the long journey to health and happiness


Some of you who know me know that I’ve long struggled with my weight.  It’s not been something I’ve been proud of nor something that I’ve really ever felt like I’ve won the battle against.  Food has always been my coping mechanism.  Food has been my best friend and in many ways my addiction.  Has my relationship with food improved over the last 4-5 years – you bet.  I’ve learned to appreciate it for what it is, and to learn the tastes and the nourishment.  But I still catch myself binging, craving and giving in.  And I still ride the roller coaster of weight loss.

But as I embark on the honesty that I get to start again on a new journey to do it right all over again I thought I’d share a quick journey of where I’ve been at least.

Back in the day – as in when I was fit and fabulous at age 16 I was was no thin thing but I was healthy.  I was in shape I was solid and I was happy with it.  Then I blew my knee and ankle out in 3 months under went 3 surgeries and my dad got sick.  And I had no idea how to cope.

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In a matter of 2 years I put on 35lbs and headed off to college and packed on another 20 during freshman year.  I was spiraling quickly.  And I really never did a handle on things.

Before I knew it when life started to calm down I had hit a weight I was no ok with and life was pretty much collapsing.  I cracked down on my eating – pretty much because of the 2 things I could actually control at the time (whether I spoke or ate) eating was the one thing I could physically make decisions over.  I was healthy about it – portion control for the most part and I dropped almost 40 lbs.  And then life got comfortable again.

Next time I knew what had happened I had put everything back on… and then some… like DOUBLE… It was pretty sickening.  Like most overweight people I don’t have many photos of that “dark” time.  I made jokes about it – found what I thought were fashionable clothes.  Focused on my career.  That was in 2012.

When I graduated with my masters degree, my mom and my boss both started laying hints that I needed to get my health in check.  My migraines were out of control.  I’d just had my 4th knee surgery, my fatigue was at extreme levels and I just had to do something.

So I did. Slowly but surely I started to change what I ate, I started moving more, jogging, whatever got me out of the house.  And I was single which helped.

I got back down to that college freshman weight and stalled out.  And got frustrated.  I was failing as a runner – I just sucked at it.  And I don’t take failure well.  I started dating someone, started to get comfortable, let stress at work creep in, and got injured in a ziplining accident that set me back for almost a month…

When I got on the scale yesterday and I saw that I put on 10 lbs in the last year… I was disappointed though not defeated… I knew it could have been worse.  Because despite everything I was still well aware of what was happening… This week I made an agreement with myself that I needed to find something that worked for me… what that is I don’t know but then I pulled up all these old comparison pictures to remind myself that I can do this and I have done this and I’m going to keep doing this…

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October 2011 and summer of 2013

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October 2011 and Summer 2013

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Fall 2011 at my heaviest and Summer 2013 at my lightest since 2003

And I thought about all of the things I do now that I never did before and that to me are those things we call non-scale victories…

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Hiking up this hell of a hill at Dead Man’s Hollow in Fall 2014

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Getting out with friends to hike in Pittsburgh every couple of weeks – who knew fresh air was so freaking awesome!

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Connecting with family during races… though I’m currently on a break from running as my passion for it has gone missing

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Kayaking my number one true love that I’ve found… give me the water any day…

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Ziplining – no – this is not when I got hurt – this was a pretty awesome ropes course in North Park in Pittsburgh

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and more kayaking – couldn’t get enough of it!

Lastly – just a couple of months ago realizing that I still had made a ton of progress even though I had backslid a bit… all I had to do was look in the mirror – or take a selfie 😉

Summer 2011 and Fall 2014

Summer 2011 and Fall 2014

My journey will never be over – but acknowledging that, sharing the story and putting one foot in front of the other and admitting when mistakes are made is what makes us human and makes the journey what it is…. and honestly I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  Every scar, every bruise every ache is worth it…

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