"Who is that holding E____ I asked?"
He looked at me incredulously and replied "That's YOU".
"NO!" I responded, horrified, "That's not me. I never looked like that!"
But I knew in that moment that I was wrong and he was right. I felt so much shame over that picture and a few others like it that deleted them and vowed that they would never be seen by anyone. Ever. As I have blogged about shame and vulnerability here for the past few years, I realize that I've been hiding this past version of myself and its time to fess up because shame can't bear the light of day. If I share this with you, I can't be ashamed of it anymore. I used to be pretty overweight. This is one of the only pictures that escaped my deleting frenzy.
Shortly after this picture was taken, our family moved from California to Idaho to open a franchise of Pump it Up. I didn't realize what a can of worms I was opening when I chose that move. We arrived in Boise Idaho in the winter of 2004 as orphans, with no strong family connections, no friends, no job, no nothing. I felt overwhelmed by the profound loneliness I felt. The process of opening our business was far more chaotic and difficult than we expected. Between bankers and city planners who seemed hell bent on preventing our success, I felt as if I had no control over anything in my life. As the time passed and our precious savings leaked away, I felt increasingly helpless and bitter. I remember crying to God for answers about what I could do and feeling distinctly that even if I could not control any of my external circumstances, I COULD control myself. This one body that I had been given was mine to shape. And so I began. I got on the scale that day and it read 225 lbs.
I did not join a support group. I did not train for a marathon. I did not sign up for a pre-scheduled meal delivery service. I just decided. I decided that the price of staying where and how I was was too high. I was done being a victim of my circumstances.
Because I know that there is someone reading this who is in the exact same place I was, I'm going to tell you exactly what I did, in all its simplicity.
1. I woke up every morning put on my exercise clothes, which I kept on while I got my kids ready for school. (its important that you not allow yourself to get showered and ready for the day until the exercise has happened)
2. I headed straight to the kitchen and blended myself a giant green smoothie.
3. I got my kids (8,6, 4, 2) ready for the day. I dropped the 8 and 6 year old off at school and took the two younger kids with me to the gym.
4. I headed straight for the elliptical trainer and didn't let myself get off until Law and Order was over. I love that show, so it made me want to stay on for a whole hour.
5. I picked up the kids from daycare and stopped at Subway on the way home for a 6" turkey on whole wheat with no cheese and no mayo.
6. I made my family a salad or soup for dinner, which I also ate.
7. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted once per week on a date with my husband and that frequently included boneless buffalo wings and sometimes even cheesecake.
In 12 months I lost 75 pounds. I tell you this because my plan was far from perfect! I know much more now about nutrition and exercise and there are things I do differently now, but at the time, this was the level of simplicity that I required. This was "good enough" for me and i'll bet it would be good enough for you if you are reading this and wanting to make a change.
The hardest part is deciding.
Over the past 12 years, I have become a totally different person. I have come to understand WHY I carried those pounds around for 5 years and how it actually gave me exactly what I wanted and needed. I have learned strategies for helping other people and for helping myself. If you want to know more about WHY you are carrying around those extra pounds that just don't seem to budge, stay tuned for next week's post. You can subscribe to my feed to make sure you get an alert when it's up.
If you are local to the Treasure Valley, I invite you to join me for a workshop this week where we will talk about this and other physical ailments that have a strong emotional component and how we can address them using simple mentoring tools and essential oils. You can sign up for those free 1 hour workshops Here.