Friday, April 29, 2011

"The Power of Support" and "I Argue with Myself"

This may not have much to do with weight loss, but I believe it has everything to do with loving yourself and finding support people in your journey.

"I Am Crushed"

Some weeks ago, my husband, children, little sister and I were at the mall shopping. We decided to grab a bite to eat in the Food Court before heading off to the next store. We settled into our seats, and for once the kids went right to eating. They were being, really, perfect angels. My sister and I chatted, with my husband chiming in now and again. As we were finishing up and starting to clear our table a bit, this late 30s woman comes over scowling. I had noticed her staring at us, but dismissed it as her being shocked at our large, young family. She gets to our table and leans towards me. "Can I talk to you, as a mother?" Feeling rather weirded out, I said "Sure," rather unsure altogether though. She proceeds to tell me that I am "loud and rude," that I am "embarassing to my children" and that altogether I "should be sorry for them. And she should know because she has two children of her own." Stunned, I quietly say "um, thanks?" and she goes back to her table. My 5 year old daughter asks, "Why is that lady being so mean?" I have no clue how to answer that, and maybe I should have said something else, but my reply was "Well, I guess she just wants to be mean and rude." To which this lady yells across the restaurant, "I'M BEING MEAN AND RUDE?" I quietly ignored her, so she comes over and starts yelling at me again. I am quickly gathering the children to get them out of the restaurant and away from possible harm.  But, as she continued her tirade, my 14 year old sister stood up and said, "How dare you! Yes, YOU are being rude and mean. You have no right to come over here and say these hurtful things to her. You don't know her or anything about her. She happens to be a wonderful mother who loves her children very much." The old goat was momentarily stunned before continuing "and who are you? what is she to you?" My sister answered, "I am her sister." The woman said "Well, I'd hate to meet your mother!" (Ha! I bet you would, she'd eat you alive!) Then the manager of the store came over, and got between my family and this crazy witch. He got right up in her face telling her to calm down, as she continued to shout and yell for us to leave (which we were already doing). The manager tells her she needs to calm down or leave. As we were walking out, I carried my 4 year old, my husband had my baby, my sister the 2 year old, and my 5 year old walked between us. My 4 year old turned around and faced the woman, pointed at her and yelled "MEAN!" Also, as we walked out, a woman with a small baby in a stroller, leaned out and asked "Are you okay?" Thus causing me to burst into tears as I said "no."

I was utterly devastated. I love my children very, very much. And I do my absolute best by them. But like every mother out there, I worry that it is not enough. I stress that I may be ruining them forever because of my many mistakes. I berate myself for not being perfect. I compare myself to other mothers I know and see. And to have some stranger come up to me and throw it in my face that I embarass them and should be sorry for them hurt. Oh. It hurt bad. We went out to the car, and as we walked, my baby sister said, "Don't you listen to her. She is wrong, she is evil. You are a wonderful mom, and your kids adore you. They wouldn't adore you so much if you weren't such a good mom. That woman is just like (someone else we know) who has nothing better to do than to hurt other people." As we continued on to the next store, I tried to hold in the tears. I had my husband and little sister go inside the place with one of the kids, and I stayed in the car with the rest who were sleeping. Then I called my mother.

She gave exactly the response I needed. First, she blew up that such a person a) existed and b) had the gall to actually say something so hurtful to a complete stranger. She lambasted her to me. And she comforted me. She told me that that woman was wrong. That I am a good mother, and that she knows that I do my best every day for them. She enumerated the ways she sees me taking care of my children. And she assured me that even if I did do something wrong, my children are too young to be embarassed by me.  She also told me that no matter what we had been doing, I did not deserve to have been treated that way. Several of my siblings, and their friends, were at the house with my mom, and she told the story to them. My siblings rallied to my support.  My oldest younger brother said, "She has two kids? You mean she got two guys to sleep with her?" My oldest younger sister said, "I got a gun, you point her out." My other siblings (there are ten of us total) and their friends leaped to my defense with varying degrees of 'that woman is so incredibly wrong,' and 'you are a great mother,' and 'tell me when, and we'll go get her.' Were they really going to go kill her? No. But to know that they were on my side, that they had my back meant worlds to me. And none of them tried to excuse her behaviour either. Nobody at home said, "She must just be mentally ill." Or, "well, she must have had a bad day." While some suggested she belonged in a padded room, or that the local psych hospital must have given out day passes, nobody used that as a reason to excuse her rotten behaviour. At the end of the phone call, my mother said, "Don't you listen to her. Don't you give her that power over you." She told me how it would probably be difficult to go out in public with the kids for a long time. And that has been true.

The other day when I went shoe shopping, I took the kids with me, as usual. But it was so hard to not see all the other people looking at us, and imagine the hurtful things they must gave been thinking. It was so difficult to try to squelch that evil woman's voice in my head "loud and embarassing."  When the middle two kids began their version of tag, it was so difficult to not feel the stares of people who thought, well who knows what they thought, but my imaginings were not kind to me or to them. I feel like I am constantly on the defensive, just in case someone makes a nasty comment. That is very stressful. When I took them to Wal*Mart, an older gentleman commented, "Wow, you have your hands full." It was so hard to say "Yes I do, and I love it," instead of the more rude versions I have imagined myself saying. I am constantly having arguements with complete strangers in my head, imagining what they are thinking/are going to say, and working on my comebacks. I breastfeed my baby, and often must feed him in public. I carry a card with me that states the breastfeeding law in my state and the neighboring state I frequently visit. (A woman is allowed to breastfeed her baby any place that she is allowed to be). And I have memorized a slew of replies for anyone who says anything negative to me about it. Such as "YOU can go eat in the bathroom." Or "Why don't YOU put a blanket over YOUR head." Or, "Quit being such a pervert and stop watching me." When we went to go pick up my husband from work the other day, a coworker of his commented, "You know what causes all these kids, right?"  I was very proud of myself for only saying, "Yes, and it's a lot of fun."  Sure stumped her, and silenced her as well.

"You Have No Power Over Me"

However, as I said before, it is very draining to be constantly constructing arguements in my head. Most people, I am sure, are far more charitable in their thoughts towards me, than I am towards them. That's not to say that I think they are evil people, I just imagine them to be thinking horrible things about me. And really, how silly is that? And I realize that every time I worry about what other people are thinking of me, I AM letting that evil, nasty woman have power over me. I am putting myself under her control. Why am I giving her that power? She doesn't deserve it. She is not the boss of me. And to paraphrase a line from my favorite movie, "I have fought my way to the castle, beyond the Goblin City, to take back what you have stolen. For my will is as strong as yours, my kingdom is as great. And You Have No Power Over Me." I have fought my way out, and I will continue to fight my way out of depression and obesity. I will get to that castle of self respect, and I will get through that city of self hate. Because I have the will and strength to do it. But not only that, but because I have chosen to not give anybody else power over me.

"I Refuse"

There is a newer song out, that I want to share part of the lyrics with you. The song is titled "I Refuse" and it is sung by Josh Wilson. I really think that this song, in part, is about taking charge of our own lives.

"I refuse to stay unchanged
To wait another day, to die to myself
I refuse to make one more excuse

'Cause I don't want to live like I don't care
I don't want to say another empty prayer
Oh, I refuse"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shoe Shopping, a Scourge?

"Oh the Screaming"
So, I went shoppng for shoes yesterday. What an adventure! All four kids went with me. While I tried on shoes and debated things at two different stores, B and J had a rousing game of tag. So if you heard children shrieking, I apologize, those were mine.

"Down to Business at Store #1"
The first store (Payless in Clovis, NM) I went to, the salespersons were incredibly inept. Neither knew the difference between a walking and a running shoe. In fact, they tried to sell me on the 'toner' shoes, you know, the ones with a raised ball on the heel? Yeah, not a good running shoe. The sum total of my knowledge of shoes dates back 6 years when I worked in the shoe department of JCPenney. About all I remember is that a good running shoe must have lots of bend in the sole, and the heel should taper/roll a little. They had a few shoes like this, so I began the arduous task of finding a shoe in my size. What an exercise in futility. I wear between a 9.5 to an 11, in women's. Of the brands store #1 had to offer, I appaently needed the non-existent size 10.5. I browsed through the men's selection, which wasn't much better. And as an aside, the girls were in need of new church shoes. How can a place call itself a shoe store and not carry little girl's white or black Mary Janes? But I digress.

"The Search Continues at Store #2"
And so we made our way to option number two, the Big W, which is hardly a shoe store, but it does boast a shoe section (which did carry little girls Mary Janes, by the way). After an hour of searching every athletic shoe in the men's and women's section, I settled on a cheap pair of Danskin runner's. While not what I wanted, they will work for now until I can get to a real store. Perhaps some Reeboks Reeflex or some Nike cross trainers or maybe Asics?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waking Up

Some people would say that weighing every day is a bad thing to do. But for me, I almost have to or need to do it first thing. I feel it is especially helpful to me right now, and so I weigh first thing in the morning. Now that I have kicked out that nasty, spiteful person from following me, the scale no longer taunts or upsets me. I have removed his power over my life, and that is a freeing thing. If I happen to be a little heavier, I know I can fix it, and on days like today, I get to celebrate. Because really, the person in charge of it all, is me.

And so this morning I celebrate another pound lost. Something really fun about math, is that it makes losing weight more fun. (Okay, that might be the only fun thing about math) ;) I started out needing to lose 100 lbs. I have now lost 34 lbs, which is 34% of my goal, and also just over a third of what I am going to lose. See how fun it can be? Using fractions and percentages, go me!

Today is shoe shopping day, and I am off to search this afternoon. This will be quite the endeavor, as I have large feet (Woman size 10 to 11), but I will triumph today!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My Beginning

"I am worthless"

Today I am 26 years old. In less than two weeks, I will turn 27. And I am fat, more than that, I am obese. When I began this journey, I tipped the scales at 261 lbs, and on my 5 ft 8 in frame, my BMI was a startling 39.53. "How did I get to this point?!?"  When I stepped on the scale in the morning, I would begin a daily ritual of condemning myself. "How could you do this to yourself? You are an ugly, fat cow. You will never be worth anything." I was brutal with myself. I was mean. I was cruel. I hated myself. And I beat myself up about it multiple times a day. I questioned how my husband could love 'such a bucket of lard,' how my children could ever want to be seen with me. Worst of all, I pictured my sweet children looking like me someday, because I had neglected to set a proper example. I thought of them struggling with weight, and dealing with preventable obesity-related illnesses, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. And it would all be my fault because I didn't teach them better, I didn't show them. I couldn't go out and play with them. I could barely walk through the house without being out of breath. 

"How did I get to this point?"

My family adopted two children when I was in high school. These kids were older and had been in foster homes for awhile before joining our family. As much as I love my siblings, adopting them into our family, and dealing with the ensuing drama from birth parents, lawyers, CPS, etc was a traumatic experience for my family. This is when I began to put on the weight. At 19, I got engaged, and weighed in at 200 lbs. I lost 20 lbs for the wedding. After visiting with a Dr because we wanted a baby, I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance. I was put on a medication to help control it, and help any pregnancy. Then we got pregnant. I gained 60 lbs with my beautiful daughter, L, who weighed 8 lbs 10 oz. I lost 30 lbs before falling pregnant the second time. Unfortunately, I lost that baby, and in my depression gained back about 15 lbs. My third pregnancy, I was determined to not gain as much weight. 30 lbs later, my surprise homebirth brought me an 8 lb 3 oz baby girl, B. I wanted to lose the weight, but I didn't work hard enough. When I fell pregnant with our son, J, I again swore I wouldn't gain too much. I started out at 225 lbs, and ended at 254.  When my whopping 10 lb 8 oz boy arrived, I was ready (I thought) to get moving the weight. I lost and gained and lost and gained the same 10 or 15 lbs. I was a poster child for the seesaw diet.

"I begin to change"

At the beginning of my fifth pregnancy, I weighed a staggering 250 lbs. But this time was different. I ate better. I chose my food intake more wisely. I avoided junk food like the plague, and focused on eating veggies and fruits (which I like) instead of snacking on crackers and candy. I walked and did what I could to be healthy. I gained a total of 10 pounds, which my dr agreed was a healthy gain for me. When my 9 lbs 13 oz charmer, R, made his appearance, I vowed that I would never see 260 again. I have chosen to eat better. I have chosen to be more active. I have chosen to participate in life. More importantly, perhaps, I have chosen to quit beating myself up. When those negative thoughts come to my mind, I push them away. I don't listen to that voice telling me I'm not worth it. It is hard, and sometimes I get pulled down, but I push myself back up again. I wish I had started loving myself sooner. I wish I had never started self-medicating with food. But wishes don't change us. In order to change, we must just do it. While life now might have been easier if I had never put on the weight to begin with, that's not the way it is. And sitting around WISHING it had been different, only wastes time that could Be spent MAKING it different.

And so, I begin this blog at 227 lbs with a BMI of 34.51. That's a loss of 33 lbs, and a BMI change of just over 5. I am still clinically 'obese,' but I am changing that. I am learning to love myself.

"What are the goals?"

For a couple of weeks I have been debating some things, some ideas I have had to help me on this journey. I started out needing to lose 100 lbs, now I have 67 lbs left. But I don't just want a diet program, I want a lifestyle change, and the exercise portion needs to be something I can do no matter where I live, or what my financial position is, etc. As I tossed around different ideas, "walking, biking, swimming, running." I told myself why I couldn't do each one (Again with the negative ways!). "Walking is so boring. I don't own a bicycle. Yeah right, a swimsuit? Really?" Oh, I am such a pro at beating myself up. "Running, yeah right. I still can't walk through the house without feeling out of breath. What's next? Running in a marathon?" Then the lightbulb went on. Who doesn't love a challenge. Here I was telling myself I could never do something. I was out to prove myself wrong. And so, I began researching (because that's what Type A people do, lol).  I found several programs, like and Couch to 5K. I decided to combine the two, and so here I am. I am going to begin training for a 5K, then a 10K, then a half marathon, then a full marathon. Who knows, maybe I will do a triathalon, though I doubt I could finish it. There I go again, doubting myself.  I've been through four drug-free natural childbirths and a miscarriage. Surely I have the ability and strength to succeed with whatever I want, right?

"Step One: Amass the Tools"

While I want to go out there and start running right away, that just isn't a good idea. I lack a few key tools. So tomorrow, I will be shoe shopping for a good running shoe. I promise to not let price choose the shoe, but rather get the shoe I need. Everything I have read says that your shoes are the most important tool, for success and injury prevention. And I will be looking for some other tools as well. Running clothes and a watch with a second hand.

"And so I begin, My Own Quiet Journey"

The reason I call it my own, quiet journey, is because that is what it is. It is MY journey, my OWN journey. I don't do this for other people, and I don't do it for fanfare. I debated even recording it on this blog. I hope that maybe someday, just one person might find inspiration here, and be able to make their own quiet journey, to whatever goal they have. I think if I can help just one person, even if it is only myself, to succeed and believe in themselves, then this blog is a success.