Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Journey Has Begun

I am going to open up and tell you some things about me that many of you don't know.  It may offer some help to someone.  It has to do with weight and obesity and is quite lengthy with no fun photos.  If you want to stop there, I understand.
My Before 2-2012
(Taken Thanksgiving 2011)

Most of my adult life, I have struggled with least I felt as though I struggled.  Looking back, I  think I worried too much of what OTHER people thought. In high school there were the typical teenage insecurities. I thought I had big did the boys who called me 'thunder thighs'.  I still remember the day my high school history teacher told me that I was the type of female Hitler had wanted..."blonde, blue eyed and hippy". The funny thing is that my Mom recently brought some dresses I wore in high school...they were a size 3/4...seriously, boys and Mr. L...your words were cruel.

As I moved through my 30's and became a full time, stay at home Mom, the weight flucuated.  I lost quite a bit of weight before Lollipop Pop was born with Jenny Craig and I felt great, but knew as soon as I stopped eating that food, the weight would come did. I never felt in control of it...once again, the food had control of me.

I tried to gain control again in 2004 and had lost 10 pounds when I became pregnant with Sugar Plum Fairy.  After her birth, I was determined to get myself under control.  Shaggy and Lollipop Pop had moved to a new school and I wanted to be active in their lives and not be an embarrassment to them.  I didn't want my husband to be embarrassed by my appearance either.  I started walking our driveway (just over 1/4 mile)  I had been doing this for a few weeks, when someone who was at our house saw me walking and said, "Boy, you better be careful...last time you did that you got pregnant!" 
 I was mortified. 
I also quit.

Fast forward to last summer when I read this post from Jayme.  I had already fallen in love with Tale from the Coopkeeper and had been following her weight loss journey.  When I saw her before picture, I thought, this looks like me!  When I saw her "during" photo, I thought, "WOWZERS!!!! She looks fantastic! She looks healthy and happy".  Here was a woman with a hectic life, a woman about the same age as me and one who I could relate too. She was real.  For months those images stayed with me. But my old negative talking self doubts always snuck into the picture.
"You should be able to do this by yourself"
"Just eat less and move more"
"You will go to the gym when you have lost some weight" (I also would clean my house before a cleaning lady came in)
"What is wrong with you...this should be so simple"
"You are much too busy with PTO, band, 4-H, blah, blah, blah...."
On and on...the excuses and the negativity.

It was during those months that I began realizing that if I continued on the path I was on, I would not be alive to watch my youngest graduate. I would not be around to hold my grand babies (MANY,MANY years from now, Shaggy and Lollipop Pop!). For anyone overweight or obese, the magnitude of shame and embarrassment can be overwhelming.  You don't want to go to the closet in the morning and chose clothes that will best hide you. You don't want to go anywhere because people will look at you and snicker. If I did not take responsibility for myself and  take care of myself, I would not be around to take care of my family. 
I took a hard look at my life...picked it apart and planned what I needed to do.  I needed to make myself a priority.
Would the parent group fall apart if I weren't there?  I doubt was in place before I came along.
Would the band uniforms be out of order and not fitted properly? Probably not and if so, did it REALLY matter?
Was it completely necessary that I be a leader of 3 4-H Projects as well as be in charge of the Club Enrollment? Nope.
I made adjustments and let go of what was not truly important to me or my family.

I am a very visual person and I wrote everything down and I prayed. I prayed for guidance, strength and the perseverance to succeed and finally gain control of my weight. Now, I don't want to sound like my life was out of control and miserable. It most certainly wasn't, but there was always the underlying unhappiness with my weight and myself.

In early February, I had decided joining the
LLU Boot Camp was what I needed to do.  I wrote an E-Mail to Jayme and she immediately  made me feel confident and empowered. The E-Mail below is what I sent her and her response after I had signed up.

"Jayme…I just joined and immediately started to cry. Sheesh!"

"I’ve been checking every few minutes to see if I heard from you!  : –)  I know exactly the feeling you have.  EXACTLY!  I still tear up sometimes, and my knees buckle under the weight of gratitude I have toward this program.  You are going to love Coach David, and every one else."

Then the doubt started creeping back in. 
What had I just done?
What if I fail? 
How was I going to find the necessary minutes to exercise?
How was I going to prepare the proper food to eat every day?
How would I manage not going to fast food joints when running late?

Jayme was right.  The support from the coaches and other Boot Camp members has been unreal. 
Making time to exercise would just HAVE to happen...that's all...nothing could get in my way, and it hasn't. I deserve that time and effort. 
Preparing the proper food for myself and my family is what I preach to my 4-H kids every year...I teach them to do it and I shouldn't be a hypocrite.
I plan menus at least several days ahead and plan healthy crock pot meals on the days when there are games or practices. 
 I simply do not drive thru restaurants any more. 

This is a program that requires a lot of reading, listening to classes and taking tests.  While it is done online, I am held responsible for accurately entering my cardio and resistance training minutes daily as well as every morsel that goes into my mouth.  If I don't do it correctly, the scale doesn't move in the proper direction and I am only letting myself down.  I have learned the deep rooted "whys" of my eating and trigger foods.  I have taken advantage of  the tools offered when I feel vulnerable or craving something.  Over the weeks, the cravings have all but ceased.  
Just prior to beginning the Boot Camp, I had lost a few pounds on my own.  Taking THAT into consideration as well as the 10 weeks of Boot Camp, I have lost 51 pounds! 
I am no longer considered obese.
I have taken 3 big bags of clothes that are too big to the Goodwill Store.
Am I done? 
Not by a long shot, but I can say that for the first time in my memory, I feel in control of my weight and food. 

(Taken last month)


Becky said...

Wow! Look at you!!
I hope that you meet your desired goal soon.
And I can SOOO relate to all of you feelings. I am so tired of having nothing to wear and being so uncomfortable.
You are an inspiration!!!

Jayme, The Coop Keeper said...

:-) I'm loving this. Your face in that last picture just speaks more than words could ever write. And you are right - it's just begun. : -D

mari said...

Thanks for sharing, I'm glad you found a program that motivates you and supports you in making the changes you want. Cherish every new spark of extra energy. Hope you already feel the transformation that has started. I love you - always have!

Ann said...

How kind it is of you to share your success with others. You have always been one of the kindest people I know and you are an absolute joy.

Denice said...

I am so proud of difficult it must have been to open up about this. Thank you VERY MUCH for sharing your story with us. Truly inspiring!!!!

Anonymous said...

Rock on Jen! Way to go!

Sarah said...

YEAH FOR YOU!!!! I am so happy for you - you look so happy in that last picture!

Tipper said...

Oh Jen! You made me cry. I feel like I'm one of your friends-but see I didn't know you were struggling. But if I had known-I would have said YES YOU CAN DO IT GIRL YOU CAN DO ANYTHING CAUSE YOU ROCK and that's the truth.

Your love for your children and the creative way you show that love-lets me know you are an awesome WINNER. And you're pretty as a picture too : ) Congratulations on all you've accomplished!!!

Jen's Farmily said...

Wow... I stumbled across your blog while commenting on another one and I love that you wrote so honestly about being overweight!

I've tried Weight Watchers and would lose 8-9 pounds and then I'd start not tracking and start gaining weight again.

The motivation that's been getting me running lately is a saying I saw on Pinterest. It was "Someone out there who is busier than you is making time to run."

alicia said...

I am SO proud of you! I know exactly those feelings and thoughts that you talk about. You took a huge step and you are amazing! Congratulations! Thank you for opening up and sharing your story- I know it's not easy to do, but I pray you are beyond blessed for your honesty. You are motivating me to move it and lose it!

MoriDawn said...

Woohoo sexy mamma inspired in taking the time to read this you do look amazing..keep up the hard work friend.. itsy bitsy bikinis here we come ;) lol

Erin Bishop/The Whatever Girls said...

Jen, I am so encouraged and inspired by you. I had no idea you were on such a difficult journey. Congratulations on your amazing achievement. I am so excited for you. Who knew we both were going through a very similar journey. I have been overweight for 8 years. I keep putting myself off and making excuses to not participate in life. I'm embarrassed and I can't stand opening the closet. It feels like my clothes are mocking me.

You've been on my heart and now I know why. (Maybe you got my recent email?) Anyway, I am SO blessed by your words and courage.

I am also so enjoying the “Seeds of Encouragement” book you sent me. It’s a gem! Thank you, friend. Erin

Karen Deborah said...

That 's a beautiful picture and it shows your joy!