I haven’t previously publicly written about my weight-loss journey. Sure, I talk about it on Facebook, but that’s definitely different than opening up myself to complete strangers. It’s not a spectacular story. There’s no epic catalyst that pushed me to change. But there is a story and there is a catalyst.
The weekend of May 13, 2013 I was in Dallas for BlogCon. If you’ve never heard of it, imagine a conference at a beautiful resort hotel, going to panels, trading advice, business cards, phone numbers, and stories, heated debates, staying up til near sunrise only get up two hours later, impromptu karaoke in the hotel lobby at 2:00 a.m., too much caffeine, more pictures than a person would care to count, and the greatest people you’ll ever have the privilege to meet all crammed into a weekend. THAT is BlogCon. It was an amazing weekend. Without exception one of my favorite trips (and I travel 1-2 times a month).
A friend of mine gave the keynote address and then had to hop on a plane to attend a funeral on Mother’s Day. She’d lost several close friends and family members in a 12 month span. She and her husband began their own journey to become and stay healthy. I bake for them a couple times a year and had already begun modifying and creating recipes to accommodate their new, paleo lifestyle. In her speech she urged everyone to do whatever it took to get and stay healthy. She said she was tired of burying her friends and family.
Monday was the last day we all spent together in Dallas. A bunch of us were having dinner and laughing and enjoying one last meal together. My friend, Chad Kent, took a picture of me that ended up on a poster highlighting the weekend. Everyone loved that picture. I hated it. All I saw was fat. All I saw was misery. There I was in a beautiful city, in gorgeous hotel, with people I love, and I looked miserable and miserably fat in every picture. I was heartbroken.
I decided to try this paleo thing. May 16, 2013 I went through my kitchen and kicked out all processed food, grains, and refined sugar that weren’t ingredients for baked goods my friends regularly ask me to make (I’m the go-to gal for certain baked goods and need to keep certain ingredients in-stock). My biggest hurdle was the bread. I still miss bread. So very much… But I digress. I began working out. I searched YouTube for videos so I didn’t have to darken the doors of a gym and embarrass myself. I cried through the first couple of workouts because my body wouldn’t move the way the perky instructor on the screen was instructing it to. I was mortified to tell people I was exercising and eat healthily. Clearly all my fat was still in place so, in my mind, how could I expect people to believe me?
As many times as I’ve been told the psychological journey in losing weight is the hardest, I never fully grasped the concept until I began my own journey. I refuse to own a scale for this fact alone. If I had a scale, I’d obsess over the number and not focus on being healthy. At 32, I’ve never been healthier- my doctor and I even found out I have a pretty intense gluten intolerance that was causing nearly all of my health issues, but have been able to manage it by staying paleo and being a control freak about every piece of food put in front of me.
I’m not at my goal yet. I’m closer today than I was yesterday. I’m within view of it in a way I never thought I’d be. I actually see the size I’d like to be as a reachable size. I’m even seeing smaller sizes as possible. But every time I look in the mirror I still see that same fat face from Dallas. I still see every roll, pound, bulge, and jiggle that was there before I began. That almost triple chin I had still haunts me with every turn in the mirror and every candid picture I don’t control. This past weekend I bought a skirt from the “normal people” section of the store. It’s not a small or anything, but I didn’t have to search in the plus size area for it. I was so excited. Until this morning when I put it on and looked in the mirror. Again, I saw every tiny imperfection showing. Chances are, no one else does, at least not to the extent I see it all. But from my point of view I only see that 300 lbs. girl in the mirror, mocking every victory I’ve had in the last 365 days.
I haven’t kept 100% on track in the past year, but I keep going back any time I deviate. I continue to push through the setbacks and personal disappointments. Some days I cry because I want to taste “real” bread again. Some days I buy a bag of peanut butter M&Ms and eat only that for dinner. Those days are rare, but, I might as well be honest: they happen. I’m not perfect. I still have fat. I still get winded walking three flights of stairs to to the top of the parking garage at work where I eat lunch on the nice days. Some days I want to just call it quits and give in to cheesecake and cupcakes and biscuits and cookies (I have an intense sweet-tooth), but those days pass and I drink my fruit and eat my salads and chicken and remember I’ve never felt better, I’ve never been healthier. Maybe this time next year I’ll have reached my goal. Maybe I won’t have yet. Maybe I’ll have a new story. Maybe there will be a huge change to my journey. Who knows? But for now, I’ll keep going.