It’s been almost a year since I started and abruptly stopped writing this blog. Five days after my last post, one of my good friends died unexpectedly. A week later, I went to his memorial service, and the very next night was a bridesmaid in my best and oldest friend’s wedding. I let myself get caught up in, and overwhelmed by, my emotions for a while after that. I was at 225 lbs, and let myself get back up to nearly 240 lbs by Christmas 2011. I totally lost track of everything not directly pertaining to pushing through each day. And it ended up a year later, realizing I was twenty-eight and very quickly running out of time to accomplish all the things I wanted to do before I was thirty.
What? “You have two years until you’re thirty!” you say? Well, y’all, when you start out in January 2012 weighing what I did, it doesn’t leave much time to get rid of the weight and wear a bikini before the big 3-0. Yes, that’s a shallow, surface goal, but it’s one I have. I also want to hike in the Grand Canyon before I’m thirty, and wear a bridesmaid’s dress smaller than a 16/18 before I’m thirty. I want to have clearer skin, a healthy heart, a properly functioning body, the ability to run for longer than 45 seconds straight–and, should it come to it, the ability to outrun a zombie. So, realizing my West Coast trip is planned for Summer 2013, and I’ve got another wedding coming up in August 2012, I knew I had some work to do. I have less than two years to accomplish many of my goals, and I’m kicking my ass into gear.
Step One: Eat Right.
I am a vegan–not a SuperVegan, and there is a difference. Really, I’m a vegetarian in the truest sense. No milk, no eggs, no meat. It’s hard as hell. Really. You cannot eat anything you once loved, and you have to get really creative finding replacements. And, it’s not that I started this to love the animals–my dad raises cattle and turkeys. I support the sustainable, free-range, animal agriculture industry, actually. Rather, I went vegan because I was a craptastic vegetarian. Once a month, I’d have a bacon day. Then I started saying I was a vegetarian, but bacon was its own food group. Then I started making other little allowances–Chik Fil-A waffle fries, Diet Dr. Pepper’s on the weekend, fast food was allowed if I had to take a road trip, and I could eat meat when I visited my family, because my mama can’t make a meal without it being 50% meat, 25% overcooked vegetable, 25% starch, (sorry, Mama, but you know it’s true. But, that’s also true for nearly every modern American family.)
I went hard (as my student Naeem would say) as a vegan for January, or I thought I did, but I wasn’t feeling all the touted benefits. I still felt gross–lethargic, cranky, over-emotional. I’ve never really had bad skin problems, or suffered from hereditary acne like my brothers, but my skin was still breaking out more than when I was sixteen. It could have been a lot of things: all the vegan replacements for things–tofurky, imitation cream ‘cheese’, soy dogs–changes at work, lack of sleep. My food color spectrum was rust, red, brown, and tan, and there were more carbs than anything else in my diet.
So I went even harder. Since mid-February, I’ve been adding as many colors as possible to my diet. I bought a juicer. I cut caffeine, bread, and vegan replacement products. I’m cutting the Dairy Day I was giving myself, and had my last dairy product on February 21, 2012. It’s a fruits, veggies, and legumes now. I wake up every day at 6:45 a.m., my body rarely lets me sleep in passed 7:45 a.m. on the weekends. I have massive energy (most days. Kicking caffeine the last week has been rough.) And hey! My skin looks great! (Which I’m only just now realizing while I’m writing this post.)
Step Two: Get Moving.
Like WOAH. I am so amazingly blessed to have the friends that I do surrounding me every day. Since the end of January, I have had a great friend working out with me every single weekday. She is a personal trainer and certified yoga instructor, and since working with her, I have gotten rid of weight, inches, and increased my endurance. To date, I have taken my mile down from 20 minutes conversation pace, to about 15 minutes conversation pace. My best mile to date has been 13:47. The other day I ran for 2.5 minutes WITHOUT STOPPING. I went from double jumping rope (at about 40 jumps/minute) to single jumping (at 80+ jumps/minute!!)
Last week, I lost 5 lbs.–that is the most I’ve ever lost in a single week. Ever.
Step Three: Find Balance.
Yoga and Buddhism are my new loves. I have been focusing on myself, my perceptions and reactions. I have been focusing on letting go of the things I cannot control–and really, that’s almost everything except what I put into my body and what I put into the world. I can’t change what people think of me, but I can be the best me possible. I can’t change the stressors at work, but I can handle them with grace and care. I can’t stop the world from spinning, but I can spin with it, flow with it, and accept what it puts before me.
I started seeing a therapist in January. It’s been good, and I have a few sessions left with her. I am seeing many wonderful, insightful things about myself and how I perceive things, and I know I’m making progress in accepting my own beauty as a human being, and accepting love from others. It’s really fantastic. I feel like I’m dating myself right now, and making plans and goals for me… which isn’t exactly something I’ve ever done before.
I have made a few milestones for myself as I get rid of weight. (My friend Emma posted a little saying the other day, which I will paraphrase: “I’m not losing weight, I’m getting rid of it. I have no plans to find it again.”) I want to shed over 100 lbs. this year. I’m down 10 lbs… only 90 lbs. to go.