Head Held High

Well, about two months back on track and I have had a breakthrough.

A few weeks ago I was finally able to share a story about a time in my life when I was at my healthiest and was out for a run and not feel ashamed or worried the audience might be thinking, “You? You were running? You don’t look like a runner or like you ever used to be in a healthier place.”

The shame and fear of rejection was very real. It was very easy to share a story from a time when I was healthier when I was a smaller size, but having gained so much weight back I have had the hardest time saying anything like, “…yeah, I had just returned back from a run when …”. My mind would remind me I’m not that healthier version of myself anymore, so I would only softly mention the running or I would follow up the story with a crack like, “Not that I’m doing that [running] now!” trying to make everyone laugh and say what I felt they were thinking.

Then at the end of August two things happened to change my negative self talk:

1. I started running again with the Couch to 5K program.

2. I forgave myself for gaining the weight back.

The first action has been fairly easy. While I feel every ounce of the weight I’ve gained back, I just ran a 5K in the spring, so I have been fine.

The second was much harder, but forgiving myself for failing to keep control over food during some of the hardest years of my life was the key I needed to lock up all the negative and throw it into the sea of forgetfulness.

Forgiving myself also included repenting of the part I played, the times I just didn’t care and overate until I didn’t feel good, and it brought me to a place where I could hold my head high again.

When I’m plodding along on the treadmill completing my run/walk intervals I hold my head high.

When I am sharing a story about my family that includes me returning from a run to see my family being crazy I hold my head high while mentioning the words, “I had just come back from a run…”.

When I wear an outfit that is bigger in size than I’d like, I hold my head high.

Month one I maintained weight and now in month two I am seeing the scale slowly move downward.  It may not sound like great success to anyone who is looking for numerical victory, but I haven’t felt this good both physically and emotionally in a very long time.

I’ve been journaling and I have goals to help me stay focused as I continue in my journey, but for today I celebrate that I am walking with my head held high.

This is my story and I will never give up. Thank you for coming along with me.

Posted in exercise, fear of failure, mental health, motivation, Uncategorized, weightloss | 4 Comments

Choosing Uncomfortable

Hello there!  Here’s a little clip of me…happy because one of my friends sent me a belated birthday gift with a couple of my favorite things.

Videos like this are fun to make, but lately they are hard to watch.  While photos or videos are being taken I feel cute and pretty; but when I view said material I see the reality of what settling into a lazy kind of comfort has done to my body.  It’s a reality check of sorts that is both upsetting and good for me.

I’d rather hide and not take any picture right now, but I make myself for two reasons:

  1. I never let my weight stop me from living my life before and I’m not going to start now.
  2. These photos capture where I am currently and they remind me why I’ve made the decision to pursue a healthier lifestyle again.

Part of pursuing healthier goals is journaling.  I do this both by blogging and I’ve purchased a fitspiration journal which has prompts to help get my mental juices flowing.

Each entry also has a health fact and a motivational quote such as this:

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Fitspiration journals can be found at getfitbook.com

Most of the time I quickly glance over the preprinted stuff, but today’s inspiration caught my attention.

It’s a common enough phrase, but when I’m honest it’s not one I really wanted to see just yet.

However, I got to thinking… In recent months I found myself getting comfortable in an old lifestyle of not getting much intentional exercise in, eating whatever I wanted with very little tracking, and quite frankly it lead me to feel very uncomfortable.

I’ve been physically uncomfortable and emotionally uncomfortable when I see how large I’ve become and thus what others now see when they look at me.

Isn’t that ironic?  My old “comfort zone” made me uncomfortable.

Making time for exercise in the mornings and being intentional about my food intake, disciplining myself to pay attention to both what my body wants as well as needs, actually leaves me feeling more comfortable.

So, that is why I am choosing to take the steps necessary to lose weight and get healthier again.  I love myself too much to continue being “comfortable”.

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Humbled

I hoped I’d never see this day, the day that I would have to say I have gained back almost all of the weight I lost from 2009 – 2013.  But I have.  And I’m humbled.

I wasn’t exactly embarrassed until I saw the last 20 pounds come back on, 10 of which came on in the last month while moving.  And when I realized I’d gained those 10 pounds I also realized something else.

Food has been my coping mechanism for stress.

It seems like an excuse to say that, but I had maintained my weight loss for over a year and then a succession of stressful situations began to occur and aloing with the stress came the weight.

I have researched, discussed the subject with friends, prayed much and the only conclusion I have is I have to learn how to handle stress and not let it affect my healthy habits to the extent it has these last 4 1/2 years.

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PC: Pinterest  — Such truth to this!

If life would settle somewhat I think that would help as well.  However, I’ve been told life continues to change, so I know what really needs to change is my response to it.  At least

So, that’s where I am today.

Embarrassed.

Nervous to start again.

Humbled by my inability to keep control over my overeating.

And ultimately…I’m staying honest.

While it seriously pains me to make this public I have to, so when I come back those who follow will know where I started from again.

I’m 224.2 pounds as of this morning.  I feel every bit of the 60 pounds I’ve gained back, and I cling to a sliver of hope that I can get it off again.

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Me this morning after my walk. 224.2 and pooped out.

No great fan fare.  I will just get back to the basics of a balanced diet combined with exercise.  I am tracking my eats and movements in My Fitness Pal and using this very neat journal I bought with some birthday money last month:

 

And I’m returning to blogging, because I still hope the details of my health journey can help someone else know they are not alone in the struggles that surround this kind of journey.

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Honeymoon Phase is Over

A week ago I gained 3.2 pounds.  I know exactly what happened and wasn’t surprised by it.

The “honeymoon phase” was over.

My desire to stick to a plan, tracking points, trying to stay focused and my reading on the subject of binge eating was all wearing thin on me, so I ate what I wanted.  I didn’t binge, at least not that I can remember, but I did eat when I wasn’t hungry and not really care.

Except I did care, which is partly why I was so vexed.  I was reminded, again, that living a healthier lifestyle, for me, includes not giving in to every desire.  And I didn’t like that thought.

After doing some research and reading I feel I do have a very slight issue with bingeing; manifesting in the form of mindless snacking to avoid a number of things I should be doing or feelings I don’t want to feel.

However, the reading, praying and researching lead me back to what I’ve known all along.  I want to have my cake and eat it too, or two … as in pieces of cake I had a baby shower the week of the 3+ gain.

So, I had to come to a decision again.

Do I want to be healthier and feel good while enjoying treats in moderation, or do I want to eat whatever and however much of what I want and feel like crud more often than not?

I chose the first.

Which is why the next week I tweaked what needed tweaking and managed to lose what I’d gained plus an added 1.6 pounds for a total loss this past week of -4.8 pounds.

The honeymoon phase is definitely over in my journey, but I have decided I want to make this thing work.  And I am getting it done.

Posted in focus, goals, mental health, Uncategorized, weigh-in, weightloss | 1 Comment

Losing From the Inside Out

I think I need therapy.

Unless you’re brain is wired like mine you won’t understand, but let’s just say that what works best for me in losing weight is not only a good plan to follow, but the time to work through why I am eating in secret and overeating.  Because I’ve learned it’s not simply that I have no self discipline (which I know is part of it, so I’m not using this as an excuse), but for me there’s a whole lot more to it than that.

That’s why I really feel like this is my year to get back to my old “new” Leah.

For three consecutive years — 2014 through 2017 — I faced life changing experiences I’d never had to deal with before.  Death, child illness and the nest beginning to empty are the ones I’m comfortable sharing about.  There were others that are much more personal.  In spring of 2016 I went to Weight Watchers because I was gaining back weight during these traumatic times and I was scared of gaining all of my weight back.

It helped in that I stopped gaining, but a year later I found myself weighing exactly the same.  Life was continuing and I didn’t feel I had the head space to do more for my weight.

Or I hoped if I exercised faithfully the weight would drop off.

Um, if you don’t change your eating that doesn’t happen as easily at 41 as it did at 32.

Anyway, over the summer 2017 I took a break, moved into our new home.  Then I enjoyed the holidays.  I did more thinking about my life where I want to go, who I am, etc. etc. and I saw the weight creeping up a few more pounds.

So, in early December I said I am going back to Weight Watchers, because I need the structure and the motivation from the meetings.  I told myself I wouldn’t put too much pressure on during Christmas and New Years, but in January I would truly begin.

While I enjoyed time with my family I began to think.  And to pray.

And calm came and I felt ready.

Ready to deal with things I had allowed back into my brain that were leading me to turn to food; and deal with layers that had been exposed during my recent life changing experiences and realize [again] food is not the answer.

The scale is down about -5.0 pounds so far, but what is falling away inside is so much nicer than what is falling off outside.

It’s like as I work through my emotions I’m losing the bad inside and it’s making way for healthier thoughts and habits to begin again.

It’s been tough, and I’m no where near the end, but I feel so much better about where I am that I had to share.  For anyone who still comes to check on me here on the blog I had to share that I’m still not giving up.

I do have issues, but I’m taking them to God and doing some secular reading on relationships with food and I’m feeling so much better already.

This really is my year and I look forward to seeing all that is going to happen, both inside and out.

Posted in focus, mental health, Uncategorized, weightloss | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

FOCUS

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Four weeks ago I made a decision a lot of people have been making in the last week.  I went back to Weight Watchers.  Life is settling down, I need the structure and I decided waiting for January was not an option.  They had a special for the first month free if you signed up for six months, so that sealed the deal for me.

My Monday meeting group is amazing and they welcomed me back with open arms just like I expected.

Returning to a program, having gained a few pounds, is humiliating enough without worrying what others will think.  So, when I returned and they appeared so happy to have me back it really helped me.

I’m down 5 pounds these first four weeks and grateful for the refocusing that is coming along with the loss.

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This is in the beginning of my Carpe Diem planner I’m using to motivate me and journal about my health journey.

As cliche as it sounds I’ve chosen my word of the year to be “focus” for the main reason that I feel this is my year to get back to a healthy weight.

Two years ago I went to Weight Watchers in an attempt to stop gaining weight back.  It was a lifesaver and I still have a couple friends from that time.  Unfortunately, I was still going through so much emotionally I didn’t do more than stop the gaining process.

But life is settling for us now in so many ways and I feel I have the head space to really focus on my weight;  and time to really also focus on why I do what I do with regards to my health.  That may be odd to some, but I’ve learned that when life is topsy turvy the last thing I want to do is stress about good eating habits.

Or, maybe I’m just finally tired enough of feeling like a victim of recent past circumstances and ready to lay them to rest and move on to recapture the healthier, stronger lifestyle I was living when I was maintaining my 70-pound weight loss for over a year.

Either way, I’m here and I’m going to work on keeping focus.  Here’s to a great 2018!

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This will help me focus in other areas as well!

 

Posted in focus, goals, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

If Mental Health Counts – I’m Almost To Goal!

I had a very long post written about some personal feeling and how my life is settling into a good rhythm emotionally and spiritually, and how that makes me really not care too much what is going on with the scale, but I deleted it.

The details don’t really matter, but I have to share why I’m only half caring what the scale says lately.

Because if you judge me by my size or weight then I’m a failure.  But if you could see into my heart and soul and judge me by what has taken place there you’d see a different story.

Yes, I feel every ounce of the 40 pounds I’ve gained since Spring 2014.

I hate that I feel fat (except when I’m wearing my new cute jeans… 🙂 ).

I hate that keeping my weight in check is so much harder at 41 than it was at 32.

BUT …

I am no longer feeling like I have to find a new “identity” as my children grow up and move out.

I am choosing to accept where we are now in regards to some personal issues, see the blessing that has come out of some fiery trials and be grateful for the growth.

I am grateful for the good rhythm my life has begun settling into the past month or so.

I am grateful that I’m learning to separate what happened in recent years from daily upsets and not connect them all or think it’s because of “that” that this is happening today.

I’m coming back to living the life that really matters the most to me, and letting go of the past as something that occurred, but not something that has to rule my days now.

THIS my friends…this is what made me think if mental health were my goal I’d almost be to goal now.  LOL  Things have been *that* crazy on the inside for quite some time.

Yes, I’m keeping an eye on the scale and stay active, but right now I can’t get caught up in this diet or that strict fix.  I know what needs to happen.  I get nervous I won’t ever lose weight again.  But I also know I want to finish my life healthy and I learned in the past that begins with mental health.

So, here’s to getting mental health in check;  I really feel it’s the foundation that all other change can be built upon.

Posted in fear of failure, history, mental health, Uncategorized, victory | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

October in a Nutshell

I can hardly believe it’s November!  Where did October go?

October was a month I really worked through some [more] internal issues.  I maintained my weight and the best way to sum up my month is to share a bit I posted on Instagram about halfway through the month:

“Hi, I’m Leah…as I waited for my son after school today I tried to gather my thoughts to share where I’m at right now.  When I was living with the success of being a woman who lost 70 pounds I wanted the world to know they could do it too. “If I can do this anyone can!”  And I loved sharing my story so others could see there was hope. 

But currently?  My world has been turned upside down, my life plans got all turned around, I realized some serious thought processes needed tweaking, I’ve gained 50 pounds back and, after all that, I’m coming to a place where I am accepting things will never be like they were prior to the last 3 1/2 years. 

Seeing pictures of me at 160 can tempt my thoughts to wish for how things were back then — when my mom was alive and all was well and going according to plans in my home.  But that road leads to sadness and heartache.  [insert broken heart emoji]

So, in recent days I’ve been praying and accepting life will never be what it was the first time I lost that weight.  That my health journey now isn’t a recovery of all I lost;  but it’s a new journey wherein I allow the healing happening within to help spur the new decisions to take better care of myself.

On an end note… As I heal and fight this week it occurred to me:  food isn’t the enemy and losing weight isn’t a punishment for gaining weight.  It’s a choice to take care of myself and know that in the future I’ll be grateful I didn’t give up.”

Two week after posting the above I’m happy to say things have gotten better in my health world and November is already off to a good start.  Taking time to really analyze where I am, working through the fog instead of wishing it away while I overeat, and continuing to press forward has proven good for my all-around health.

My story’s not over folks.  🙂  Thank God!

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What The Heck Am I Doing?

So, (via my Instagram account) this is happening beginning this weekend…

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I didn’t really feel like hosting it again this year, but I had people ask me about it and then tell me how it was so inspiring for them.  I knew I couldn’t allow peer pressure push me into doing something I just didn’t feel I had time or energy to do, but I also know that I have already been working on my own goals.

So I thought about it and waited until the very last minute to put together the information and go ahead and start.

And the response has taken me by surprise.

“I’m so in!”

“Count me in!”

What?  Oh great.  It’s like a confirmation that it needed to happen and a death sentence all at once.

There’s no turning back now.  And for some reason that is really scaring me.

My goals for this challenge are simply to get 4 days of intentional exercise in and track my food every single day — no matter whether I stay in budget or not.

Ultimately I need to lose weight and that is my goal, but I can’t even bring myself to share that part right now.

This brings me back to how I felt in 2009 when I decided to attempt to get healthier, which in an odd way gives me a flicker of hope.

In my life it’s the times I was most terrified about something that good things tended to come about.

Lord, I certainly hope so, because this morning as I see the responses and I know I’ve now put myself out there once again I just keep thinking, “What the heck am I doing?!”

Posted in fear of failure, motivation, reset, Uncategorized, Weight Loss | Leave a comment

Baby Steps 2.0

Image result for baby steps

Lately I feel like my life is settling into a routine, and it makes my heart so happy. It’s not just a schedule that we are settling into, but almost like a new life.

Maybe it’s because we have bought this home and are here to stay.  I’m not sure, but I think that has a lot to do with it.

The last 3.5 years have been some of the most unsettling years in my entire life.  I’ve experienced things that I’ve never experienced before — death, tragic accident, relationship issues and life plans getting thrown out the window.

And for the first time I feel like I’m settling into what my life is now.

I’m coming to grips with the facts that my life will never be what it was before January 2014, or March 2014 or the spring of 2015.

And I’m allowing myself to understand that those events have changed me a bit; or at least they have sent me rolling and it’s taking time to get back some semblance of order in my life.

Right now, I don’t feel like I am this great leader in the health world, but I used to.

I used to be so proud of what I’d accomplished and loved encouraging anyone and everyone they could do the same.

Going through rough patches in life and not being able to say, “I made it without gaining more than 20 pounds!” could be hard on a person, but that’s actually not my issue.

Of course, I’d love to say that.  Instead my story is to date I have gained back 50 pounds of the 70 I originally lost.

My issue is that I’m simply fighting the fight to even want to care.  When I’ve seen how easy it is to fall back into bad, addictive habits I wonder why try again?

And so I take baby steps.

I am practicing being gracious, yet firm, with myself.

And I am allowing myself to settle into life, to work through the emotions and struggles these major events have caused in my life.

And I cling to hope.

Not the hope that exclaims “Rah! Rah!” and “I’m so good because I skipped cake!”, but the hope that whispers, “Hey, I waited until I was hungry to eat today.  Good job.”

Baby steps is how I started losing the weight the first time around and as things begin to fall into place here in my new life I feel like baby steps is how the weight will come off again.

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Footnote: In case you’re wondering…Baby Steps 2.0 is working so far.  I’m down -2.4 pounds over the past two weeks that I’ve been making a conscious effort.  *contented sigh*

 

PC:  Google Image Searches

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