Cycles

Yesterday I found myself stuck in an unhealthy cycle. It had actually probably been going on for around 2-3 weeks. I thought I just needed to “reign things back” a bit, be more strict, and get more consistant with my workouts.   Last night though  I was finally able recognized it for what it was, an unhealthy cycle. It had all started right around when I reached my halfway point to my initial goal.  I had lost 80 pounds and decided I “deserved” some spurges. Truthfully, that intial thought wasn’t completely wrong. One of the greatest things I have found that has led to my success is having freedom in this process. I know every so often I need to allow myself a pizza night, or a burger when I am out with my family. This thing needs to be sustainable, it needs to be my life, not some silly diet. I had been doing my best to stick to 85-95% good, whole, clean foods. When I decided I “deserved” to splurge a bit, somehow it moved from a place of freedom to getting stuck in an unhealthy cycle. Pretty sure it started with mothers day. I decided I was just going to eat what I wanted. We grilled out with my family that day. Cheesy brats, burgers, Doritos, cookies. Yum. One of my biggest mistakes at that point was not logging that meal. Accountability and honesty have been a huge thing for me on this journey. Not logging it to me meant hiding. It meant not being honest with myself with what I just consumed. Really it was just one meal at that point, and truthfully it actually wasn’t a big deal. Just move on and do better. That was the point though, where I got off the track of the awesome, healthy cycle I was on and found myself in an unhealthy cycle. So much of this journey is in the mind. Yes, it’s ultimately about the food you put in your body and how you move your body, but your mindsets dictate those choices. Soon it became easier and easier to justify the splurge and then also justify skipping entering said splurge in my nutrition tracker. I didn’t want to see those numbers in my tracker. I mean if I don’t enter them they don’t exist, right? There were all the perfect reasons to eat all the “good”(not nutritious) stuff, the memorial day cookout, the new pizza place in town, day out at the baseball game with the family, got to have one of those famous hot dogs!!! Usually, the weekends were the toughest, I was always sure I would get back on track on Monday. Never truly happened though. This Friday, though, it ended. Emotionally I felt like crap, I wasn’t losing weight like I had been(actually gained a few pounds), which made me discouraged, which made me want to go eat. If I had my way on Friday, I was going to run to the Kwik Trip near my house, grab a soft pretzel(or two), cheese, maybe a doughnut, and whatever else I saw there that looked good. I finally saw it though. This cycle. Feel discouraged. Eat. Realize I am stalling my progress. Then feel discouraged. Then eat…I think you get the picture. At that moment I texted a friend who has been a huge help and encouragement along the way, and most importantly someone I could be vulnerable with. I told her the thoughts going through my head and the binge I was planning out. That’s what it took. No more hiding. It’s out there. She knows. That simple step of being self-aware and knowing I needed to invite someone into this mess is what I needed. That unhealthy cycle broke right then. The difference between how I was feeling last night to where I am right now is night and day. I feel great. I am eating great again. I know results will start to happen again, which will feel great. When I feel great, it’s easy to eat great… again, I think you get the picture.
Sometimes the unhealthy cycles we are on just feel like normal life, it’s what we know. The cool thing, and not cool thing about cycles is they are easy. Once you are on you just go with the flow. It really takes a bit of self-awareness though to recognize where you are at and figure out how to bump off the wrong cycle on to the right one.
Though it can be a bit painful, this journey, not just through weight loss, but life has been incredible. I am discovering what health really looks like, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  I am learning so much and even going deeper into some things I have already learned in the past. It’s been an adventure thus far and I can’t wait for more. 

Facing 300

This is a pretty vulnerable post for me. In this journey though, I’m feeling the need to be super honest, mostly with myself, but also with whoever might come across this post some day and find in it the strength and courage for their own journey. There are just a few people right now who know how much I weigh now and how much I weighed at my heaviest. It’s embarrassing, it feels shameful, it’s a label I want to shed. As I get further and further away from that number that used to represent a certain aspect of who I was, I want to come to terms with it. I want to understand what brought me there. I want to thank the part of it that gave me a strength that only few can really understand. Mostly though, I want to leave it forever in the past, as only a memory of a battle won.

Growing up I was always on the heavier side, but stayed active through my childhood and teens. I sat right around 175 pounds through high school.  Right after my last season of hockey ended my senior year though the weight quickly started to pile on. I was depressed that hockey, one of my greatest passions was done and that I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. I probably gained 50 pounds the next 12 months. Through my 20’s my weight went up and down, but mostly up. I got pretty comfortable hanging out in the 200’s. 300 was the number I feared though. I remember sitting at around 265 pounds, realizing I was inching up to that 300 pound mark. Then it happened. 300 pounds.  I am not exactly sure when it happened, it was some time in 2015. To me 300 felt like failure. 300 felt like I was beyond help. 300 made me feel worthless and disgusting. I hated that I could actually start to understand how someone could become so big they were immobile. I could understand how one could become home bound because of their weight. I was only in my 20’s, how in the world could I let myself get to  this point?!?!?

May 2016 I made a huge step that changed my life. I started CrossFit. I fell in love. I finally found something I loved as much (maybe even more) as playing hockey. This is the key right? This is where everything changes, right? Yes, kind of, but just not yet. For about a year and a half I did CrossFit at 310-320 pounds. Right away at the beginning I was told that nutrition is key and that can’t out train a bad diet. I knew it was true and I “tried”. A few weeks at a time I would buckle down, really focus on eating better. I would loose 10 pounds but would come to a point where I didn’t feel things were working, or would just get lazy with it and let things slip. I probably lost and gained those same 10 pounds 3-5 times that year and a half.

This past summer and fall came and things got pretty dark for me. Along with other areas in my life, failure felt overwhelming. I became inconsistent in the gym, and then came to a point where I more or less gave up. Then came the day, again I don’t remember the exact date. It was some point in November, but it was the day I stepped on the scale and saw a number I never thought I’d see, and never want to see again. 333 pounds. I was already a 1/3 of the way to 400. Was 400 going to be in my future?

I was as few weeks later though when things changed. I decided I had to give my life another chance. I decided get back to CrossFit and got some major accountability. Getting back to CrossFit after a few months off and at 330 pounds was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Burpees felt impossible. Each workout felt like a fight to get the courage to just get in my car and head to the gym. I did it though. The greatest change though came with my nutrition. I started tracking every meal. I started to really understand what I was fueling my body with. Things began to change. The pounds actually started to come off. There were the days though where even when I was still doing the right things but the numbers on the scale started going up. What the HECK?!?! Part of me wanted the excuse to go back to my old ways. I wanted to drive through McDonald’s and give up on it all. I pressed though though. Its taken a while but I’m starting to get used to those fluctuations. One of the greatest pieces of advice I was given from my mentor Kai, who is helping me out, is to take my weight every day. Each number is just a data point. Those numbers no longer control me. They are each now just a point along my journey. I’m starting to get to the point where this is just my new life, where a few days or even weeks of discouragement on the scale doesn’t throw me off.

January 26th, was my 30th birthday. That day I didn’t just leave my 20’s in the past, but that was the day that I left 300 in the past.  That was the best birthday gift that I could ever give myself.

300 now is in my past. I am coming to terms with it. I am learning to understand what brought me there. I thank the part of it that gave me a strength that only few can really understand. It is now left it forever in the past, as only a memory of a battle won.

Coming out of the cave.

Preface:
I started this blog post in early January. I wrote about a paragraph planning to come back to it. It’s more than a month later. I think this post is too important to not finish it, so I done my best to tie up the loose ends on it so I can move on and continue journaling my journey.
I’m not sure where to start and I don’t even know where I want to go with this blog post. It’s the first day of a new year  and I have so much swirling in my head. 11 months of 2017 or filled with sadness, shame and regret. The biggest goals I had going into 2017 was to finish nursing school and be at a much healthier weight. Here I am twelve months later and absolutely not where I had planned to be. This summer I more or less failed out of nursing school and six weeks ago I was at my heaviest. If I could put one phrase on this year it would be the “cave of failure”. This year I felt the strength in me fading, I started giving up. I started believing that I don’t have what it takes to get anywhere in this life. So I went in to my cave. I went to a dark place where I wanted to give up on everything.  I felt I had nothing left to offer this world.
The more I processed this state that I was in, I just knew actually giving up was not a true option. So I decided to fight again. Initially there wasn’t any amount of motivation there, just a choice. The last week in November I decided to try to get back to Cross Fit after being away for 3 months. Then comes December, it was the 4th. I was watching videos on YouTube, and up pops the new podcast from CrossFit. As I watch it hope rises up.  The guest on the show was Kai. Kai is a 40 something, married woman with adult children from Arizona, but some how I identified with her so much. She was roughly the same size when she started CrossFit as I was when I started. You see CrossFit really is for everyone, but I’ve never seen or heard of anyone, especially any woman that did CrossFit at my weight. But Kai did it. After doing CrossFit for nearly 2 years she got her nutritional in check and in about 20 months she lost 160 pounds. Listening to this podcast I felt energized, like maybe this was possible.
In a time when I felt like I was drowning, I reached up my arm and someone grabbed it. I actually reached out to Kai. I messaged her thanking her for sharing her story, telling her how much she has inspired me. Not really even expecting a reply, maybe a thank you at best. She replied offering her support, even gave me her phone number, telling me to check in with her daily. This as been such a huge life changing opportunity, such a catalyst for a huge life change. Someday I’m sure I’ll share more about Kai and how she has been supporting me. Even though this is just a start things in my life have changed HUGELY!!! I am back at CrossFit, going 3-4 days a week. The thing that has changed the most though is my eating. I have been tacking everything I eat for 60+days now. I have all but cut out almost all junk from my diet. I am feeling great.