Fat Chick at a Fitness Conference 

Last week I was on a once in a lifetime trip to New York for the annual Anytime Fitness conference.  

I say again, F-I-T-N-E-S-S conference. 

Never in my wildest daydreams would I have ever thought that this would be my life. And certainly people who’ve known me a long time would agree. It’s wild times for me, for sure. When I first started this blog in 2013 I was so lost. I had no ideas about where I was headed. All I knew is that I was in pain and writing helped. I knew I needed to change, but I did not know how or where to start.  
Fast forward to September 2016, and here is my view from the lodge I stayed at in Lake Placid…as a fitness professional.  

What do I want to say about my experience last week? 
How do I begin? Where do I start? 
Do I start with the amazing and surreal sights and sounds of my 24 hours in New York City, before we headed up state?  
Do I dig deep into my wanna-be-writer soul and try to describe how magical and soul stirring it was to be in the Olympic village at Lake Placid, where our conference was held? In the actual ice rink where the “miracle on ice” happened in 1980, one of the biggest sports upsets of all time?
Do I start with the intense gratitude I have for my boss’s, my team, my gym members, my friends, my family, my babies and my husband??? For everything everyone’s done to provide for me, inspire me, push me and encourage me to get to this awesome point in time of my life? 
No.
I’ll start with the REAL, less impressive, corners of my heart. That place deep down in the bellows of your guts that threatens to show up and ruin everything you’ve worked hard for with just a few seeds of doubt and shame. Yes, I’ll start there. Because it doesn’t matter where I’m at, or what I’m doing…when the mind starts traveling down that road of negative thinking, nothing else matters. And I know we’ve all been there. 

You see, I’m still fat. Forget that I’ve lost 111lbs. To people who don’t know me, I’m still obese. 288 pounds is still ALOT. And that’s the number I carried around with me, and stuffed into airplane seats and restaurant chairs and yoga workout pants while I was gone.  
My body is in this weird, middle earth realm of being smaller, stronger and more effiencient…but also (with weight still to lose) still big, and jiggly.  And with the weight loss I’ve had, I’m starting to have skin droop and sag. It’s just the way it is.  There’s no getting around that, I’d rather have that to deal with then where I was at before.  

I know it’s TMI, but I’m just keeping it real people. This is the real life account of my “extreme weight loss” and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows!! Some of this is really weird and hard and I understand now why it must take so long to truly transform!! It is a grueling process and the mind takes time to catch up with the changes of your body and vice versa.  

Ultimately, my goal is health and FEELING good, and be able to actively live my life.  So, the cosmetic stuff doesn’t really bother me.  Especially when I’m in my bubble where everyone knows me! 

Here at home, everyone at our gyms knows ME. They know my story.  They’ve seen me work out.  They know what I’m capable of, and I walk around with complete confidence in my leadership there.  That is why I was unprepared for how my insecurity would start to creep in and feel at our conference.  

Being in a group of hundreds (at least 1,000?) trainers and fitness professionals who didn’t know me left me feeling pretty vulnerable.  But I know better!!! I kept telling myself that this is what all of these people are passionate about! Not one person was rude to me or weird to me! The battle was all within my head.  Which leads me to my triumphant moment friends.  You knew there would be one! 

The Saturday afternoon before we left, there was a group workout planned so that we could attempt to break three world records. The records we attempted were the most people doing a simultaneous 1 minute plank, 1 minute of squats and 1 minute of jumping jacks.  The squats and the planks I was not worried about.  But I have NEVER done unmodofied jumping jacks becuase I can’t jump on my feet! The pounding is too hard and my body so heavy.  But, in order to qualify for the world record, each person has to do a perfect, unmodofied version of each exercise without stopping for the full minute.  

It was a conundrum.  

I DID NOT WANT TO DO THIS.  I was silently agonizing over having to do it.  Worried I would fail miserably.  Do I sit out? Do I let my team down and refuse to do this workout that will surely end in my shame and humiliation? Do I surrender to that nagging negative voice that had been pestering me the whole time we were there, saying you DONT BELONG HERE? 

Well first of all, my team wouldn’t have let me sit out so that wasn’t an option.  And secondly, I thought about all of my people!! All of my members at my gym at home who love me and whom I feel in some small way I represent.  I decided I’d try my best for THEM.  And so I did. And you know what? I was able to do all three.


LONGEST three minutes of my life, but I did it.  I could do it all along.  And in that three minutes it didn’t matter what my body looks like or all my dumb feelings…all I knew is that I had DONE THE THING.  

One of the best feelings of my life, I’ll never forget it.  I was so proud of myself for not surrending to that old mindset that would have robbed me of being a part of breaking world records with my team.  After the workout, the trainer who was leading us from up front ran down to the grass and created a huddle with us all around.  He yelled,”Do you feel that?! This is why we do what we do. It’s magical! It’s tangible!” And I broke down and finally cried.  

But, tears of joy! 

It doesn’t matter who knows what about me.  I know how far I’ve come and am excited about where I’m going.  And it’s been announced that next years conference is in Palm Springs. 🙂 

Restroom of Reverence 

The day I signed up for my gym membership I couldn’t get back in my car and drive away fast enough. I actually told the woman behind the desk (who has since become a dear friend) to hurry, before I changed my mind! I knew the next day would be the real test…to actually come into the gym with the intention to exercise.  
The next morning, I went back and forth between groaning with fear or yelling affirmations at myself while driving in my truck, in an attempt to get hyped enough to actually go inside. My plan was to walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill. That would be easy enough, right? I’ve walked longer than that at Disneyland, this would be an easy way to start. I can do 30 minutes! 

I walked for ALMOST 11 minutes.  

At a 2.0 mph pace, it was agony. My feet were swollen and felt heavy. My shirt kept riding up my belly and I was tugging it down and wrangling with it every 15 seconds, making me wildly agitated and self-conscious. My chest burned immediately from the activity, 395 pounds pounding down with each step took its toll. In that moment, I was faced with the reality of what I had let myself become and how HARD this was actually going to be. I was already winded, sweaty and beet red.
Those eleven minutes felt like an eternity.  
I pushed the “pause” button on the treadmill and let it slow to a stop. As calmly and casually as I could, I walked over to the restroom and couldn’t wait to hide behind the sanctuary of the closed and locked door (we have private bathrooms/showers at my gym). I sank down onto the bench against the wall and burst into tears while pulling out my phone to call my husband at work.  
“Hello?” He answered. 
“Omg. Babe. I cannot do this. What have I done? I’m so embarrassed. I only did 10 minutes, I hurt so bad…I don’t belong here…I don’t know what I was thinking………” 
He listened to me, and let me cry. Let me spiral. Then he responded with tenderness and encouragement, and kept reminding me over and over that I HAD to start somewhere. He was proud of me for going. Tomorrow I should try to add one more minute. I did awesome. He would see me after work. He loved me. I had calmed down and caught my breath enough to say goodbye. I loved him too. Thanked him for believing in me. Hung up the phone and wiped my face. Took a few deep breaths to gather the courage I’d need to walk out of that bathroom and through the gym to get to my truck. 

Today I cleaned that same bathroom as an employee of Anytime Fitness. 
  

 I am honored to report that after a year and a half of dedication to my workouts, falling in love with the staff and trainers of my gym, being allowed to start and lead a support group to empower myself and other members on similar journeys, I have been officially hired, part time, as a part of the team. 
 UN. REAL. 
This first week has been all about training and those “first week” things that you typically learn when you start a new job, like the cleaning procedures. But my experience as I cleaned that bathroom today was not typical.  
It was…almost…holy.
I was in absolute awe of how far I’ve come since that first eleven minutes on the treadmill. I just stopped and thanked God. Gratitude is all I have. As I sit here writing this I can’t even gather the words. It would sound redundant anyway. I’ve said it hundreds of times, I’ve lost weight, but I have gained the world. And I still have an uncharted journey ahead! 

My life has changed this week. My family’s life has changed. In the state I was in before, I could not even be considered for a job. This is a new chapter. I am beyond thrilled and excited for what it will bring. I am honored to be joining a team of people who truly care about impacting and changing people’s lives. I look forward to someday sitting across the desk from someone who is scared to death to sign up and take that first step toward new life, and tell them my story.  
In the meantime, while I’m cleaning bathrooms, it won’t be lost on me what a sacred space they are.  

A private refuge where some come face to face with themselves, for the first time like I did. Taking a moment to catch their breath or battle doubts and limitations…maybe even crying, then gathering the courage and determination to go back out and finish. I know it sounds lame, but I’m convinced that I’m not the only person who has let themselves unravel behind those doors. It’s a sacred place in there.

Moral of the story? NEVER GIVE UP.   
To those of you who’ve been reading along on my blog and following my journey this long…thank you from the bottom of my heart. The support and accountability this has been for me is priceless.  
 

Greatness awaits!

Came across this post and thought it was worthy of a re-post. 72 pounds lighter, but THIS is still the prayer and cry of my heart. May we learn to be kind to each other and ESPECIALLY ourselves.

Mandimonologue

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My daughter stepped on the scale in my bathroom today while I was cleaning. It was a golden moment from the heavens that I almost missed by being distracted by my own thoughts and busyness.

She stepped on it and said,”Ok mama, let’s see how great I am!”

What.

The.

Heck.

My face still might be slightly numb.
Seriously.
Men may not get this post, but I know women will.

For many of us ladies, the scale represents so many vile things. It boasts the measurement of our worth (or so we’ve learned from somewhere) and it doesn’t lie, right? It can’t be tricked or cheated like the number that we’ve put on our drivers licenses. The scale will expose all of your secret rendezvous with the drive thru, the left overs and the chocolate chip cookies that you thought were safe from the public eye, late in the…

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Hopeful

I am sitting here on my porch, enjoying the morning sun and the rare occurrence of not being rushed on a school day. It’s Friday, the weekend is spread out before us. It brings with it feelings of relief because we know for the next two days we can breathe and relax. Weekends are glorious and I am antsy to partake.

Recently, my early mornings are set apart for reading, writing, prayer and quiet before the craziness of the day starts. I like to compile my blog posts to reflect whatever it is I am currently working through, sharing my truth with anyone who might relate. Pretending to be important or an artist with my self centered musings. Sitting outside feeling fresh; piecing together my “insightful” thoughts about how hard it has been the past week or so in my “sober” living. The war that I’m waging with my body and food…the exhaustion of having to constantly take my inventory… work towards health and wholeness…blah blah blah. It all seems redundant after receiving a call a few minutes ago to be praying for a dear friend of mine who’s just learned she has cancer. Felt crummy and sick all week but tried to go into work after taking a few days off. Feeling worse and deciding to go to urgent care and within a short amount of time…life is turned upside down.

My heart sank. Suddenly all of my rubbish is dimmed by concern for a loved one. This is real life. No one is exempt. So many who suffer everyday. When I look up from my insulated point of view I can feel nothing but humility. But I also know that in these moments we are drawn in and tucked under our fathers wings. I know and have seen that in times of disaster there are tender hearts to help. In hardships, generous hands to give. In tragedy, arms to hold you while you cry. In sickness, prayers and support that you can’t imagine. Today, while I’m struck by the news of my friend, there is also a team of people running the Reno/Tahoe Odyssey (a huge race around Lake Tahoe) to help raise money for a young woman fighting for her life. How many more countless people are out there living life with people, good bad or indifferent? If we look past the fear, God will always reveal hope.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”

(Psalms 91:1-6, 9-16 NLT)

Don’t stop till you get enough

15 days of “sober” living and “in bounds” eating.

I have survived baby showers, dinners with friends, restaurants, and a church dinner that ended at a friend’s house with a buffet of See’s candy.

Seriously.

Thought I’d share a little bit of what I’m experiencing half way through:

– Structured eating has given me confidence and a feeling of freedom that I would not have imagined. It seems to have muted the obsession with food I felt I was a slave to. Since the overeating has always been some weird attempt at exerting control, it’s surprising that staying “in bounds” makes me feel more in control than ever. Thank you Jesus.

– I’m learning to listen to my body. How I feel, what I need is based more now on feeling hungry or not. Stopping when I’m full, and honoring that. Before it was just a free for all…all the time. I was compelled to eat even when I was not hungry.

– I have been drinking tons of water and know that my body appreciates it. Some of the inflammation I was experiencing in my feet has minimized because my body is not retaining water. Not having as much of the intense pain I was experiencing is enough to dance a jig. This alone makes it all worth it.

– I am not planning to weigh myself till my 30th day…but I do feel “bendy-er”. My clothes fit a pinch better. I’ve got more energy. I don’t feel gross or sluggish.

These are some of the exciting rewards I am enjoying for the hard work I’ve put in. I am experiencing a determination that I never have before and I am just simply grateful. Thank you to,everyone for all of the continued support, enthusiasm and encouragement. I feel like the hard part was actually starting DAY ONE.
Now, I just have to keep going…

Happy Monday!

Confessions of a Monday morning…

I am home now after a weekend with my family in California. We always have adventures and laughs and fights. I love spending time with all of my siblings and family. It’s fun for my hubs and I to sit back and let our kids get spoiled my the grandparents. It’s good family time. Much needed. The only downfall being we always stay up too late and eat too much.

That is why I find myself frustrated this Monday morning.

I am always playing games with myself, manipulating and excusing. Making allowances to eat this or that, or 6 of them. This doesn’t seem to be problematic for anyone else in my family, but for me it is. Give me one tiny reason, and I will use it to make a sandwich or stop for a burger. It’s pathetic. You would think that all this transparency would make me more disaplined.
I know what I shouldn’t, yet I do. The age old human debacle. I know the reasons behind why I’ve formed these habits, yet here I am. Struggling this morning against making the healthy choices I need to, and wanting to keep riding the crazy train of rubbish after a fun weekend. Mad at myself for so quickly turning on all of my momentum and motivation talk from last week. Inwardly urging myself to get my big ol ass up on that wagon again.

You always hear people say “moderation”.

BOO.

You wouldn’t expect an alcoholic to drink moderately on a family weekend? You would expect abstinence. But how to you abstain from eating?
You can’t. I absolutely resonate with people working the 12 steps. Part of my pursuit of a meaningful makeover has been working the steps and weaving them into my life. I have a really great workbook that I’ve been digging through for a year and I recently began going to a recovery class at a local church that may or may not prove to be a boost of help in this department. We shall see if the theology and doctrine issues will welcome or repel me. Tune in to find out. Lol.

So I find myself again, surrendering my “out of control” to the ultimate source who is He, who holds all things in balance. Created me, and is leading me toward balance.

Finding that to “get real” this morning on this blog means to go ahead and show the good, bad and ugly.

Now I’m off to make a shake. Yay?

Awake. Again.

Part of the ugliness of being overweight is the pain and discomfort. I mean literal pain, not just the emotional and social. You assume it has to be there but not a lot of people talk about it outside of the contexts of trying to work out or go running. Of course exercise hurts when you’re fat! Imagine trying to jog with a grown mans dead weight strapped to your back and see how far you knees will let you get. See how your lungs burn and gasp for immediate relief.

So many times I’ve decided I will just go ahead and be a bad ass. I’ve got it in me right? I’ve got THIS! Mind over matter. Ill just push, push, push myself like they do on “The Biggest Loser”.

Boo.

Obviously, that is TV and out here in the real world people cannot work out with a trainer for 4-6 hours a day with no other responsibilities other than burning that fat off to make inspiring reality television. But I HAVE tried. In my minds eye I can see myself being a beast. The athletic self that I kinda used to be emerging and conquering victorious. I don’t dream of wearing bikinis, I dream of big, muscled thighs strong and running. I dream of competition and challenges. I dream of marathons ( at Disneyland of course) and stamina to join in where life is being lived.

The truth is I am currently bound in a body that is simply not able. Stuck in flesh that is stubborn and prone to be at rest and definitely not willing to be uncomfortable. In reality, the level of discomfort that comes as a result is worse. I have nerve damage and problems with my feet. Years of being too heavy, wearing nothing but flip flops and having flat feet have ruined them. Every time I embark on a life of fitness, the inflammation sets in and derails my attempts. Leaving me to comfort myself with doughnuts.

LAME.

Tonight I woke up with pain. The nighttime is the worst. I have no idea why. I got up to keep from waking up the Hubs. In the name of keeping this blog unabashedly honest I will admit that this is the trouble time for me. Alone late at night while my family sleeps is the perfect time to binge eat to distract and numb the pain. Physically and sometimes emotional too. Looks so dumb seeing it typed out like this. I just want to shake myself by the shoulders and yell,”knock it off”! No wonder, right?

I don’t share all of these heavy things ( pardon the pun lol) to be a bummer, this is just the reality of my situation and I did name the blog “Realology” so I better keep it real.

Well, tonight I woke up with pain and decided to write instead. That alone is a victory, thank you GOD. I poured a poem out that seemed to capture exactly how it’s feels to live with this little black cloud of pain that follows me around day to day. During the day it hovers at bay…but at night it storms. I was going to keep this one private. But I felt moved to share because I want to be completely honest and I realize that there are so many people in my life who deal with chronic pain, WORSE than mine, who have no way to express the prison of it. My pain will most likely subside as I continue to shed weight, theirs will not. I was moved to pray for them and share this poem as an offering to them. May we be reminded to take it easy on those in our lives we come across who may be irritable or distant. They may be struggling with pain, and the guilt that seems to come along with it.

Living Chronically

This pain is staggering.
Waking me from sleep, ripping me out of dreams.
Burning.
Sharp.
Deep in my bones.
Makes me draw in my breath and hold.
In hopes that maybe somehow I can make it go away by choking it of air.
My skin is plugged in and charged.
Electric shocks, stabbing angrily.
Taunting.
My whole focus is devoted to this when in full rage.
I’m dilated and in full labor, birthing something menacing.
My body turned against me again and is seeking revenge.
No pill, no remedy can soothe or dull.
Only the cooling of ice on the skin for a moment makes it bearable.
Ice is never cool for long enough.
To stand on my bare feet is to balance on jagged rocks.
I imagine pillars of sharp, crystallized blood hardening and forming
canyons and plains within the beds of my feet.
Toothed and serrated carpets.
Terrain that warns against trespassing.
I imagine when I rise and all of my weight sinks down upon them that
the violent plain is poised and ready to pierce my flesh like a sharpened sword.
Like a warrior, defending honor, it delivers blow after blow.
No mercy.
If I insist on being silent and still…
Shhh… I can try to ride it out like a storm current.
Maybe if I try to shake and bounce my legs in rhythm I can distract my limbs from this war they’re engaged in.
This murky cloud that sneaks up on me. Follows me and pounces when I’m not looking.
Robbing me of simple moments, because nothing is simple when my energy is constantly poured into this.
Understanding why people self medicate.
Change positions and wait for the volume to begin to dim.
Letting it settle.
Afraid to flare it back up.
My quality of life altered, and will always look around for a chair to stop and rest in.
Points and whispers.
Accusations of laziness.
Whispers of inactivity, leaving me lonely in this fight…
Surrendered to no one understanding.
No power left to explain.
Nothing left.

#mygirl was the official photographer for my club @anytimefitness_northreno free workout event today...she got some great action shots and video...but this sneaky selfie she took is my fave.  #mybaby #mydaughter❤️ #thosefreckles

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