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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ups and Downs - Learning About Myself

Life is full of ups and downs.  Happy moments and disappointing moments.  The trick is you have to figure out how to work your way through both without letting the not so good times get you down.  

I definitely struggled with that in many more ways than one, most of which I've talked about in one way or another in this blog.  However, I've never really talked about how up and down my weight has actually been throughout my life and how that affected me.

Even as a kid, I was always the "heavy" one.  I'm not sure why.  My parents fed us well, made us eat vegetables, drink milk and go outside and play all the time.  I think some of it is genetics.  I was never going to be stick thin - I'm not built that way and I actually think I'd look kinda funny if I were stick thin. From a very young age, I loved to eat, especially sweets.  Many of you might remember Mama Schur's homemade cookies (we used to sell them at lunch when people asked us for the ones packed in our lunches).  Just one of the many sweet treats I enjoyed as a kid.  But, it never went overboard because food wasn't free reign at our house.

However, as I got older, I, obviously had more freedom with food and, with lots of things starting to happen in life (being a teenager sucks), I started to use food as comfort.  It made me feel better to feel full.  Definitely an emotional eater from a very early age.  Plus, as I got older, I started to realize that I was not athletic and that sports were not going to be a big part of my life.  So, my activity level decreased dramatically.  In middle school, I remember my mom putting me on a diet one summer.  It was something I wanted to try and it wasn't any kind of starvation plan.  I just cut back on calories.  I managed to lose some weight and I felt really good about myself.  But, even that was short-lived.  After losing the weight, I started eating normally again and eventually gained all of it back and then some.

By mid high school, my weight was kind of a security blanket for me.  I was always trying to find a way to fit in and, if I felt lost (which happened often), I would just eat candy and anything else that I could get my hands on.  I wasn't active and I pretended to be happy.  I went off to college and just continued to eat.  I knew my weight was out of control but college wasn't exactly the best time of my life.  I struggled to meet people (that whole talking to people I don't know thing) and I found myself going home a lot on the weekends because I wasn't happy and my dorm situation was awful, to say the least.  Just felt like I was getting dealt one blow after another.  By the end of my sophomore year of college, I wanted to try to lose weight so I went back to cutting calories.  I managed to lose a significant amount of weight and loved buying some new clothes to wear.  However, it was once again short-lived.  I went back to school after having the summer off and, very quickly, my living situation became one that was not healthy for me.  My roommates and I just went different ways and grew apart.  So, I started to eat again as a way to comfort myself.  

The next few years were packed full with school, grad school, working full time and completing a 600 hour internship while going to school and working full time.  Needless to say, activity was the last thing on my mind.  So, my weight continued to go up the scale but I still hadn't hit my heaviest.  Throughout my years at my old job, I would try to lose weight at times.  But, I would always go back to eating what I wanted, when I wanted.  I gave into temptation way too easily.  And, although I pretended to be happy, I wasn't and food was my comfort.  When each of my siblings got married, I had lost some weight but, both times, I put the weight back on, plus some.

So what's different this time?  First of all, I have someone who will kick me in my ass if I start to fall off the bandwagon - she already has a couple of times and it's exactly what I needed!  Obviously, I don't do the greatest job of holding myself accountable so having someone who will keep me in check is making a huge difference.  But also, my frame of mind has completely changed.  This isn't a diet, it's the way I'm going to live my life.  I have to.  And I want to.  

So many people have asked me how I've managed to lose so much weight in such a short period of time.  Other than saying, I've changed everything about my life, I don't really have an answer.  At some point, it will stop.  Today, for the first time since I embarked on this journey, I didn't lose any weight.  I won't lie - it was a disappointment.  However, I just scooped myself up and told myself that I would see a change next week.  And, even if I don't, I know I will eventually.  During my past attempts to lose weight, when I wouldn't see a change for a week or two, I would give up.  I'd say, screw it, I'm eating some candy (or whatever).  Know what I did today?  I ate just like I normally would, walked by the room that was filled with Halloween treats for the office aides several times and I went to the gym.  

I feel amazing!  And the support of all my friends and my entire family has made a world of difference this time around.  And, I feel confident in saying, this is the last time I will be looking to lose weight!  I am going to keep it off!

And, again, this is about so much more than weight loss.  As I mentioned several times above, I wasn't happy and I was searching for something, I just didn't know what.  It's funny, I really think my 30's are going to be some of the best years of my life.  I found the following tonight and feel like it sums up what I've rambled about tonight:

It's about a girl who is on the cusp of becoming someone.. A girl who may not know what she wants right now, and she may not know who she is right now, but who deserves the chance to find out.