This post is most likely going to come across as sarcastic and bitchy with a side of complaint and agitation. If you know me, this is expected. If you knew me back in the day, this is still no surprise. If you don’t know me, might I suggest that you read the title of the blog and then decide if you want to proceed?
I acknowledge that I can be a real dick sometimes and my language does not make my mom proud, but somewhere in their lies my scrooge little heart that does beat every now and again. This post was inspired by a number of people commenting on my weight loss and wanting to know the secret to my success. Spoiler alert: there is no secret so you can stop reading now if you wish.
Despite how this may come across, it really is meant to be helpful, however, as you will soon see, there is a reason I am not in the self-help field. It’s probably going to piss some people off as well, and, while I won’t apologize for an expression of my feelings, what I can do is offer up a disclaimer if that will help:
*Disclaimer - I am neither a doctor nor a medical professional of any sort. I am not a life coach with a bleeding heart for other humans (although animal love punches me in the feels every single time.) I only speak from my experiences and for myself, so if what I have to offer does not help you in any way, please disregard it all.
I am not calling anyone fat other than myself. I am not suggesting anyone reading this needs to lose weight other than myself. Your weight may be perfect for you and I celebrate that. I am merely writing this in response to some who have asked about my situation in particular. This is how I view me and only me. Just because you and I may have different methods and approaches to health and life in general, does not make one right and one wrong. You do you. I’ll do me. Sound good?
MY "WHY" AND MY "PROCESS"
So I dropped about 50 lbs. this year. I have not achieved all my health goals just yet but I am well on my way and I am very proud of all my efforts to this point. I have to say, however, that I am still not completely comfortable with my new look and the attention that comes with it. I have lost count as to how many times friends and family has said to me “Oh my God! What happened? You look fantastic! Look at you! Wow! You look amazing!!”
For starters, I rarely hear how amazing I look unless it’s from Pam who is biased. I was never the hot friend or that person who made another strain their neck to get a second look. Ah, but if they only knew what a stellar personality I had (and still do, of course.) That would have been a game changer for sure. I guarantee, had they known how piping hot my sarcasm was, that would have shown on the outside and they would have walked straight into walls checking out this smoking hot ass!
If I had to hazard a guess, I believe the attention that makes me uncomfortable the most is the way people acknowledge the weight loss. All the “HOLY SHIT JUST LOOK AT YOU” comments stated with utter disbelief makes me ask myself, “How fucking fat was I?”
Look, I’m not stupid. I knew I was big woman and I most definitely knew that hyperventilating at the thought of walking up a flight of stairs was not normal, but when I looked in the mirror I just saw my beautiful blue peepers. So imagine my shock when this little gem arrived in my text messages:
Here I was lounging on the couch watching The Gilmore Girls when my dear friend Bri sends me this out of the clear blue. Once it registered in my brain that I was looking at an actual image of myself from a year ago, all I could do was stare and wonder “what the actual fuck is she sending me this for? Is it throat punch a bestie day or something?” But wait. There were more:
That nimble 217 pounds of pure milkshake was circa February 2016. I had taken my bad Billy Idol hair and my fat ass and decided to compete, “for fun”, in the CrossFit Open. I don’t know many over-weight people who find this fun, but I am a special breed of obese.
This particular WOD was a rep scheme of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of 65# Thrusters and Bar over Burpees. It took me over 28 minutes and I cried midway through. Like a legit, ugly, “if I wore make-up I’d look like a raccoon”, blubbering, cry.
My fat and my tear ducts were cut open. I was gasping for breath. Every Burpee reminded me of a wounded animal. I equate the experience to a to deer being hunted, shot and blasted to the floor. Except I wasn’t a deer, I was a cow, and I kept rising from the dead at an elephants pace.
And then you add the jump over the bar? Jesus, Mary and Joseph! I just remember thinking that I was too heavy to get over the bar so I tended to over exaggerate my jump (I mean, do you see the air I have here?) but when I landed I was convinced my knee caps were going to pop off like champagne bottles on New Years Eve. It was nothing short of a brutal shit-show.
I’m not sorry I participated though. There is a long history of heart disease in my family and that little trend needs to come to a halt. I have always been drawn to sports and this was the only way I knew how to start making a positive change. I figured if it didn’t kill me, I must have been doing it right. Turns out, I was doing just fine. It was the diet that was the issue. Home girl over here was big on diet fads but took issue with putting down the fork.
The problem with fad diets was that every time I tried something new, I failed for one reason or another. Maybe I didn’t want it bad enough? Maybe I wasn’t deserving enough? Perhaps my milkshake really did bring all the gals to the yard and I wasn’t ready to give that up? Who knows?
All I do know is that, while I blindly followed other people’s ideas and opinions about what worked for them, I felt like a failure every time I fell short of my desired result. I “trusted the process” only to find out that the process was a complete barn of bullshit.
If you’ll allow me to digress for a moment, I’ll tell you how I really feel about the statement “trust the process”, but before I do, let me acknowledge my “trust the process” friends and family believers out there reading this (and I know there are many.) To those folks, I stand beside you, middle finger in the air, smiling, and saying, “Do you! I still have nothing but love for you all and your crazy ways!”
But this isn’t about them. It’s all me.
I feel that “trust the process” is a bunch of words strung together to form a sentence of lies. It no longer serves a purpose in my life. If I don’t know you, if I don’t know anything about what you’re trying to sell me, and if I have seen no tangible evidence that your “process” works, why on God’s green earth would I trust you? Or it? I don’t need someone else’s ideas and process to help me reach my goals.
Make no mistake, I learned the hard way. I trusted the Weight Watchers process. I trusted the Paleo diet process. I trusted the grapefruit diet process. I trusted the Atkins process. I trusted the “only do CrossFit, eat bacon and drink bullet-proof coffee process.”
I put all my faith in the “change your words, change your life” thought process. (I’ve heard so many times: “Love your body, Tiffany. Speak kindly to it. Change your words.” That’s cute. Thanks for the tip, however, my body knows it houses a sarcastic bitch and we have an understanding. We got this! Trust MY process.)
I think you see where I am going here.
I was lost and needed some sense of direction and I followed just about anyone and anything, and, in return, my blind, process-trusting mentality failed me. Shocking, right? In addition to my mental and emotional baggage, all the “processes” I have trusted over the years had all added up to 217 pounds and a shit ton of missed therapy sessions.
If I never hear that statement again, it will be too soon.
Rant over. Onto the next.
THE TURNING POINT
The Universe definitely has a unique way of getting one off one’s ass to make changes. Even the slightest run-of-the-mill friendship drama can cause a ripple effect. In my case, despite my anger and butt hurt feelings, it turned out to be the best thing to happen to my health. Here’s the short of it.
It was a “friendship” gone wrong (I use the term friendship very loosely here as I discovered I was being used as a replacement friend until the “real” friends returned; not to mention my also being used for business ideas and promotion. Well the joke is on you, girlfriend because I am grammatically incorrect daily. I don’t have my own business and I couldn’t sell water to a hiker on a 117-degree day in the desert. Sales and promotion are simply not my finer qualities although I do try.)
But I digress. Again.
Inauthentic people seemed to be my life’s attraction factor and this phony friendship finally forced me to take a step back, distance myself from everyone (until I could decipher who and what was real), and go within. What was it about me that was dialing this up in my life? Where was I being inauthentic and what changes needed to be made?
The whole realization was a little sad and borderline depressing, sitting and wondering if anyone really did care or if I was just a billboard for business promotion? (What’s that saying? “If you’re not adoring them, you’re boring them?”) But it turned out to be the single biggest, and best, blessing in 2016 because, a year later, here I am in a much healthier and happier place.
In drawing inward and going silent (yes folks, I am capable of silence), I was actually able to hear my own thoughts and listen to what my body and soul were asking for. The common need was the same no matter how I looked at it: it was to stop comparing myself to others! This led to a much-needed social media break and decreased time at the gym since those are the two places where I do the most damage.
It was time to go it alone for a while.
The majority of my workouts went from trying to keep up in the 800m run with the other 5:15 a.m. athletes, to long walks with Pam and our dogs (the competitor in me wanted to race the dogs but Pam Cakes frowned upon that.) I started to ride my Peloton more to keep up with my endurance and I drew inspiration from a couple of the instructors who spoke in my native, New York, sarcastic tongue. I stayed off Facebook for a few weeks, although I did cheat a little with Instagram. Bottom line: I did what was right for me even when it meant shutting myself off from the world (I work from home so social media and the gym were two major outlets; this was a big deal!)
I started to see people for who they were and no longer held onto expectations that they be someone I wanted them to be. I was reminded that we are all on this journey and we all have to find our way. Some may choose a more inauthentic route than others, but who am I to judge? It doesn’t mean I need to be a part of it. I stood in my authenticity, lost some more relationships, and felt immediate peace. It was somewhat cathartic and quite awesome.
Then the real magic happened! Little by little the scale started to decrease in numbers. My clothes started to feel a little loose in the waistband. By dropping my baggage, I was literally transforming.
YOU'RE SO LUCKY!
There are no words to express just how much I love it when people tell me how “lucky” I am that I lost all this weight. Seriously, when people down play another’s success by equating it to the luck of the draw in an effort to feel better about their own lack of success, it warms my stone cold heart. It’s a favorite theme of mine and I sure wish it would happen more often.
Two of my favorite “lucky” comments were being told by new Moms how “lucky” I am to not have to lose baby weight and the other about being “blessed” with a fast metabolism. If by “lucky” and “blessed” you mean that I dialed up a hysterectomy in my early 30’s without having a chance to bear my own child, or that after 23 years my speedy metabolism finally kicked into high gear, then yes, I should play the fucking lotto! Know your audience people. That’s all I’m saying.
Now, I know this sounds like complaining but that’s only because I am. Otherwise, it wouldn’t sound that way at all.
But LUCKY? Do I look like a Goddamn leprechaun to you? Perhaps “determined” is the word? Or maybe “persistent”? But “lucky”??? No, bitch! I WORKED for this. Go pour yourself a bowl of Lucky Charms and see your way out of my dance space.
As you can see, I may have some more personal development work in this area. But hey, trust the process, right?
QUIT YOUR BITCHING AND TELL ME HOW YOU DID IT
If you’ve read this far and put up with my rants to this point, you may as well complete the journey.
I do get asked a lot how I got to this point and the only meaningful tips I could come up with are the following:
1. Just start. And stop with the excuses. It really is that simple. I stopped looking for the right way to start and the best day to start on and I just I started. I started walking despite being exhausted from work all day because my body was craving movement. I started peddling at 4:30 in the morning when I wanted to cycle but knew I had a long workday ahead. I started the car and made my way to the gym when I wanted to CrossFit. I reached out to friends and family and started typing the words “I need your help” when I was struggling and couldn’t do it alone. I started taking inventory of my family history and stock of the quality of people in my life. I started saying no to things that I didn’t want to do, instead of saying yes just to please others. I started to take an active interest in my health. I just fucking started. If nothing else, that’s what I would encourage anyone wanting to start to do. I started believing that I was worth the struggle and so should you, because you are!
2. Stop comparing yourself to others and, as I have said before and will continue to keep stating, just do you! There is no right or wrong way. If you want to CrossFit, get into the box and get it done. If that’s too much Kool-Aid and testosterone for you, and you would rather walk, lace up your sneakers and get to it. If you like to cycle, take a spin class or get outside and go for a bike ride. If yoga is your jam, do what yogi’s do. I am not entirely sure what that entails but I think it requires a mat and some flexibility. But hey, go for it!
3. Put down the fork and/or spoon and get your grubby paws out of the chip bag. Feeding yourself until your past your saturation point is not going to remove your problems. 9 times out of 10, at least in my case, I wasn’t even hungry. I was bored, or frustrated, sad, or pissed off. There was always something else going on and food was an escape. Save yourself the trouble of sliding down the escape ladder. Sooner or later the ladder will break (or you won’t fit down it) and you’ll find yourself worse off than when you started. Face your issues, ask for help, and trust that you have all you need to make it through stronger on the other side.
4. Surround yourself with quality people who are only looking out for your best interests. In my grade school days it was all about the quantity of friends I had that determined how popular I was (for the record, not popular at all.) As an adult I have learned what most people probably already know; it’s the quality of the person that really matters. Having those people in my corner, who I know I can count on regardless of time and circumstance, has made all the difference. It really does take a village and I am truly blessed, and maybe even “lucky”, that I found mine. Ya’ll know who you are! I appreciate you; I love you and I thank you. And I hope that I am as tremendous a friend/family member to you, as you have been to me.
My biggest take away this year is that I am finally willing to trust myself. I’m learning to trust that I know what’s best for my body and that all the answers already reside within. It’s been a long time coming, but I can now say with great confidence that I have my own back and I trust myself to make the right choices and, who knows, maybe even inspire someone else along the way.
Get started or don’t. The choice is yours.
That’s really all I’ve got folks. It’s not always easy but it’s not as difficult as one would think either. Just get started and prepare to be amazed!