Alright, so I've been putting this post off for a while now... mostly because of the fact that I knew it would take me a LONG time to write, but also because I have been a bit skeptical to "put it all out there", due to being completely exposed. But after an inbox full of emails from women who struggle with the same challenge in life that I do and wanted to know what I was doing to overcome it... I knew I couldn't wait anymore... So, today we're going to take a sharp left turn here at the House of Smiths and chat a little bit about one of the biggest (literally) challenges in MY life... Weight.
Bleehk, ugh, grrr, ahhh, blahhh
Yup, I could pretty much end the post with that last gargle of written sounds and we could be done, because it describes to a T, how I feel about the subject of me and my fat. But because I have always had the tendency to talk too much, this post shall go on...
Strap on your seat belts and hold tight, you will now be taken through the super-turbo-fast-flyin' tale of Shelley and her lifetime struggle with weight, and how she's slowly trying to conquer it. If at any point you get bored, wonder why we're even talking about this, because it has nothing to do with a DIY home project or feel that the post has gotten way out of control, due to it's length... then please feel free to jump off this ride at anytime.
My weight problem started around 10 years old. I remember not being able to shop in the "normal girl" clothing section in stores and how frustrated it made my Mom and me. (probably more my mom) I remember feeling different, fat, and sometimes self conscious as I noticed that I was a lot bigger then other girls my age. At that time there was no "missy plus" section in stores. It was either girls or women's sizes... not much in-between, like today.
Let me preface this by saying that I grew up in a AWESOME household environment. I always felt loved, never needed for anything, had smart, caring, successful parents and for the most part... got along with my siblings pretty well! (minus a few spitting fights and screaming matches...totally normal though right?. ha!) I was an all-around really happy kid! Even though I struggled with my weight, it never made me feel like less of a person. This mentality has carried on throughout my entire life and I couldn't be more grateful for it.
I know that a lot of people with weight issues can suffer from a lack of self worth.
I know that a lot of people with weight issues can suffer from a lack of self worth.
My elementary years were... elementary? (ha!) Lots of fun friends and recesses. Middle school was pretty much the same. I remember being called fat one time by a little boy from a younger class...and then also remember him promptly getting punched in the face by one of my best guy friends who overheard. Needless to say, I have always had ridiculously amazing friends. I was the epitome of a social butterfly.
(red flag for future social media job, ha!)
(red flag for future social media job, ha!)
High School was awesome. I found myself never hanging out with just one specific group or people. I always jumped from one little clan to another, having really great friends wherever I ended up! I definitely had my few "best friends" but always felt free to make new friends and talk with all sorts of people on campus. From the nerds to the party crowd and jocks, I felt comfortable with all sorts of people and their lifestyles. I'm still a lot of the same way today. I've always had the notion that you can't judge a book by it's cover. (maybe because MY "cover" has never really expressed the REAL me?)
I liked boys, they liked me back. I dated, I partied, AND got into my fair share of mildly-dramatic teenage trouble. (hee hee) And through all of that... even ended up making some pretty decent grades on my report cards! Pretty much, life was FUN and most of the time... a breeze! And YES, contrary to what television and movies depict, I did all of this WHILE being overweight! From about 9th grade until I graduated, I pretty much hovered around the same body size.
Then collage came... and I don't know if I missed the memo in high school, but guess what!? COLLEGE IS HARD! (said in true valley-girl, socialite fashion). Really! I went to my first few classes and thought... "WOAH! This is WAY more then I can handle!" So I did the only thing I knew how to do, well... Socialize and party with my friends.
ack! don't ask...
Yes, I sound quite shallow right now, but give me a break, it was my first time away from home, I was living in a different state, and I was 19.
After the college scene ended (only a year later) my Dad lit a fire under my butt and said... "Shelley, what do you REALLY want to do in life?" After a brainstorming session, I decided I wanted to go to Cosmetology school.
And this my friends... is where I really started packing on the pounds.
I'm not quite sure what I was thinking, but during my 18 months in Cosmetology school, I bet I put at least 60-75 pounds onto my already overweight frame! We ordered lunch in EVERYDAY, and our classrooms were always filled with some kind of sweet treat. It's like I had no sensor. I would just consume whatever was put out, because it was there! And for anyone who's been to Cosmetology school, you KNOW that more of your days are filled working in a cramped back room on mannequin heads, then actually working on real clients. This lead to boredom and LOTS of mindless eating.
Although Cosmetology school was bad for my body, and I no longer actually "do hair", I must say that it's the first experience in my life that really sparked my creative talents and passion for design. And for that, I will forever be grateful.
Once I graduated from Cosmetology school I moved back home, fatter then ever! I honestly couldn't find a photo, because I don't think I even allowed pictures to be taken of me. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, I had a dead-end job at a haircut chain establishment and for the first time, not because of anyone else's mistakes, but my own... I started feeling like "less".
It was about this time that I realized I needed to make some monumental changes. Religion plays a huge roll in this portion of my life, but I won't get too deeply into that. (Just a FYI)
After eventually "finding myself" I started a series of crash diets and lost about 40+lbs. I found that "happy person" again, I met and married Cason in less then 6 months...
Needless to say, I was exhausted!... but still fat. Grrrr.
Fast-forward to 2011.
Our kids were growing up, I was busy with my blog, Cason's work was going well, and I started to feel the stress of being a "baby Mommy" lift off my shoulders. You know... the moment when you suddenly realize that you no longer have to carry a diaper bag or haul a bulky stroller around? That your kids can now pour milk into their cereal for breakfast (best day EVER) and you spend more time sleeping then you do awake, between the hours of 11pm - 8am!?... I was in a GREAT place, and I felt like all of the balls I had been juggling were finally disappearing! But no matter how hard I tried, I still had one big HEAVY ball left in my hands, that made it nearly impossible for me to do all the things I really wanted to... My Weight.
So 2011 turned out to be, what I like to call... THE YEAR OF DIETS. And I'm sure what Cason would like to call... THE YEAR OF WASTED MONEY.
I tried EVERYTHING. From Juices and pills, to shakes and exercise. Sometimes all of those at once.
I even called in the "big-dawgs"... A Queen, Jennifer and Marie!
I would always lose about 10-15 pounds, but in the long run, nothing worked (for me). Don't get me wrong, I believe that ANY diet CAN work, if you're in the right mind set to do it... but clearly, I was NOT. We even spent 4 hours and hundreds of dollars going through the motions of preparing for gastric bypass surgery. (which in the end, wound up not even being a good option for me at the time).
I remember one night sitting in my bed, head in my hands bawling to Cason about my weight troubles (something that had been done multiple times in our marriage and which never really did much good because Cason always reassured me that he loved me like crazy no matter WHAT size I was)... but this time I was at a breaking point. I was feeling better then EVER with my spirit, my family, my relationship with my husband, my work, and my kids... but as hard as I tried, I just couldn't get a grip on this endless trial that I had been given, of conquering my OWN BODY!
Was my FAT seriously going to define me the rest of my life!?
I don't know what it was, but during the months of July through November... something snapped. Not being fat anymore was the ONLY thing I could think about. Usually I could shake these feelings off or overshadow them with other projects and responsibilities, but this time was different. I'm pretty sure that if you were a close friend of mine between these 4-5 months and got me alone long enough, you witnessed me breaking down to you about my "big-fat-problem". (sorry Susan, Lara, Jen, Amy and Kristine. ha!)
I remember telling my friend Susan one night that I was ready to REALLY do something about this weight problem of mine, but I felt like I was missing something or someone. This imaginary "KEY" to my success that hadn't been found yet in any other plan or diet that I'd tried. I'm sure she thought I was mildly crazy, but nodded and agreed with me anyway... coaxing me to be proactive in trying to find it!...
So I did. Or should I say, Cason did.
Only a few weeks later Cason came home from work and we had this conversation:
Me: "Why do you look suspicious?"
Cason: "Well, I did something, but you can't get mad"
Me: "Ugh, WHAT?"
Cason: "I signed us up to go to a weight loss seminar"
Me: "WHAT!? NO! Why did you do that? I'm not going!"
Cason: "Come on, just go with me. It sounds really good. It's a program that a girl at work told me about called Body Metrix, and it's led by an ex NFL football player and doctor!"
Me: "Ugggggggh! I'm DEFINITELY not going! I'm sure he only works with skinny cheerleaders who want to be skinnier, and football players who want those crazy bodies where they have no necks!"
Cason: "Look, I love you, and I know this is something that makes you really uncomfortable... but YOU ARE GOING!"
Me: "FINE! Whatever!"
There was a swift smack on my behind from my smiley husband who was more then happy that he had won this little battle, and honestly... I was really busy with blog stuff for the holidays, so I just pushed it to the back of my mind until I REALLY had to deal with it.
Well, Friday of that week came, and Cason reminded me about our "seminar". I reluctantly got into the car with him and headed to our appointment.
That night, I met Doc. (aka: Dr. Hall) and Matt (aka: my "KEY")
In a nutshell, the seminar was actually really good! I didn't feel weird at all and everyone was totally laid back and nice. (plus I wasn't the only person there, so that helped) ha! Basically, they had come up with some great techniques to kick start your body into it's fat burn zone, all while maintaining muscle mass.
Want to know all that I heard? ... "WE CAN MAKE YOU HEALTHIER AND SKINNER"... and that's all that mattered at that moment. I was sold, and honestly just had the attitude of "Eh, why not?" So I signed up and started the Body Metrix journey on November 18th 2011. Yup! Right before Thanksgiving, my birthday, our anniversary, Christmas and New Years. Total weight-loss no-no, right? Well... my reasoning behind it was simple. If I can succeed during the WORST time to lose weight in the whole year, then I can do it ANYTIME.
So, even longer story longer... It's been about 11 weeks since I started working with a lifestyle coach and even though I've been posting updates about my weight loss journey through Facebook, I have been waiting until now, to REALLY come out and talk about it.
1. I finally feel like I am strong enough to keep going.
2. I now understand what it takes to ACTUALLY lose weight.
hint: A good clean diet and the RIGHT kinds of exercise... go figure! :)
3. I'm DONE letting my fat define me, I'm sick of being a "before" and I'm ready to share my journey with someone else who feels the same way I do.
I wake up every day with the realization that this is it, that there's only one shot at this life and I can either enjoy the ride, live it to its fullest and highest potential... or I can stay the way I am.
Instead of FEELING like less, I want to LOOK like it.
To today's date, I have officially lost 30 pounds.
(fist pumps in the air!)
To celebrate my small victory in this war, I threw out 6 pairs of these today...
As Cason was trying to stuff my workout pants onto a full shelf in our closet after folding the laundry he ripped down my jean pile and said... "If you can button and zip any of these pants up and then slide them off without UN-buttoning or UN-zipping them... then they HAVE to go"
Guess what? I only have one pair of jeans left in my entire wardrobe, ha! And although that should make me a bit frustrated, when trying to find something to wear in the morning... it doesn't.
I can do this... I know I can!
The fit, fun, spunky girl inside of me is just WAITING to feel as good on the outside as she does on the inside!
I feel like I can honestly say that the first 4 weeks were the absolute hardest... an uphill climb, if you will. Anyone can start a diet or exercise routine and do it for a week... maybe even two. But once I passed that 4th week I had the thought...
"Okay then, this is really how I'm going to live from now on!"
*Answering to my health coach every week
* No sugar
* VERY low carb
* Lots of fiber
* Gym 6 days a week
* Enough water everyday to make my eyeballs float.
It was then that I realized this was going to be WAY harder then I thought, and since then... my body has been fighting me EVERY step of the way. Each pound has been a struggle to get off and some weeks are better then others.
There is NO EASY WAY to loose weight, if you want to do it the RIGHT way.
I figured that if I made myself this way, then I was going to have to UN-make myself this way. And no juice, pill, shot or procedure was going to magically do the work for me... even if I did have crappy-fatty genetics.
Do I still have a loooong way to go before I'm the healthiest, best looking me???... Um, yeah.
But now I feel empowered, knowledgeable, stronger and hopeful. It may take a year, it may take TWO... but I know that I'll get there eventually. And once I do, I'm NEVER going back.
This may not make sense to anyone else, but now that I've seen my first results and have dropped some noticeable inches, I can't decided if I'm more scared to actually LOOSE the weight or gain it back. My weight has been a part of me for 29 years. And as odd as it sounds, I can't imagine life without it.
But this IS the year...and I'm willing to take the RISK.