Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Spoiled and Stubborn

I have been spoiled my whole life...in every way. I try not to act like the stereotypical "spoiled brat", but that doesn't mean I don't think like one.
I don't like to hear the word "No." In fact, when I do, it instantly triggers an emotion that isn't so pleasant. I get angry and want to rebel immediately. It's mature...I know.
I don't like being told what to do. I don't like rules or restrictions. I don't like hard work. I don't like competitions. I don't like doing something I don't want to do.
I want control. But...I don't like being responsible if something goes wrong or if someone is not happy. I am a natural leader, but I get stressed when too many people rely on me.   
I am extremely sensitive to others' feelings, to the point that I will put aside my own needs/wants/desires to please others. Which is why I am sometimes hesitant to take the leadership role. Even though, ultimately I want that control, I am also aware of my easygoing nature and sensitivity to others' feelings, which I know can hinder my ability to be an effective leader.
Why am I saying all this??
Because...I am a mess!
I want control, but I don't want to be responsible. I don't like being told what to do, but I want someone to tell me what to do. I know I need to force myself to change my spoiled ways, but... I DON'T WANT TO!! (said as I am kicking and screaming)
I HATE the situation that I am in right now.
Because...I am going to have to grow up and get over it.
Which...I'll just say...me writing that, instantly triggered that not so pleasant emotion.
I have been on a roller coaster with my weight for as long as I can remember. I don't think I would know what to do with myself if I ever got to my goal weight. Maybe that is what's keeping me from pushing through it. How do I strive for something that I have no mental picture of? I see old pictures of myself, but that's just what they are "old" pictures. I am not the same person I was back then. I want a mental picture of myself at 38 years old and 200 lbs lighter, not one at 18 years old. I want to know what my body...at 38, 39, 40 years old...will be able to do when I reach my goal. Because let's face it, the last time I was at the weight that I'm aiming for now, was 20 years ago. Who knows what my body can do now?
Is that a defeatist attitude? I hope not. Because I really am an optimistic person. I just need visuals. Accurate visuals. That will help me know what to expect. That will give me something to look at whenever I am at my lowest point wanting to give up because "It's just TOO hard!!" And, I know me...I know I will want to give up EV.ER.Y day.
I am spoiled. I want what I want. And I don't want to be told "no".
But...this spoiled little girl is going to have to learn to hear it and accept it and live with it. 
I feel sorry for my family. Because this will be just as hard on them, if not harder. They have to live with me. And trust me, I am not one to hold back my feelings or thoughts. I will be a nightmare to be around until I can adjust to the new ways. And even then, I'll have moments of rage and bitterness.
You know what's hard to understand? Why is it that food has such an affect on me? What is it that makes it so appealing? And, why couldn't the healthy options be the appealing ones?
I used to smoke a long time ago. And, I remember getting that same "high" whenever I lit one up. It was very calming. But, it also made me feel like crap, it was expensive and I didn't like doing it knowing that Mike didn't like it. He almost didn't want to commit to a relationship with me because of that nasty addiction. I convinced him that I didn't plan on smoking forever and thankfully he believed me. I quit shortly after we officially became a couple. It was a stupid choice I made in high school to "fit in" better with my circle of friends and it also helped during my first Weight Watchers stint to occupy my mouth. It was never something I felt good about doing, but I felt good when I did it. If that makes any sense.
Food is the same way. I know exactly what I'm doing, but I do it anyway. Sometimes it's like I'm challenging myself to misbehave. That actually poses an interesting thought. My whole life I've been a "good girl" maybe this is how I rebel. Isn't that stupid?!? Oh...who knows. I'll come up with any excuse to explain my problem. Bottom line is, food gives me that same "high" that smoking did. I will be in a crap mood, but the second I eat chocolate or a salty French fry or drink an ice cold soda or whatever the craving may be, I will seriously physically feel my mood change and become happier. It is really hard to deny myself of that euphoria. How do I get that feeling elsewhere? I have an addictive personality, so it worries me to even think about it. Thank goodness that I don't drink because I know I could easily overindulge in that. It's much easier to abstain entirely. I don't do well with moderation.
I was talking to Mike the other night...feeling sorry for myself, bitching about how it's not fair...I'm sure you know the conversation I'm talking about. Anyway...my pitch to him of trying to reason my irrational thoughts about my predicament was..."Well...I have to eat. I can't just eliminate food." Because, as I've stated many times, I am an "all or nothing" type of person. So...that means, if I want to lose weight I have to quit ALL food cold turkey. Just like I did with smoking. I quit cold turkey. No more cigarettes. Done. Easy peasy.
After I came to my senses and realized how stupid I was being. I had that "a-ha" moment. You know the one that should have been common sense a long time ago...the one that everybody and their mother has "suggested" I do (I hate being told what to do remember). Here it is...are you ready? I CAN eliminate food cold turkey. Not food entirely, I realize, but certain things. This is where the "all or nothing" state of mind gets kinda screwy. I have a hard time thinking outside of the box in certain situations and I also know I hate restrictions because they cause my mind to go on rebellion overdrive. So...I don't even give myself that option...on anything. If I deny...I overindulge just to spite. But...I didn't do that with smoking or drinking (I used to drink a bit too). I just quit. I told myself that I wasn't doing it anymore and that was it. I need to get myself in that frame of mind again. There are certain things that I can eliminate from my diet that my body does not need and it will have a huge impact on my health. I have to treat it like an allergy almost. I've been blessed to have no food allergies, so I haven't had to abstain from anything unless it's by choice. But, doctor diagnosed allergy or not, some things just don't treat my body or mind kindly. So, a wise person would just say no right?...there's that word again ;).
So, what it all boils down to is...choices...making the right choices. And to stop being a spoiled brat, and listen to what my body has been telling me for a long time. All I can say is I'm tired of being tired, I'm tired of not fitting anywhere, I'm tired of missing out on so many things. And, I'm tired of making excuses that are seen right through and disappointing and worrying so many people.
I have been talking with my old trainer Aimee a lot lately and in an email she sent me she said this,  "You have to decide to be an adult and take responsibility for your health.  This isn’t about shame and blame. It’s stepping out of emotional childhood and into emotional adulthood and creating the life that you want." She always know just what I need to hear.
So...with that being said. I can talk and talk and talk and say I'm going to do all these things, but if I don't put my words into actions, then I won't get anywhere. Plain and simple.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Keeping it real and being honest with myself.

Why is it so easy to tell everyone else what they should be doing and eating, but not myself?
Let me rephrase that. Why is it that I expect them to LISTEN and DO IT, but it's OK if I don't?
Story of my life.
Here's a little glimpse into the life of Jill.
I live day to day complaining about how much weight I've gained and keep gaining. I complain about how hard it is to do anything anymore. I complain about how crappy I feel all the time, and how tired I am. I complain about how I can't do the fun things that I used to. I complain about being uncomfortable all the time and how my body is always achy.
And, what do I do about it?? Nothing. I just complain.
There are several reasons.
1. I don't like change.
2. I love food.
3. I hate exercise.
4. I like to complain (?)... not usually. But lately, I sure do.
The idea of change is terrifying. And, that is exactly what I have to do in order to stop these complaints.
This is me in a nutshell. The not so wonderful characteristics of me.
I live in a world of denial. I refuse to accept that things are more serious than I want them to be or think they are. I am an "unrealistic optimist" (self-titled). Everything will be fine...it will work itself out. I convince that to myself in order to disguise the reality.
I am the "QUEEN of Over's" (again...self-titled). I am an "over" eater, "over" complicater, "over" analyzer, "over" thinker, "over"ly sensitive, "over"ly compulsive and impulsive, "over" worrier... and I'm sure there are many other "over"s.
I am an "All or Nothing" type of person. Either I do it ALL perfectly or I am a failure. I want to go from zero to 100 every time. Go big or go home. I beat myself up over everything. "I should have done more...I could've done better". And, I really don't like taking small steps because I want INSTANT gratification!
I am a "Highly Sensitive Person". Yes...there is such a thing. I am sensitive to people's tone of voice, facial expressions, body language...I will worry if they are upset or sad even if they're not. I apologize a lot because I worry that I upset them somehow. I don't know why or how...but I'm sure it was me. I worry that people think badly of me or are disappointed in me. I am bothered by noise, especially repetitious noises. I hear it IMMEDIATELY and it must stop NOW. Let's face it...I hate repetition all together. I am bothered by smell...a smell can instantly give me a headache. My mood can change on a dime by what someone does or says. Because of these sensitivities, I feel on edge most of the time.
The reason I am stating all of this is because all of these characteristics are some of the reasons that I am where I am today. Unhealthy and unhappy with myself and my condition.
The saying that I have ALL over my house and the one I am drawn to a lot is "Keep it Simple".
Because I know that is the one thing I need to work on the most.
I have to take a step back quite often and ask myself if I am making a mountain out of a molehill? Am I creating false accusations in my head based on my emotional perception of nothing? Am I working myself into a tizzy over something minute? Am I bullying myself for not doing more instead of praising myself for doing something?

Overall...as you can clearly tell by me "over" questioning my own thoughts... that it can be quite exhausting to live in my head.
There has been an intervention
 of sorts recently showing concern for my health. And, it's understandable. I have went downhill rather quickly over the past few years...in particular, this past year. I am not blind to that. But, what's not understood is that it isn't an easy fix. There are a lot of outside factors that come into play in addition to my own actions. I am easily distracted. I am easily persuaded. I am quick to give in. I am easily tempted. It isn't just a fix that I need to do...all of the people in my life that I am with regularly need to be my strength just as much as I need to have the strength myself. I can't do this alone. I understand that it is my battle to overcome and that I am the one who got myself into this situation and I am the one responsible for making the effort to change. But, I can't do this alone. I've tried. And tried.
The problem with that is...I am a very independent person. But, recently I have become very dependent on others to help me with things that I used to do on my own. This has been a hard and frustrating adjustment. But...there are still certain things within this journey that I want to do alone and need to do alone. Exercising is one of those things. I am someone that needs music blaring in my ears or around me in order to get motivated and get the energy to move. Since I am so easily distracted, music blaring is the one thing that drowns out all outside distractions. It makes exercising so much more enjoyable for me.
Over the years, I have learned a lot about myself. And, the battle I face is in my head. Because of all of those characteristics above, it makes it that much harder for me to make changes. It is a day to day struggle and it will always be that way.
It doesn't mean that I am giving up. Far from it. I have way TOO much to live for but if I continue down this path, I won't live as long as I want to.
Right now, I am just miserable in my own body. I hate feeling this way. It has been manageable for a long time and easier to overlook and convince myself that all is fine. But, it's become such a burden...so much more than before. I am noticing other problems coming up now both mental and physical. And that really scares me.
With that being said, here is my promise to my loved ones and myself...
I will fix this. I will make better choices and think about what my actions are doing to my body, my mind and everyone that is counting on me to be around for a long time. All I ask is to just please continue to be patient with me. I will do this.
Sorry this is a downer post. But...I'm just keeping it real. And, I've been told that being honest is one of my finer qualities.
Keep it simple...Keep it real...Be patient...Be compassionate...Don't give up

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Power of Positive Thinking

How do you change the self-talk and inner dialogue that you have done with yourself for years and years??
It's possible. Not easy, but possible.
You don't realize how awful you speak to yourself until you actually take the time to listen and hear what you say.
When you look at yourself in the mirror...what is your inner dialogue? What are you mentally telling yourself? Now...think about those thoughts and ask yourself, "Would I say these things to my child or someone I love?" The answer will most likely be "No." So...why do we say these things to ourselves??
The reason that I do, is because I am not happy with how I have let myself go over the years. Disgusted, is probably more accurate. So a natural response is to be critical, and then speak very unkindly to that reflection. But...cutting myself down and speaking negatively will not help me change that reflection. I think of it like this...what is the best way to motivate me? Answer: I respond best to positive reinforcement, praise and kind words of encouragement. Which is exactly what I would do for my kids or anyone else feeling down. I don't believe in demeaning or belittling anyone. If they already feel awful, the last thing I want to do is make them feel worse. Which goes back to my original question...why do we say these things to ourselves??
I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I have been on countless diets and programs. I have come close to getting the Lap-Band. I have lost weight, gained weight, lost inches, gained inches, went down sizes in clothes, went up sizes in clothes...OVER and OVER again. I have had words of concern and advice given to me...OVER and OVER again. I am not naïve to where I am at currently with my health and weight. I am not ignoring it. I am just trying to understand the problem and how to help myself the best way and a permanent way.
With age comes wisdom, right? And, we learn from our mistakes.

Well...I have made A LOT of mistakes. But, I have also made some very good choices. And, one key player in all my successes and failures are my thoughts. I can go from being on cloud nine to feeling like pond scum with one single thought. When it comes to evaluating anything that I do, I live in a world of "shoulda, woulda, coulda". I am seldom satisfied with my efforts or outcomes. And, having these negative thoughts all the time, is not conducive to moving in a positive direction in anything that I attempt.
I have known all along that if I want to lose weight for good and get my health back, I have got to address the main problem. My thoughts. If I don't fix my head, whatever changes I make physically, will be temporary.
I have reconnected with my old trainer, Aimee, to work on fixing my head. She did wonders for me a couple of years ago and since then she has expanded her expertise to the mental part of self help. Which is perfect to help me get back on track. She recommended that I read a book called "Love Yourself Lighter" by Suyin Nichols. I LOVE this book. It is a feel good book that helps you to understand the power of positive thinking and the "Why's?" behind the weight. Very eye-opening for sure!!
A few quotes that I like from this book:
"The way you think influences every choice you make and every action that you take."
"Creating your healthiest body begins in your mind, not in the gym or on your plate."
"Having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body. Be sure to spend equal energy on cultivating both."
I don't know how many times I have become so bitter and irritated after a day of dieting or exercising, that I would surrender to those feelings and give up. How is that going to help me?? It won't. The solution...keep things simple and be compassionate. DO NOT expect yourself to change overnight. And DO NOT force yourself to do something you don't like. This is a lifestyle change, so make it enjoyable. Don't deny yourself of the things you love, just be mindful to not indulge in the less healthier things in excess. I know for me, if I forbid myself of something I love...chocolate...I will want it that much more! But, if I know it is ok to have some, in moderation, it becomes less tempting.
Also, if I choose to do something that I feel is the "proper or correct" thing to do, but I don't enjoy it, I will come up with all kinds of excuses not to do it. For example, there are certain exercises that I HATE...Burpees is one of them.  I HATE Burpees! Aimee made me do them when we worked out and they sucked! So...if I want to enjoy my exercise routine, I will NOT include Burpees. There are other options that will be more enjoyable for me. In fact, my dislike of Burpees actually became a punishment or "motivation" to make wiser food choices. On Halloween, Aimee told me that I had to do one Burpee for every piece of candy that I ate. Needless to say...that Halloween sucked. No candy for me. :P
Talking with Aimee over the last several weeks has been very helpful for me. I have become more aware of my thoughts...my self-talk...my inner dialogue and I have made a conscious effort to be nicer to myself. She has also made me aware of the fact that I create a lot of drama and stress on myself by having thoughts that aren't backed with evidence. In other words, I assume things that aren't true ALL THE TIME. I create a kind of paranoia that hinders me from focusing on myself and making progress. I am so overly sensitive to other's perceptions of me that it can affect how I function. Aimee is helping me to distinguish the difference between a thought that I have generated on my own from an actual fact that can be supported and is valid. Once I make that distinction, it will change the way I feel and will produce a healthier action. It's all very hard to explain. That book clarifies it better. In short, positive thinking will work wonders in helping me conquer this life long battle.
In one of our conversations, I had a tearful "a-ha" moment. She asked what my ideal weight would be. So, my automated response was 150 lbs. That is what I have felt my weight "should" be in order to reach my goal. It was the lowest weight I made it to in high school after my first Weight Watchers program. It is the lightest I have been in my late teen/adult life, so that is the number that has stuck with me.
After she asked me that, she asked me how much I weigh now...which is around 400 lbs. She wanted me to explain how that makes me feel. Which I did. She then asked me to picture myself and really envision how I would feel right now if I was at 300 lbs. I answered, that I would still not be happy because even though it is 100 lbs. lighter, it is still a size that puts many restrictions on my abilities and I will still have the same medical problems. She then asked me to envision myself at 150 lbs. And I told her that I can honestly say that I have NEVER known what it feels like to be happy at any weight, so I don't know how it would make me feel. When I was at 150 lbs., I was in high school standing next to my friends who were still thinner than me. I was blessed with curves...I love that now, but it wasn't the typical high school body form. Which meant that even though I was at a good size, it didn't make me happy because I was still "overweight" and "big".
After that we bounced up to 200 lbs. How does that make me feel? And, I instantly broke into tears. It's funny how certain thoughts can create such a powerful emotion. When I had that response it made me wonder why obviously. When I was 200 lbs., I was out of high school and all the scrutiny of being the "perfect" size. I was working full time and I was in a good place emotionally. I had just started dating Mike and I was feeling good about myself...wearing cute clothes and happy with my figure. So...that number, that 200 lb. vision has great memories to go along with it. I like the memories associated with that number much more than the 150 lb. one. And, with that tearful response, Aimee said, "I think we found your goal weight."
So, for all these years, I have just assumed that 150 lbs. is what I had to aim for. And, all along I have had bad memories with it. So, as Aimee puts it...of course I won't strive to get there because it doesn't create a desirable image for me. I mean, why would I want to be a weight that still made me miserable? Right?
After this conversation, I felt alive again. It sparked a whole new desire to get back on that horse. This time with the ammo that I need to make the permanent changes I have been so desperate for. I have the power and knowledge to control my thoughts and transform them into motivating and compassionate and honest words of encouragement. It won't happen overnight. I can't change the way I have spoke for so many years all at once. It will take time and effort and consistency. But, I am worth it!! I am tired of being a prisoner in my own body. I want a transformation that will last for MANY years to come.
I am POSITIVE that I have the ability to make this happen. I am making the change to become a healthier and happier and more energetic woman. I am in the process of bringing back the Jill that I know I am. It will be long, difficult journey with lots of speedbumps, but I am ready for the challenge. Game on!!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

No Laughing Matter

Laughter to me is an essential part in living a happy life. I love to laugh. I love to make others laugh. It is a major part of my personality. The word "funny" is probably one of the first adjectives that comes to mind when my name is said. And that makes me happy. :) Of course I would like to be known for other things as well...as long as they're nice...but being funny means I make people smile. And who doesn't need to smile, right?
Ultimately, I like to make people feel good, whether that's through laughter, a goofy smile, a wink, a hug, helping out, listening, an unexpected treat, a thoughtful note or whatever I feel will do the trick. I do this because...life is stressful. It doesn't matter who you are...or how many kids you have...or how many hours you work...or what calling you have in church. Life is stressful. And, if I can brighten someone's day, I'm going to do it.
I truly believe that our attitude is key in how our day will turn out. I believe, if we remember to smile, laugh a little and look at the positives, things won't feel so overwhelming or unfixable. It won't make the problems go away, but at least it will help to keep us from wallowing in self pity.
I try to maintain a positive attitude at all times. I try to look at the bright side of every situation. Some days are harder than others. But, I manage to pull myself out of whatever funk I'm in because it does me no good to feel sorry for myself. It may take a day or two to do it, but I'll do it. I don't like the way I feel when I'm down and I really don't like how it affects everyone I'm around. I'm supposed to be brightening everyone's day, not bringing them down.
So, when I notice that I'm having more bad days than good and I'm feeling down and withdrawing more...red flags come up. I need to take immediate action and assess the situation, find the cause(s) of this sudden change in my normal demeanor.
As I stated in my last post, I wanted to find a hobby or job to help with giving myself a creative outlet, a purpose, something that will help me to feel accomplished. I am pleased to say that I have done that. And it has been so helpful being able to find something that I can do that I'm proud of and feel that sense of accomplishment. But, I've realized that this hobby is just a Band-Aid to the real issue. This isn't really what I need to make me happy again. It definitely helps, but I still have that sadness lingering.
The real issue is that I feel like an outsider wherever I go. The reason being is not because I don't connect with people. It's because I have alienated myself due to the limitations caused by my size and weight. I can no longer be a part of simple activities or chores. The past few weeks I have had several eye-opening events happen where my size has kept me from being "normal". It really pisses me off!!
For example...we painted our basement. And upon doing this, I find that it is near impossible and actually unsafe for me to climb a ladder, so Mike had to do everything that was out of my reach. And...having to get down on the floor to do trim work is just as hard. I hate it! It sucks to have the desire to do something but not be able to do it physically. All because of my own poor choices...talk about frustrating! I'm not used to my independence being taken away from me this way. I would really like to paint all over the house, but I just have to accept the fact that I can't do these simple projects by myself anymore.
Another example...Sydney is now playing softball. This is my favorite sport because I played it growing up. I SO want to get out there and play with her...I want to squat down as catcher with all the gear and get filthy in the dirt...I want to stand up to bat and kill the ball into the outfield like I used to...I want to run to catch a fly ball and throw it across the entire field...I want to slide into home plate and get all scraped up. I could teach her so much! But...I'm not in the proper condition to do any of that right now. Sure I could try, but I just can't move the way I need to. This limitation is probably the most aggravating for me. The boys used to play soccer and I couldn't get out there with them either. But, I don't like soccer much, so I didn't really care. In fact, I was honestly kind of relieved I couldn't help. But not playing softball with Sydney...that is really tough for me to accept.
There are so many other limitations that have been gradually building up my anger with the situation that I've put myself into. So to shorten this post and spare you with details of each one, I'll just make a list, how about that. ;)
The Top 10 Limitations of a Fat Girl (in no particular order because they all suck equally)
1. I can't fit into booths at a restaurant.
2. I miss out on fun events because of seating options...small seats or bleachers that must be climbed.
3. I can't climb stairs without a major struggle unless there is a handrail...and it's still a challenge.
4. I can't just throw myself on the floor to play with the animals like I used to...it takes careful effort to sit on the floor. And...I won't even get into trying to get back UP off the floor.
5. I can't garden or dig in the dirt easily because it hurts my legs to kneel.
6. I have to ride in my own van whenever carpooling because more times than not, the seatbelt in the other vehicle won't stretch around to fit me.
7. ANY kind of shopping or housework is slow going and requires many breaks.
8. I'm not able to help out my family around the farm with the horses and yard work the way I'd like.
9. I shy away from a lot of opportunities due to the fear of the unknown, like if I'll be able to fit or if there is a lot of walking or standing.
10. Freedom in general...I am a prisoner in my own body.

I went to the doctor last week in hopes of finding some magical solution to help make my weight loss journey a little easier. My water retention weighs me down (no pun intended :D) and makes it so hard to move. Because of this it affects my mood which affects my motivation to do anything about it. Unfortunately there isn't anything I can do other than take the medicine that I'm already taking. Which I kinda figured. Ultimately, my weight is the main contributor to ALL of my issues. My doctor said that I'm on a "slippery slope" with my weight. Which I figured this too. But, even with hearing that, I am grateful that I don't have any other major health problems...at least none that are irreversible. Everything that I'm suffering from currently can be fixed. Which is a blessing. :) See...I am finding the positive in the situation. ;)
So...back when I first started this journey, I signed on with a trainer/life coach to help guide me. She was an angel and did wonders for me. Unfortunately, after a year or so I was getting burnt out and began having more and more set backs, eventually leading to quitting all together. Which leads me to where I am today.
It's true, I may not like what I see in the mirror, but I still love who is staring back at me. And, I need to take care of those that I love and I need to make my own days brighter just as much as everyone else's, right? Right. Because that's what I'm good at...that's what I strive for each and every day. So...with that being said, if I want to lead any kind of normal life and get back the joy I once had, I have to suck it up and make some major changes. But, in order to do that the right way, I have to work on the real causer of my problem. Which is...my mind...my thoughts...my inner demons. My inner voice is the tempter that is dangling that carrot of destruction in my face. I am my own worst enemy.
I know that I need help with this part, so I have contacted Aimee again to be my coach. With her help, I know I can conquer this. I have faith in myself. I have lost the weight before, so I know I can do that part of it. It's not easy, but it's possible. What I have to really address and keep focus on are my thoughts and emotions as to why I'm doing these things to myself. Once I get my mind on track, the rest will fall into place.
Losing weight is a tricky thing. There are so many variables and everyone is designed differently. Every doctor and nutrition expert has a theory or method to losing weight and getting healthy. And, all these options gives us something to consider and be open minded to, but keep in mind, what works for one won't work for another. And honestly, knowing the right food to eat is the easy part. It's learning and breaking the bad habits and associations with the foods and behaviors that cause the health problems and weight gain to begin with...that's the hard part.

Well...I have a lot of work to do and a lot of rough days ahead. But...I just need to keep my eye on the prize and stick to it.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Challenges of a Stay-at-Home Mom.

I have had the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom FULL time since I was pregnant with Sydney...that is going on 9 years now. At the end of my pregnancy with the boys, I quit working but then went back to work part time for a few years...very part time. So...even though I worked a little bit in between having the boys and Sydney...I have pretty much been a stay-at-home mom for over 13 years. That's a LONG time. And...I am SO thankful for the hard work and headaches my husband has had to endure so I could have this luxury.

After we got married and were talking about starting a family, we both agreed that we wanted one of us to stay home to raise our kids. Mike had the most potential for making enough money to provide for all of us. Neither one of us had a college degree, but the computer field had a lot more promise than retail. So...we decided that he was to be the provider of income while I was to be the provider of daycare. ;) And, both of us wanted it that way...so it was perfect. At first, it was a struggle, but we were always blessed with raises and/or promotions by Mike's employers right when we needed them. Everyday, we count our lucky stars with how well we have been taken care since the beginning and still are today.
But now...after 19+ years of being together, 15+ years of marriage and 13+ years of being parents, we are at a very different stage in our lives. Our kids are growing...too fast...and it is not as necessary for me to stay home. This is a VERY scary and exciting thought for me.
Being a stay-at-home mom is a priceless opportunity...but...it can also have it's downsides. I have lost who I am as a person outside of being a mom. I have done nothing to further my education or keep in tune with my interests. It has been all about taking care of my kids, my family and our home. Granted, I did have that year when I started my weight loss journey, where I focused on myself and made some very positive changes. But, after awhile I ended up losing my way and went back to the life that I was familiar with.
The hardest part about being a stay-at-home mom is that, quite honestly...it can be a very thankless job (emotionally). It sounds awful saying that, but it's true. A mom's job is expected and not often appreciated or acknowledged. I know I sound petty and spoiled by saying that.  But, seriously...who doesn't want or NEED to be thanked and high-fived sometimes?!? I know I do. A LOT. Yes...I am very needy that way. I thrive on positive reinforcement and praise. But, it's not just that, it's also the fact that nothing ever feels finished, so I never get that sense of accomplishment. And...that can really wear on a person after a while. Imagine doing the same thing over and over again and never seeing an end to it. Seriously, I have to constantly redecorate every room, just to see something complete...which even those projects half the time don't get finished either. *sigh*
I know that one way of validating all of my hard work at being a stay-at-home mom is by recognizing how "well" my kids have turned out. And, when I get complimented about my kids, I feel that sense of pride and am very appreciative for the remarks. But...I still don't take full credit for that because I am not the only one responsible. They have a team of great role models that have contributed to their personalities and behavior. Sure, I am with them more than anyone, but I am not the only influence they have. But, on the flip side, however...when my kids behave badly or make poor choices...that is when I DO take full responsibility. Because, well...I'm their mother. And, I should've taught them better.
I don't know...at this point I think I'm just rambling. Please don't misunderstand my rant for being bitter or ungrateful for the blessing that I have had being able to be there for all the "first's" and being able to spend time with my kids 24/7 and watching them grow up from the very beginning. I wouldn't change it for the world!
But now...I need more. I am struggling with depression at this point because I am not doing anything that is rewarding to ME personally. I need to feel like I am contributing something financially and I need to challenge myself with something other than housework, meal plans and carpooling. The biggest contributor to poor physical health is poor emotional health. If I don't take care of my head, I won't take care of my body. I have become lazy and unmotivated because I am bored. And, because of that I am suffering with a wide range of problems both emotionally and physically.
I am at an all-time low right now. I am the heaviest that I have ever been...weighing in at 398.6 lbs. Yes...that's right...almost 400 lbs. UNREAL. That has become such a handicap and I am not enjoying life the way I want to.
I know if I start working and doing something other than the stay-at-home mom duties...it will help take my mind off of food and being unhappy and unfulfilled. I need something to motivate me. I need someone to answer to. I am terrible at being my own boss because I don't push myself. What better motivator than a paycheck, right?? When I was in retail, nothing gave me more pleasure than impressing my boss with what I could do. At home, there isn't much I can do that will impress anyone. They know me...they know what I'm capable of. Plus the fact...what is there to do to impress them with anyway. They could care less about decorating...or how awesome I can fold a towel...or how fast I can unload the dishwasher. What I need is...to be challenged. And, I don't want to be challenged with weight loss goals. I'm tired of that being the motivator. And to be honest, it pisses me off more than it helps...because I'm never satisfied with what I accomplish.
What I need is something different...something new to get me excited. I need something that doesn't revolve around the one topic that weighs...no pun intended...on my mind every second of every day...like my health does. I'm not sure what that is yet...but I'm looking. And I am ready to get back out into the real world. Watch out!!
I know this will help/force me to get on a schedule that will benefit the whole family. Right now, I don't have many obligations, so I create my own schedule and it is very lenient and void of hard work to say the least. I am embarrassed to say that I'm a pretty easy boss. ;) Which is why I am in the condition that I'm in today. Unfortunately.
So...with all that being said...I am excited for this new stage in my life and I am grateful for the blessing that I have been given to be a stay-at-home mom. I know it is a luxury that many mom's don't have.
I'm not sure what's in store for me...we shall see where the winds take me. Hopefully the winds will help me shed some of those 200 lbs that I have to lose in the process. ;)
I haven't forgotten about my "Weight Loss Journey". I fully intend to make those changes as well. As I stated before...I have weighed myself and will begin to do what I need to do to get back in shape. I will take measurements, pictures and keep on top of that progress. I am pushing 40 years old...only a couple of years away. And, my hope and desire is that by the time that birthday comes, I will be living the life that I have been missing for so long.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Learning from mistakes

Do you know how hard it is to be stuck in a 400 pound body? I do.
Do you know how humiliating it is to eat in front of people who are secretly judging you for what you're putting in your mouth? I do.
Do you know what it's like to see the disapproving stare or hear the low gasp when waking into a room? I do.
Do you let yourself cry once you're alone because you are so disgusted with the choices you have made? I do.
But, do you wish that you could take back those choices that you have made wrong over the years? I don't.
I don't. And, do you know why I don't? Because those wrong choices have made me who I am today. And, I am happy with who I am today. Today...I am more aware of my emotions. Today...I am more aware of my limits. Today...I am not making ridiculous promises that I have no intention of keeping. I have learned a lot over the last 20+ years of struggling with my weight. But, that doesn't mean that I now make all the right choices. It just means that I am not ignorant in thinking I can change myself over night. I have been on countless diets and workout plans. Some have been successful, but none of them have been long term. My mistakes? Trying to change everything all at once...eliminating things in the beginning that are the biggest challenge...setting goals that are unrealistic...comparing myself to others.
I have been approaching my addiction and weaknesses all wrong. I can't FORCE myself to be someone different. But, I can coach myself to learn new habits and be compassionate to my faults. To me, diets are stupid...fad diets in particular. All they do is help you...miserably...lose weight quickly but temporarily. I feel the same with pills, drinks, surgeries, anything that is a "helper" in losing weight. Just my opinion. The reason I feel this way is because, for me, my weight/food problem is all psychological. No pill, no drink, no surgery will fix the problem. All they do is fix the symptom of the problem.
Over the years, I have seen therapists and life coaches, and some have done ok. They give me something to think about and sometimes help me see a different perspective about my behaviors. But honestly, overall, they make me feel more screwed up. I get more out of a "rant" session with my husband or my mom because they truly understand me. And, a lot of times, I just need to get my frustrations off my chest and then I'm good to go again.
What I have learned about myself and how I need to get my life back on track, is to take small steps and gradually change my lifestyle. And, what I mean by getting my life back is, finding the energetic, athletic, adventurous and fun Jill that is stuck in this huge, stiff and heavy body. I know she's in there... she's just trapped by fear of change and hard work.
I admire those individuals that appear to have it all worked out...they set their exercise routine, eat their nutritious meals, day after day...no big deal. But, you know what...I am sure it is a struggle for them too. It may not appear so to those of us watching, but we're not inside their head and we can't read their thoughts. Most likely they're thinking "this sucks, but it must be done". And, you know what I think after one day of having a routine that I don't particularly like? "This sucks, I'm not doing this anymore". And, it is that mindset that has lead me to living in a body that has restricted me from doing so much.
Yes...beginning an unfamiliar and different routine will suck...at first. And, I know changing a lifestyle that has been lived for 37 years will not be easy or fun. That is why I will do this with my sanity in mind. I am not someone that thrives on completing the hardest of hard challenges or conquering the impossible. I am someone that gets frustrated and discouraged very easily, so I will respect that, and plan accordingly.
I have made excuses for far too long. I have relied on the unconditional love of my family for far too long. It is time that I make the changes, take the steps needed to regain my health, get my body back. My kids have never seen me thin, they have never experienced how much fun I can really be. In fact, I don't know how much Mike has experienced. It will be so much fun to get that back. I am not looking to win awards on losing weight in record time. I just want to take it slow and make it last. In time, I will be able to handle more and more changes. I just have to be patient with the process and think of my emotional health as well as my physical health...those two go hand and hand.
I still plan on documenting my journey. I mean, no journey is complete without a few roadblocks, wrong turns and obstacles in the road, right? Next week, I will weigh in, take measurements and post pictures. I have a plan and I have lots of willing participants by my side to help me chug along and get to where I need to be. I am truly blessed to be surrounded by such incredible people...from those I love and miss from Las Vegas to those that are right here with me in Missouri. I have a great team! I am excited to move forward and anxious to see just how awesome I can be. ;) I love life and I want to enjoy it to the fullest for a long, long time.