Friday, December 19, 2014

Feed it or fight it...

Hello, world!

How on Earth is Christmas next week?!

Most of this last month has been a total blur to me. As of last Wednesday I had lost 38 pounds since Labor Day, officially losing everything I had gained back plus a pound. This morning I'm down another four pounds...which is kind of amazing after eating out for basically every meal for four days while in Cincinnati this week, having no juice and not going to the gym at all. 42 pounds in 3 1/2 months.

I will say that after three weeks now without Prevacid, something I had been on for more than a decade, I have noticed how much of an intolerance I have to carbs (derived from grains), dairy and foods with a high level of acidity. How did I never notice it before? Well, I had at least one medication regulating my digestion system for me. It sounds strange to say that at 29 I don't think I've ever really "heard" my body talk to me before. I had so many medications for SO long making it function (but not really) in a way to just sort of get me through each day. Having the only medication I take daily now being for allergies has made such a huge impact on my life.

I feel as though I am able to make food choices now in a completely different way. Until probably two weeks ago, I obviously knew what I "should" eat yet in many ways I still wasn't feeling how I should. Then one day it's like my body just started processing everything in a way it hadn't since I was probably 13. If I don't eat something that would normally be really tempting for me, I don't feel as though I am depriving myself. I don't sit there and think "man, I really wish I could eat that!" Instead I'm not tempted because I know if I took even one bite it would make me feel less than optimal. For instance, at dinner the other night a plate of biscuits was placed onto the table. I didn't even think about eating one. I knew if I did the dairy and grains in it would almost instantly give me a headache and make my stomach feel blah. I've also noticed that with the way my body is processing food these days, I get fuller much faster, too.

Someone asked me earlier this week why chiropractic has anything to do with digestion. I explained to her what I had learned about it thus far from having adjustments, the other things I've read about it and the physical changes I've felt since. If anyone is proof that chiropractic works it's me!

These few articles talk a little bit about why it helps, too:

Digestion problems?
Helps digestive disorders
Chiro Journal: Digestion

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What's in a picture...

Short and simple post (but a bigger one coming tomorrow!)...

Last night on my way out, I caught a glimpse of myself and (with a picture from four weeks ago in my head) thought "how bout that?!"...I could suddenly tell a noticeable difference in the last several weeks so I snapped a picture. This morning when I put my coat on I noticed that it needed to be buttoned like two inches to the left of where the buttons actually are and how much fabric gathers now when I pull the ties enough to fit.

I think this picture speaks for itself...


Wednesday, December 10, 2014


You know those weeks where you should feel really good about yourself and the progress you're making but you don't necessarily? Yeah.

As you know about a year and a half ago I had gotten down to 104lbs from my heaviest weight. I plateaued for about five or six months and then gained a total of 37lbs back between November of last year and August of this year. Starting in the beginning of September, I woke up one day and was mentally and emotionally in such a good place (somewhere I don't think I had ever been before)...and the weight I had gained back started coming off again. Last week I made it to the 35lb mark. I haven't been to the gym since Sunday and have been icky since but as of this morning I'm down 38lbs since Labor day...which means what? It means I'm now down 105 from my heaviest, surpassing the 104 I hit last year!


Hello, world!

So I meant to do this post a week ago. Literally, it's been sitting in my draft folder for a week. Sigh.

Chiropractic. How many of you see a chiropractor? Why did you first start going? How has it helped you? When I started seeing mine about 2 1/2 months ago, I'm not sure that I expected the changes that I've seen would come as quickly as they have.

Guess what... In the 2 1/2 months since I started going I've had significantly less pain, I feel less stressed out than I normally am (which has been incredibly surprising as of late), I have been sleeping better (longer through the night, falling asleep more easily, not waking up with my hips feeling like they are on fire, etc...), my anxiety level is less, my weight has started coming off a lot faster, and as of today I have been off of Prevacid for 12 days (which is huge considering I had been taking it daily since I was roughly 15), no pain killers in two months, and no ibuprofen (which I used to live on) for probably six weeks. I'm down to one OTC, Claritin, and in time I will try to get off of that, too.

I'm able to think about things much more clearly, I've been a lot more active (worked out four times last week and took two classes), I feel like I've been able to look at how I've thought about things for years and really have begun to change parts of myself that I had struggled with for years. My digestion system is clearly improving by the fact that I'm at 12 days without Prevacid now. I feel stronger and flexible.

All of that is AMAZING, especially for me after more than 15 years of illness and pain.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I like to be right. Apparently all the time. Even about things that don't matter at all. The sad thing is that I don't even realize (most of the time)that's what I'm doing. More than being right I try to make everything be perfect...all the time. Guess what... it's a really dumb thing to do.

I think for SO long now I've always wanted to have the right answers to every question. I've always wanted to do things the way other people would expect me to do them, or the way I've been told they should be done in order to make others happy. I am a people pleaser. I want them happy. I wrap things in really pretty packages and put glitter all over it because somehow in my mind I think that is what people expect of me or want from me.

I. Am. Ridiculous. Truly. It's really okay to admit that. As much as I like to be right (about everything) I also can admit when I am wrong. In the last several months of soul searching I've realized how long I've put everyone else before myself. I've worried for so long about making other people happy. I think for many years I tried to make as many situations appear as perfect as I could because of how unhappy I was with myself. That's not okay. Because guess what... when you do things a certain way for so long (no matter the reason), eventually it becomes an automatic response. Worse than that, people really do come to expect certain things from you because it what you've always done. Even worse than that, you wind up fighting yourself because of it. What's the point in any of that?

Once in a very great while, God puts someone in our lives to show us things that somehow we just keep missing. Maybe we've been told things over and over again before but the manner in which we are told isn't received very well. Then one day someone can say something in such a sincere way and it's like hearing the words for the first time. I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to be right all of the time about everything. The world will go on, and maybe, just maybe you'll find more peace.


Hello, world!

Happy December! This is absolutely my favorite time of the year. I love the holidays. This year they are even sweeter for me than they have been in recent years. Last week was my first Thanksgiving with any of my family in FIVE years. In a few weeks I will get to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in THREE years. This year there are new people in my life and I'm excited to get to share this season with them, too.

Here's what I'm leery about though...the food. Anybody else?

I feel like I've finally gotten into a place where I am consistently losing again and it feels amazing. It's been three months exactly since I really started to embrace juicing, smoothies and eating mostly Primal/Paleo. I haven't even gone gung ho about it yet. I decided that at this point for me the only way to make it about wellness and not just losing weight is to focus on myself as a whole. That being said, in three months I have lost 35 of 37 pounds I had gained back. Yay!

Monday morning when I stepped on the scale after being away for the better part of the week for Thanksgiving, I found myself thinking "Well, it could have been worse!" I gained a pound and a half which isn't a big deal and as of today that is gone. But I found myself thinking this morning how different this holiday season is. I love to cook and I love to bake. I'm good at it and it's a stress reliever. I love baking yummy things for Christmas and spending far too long obsessing over decorating cookies with frosting that isn't so easy to make. I know, I know...I'm a little OCD and tend to want everything to be perfect (we'll get into that one in the next post!). I'm thinking that even though I'm "home" now and will be spending Christmas with family, maybe I should skip the baking this year or at least not do what I would normally do. I don't want New Years to hit and see that instead of losing or maintaining through Christmas that I gained back however much. Maybe it's silly but it's a mental thing for me. Deprivation doesn't work for me. Setting limits for myself does though.

I really tried to limit myself with what I ate last week while I was at home and feel like I did a relatively good job. I tried to limit the grains and the sugar as much as possible. I had no juice, no smoothies and I can always tell a difference when there is none included in my diet through the week. I'm more tired, more irritable. I've also seen the difference in my mood and how I physically feel when I eat grains and dairy. Those have to go. It's just not worth it.

For those of you trying to lose weight right now, how are you dealing with avoiding certain things you might normally eat during the holidays?

I finally get that there is a drive and a desire inside of me to be better. Period. To feel better. To do better. To be the very best me that I can be and not for anyone else other than myself because it's what I deserve. Progress. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I am enough...

Yesterday at a coffee shop I had this exchange with the barista:
Him: How you are you today?
Me: Oh, I'm fine, thanks. How are you?
Him: You know, I'm pretty good for a Saturday.
Me: I don't even know how it's Saturday.
Him: It's been one of those weeks, huh?
Me: Yeah it has been, in every possible way. I have no idea how I got to Saturday this week.

We all have good days and bad days...good weeks and bad weeks. This was a bad week in many regards. Those of you who have been following my story for the past 2 1/2 years (or in some instances, the 16 years that I've had a chronic illness), you know that I've fought tooth and nail to get to where I am now.

How many of you have ever lost more than 100 pounds? Not many I'm assuming. And if you have, do you still need to lose more than that? No? Yeah, that's what I thought. Guess what--it's hard. When you've tried for a decade and a half and never been able to lose more than 30 pounds at a time, have a setback, a change of medications and then you gain it all back and then some, it's hard. When you are contending with a dozen medications to do so, it's hard. But I did it. At my lowest point I was down 104 pounds from my highest weight.

I hit a plateau that lasted for about six months and I was okay with that. In those six months I traveled A LOT, went to a lot of baseball games all over the east coast and went to concerts until I was sick of them. And then life got really crappy again. I was in a situation that seemed like the worst thing I could have ever gone through and was in the most dragged out breakup in the world. For five months it was a chore to wake up every day. I went to work, and would generally start crying as soon as I would get into the car on the way home. Even though we were never married, what I went through with my ex was basically a separation that lasted for five months. I suddenly wasn't tucking the little boy I had come to love as my own in every night, I wasn't helping him get ready for school, and I was missing the daily moments that happened when we all lived together. I still saw them but that made it even harder than it would have been if the break up had just happened when it should have. During all of that, I had a severe injury in which I tore multiple ligaments on the top of my foot. I couldn't work out anymore. I stopped caring. I was all but broken in so many ways.

How many of you have ever experienced something so painful that it made you stop caring? The break-up finally happened and I left DC ultimately. By the time I left I had gained back probably 25 pounds. In the midst of the move, job changes and dealing with no longer seeing "my kid" at all I gained another 12 pounds the first 2 1/2 months after I had moved. Yes, I lost 104 pounds and within a year I gained back 37.

Then one day in July, I woke up. I literally woke up from some horrible dream I had been in for a long time and I could breathe again. I realized I had never forgiven myself for allowing someone else to help turn me into someone I never ever wanted to be. After that I started realizing how strong I am, how much I've gotten through, and that no matter what has happened to me I have never given up. Ever. By Labor Day I had gotten to a point where I had realized all of the things that I had given up for seemingly no good reason and I told myself that it would never happen again. Since the beginning of September I've lost 27 of the 37 pounds that I had gained back.

My level of commitment to my health was put into question this week and it hurt me. I don't care who you are, it's not something that anyone gets to question (at least not in the way that it was done) unless you have been in exactly my shoes. Not only have I lost 27 pounds in 2 1/2 months, but I am mentally and emotionally in the best place I've ever been in so I would say that my level of commitment shows. I said once that if I never lost another pound again I could be happy. I said that because over the course of the hardest year of my life, I have learned that my happiness is not defined by a weight, a size, a shape or anything physical. My happiness is not defined by having a significant other in my life or not. My happiness is not defined by the amount of money I make because I assure you it's quite a bit less here than it was in DC. My happiness is defined by how I feel about myself. I've made more mistakes in my life than I care to ever admit but what I can say is that I have been through more at 29 than most people will ever go through in a lifetime and it has never stopped me. It hasn't kept me from living my dreams. It hasn't kept me from loving with all of my heart and soul. It hasn't beaten me, period. If anything it has made me stronger than I have ever given myself credit for.

If you count the 27 pounds I've lost of what I had gained back, I am down 94 pounds from my highest point. More than that, I love myself now. When I was at loss of 104 last year, guess what, I didn't like myself. I wasn't good to myself. Sure I was helping myself out but only in a physical sense. Mentally and emotionally I was in a really bad place. Today I know exactly what I am made of and everything that I want in my life and what the ultimate goal is. With all of the physical problems I have, it is absolutely going to take time to get to a point of physically feeling great every single day. But you can't get to that point without being in a really good place mentally and emotionally though. You can't get there without loving yourself first when you've been where I've been.

Left- late July. Right-Today...I'd call that progress and commitment.

Physically, I'm not where I want to be. I know where I'm going though. I know I will get there. I know that because I know why I'm doing it. I know that there is nothing that I can't do. And maybe I am being a little defensive right now, but when I'm questioned about something that is so deeply personal for so many reasons, when I know the progress I am making, you better believe I am going to get defensive about it. I've earned that right.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I want a high five...

So hard sometimes...

Hello, world!

Do you ever have those days (or weeks) where waking up, getting out of bed and being an adult is just hard? Yeah? Me too. I often wish there was a magic reset or do-over button. But then again, everything happens for a reason, right?

I've had a lot of discussions with a variety of people as of late about how hard life can be--how unfair it really is sometimes. Sometimes I think that Peter Pan had the right idea about life. Being a grown up is tough some days.

Life can't be all about sunshine and roses every day, right? How else do we learn and grow? I say this over and over and sometimes I feel like a broken record but it deserves to be said again. I am not the same person I was a year ago. I have surprised myself this week... Like majorly surprised myself, "wish I hadn't already bought myself a birthday present cause I deserve a gift" surprised myself. Old me would be a basket case right now. Better, stronger, wiser me is strangely confident. Congratulations,'s about time.

I'm a worrier by nature I swear and I'm REALLY good at it. I have been known to literally worry myself sick time and time again. I usually lose a lot of sleep from it. I thought that is where I would be this week but I'm not. I'm not sure what to make of it either except that maybe I'm finally starting to get that there are things I have absolutely zero control over.

Maybe I'm also finally trusting that God really does have a plan for everything. Maybe I'm getting that His time is perfect and mine is nowhere near it.

There is a reason for EVERY single twist, turn and pause that my life takes. More than that, there is beauty and room for growth in all of it.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Hello, world!

I tried to do this post on my birthday...and then I tried again the day after to finish and that just didn't happen. I went to Chicago to celebrate for the weekend so I'm just now getting a chance to sit and breathe.

29. Twenty nine. How did THAT happen?!

The start of 29 has been so very different from how 28 started. I wouldn't trade where I'm at now for anything. A lot of women I know dread/dreaded turning 29. They mourn their last year of being a 20-something. It's as if the fact that they are almost 30 (gasp!) is a death sentence or something. I don't get it. I feel like I'm in the best place I've ever been in and it can only go up for me at this point. My teens were so horrifically bad and almost all of my 20's, too, so it can only get better. I'm confident in saying that because of how I feel today.

There was a lot of driving time over the weekend so what better time for self-reflection?

It's hard for me to not make comparisons because I feel like I'm at such a different place physically, mentally and emotionally now from I was a year ago. I think once you pinpoint exactly what it is that is so completely different and you have hindsight, you should be able to say it out loud at least once. Hearing yourself say things aloud is necessary sometimes to come full circle.

A year ago I felt like every single day (for months) I had the life sucked out of me. I'd go to sleep, wake up and it would happen all over again. Physically, I stopped caring because mentally and emotionally I was such a wreck. I can't stress enough how poisonous certain people or situations you are in can become and how it can wreak total havoc on your entire life. I cried every single day for months. I wouldn't eat or if I actually did eat, more often than not it wasn't what I should have been eating after all of the weight I had lost. I barely slept. I put a smile on my face to the best of my ability every day for months because I didn't know what else to do. I was angry and saddened by another person, but more than that I was angry with myself for not doing what I should have done out of fear. Even the first month or so after I left DC I was still angry at myself for how much I allowed to happen.

I made a comment yesterday to the bf (and today to one of the bff's) how nice and relaxing this weekend was. Even though I was tired and a bit cranky at times (thanks, pms.), it was fantastic to just go somewhere I love and just take it in and not have the world end over little things such as almost missing a turn, or having to circle around a building three times before getting into the parking garage. I didn't realize until we were driving home from Chicago last night how many times through years of traveling with someone I subjected myself to completely unnecessary bouts of absolute madness. I've realized that many, many times over about a plethora of topics as of late and there is so much peace in those moments. Every time it happens I just close my eyes and thank God (yet again) for closing doors that needed to be closed.

Being able to go to sleep at night with peace is something I'm not sure I thought I'd ever experience. I like the person I am today. One year ago, I didn't. At all. Today I know how much stronger I am because of everything I've been through. One year ago, I felt defeated daily. I know I've already been through the worst in so many ways. Today I know there is nothing that I can't handle or overcome.

I couldn't have asked for a better birthday. Times have changed and I'm so thankful that they have. C. S. Lewis said "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." I have found this to be so very true.

If you knew then (whenever your then is) what you know now, is there anything you would do differently? I've thought before that I would have left sooner if I did, but you know what, God's timing is absolutely perfect and mine is nowhere near it. I don't think there is anything wrong with talking about things from your past when it pertains to something in your current life. When you are able to stop and appreciate what is because of where you have been...well, that's when you know that you've grown and are moving forward.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Choose happy...

Good morning, world!

I've realized this past week that one of the main differences in myself now compared to the last two years (well really, the prior 29 years) is that I'm just done letting anyone else take away my happiness. I'm done fighting with myself because of it.

I think the first year that I was juicing and trying to change my lifestyle it was more just about physical changes. Physical changes only get you so far if there aren't emotional and mental changes, too. To truly be happy with yourself and with changing your life, all parts have to line up and for me it just wasn' all. When you make such a huge lifestyle change (or you're trying really hard to), it's incredibly hard to stay on track with it when things happen that make you simply not care. For the better part of this past year I just stopped caring.

I care now. I care a lot. I've noticed that mentally and emotionally I have so much more peace than I think I've ever had, but know there is still a lot of peace to achieve. Having that makes the rest of it easier. If I never lost another pound and stayed this size for the rest of my life I know I could still be happy...that's big for me.

Choose happy. Choose life. Choose love. Above all of those you have to choose yourself because you won't find a happy place without loving yourself first. I know that from many years of the exact opposite.

Happy day before my birthday, everyone!


Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Hello, world!

Is it unseasonably cold where you're at right now? It is here and you know what-- I love it! I'm heading to Chicago this weekend for my birthday and the chance of snow while I'm there more than excites me!

Something I don't think I've ever been a fan of is coat shopping. Being heavier, I have always hated how 99.99999999% of them make me look like a freaking box. I bought one in late fall of last year that I just fell in love with. I loved everything about the way it fit me and actually made me feel like I wasn't a box. I figured when I moved that I would never wear it again thinking that by this winter I would definitely be at least two to three sizes smaller again. Well...we all know that didn't happen.

When I unpacked said coat probably six weeks ago to hang in my front closet, I was super frustrated because of how snug it was. I got mad at myself all over again for gaining back some of what I had lost. I probably even cried about it. I briefly wore it over the weekend but never really had it buttoned or tied. I did notice this morning when I buttoned up for Old Man Winter that it definitely felt better on but hadn't really looked at it. My mom had said on Sunday that she noticed I had lost some in the few weeks since I had been home...I finally saw it today. I had noticed at all in any of my clothing the past two months that I had lost any. My favorite coat fits like a glove again and I can't say how much I love that it hugs my curves instead of making me look like a box!

When giving my thing I like about myself for yesterday and today I said that 1. I love my hips and I love how perfectly small children fit on them (kind of important as a nanny and hopeful someday momma). It's been really hard for me with all of the weight loss to list things that I physically like about my body. I'm generally always stuck between two different sizes of clothing which makes shopping a chore instead of fun like it used to be. Losing weight/fat unevenly across your body is also really frustrating. I'm hippy though and that hasn't changed with the weight loss thus far, nor do I see it changing after I lose more...and I do like that!

2. I like that I can laugh at myself and my own ridiculousness. It's true, I say really ridiculous things sometimes, and more so about myself than anything else...once I hear myself say them then I can laugh about it.


Monday, November 10, 2014

What you don't realize...

Until it's already taken nearly everything from you, we often don't realize how important it is to surround ourselves with people who will always lift us up no matter what. I am extremely blessed to have a very large group of people whom I have known my entire life who do this any time, day or night, no matter what they have going on in their lives. My church family. I was born and raised in the same church that my momma was born and raised in. My grandpa was a deacon there and taught Sunday school. I have people in my life who pray for me and lift me up, who have loved my family for long before I ever came into the picture.

I know that a lot of people aren't big on social media and to each their own. For me, during the last eight years of my life, it has been the main way that I get to stay in touch with my church family. It's been years and years since I've been there and I've lived as far as a thousand miles away but they are always there. When a variety of family members have been gone through cancer, when I've lost grandparents, when I've been in so much pain that all I could do was cry myself to sleep, when I said goodbye to the child I loved as my own (and so many other things), all I had to do was write one post and I had dozens of people praying for me. Dozens of people lifting me up. If any of them post anything, they are instantly in my prayers as well.

Given that I've known my entire life just how important it is to surround yourself with people who lift you up, who encourage you and genuinely want the best for you, how is it possible to not see how important that is in your personal, day to day life? For me having someone who is supportive of my wants and and my needs, who understands to the best of their ability how I might physically feel and how that affects my emotions is essential. When I don't have that in my life it stresses me out, I lose sleep, I have even worse pain from the way my muscles tense up and it physically makes me sick.

I mentioned that every day this month I am supposed to say one positive thing about myself...and how hard that can be for me. It may seem silly but when you mentally get used to beating yourself up because of people who were in your life for so long, it's a hard pattern to break. This whole month thus far has shown me things about myself every single day that have released a lot of pent up thoughts and emotions...and that's a fantastic thing! I somehow didn't realize how much I have beaten myself up much I haven't forgiven myself for.

Do you know what all of that physically does to a healthy person? Do you know what it does to someone who has had chronic pain for half of their life?

Today I was reminded of things that I used to allow to happen to me...things I used to allow to be said to me and of me. There were things that I never realized that I LET happen until after I was removed from the situation. I was driving home tonight from work and thought how freeing it is to have someone in my life who pushes me to see the best in myself...someone who pushes me to see that all of the things I want for myself and for my life I can absolutely have. Having someone concerned for my total well-being is such a blessing to me.


Just because you get a flat...

And yet I've fought with the scale for such a long time...

Good morning, world!

Yesterday marked the start of my birthday week...yay! My parents come up and had an early birthday lunch with us since I'm being whisked away to Chicago for the weekend! (Yay!) One of the first things that my mom said to me was that she could tell that I've lost weight. It had only been three weeks since I'd seen my parents so I'm amazed she could tell. It was certainly nice to hear considering I had changed clothes four or five times that morning. It's been one of THOSE weeks.

Right now seems like a good time to bring out on of the posts from the old blog. This one was titled "What's in a number..."

"Pride. Shame. Sadness. Anger. Resentment. Fear. Frustration.
All of those emotions can be stirred up from a number.

After hitting the 100 pound mark, I was on a high for a few days and then I didn't just come down from it, I slid down at about 200mph it seems. Within the last couple of weeks, an acquaintance and I exchanged a series of messages concerning both of our weight-loss accomplishments. She told me that after gaining those 5 pesky pounds over the holidays that everyone gains, she went right back to having that "fat girl" mentality of yore. Amazingly enough, after that she told me that reading my postings inspired her to believe she could lose those 5 pounds. Even more amazing was that shortly after that was when the roller coaster of emotions stated above began to happen.

In the past month, I feel like my mind and my heart have both been pulled in a thousand different directions. I've had some things thrown my direction, both good and bad, and I feel like I don't know how I am supposed to feel, or what I am supposed to think about ANY of it. I haven't been sleeping well in part because of all of those things, I've been skipping tons of meals, and just not feeling motivated at all.

This week it hit my like a huge bag of bricks-- I'm stuck in fat girl mentality. Yes, I have lost 100 pounds...(yay me!) but I haven't lost something that for more than a decade now I've associated with my weight. It  may sound incredibly stupid to sit here and say that at 27 years old, something that happened to me thirteen years ago can still have such a hold over me, but it does. When I was in 8th grade, on top of dealing with becoming horrifically sick and having my life stripped away from me, slowly and painfully before my eyes, unable to stop it, I also dealt with bullying. Again, you're probably thinking "O M G, get over it. You are 27." When you are 14, are sick, have gained easily 50 pounds almost over night, and you go to school every single day (and struggle to do that because you are so sick) and are tormented daily, it sticks with you. By tormented daily, I mean I was harassed in pretty cruel ways, sold out by so called friends to these creeps who were mentally, emotionally, verbally and one day physically abusive to me. No school officials would do anything about it. Everyone knew it was going on and never tried to actually stop the ring leader. My parents and I eventually talked to police.

By the time 9th grade started, most of it had subsided, but you can't imagine how it felt walking down those halls waiting to hear the things I had heard for most of the previous year, not to mention by that point I weighed even more. At one point during 8th grade, I looked at a knife and honestly thought to myself "that would be better than this every day." Soon after that, I began therapy that lasted through all of high school and part of college.

What is the point of everything I just said? Even after losing 100 pounds, I still weigh more than I did when my Hell began. Parts of my body are still bigger than I was back then. In my mind I guess I still feel like a nickname that I will never actually ever utter out loud because I am still that size. Hello, fat girl mentality. I've been having breakdowns daily, which I know seems ludicrous. I seem to be having more issues with my weight and my size now than I have in a decade. It doesn't make a lot of sense.

I don't know if anyone else will ever understand how much my weight to me it isn't just a number. I've carried the fat girl mentality with me for more than a decade. I think that until I am below the weight and size that I was that year, all of those emotions will always be in the back of my mind and my heart. I've said this whole time that I don't have a weight goal in mind--that I just want to be as healthy as I can possibly be. After this week, I do have a number in mind, and while it is secondary to simply being as healthy as I can be and feeling good, it's something I have to reach.

I've come a very long way-- a distance I don't think I ever actually thought I would reach.

I'm not finished."

That was written a year and a half ago. Those of you who have been following this new little blog know that I did gain weight since that post. From late last year until mid-summer I gained back 37 pounds. I was really upset at myself for it for a while. I told myself it was life and for me there would probably always be ups and downs but that any potential downs in the future would never be as bad as what I went through.

A few weeks ago I went home for my 10 year class reunion. I was REALLY leery and anxious about going for several reasons. I was worried about how I might feel if I saw certain people. A very wise person told me that none of those people mattered and that I had already won. He was right. That trip home was full of a lot of emotional healing. In the week after, I did a lot of soul searching and had closure on several things that had plagued me for years. I also realized that I have nothing to prove to anyone other than myself.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Here's the thing...

Good evening, world!

I said in a post yesterday that the whole point of blogging and telling my story is is so that it might help someone else. I thought about it earlier this evening and that isn't the whole point for me; it's strangely therapeutic and soul cleansing for me write and share.

I began writing when I was fourteen, horribly depressed and having recurring nightmares daily. It was an outlet for me that my counselor thought would help me. It did. In high school, I had a teacher who made us turn in journals weekly. I was lucky enough to have her for a series of other writing classes, too. I didn't realize until this week just how much writing means to me.

There are parts of my past that I wish I could change yet I know that if any of it had happened differently I wouldn't be here right now. I had multiple people ask me this week why I decided to delete my old blog. There were honestly several reasons but it hit me tonight what the biggest reason is. There are parts of my past, parts of my story that I have the chance to tell differently than I did before which allows me to share it with more people.

What parts of your story would you choose to edit so to speak and tell differently than before?

Say what?!

Thank God for all of the prayers that went unanswered and brought me to where I'm really supposed to be. I read something this morning about how much life can change in just a year. One year. 365 days. Sometimes one year can feel like a lifetime but other times it feels like like the blink of an eye. Parts of this last year seemed like it would never end. Six months ago I left DC and moved to St. Louis. Best decision ever. I didn't realize until late July just how much of myself I either willingly gave up or had taken from me. That day changed me.

Until this past weekend, I still allowed myself to have a victim mentality. I allowed myself to blame others for things dating back to 16 years ago. I blamed doctors, cruel teenagers, exes, genetics, life in general. I might have put a little bit of blame on myself but not nearly enough. Two years ago I chose to start cutting away the ropes that held me down. There has been a whole slew of things that I've still held onto though at least a little bit--things that at any given moment can come front and center in my mind and control me.

Silly, right? Have you ever stopped to think about how many things you don't forgive others for? There's the old adage "Forgive but don't forget." The problem with that for me is that I don't forget. Anything. Ever. I never have. My nearly 13 year old nephew said last month, "Don't you people let go of anything?!"  Of course he said it in reference to stories we were telling about him when he was little, but I've thought about those words several times since then. The simple answer to that question is NO. I don't know how to let go and I think in part because my mind is such a "steel trap" (as my mom has called it for years). I don't forget and thus I suppose I don't really forgive. How about this one-- How many things have you not forgiven yourself for?

I was challenged to say something I like about myself every single day this month. I have to say 15 physical things that I like about myself and 15 things that I emotionally like about myself. Say what?! Do you know how hard that is to do when you beat yourself up about everything? I always participate in the 30 days of Thankfulness on Facebook and that's really easy for me to do. I have so many things in my life for which I am immensely thankful for. Saying good things about myself though is hard. Correction, saying good things about my physical self is hard considering most days I still feel like the fat girl. I had a breakdown last night after shopping and not finding anything I liked that fit because one size is too big and one size is too small. I actually said out loud last night "My wardrobe was better when I was 75 pounds heavier!" Who says that? Maybe blame the pms for that mess of ridiculousness but the point is that I am really hard on myself. I shouldn't be. Every day this week before saying what I like about myself, I have stopped to tell myself "But you've come so far and you are going to go further."

How nice are you to yourself?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The journey isn't always easy...

Good morning!
Parts of this post some of you probably read before on the old's my story and the whole point of blogging for me is that maybe my story helps even just one person.

Almost two years ago now, I decided to make a change to my diet that was pretty drastic. A friend of my ex had a slew of health problems before starting a new way of life, and since, they are miraculously gone and he is in the best shape of his life. From picking his brain I started researching the Paleo and Primal lifestyle. I also started learning all that I could about the benefits of juicing. A couple of weeks before Christmas 2012 my present from my parents arrived--a juicer!

So let me go back now to how my story really begins, and I swear I'll shorten the story as much as I can!

When I was 13, I started having a lot of sick days. Initially, I was having migraines from time to time. Then one day they seemed to be happening on a very regular basis. I started seeing different doctors, and they couldn't figure out why I was having them. By this time I started vomiting sometimes multiple times a day, but it was every single day. I also started having trouble sleeping. When 8th grade rolled around, I was seeing doctors all over the place, having weekly tests done for a million different things, but still nothing showed. I was on a lot of different medications that no child should ever have to take, and the only thing that happened was extreme weight gain basically. My every day life was hell. On top of being so sick, and having no answers, I was tormented daily at school which didn't help. Before I knew it I was also on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication and had begun therapy.

After two and a half years of constant testing, continually being sick and getting no relief, we had a diagnosis: Lyme Disease. My blood tests were off the chart high. I began seeing a specialist that was eight hours away from home. During this time (and through the majority of high school), I had to be homeschooled, and I hated it. I was on nearly a dozen medications from extreme doses of antibiotics, to pain killers (morphine, vicodin...), migraine medication, sleeping pills, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills and the same anti nausea meds they give to chemo patients. At this point I'm 17, and getting weekly injections of the strongest antibiotic you can get.  My nurses had me call them when I was on my way so they could warm the serum and change the needle to a smaller one because they couldn't stand the thought of sticking me with the needle that came with it...yes, it was that big. It literally took a couple of minutes for them to push all of it in to me. At the end of each injection I was left with a rather large welt and bruise that would last until the following week when we would switch hips. The injections lasted for more than a year. I never got better. I think in time I simply became used to feeling like absolute hell day in and day out. This was my life. The only good things I had were my family, my friends, and my faith. All I could do was trust that if God brought me to all of this, eventually HE would get me out of it. That is all that held me together, because believe me, I didn't want to live. I wasn't living. I was a zombie.

In time I got off of most of the medications because they no longer helped me anyway. From time to time over the next several years, new symptoms would show bringing a new round of doctors, tests and sometimes medication (all while being uninsured mind you). More often than not, I tried to ignore my health problems because they were all I had known for so long.

By the end of April of 2009, at the age of 23, I had moved to Florida in search of finding myself again. Shortly after I moved down (and in with my parents who had moved there when I moved to Chicago), my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember thinking to myself, "Hey life, it's been a while since you've turned upside down, so why not?!" I was devastated and so scared. In time I found out that I never should have been put on a medication I had been on for a decade, so that was thrown out. Insert a new onsite of health problems. Here I was 24, and now on top of my normal health problems, I was scared out of my mind that I was going to have cancer someday because the odds are SO high that I will. I starting having excruciating migraines again, I couldn't sleep, and was now dealing with heart arrhythmia. New tests, new doctor, new meds, same ol' song and dance.

I won't bore you with unnecessary details so let's flash forward to 2012. I'm now 26 and living in Washington, D.C. and by all accounts I should have been loving my life. The one thing I had been able to count on for thirteen years health wise was that I could deal with and on most days tolerate certain levels of wanting to throw up all day (and thank God I no longer actually did every day), migraines, and bouts of insomnia. In April, I sprained both ankles at the same time. Seemingly once I was fully recovered from that something else started. In September I would have rather been dead than feel the pain I was in every day. I had multiple emergency room trips, and the pain was chalked up to being pinched nerves. I did everything suggested and nothing helped. I was throwing up pretty well daily again from the pain, pain killers weren't helping, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't do anything it seemed. I'm sure my ex was ready to be done with me and I felt like a burden to him. I became really depressed...again.

During this time, my mom was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, oh, and p.s., she also was diagnosed with Lyme's after I was...we like to do everything together. Her doctor said you can be genetically predisposed to it and after telling him all of the ongoing problems I was having, he seemed to think it was very likely I could have it as well. I started seeing a doctor again after how bad the pain had gotten. I became obsessed with researching it. Because I had the Lyme's diagnosis, we just chalked ALL problems up to being related to that. In reality though, Fibro made much more sense. During this time I began having such horrific joint and muscle pain that I cried throughout the day, and eventually cried myself to sleep every night. I would wake up in the middle of the night, practically screaming in pain. I wasn't working and it was truly Hell...again.

So, you know what happened around Christmas of that year. I got the juicer and I started researching natural fibromyalgia treatments. One day I just made the jump. I began reading The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and was astonished. Everything made absolute sense. What I haven't told you is that before I started Primal, I had managed to lose more than 50 pounds from March to December. I had struggled with my weight for more than a decade, and was finally able to start losing, yet I still felt horrible as you've read. By going Primal, I had cut out virtually all dairy, all grains, all legumes, and all processed foods. I juice (though you don't have to in order to be Primal, but I do because I love the energy that comes from the extra doses of fruits and veggies) and eat incredible tasting foods. Within the first two months of these changes, I had gone without a single prescription pain killer for the first time in literally 14 YEARS. I had a mere 3 migraines in those two months, and they palled in comparison to what I used to experience with them. I began sleeping well every night for the first time in 14 years. A bad night consists of maybe 15-30 minutes of numbness or tingling sensations going up and down my body, but even that had become rare.

By May of 2013, I was down 104 pounds from my highest weight. I did my first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (5K, but still) and felt great. I traveled a lot that summer. I stopped blogging, hit a huge plateau and then God started shaking up my life...again. October of last year brought changes that I never thought would happen. My ex and I moved out of our apartment and into separate places, I stopped being pseudo step-mom to the child I loved as my own. I fell late that month and tore multiple ligaments in my foot and stopped working out for months because of it. My depression came back tenfold and I stopped caring. I stopped caring about making sure I was living the life that I knew made me feel better. When you are THAT depressed though you don't care and it's all you can do to get up, put on a happy face, go to work and not fall apart until you get home. In time we finally broke up and I made the decision to leave DC and head back to my roots. I needed my people.

May 2014, I moved to St. Louis, which is two hours from my hometown and has been a second home to me for most of my life. By the middle of June I had spent more time with my family than I had in the three or four years prior. My heart needed that. Towards the end of that month, a very old friend that I grew up with was taken from this Earthly world far too soon. His death made me do a lot of soul searching. Through the rest of the summer, I realized just how much of myself I had willingly given up and/or had taken from me and decided that was no loner happening. I made the decision to embrace all of the good things that I had in my life. I had a pretty brutal fibro flare that lasted for a couple of months. One of my "bosses" (it's weird to call her that because she's definitely family) and I started juicing together in September. Of the 27 pounds I had gained back in the last year, I've now lost 18 since then.

I met someone that month who has given me a much needed new perspective on the pain that has plagued my life for so long. He ran a series of tests on me and we discovered that half of my spine is misaligned. There's the Lyme's, the Fibro, and the ridiculous car accident seven years ago that put me into physical therapy for seven months, oh, and the smaller one four years ago that probably pulled some of the old injuries front and center again. How about the decade plus that I spent taking a myriad of drugs that for the most part did nothing more than treat symptoms? Sigh. Take your pick as to what's caused all of my problems. In the last month I have been researching (like crazy) the effects of misalignment so that I can understand it all to the best of my ability

My C1-6 have issues. My neck vertebrae curve opposite of how they should, the discs are thinning and I even have a bone spur forming. I'm one week shy of 29 years old. How on God's green Earth is this possible?! Guess what symptoms are extremely common with all of that? Essentially all of mine, not to mention things I just chalked up to life, my genes, weather, etc.. My T4-6 and 10 are messed up. L3-5...they're a mess, too. I have vertebrae in my shoulder area and lower back that pull of to the right instead of being aligned to the center which has created nerve and muscle damage, too. I have pinched nerves, which wasn't surprising to me at all.

Below is a chart with a list of all of the vertebrae, areas of the body they correlate to and the effects of misalignment of each vertebrae. I highlighted all of my problem areas.

Guess how many of the effects I deal with on a very regular basis...35. THIRTY FIVE. And essentially all of them could be tied to Lymes or Fibro yet even through all of the medications that I've taken over the years, it has never cleared up. And even though those are the "only" vertebrae that are misaligned, they are all connected. I have muscles and nerves overcompensating and all of that combined can cause so many other issues. Some of the vertebrae that are next to the ones I do have problems with, have effects that I deal with,'s all connected.

I am off of all medications except for Claritin and Prevacid. The goal is to get off of those as well. I have my adjustments, do a lot of stretching and am throwing myself back into clean/Primal eating on top of juicing. I have realized this week how much I've allowed other people, including doctors to take from me--hope probably being the biggest one. I have classes that I am going to take the same days every week to help me get back into a routine, and scheduled times for other work outs. I'm a long way from where I want to be but I am so far from where I was and that's pretty awesome. For a long time now, I've still told myself that it wasn't enough and it's like I was mad at myself for that. I was in such a funk and so unhappy with myself that I just didn't care.

This summer was a deeply healing one for me. This fall has been one full of hope and happiness. I have hope for the first time that what has been my "normal" for nearly 16 years is NOT how my life has to be. One month from now I will be in a better place than where I am today. I know that. It's incredibly freeing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It's a new world...

Hello, world!

It has come to my attention as of late how much negativity I have still allowed to be in my sweet little world-- much of it self imposed. That's the end of that business. A lot of the things you will see on this blog will have bits and pieces of stories and information that were on the old blog. While this is going to be a much more positive and uplifting blog, parts of my story will still be included in hopes of inspiring even just one person.

I am no longer allowed to say that I am damaged, broken, messed up, jacked up, etc... A glorious mess seems fitting, however, and I'm definitely embracing it. There are so many changes that I have made in the past two years of my life and they've done a lot of good for me. I've come a long way but I have a long way to go. Rather than beat myself up for setbacks and failures, I'm taking the new hope that I've been given and I'm running with it.

There will be daily posts now because it's one way that I definitely keep myself in check. There will be no more negative talk about myself to myself or to anyone else. There will be more acknowledgement of how far I've come. There will be a lot more pushing myself to go further. I will be 29 next week...the past nearly 16 years have been filled with a lot of self-hatred, a lot of fear, a lot of worry and a lot of anxiety. There was a lot of talk of "you'll deal with this for the rest of your life" from various doctors over the years...I've been given new hope that what has always been is not how it's going to be anymore.

Left to right on top is my heaviest point to 104lbs lighter. Happiest picture on bottom though!