Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Defining Katie

I’m less than 40 pounds away from my goal weight. It seems small in comparison to the over 170 pounds I’ve lost so far, but it also seems like an eternity away. I decided something several months ago. I’m not going to spend that “eternity”  be defined by my weight loss.

Thanks to social media, weight loss has become quite the fad. Let me start by saying,, it’s a fad I support. It’s not a new  concept. People have been gaining and losing weight always, but social media has catapulted people into new, healthy lifestyles who may have once ignored direction from friends and family or advice from doctors. I’m that person. Social media made it possible for people to watch others transform their lives.  It also kept you updated minute-by-minute on everyone’s lives. Photos, statuses, notes, and wall posts keep you filled in on what everyone is wearing, where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing.

Envy used to be a sin reserved for the present, but now you can look back at people’s lives, watch them in the moment, and also see what’s coming up for them in the future. It makes you happy to be so connected to everyone, but it also drives you mad. I’d be lying if I said social media had nothing to do with my desire and drive to lose weight. I saw people reach their goals and lead lives I wanted. It didn’t determine my weight loss, but it drove me.

I never wanted to be better than anyone, but I wanted to be equal and I never felt like my outside really measured up to my inside. I never really worried about my strength, intelligence, sense of humor, or kindness, but those things are harder to measure on the World Wide Web.

I kept my weight loss to myself for a long time. The first 100 pounds. But then I realized I could be someone that helped others start the most important journey of their lives. So I decided to blog and to share. It was a great decision for me. All the support really drove me to continue on the right path, and it was the right path.

I did everything the right way. I ate healthy. I exercised. I indulged in my favorite food sometimes and skipped workouts on occasions. I saw a lot of success. My weight loss success drove me to succeed in other areas of life. But this past summer, when I struggled in certain areas of my life, the weight loss slowed and then it stopped for several months. I became very depressed about not continuing to lose weight. That’s when I realized…

My weight loss defined me.

I managed to bring myself out of that depression with the help of a couple friends. Eric and I started training for our half-marathon and I got back to normal, healthy routines. I was running over 20 miles a week at certain points in that training, but I only lost 15 pounds over those months and most of it happened in the first four weeks.

But I’m not sad. If I continue to exercise and watch what I eat, the weight will come off slowly, but surely. I am healthy. I am off my blood pressure medication. I am capable of running over 13 miles without dying. I can move your couch by myself and I can breathe walking up and down the stairs with ease. It's a place I never thought I'd be, and now I'm happy to settle into a state of normalcy.

When you're over 200 pounds overweight, losing the LBs becomes a full-time job. It's a choice between life and death. But there's a lot more to me than how much weight I've lost and although I'm excited to continue to share my journey with everyone, I'm also ready to let the world in on other parts of my life. Because I'm not Katie, the girl who lost weight. Period. I'm Katie, the girl who lost weight and learned to live.

This year I started two new documentaries. By the time I'm 30, I'll have three documentaries under my belt. I flew in a plane for the first time in ten years. I traveled near and far with people I love, and made some incredible memories. This year I watched several of my students become incredible leaders. I worked hard. I played hard.

I learned some things about myself....
I'm a music snob, even though some days I have quite possibly the worst taste in music. 
I prefer being organized.
"I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it."- Audrey Hepburn
I'm generally a good cook, but I mostly suck at baking. Ask Eric about my "chocolate chip pancakes" that were supposed to be cookies. 
I know exactly what I want out of life and have a general plan on how to get there. 
I am happiest with people I love and care a lot less about what we're doing.

I really want to lose these final 40 pounds and get the skin surgery I've been dreaming of (see future blog post). I wanted to let you know that this weight loss journey has provided an incredible portal to finding myself. I feel like some people never get that opportunity. You might see my blog transform to include a lot more about my whole life, because it plays just as big a part in my weight loss as exercise and eating healthy. I'm incredibly thankful for all the support I've had until this point and I can't wait to share as my life continues to change and I continue to transform into the person I've always imagined myself as.

When it's all said and done, I want my weight loss to be  success that I had that opened the door to several other opportunities in my life. I'd like to be defined by the love I choose to give and receive and I hope that any person on a weight loss mission remembers how important that really is. You'll have ups and downs, but never let your life be defined by the number on the scale.