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Living In The Glow

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

It's been almost a month since my last WEIGHTY blog. Didn't mean to leave anyone hanging, but you know how it is - things be busy yo!

A short update: my boyfriend and I are fine, the parties haven't stopped - but my attitude towards them is a little different than it was previously, and I'm trying - ever so hard - to forgive myself and just live with it and through it, as hard as it is on a daily basis.

That last blog lead to some of the longest and most supportive responses from you guys I've ever gotten - so THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me and sharing the love. We all know this isn't easy. And it's even harder to admit defeat sometimes, but knowing that everyone goes to that dark place every once in a while helps. We're not in this alone. And we often think the same things, even if we don't talk about them or write those feelings down for the world to see.

What I have discovered about myself is my avoidance to admit that healthy feels good. I don't know why it's so hard to say that. Possibly because food also feels good, but not in the same way. There's a disconnect in the brain - food hits a certain "feel good" trigger that I have relied on for SO many years. It's been my crutch for so long that I have convinced myself to believe that it's the way I am and that it, and being fat because of it, is what I am destined to. But my newer, healthier brain, knows that's a bunch of bull. It's just REALLY hard to call myself on my own bull. I got to it a bit in my last blog, but the healthy me still feels fake in a way. She's SO new that she's not "real" yet. It's like when I started running and was loathe to call myself a runner. I've run a marathon and I'm STILL loathe to call myself a runner. And that's ridiculous. But it's the same thing with my overall health. I still identify with the fat girl. And why shouldn't I? I was her for 25 years of my life. That's A LOT of tradition to break. I've only been healthy for 2.5 years. Fat me still thinks that's not enough time to call it true. So I am resigned to the fact that it's just going to take TIME, and lots of it, to convince myself that I really am healthy.

The tricky bit is that a healthy life is harder to live. And don't we all know it! In this world it takes CONSTANT work to be healthy. Fast food is just that - fast, convenient. Cooking and planning and shopping takes time and energy. Sitting in front of the boob tube is easy. Going out for a run or a walk requires motivation. HEALTHY LIVING IS HARD! But... it's worth it - right?

The thing that I now know that is still so hard to say is this: Living Healthy makes me feel good. In a different way than chocolate cake makes me feel good.

Unfortunately, chocolate cake makes me feel good like a kick to the gut. It's there, it's quick and it's very, very present. Living healthy makes me feel good all day. But it's not immediately evident. I have to really think about it. It's no big shot of adrenaline (or a sugar rush) - it's a constant, distant, and still very faint feeling. But it's there. And my only hope and wish is that over time it will get stronger. A building hum, from that distant buzz.

Maybe that's really what "Spark" means. At the beginning of this journey I was sparked. The smoke became a flame and then a blazing fire. I burned strong for a year and a half, lost 130 pounds, was a bright, shining star. But then the fire fades. The embers are still warm, and every so often, someone or something comes along to stoke the fire and the blaze comes back for a bit. But it's the embers that stay warm, and any fan of campfires knows that these embers are the best time to make smores :) It takes patience to get here and then to stay here. Without enough fuel, the fire will go out. But with enough time and energy, you can keep those embers glowing long and strong for days. And that's what I have to do. Live in the glow.

So for December I have taken on two challenges - neither of which are the least bit easy. The hard-ass in me gets more pleasure out of making a challenge ridiculously hard because the reward is bigger in the end. But in the flavour of the above realization, the true goal of both of these challenges is that I KNOW they will make me feel good.

Challenge #1 is the "21 Days of Fitness, 12 Days of Christmas and a New Year's Eve" Challenge. It involves walking or running ONE MILE every day for 21 days leading up to Christmas. It started on November 28th and goes to December 18th. Then from December 19th-30th (the twelve days of Christmas) you need to continue that good habit and add one additional healthy thing every day - be that drinking all your water, adding in another exercise, counting calories, avoiding sweets - just one more thing each day. By the time New Year's Eve rolls around, I'll be ready to celebrate in a gorgeous dress that I've already purchased. And the hopes are that I look even better in it than when I bought it! So far I'm going strong. I've gotten my butt out there and put in my time every day. Sometimes I have to drag myself to walk the mile, other days I've been able to run a few miles without issue. The thing is just to DO IT. Every day. It's not easy, but I feel better about myself for doing it. It was a good way to get out of the rut that I've been in.

Challenge #2 is that I've gone dry for the month of December. After polishing off the last of the wine on the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend for no good reason I said enough is enough. Fact is fact - when I drink, I binge eat. And I don't need to drink to have fun. It sucks, because I would like to be able to have A glass of wine or a cocktail here or there over the holidays and with all the parties, but I just know that I lose control after that cocktail and end up eating the entire plate of hors d'ouevres that goes with it. So I'm the DD for the month. Works for me. And again - I KNOW I will feel better about myself physically and mentally for making this decision. It's not an easy decision to make, but I'm doing this for myself and for my health. And if I can make it through December, I can do anything! I'm not gonna lie - I miss it. And I think I'm craving it more because I can't have it. But I'll get over it. Alcohol is NOT an essential food group. It's empty calories and an inhibition zapper and this month especially, I need my inhibitions! So it's soda water and lime in a wine glass for me. And then I can be free to enjoy a few extras off the buffet table, be able to taste them for what they really are, and move on once I'm full.

And finally - there's nothing to feel bad about for choosing to be healthy. This holiday season, I will love MYSELF for making the best decisions for HEALTHY ME. I will not be guilted into eating extra helpings because someone else worked hard to make it. I have worked even harder for this life. And I need to prove to Fat Me that she is not my destiny and that her traditions are not my traditions anymore. My 2.5 years of hard work so far is worth more to me now than her 25 years of being unhealthy. What is in the past is in the past. It's time to look long and hard at the present and what I have earned for myself. THIS IS ME NOW. I am leaner, fitter, stronger and destined for a long and healthy life ahead of me. Living in the glow.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You've lost many pounds but I think you have also gained so much wisdom. This is beautifully said.
    3103 days ago
    Such a great post! Such great words! :)
    3138 days ago
    You are an athlete
    Just wanted to say that!
    3151 days ago
    Love that you are doing well. xoxox
    3158 days ago
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    What a blessing this blog is to me today, Jenn. Thank you! What a gift you are and what a gift you have. Your individual eloquence speaks so meaningfully to and for me... reaching thoughts and feelings I've been having but have NOT had the words for. I am grateful to now share yours!

    I am totally there with the time lapse Identities -- the reflections of believability and truth. Identifying with Fat Me less.... is, for me, a loss in many ways. I don't really recognize myself a lot of the time. For me, because I have been chronically ill for so many months, my opportunities to inhabit Healthy Me have been reduced, I have not been able to celebrate my smaller self and build her/my strength. Being sick I have felt so weak and fragile, and it has brought up a SHADOW I could never have anticipated... but am forced to work with.

    I'm there with you, too, on the no booze. I've been off coffee and alcohol for over a month. I don't recognize me without coffee... still. Coffee is my middle name. Connoisseurship of etc. Booze is easy by comparison.

    Mostly... THANK YOU.
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR BEAUTY for your HONESTY for your tangible sonorous and abiding LIGHT.

    3160 days ago
    I have no doubt you will meet these challenges. Look what you have already accomplished! Every healthy decision you make brings you closer to banishing the ghost of Fat You from your life. I want to be in on the victory dance when that happens.
    3162 days ago
    The mental aspects of weight loss are certainly the hardest, aren't they? And we are always harder on ourselves than anyone else - I don't think anyone here on Spark or your offline friends would hesitate to call you healthy and a runner.

    Your holiday plans are great and will stand you in excellent stead for the new year and that gorgeous little dress! You are one of the most determined people I know and you seem to thrive on structure - I'm sure you will stick to your plan and look amazing!
    3162 days ago
    Wow. Did I need to read this right now. I love your metaphor of living in the glow. And you are so right on with all of this. I will join you with the no drinks...I also can't have a glass without overeating. And I still find myself turning to the food, too, like tonight having to work late instead of getting my run in. So I binged and now feel awful. It is good to know that I, and we, are not alone. I love you girl!
    3164 days ago
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    3164 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11950038
    You can do it! In fact, I'm going to do Challenge #2 with you. I have the exact same problem.

    To give you more motivation to saying "no" to alcohol, "Alcohol inhibits your metabolism by up to 30%" --Engine 2 Diet book

    Best of luck to you! You can absolutely meet and exceed your challenge goals!
    3164 days ago
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