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What a difference 5 years makes

Sunday, March 27, 2016

5 years ago today, I started my journey toward a healthier, happier me. I've had some very good successes and some pretty bad failures along the way. But one thing stayed constant. Regardless of how far I've strayed from time to time, I've always found my way back. The trackers, the challenges, the wonderful Spark community, THAT'S my constant.

It's like leaving home at 18, thinking you know everything and knowing exactly how you'll live your life. You enjoy your freedom, you know more than your parents and what's best for you. Yes, you make mistakes. But they're YOUR mistakes, and you've earned them. You learn from them, you move on. You have your life all mapped out! You're an ADULT!

Then reality sets in. That fork in the road, you don't expect it and don't know what to do. So you call home, talk to your mother. Then there's a section of that road riddled with potholes. You think you've got it, you're completely in control, but end up in the ditch. Again, a call home to get some reassurance, a little confidence boost.

Before you know it, life throws you curve balls you can't possibly handle on your own. You're out of control and need help again. REAL help! So you go home. Back to the safety and security of your parents.

That's a lot like what this journey has been for me so far. I started Sparkpeople March 27, 2011. I was 312 lbs at that time. I had ZERO self esteem. I hated everything about myself. There were months on end when I was so depressed I couldn't see straight. I was afraid to leave the house without my children, because them being in the car was the only thing keeping me from driving off a bridge. I'd "dieted" before. Lost some weight, then gained it all, plus some back. Each time, I was dying a little bit more inside.

I started out reading people's blogs, looking through their pages. Then I joined a couple groups and met a lot of amazing people who were in the same boat! I started logging EVERYTHING! If it went in my mouth, I logged it. I joined the bootcamp challenges. I participated. I showed an interest in other people's journeys. I cared just as much about them succeeding as me. Little by little, my confidence improved. The depression was easing up a bit. There were far more good days than bad. I banned the word "diet" from my vocabulary!!! I worked out, I ate right, and changes were happening!

By April 11th, I was out of the 300s. By July 4th, I'd lost 50 pounds! I was 239 pounds at Halloween that year...and then I got lazy and wandered away lol. I caused a bit of damage, but rallied quickly enough. I started 2012 at 252 pounds. And by May, I hit my all-time low of 213 pounds.

I won't say it was easy. It was a struggle! I hit a mental block. I just COULD NOT get to that 100 pound mark! In all honesty, I'd begun eating healthier 3 or 4 weeks before ever joining SP, so in reality, I was way over 312 at my biggest. I just never got on the scale and didn't know the actual number. So yes, I'd ALREADY surpassed that 100 pound mark that I got so hung up on!

After that, I really struggled to stay focused and motivated. I began cheating myself, taking a serving and a half, rather than a serving. Dialing it in on my workouts, or just plain skipping them altogether! I told myself I'd earned it, when in reality, I was punishing myself. I felt as if I'd failed and didn't deserve to be happy. I convinced myself I wasn't worth it. I was in such a depression, I don't think I could even think straight.

I returned now and then, hoping that I'd find that original spark again. September of that year, I came back, determined to get my life back in order...only to log in a day or two then disappear for a couple months. This continued, over and over again, until November of last year. I'd log in, swear I was back, ready to work for it, then leave again.

I was like a lost teenager, searching for that home she left so long ago. Wanting desperately to get back to that place, but always feeling like a stranger in her own home.

Something clicked in November. I don't know what, I don't know why. All I know is it feels like I'm home again, and this time for good.

I'm back to 229, which seems like a backslide sometimes. But I know it's not. It's a recovery! I don't dwell on the damage I did while out in the world unsupervised. Instead, I choose to focus on all the progress I've made in making this a home again. It feels like home again.

I'm hoping to be down to 213 again within the next few months. Then it's all new, uncharted territory again. It's a little scary, but I think I've grown enough to help avoid some of the pitfalls from the past. I'm not going to dwell on the 100 pound mark, because frankly, I've already surpassed it! I lost 99 pounds (that I have record of) when I first started SP, and since returning, I've lost another 45. Granted, they may be the SAME 45, but I don't care. I've lost 140+ pounds! So there's no need to focus on 100, I've already done it!

So now, my only focus is healthy habits, inches being shed, resting heart rate dropping, endurance improving, and having a good weigh-in each week for my challenge teams! No more huge goals for me. Each day is it's own goal. And every time I succeed, it sets me up for success with the next day. That's it, that's all I can do. But you know what? It's enough.
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