One of our members Mary has such a wonderful way with words and sharing her experiences in our members group that we recently made her an admin of our secret members support group to help add that little extra something for our members. As well as that we will be following Mary’s weight loss and fitness journey with regular blogs from Mary. We all have our struggles in reaching our goals and I think that Mary’s blogs will help to reassure all of us that we are not alone in our struggles – but also give us the extra motivation, inspiration and belief that we CAN change and grow and learn from our experiences along the way. Here is Mary’s first blog and we know you will enjoy and look forward to her next instalment.
What kind of life are you choosing to gift to yourself?
This question kept coming to the forefront of my mind back in May, when Summer was approaching and I could envision, again, that I hadn’t a prayer of fitting into anything cute or gorgeous or even half way decent. No chance of looking foxy this Summer for me! Standing at only 5′ 1″ I was nearing 18 stone and was the heaviest I have ever been and was surely feeling it. For months I had been on my latest wholesale binge, shoveling in whatever wasn’t nailed down and emotionally subsisting on the comfort that food gave me. It’s mortifying to admit to that.
Living in soft, comfortable leggings, baggy top and hoody, I had practically resigned myself to living constantly within my comfort zone. It was way safer in there. Actually I had set up camp there, living the same day every day and leading a very passive existence. I tried to blend into the background and kept my head below the radar, my breathing becoming more shallow so as not to take up any more space than I already was. I had lost my verve, my vitality, my zest for my own life. I had forgotten what the gift of my own life meant to me. I sobered up through the mind-numbing sameness of every day when I sat with the realisation that I was CHOOSING this limiting, life-sapping, passive existence for myself. I had stopped asking myself, what are you capable of achieving with this GIFT that is YOUR LIFE?
I was aware of the dangers my unhealthy lifestyle had in store for me, that I was shortening my life and it scared me but I had chosen to bury my head in the sand. I was on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol and the previous year had been diagnosed with sleep-apnoea, requiring me to sleep every night wearing a mask to breathe, hooked up to a CPAP machine. I had ended up being sent to hospital straight from my GP’s surgery the week before last Christmas as I was having breathing difficulties and there was a fear that a blood clot could be travelling from my legs to my lungs or heart. I figured the blood clot fear was because of my colossal size. I was put on a nebulizer, bloods were taken, given an ECG and was discharged the same day. My own self regard and self compassion had taken a nose dive for quite some time and I was tuned in every day and night to my inner critical voice who mushroomed out of all proportion in my mind all my faults, failings and character flaws. I had stopped reaching for things that would help me grow and my life had become stagnant.
Back in May I paused. I paused long enough to breathe and to take stock. I looked at my life head on and did not like what I was seeing. It wasn’t pretty. I knew I needed to ask more of myself, to stretch myself and to raise my standards in everything I applied myself to in my life. I needed to wake up. It was time to OWN my life again, to grab this gift of life and to run with it.
Along with the crippling self-flagellation I was putting myself through, I had become weary too of the embarrassment that comes along with being severely obese. I’ve broken two toilet seats (thank God only my own!!). I trip over myself from time to time and the last time it was quite public. It was 15h10, I had just picked up my two boys from school, the school yard was full of parents and I suddenly went crashing to the ground. Thank Christ it was on the grass or I would have been sorely broken up on the concrete path! The fall happened in slow motion. I managed to turn sideways mid-fall, wave and smile at a woman who was smiling at me and asking “Are you alright???”, answering “Yep, sure I’m grand!” and crashed to my side. All I could do was roll to my back and laugh. But then I also knew that because I was so heavy that it wouldn’t be easy getting back up. I had to manoeuvre myself onto all fours with as much nonchalance as I could muster and rise up from the grass, with perhaps a shred of dignity intact. All I could do was laugh but Good Lord it was not my most elegant of moments. To my chagrin, my children have been teased about their fat Mammy. So far it hasn’t been in school (so they say), it’s been at play dates/sporting activities where they’ve had to listen to “Yeah well at least my Mammy isn’t fat like your Mammy is!!” or “So how FAT is your Mam anyway? She must be 20 stone, yeah?”
Anyhoo, I pulled myself together back in May and signed up again with Hannah Nolan and Why Weight Ireland. I had taken a couple of weeks first to visualise what I wanted, wrote down what goals I wanted to achieve and wrote down exactly what actions I needed to take to reach those goals. I decided to actively LIVE my life and to start cherishing this gift that I had been forsaking for so long. I knew that I needed to focus on practicing some basic disciplines every day to succeed long-term and knew that these simple new daily habits would help me reach fantastic goals and show me what I am capable of.
- Religiously, and honestly, filling in the Why Weight Ireland Food & Exercise Diary every day
- Keep food weighing scales on the counter and weigh everything to ensure accurate information input to the diary
- Taking part in some form of exercise every day, to include running again
- Plan and prepare weekly menus and shop accordingly
- Prepare healthy meals full of flavour
- Try at least 2 new recipes a week
- Send Hannah a weekly check-in email
- Interact and share with fellow Why Weight Ireland members on the secret Facebook page
- Cut down late night TV and get enough sleep
- Weekly assessments of progress and adapt accordingly if something is not working
- Rejoice in all improvements, no matter now small. They all add up.
Every week I make sure to be aware of non-scale victories and celebrate them.
- At the beginning of the Summer my back would nearly go into spasm as I’d try wrestle myself into my swim suit and end up panting on the bed with the exertion. Now I can slip it on easily and no need for a back brace!
- My face has lost its puffy appearance
- I can fasten my Garmin one notch closer
- I’m building back up to non-stop running with one of Hannah’s run/walk plans and have improved my mile pace by 2 minutes over this Summer
- My youngest child, when hugging me, exclaiming “Mammy! I can reach my arms the whole way around now and my fingers meet!”
Several times while writing this blog I’ve had an unmerciful urge for a smoke but have to remember I stopped smoking yesterday and have no tobacco in the house so may just continue with going cold turkey! I have lost another 2lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 32.2lbs over 14 weeks. Only 100.8lbs to go!!! Constant support and encouragement from Hannah and fellow Why Weight Ireland members has really helped keep me going and keep the fire in my belly to see this through and continue on my healthy lifestyle campaign. I am learning that self-loathing and corrosive insecurity are in no way helpful for me to gift to myself a wonderful life. I am learning to develop skills to love myself more. I am learning it is okay to be an imperfect soul, that I can move mountains with determination, consistency and true grit.
I am choosing to honour myself with the gift of self-compassion, the gift of self-respect, the gift of being my own cheerleader, the gift of truly falling in love with myself and my own life.
So what kind of life are YOU choosing to gift to yourself?
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