Harry, the Gauntlet has been Thrown!

harryWho has challenged me? Who dares to throw the gauntlet in hope of scaring me from picking it up and running with it? I’ll tell you who threw it…ME!

I have posted before about my “Weight Loss Bucket List” – a list of activities I want to do that I have either stopped doing or have been too scared to attempt because of my weight. On this list is ride the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios.  Harry Potter was a big part of my children growing up. We went to Universal Studios a while back and, as most people who are weight challenged do, I researched the Harry Potter rides.

I googled “am I too fat for harry potter ride”. Seriously, I goggled that. My Media Arts degree son always makes fun of my google searches. At least I stopped putting “and” between the key words. Remember having to do that? “am and I and too and fat and for and harry and potter”!!!! Wait, was I the only one who did that?

ANYWAY, there was A LOT of info on the Harry Potter ride. Stories of people being asked to exit the ride because they were too large for the seat. People were criticizing Universal for making seats that didn’t have room for “ample buttocks” (that is the nicest way I can say it).

So, we went to Harry Potter World and walked up to the ride and I broke out in a cold sweat. How would my kids feel if I was asked to leave the ride? How would I feel?

You know what happened, right? I didn’t even attempt the ride. I didn’t EVEN ATTEMPT IT! My self esteem could not have handled the blow. I sat on a ledge and watched the families heading into the ride. I consoled myself with a cauldron cake (oh don’t be such a muggle, ok, it was TWO CAULDRON CAKES) and some pumpkin juice. This has bothered me since that day 9 years ago. For 9 years, every time I see a Harry Potter movie or book or actor, I remind myself of that day and my fear.

Well, the gauntlet has been thrown my friends. On 2/6, we go back to Harry Potter world. The reservations have been made.

I WILL NOT BACK DOWN!

There is a certain fear in the back of my head that I may not be able to ride the ride, but this goes beyond that. I will not be afraid to get in that line, I will not be too timid to pull that bar down and I will not sit there with a cauldron cake while my family has an amazing time.

I am excited. I cannot wait. I have a Harry Potter ride countdown calendar.

It makes me sad that I let my outside control my confidence. We are what we allow ourselves to be. It is all part of the weight loss process. Rediscovering ourselves and becoming mentally stronger.

Let this be the year you pick up the gauntlet you have on the ground before you. Have the courage and confidence of a Medieval knight. Pick up the gauntlet and prepare for the challenge!!!!

One size fits all…NOT!

oneHave you heard the one about the plus size (love that term) woman who bought a “one size fits all” dress and took it home to wear to an evening dinner? Well…after trying it on, she returns it to the store (in tears, mind you) and wants her money back because who are they to tell her she isn’t to be included in the term “ALL”?

Yea…not one of my finest moments. But seriously, one size fits all? How can that possibly be true? Show me the dress that looks good on both me and Kelly Ripa and I will buy that sucker in every color available! That term just annoys me. Maybe because it didn’t fit me. Maybe because I am reminded of the fact that I am different. As if I need someone to tell me that.

These last two years of my life have been spent trying to “fit in”. Fit in booths, fit in pants, fit in seatbelts and yes, fit in with people.

As an overweight person, you are always aware of the fact that you stand out. You may not stand out to other people, but you do in your mind. How many times have you looked at a picture of yourself in a group and realized you are the biggest one in the picture? Me? ALL THE TIME!

We tell ourselves to love our body no matter what size and no matter what shape. But it is hard. We are more critical of ourselves than anyone else. Do you think anyone really cared that the “one size fits all” dress was waded up in a ball and returned to the store in a grocery bag (of course, they deducted for the tear stains)? No one cared, no one noticed. But I did.

I am a member of a weight loss support group that meets every week. We are all different sizes, we are all different shapes, we are all at different places in our life change. But we meet together with one purpose: to support each other through our difficult journey. When I walk in, I see a group of beautiful and loving faces bringing their own distinct contribution to our meeting.

It would be wrong for me to say each one of these women need the same thing. Some need assistance with meal plans, some need assistance with self-image and some (cough, cough, me) need help with the whole kit & caboodle.

One size does not fit all. I can fit in a booth now, I can fit in seatbelts and I can bend over to tie my shoes. But I still need support, I still need advice and I still need to know I can do this.

I don’t want to fit in, I am finally comfortable enough with my body to want to stand out.

 

Nudist Colony? Anyone…??

suit (2)I did the worst thing imaginable the other night. I mean, I did something horrible and offensive and just plain dumb. I did something that would make Joan of Arc throw in her sword and shield and opt for a telemarketer job.

I TRIED ON A BATHING SUIT! (Audible gasps and panic ensues)

I have lost over 250 pounds, I have been working out and I can actually feel some muscle developments (ok, the muscles may be located within my finger joints…but it is something)! So, I was at Target and I thought, “why not?” I deserve this! I imagined how amazing it would be. I had the whole scenario in my head. I would slowly turn around, wind blowing my hair, and behold the image in front of me.

I just didn’t count on the imagee making me stifle a scream (or my daughter complaining about blowing my hair with her mouth).

OK, I have lost 250 pounds. But when you lose that amount, your skin cannot just pop back into the shape you once had. All of that loose and hanging skin has to go somewhere, or does it? Nope – it doesn’t! It just sits there and hangs. Looking at you with a smirk. You thought you were doing well with your arm weights, well BAM! there’s some hanging armpit skin to snap you back into place. You thought you had lost belly fat? Well BAM! Here is a flap of loose skin that could block the sun off a small community.

Seriously though people, I was tucking like I was working at a Build-A-Bear store.

So I angrily threw the bathing suits on the floor and marched out of the dressing room, telling the attendants that there was seriously something wrong with their mirror – it belonged in a fun house.

I headed to the Starbucks inside Target. I wanted to order 2 cake pops and just be done with it. I could remove the bathing suit sight with every bit of sugary gooey goodness. Right?

I knew I wouldn’t do it. I wanted to buy something horrible for me to ease my emotions. However, I got an unsweetened tea and sat down to evaluate my situation. I dropped my money on the floor and bent down to pick it up. When I did, I realized how easily I could bend over and touch the floor.  OK, I get it, the cosmic forces were teaching me a lesson. And I get it.

I sat down and thought about this excess skin. I don’t need to hide away, I have done that my whole life. I am not that person anymore. My body is not and never will be perfect. Some of it is because of the way I have treated it over the years and some of it is wear and tear (nursing 3 babies doesn’t help). But it is mine.  I am responsible for this beautiful shell that keeps my feelings intact.

I will not shy away from my body.

It is a beautiful thing I am doing. I am losing weight and taking care of myself. Others may not know my struggle and they may just see the skin. I see so much more. I see a woman who had enough and reclaimed her life and her body. That excess skin is there to remind me of what a tremendous journey I am on.

This journey is not easy. There will be times when I get knocked down, times when I need to get extra support, times when reality kicks my stability to the ground. But there will also be many more times of quality days with my family, tears of joy at the doctor’s scale, walks with my husband and realizing I AM worth this struggle and I CAN do it.

So watch out swimsuit companies…I may just become a nudist!

 

In One Year and Out The Other!

2019It’s that time of year, yup, you know what I am talking about. THE NEW YEAR! 2019 and New Year’s resolutions!

The gym memberships quadruple and all the salad foods are missing in the grocery store! I couldn’t find a parking place thins morning at the Y. I actually did my warm up by walking from the parking spot all the way to the Y door (I was going to take an Uber to the door, but..well…).

I walked into the gym and saw people every where. It was very nice to have people to talk to while i was ellipticalling (I am sure that is a word). Although, the people I was talking to did not seem too thrilled to be hearing about my latest adventures with our new dog. I guess I was so enthralling with my story that everyone wanted to hear it, because at least 10 different people got on the elliptical beside me and then got off almost immediately. They must have been wanting to make sure everyone had a chance to hear my stories! Right??

Seriously though, I was looking at all the new people at the gym and couldn’t help but get excited. Everyone is starting new and fresh. A clean slate. Those that overate during the holidays with the promise to themselves that they would “start exercising in January” were there this morning working it off.

It is always thrilling to start a new adventure in your life.  You feel excited, you feel unstoppable, you cannot wait to see what this change will bring to your life during the next year. And then it happens. The change isn’t as exciting and it becomes harder and it doesn’t seem worth it and that cheeseburger and fries were looking really good on that billboard.

Don’t let your New Year’s resolution become just a January resolution. Stay motivated! Don’t give in to temptation! Do get up another hour earlier to get that walk in. I know what you are thinking, “yea, that’s easy to say BUT…” I know all the reasons why you CAN’T keep up the commitment. I have used them all: my kids are sick, I don’t feel good, I can’t possibly maintain a house and exercise, my mom needs me, the cat ate my 1980’s leotard and legwarmers. Yup – I have used them all.

But I realized something about a year and a half ago. These excuses were for me, not for other people. I was trying to justify to myself why I wasn’t keeping up with my diet and with my workouts. Other people really don’t care if I am eating right or if I am on the elliptical or if I am at home watching “Judge Judy” reruns. I am the one that it bothered, that is why I always had a convenient excuse in my back pocket.

Until you want to make a change, it won’t happen. We have all heard that and yes, it’s true. But if you are in the middle of making a change to your life, I am going to tell you something that makes it  HELLA easy.

Surround yourself with support.

And not just any support. I didn’t lose over 225 pounds by chatting online with an agent from AT&T. I opened every door of my life and let the beautiful people in. The people who wanted to see me succeed, the people who believed I could succeed, the people who didn’t sabotage or discourage me. And it made it much more bearable. It wasn’t easy, but I had a net of support to fall into if I needed to.

If you don’t feel like you have this support – reach out to me! I am an EXCELLENT supporter!