Although I don't list it in on my resume, I've discovered in the last few years that Come to Jesus chats are something I apparently excel at. Who knew? My husband would probably raise his hand and say he did from personal experience but let's all agree to just ignore him. So I'm captain of the one person Come to Jesus squad in my office. I like to think of the chats as honest but kind. Less about the bursting of the bubble and more about the where do we go from here while extending a tissue box across the desk. I like to think that the person wants the truth and that they just need someone willing to gently give it to them because they have apparently surrounded themselves with spineless fraidy cats that don't want to or aren't willing to do something hard like be honest.
So imagine my surprise when I realized recently that I was the one in need of a Come to Jesus this time around. And not anything work related either.
I've been on a health kick since the beginning of July. By health kick I mostly mean eating less, moving more and trying to reduce the size of my butt. Most people call it a diet. I don't. Mainly because I never want anyone to walk up to me in front of my eight year old daughter and ask how my diet is going. She eats a wonderfully well balanced diet that includes lots of healthy things she often chooses over junk food just because she likes them. For example, she chooses raw pea pods with her lunch over a handful of potato chips. That's a wonderful thing. She doesn't even know what a diet is. And that's an even more wonderful thing. Body size, weight loss and calories aren't even on her radar. And that's by far the most wonderful thing of all. She has her whole life to be aware of all that stuff. Now is not the time.
On the other hand, I actually want to write stuff down about my health kick. I started thinking about setting up an anonymous Tumblr account for it. The anonymous part being what I liked. But then I realized that I wanted it to be anonymous because I was embarrassed. Primarily embarrassed by the before photos. But also embarrassed by how far I'd let my weight get out of control and that it's taking actual work to lose the weight. Plenty of people win the metabolism lottery and lose weight easily. Plenty of people love exercise and eating healthy. Neither is the case with me. I have a normal metabolism and I like fried food and not exercising.
However, the truth is, I have less energy when I weigh more. And I hate being tired all the time. I was also addicted to Dr. Pepper and knew for a fact that the caffeine was contributing to daily headaches I was having. Things had to change. I needed to be honest with myself and I needed to make the difficult changes to improve things. Not for anyone but myself. Not for any other reason that wanting to feel better. Yes, I'd like to lose weight and look cuter. But mostly I'd like to feel better. I know for a fact losing weight will do that. I hate that I felt embarrassed of where I was at. I hate that I thought I couldn't be honest. As if anyone that saw me couldn't tell it was an issue. As if anyone that cares about me would think less of me. And even if they did, that person must suck anyway so who cares.
So then I wondered why my efforts should be anonymous. I don't think that's really being true to myself and authentic. And those are two things I pride myself on. Take me as I am. Love it or leave it. And, truthfully, if I like myself (And I really think I do! Regardless of size!), why am I hiding who I am and what I'm doing?
And that's when it hit me. I'm wandering around in left field. I'm in need of a Come to Jesus. So here it is.
On July 1, 2012, I attended an event that involved seeing an old and dear friend. While getting dressed, I realized I didn't having anything cute to wear. In fact, I didn't really have anything to wear, cute or un-cute. I had two pants and several snug, crappy sweater sets to choose from. I changed clothes a million times thinking surely the next one would fit better and look presentable. But nothing did. It was above average sad and pathetic. And I felt cruddy. And then I saw my friend and actually felt a little embarrassed for her to see me that way. And that's the height of sad and pathetic because I hadn't seen her in forever and I know for a fact she couldn't have cared less what size I was. But I did. And I just wanted to be better and do better.
So I decided to try to be better and do better. And that was it. For me, that's half the battle. To want to try.
I weighed in on July 9, 2012 at 204.4 pounds. For anyone keeping score at home, the internet says my BMI was 32 and that I was categorized as obese. It was the most I've ever weighed in my whole life including both times I was pregnant. And I didn't even have pregnancy as a contributing factor to that weight because I'd actually lost my pregnancy weight after each of my children having considered that a personal commitment I'd made to myself. Imagine how fun it is to realize you can't even blame your kids for the extra pounds! Just yourself! Oh, the joy!
I'd had a couple years of stress, frustration, fatigue and worries. And I apparently sucked at dealing with them and inhaled everything my heart desired. And gaining weight can be like a vicious cycle with every pound increasing all your issues giving you just that much more excuse to not try.
The biggest pair of pants I own and wore is size 18. And even they were getting smaller and smaller on my butt. At one point, the thought actually passed through my mind that I needed a bigger size. Then I looked to see what size I was wearing and realized they were the 18s not the 16s I'd thought they were. Bigger would have been a 20 and that seemed insane. But wearing an 18 had been unimaginable to me before, too. Some stores don't even have size 18 in the regular ladies section. In some stores, size 18 is the cut off that sends you trekking off to the big girl department. But I like my clothes baggy so I'd convinced myself that was really a size 16 but that I was buying 18 so the jeans would be baggy the way I like them. And size 16 sometimes gets stocked in the regular size ladies section so really I was still normal like other gals. All of that being the fun head games I like to play with myself. All of that being the same fun head game you play when you start wearing stretchy yoga pants all the time. And I say that while wearing stretchy yoga pants!
So there I was at 204.4. Part of getting real is being willing to look at yourself and really see where you are. So I took before photos. Always a useful motivational tool because you'd be amazed how easy it is to avoid mirrors on the way out of the shower but how difficult it is to avoid seeing the extent of your issues when you are trying to be sure the picture is in focus. And then one day I just sort of started. No big formal announcement to my family. No big fanfare. I just started making different choices and doing the best I could.
I started by eliminating Dr. Pepper from my world. The caffeine roller coaster was what made me an Advil addict so I couldn't even downgrade to diet. Just no more soda. Fast food had to go, too. I'm convinced drive thrus are as addictive as caffeine. I used to drop the kids off at school in the morning and do the Whataburger drive thru on the way home. I avoid drive thrus like the plague.
Then, I started walking. It was hot as hell walking outside in July where I live. I was a sweaty mess hauling myself around the park by my house but I did. Then I dusted off my Wii Fit and started doing step aerobics on days I overslept or couldn't face the heat outside. And eventually I started doing both everyday.
I've lost 24.6 pounds as of today. I'm pretty proud of that. I'm less proud of the fact that I've been here before and gone back up twice. Well, technically, if I include post pregnancy, I've been here before 4 times and gone back up 4 times. But I don't include anything pregnancy related. So it's twice I've gone down and back. But I guess that's part of my journey, too. And Coming to Jesus to means owning the fact that I've tried and failed a couple times. Things happen. I forgive myself.
But I couldn't forgive not being authentic. So I'm righting the wrong and laying my cards on the table. This is who I am and this is where I'm at. I'm happier today than I was. But happy isn't a place. It's a method of travel. I like to think I'm driving down the highway with the volume cranked up singing along to something peppy.
P.S. Without further ado, the before photos along with the most recent progress photos. I look forward to every future progress photo I'll get to take along the way.