web of lies

how many of you have ever told a lie?

can there be lies that are worse than others?  are the lies that we tell ourselves worse than the ones that we tell others?

i simply cannot count the amount of lies that i have told myself over the years:

 1. you’re not pretty enough

2. you’re fat

3. you’re not smart enough

4. you’re smaller than that other girl, so you don’t have a weight problem

5. i can hide my food addiction so it isn’t really a problem

6. i can lose weight quickly, whenever i want to

7. ect. ect. ect. ect….you get the point.

are those lies worse than the ones that i repeatedly told others? things like…

  1. i ate this healthy thing and that healthy thing today.  (when i really ate something horrible)
  2. i worked out today! (um, no, you didn’t)
  3. i slept wonderful last night! (besides that 30 minutes you spent eating in the middle of the night, right?)
  4. i am feeling great! (no, actually i am feeling bloated from that fast food that i just ate…that you clearly don’t know about)

i was extremely successful last year at losing weight, i had absolutely no reason to lie about what i was eating or doing because i was doing everything i could do to better myself.  when i took my hyper-focus off of losing weight, the weight came back, and it came back quick.  i was embarrassed, frustrated, mad, angry, defeated.  that’s when the lies started coming back.

first it was lies to others because i couldn’t have them knowing that i fell off the wagon, then it turned into lies to myself.  i let the devil creep into my life and i let him sign a year long lease.

i was a prisoner to the devil and the negativity i allowed him to feed me.  i became someone that wasn’t me, i don’t even know who that person was, well, i do, it was the devil disguised as a person named Emily.

my relationships suffered, my body quickly went back to an un-healthy state and i became a shell of what i once was….all of this while my relationship with the devil was flourishing and thriving.

the devil will keep renewing his lease in our lives until we evict him.  there is no easy fix, no “3 simple steps to kick the devil to the curb” book.  it takes work, and i am in the thick of it right now.

i came to the conclusion that my addiction to food couldn’t start with just simply changing my diet or going for a walk after work.  i needed help, professional help to have a better chance of overcoming this once and for all.  i sought the help of a professional Christian counselor that specializes in addictions of all kinds.

i have to figure out the “head game” part of this addiction.  last year i changed the way my body looked and felt, and i was successful, but i never tackled what was going on in my head.

i don’t claim to have the answers:

but, i KNOW that God is good and He is good all the time.  He is helping me break the lease that i signed with the devil.  He is helping me repair the damage that i allowed the devil to do in my life so that He can move in and sign a permanent lease.

addiction is hard and is generally out of our feeble ability to overcome, but God is always standing next to us willing to help, we just have to ask.

 

 

 

 

 

gimmick

**This post is not meant to offend anyone that represents any of the products mentioned below, this is just my personal opinion**

In the days of social media, I am sure that we have all been inundated with advertisements for products that promise to “get skinny quick” or “take this pill and drink this shake and you will look like this”… those products offend and make me angry.

I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t been intrigued by some of them prior to starting my weight loss journey.  The thought of taking a pill or wrapping myself in plastic wrap to get skinny quick instead of putting in the work with my diet and exercise is appealing.  How could it not be appealing?  What I am doing is hard and it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, sometimes I just want the “get skinny quick” magic pill because I am tired of watching every calorie that I put in my mouth and making sure that I am staying active enough.

But, the elephant in the room is….do these products really work? or are they just ploys by companies to capitalize on our obese nation and the push to get healthier? It seems like weekly, there is another new product that promises the impossible.

Okay, okay, okay…promising the impossible might be an exaggeration, I should have said, promises the impossible WITHOUT changing your diet and exercise.  If you have to change your diet and activity to get the products to work, then what’s the point? You can lose weight WITHOUT a “magic” option…so wouldn’t that make the “magic” option void?

Ding, Ding, Ding….

A lot of these products don’t mention anything about having to change your diet and the need to exercise until they DON’T work, then it becomes the number one excuse….”Well, the products do work best when combined with a change in diet and exercise…” DUH! You mean wrapping my body in saran wrap isn’t going to make me look like all the “before and after” pictures I see all over the internet??? Common sense would say, no.  Those people wrapped their body in saran wrap, AND, changed their diet drastically, as well as worked out.

Another product that that I simply do not understand is one that claims to make you “happy all the time!” Enticing, right? I want to be “happy all the time!”  But, you have to take a pill, drink a shake and put a patch on to get the results, and if you do not do them all in the EXACT order the company says at EXACTLY the right times, it may not work.  Convenient excuse for the company when their claims don’t pan out, put it back on the customer, they simply didn’t do the process right, sorry! Another thing that concerns me is that it is no wonder the product makes you “happy all the time!,” it has 6 different kinds of stimulants in it.  They say that up to 400mg of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most adults.  Since the ingredients are listed as proprietary, the manufacturer does not have to list the amount (mg) used, so it is therefore unknown how much caffeine/stimulants each product contains.  What no one has addressed, and I have asked several promoters of this product, is how does the body handle the inevitable “crash” when the product isn’t being taken anymore?  With that many stimulants, it seems like a crash and a feeling of “not happy all the time!” is looming.

Well, I have a way that you can save lots of $$$$ and get the same results!  Wait for it…..it’s called HARD WORK.  Whoa, there is a concept that isn’t easily accepted in this society.  I have lost over 50 pounds and in turn have a higher self esteem by good old fashioned working out and changing my eating habits.  Yes, I have used different methods of those things along the way (examples:  Weight Watchers and 21 Day Fix), but I would consider neither of those “gimmicks” because they still involve YOU making the ultimate change, there are no impossible promises.

Dieting and losing weight is no joke.  The weight didn’t come on the body overnight and it will not come off overnight either.  There are no two ways or gimmicks around that, it is simply a fact.  I have worked very hard over the last 6 months to get closer to my end goal and frankly I am offended by the messages that I get that say,

“Emily, you look fantastic! I have this amazing product that will help stimulate your activity level and will make your weight loss easier! contact me for details!”

“WOW, girl, you must be feeling amazing! I am just wondering if you might be interested in this wrap that will tighten your extra skin from your weight loss”

I am not interested in those products, I am interested in working hard and achieving my goals.  I put this weight on my body and it seems as though it is fitting that I have to work hard to take it off, so I KNOW the reality of my old habits.  Quick fixes fix nothing and the odds are that you will need to try another one in a couple months because you are right back where you started, just several hundred $$$ poorer.

I am proud of this “gimmick” free weight loss!

MY hard work is paying off!

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there is sugar in that?!

According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of sugar to be consumed daily is:

Men: 37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons

Women: 25 grams or 6 teaspoons

1/2 cup Raisins –> 43 grams

8 oz Fruit Yogurt –> 43 grams

1 cup unsweetened Grape Juice –> 35 grams

12 oz can of Coke –> 33 grams

Sweet & Sour Chicken (frozen entree) –> 16 grams

1/2 cup Granola –> 13 grams

1/2 cup Banana –> 9 grams

1 serving of Kellogg’s Raisin Brand cereal –> 5 teaspoons

1 bottle Vitamin Water –>  33 grams

1 tablespoon Ketchup –> 1 teaspoon

1 Cliff bar –> 20 grams 

Excuse me, WHAT?!?    I. ate. way. too. much. sugar. 

When I had my initial weigh-in and consultation with Katie (my coach), she explained to me that my body is functioning over 2 times my actual age because of my Body Fat %, BMI and Visceral Fat content.  Ouch.  I don’t feel that unhealthy anymore and it scared me straight.  I really do have a long way to go.

Katie has me on a very strict diet right now, and I am also learning about the relationship between sugar/carbs to weight loss.  I am not ashamed to admit that I thought, “its fruit, who cares how much sugar is in it, because its healthy sugar” or “Its a Cliff Bar and not a Big Mac.”

The eating plan that I have been following is called a Ketogenic diet. Basically, the body gets its energy from glucose.  Typically, glucose comes from carbohydrates – sugar and starchy foods such as bread and pasta – which the body is able to break down. Glucose can either be used to fuel the body or stored in the liver and muscles as a chemical called glycogen.  If there is not enough glucose present, the body will resort to an alternative strategy in order to fuel itself. Excess fat will begin to be broken down in order to provide a source of glucose. A by-product of this process are ketones.

In simple terms, it means that I have cut sugar and carbs almost completely from my diet.  I eat several servings of vegetables and 8 oz of protein a day.  I also can have some protein shakes to fill in the gaps.

I will not lie.  Its hard.  It is amazing how many foods have hidden sugar in them.

I have been a complainer, I’ll be honest.  It’s hard to live off of veggies and meat only, but, I understand the concept behind it.  Let your body deplete its natural glucose supply and then the body will go to the next thing to burn to create energy….FAT.

I am beginning to understand why my weight loss was very slow over the last couple months, there may have been changes to my body, but I hadn’t lost very much weight.

My body was getting too much glucose.

I ate wayyy too much fruit.

I used too may condiments that have sugar in them.

I wasn’t giving my body everything it needed, even though I was eating healthy.

This Ketogenic diet is Phase 1 of Katie’s plan for finishing my weight loss journey.  Once I can get my body fat % down significantly, then Phase 2 will start.  Phase 2 will include re-adding some sugars and carbs back in my diet, along with some more intense workouts.  The end goal is to see my body functioning near or at my actual age, my body fat % in a normal range and the ability to maintain my weight loss now that I am more educated on health and wellness. 

I am anxious to be able to incorporate more food into my diet again, but I didn’t get obese by eating veggies and protein, so for right now, I am exactly where I need to be.

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inspiration

“I’m both inspired and curious about your recent journey. I read the beginning of your blog and instantly felt like someone “gets” me. With my recent past hardship and my life flipping upside down…food has been my comfort.”

“When I’m happy, sad, bored, or whatever….I eat. I’ve gained 20 overall and can’t look in the mirror.”

“Your blog just breaks my heart. I can so relate.”

“I have been inspired by you and have lost 19 pounds.”

“I feel like you are writing to me when I read your blog”

You all think that I inspire you with my journey, but really, you inspire me.

The quotes I shared above are just a couple that I have received throughout the last couple months.

When I first started this journey, it was about ME, about me losing weight, me getting healthier, and me being happier.  At some point along the way, it no longer was just about me, it became about inspiring others.

If I had negative feelings about myself, felt defeated, couldn’t look in the mirror, hated photos being taken, ate my feelings away and just needed a change, I surely wasn’t alone.  I decided to share my story, to share my struggles and I hoped that I could inspire just one person who felt like me.

Mission: Accomplished, but something else happened along the way: you inspired me to keep going, to push harder, to not cheat when I am weak and to love myself through it all.

I met with my new Health and Wellness coach last night and after some initial calculations, I discovered that even after losing 40 lbs, my body is functioning as a 60 year old (based on BMI, body fat %, visceral fat, ect).  The Emily of several months ago, would have been defeated, thought that I was beyond help, and turned to food.  The Emily of NOW was inspired to keep changing, bettering myself, and living life to the fullest.

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One of the biggest goals I was working towards was feeling more confident in a bathing suit.  I was recently on a trip to Florida to celebrate my future Sister-In-Law’s bachelorette party and I knew I would need to wear one, but I didn’t just want to wear one, I wanted to own it, no matter how much more weight I have to lose, I wanted to own myself. right now.  I worked hard for it, why not celebrate it? So, I did, I proudly celebrated my size 14 bathing suit and the hard work that I put in for it, because, I earned it.

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I may not be to the “finish line”, but I am a heck of a lot closer than I was, and YOU, whether you know it or not, are helping my progress towards it.

but my booty jiggles

As you can imagine, at 227lbs, there were parts (or all) of my body that jiggled, bounced, shook, ect when I worked out.

It made me very self-conscious and honestly, made me not want to workout.  I had convinced myself that everyone. was. looking. at. me.

I tried to incorporate working out into my weight loss plan from the beginning of my journey because I knew that it would help me lose the weight faster, and make me stronger.  Physically, I could handle the workouts, but mentally, it was tough.

I had a membership at our local Planet Fitness.  The gym with no gymtimidation, no lunks, no judgement….except from myself.  I only used equipment that I knew how to use and very rarely branched out of anything by cardio exercise.

Here is a typical conversations that I would have with myself on the treadmill / elliptical / arc / ect:

damnit, my shirt is sliding up from covering my butt”

“ugh, my boobs are bouncing

“my butt hurts because it is jiggling up and down so much”

“that fit girl over there keeps looking at me”

“I could never do that because I am too fat

“These 2 sports bras that I am wearing so my boobs stay put are not allowing me to breathe

If you have been reading my other blog posts, you will know by now that the negative thoughts in my head have deterred and hindered me from being positive about my progress.  The negative thoughts in my head discouraged me from going to the gym because I honestly thought that everyone was making fun of me in their heads.

“Oh, look at the fat girl

“She has a really red face, is she going to pass out?”

“Her butt is huge

“Her boobs need to be tied down

When I stopped going to the gym, I told myself that I would workout outside, but then I let myself believe that everyone driving down the road, passing me, was making fun of me too.  Then, I told myself that I would workout to DVD’s in my apartment, but, once again, the negative thoughts came back.  This time I thought that the young guy that lives downstairs would think that there was an elephant upstairs or that he would be scared I would come through the ceiling.  NO. JOKE.  I was horrible to myself.

I knew that I needed to workout, but, excuses were easier than actually doing the work.  The negative thoughts that I had been hiding behind, were just that, excuses.

I discovered that Old Navy has some compression workout pants that really suck the fat in and they didn’t allow my booty to jiggle so much.  I found some sports bras that allowed me to breathe, but still held the girls in place.

I. had. no. more. excuses.

When I let the excuses go, I also let the hold that the negative thoughts had over me, go.  Once I stopped telling myself lies and letting myself believe that everyone was making fun of me, the weight left too.

I started going back to the gym and simply not caring what others were thinking, because, I was there and I was doing it.

Everyone needs to start somewhere.

IMG_5836[this photo was taken a couple months ago, back to back 5k’s on the treadmill! practice makes progress]

q & a (part 1)

why did you decide that this was the time?

have you stuck with it?

what has worked best? least?

do you feel different inside? outside?

have you had slipups?

are you scared for what happens when you are done actively losing weight?

are you as happy as you look?

transparency is something I have promised during this journey, so I am going to do my best to answer some of the questions that have been voiced over the last couple months.

how did I decide that THIS was the time?

Quite simply, I was tired; physically, mentally and emotionally.  I was embarrassed.

I was brushing my teeth in the dark in the morning because I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror.  I did all of my laundry on my own because I didn’t want my family or boyfriend to see the size tag in my clothes.  I never took the hangers in clothing stores when they offered because I didn’t want to look at them in my closet, or God forbid anyone else see them either.

It was exhausting being so secretive in my struggles.  I was eating in private, lying about it and consuming way. too. much.

At the time the photo on the left was taken, I was completely aware of my size, I knew I was overweight, but that day, I thought I looked cute.  I thought I managed to “hide” my size with what I thought was an “over-sized” tee-shirt and a cute cardigan.  But, there was no escaping reality when I looked at my phone and gave my standard, “we all look good” response.  Something needed to change.

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The photos above were taken 1. the day before I drove to Weight Watchers and signed up, and 2. this past weekend at a fundraiser that I attended.

have you stuck with it?

I think the obvious answer is, yes.  I have shaken up the method a couple times, but overall, yes, I have and am sticking with it.

what has worked best? worst?

Honestly, everything I have done has worked, for a certain amount of time.  I have shaken the method of weight loss up a couple times to hurdle various plateaus.  I have viewed this journey like this:

Weight Watchers:  That is what I am calling the “high school” of my journey.  It was convenient and made the transition from my old lifestyle to a new one relatively easy.  Going to the meetings was like homework to me.

21 Day Fix:  This part of the journey is what I am calling “college.”  This was harder than Weight Watchers and more intense.  It was a bigger commitment both financially and in the daily execution.  I had to meal plan and prep, workout daily and use self control to cut quite a few foods out of my diet that Weight Watchers allowed.

Health/Wellness/Fitness Coach:  This is the most recent development in my journey.  I have hired a health & wellness coach to help me through the last few months of my journey.  I am trying to set myself up for the best success AFTER I am done actively losing weight.  My biggest fear is to go through all of this and then go right back to where I was.

do you feel different inside? outside?

Yes.  I feel exponentially better on the outside.  My blood pressure is back in “normal” range, I have dropped several pants/dress sizes, and I no longer have a double chin in almost every photo.  The outside transformation in obvious.

As far as how I feel on the inside, that is a bit more loaded response.  Overall, yes, I feel better on the inside, but, it is a daily struggle.  Some days, I feel great about myself, and others, I feel like nothing has changed.  I emotionally beat myself up for so long that sometimes I just don’t think I really know what it feels like to be happy anymore.  I still occasionally let myself believe the lies like; you are still fat, not good enough and that I don’t deserve to be completely happy. I know those lies are not true and I know that I AM good enough.  The faces below tell the true story, a story that involves a sad girl that was masking the un-happiness with food and another girl that is well on her way to a “happier & healthier” self.IMG_6393

bathing suit shopping

bathing suits.  ugh.

my opinion about them is the same as it was when I was 40lbs heavier: they. stress. me. out.

Let me rewind a bit.  As I have said before, I wasn’t always 227lbs.  There were times several years ago that I could wear a two-piece bathing suit and I felt very confident/comfortable doing so.  But, as the weight started increasing, I grew more and more terrified at the mere idea of going somewhere that included having to wear one.

I avoided going to the pool with friends

Made excuses that I “forgot” to bring my bathing suit

Tried to cover up as quick as possible after exiting the pool/lake if for some reason I actually swan

I am my own worst critic, my biggest judge and worst enemy.  I convinced myself that everyone at the pool/lake is staring right at me, analyzing, and making fun of me.

“Look at that girl with the cottage cheese thighs..”

“Whoa, she’s the biggest one here”

“Is that a ‘grandma’ one piece bathing suit?”

I would stand in my bathroom wearing my bathing suit and critique myself.  All the things I hated.  Wanted to change. Analyze every imperfection.  Count the stretch marks.

I know what I was doing to myself and how I was making myself feel, wasn’t healthy.   But, just about everything in my life wasn’t healthy…my relationship with food, my attitude, my self-esteem, my self worth, my weight, ect.

Fast forward to present time.  I am 40lbs lighter and my fear of bathing suits is still in the front of my mind.  I recently had to take my “Michigan Winter White” skin and ever changing body shopping to find a new bathing suit for an upcoming trip to Florida.

I was able to shop in the normal section of the store, no more plus size section, and I didn’t even have to get the biggest size on the rack.  I should have viewed those things as “non-scalevictories, because it was one of my goals to not immediately have to reach to the back/bottom of a rack to find the biggest size to buy.

Instead, I stood in front of the mirror, in a size large for the first time in years, and I the body I saw looking back at me was as though nothing had changed.  I still saw the size 18, plus size girl in the mirror.  I began critiquing my smaller and ever changing body harshly.  I internally put myself down and made myself feel like I still wasn’t small enough, or had made enough change to feel comfortable wearing a bathing suit.

you still have cottage cheese thighs…your thighs still rub together….your arms are flabby….

I had checked one of the items off of my “lose list” but yet, I immediately lost sight of the end goal because I allowed my head to derail the victory.  I still may be changing and yes, I still have a ways to go, but what I did that day in the Target dressing room, needs. to. stop.  I need to see myself for who I am, not constantly critique or put myself down.  The weight didn’t come on my body overnight, and it will not come off overnight.  I have to learn to celebrate all victories.

I will be in a bathing suit for 4 days in Florida next week and I. am. not. terrified.

That my friends is not a small victory, it is a monumental one.