Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Transformation Tuesday - What THEY say

Transformation Tuesday is a thing! It's a thing I'm learning about as I navigate how to run an online business, for both our farm and my new coaching gig. I think Transformation Tuesday is an opportunity. It's an opportunity to tell your story, in a succinct, and powerful way. But for all my friends who know me well, succinct isn't really my thing.

I've been trying to find the right words to explain my latest transformation.
"A picture speaks louder than words," they say.
"Just use your before & after photos to show how you've changed," they tell me.

But the picture doesn't tell the whole story, and that's hard for me. Words have always been my friend. So, even though I'll continue to share my progress through photos, I'm going to take some time now, to put it all down in words.


"Why did you gain all that weight back?"

It was an honest question, from a then, acquaintance. It wasn't malicious or asked to invoke guilt. It was casual, as we walked on treadmills next to each other. It wasn't offensive, coming from someone I knew had faced the same struggles. But it did catapult me into a place of reflection that I had refused to visit until that point.

Why did I gain all that weight back? How did I lose 180 pounds and gain back over 100 of it? It only took a couple years. It was easy. That part I knew without thinking much about it. So, after taking the time to really think about this question, I'm ready to share my conclusion.

It was me. I'm the reason I gained back over 100 pounds and saw the scale, once again, roll past 300.

The reason I say this is not because I feel shame or guilt or sorry for myself. That is to say, I don't feel those things anymore, but I did. My life the past three years was built on a foundation of shame and guilt, that had me living in my cave of despair. I'm serious, folks. I've felt so, so sad. I say this because I want to help other people fight their own demons.

But Katie, you have SO much going for you.

True story. I one day, got almost everything I ever wanted. I married my best friend, my dream of a man. We bought a beautiful home on some amazing land. We started our farm, and watched our professional careers take off, after a million hours of hard work, sweat, and actual tears. So.many.tears.

The best way I can describe my state-of-mind at the time, is a cloud. I could not find a way to experience pure joy and elation, and without those moments, I found it harder and harder to take-on each day. The depression compounded when I reminded myself just how much my mood and unhappiness was affecting Eric. He started to experience the cloud, because no matter what he did, it was wrong. I was always upset, always sad, and nothing was ever enough to pull me out of the dark place.

So how did I do this to myself?

At first, I was high on my personal development in 2014. I had lost a ton of weight. I felt great. I had so many things I was ready to take on. Eric and I were dating. I had arrived, I thought. This is it. It's the life I've been waiting for. Slowly, exercise and eating healthy took a backseat to fun and adventure. Which is legitimately the right choice some days. But soon, having a bottle of wine with my sweetie more than one night a week, bingeing on delicious KC eats, and skipping my workouts after a late night concert, were the norm.

All of this would have been fine for a short time, if I hadn't started placing my personal self value on my weight. Once the scale started rolling, I started experiencing that guilt. Before I knew it, 10 pounds turned into 20, then 40, then 50 over a three year period. I felt so bad about myself then, that it only took another three months to gain another 50 pounds. Work was HARD. So hard. Money was tight. And my mind simply couldn't handle it all. So, I gave up.

I gave up on myself.
My regular head talk included a variation of this train of thought every.single.day. :I can't eat right. It's really too difficult. Work makes it impossible. I'm hungry. I deserve to have something easy. I just want ONE thing easy. I am just going to grab dinner on the way home. I just want to relax. I've worked 15 hours. I deserve to relax. I'm so tired. I'm tired of all of this. I need to clean the house. I'm too tired to clean the house. Eric deserves better. Why can other people do all this life stuff? I hate being so fat. I'm so tired. I hate myself.

I tried and tried and tried to lose weight, to get stronger, to FEEL better. But I failed over and over again. It all started with denial about how far I had fallen, which I'll save for another post. What I was doing before, wasn't working. For some reason, I wasn't strong enough to do it alone. My friend Lindsay reached out to me in 2017. I signed up for her free Beachbody group.

Ahh, finally, something easy.
The truth? It didn't work. I failed.

In retrospect, if I would have done the workouts or followed the nutrition plan, or participated in the challenge group, I may have found that it was exactly what I needed. But I didn't. I wanted an easy button, a magic pill, or someone else to do the work for me.

"It's not really for me. Maybe another time," I told her.

I decided that I was just going to be morbidly obese. I decided that this was the life I was destined for. I had spent so much of my life like that, so maybe this was how it was supposed to be. Maybe this was actually what I was destined for. I was too tired to imagine any other way.

In April of last year, I made the decision to try one more time. This had very little to do with me, and more to do with my husband. I felt so guilty about who I was, and so sad that Eric didn't marry the same girl he fell in love with years before. And I'm not talking physically here (although that was part of it), but I had turned into a grouchy, sad, couch potato, with no real aspirations or goals for myself or my family. And my  misery was effecting Eric so badly, even though he was trying so hard to make things better for me.

So, I reached out to Lindsay again.
"Okay, I'm ready," I told her.
 I invested in what she had told me about months before. I took the leap into something that I had publicly shamed in years past. I started drinking the shakes, I started doing the workouts, following the nutrition plans, and checking in with my "challenge group" every day.

I lost some weight the first month, but more importantly, I connected with a group of people who desperately wanted to reach their next level of wellness, whatever that might be. I fell in love with the honesty of "I ate all the cupcakes today" and "I missed my workout again", and I found the courage to try harder through all their positive updates, "Killed my workout today" or "Day 5 of staying on-track with my food. Left the chocolate alone today, again!" They helped me feel empowered, and before I knew it, I was motivating myself.

Then I went from surviving to thriving, and I found the courage to do all the hard things that I left behind years ago. I started tracking my non-scale victories; walking a quarter mile, running a 5k, then a 10k, and then a half-marathon. I competed in triathlons. I found confidence at work and made a big-time sale. I watched Eric's life transform, as I took back control of mine. And then our relationship blossomed into something even more than it was before. The love has always been there, but when two people on a quest for wellness, re-commit to each other, the results are beautiful. So much laughter and fun, grace and forgiveness.

I stopped using the scale as a representation of myself, because it's not the only thing that matters. The scale is a tool, and that's how I use it now.

What's different than six years ago when I lost all that weight originally? Why do I think I'll be able to keep it off and work towards a healthier me?

Community, commitment, tools, resources, personal development, and the ideology that my health is bigger than me. It effects my family, my friends, and my relationship with God. Self-care is not shameful. The best me can serve those around me best, and I don't take that lightly.

Coaching will help keep me motivated. It will help keep me honest to myself. I don't have a desire to punish myself for binging or missing my workout anymore. I do have a desire to be honest about it. This is just life, ya know. For some people, myself included, this part of life can be particularly difficult to manage. But this part of my life has impacted every single other part of my existence. I'm stronger today because I finally succumbed to that knowledge.

This picture I'm sharing is me, at the same weight. One picture, I was on my honeymoon. The other picture is this past week, getting ready for a happy-hour. Same weight, completely different person. Non-scale victories, my friends. I had no idea what these programs would do for my body, the strength I would gain.

Muscle weighs more than fat, they told me. I guess a picture really is worth a thousand words. They were right.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me smile. I have followed your journey and it's so inspirational. We all come into our own, but only when the timing is right. Community does make a difference, which is why I'm so happy you've found one you feel welcome and proud to be apart of. You are beautiful Katie, inside and out!