Forgiving Yourself

Last week I had an uncomfortable interaction with a good friend. It wasn’t uncomfortable for her (in fact, I would venture to guess she suspects nothing was wrong at all.)

The discomfort was all in my head and my heart.

I was driving along, listening to the radio and the caller was asking for help with how to stage an intervention for her friend. She was desperately worried her friend’s addiction would kill her and she wanted to intervene.

What was she addicted to?

Food.

That’s right. She was addicted to something we cannot live without. She was ingesting something that is perfectly legal and necessary.

As I was listening to her friend plead her case as to why she should interject herself into this woman’s life my phone rang.

I turned off the radio and saw that it was a good friend of mine.

She had been listening to this radio show about how the caller wanted to save her friend’s life and she thought I should call in, since I had been in the woman’s shoes and lost so much weight and saved my life.

Wait, what?

I told my friend that she was sweet and I appreciate her thinking of me, but I wasn’t comfortable with calling in about something so personal and sharing it with all these people.

She told me I would be inspirational and that my story could help!

I declined.

When we hung up a couple minutes later I was left feeling, for lack of a better word, like garbage.

As I continued on to my destination (ironically I was headed to the gym) I thought back on my reaction. Why was I so upset? Shouldn’t I be proud and grateful for all the life change that had happened? Shouldn’t a natural response be to share that with others?

Maybe, but that’s not what was racing through my head.

I was ashamed that I had ever gotten so out of control that I would’ve been “that person” people wanted to intervene and save. I was embarrassed to admit that life had gotten that bad and that I was totally powerless (back to step one I go…) Who loses the weight of a whole person and is so distraught they forget about everything good that happened on the journey to health?

I guess me- I am that person.

Maybe this is what will be used to always keep me humble. I may never ever be healed by God- He may never take this thorn from my flesh and it may always be a daily battle, but that doesn’t make my struggle any different than anyone elses. I have no reason to be ashamed.

Context changes person to person , our need to be healed is universal.

So, while the time has passed for me to call in and share my story with the woman who just wants her friend to live, I can still share this message:

We all need love- from others but mostly from ourselves. We all walk a painfully hard road. Don’t tell her where to walk, but if you truly love her, never let her walk alone. Eventually she will need to see how loveable she is and how she can do things even if she’s afraid, and she needs you by her side. You probably need her for your journey just the same. Don’t let go.

Let’s hold hands and walk together. Unashamed. Grateful.

Losing 100+ Pounds and Finding Myself

In 2008 (when I was 26 years old) I got the worst call of my life. My dad, who I loved more than anyone, had a stroke at work and had been taken to the ER. I flew home as fast as I could, but I never saw him awake again. A week later he passed away.

That day I thought my life fell apart. But, I was kidding myself- my life had started to fall apart way before that. When I got home from Chicago I was in a daze. About 3 weeks later, I started “living” again- going through the motions. You see, my dad was overweight, diabetic, and had really high blood pressure. As they were trying to stabilize him, it became apparent that he hadn’t been taking the meds he was prescribed, like he was supposed to. All of this culminated in an aneurysm in his brain that the neurosurgeon couldn’t correct.  Over the next year, I began to evaluate my own life. My dad was a week in to 51 years old when he passed- way too young. He and I had a lot in common from our love of the outdoors to our love of food. Also, over the next year, my marriage fell apart. I was a mess.

At the end of 2009 I made a clear, conscious decision (a stake in the ground sort of moment) to stop “going through the motions” and OWN my life and my choices. January 2010 I was 267 pounds, an emotional time bomb, and just plain miserable. Nothing I was doing gave me joy anymore. And that wasn’t going to work for me.

I spent the next two and a half years watching what I put in my mouth, and moving my body more. Diet-wise, I watched calories, tracking everything, and then eventually switched to a mostly Paleo lifestyle in the spring of 2012. I don’t do it perfectly, but right now I am in the middle of a Whole30 (from www.whole9life.com), trying to figure my body out. I’m not going for a quick fix- I’ve been at this for a long time and plan to be healthy for the rest of my life.  Exercise wise, I started with walking. I could hardly walk a block before getting winded and the little voice inside my head would tell me “you can’t do this; you may as well go home now.” Somehow, I learned to silence that voice. I started running with my friend La Nae, first with Couch to 5k, then with Lifetime’s Run Club and their trainer David Clark’s organization http://thesupermanproject.org/ . I have since run a ton of 5 and 10k’s as well as 2 half marathons.

In the process of finding a better (best) version of me I stumbled upon www.nerdfitness.com . This changed my life. I had all the individual components, but I couldn’t seem to juggle them all at once. Reading the articles and talking with others who have had success helped propel me into a position to really level up my life. I learned to do some strength training in conjunction with my cardio. I learned a lot about food and have made an informed decision to cut certain foods out of my life. I have made amazing friends, like Amanda(Wicked Pixie) who all support me and encourage me to keep going. The challenges help me take my long term goals and make them bite size and baby-stepped. I have learned to put into action all the small pieces of my life simultaneously. THAT’s where life change happens.

I have now been at this for two and a half years. I have lost 102 pounds (and am still losing) and in the process I have found a reason to keep going- I’m worth it. I’m worth the hard work, the sweat, the pain, and the tough choices. All of it. I am stronger, smarter, and more joyful. I haven’t arrived- I still have a lot of really hard work to do. The difference is that now I know I can.

Before and Now (ironically wearing the number 102 and the day I lost 102 pounds!)