Bursting the fantasy bubble

This week I got caught up the fantasy. 

You know the one: you’re skinny and life is perfect.

Things do change when you lose weight, that’s for sure. But the important stuff, the happiness stuff, really doesn’t change all that much.

Confidence is not a number on a scale. Happy is not a number on a scale. Life, most certainly, is not a number on a scale.

I’ve been slacking on positive thinking and daily affirmations. I’ve also been feeling uncomfortable in everything. Coincidence? I think not.

When I start believing in the fantasy, crazy thoughts come into my head.

Such as, “I can live on nothing but smoothies and salads.”

Such as, “When I’m finally ‘X’ weight, ‘X’ will be possible.”

A story comes to mind when I get caught up in the fantasy.

It was 2011 and I was in the middle of a phone interview for a job. The recruiter had clearly checked out my LinkedIn profile, because my profile picture on there is of me skydiving on my 21st birthday. I was around 200 pounds.

She asked, “Did you really jump out of a plane?”

“Yes,” I said. “It was awesome.”

“I would love to, but I’d have to lose some weight first,” she replied.

Now, yes, there is a weight limit for sky diving – but she wasn’t anywhere near it. I know, because I had also checked out her LinkedIn profile.

I don’t think you can tell from that photo that I was 200 pounds, if I had known what I know now (i.e. that the job wouldn’t work out) I would have definitely told her how much I weighed in that picture. I would have told her not to let her weight hold her back from taking chances.

It’s this small example that reminds me how much we allow weight to enter into our decisions. To affect the lives we lead.

But it doesn’t have to.

There is a kinder way to live. Free from being weighed down by your weight.

Listen, this kind of thinking happens. I wish I was immune to it, because honestly getting caught up in the fantasy makes living in the real world excruciatingly unpleasant.

It makes you think that there is something missing from your life.

When I’m living in the fantasy, I’m not being grateful for my body.

When I’m living in the fantasy, I’m not being thankful for everything the Universe has given me.

The fantasy is place of pure, quick want when I know that journey I’m on is a slow, winding path.

When you’re ready to give up the fantasy, deal in what you’ve been dealt in life, change can happen. Step out of the fantasy and face the fears that put you there head on because that’s when the life you want, with all the happiness you can manifest, has a chance to become your reality.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”  – Lao Tzu

Now…The Numbers

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 164.5

This week: 162.5

Change: -2

Total loss:80.5

Out the window

This weekend, the laundry didn’t get done.

Dirty dishes are sitting in the sink.

I didn’t prep all my meals for the week.

I never made it to the gym.

Lunches were thrown together quickly.

Blueberries were eaten straight from the container.

I stayed out way too late, but saw views like this:

This weekend I escaped from the usual stress and responsibilities of daily life.

Right into the clouds.

And up into the mountains of Harriman State Park.

I have the tendency to not want to diverge from my usual path.

Sticking firm to a routine has gotten to where I am now.

Healthier, lighter.

When you set out to lose weight, you have to say “no” to a lot of things.

“No thanks, I’ll just have water.”

“No, I don’t want a piece of cake.”

“No, I’m going to stay in and cook dinner.”

“No, I have to get up early to work out.”

But because of all those “no’s,” I felt confident saying “yes” to everything this weekend.

I don’t worry anymore that I won’t be able to keep up with a night of walking around the city.

I don’t worry anymore that I won’t have the endurance to make it through a long hike in the woods.

I’ve taken on a lot more responsibilities as a result of my desire to get healthy, but it also means that I get to take on life, and it’s given me the confidence that I can handle wherever it goes.

 

” Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.”  – Lao Tzu

 

 

A vision of success

My trainer and I had a moment a few weeks ago.

Maybe it didn’t stand out to him, but it will stay with me for a while.

Let me start with this: I hate that gyms are covered in mirrors. I know its good to see your form, but I hate watching myself work out. It’s not so much my own reflection that I mind, but having people watch me, watching myself just rubs me the wrong way. It makes me very self-conscious.

Anyway, it was nearing the end of our half-hour session and as I was lifting dumbbells he was asking me about my weight loss progress and telling me how much more weight he believed I should lose.

 

We talked about reaching 100 pounds lost. He said, in his thick Peruvian accent, “I think you’ll look great there.”

I said, “I can’t even imagine it,” and turned away from my reflection.

He got mad.

“C’mon, Jodi,” he scolded.

Maybe it doesn’t sound like a scolding, but after almost a year of twice weekly visits, he needs few words to get his point across.

And his point was: I should be imaging it.

Every day I should spend time envisioning my goals, whether weight loss or otherwise.

 

A few weeks ago, I watched a documentary about Lindsey Vonn called “In the Moment.” Vonn is a professional skier with four World Cup championships. There’s a moment right before every race where Vonn closes her eyes and goes through the course in her mind. She has a vision of each curve, every turn, jump and movement that she’s about to take.

That’s where she wins or loses the race.

And it’s a lesson that can be applied to anything.

Take a moment. Slow down. Focus. See yourself successful in whatever way that means to you.

 

With whatever goal you are trying to reach, there are going to be bumps in the road getting there. Positive thinking will get you through. See yourself winning. See yourself overcoming challenges. See yourself making your wildest dreams come true. See yourself as someone who has lost 100 pounds.

It will happen. It is possible.

The more I sink into my weight loss philosophy, the more I see how the strategies I’ve used to change my weight can be used to change everything in my life.

And it starts with getting your head in the right place.

“Be careful what you water your dreams with. Water them with worry and fear and you will produce weeds that choke the life from your dream. Water them with optimism and solutions and you will cultivate success. Always be on the lookout for ways to turn a problem into an opportunity for success. Always be on the lookout for ways to nurture your dream.” – Lao Tzu

—–

Now…The Numbers:

Starting weight: 243

Last week: 167.5

This week: 166.5

Change: -1

Total loss: 76.5

 

Everything is illuminated

I woke up excited to run Thursday.

It was a bright morning with a slight wind, and a little chilly. I ran slow. I ran steady. I admired the wispy clouds, nodded “hello” at the other morning runners and smiled at the sunshine.

I took time to appreciate the movement of my body. Thanked it for working so hard. For coping so well with all I put it through.

It’s easy to get frustrated. I sometimes get angry that for so many years I didn’t treat my body with the respect it deserved. And now? My knees ache, I’m sore from the gym, my shin splints throb. My body still isn’t used to the physical exertion.

But yesterday I ran through the pain. My mind was strong when my legs were tired. I had my spirit motivating me to complete the miles.

After I finished the run and stretched out my legs, I took a moment to just be still. Let my heart beat slow and my breath deepen.

I stared up at the sun and felt a rush of gratefulness.

One year ago, I thought, I would not have been up before work to run at the park. I would not have seen the sun streaming through the trees. I would not have heard the first signs of spring, chirping birds and a babbling river.

There is pain, there is frustration, there are moments of weakness. Keep going.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished” – Lao Tzu

Fat Acceptance: A Love Story

I had a huge moral dilemma when I first started this blog. I did not and still do not want to promote diet culture. I know I have written some things that have done that, and it truly feels like a betrayal to myself and of how I actually feel about losing weight.

I’m in a hard place because on one hand I am actively trying to lose weight, but I know the only reason I’ve lost any weight is because I’ve accepted being fat.

I know that doesn’t make much sense on its face, but stick with me for a bit, folks.

Fat Acceptance. If you don’t know what it is, start here.

I’ll wait.

The thing is, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments over the last couple of months about my weight loss, and while I know people are being nice, I’m slightly, ok really, uncomfortable with people seeing my weight loss as inspiration.

Why?

Because I believe you should love your body the way it is right now, and I don’t want anyone to think that my life is better just because I wear a smaller size. I’d much rather promote body acceptance than weight loss.

It’s because of Fat Acceptance that I’ve managed to be healthy at all. Through reading Fat Acceptance blogs every day  of others who were living full, wonderful existences as fat women, I realized I could too.

My life, the one I wanted and dreamed of, didn’t have to wait until I was skinny.

People diet, I assume, because they are unhappy with their bodies. But diets are absolutely not the answer to this problem. You know what might be? Not letting your fat body stand in the way of going to the gym for some endorphin-producing, stress-reducing exercise. I don’t know if going to the gym will help you lose weight, many studies say it won’t, but I do know that your mood will absolutely improve from getting your sweat on.

My self-esteem grew immensely when I stopped believing a diet could change my life and started living exactly how I wanted to live. Me. With my fat body. Right at that second and not after I had lost weight.

Or, from the New York Times:

The aim is to behave as if you have reached your “goal weight” and to act on ambitions postponed while trying to become thin, everything from buying new clothes to changing careers. Regular exercise should be for fun, not for slimming.

Living a life that embodies Fat Acceptance means that I do not pay attention to the things people assume about me for being fat.

And when I truly understood that, the years and years of not living because I was fat ended. And so did my struggle with my weight.

That’s the truth.

I feel like I live between two worlds right now. In one world, I want to lose more weight. In the other world, I know I’m living life exactly the way I want to and that my weight does not have an impact.

It’s an internal struggle and the whole reason I wanted to start a blog.

Right now, I can confidently say that I am healthy and fit. Would you know that by looking at me? Probably not. And these are the kind of societal evils that I have dealt with my whole life and that seep in to my brain and act as sabotage.

Fat Acceptance is about seeing fat as an adjective for your body, not your person. It’s also not an adjective that is synonymous with “bad.”

I can write and read that, but what I really need to do is be feeling it.

Because, truthfully, At 174.5 pounds, I sometimes feel worse about my body than at 243 pounds.

I’ve been wrapped up in the excitement of losing weight, but instead of making me happy, it’s left me feeling like I’m not good enough when I don’t lose weight and that’s a dangerous place that I really don’t want to be in.

I’m putting my struggle with this out there, because really I want to spread a message of Fat Acceptance, not weight loss. This is who I am, Jodi, fat or not.

Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you. – Lao Tzu