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.


  1. tressie i'm proud of you. as someone who struggles to lose weight myself, i totally respect your weight loss. keep at it--you're doing fantastic!--Shannon

    1. Thank you so much, Shannon. You keep at it, too!