This was me in 2008 – 2009. I was certainly at my heaviest in the picture on the left, when I spent Christmas in Cancun. And below are 2 pictures of me in 2010-2011. Can you believe it? I know it to be true, and I almost can’t believe it to look at what occurred in the span of a year.
Vastly more important than the changes on the outside – I’ll get to those in a minute – were the changes that occurred on the inside. In 2010 something amazing happened. This is that story.
My birthday is in late January, and every year between New Years and my birthday, I get very VERY introspective. For me the month of January is a time to figure out the “state of the union” of my life so to speak… What’s going well, what’s not going well, how I’m doing overall.
In 2010 I was overweight, tired, and pretty miserable with life in general. I remember thinking to myself “I’m 22! These are supposed to be the best years of my life! What in the world is WRONG with me?” So I decided, right then and there: I will do whatever it takes to become as happy as I can be… as happy as I DESERVE to be. It was officially ON. This was not any ordinary New Years resolution… this was a New Years REVOLUTION.
To make such a broad decision requires some intense soul searching. I had to figure out what was making me unhappy before I could lay out a plan to become happy. I knew for sure that my body image was absolutely not up to my expectations. I wanted desperately to lose weight, and to get in shape. I was at the point where I could sleep for 14 hours a night and want a nap later in the day. I drank a very large amount of alcohol daily, and I could not stand the heat of summer. I knew I had to get healthy.
My boyfriend and I had been bike riding on a semi-regular basis, but it felt like a chore and I hated doing it. I remembered enjoying working out at the gym near my work when I was in high school, so I re-joined that gym. It was clean, spacious, and had enough air circulation (fans) that I felt like I could breathe, even when I was out of breath. Re-reading that sentence sounds confusing, but I hope you get the point. There’s nothing worse than trying to work out in a stuffy room.
Secondly, and worse… I realized that I was no longer in love. I loved my boyfriend – he was a great guy, and we had both benefited from our 4 years together, but the spark was gone. Our physical chemistry was non-existent, and we had essentially become roommates who occasionally slept in the same bed. This realization was devastating. I couldn’t just… move out. I couldn’t afford to live on my own, or so I thought. Also, I wasn’t entirely sure that I wasn’t just making a rash decision. I had to mull it over and make damn sure that I was truly ready to move on. So I retreated deeply into my mind to think it all the way through. And let me tell you, the stress of living with someone who’s in love with you, after you’ve stumbled upon the knowledge that you are no longer in love with them (which seriously, hits you like a ton of bricks) made life difficult to say the least. The only positive to it was that I was too stressed to enjoy food, so I stopped over eating, and also I needed a clear head, so I quit drinking.
After about 3 weeks of silence, and 10 pounds later, said boyfriend “saw a crack in [my] shell” -his words- and was able to pry me out of my silence and fess up to what the hell was going on with me. We broke up that night, and 2 weeks later he moved out. All told, it was a fairly amicable break up. We never fought, and there was no anger between us. It was just time to move on.
I continued to lose weight, going on a research binge and learning all that I could about healthy ways to lose weight without feeling hungry. This is when I discovered Dr Furhman’s writing and it all made perfect sense to me. In a nutshell, when you feed your body the nutrients it needs, by consuming tons of fresh vegetables, your body feels full and doesn’t trigger hunger again after an hour, the way eating say a bagel would. Additionally, when you consume alcohol, your liver has to divert its energy from digesting FOOD to processing the alcohol effectively halting your metabolism. So I started eating raw vegetables first, before any sort of sandwich or anything else, and by the time I finished chewing a few carrots and pieces of celery I was so sick of chewing that I didn’t want to eat any more, and I was full because I’d gotten the vitamins my body needed.
I kept working out, primarily during my lunch breaks and then would eat at my desk while I worked. I ran into the same lady in the locker room every day at the same time, and one day she suggested I try the class she takes, called Metabolic Effect. I went to that class the very next day. I’d thought I was doing fine on my own – sweating on the elliptical, lifting weights in a way I felt sufficient – but I had barely scratched the surface. I hadn’t done lunges or push-ups since swim team in high school and after that first class felt like I was 95 years old, having to pull myself up hand-over-hand to get to my 3rd floor apartment, and going down the stairs was actually a controlled tumble, waiting for my legs to give out one at a time. I kept on going though, and now 3 years later am still a fanatic of Metabolic Effect.
Almost immediately after I became single, friends started to come out of the wood work and I began to grow my own social life. Realizing that I had friends in the city that I worked in helped me decide to move back to Salisbury and eliminate my 45 minute commute to and from Winston Salem.
I was finally starting to feel alive and happy again. Over the following year I lost about 50 pounds. I saw bones and muscles that I hadn’t seen in YEARS! I was having to buy new clothes because my old ones were too big, and I was able to wear clothes I wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing with any semblance of confidence ever before. I had energy. I had health. I had achieved my New Years Revolution and then some. I got to the point of being healthier and happier, both emotionally and physically, than I’d ever been in my entire life.
My journey continues today. I’ve had slips in eating habits, I’ve made some new friends and lost some other friends. I’ve put about 10 pounds back on. But I’ll get them off again. Life is far from perfect. But it’s certainly a hell of a lot better than it was 3, 5, 8 years ago. And I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve learned how to cook, how to keep my apartment semi-clean (I’m kind of sloppy… its just a part of being artistic), I’ve learned how to get in tune with my body and my emotions. And I’ve learned how to love… not only myself, but others too.
This year’s revolution? Juice. But that’s another story…