My trusty dictionary defines the word as "going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary".
I have never thought of myself as extraordinary, nor is my story. It is much like anyone else's, but it is my story, and it goes well beyond my "usual, regular, or customary."
I've struggled with my weight, or rather my body image, for as long as I remember. I've always felt that I wasn't small enough, pretty enough and was always self-conscious of my looks, so much that I hid behind my clothes. It couldn't be big or baggy enough for me. As the years went by, I began to grow into my big baggy clothes. As I grew bigger, my confidence grew smaller, not that I had much to begin with. I didn't like to wear shorts or shirts that didn't "hide" my bum; and swimming? Oh hell no.
I could become depressed at the drop of a hat. I hated what I had become and I desperately wanted to be someone else. I hated trying to meet people. I mean, how could they get past my weight? They would never be able to "see" me. And looking back, why would they want to get to know me? I was a bear to be around. Self loathing, self pity, oh my goodness it wasn't pretty.
The cards were beginning to stack up against me. Not only was my confidence and my sanity in a downward spiral, my health began its descent as well. My wake up call was when the Doc put me on a glucose monitor. My mother and my sister developed diabetes, and no offense to them (and I love them DEARLY), no way did I want to follow in these particular footsteps to Downtown Diabetesville. The first time I pricked my finger, I remembered seeing my mom lying on a bed in the ER. I don't remember the exact details (don't forget, I'm the sibling with the shoddy memory) like how we got there or who exactly was with me, my brother I think? Anyway, we were there because her blood sugar was off. Way off. So, when I pricked my finger that first time, I got scared. And under no circumstance did I want to be on a bed like that by myself. No thank you. I tried to shed some pounds, exercised here and there, and then I'd stop. This cycle went on for a bit. I was none the healthier, none the lighter. Only frustrated and miserable and felt like I wasn't good enough to change anyway.
One day I decided enough was enough. One day I decided that I was worth it. I didn't say "maybe I'll try". This time I said "I'm going to."
I started to run. I did it because I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be able to go for walks with people without feeling sad that I was always bringing up the rear, unable to keep up. Yes, I did want to lose weight, but it wasn't all about that. I didn't have a number I had to reach in a specific amount of time. I just really wanted to be healthy and happy with myself.
This is slightly different than your typical "Before and After"story. I didn't decide to reach Xnumber of pounds or set my mind into getting into a size Y. I decided to find the person I used to like, to get to know her again. There are a few questions I get asked a lot and that I try to skirt answering these because, as much as I like numbers and data, this isn't about the numbers. But because I get asked a lot, that means folks want to know. So, here we go. .
What is your goal weight? Well, when I enlisted the help of a coach to get me on track, she told me I had to pick a number to work towards. She said it was easier to reach a goal if you make a goal. So, I picked 130 lbs. Why? Because it seemed like a healthy number.
How much have you lost? When I was at my heaviest, I weighed around 180 lbs, maybe more, in 2008 and held steady. It has been an up and down roller coaster since, but I have lost 50 lbs and have reached "goal" weight.
Are you still losing weight? Because you look like you are (spoken with raised eyebrow). No. I am no longer losing weight, but am maintaining my weight. My body is still changing though, losing body fat and gaining muscle. I'm mindful of what I eat and I exercise at least 5 times a week. NOT because I want to lose more weight, but because it makes me feel good, happy, healthy and I enjoy it!
I don't have the typical "before and after" picture because, well, this wasn't really planned. It just kind of happened. What I do have are some pictures I pulled together from over the years.
I wish I could stress that it hasn't been just about losing weight. It has been about finding the me that I hoped was in there. Am I perfect now? Hell no. Do I still get depressed? Heavens yes. Do I still have self doubt? Of course I do. But I'm a hell of a lot better at handling the imperfections and depression and self doubt than I was a year ago! I laugh more, I smile more.....I love myself more.
In the grand scheme of things, I don't think I'm extraordinary, nor is my story. But I'll tell you what. The road to self discovery is never easy and is always scary. I decided to take that road and I'm still truckin'. And that, my friends, is what I think I'm most proud of.
And if you are sitting there, reading and maybe wondering if you have it in you to go down that road? I'm here to tell you that you do. All you have to do is decide, and I'll be with you every step of the way.