most brave. 

It takes everything in me to go deadlift. I love it. I love the challenge, I love leveling up. I love seeing how strong I can get. I love pushing myself. I love being pushed, love having someone there that will make me do it the right way, i LOVE that pain in the ass checklist for having good form. I love everything about lifting. 

But it takes so much for me to go. be brave. 

I dont want a picture to take that away from me. Im a photographer. Pictures are my best friends. I cant be the only thing in my life that doesnt show its true gritty honesty to the camera just because Im so terrified that Im going to look at it and see proof that Im still not good enough to be out here, deserving of happiness yet. 

That I will see this girl trying to hard just to pick things up and put them down the right way, when all day on here I hear women tearing each other apart, posing as people with fake problems just to mock each other, as if we dont have our own real legit problems already, vomiting hatred toward VS models, pimping the chubby ones from Dove, anger balling about the media and wha tis right and is this attractive enough and am i hot enough and what is your favorite part of a girl and should my butt be big or small or are freckles ok? and i get sick to my stomach - how is any of that fair. 

im already sitting at work where the designer is going through lookbooks and saying this girl is too fat and this girl is too ugly and this girl looks plain and this girl is too pretty and this girl is just perfect... if she'd fix her nose. And then the girls get here and its - i dont like the specific way her thigh moves on teh bone, or her arms are slightly too far from her hips when she walks, or her ankles look like theyre gonna snap or omg what a cow (to their faces and they cannot react). 

I dont want to go to the gym and have that commentary running in my head. if I have a picture at the gym, I want it to be triumphant. 

I want it to be proof of a major victory, one that I will jump up and down for and everyone will be covering my mouth like omfg yoovie wtf calm DOWN shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh 

So I put that picture up here on MFP. Thicken my skin. Bite down and bear it. Show myself that no one gives a sht but me. That it probably doesnt matter how I look to anyone else on here, because at least all of us came from some starting point and are all working ahead to being stronger. 

 

Everyone here wants to get stronger just like me right? 

Its ok to have days like today, right? As long as I can turn them around?

10 Things Ive Learned Whilst Getting Most Fit

1. The people that succeed are the ones that want it the most. 

2. The ones that want it enough, shine bright as the sun with inner light. 

3. If you want to succeed, you will research and study and find out the truth for yourself instead of mindlessly eating up whatever anyone tells you. Pun intended.

4. Happy is a decision. 

5. It is possible to fear success - and that is one of the hidden hurdles no one tells you you'll have to break through. 

6. There is no end game if you are doing it right, you simply become capable of more and more and more. 

7. Youll never succeed if you dont honestly believe you deserve to succeed. Because otherwise you'll accept any excuse to lag behind. 

8. You are going to realise terrifying, life-changing, sanity unhinging things about yourself and you are going to be shocked at what you are willing to change and sacrifice because you can finally see that it will be better in the long run. many things will devastate you, many will destroy your spirit. temporarily. and then you will realize that you made a decision that would prevent ugliness and resentment in the future and you stood by it and you can be proud of the dignity you will have later, for making the awful decisions now.

9. You finally understand that selfishness is not always a sin and in many cases, goddamn late showing up in your life- you need it, you cherish it, you thrive because of it- and are in a better place to be able to help others because of it. 

10. if you think that temptation to eat bad around your friends/husband, not being able to get out of bed to exercise in the morning or hearing discouraging things from the people around you are good reasons for quitting all the time... you should quit for good, you just dont have the chops for flying.

Wanna peek inside my day? :)

 
 

staff breakfast together! 

 
 
 

accessories, hair and makeup area! 

 
 
 
 
 

Staging and light tests :) 

 

Ella, our beautiful photographer 

 

Show time :D 

oh and then lunch : 

 
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