December 31, 2012 by mybattlebuddyfitness
I’ve told my story of transformation many times before, but this time is different. This time I have PHOTOS to prove it. I’ve kept these “before” photos locked in a deep, dark dungeon for 3 ½ years now. I think only my mom and one of my closest friends have seen these photos, and now I am sharing them with the cyber-world. I have high hopes that by posting these photos along with my story, it will lend me a little credibility. I want you all to see that I once was in a very sad, dark place, and they always say that “a picture is worth a thousand words…” So, here’s hoping that’s true.
Over the past few days, I have spent many hours going through my old photos. I finally organized them nicely into properly named folders on my laptop, and I’ve even started making photobooks on Shutterfly. Part of the problem with photos being all digital now, is that I never end up doing anything with my photos. I haven’t put together a good photobook since we moved to San Francisco in 2010, so it’s high time that I find a nice home for all those awesome photos from the last 2 years.
While organizing and reviewing my photos from the last 6 years of my life, I was able to look at how my appearance has changed—most notably, my body. I hadn’t looked at photos from my heavier days in quite some time, and I was ASTONISHED. I hardly even recognize the person in those photos. It brought back so many memories of that period in my life, many of them unpleasant. But it also gave me cause for much celebration and pride, seeing how far I’ve come in the past 3 ½ years, and how many changes I’ve made not just to my body, but to my life in general.
I struggled for so long to find balance. I was either “on the wagon,” or I was, “off the wagon,” and at any given time, I was ten pounds up or down. It was SO frustrating and I knew that it wasn’t good for my mind or my body. When I was gaining weight I would berate myself for eating too much, and instead of exercising, I would take a nap to try and forget about it. When I was losing weight, I was obsessed and could literally think of nothing else other than what I was eating and how much exercise I was getting in each day. Both ends of the spectrum were exhausting, and at the time, it was a very private struggle. This struggle to find balance went on for many years—all the way through college and eventually it led to my 50 pound weight gain in 2008.
With regard to our weight, it’s so easy to lose perspective—no matter what direction the weight is going in—up or down. Even though I gained my weight at a rapidly steady 2-3 pounds per week, I quickly lost perspective of just how much weight I had gained. Sure, I knew my pants were tight, and I knew that I had to go to WalMart and buy new jeans two times in two months, but somehow I was able to justify it in my mind for one reason or another. I had taken a couple of really awesome photos with Moose (back then, she was just a teeny puppy) when I was feeling really fit, and I should have pulled one of those photos out to give myself a little perspective…but I didn’t. I just kept on gaining and gaining until I walked past a restaurant window one morning, and literally didn’t even recognize my reflection.
I was tired all the time, I lost my breath simply walking up the small flight of stairs in our cabin, wait for it…I got STUCK on a waterslide. Yep. I’ve never told anyone other than my husband about this, but it happened. I still don’t understand exactly how it happened, but I was definitely stuck on that waterslide and my husband definitely flew up and over me as I sat there scooting my large butt to the next drop off. It’s laughable now, but I sort of wanted to die at the time. I avoided seeing people I knew. I am a person that thrives on socializing and having fun activities to look forward to—instead, I thrived on when and where I was getting my next snack.
After I stopped striving to be fit in order to look good, finding balance was much easier. Being fit and healthy is the BEST feeling in the world. Knowing that I can run from one end of a city to the other is comforting (especially when I can’t flag a taxi at the end of a long night). Training for endurance events and completing them is a source of incredible pride for me, and it keeps me motivated on those days when I want to regress and eat mashed potatoes in front of the television. It feels so good to know that my blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, and all those other things are all in a healthy range. I have more energy than I’ve ever had, and I am able to fully enjoy my life with my friends and loved ones. Being overweight was like living under a cloud, which did not allow me to enjoy life unless I was eating or drinking.
Finding and keeping balance is always going to be a struggle, but I feel like I’ve finally got a handle on it. As I sit here typing, I am on vacation in Wisconsin with my husband and his family, and I am sipping on a delicious Belgian beer. In fact, I’ve had a couple of these Belgian beers this week…It’s not something I do every day of the year, but I went for a run today and I skied the last two days, and I am on vacation, so I am going to kick back and relax. I’m not going to obsess about it, because I know that after I relax for a bit, I am able to hit the ground running (literally) even harder.
I am now a firm believer in hanging on to a few key photos of yourself, no matter where you are in your transformation journey. Keep a couple of photos of yourself when you were at your heaviest. If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to find those photos, but dig them out and dust off the cobwebs. Celebrate your victories, however big or small. Each day that you get out there and live the healthiest version of yourself, be sure to give yourself praise. It’s not an easy choice, but it always pays off.
Make 2013 YOUR year to shine. Become the healthiest version of yourself that you can. Take baby steps towards your larger goals. Try and keep perspective. Glance at those old photos every now and again to see how far you’ve come, or where you’d like to go. Celebrate your victories. Life’s tough enough, don’t be so hard on yourself.
Enjoy the holiday with your family and friends and get excited for the New Year…I have a feeling it’s gonna be your best year ever.