Fat Girl Chronicles

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, forgive me I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

Current weight: 243

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of the word fat is the following: “notable for having an unusual amount of fat.”  So by that description, I am indeed fat.  There I said it. If you could not tell by the title, this is how I see myself.  This is how I’ve always seen myself.  Now when people learn this I get the usual:  “You are not fat” or “You don’t look that big.”  To others that may very well be the case.  But the camera lens never lies honey.  When I see myself in pictures (the rare times that I allow one to be taken) I see my truth.  And that truth is:  I’m fat.  Now before you start thinking that this is going to be a “Debbie Downer” piece or that I’m looking for sympathy, it’s not. Trust me.  I’m a 40 year old woman who knows good and damn well how she got here.

I wasn’t taken proper care of myself.

Hell, I still don’t always take proper care of myself.  And there lies the problem.  I feel as though if I can so easily state that I am fat, then I should be equally able to admit why this has happened.  Accept full responsibility for myself and my actions.  Or in this case, lack thereof.  Now I could sit here and write that I have “fat genes” which could very well be a thing.  Or say I have “big bones” which is not a real thing.  Yes, people have used that as an explanation before.  But for me personally, it didn’t have to be this way.  I unknowingly chose to be this way.  This way was more comfortable than actually having to move my body a few times a week.  This way was more comfortable than actually having to prepare a healthy meal.  This way (and I’m being perfectly honest here) felt and tasty better far better than taking care of myself.  Isn’t that some shit to actually realize about you. (Insert emoji with hand over the face)

So it’s time to make a change.  A real serious lifestyle change that I will realistically live by.  This time last year, I weighed 210 pounds respectively.  I had lost 30 pounds to get to that point.  Now in my mind, I was still fat, but I was well on my way to my first big goal. Finally weighing under 200 pounds for the first time in years.  I was feeling better about myself, my clothes were looking better on me and I had more energy.  Then life happened…..again.  I started feeling a bit down somewhere between mid to late summer. By fall I hit that terrible wall of full-blown depression.  I stopped working out completely. But since I wasn’t gaining, I thought I was okay.  Some days I would eat all day and other days I would barely eat at all.  In early September I found out that I was going to have to have major surgery.  That diagnosis sent me over the edge both mentally and physically. In October I began seeing a therapist because I knew I needed help in a major way.  I’ve been seeing her since then, and now mentally I’m in a more positive space in my mind. Despite that, by the day of the surgery (December 27th), I had gained back 15 pounds. And now I weigh more than when I originally started losing weight last summer.  And if the scale didn’t tell me, my knees sure did.  It’s time to get this fat under control.

It comes down to this: I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. Period.
So I’m going to post once at the end of every month on this blog with an entry titled, “Fat Girl Chronicles.”  I’m going to talk about all the challenges, the setbacks, and triumphs that I experienced within that month.  The good, bad, ugly and the truth.  Changing who I am in context to how I deal with food and fitness won’t be easy or pretty.  Trying to improve or change aspects of oneself rarely is.  It’s actually a bit scary that I’m putting all my business out on Front Street like this.  Maybe if I share my truth with the world, I’ll hold myself more accountable.  I’m sure it will probably be, at times, an uncomfortable journey that I must undertake.  It is important that I do this in order to reach my goals and achieve my dreams.  So that I can finally start living the life that I want to live.

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Support System of One

(Disclaimer- I proofread this post a dozen times and used Grammarly to help. If you see any mistakes, forgive me I’m only human. And I am not perfect. Thanks for reading!)
Someone I know has been dealing with a recent traumatic event in their life.  This person has been in therapy to seek help on how to deal with what happened.  And they also told me that they have been talking to friends for support as well.  Even though they have reached out to different people, they told me that they don’t feel fully supported. The therapist told them that she didn’t think they would ever be able to have a relationship again because of what happened.  And slowly, one by one, the friends have sort of drifted off in reaching out.  Let’s start with the therapist……If you ever have a licensed therapist tell you some negative bullshit as above:  GET A NEW THERAPIST.  As for the friends…..Sometimes that happens.  People go on with their day to day lives and forget to reach out.  That or they are busy dealing with drama in their own lives.  To put it simply, those around you may not always be there for you.

That’s when you have to learn to be your own support system.  Now, this is by no stretch of the measure an easy feat. It took me years to learn this lesson for myself.  Yes, I had a few family members and friends who were there to lend a helping hand.  And other times to give words of encouragement or a listening ear.  But when they weren’t readily available, I had to learn to be there and do those things for myself.  I grew up in a single parent home with a parent that was really never emotionally available.  I was super close with my grandma growing up, so there was someone giving me that emotional love and support I needed.  And that was fine for the time.  But as I grew up (and started seeing examples of my friend’s relationship with their parents) I realized that wasn’t enough.  I wanted, needed and craved that sort of attention from just one person.  And they just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give me that.  So what was I left to do?

I learned that if I was going to make it in this life, not only did I have to learn to trust others in their support, but I had to be MY BIGGEST SUPPORT SYSTEM.  What that meant for me was if I wanted to do or try something, I had to learn to talk myself up.  If I was feeling down about something in my life, I had to find a way to work through it.  I started writing.  I have kept a diary (I call it a journal now that I’m adult, Lol) since the age of about 14.  In there, I can be whoever I want. I can say whatever I want about whatever I wanted.  It’s a judgment-free zone.  It’s a place for my eyes, emotions, thoughts, and opinions only.  It’s a place where I can work out my issues in a healthy way.  It’s also the place where I can let go of negative energy and replace with more positive energy.  When I feel like someone is putting me down (like my parent used to do a lot) I would write in the journal how I felt about that.  And I would write how what they said was completely wrong and inaccurate.  Doing this over time allowed me to build my self-confidence and support muscles.  I learned to stand on my own two feet because I wouldn’t always have someone there to hold my hand.  I found my inner strength and more importantly my inner peace.  If that meant that I didn’t talk to certain people anymore, then so be it.  If that meant that I had to spend more time alone to work through my own shit, then so be it.  If that meant that I would limit the number of interactions with my parent, then so be it.  And let me tell you the last one is a doozy when you live in the same house, but it can be done.

Becoming your biggest support system won’t happen overnight.  It takes a bit of time and that time varies from person to person.  Step by step, little by little.  You just have to figure out how that would work best for you.  Even though I’ve learned to become my biggest support system, it’s still a practice I work on daily.  Some days I still struggle and may need to lean on those around me who care.  And other times they are not around, so I have to lift myself up.  Sometimes you may not have access to a support system, so learning to be your own is even more important.  If you find others that give you the support you need, that’s great! But let them be your back up.  You have to be your own cheerleader, shoulder to cry on, positive person, and most importantly your own best friend.  Because no one is going to look out for you and love you as much as you would do for yourself.

Starting over….AGAIN

I hate starting over again, I really do.  And since I know that I do, one would think I would do everything I could possibly not to have too ever again.  But alas I find myself in the same position that I have many, many times before.  Oh you know the things we tell ourselves:

“I’m starting that diet Monday”

“I’m hitting the gym five days a week”

“I will post on my blog twice (or in my case, once) a week”

“I will no longer waste my time with…..” (Fill in the blank as you wish)

And the ever so popular:  “I’m starting next week.”

I’ve said all of the above (and then some) and at first, I did a pretty good job of sticking to the new goal.  Until life decided to throw me a curve ball or my old bad habits showed their ugly faces yet again.  Either way, I’m back to square one.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in saying:  I HATE BEING BACK AT SQUARE ONE.

Honestly, I felt like a bit of a loser, who may never get it together.  And like all the things I said I wanted to do and still do want to do are completely pointless.  Why bother trying again, right?

BACK AT SQUARE ONE.

By the summer of 2018, I had lost 28 pounds and was feeling pretty good.  Then somewhere around mid-summer, I noticed that my mood had significantly changed.  I would go to work (which at the time was a job that I loathed) and come home.  I stopped working out and eating healthy foods.  I stopped hanging out with friends and avoided most social events.  Mentally and physically I had zero energy for anything.  Even writing for me (blog, journaling, creative writing) had just slowed to a stop.  It was as if my life was stuck in the middle of the street without gas to move.  I had hit the proverbial wall of sorts.  This only got worse as summer became fall.  I found out in early September that I was going to have to have surgery.  That information subsequently sent me into an even bigger depressive and anxiety-ridden tailspin.  So much so, that by October I didn’t want to be here anymore.  I didn’t attempt to hurt myself in any way.  But if I had gotten in an accident and didn’t survive, at that moment I would have been ok with that.  This is when I knew I had to get some help. After a not so successful first effort in finding a therapist, I finally found a facility that I liked.  That wasn’t an overnight solution by any stretch of the measure.  But I was able to speak to someone about how I was feeling and what I was going through during that time.  I had someone to talk to about my fear of the upcoming surgery that I would later have in December.  And it provided me a safe place to speak on things that I never knew that I needed too.  It really helped me to learn more about myself as a person.  I learned (and still am) why I do the things I do and think the way I think.  And that has helped me to come full circle.

BACK AT SQUARE ONE.   

Realistically, this is not exactly the place where I want to be. I wanted to be way further along in my life’s journey that I am now.  But I’m learning that it is a place where I need to be.  I had to come full circle, back to square one, in order to learn the lessons that needed to be learned.  My mind, spirit, and creativity have grown tremendously as a direct result of starting over.  I’m going toward my goals in a newer, clearly state of mind.  Now that’s not to say that my depression and anxiety have disappeared completely.  I’m human so that may never happen fully; they may be with me forever.  I had to learn that depression and anxiety are not who I am.

I can say that being forced to go back to square one showed me that if I can survive the last 9 months, then I can survive anything.  Depression and anxiety be dammed.  So if you find yourself in a similar situation for whatever reason, just know that you may have to go back to square one.  And that doesn’t mean that you’re down for the count.  It just means that you need to take a break from what you’re doing.  Refuel your energy in a way that works for you.  And start again.  There’s no shame in having to go back to square one.  Believe me, I know.

Clean up the milk and move on…

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, I’m only human and not perfect. Thanks for reading!)

If you read last week’s post, then you know that I love listening to a podcast called, “The Read” hosted by Crissle and Kid Fury.  In the episode called, “Cheerleader”, Crissle spoke on her depression, seeing her therapist and the advice given by the therapist.  The therapist compared negative self-talk to running a race. (See last week’s post for full description.)  Crissle’s therapist went on to give an example about forgiving your past mistakes.  Her therapist said, “Let’s say a child spilled a cup of milk.  Are you going to every time you see that child, every day for the rest of their life be like, remember the time when you were 5 and 38 days and you spilled milk?  And I had to use three of my good Bounty’s to clean it up?  And replace my eight ounces of milk.  Are you going to drag that baby for that?  Or are we going to clean up the milk and move on with our fucking lives?”  From that moment on, Crissle decided that she had to clean up the milk in her life.  She would stop blaming herself non-stop and start looking forward again. Bam!  It hit me like a ton of bricks!  Is that what I have been doing the majority of my adult life?  Bitching over milk I spilled when I was young, naive and didn’t know any better.  Constantly berating myself over and over for situations that no longer exist and couldn’t be changed anyway.  Being my own biggest critic/ hater has always been a real hotbed issue for me.  After hearing the example that Crissle’s therapist gave her, I fully comprehend what my problem has been.  I have a lack of compassion for myself.  Isn’t that a fucked up thing to find out about yourself.

My understanding and heart is always so large for others.  I am able to fully support others with mistakes they have made in the past with my encouraging words.  But when it comes to having those same words for myself, there’s been little to none.  It is as if I don’t allow myself space to make mistakes or bad decisions.  For some reason, that is not allowed in my world.  For me, it’s not so much that I’m trying to be perfect.  I know this will never happen.  And that is completely all right with me.  Trying to be perfect, looks like a lot of work that I simply wouldn’t be dedicated to doing.  So where does my lack of self-compassion stem from?  Why is it that I can be so kind and uplifting for others, but not myself?  I am very skilled at stopping someone from beating themselves up.  I’m also very good at telling someone to have more patience with themselves and quick to say, “Everyone makes mistakes.”  Sometimes I can see the potential in others way more than I can see it in myself.  I have given myself far too much cruel kindness.  That is clearly something I would never do to another person.  Maybe I thought I was helping myself by giving cruel kindness.  By reminding myself of unpleasant situations I have been through, this would somehow help me to never to make those mistakes again.  By constantly replaying situations and poor choices, I would somehow learn to never do it again.  I found that this is unacceptable behavior and an oxymoron that simply makes no sense.  So what are the steps I plan on doing to change this behavior?

Step 1- Acknowledge that I am not compassion with myself.  Seems easy enough right?  But until one can admit to themselves that they have a problem, the situation can’t be fixed.

Step 2- Accept that mistakes have been made.  I’m human and humans make mistakes.  Some of the mistakes I made were necessary in order for me to learn and grow.  They taught me to make better choices and to listen to my gut.  Without making certain mistakes, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today.  And right now, I think I’m pretty awesome.  🙂

Step 3- Change the thought.  When NENE just won’t seem to shut her negative pie hole, I have to quickly remind myself of how awesome I am.  I begin to think of all the accomplishments that I have made over the years.  I will speak positive affirmations that prompt my brain to go down a more optimistic path.

Step 4- Forgive myself. This one will truly be the hardest to do of all the steps. I’ll have to learn that I’m still a good, smart person, who has flaws. No more or less than anyone else, just flaws. My past choices or decisions do not dictate how much I have grown. They also don’t determine my future. I will give myself a pep talk when I think of a mistake and move on. I will not dwell on choices and things in the past that can’t be changed.

As long as I’m walking the Earth, I will make mistakes.  It’s an important fact of life that I must remember.  I will acknowledge when I have done so, learn from said mistake, forgive myself and move on.  Because I’m tired of beating myself up over old, spilled milk.

How Are You Running Your Race?

(Disclaimer- I proofread this thing a dozen times and used an online site to help. If you see any mistakes, oh well, I’m only human. Thanks for reading!)
A little over a month ago I was listening to one of my favorite podcast called, “The Read” hosted by Kid Fury and Crissle.  The episode is called, “Cheerleading” and in it, Crissle talks about her history of depression and negative self-talk.  She said something that her therapist told her that made her take a serious look at how she speaks to herself.  And after hearing it, it also made me take a look at how I speak to myself?  Her therapist said to her, “Picture life like a race. And one person is beaten along the path.  Like someone is whipping at their back. Chastising them and telling them all the ways that they suck.  And they’re moving forward trying to be motivated by the negativity.  And the other person has cheerleaders in the distance who are rooting for them and encouraging them to keep going.  And when they fall saying, ‘That’s fine.  You know we all stumble sometimes.  Just get back up, dust your knees off and keep going at it.’  And you can choose how you’re going to talk to yourself through life.  Are you going to beat yourself through it?  Or are you going to cheerlead yourself through it?”  Crissle said as soon as her therapist told her that, she began to change the way that she spoke to herself.

I know for an absolute fact that most times I am not kind to myself.  My words can be harsh, rude, mean and downright disrespectful.  Sometimes so that the things that I say to myself I wouldn’t dare allow anyone to say to me.  So why is it ok that I say those things to myself?  Ideally, I know that it’s not.  But that doesn’t stop me from constantly doing it.  At one point the negative self-talk was loud and often, it became the only self-language I knew.  I have come a long way from the constant beating myself up.  But I still have a tendency of whipping my own back instead of rooting myself on in this race called life.  My problem is I’m often living the past or worried about the future.  Neither of which is mentally healthy for me to do.  One reason is that I can’t seem to forgive or forget my past mistakes.  The second reason is that I’m not presently where I want to be in life, and I worry I’ll never get there.

My negative self-talk appears to come from my own vision of lack and comparison.  Since I don’t have the things that I want, all I see is lack.  Here’s how it usually goes:  “I’m not currently working as a full-time writer because I lack the skills needed in order to achieve that.  I’m single because I lack the beauty it takes to draw someone’s interests.  I’ll never move ahead in life because I made that awful decision five years ago.”  You get the idea.  The comparison comes from looking at what everyone else is doing instead of looking directly at my own path.  I’m watching how everyone else is performing in their race of life and that slows me down.  I get slowed down because I think I should be where they are in life.  Often times I forget the fact that everyone runs at their own pace. So where does the negative self-talk, my vision of lack and compassion get me?  The short answer is:  NOWHERE.  And who the hell wants to stay there?

After hearing Crissle give the race example that her therapist gave her, it really made me want to change my internal dialogue.  I want to cheer myself on the way I would cheer for others.  I’m a fantastic cheerleader for everyone else.  Why shouldn’t I do the same for myself?  Learning to not beat myself up will surely be an everyday struggle.  This isn’t something that will suddenly stop overnight.  I will probably have to work hard each and every day to see the good in myself.  I can do this by learning to ignore those things I don’t see as being “good enough.”  For every discouraging thought that comes across my mind, I will quickly follow it up with something I love about myself.  I will keep my eyes on my own journey and pace, and not worry so much about what others are doing.  And not comparing my speed to theirs.  Knowing that comparison only serves to injure me in my own race.  Daily, I will think of a least three things I like about myself or that I’m good at.  This will serve as the encouragement that I need to hit the finish line. I want to run a strong race, with all the strength that I can muster.  I must learn to not be my biggest adversary.  And become my biggest supporter, encourager and overall best friend.  Because after all I am the one running this race, and this race I fully intend to win.