Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Two years....100 lbs.....a different life...sorta.....

Membership photo taken on Nov 19, 2009
when I joined LTF
 This is probably going to end up one of those winding nostalgic posts. I am facing down an anniversary and that tends to make me sentimental (it's a girl thing I know). Black Friday is coming up... the day my life changed. As a co-worker pointed out last night, time DOES move faster the older you get. It is really shockingly so. In ways this week in November 2009 seems like a moment ago, in other ways it is lifetimes ago.

For those that haven't been reading the blog from the beginning. Black Friday 2009 was when I joined Lifetime Fitness, started working with a trainer, started the journey that I thought was only about losing weight, but have since realized was so much more.

Before photo, Feb 2009
 When I walked into LTF on November 19, 2009 I could barely walk more than a few steps at a time, and even those were difficult. Partially because I weighted 311 lbs (from my high of 338 a few months earlier) but also because of the nerve damage on my right side from the botched surgery and two ensuing strokes. My goal, do water aerobics, maybe the treadmill, not much more. The outcome (to date) is light years from where I started. I never would have guessed two years later I would have lost around 100 lbs, I would have done an indoor tri, that I would be able to lift the weights I do, and certainly not that I would be horseback riding. At that point I would have been happy if I had been told I would be able to walk stairs and not have to make every decision on my life on whether my body could do it. I have come a long long way, and am super proud of that.

Nick and I at the Vikings
game this year
But I have to be honest, this second year has been MUCH harder on many fronts than the first one was. I am still trying to understand why the first year was so much easier, but I believe it is grounded in how far I had to come. Most of the first year was all major milestones, every day was a new accomplishment, and I do well with that. I feed my energy off it and it helped me fight battles that I thought were conquered, but really were only hiding, especially my eating disorder (the not eating part). This second year weight loss has not come, I am currently around 235. It has been as much about not falling backwards as it has been trying to go forward this year. I am blessed with a personal trainer, Nick, who has stood by me through that, trying to keep me moving forward, but also not giving up when we were just treading water.

Me with Snapper, the horse
who changed it all
This year also added an Eating Disorder therapist, Alecia, to my world. I started with her in the middle of a blizzard in February. I know working with her is what I need to be doing, but have to admit part of me hasn't fully connected with it yet, and I struggle with that. I have struggled with that a lot in the last year and a half, working to let the people in I need to and feeling very detached and distant from them even if it isn't what I want. I definitely have become more isolated in the second year than I was in the first, and think that is part of the lack of success also. As I have said in the blog before, I let more people in the first year, but when that blew up in my face with some people I retreated from it, I am working now to get that better balanced.

Joker and I in the first snow, one of the few pictures
in the world of me laughing...ironically I have no clue what about
The biggest addition to my life in year 2 has been horses, and Woodloch Stable. WL was a very happy accident. I was in no way going near horses by choice (they were big scary mean creatures was what I remembered from being a kid) but the minute I was pushed to do it I felt complete in a way I hadn't in a long time. Horses touch a part of my heart I had walled off from humans. While I struggle allowing people to hug me, touch me, care about me, see my flaws when I am with my horse, any horse, that part of me is fulfilled. I become a very different person and I am open to very different experiences. And along with letting the horses in, I have gained an entire new circle of friends, at WL, at Sunnyside and on FB. My "horsey friends" as my other friends call them.

Etta, Snapper and me
The most central new person in this is my riding instructor, Etta. It always amazes me how the right people fall into our life at the right moment. I was reminded again yesterday how everything really came together that day in May at WL. The right horse, the right instructor. If any of that had been different I don't think I would be riding today. I got lucky to find an instructor who gets my limitations but has no hesitation of fighting me to put them aside, which is what I need, and where I am most struggling these days.

My life has changed a ton in two years, my body has changed a ton in two years, but unfortunately my brain hasn't changed in those two years, I thought for a while it had, near the middle of the first year, but I realized this past week how much I still am locked in "brain fat" and "brain fears". Where I have stopped being a prisoner to my body, I still wrestle with being a prisoner to my thoughts and my memories. I still stop myself from doing things, including riding, based on fears about my body and whether it will do what I want it to or not. I still fight myself around food and eating, based on those old messages.

Which brings me to my goals for year 3.........getting my brain to catch up with my body. To stop living in the past in my thoughts, my fears, my behaviors. Because I fear til I do that I am stuck at this point of "good enough but not where I want to be" with my food, my weight, my happiness, my riding, all of it.

Kola and I off on an adventure
And the biggest lesson I am taking from year 2 is I cant do it alone. I tried this year, where the first year people were freely let in, this past year I tried very hard to hide a lot, to do a lot on my own, to figure it out myself. Even though I had great people wanting to help and to care, I always retreated. I see it most clearly in my riding, I go have my "adventures" on my own and come back and tell people what went on after the fact, but that is just the visual of what I did in everything. Its why therapy hasn't helped, I would go and keep 1/2 of what I felt inside for fear of what Alecia thought. In the last 6 months I have done it in the gym too. I got very very hung up this year in what people think, in going back to feeling like I have to be perfect or I wont be loved or accepted, and this year I need to put that behind me, that has to become old think!

Me on Cheyenne
I cant say I know how to do it, so this year I am asking you all to help me, to push me to do it, to yell back, to chase me down when I hide, to force me to live out in the open and not head out to where I can hide. And yeah I am going to fight back, that is me, but please stop me from running like you all did in year 1 before I shut everyone out. I need my friends to get back to being louder than the noise in my head again. You all have my permission, for one year, to be a royal pain in my butt (at least now I know how to jump on a horse and get away from all of you *grin*)

On to year three.....


  1. Congrats on the last two years and best wishes on your goals for year three. When you talk about your brain not changing it makes me realize that I am in the same situation. I lose a few pounds and then put them back on. I eat unbelievable amounts of junk food. . . and wait for the pounds to go away. Your blog plus some portions of a book I recently paged through by Geneen Roth -- Women Food and God or something like that. Two portions spoke to me. (1)Women wouldn't have an obession with food if we believed that life was tolerable without it. But it's not life in the present moment that is intolerable; the pain we are avoiding has already happened. We are living in reverse. (2) We create a secondary problem (weight issues) when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. They know that something is not quite right in their lives and because they are not at their ideal weight, they believe food is the problem and that dieting will fix it. Ending the obsession w/ food is all about the capacity to stay in the present. Weight loss is the easy part, any time you truly listen to yourhunger and fullness, you lose weight. If I figure out a way to get my brain to change, I'll let you know.!!!

  2. Big hugs! You are you, you are the best you in the world and me and the crew love you!