20lbs Down

27 Jul

WARNING: POTENTIALLY TRIGGERING POST AHEAD

I would like to preface this with the fact that I have been thinking about writing this post for a few days now, but didn’t exactly know where to start. I figured it should be something organic, so at this point I am just sort of going to free-write my emotions. You’ve been warned, sorry if this gets sad.

A little over one month ago, my life changed forever, dear readers! I didn’t explore a new city, I didn’t go to a fantastic party, and I didn’t meet a new friend. Even better! A little over a month ago I somehow got my life back.(And I kind of actually got re-acquainted with an old friend too—myself).

It all started when my mom recommended that I go see this nutritionist who uses Chinese medicine and chemistry to diagnose and heal body ailments. Now, I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this on here before, but virtually everything I eat makes me sick. So much so, that it was ruining my life. Not only was I in pain 24/7 and miserable, I was pre-diabetic with high blood sugar. I was on a slow path to diabetes which, if not treated properly, could have eventually resulted in the most serious repercussion.

I was desperate for change. I was desperate for help. But I didn’t know where to turn…and then I met this doctor.

Through a series of questions, tests and reflexology, the doctor was able to determine the cause of my problems: my body wasn’t producing enough bile, therefore, none of the food I was consuming was able to be properly digested. Instead my body was storing everything and making me feel incredibly sick.

This news felt like a victory! So it wasn’t JUST the french fries? It wasn’t JUST the PCOS? I didn’t have a thyroid problem after all?! I KNEW there was a reason why I was working out all the time without any results! It felt like the mystery of all my sorrow was finally solved…but it came with a price.

While the doctor let me know all the foods that were detrimental to me, he only offered one remedy: an insanely strict meal plan. I had mixed feelings.  No bread? No pasta? No chocolate or avocado? No sugars, salt, starches or fats?! And I can’t drink alcohol at all anymore? Yikes.

IMG_20170615_163306702

(Above: the doctor had me circle all the things I typically eat and then went through and crossed off all the things my body cannot consume–welcome to my new health plan!)

But I knew that this was not only my chance at better health, it was my chance at a better life, and I followed the meal plan religiously for the next month.

Fast-forward to now and it’s been 37 days on the meal plan and my stomach doesn’t hurt me anymore! My back doesn’t hurt me anymore. I never get a “4 o’clock feeling” of drowsiness at work. I sleep soundly. I can exercise with ease. My skin has cleared up and my hair is so silky. I have energy to burn. The results from simply eating foods my body can actually digest for the past  month is astounding. I am now a new person. I feel a little invincible.

And I have lost 20lbs.

I was debating the proper punctuation for the end of that previous sentence. A period makes it a statement, an exclamation point makes it a shouted declaration. So I went with the period, because this change is a proven fact, one I never thought I would write, because I have never been able to do this before. But a fact I don’t want to end with an exclamation because then this happy side effect of good health becomes the main focus. And it shouldn’t be, because I’ve worked so hard to feel normal. But I can’t help also being a little vain, & I can’t help being slightly selfish. Because this previous sentence is a fact, true, but it’s also proof that I am slowly but climbing up from rock bottom. My fingernails are clawing up the chasms of doubt and defeat. I am facing my ultimate bad habits head on.

And it’s hard, yes, but it’s also so easy—like suspiciously easy. Because THIS is all it took to finally find some peace of mind?!

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our bad habits that we lose hope of ever successfully facing them. They’re paralyzing and repressive—something that just seems constant, if not, permanent. Whether you can trace the origin of the downward spiral or not, it doesn’t matter, because it’s already become so ingrained. The flaw becomes like another strand of your DNA. It defines you. And for me it was my terrible body image.

For as long as I can remember, I have been self conscious about the way my body looked (see previous posts Why I Don’t Want A Thigh Gap and Starting A New Chapter). & I mean that. I cannot remember a single time in the entirety of my memory of the past twenty-six years where I looked in the mirror and was 100% satisfied.

Sure, there must have been a short time of ignorant bliss way at the beginning, but the first ax I remember that hacked away at my positive body image was when I was just 6 years old. I remember being called “fat” by a boy in my kindergarten class–and that’s where the downward spiral began. The next few decades are blurs of dull aching pain. I remember the endless diets, and the excessive exercise. I remember skipping pool parties and avoiding changing rooms. I remember learning that “carbs were the enemy” and always shopping for the largest sizes in stores. I remember comparing myself to literally everyone around me. I still avoid mirrors and would never tell you what size I wear. I still look at photos on Facebook of when I was “skinny” in 2007 knowing damn well that I was also miserable with myself in that photo too.

And it’s EXHAUSTING.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe this all could have been avoided. Maybe 6 year old me could have escaped a years of shame had different advice been given to me on that traumatic day in kindergarten. But instead I was met with looks and shrugs. And in that moment I realized the problem must be me.

I grew up being one of the tallest girls in my class, and also (in my mind) one of the heaviest. I couldn’t blend in if I tried. From the outside looking in, it never seemed so bad—because I was happy. I had a loving family, I always had friends and, when high school approached, I had boyfriends too. And I let my emotions reflect that. I believed from a young age that playing the victim was tiresome and even the closest of friends soon grew bored of hearing each other’s problems. So I tricked myself into being confident. I stood tall, I smiled and I gave off the air of the girl I hoped to be, and people always bought it.

But deep down inside was such a different story; I was disgusted with myself and fighting a constant battle of shame. I would even cry to my mom once a month about my body, all the way up until high school. It was so draining.

They say that we are our own worst enemies, and for me, this was incredibly true. The voice inside my head was pure evil. She said things that I would never even think of ever uttering out loud to or about others.  Things I’m too ashamed to type right now. She was brutally cruel and warped my sense of outside perception that others have of me. And while she has learned to chill out since high school, sadly, she still hasn’t gone away…not even now.

At this moment when I step on the scale, I don’t believe my eyes. I think there surely must be a mechanical malfunction or I’m not counting correctly. But right now I have actually lost 20lbs. Whether that number seems big or small to you, just know that I have virtually never had this happen before. And the emotions I’m experiencing with facing this reality are so incredibly complex. I am happy, giddy even, but I am also terrified. I’m happy that my hard work and dedication is finally realized and paying off, but I am so scared at what will happen should the rug be pulled out from underneath me. Is this a temporary high? Or actually something that will last?

One good thing about my character is my extreme commitment and dedication. Once I am given a task, I focus, and ultimately, excel. For me, this new meal plan is just another goal I’m hoping to achieve. But so comes the question—when will that goal be met? Will it be when I’m feeling completely better? Will it be when I’ve lost a certain amount of weight? Will it be a certain dress or jean size? Will it be when I’m finally satisfied with looking in the mirror? This is a slippery slope and the ambiguity of this makes me nervous.

Luckily at this point in my life I have much more positive role models. I have an incredible personal trainer who has supported me no matter what weight I am, and have formulated some pretty deep friendships that are multi-dimensional. Though at times I can still hear the insidious words of the past echo in my head, I am combating this with fact. My clothes ARE looser. My body DOESN’T hurt. I DO feel stronger. I am trying hard to focus on leaning out muscle and improved strength opposed to a number on the scale.

However, while I am still trying to find peace within myself during this lifestyle change, perhaps a more curious observation is how others are dealing with this lifestyle change.

People are coming out of the woodwork to compliment me on my new look. Co-workers I barely talk to are praising me, acquaintances I haven’t spoken to in a while are hitting me up, and family members are practically ecstatic with glee. And it’s a little bizarre. Because it’s just 20lbs. But others have been treating me like I’ve shed a freakin’ cocoon. And it’s nice, but it’s weird, and it’s addicting, but it’s awkward. Because while I like this attention, a tiny voice in the back of my head can’t help but ask: Well what did you think of me before? Who was I 37 days ago in your eyes?

I can remember reading an article of a body positive way to compliment a weight loss. The writer suggested instead of joyfully screeching: “You look so SKINNY!”, instead say something like: “You look so STRONG!”, or better yet: “You look so HAPPY!” Sometimes I wonder if this would make me feel better because right now in this moment, I don’t feel skinny yet but I DO feel happy and strong.

“You’d be surprised who comes back into your life once you start losing weight!” I can remember my old personal trainer, Laurie saying. “Most of the dynamics in your relationships with others will change.”

I am worried about this for two contradictory reasons:

  1. I hope to someday fully shake that insecure self conscious girl that I have always been deep down
  2. But I am also worried that once I’m “skinny” I will forget her altogether and become this snob who forgets where she came from

I guess we won’t really know until we get there.

20228390_10159033838545472_8780587503817158072_n

(Happy to feel comfortable in my own skin!)

Until then, I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to stay sane while smashing all these goals that less than 40 days ago I never even thought were a possibility for someone like me. (It’s so weird wearing clothes that mere weeks ago I was planning on throwing out because they were too tight!).

I would describe my current state as cautious optimism.

Sorry if I was rambling a bit here, dear readers. But I really appreciate it if you’ve read this far. This blog has always been a wonderful outlet for me no matter what I was feeling and that still proves to be true today 🙂

Stay tuned for more of my health journey including my first vacation abroad while on my meal plan (remember Brandi, my bff from TEFL? She’s getting married in Prague in September!). And please feel free to confide in me about any of your own struggles!

All we have are each other in times like these and I feel so lucky to know so many people are cheering me on from the sidelines both near and far.

JG ❤

Advertisements

One Response to “20lbs Down”

  1. lafemmet July 27, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    Bravo!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: