Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What a difference a Year Makes.....

WOW!! What a difference is right!!

On March 10th, 2014 I made a decision. Enough was enough. I was sick and tired of being depressed. I was tired of not liking the person I had become. I was angry with myself for allowing myself to reach 258 pounds. I was angry that for so long I would turn to food as a way to comfort me. I was so annoyed that I couldnt run around with my son, my nieces without getting winded. I needed to sit down all the time. My knees and my back were always killing me. I was negative towards myself, snapping at my husband, pushing people away. Who the hell was this person and where did Kristin go?

Up until that date - my life was a crazy roller coaster. Not as difficult as some, but certainly more trying than others. I was lost. I let my happy go lucky self disappear. This didnt happen overnight. This was many years in the making. When I sat down to really reflect on this last year, I realized I had gotten to that "desperate" place because of choices I had made. No one put me there, I did that. I let circumstances of life hold me back, determine the road I traveled, and played the excuses and woe is more card more times than I can count.

Now dont get me wrong - I have been dealt some really tough crap, and many certain situations that were beyond my control. Looking back now, as an older wiser woman, I know I could have made better choices - I didnt need to let these situations completely overwhelm me, but mentally back then i wasnt in a place that I could have done that. And as the years went on, and more situations arose I wasnt strong enough to know how to make better choices. Many people would have completely crumbled. Did I crumble? Slightly. Did I use coping mechanisms to get through it? Yes absolutely. Where there destructive choices made? Hell yes. Did I pretend like I was happy, put on a brave face, and keep going? Umm yup - thats what we do as women and mothers!

I have been really very hesitant about sharing parts of my life, with everyone - while on my health & fitness journey. Sharing and talking about where my self esteem, confidence, depression, and attack on myself started. But I as I was reflecting, i realized - maybe my story will help someone out there. Maybe someone else can relate to what has happened in my life, and maybe just maybe I can help someone who is going through some serious struggles and make it to the other side. And just so you know, I like to talk - so once I start its hard to stop...So here goes....this is me putting it out there.

I can remember the exact day my life took a very different path then I thought i was going to go on. January 25th, 1993. I woke up like any other day, not really looking forward to go to school as we were in the middle of midterms, and I just wanted to spend the day relaxing and hanging out with my friends. I was 16, in my sophomore year of high school and my biggest problem in life was how was I going to get away with staying out past curfew to hang out with my boyfriend and friends that weekend. By mid day, was biggest concern felt beyond insignificant. Now my concern was how in the hell am I supposed to put one foot in front of the other, how was I supposed to breath when I was just kicked in my stomach. My best friend, my boyfriend was dead.

After I came out of my fog, I put up walls. I blamed myself for his passing. I looked at myself at this ugly, disgusting person who did not deserve to be happy. I was angry, so angry. How could he leave me? Clearly I wasnt good enough for him to stay around. I wasnt good enough for him to go to the doctor when he was feeling well so they could fix what was wrong with him. I wasnt pretty enough, thin enough, nice enough for him to love me and want to stick around. Yes looking at it now, that is ridiculous - but to a 16 yr old who just had the most devastating thing happen to her, that is how i felt. Instead of reaching out for help, I started my long road of slowly destroying myself.

I used food to comfort me. I used alcohol to numb the pain. Did I look happy to everyone on the outside? Of course I did. I also perfected my acting skills at this point. No one was the wiser. I was drinking way too much, eating crap every chance I got. Then I would starve myself and just drink. Or I would binge of food so badly that I would make myself throw up. I had to keep walls up so I wouldnt get hurt anymore. I never wanted to feel that pain of loosing someone every again. What better way to do that then to put on weight, act like one of the guys and keep everyone at arms length? Remember, I wasnt good enough for anyone to really love me. I wasnt pretty enough for anyone to put me first. I wasnt thin enough for anyone to want to be with me.

After many years of telling myself over and over again all of these negative and awful things. I believed them. Deep down to my core. I knew these things about me were true. I knew I was fat, I was ugly, I wasnt good enough to be someones one and only. Sure I was fun to be around, a great friend, sure I was loving and caring towards others. I would give you the shirt off my back in order to help you, to SAVE you, to make sure you were happy. I would go out of my way, go above and beyond to put everyone's needs first, I would make excuses and justification for people treating me like a used up doormat....because I didnt want anyone to leave me. I didnt want to be alone. Even though I put all these protective walls up...I so desperately wanted to take them down, yet I was so afraid of failure, afraid of being hurt, afraid no one would want to be around the real me. I would stay friends with people who were beyond toxic and were taking advantage of my kindness. I would stay in relationships that were down right disrespectful to me as a human being, and mentally abusive. What did I do for myself? Sit in a corner in the dark and eat an entire cake and cry.

When I became a mother, and gave my son my best friend / boyfriends name as his middle name - something clicked for me. What the hell was I doing in my life? Chasing people who do not deserve me or my heart. Chasing after jobs I did not want to be a part of, that brought me no joy what so ever. I am a mother now. I can not teach this boy to love himself, go after his passions, and be a good
person if I dont love me! I guess part of my journey started there. He was born March 15th, 2003....and it only took me another 11 yrs almost to the day to get my head on straight. Not going to lie, journeys are HARD!! Sometimes you need to start and restart many many times before it clicks for real.

Over the next 11 yrs, I had many more curve balls thrown at me. Baby Daddy issues, job losses, home losses, needing to divorce some friends and family members...but I was OK. I would work through the tough times. I was making better choices with my life. I didnt become 100% overwhelmed. I was still putting everyone first, but I was carving some time out for me. Which for me was a huge step. I still would find myself leaning on food as my crutch, my comfort. I was still an huge emotional eater, when life would get a little crazy, and extra cookie hear, extra taco there....but I wasnt letting it completely consume me. I would have some cookies, or a slice of cake - instead of eating the entire box or entire cake.

Then life said...."Well Kristin here is a another one for you". A man who was like a second father to me, my son's grandfather, was diagnosed with lung cancer. That brought up a lot of unresolved issues from when I was 16, issues I would continuously push to side and pretend like they arent there. Feelings of abandonment, feelings of unworthiness. Feelings of all around gross person. I was scared to death. Someone who I loved so much was going to leave me, leave my son. I knew I had to be strong for everyone, and couldnt let anyone know I was hurting so badly, i had to put my walls up, block everyone out immediately fell into my comfort zone. Do what came natural, put everyone first, no time for me...this man and the family came first. And when I was alone, at night - while my son and my husband slept, the box of cookies came out and then disappeared. The cupcakes I made for everyone else, would be gone. Run through every fast food place to just eat, and get anything loaded with garbage. I started feeling insecure and angry with myself that yet again I was turning to food to comfort me. And the more comfort I needed, the bigger I got.


After he had passed, life said yet again said to me..."dont get to comfortable"...My husband at the time, got pneumonia. Being a diabetic, and a man who is stubborn as hell - it became very bad very fast. Doctors gave him a 30% chance to survive. His organs were shutting down, he was in this pretend coma - like he would be awake every now and then, yet had no idea where he was, who we were, or what was going on. he fevers would hit 104/105 - they would have to pour ice all over him. He was in ICU for 8 days like this.This was it for me. This has just sent me over the edge. I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. And here came the pity party....How can 1 person deal with this? Why me? Why does all this crap happen to me? Who was I in a former life that left and right I am just getting sucker punched?? I am thinking to myself, I finally let my walls down with this man. Let him into my life, into my heart, let him be a father to my son, and now he was going to die?!?!? It was like I was 16 all over again. This person who swore he loved me was going to leave me. All of my insecurities came flying back. I am not worth it. I am not good enough for someone to truly love. I am not pretty enough, I am not thin enough. I was praying in one breath for him to live, in the other blaming my stupid self for yet again not saving someone i love because I was an awful person. And with that last breath, guess where I was??? Eating a box of cookies, hating myself even more for eating the cookies, hating myself for hating myself....it was just a vicious cycle. Self hate, depression, low self esteem, no confidence + eating constantly = one very miserable woman.

Life goes on, being an adult takes over. The hustle and bustle of everyday life needs your attention. But something inside me was broken. I put work, bills, chores, errands, stress, providing for everyone else before myself first. I had no idea who I was anymore. All i knew was I was a mom, a wife, a daughter, a granddaughter, an aunt, and the only one who can protect and save this family from anymore heartache. I had to make sure everyone else was happy. I had to make sure everyone was fed and clothed. I had to make sure all the bills were paid, that we had a roof over our heads. I couldnt stop to just have fun. I was constantly on the go, going from job to job, driving kids here and there, taking my then husband to doctors appointments. I felt all of the responsibility for the entire house fall onto my shoulders. What was my outlet? Food.

When I was sad, I ate. When I was angry I ate. When I was stress and scared I ate. My walls were so thick, I went into survival mode. I was so afraid to stop moving, that I had to keep going, no matter what - making unhealthy choices all along the way. I was running myself ragged. Thus ballooning to 258 pounds, unhealthy, in loads of pain (inside and out). I was falling deeper and deeper into a depression and had no idea how to get myself out.

I had tried and failed so many times to loose weight. If I could be skinny, then all my problems would go away I thought to myself. I tried starving myself, binge eating and throwing up, weight loss pills, weight watchers, lean cuisines, no carbs, low carbs, fat free everything, sugar free everything. Nothing worked. Why?? Because I continued to ignore the reasons why I used food as my crutch. I continued to ignore that I had demons I had yet to shut up. I blamed the stupid diets for being scams. I blamed the stupid foods for calling to me in my sleep. I blamed the fact that I didnt have enough money to eat healthy and I wasnt a good cook. I rationalized that I was eating salad - and ignored the fact that I drenched it with creamy dressings, added pasta to it, croutons up the wazoo. I ignored the fact that I was putting so much pressure on my self to be perfect, and have everyone around me had to think I was perfect. I set myself up for failure everyday. I was negative towards myself. My lifestyle, my depression, my obese body was everyone else's fault, it was the fault of the cards I was dealt, it was the fault of not being taught what to do. It had to be everyone and everything else's fault because if it wasn't, then it was my fault. I was the failure. I let everyone down. I was right to believe I was stupid,and ugly, and fat - because I wasnt worth anything.

For months I was stalking my coach. What what she was doing, talking about challenge groups, talking about being positive. Showing us all of these everyday people getting results. Busy moms, busy woman, men, fathers. But I knew better. This was all crap. This is not real life. These people didnt go through what I have been through. All this people are actors, paid to say they got results from these stupid Beachbody products. They havent had to struggle in life. Nothing works for me, I was destined to be obese forever. I should just learn to accept it. My body isnt like theirs, they have better body's. They probably dont have sick husbands and kids needing to go all over the place. I will show these people. I am going to try this, and show them this is all crap. This is just a scam. Stupid shakes. What is it made of miracle drugs? How in the world am I going to just drink my food? Then I will tell everyone how I was right, they were all wrong.

Week 1. I was tired and sore. I was checking in everyday, sometimes 3 and 4 times a day into the challenge group my coach put me in. I was talking with people about my struggles, my fears. They were sharing with me as well. We were supporting one another. They would send me encouragement when I wanted to give up, and I would do the same to them. I was exercising before work. Packing all of my food the night before to bring with me the next day so I could stick to my meal plan. A Meal plan? Yup I learned how to create one of those. My portion sizes? Learned all about that too!! What the proper amount of carbs I should be having is, the right amount of proteins, fruits, veggies, healthy fats. Healthy fats?? What the hell is that? Is there such a thing? I was actually learning about foods, water intake, what happens to your body with exercise. I was STUFFED everyday. I learned when you eat healthy food that is dense in nutrition you fill up a lot faster than when you fill your body with a 20 piece chicken nugget from Wendy's. Oh and those Shakes?? Freakin delicious! Took 2 minutes out of my morning, and I was eating breakfast everyday. Something I NEVER did before.

Week 2. Doubt starting to creep in. Can I really do this? Is this going to work? What if I fail. I am not telling anyone what I am doing. I dont want them looking at me like I am an idiot for trying this. For buying into this scam. Yes this is a scam! I remember now. I have to prove this is garbage!! But what if it isnt? What if i really do well with this? What if I get everything I ever wanted? This is a lot to process.

Week 3. The final week in the 21 Day Fix. Oh lord, now its really hitting me. This is the last week to see if this worked!! What did I do? What if I screwed this whole thing up? I am looking forward everyday to working out. How did this happen? I am eyeballing my portion sizes, sticking to my meal plan. My cravings for crap are shrinking! I am still pretty stuffed with food, but I am feeling alive!! I
have energy, my skin and nails are looking better. Someone at work even told me I was glowing! I still am talking everyday with all my new friends in the challenge group. I post everyday how my day was, where I gained strength and when I needed help from others. Oh boy, we are talking about emotional eating this week. I know all about that - I want to share my experience, but I am afraid. I will let everyone talk and maybe I will chime in.

Day 21. Holy Shit! I lost 10.5 pounds and 11 inches!!!! I feel amazing. My coach asked me if I want to continue. Does a bear shit in the woods? Hell yes i do!! This whole experience did not eve feel like a diet. I was eating real food. I planned my meals, cooked them and packed them up for the week - so all I had to do was grab and go. All my busy schedules, running around like crazy - were not affected at all. All my foods were ready and waiting to be eaten. I did have to get up a little earlier in the morning....what a sacrifice...LOL.

Fast forward to March 10th, 2015. 6 rounds of the 21 Day Fix. 1 Round of Insanity Max 30. 1 round of 21 Day Fix Extreme. Bumps and bruises. Set backs and accomplishments. 72 pounds lighter, 70 inches smaller. I can run up and down stairs like a champ. I can play all day outside with the kids. I biked 26 miles around NYC with my sister. I can paint my toe nails without cutting off my air supply from my boobs going into my throat. I can bend over and touch my toes. I can sit with my legs crossed. I listen and read personal development books everyday. I feed my mind, i give it knowledge and empowerment. I share my story with others. I encourage others to get healthy, inside and out. I
offer my help to anyone wanting it. I still look forward to working out. I still am planning my meals for the week every Sunday. I do allow myself "happy meals" NO not like from a fast food place, a cheat meal. But I have learned self control and portion sizes. I learned how to tell my demons to shut the hell up. I do not need to eat an entire cake to make me feel safe or loved. I do not need to put walls up to protect myself from heartache. Life is going to get insane for all of us at any point. There is no warning, and they is no way to avoid it. What we can do is work on ourselves daily, lift ourselves up. Love ourselves enough to make ourselves a priority. Not care what other people say or do. This is your journey. This is MY Journey and this is the right journey for me.

I am still standing after all the craziness that has gone on in my life. Over the last year I have finally decided to be honest with myself. Look at everything that was holding me back. It was me. I was in my way the whole time. I had to hit rock bottom in order to get up and move forward. I had a choice. Lay down and die, or get up and kick some ass. I am so proud of how far I have come in my life, and so proud of the person I am now. I am OK with not being perfect. I am OK with people seeing that I am not perfect. I will always make mistakes. I will stumble, and I am very sure life is not done throwing me curve balls. But over this last year, not only has my physical transformation been huge, my mental transformation has been even bigger.

My road was not an easy, and I am sure your road isnt either. But I wouldnt change my road for anything - because without all those hiccups, without all those bumps and bruises, without all those tears and happiness - I wouldnt be where I am today. Finally happy with me.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, and for your support and love.

If my story touched you in anyway, if you could relate or even if you couldnt - maybe someone else can...I would love for you to like, comment and share this with everyone you know.

If you are ready to start your own healthy and fitness journey, click below and lets do this together.

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