Blog Archives

Focus on your strengths

For those of you who may be new to my blog, you may not know that from 2007-2008, I lost 70 pounds through my own hard work and lifestyle changes. When I was getting ready to turn 25, I found that I just wasn’t happy. Sure, I was married to a great guy, had a good job and managed to have a social life with my wonderful friends. But I did not like myself. The way I looked, the way I felt, nothing. So I worked hard and I changed.

But, ever since I reached a certain point on the scale, I’ve been obsessing (off and on) about how to get past it. I never really reached my original “goal” weight but I got to a comfortable point and never made it any further. When the number doesn’t go down, I get frustrated and think I’ve failed somehow. Then there are some times when that number starts to creep up and I get worried, especially when my clothes start to get tighter. So I refocus, get those few pesky pounds off and I’m back to where I was. This especially happens in the summer, I’ve come to refer to it as my “summer fluff.”

I know a lot of people think maintenance is easy but I do not. I feel like it has been a much harder struggle than weight loss ever was for me. Maybe that is because it’s been so long ago now that maintenance mode has just taken over. But I feel like every choice I make is important and if I don’t want to end up back where I was in pre-2007, I have to always be working hard at it. Partially, that is true. But I also need to stop putting so much pressure on myself. Because I know me and when I’m under pressure, it’s no good. It doesn’t motivate me, it breaks me down.

So, recently I have ceased weighing myself. I think it’s been well over a month since I’ve stepped on any scale. While I’ve given up weighing before, this time I feel like I really don’t care what I weigh anymore. Not in a “I’m giving up” way but in a “I’m breaking free from this torture” way. If I’m still wearing the same clothes I was after my initial weight loss, if I feel good and if I can be comfortable where I am, then why does it matter if I weigh one number or another? Why am I always trying to improve when I’m perfectly fine where I am?

I have also realized that by always being focused on calories, weight, exercise, that I am missing so much of the rest of my life. Did I mention I’m turning 30 next year? 😉

If I’m being real with myself, I have to remember that I originally sought to lose weight for health reasons. I was sick, borderline everything and only 25 — a scary situation. These days, I am very healthy, all of my numbers are in the optimal ranges and my doctors are always impressed with my diet and workout regimen. So why do I care that I don’t have a flat stomach? Why do I care that I never got out of a certain “decade” in weight numbers? None of those things are health-related anymore.

I think some of it is comparing myself to others, seeing people my same age and height that weigh a lot less than I do. Some of it is the media I’m sure, even though I like to deny that one a lot. Some of it is my natural perfectionism. I am my own worst critic sometimes. But I’m making some great progress!

I hope she doesn’t mind me saying this but I had a real breakthrough when my friend Stephanie posted the following statement on her blog: “in my head, i’ve always admired very lean women, with their flat stomachs, small chests, and perfect pencil legs. but in my heart, i realize that’s not me, and i’m better learning to love what i do have than longing for what i don’t have.”

It was like the light shone down from above and the chorus sang “Hallelujah!” I had a major revelation about myself thanks to some thoughts from a friend about her own situation. This is why blogging is great and why we need to communicate with each other through this medium.

Little by little, I am learning to embrace who I am, my life, the body that I have and you know what? It’s great! Instead of wanting to be the next size down, I love my size. I also love that I have to buy one size at one store and a different one at another because clothes are made differently and I am not shaped like anyone else but me. It’s okay that I can’t wear low rise jeans, really. It’s better to wear what is flattering than to try to hide what is not in order to be trendy.

So if you’ve ever felt this way too, my advice would be this: instead of focusing on the things we don’t have or what we do have that we don’t like, we need to start focusing on our strengths. I’ll go first.

I may not have a flat stomach but I have incredible arms! Stuff may jiggle in places I don’t like but darn it, I have completed 5 half marathons, I still work out 5 days a week and I feel incredible! I am also feeding my body the healthiest diet I know and still allowing myself the occasional splurges (I heart french fries). I may never wear a two-piece but my doctors say I am very healthy!

Does it get any better than that? I think not 🙂

Pound for Pound: Week 11

I have to say that after all the revelations I’ve had the past two weeks, especially in regards to weight, I didn’t even really want to weigh in today. Not because I’ve given up but because I’m feeling okay where I’m at.

But I committed to this challenge back in February so I am going to see it through.

  • Last week’s weight: 149 lbs
  • This week’s weight: 150.3 (+1.3 lbs)
  • 8 weeks to go/8.7 lbs to goal

Thoughts? Last week, I weighed on my scale at home (because I was not at work) and this week I weighed at the gym at work. At home, I also weigh with no clothes on and this week at work I decided not to change into shorts because if I’m really comfortable, it won’t matter if I weigh with my pants on and it saves me time too. So there you have it.

Another revelation

Yesterday, I had a really bad headache, partially caused by being overheated, so I was laying on the couch last night with the A/C on and just wearing shorts and a bra. Usually, even in my own house, I would be too embarrassed to sit around like this, but for some reason last night I was totally comfortable.

You see, even though I lost a lot of weight almost three years ago, I still carry the “scars” from it — excess skin, stretch marks, etc. Even though I am more comfortable in clothes that fit me well, I still have trouble with things like bathing suits, tight fitting shirts or anything spandex (which no one should wear, really). But why? It is because I don’t like the way I look in certain things? Do I really care what other people think?

One day I pointed this out to a friend of mine when I was wearing a shirt that showed my “rolls” and she said: “Sarah, I’m pretty sure you are the only one who notices it.” Maybe she’s right. Maybe it is okay to be 5’5″ and weigh 150 lbs (especially when you consider at one point, I was at 225 lbs). Maybe it is okay to be way too “chicken” to have surgery to remove excess skin because it would be too expensive and painful.

What I do know is that I have worked VERY HARD to get what I do have. I have walked, run, weight trained, done yoga, and treated my body very well through a healthy diet, especially now that I have started the Happy Herbivore 30 Whole Days challenge. So to me, that means I should be proud of my body, the way it is right now. Because look what all it’s done! So as I sat there on the couch last night, I felt good about myself. I felt comfortable and happy with my body.

So what now? Since I am in a healthy range, the weight really doesn’t matter. I’m still going to monitor it because Lord knows I won’t be comfortable if it starts going up too high (which has happened to me the last two summers). But I’m not going to stress and I’m not going to try to push my body to be something that it’s not. Because I’m fine just the way I am. Whether I stay around 147-150 forever, or someday I do manage to get to 135-140, I will still be me.

Maybe all this confidence is coming from my new haircut?!

Thanks for being such great blog friends! I will see you all later with a recap of HH30 Day 3 🙂

Breakthrough

Sunday night, as I was walking my dog around 8:30, I had a revelation. I was wearing flannel pajama pants and a really tight black “Bob Dylan Forever” tank top because that’s how I roll; it’s never too early for pjs! I should’ve taken a picture of that.

We were almost back to the house, when I noticed that my tank top was riding up on me causing my stomach to stick out a bit. But I didn’t care. I pulled it back down and laughed. It hit me then and I realized just how comfortable I am with my body now, finally.

I have accepted my faults, none of which are truly faults, but they are just things I notice. My stomach still looks “flabby” even though I’ve lost weight, done a ton of abs work and cardio, etc. The reason is that I have excess skin thanks to years of abuse — stretching out my stomach — which is where I tend to gain weight first. But I don’t mind it anymore. Only one person besides me (well, and the dog) sees it and they both still love me 😉 I have also found clothes that hide it rather well, so who cares?

I also have a little bit under my arms and inner thighs but those have never really bothered me. In fact, I am so proud of my arms and legs! They have walked, ran, and lifted weights, done yoga and other amazing things.  My upper body is probably my favorite because it is where I notice the biggest difference in my weight loss and training. I actually have visible arm muscles now!

Anyway, the point of this post was to let you know that I have accepted myself, just the way I am. I worked really hard to get to this place and there’s no going back, only forward. I am proud of all that I have accomplished, but especially my newfound interests in running, healthy foods and nutrition, as well as maintaining such a large loss for a year and a half now. I am proof that it takes true lifestyle changes, things that you can live with long term.

Now that I have challenged myself to no longer count calories and have thrown the scale in the back of the closet, I am so much more relaxed and comfortable with my day-to-day eating and exercise. There’s no more pressure!

This looks exactly like my dog, who does the same thing!

This looks exactly like my dog, who does the same thing!

And anytime I’m feeling down, I can always go back to this post and remember how things used to be and what they are now!

Thank you for reading this.

p.s. I think this might have something to do with the fact that I have done yoga the past two days, but hey, whatever works 😉