The Shame & the Silence

It’s all too familiar a scenario. Days spent sitting in front of a computer, your typing fingers pretty much the only parts of your body receiving any kind of exercise. Exhaustion settles in from the mental and social battles you’ve fought as part of your job, even though physically you’ve accomplished very little. And due to that exhaustion, you’re ready to just toss something quick and easy (and bad for you) into your mouth so that you can decompress. And so your nights are spent in front of a TV, catching up on missed shows or Netflix queues, or laying back on the couch reading a book.

Unsurprisingly, the lack of movement, the diet of terrible and delicious food, the sedentary life you’ve groomed yourself into leads to the things you know they lead to. Your clothes start fitting tighter, some stop fitting altogether. You push them into the back of your closet to help you forget. You hate the photos that other people take of you. You untag yourself, you delete. You stop looking so closely at yourself in the mirror. You only concentrate on the things you still like, the things unaffected by what you’ve been doing to yourself: your eyes are still nice. You can still have fun with your hair. And hey, your shoes always fit.

Your mood shifts at the drop of the hat. Maybe it’s a reflection in a store window, a TV commercial, an accidental gaze down at your own body — whatever it is, it has the power to turn you from feeling pretty and put together to depressed and despondent.

But despite all this, the denial is still strong. You can put it out of your mind. You can ignore it. “I’m still fit,” you tell yourself, even though your heart rate shoots up from merely carrying a load of laundry upstairs. “I can still do things,” you argue, as if surviving a day at Disneyworld or being able to stand through a 3-hour event is an accomplishment. As if you’ll be 28-years-old forever.

Deep down, you know that things aren’t good. That you don’t think you look good, but that’s really not the biggest part of it. It’s that you don’t feel good. In your body or about your body. You know other people can tell. And the only reason your family isn’t saying anything is because they’ve already been down this path with you before. To their credit, it’s probably the smart thing to do. You don’t react well to criticism. You never have. You always had to do things your way.

Then, one day, after weeks and months and years of denial and disinterest and clever angles, the moment finally comes. You really have had enough. You know what this moment feels like, you’ve felt it before. You’re really ready to make a change, get back on the horse, start focusing on yourself again. You take a deep breath, and finally face what you’ve been avoiding for so very, very long: the scale.

You step on, you force yourself to open your eyes, and you look at the number on the floor in front of you.

Your shoulders fall. Your heart drops. You’ve failed.

This is me. This has been me, for longer than I like to admit. I pretty much stopped blogging about weight loss, claiming I’d moved on, that I was happy with myself as-is, no changes needed. Which, you know, I do believe in as a concept, but it never actually rang true for me. Because despite my declarations, I never really stopped thinking about my weight. I never stopped wondering, wishing, wanting. And every time I finally got my stuff together enough to actually do something about it, for some reason or another, I failed.

At first I talked about it. I talked about starting my weight loss all over again. I talked about how much harder it was and how much longer it was taking and how something just wasn’t clicking this time. I talked about wanting to lose weight for myself, and then to lose weight for my wedding, and… then I stopped talking about it. Because really, I was just saying the same things over and over again. And eventually, not talking about it meant I could pretend not to think about it. Which led me right back to the beginning.

So the next time I tried, things were worse. The number was higher. The stakes were higher.  And I was all the more ashamed. “I’ll just start on my own,” I’d think. “I’ll get back to where I was and then I’ll start blogging about it again, so they don’t know.” As if they didn’t already know.

Except I never got to that point. Because the shame led me to silence and the silence meant I wasn’t reaching out for the support that I required to succeed. That was the cycle.

I should have known better, of course. I should have known that it’s better for me to talk openly about my failings, to share my experience, and to have your support, than to keep it all to myself. I should have known that people will talk and speculate anyway, and that, I mean, hello, folks aren’t blind. I have a visible job and live my life out loud. People aren’t stupid. Hiding photos is one thing, but you can’t prevent people from being able to see you in real life.

But none of it was ever really enough to push me back into the light. Whether it was just because of my supreme laziness or the shame I felt in admitting what was going on to myself — let alone to other people, I just let things continue to worsen. And worsen they did, until I found myself at the exact point where I am now: where I only wear a fraction of my closet because the rest of it either doesn’t fit or doesn’t flatter anymore. Where I delete more pictures than not because I’m so embarrassed by the way that I look. Where I just avoid looking.

And where, when I finally did take that step onto the scale, I found myself looking at a number I’ve never seen before: 254 pounds.

Yep, almost 10 pounds higher than my previous “highest” weight.

The shame hit me pretty hard then, as you can imagine. Enough to make me want to clam up and crawl back into a hole. But I know that’s not the way to move past this. I can’t be silent anymore, and I don’t want to do this alone anymore. There’s nothing I can do about it now except move forward. I can’t turn back time. I can’t take it back. And, as I’ve learned the hard way, I can’t do this in secret. I can’t hide myself away until I’ve lost enough weight that I deem it “okay” to start sharing again. I tried. I failed. It got worse.

So here I am, singing that same old song about being ready to start again. All I can say is that it really does feel different. Or rather, it feels the same — i t feels like the first time, when everything came together in just the right way and just the right time to make me actually want to make a real change.

I admit, I’ve actually started already. Still ashamed by the number I saw, I waited until I could say I’ve already accomplished at least something before I was even brave enough to post this. I know that makes pretty much everything I just said pretty hypocritical, but hey, I’m only human. I’m down 7 pounds since that initial weigh-in, which still means that, at 247 pounds, I’ve still got a long ways to go.

But I’m doing it. No more hiding from the light. No more silence. I know many of you have been down this road with me so many times before that you probably can’t help but roll your eyes. I don’t blame you. Because I know that me saying, “It feels different this time! But also kind of the same!” is probably not as reassuring to you as it is to me. But, rest assured, I am reassured. I want this, I want health, I want to feel good, I want to look good. I want to play longer with my nieces and walk longer with my dogs and I just want to do more. Be more. Live more.

And I have nowhere to go but on.


And now, on a completely unrelated, and much less serious note, since, you know, I can only take so much austerity at a time…

Happy 12th birthday, Harry! <3

The Ultimate Frustration (Weigh-in)

All right: first things first. Thank you all so, so much for your comments on yesterday’s post on debt. I was more terrified publishing that than I have ever been about posting my weight (though that may have changed after this morning’s weigh-in…) and I was blown away by your willingness to share your own financial stories as well. It is, as always, very comforting to know that I’m certainly not alone in my struggles.

So what better way to recover from the emotional stress of confessing my financial woes to the world than by spending even more money on my favoritist thing ever?

Suuuuuushi

Oh, c’mon, I kid! I kid! Don’t worry, this guy paid:

Tag Along
And he was super psyched about it, too!

Yep, even amongst all my preparing for my upcoming Ottawa trip (I leave tomorrow!), Steve and I managed to find time for a quick but awesome (as usual) sushi dinner at Koi Koi. Well, sushi for me, teriyaki for him. Getting his sushi-resistant self just to take me to the restaurant is progress enough for me though!

Onlookers

And before dinner? A smile-inducing trip to the dog park!

Leader of the Pack
Gimme!

Daxter, ever the social butterfly, managed to make friends with the big dogs…

Big Dog, Little Dog

… as well as the even-smaller-than-he-is dogs.

Who's the wiener?

While Harry, reporting for duty as the fun police, was quick to break up encounters with any of the aforementioned big dogs that could have possibly roughed up his little bro.

Roaming Free

It’s actually pretty cute that he’s so protective of Daxter, though somewhat obnoxious. I guess Harry’s just a family man dog, through and through.

Family

And now for the main event. I hope you have the above images of happy puppies deeply ingrained in your mind, ’cause it’s weigh-in time. And I’ve already alluded to the fact that this morning did not bring pleasant news (which is just what I wanted right before taking a trip to the land of beavertails and poutine!) There’s no use delaying the inevitable, so here it is:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 186.0 lbs
This Weigh-in: 188.3 lbs
Difference: +2.3 lbs

WOMPITY WOMP WOMP WOMP.

*Deep breath*

Okay, so perhaps you can see why this is, er, mildly frustrating. Like, back to the 5 Stages of Grief type-frustrating. The last time I stepped on a scale, albeit unofficially, I was down to 183 lbs. Of course, this was in the wake of my latest kidney stone episode and my eating & drinking had been totally out of whack. Since I hadn’t been eating much, I knew that weigh-in didn’t count. Still, I couldn’t simply forget about that three-pound loss, “real” or not. And now I’ve actually gained two pounds from my last “official” weigh-in, which actually puts FIVE extra pounds on the scale from what I had last seen!

WTF?

This isn’t necessarily an “I don’t know what happened!” kind of situation. It’s not like I can’t guess at some of the probable factors that contributed to this gain: My body trying to regulate itself after three days of barely eating and haphazard fluid consumption. Sushi last night, which means soy sauce, which means sodium, which leads to water retention. Celebrating my dad’s early birthday Sunday. Emotional tensions running high in my house leading to emotional eating. And so on, and so forth.

But it isn’t as if these things (aside from the kidney-stone-induced loss of appetite) are that out of the ordinary for me. And part of what makes this gain particularly frustrating is that I’ve actually been exercising, running, and legitimately TRYING in terms of physical activity, which, as you’re all aware, is certainly NOT the norm for me. I’ve been sticking to my race training plan surprisingly well, and the miles are starting to get easier. But evidently, the scale doesn’t really seem to care about how hard I’m trying in the fitness department. Ugh.

It’s just so difficult, because the truth is that I often feel quite happy at the weight I am right now. I feel accomplished for having lost as much weight as I have. I feel beautiful most of the time, and sometimes, if I’m dressed just right, I even feel–gasp!–thin. But acknowledging that, I still KNOW that I want to lose more weight, that I can still be much healthier, that I have further to go. I know that I’m still overweight, though VASTLY less so than I used to be, and I want to continue to make strides in the right direction. It sometimes feels as if I am battling myself, almost as if being in any way happy with my body means I can’t make progress in my weight loss. And that kind of thinking borders very dangerously on the self-loathing mentality that I swore never to return to. Like I said: it’s frustrating.

Sorry to be ending this wit a bit of a downer. Just scroll back up to the puppies and everything will be okay! I mean, it’s not like I’m not giving up (aw, HELL no!), I knew from the beginning that I was in this for the long haul. So I let myself deal, I get it all out here, and I press on.

So say we all.

Being Productive

What is more productive than being stuck at home for two days straight with intense kidney stone pain? Why,vlogging, of course! In keeping with my past attempts, I am continuing to try to up the ante in terms of production value. Enter my brother’s amazing (er, expensive) camera and me spending 10 minutes just trying to focus the lens (and still not totally succeeding.) Oh well!

That may or may not be Vampire Diaries paused in the background. NO JUDGING.

To sum up the video for those of you who can’t watch it yet, I feel much, much better (thank you so much for your concern and well wishes!) According to Le Doctor, this means I either passed the kidney stone or never had one to begin with (I am rather skeptical of the latter hypothesis, for obvious reasons.) I’m not super thrilled at the fact that I’ve used up two days of PTO from work, since I’m taking more days off for my trip to Ottawa over Halloween weekend, but there’s not much I can do about that now. What I can do, however, is figure out a cute, creative Halloween costume that is carry-on-able so I can take it with me when I go! Hopefully you guys can help out with that one, since my creativity feels pretty spent at present moment (for what reason though, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I’m just not as creative as I like to think, hahaha.)

48/365 This Is Not The Enemy
source

In other news, I weighed in this morning but I’m making yet another executive decision NOT to officially report it here since I don’t feel it really counts. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be able to count it, seeing as how two days of pain, irregular eating, and the inability to, er, hold onto my food (gross!) has brought me not one, not two, but THREE pounds lost. However, I’m not stupid (well, not always, anyway) so I know it’s not a “real” loss. And now that my appetite is finally back, things are sure to go right back to where they were. I’m eager to keep the false hope to a minimum, haha.

Hopefully these fading twinges of pain mean that I can get on track with training for the 15K. I’ve actually decided to follow a training plan FORREALZ (whaaaat?!) So today I’ll see if I’m up to some yoga and tomorrow I’ll be on Thursday of Week 3: 2m + strength training. It feels oddly good to have a set schedule like this! Even though I fully acknowledge I’ll probably be terrible at sticking to it. It’s the thought that counts, right? 🙂

Any halloween costume ideas for me? Remember: needs to be packable, TSA-approved, and awesome. You are all much, much more creative than me soooo… HALP!

A Lofty Goal (Weigh-in)

So let’s talk goals.

I’ll be honest with you and admit that I’ve never been a very goal-oriented person. I guess I’m just not ambitious enough when it comes down to it – I don’t have that truly competitive spirit that drives me. That forces me to finish what I start. That’s not to say that I don’t HAVE goals, of course. I make promises to myself, and I try to aim in the right direction.

On Target
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It’s just never really mattered all that much to me whether I land exactly on target.

And the goals I’ve been setting for myself lately? They haven’t been what I would call revolutionary.

I told myself that I would go grocery shopping today, so I did. Goal!

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I told myself that I needed to cook a healthy dinner, so I did. Goal!

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And I told myself that for these two consecutive wedding-filled weekends, complete with buffets and cake and probably a few too many vodka sodas, that I wasn’t going to worry about losing weight. That I simply needed to maintain.

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 186.2 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 186.0 lbs
This Week’s Change: -0.2 lbs

Goal…?

“It’s about the journey, not the destination.”
“It’s the thought that counts.”
“A for effort!”

I’ve never really thought of my aversion to “real” goal-setting as a bad thing. The way I’ve always seen it, the world is simply made up of different kinds of people: some are driven by always needing to be harder, better, faster, stronger. And then there are those of us who are okay with 2nd-through-last place. I’ve always known that I am one of the latter. And I’ve always been okay with that.

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After all, it’s gotten me this far — through the past 60 lbs, a few 5Ks and even a 5 miler!

I did it!Jump Shot Fail

The thing is… I’m starting to think that maybe I’m using it as a bit of a crutch. Another excuse, another justification. The whole “I am the way that I am!” schtick only goes so far, and we already know that my activity level goes from wimpy to non-existant if I don’t have something I should be (but probably am not) training for. While there’s really no denying the fact that yes, I am the way that I am, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still strive. That I shouldn’t reach. That I should settle only for goals I know that I’ll meet.

I think I’m realizing why I generally set the bar low. Yes, it is a great feeling when you’re able to cross something off, when you can say you’ve achieved yet another thing you wanted to achieve. But it is absolutely terrifying when you think that you can’t. I’m proud of the goals I’ve been able to meet thus far, but c’mon. How am I supposed to inspire anybody if the loftiest goal on my list right now is “cook dinner”?

All I know is, I’m tired of settling. I want to strive, I want to reach. I want to try, even if I fail.

15K.
9.3 miles.
December 3rd.

Here we go.

Take 2

Ahhh, the bittersweet taste of Wednesday. We’re halfway there, but still halfway, er, away. Plus, it’s weigh-in day. Urk. After last week’s less-than-desirable weigh-in, I wasn’t really sure what to expect this morning. I tried to keep it fairly light all week, despite all the eating out that’s been occurring. Last night I met up with Reema for… SUSHI!

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And it was happy to see me!

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As we were to see it, hehehe.

Post-deliciousness, I was busy preparing for the worst. In order to make myself feel better after a potentially heartbreaking weigh-in, I spent a little time throwing together my second-ever vlog! That way, I’d at least have an excuse to watch myself talk afterwards, which we all know I vainly love to do.

I’ve definitely learned from my first experience with, sigh, vlogging (still hate the word.) I’m getting faster at splicing together clips, too. It only took me like, an hour and a half this time!

Note: my hair is wet because I had just showered (shock!), and I had just showered because I did 30 Day Shred (BIGGER SHOCK!)

All right, all right, time to get on with this other show:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Week’s Weight: 189.4 lbs
This Week’s Weight: 186.2 lbs
This Week’s Change: -3.2 lbs

I DON’T UNDERSTAND MY BODY. I gain two and a half pounds last week, only to lose three now? Oy. I guess I should just take the loss (between the yo-yoing up and down, it’s a 0.7 pound loss overall for the past two weeks) and be happy, but I’m just so confused. I guess even when you limit yourself to a weekly weigh-in (although in full disclosure, I did take a couple of sneak peeks over the weekend…) things aren’t always going to be reflective of your “true” weight. As long as it’s all headed in the right direction I can’t be too upset though, I suppose!

Thoughts on the vlog this time around? Tips or ideas for next time?

Another question: is it true that sparkling water still isn’t good for you because the carbonation weakens bone density? Because if so, I will be sad. It makes water so much more interesting!

Edit: I just Googled the answer to this, and it looks like the answer is no! Evidently it isn’t the carbonation in soda that affects calcium levels and bone density, it’s other (worse) stuff. Huzzah!