A List to my Fat Self

I was ashamed of who I was but reading your blog made realize that’s it ok to be down as long as you get up and other women need to hear that.”

This inspiring contributing article came about my first post on my not-so-pretty past. It is written by an old friend of mine-we’re talking about elementary school here- and even though we haven’t seen each other for years, I was so thrilled to hear that she wanted to share her experience with losing weight. I’m very proud of her accomplishments. It goes to show that when you want something, it’s within you to go out there and get it. Weight loss is not unapproachable as many think, it just takes someone who really wants it and is willing to work for it. Believe me there is nothing in this world that could replace the feeling of being self-confident, I guarantee it. So I want to thank my friend Norma for this wonderful post; you are amazing!!  And, you are absolutely right, “it’s ok to be down, as long as you get up.”

So sit back and enjoy the following post…

A List to my Fat Self

After 3 years of marriage, my wedding dress hung on the back of our bedroom door: jeweled, delicate, and elegant. The morning sun beamed through the blinds making the fabric sparkle. As beautiful as it was to me, and as beautiful of memories it holds, on this day it made me feel anything but beautiful. It actually made me feel like a failure and hideous. This day was like many before in recent months where I knew if I tried to slip it on, there would be no way it would zip up. My wedding had been almost 3 years before and only the first year did I actually feel beautiful in my own skin. Very close to our 2nd anniversary I accepted an exciting new career change, but along with it came 12 hours days and often working weekends. I loved my job, but I felt it didn’t love me back. In my mind, it left me too drained, too exhausted to be the person I truly was inside: active, healthy, confident. 2 years slowly went by and along with it the body that wore that wedding dress. How did this happen to me? At 27, only 5’2,” how did I gain 24 pounds and let myself become a person I never thought I would be? It was simple. I let a day, turn into 2, into 3, into 60, into 365 and so on. I adopted and accepted a lifestyle where exercise was always a plan for the future. Fast food was easy, and I would start my diet next week. It was ok because work was too much and others will understand. “It’s not like I am lying on the couch watching TV – I am working, so it’s ok to not take care of myself… I have a good reason.”

On this day looking at my wedding dress, I decided: enough is enough. I am fat, gross and unhealthy because of me. Not because of work, not because of stress, not because of time, but because of ME. My 28th birthday was 60 days away and I decided for the first time that I would give myself a gift of the body I missed, the body I wanted. I had tried to set goals before, but always for vacations with family, for reunions with friends, or anniversaries for my husband. But never for me…

So this is the list I write to My Fat Self:

  1. Know that what works for someone else may not work for you. Losing weight is a matter of trial and error to get to know your body and how it responds.  Spend a couple weeks trying an activity or exercise regimen. You need two things to keep going: 1) you need to enjoy it and 2) you need to see results. If you aren’t getting both, move on to try something else because chances are you will give up too soon and go back to old habits. If yoga bores you to death, move on. If you dread running, move on. If walking isn’t giving you the results you want, move on. But you HAVE to keep trying.
  2. YOU DO HAVE TIME. 30 minutes 4 times a week is all it takes. Make this your new religion. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and go to sleep 15 minutes later if you literally feel you have no time in the day. You do. You have the same amount of time as Albert Einstein, Leonardo Davinci, and Abraham Lincoln. If they had time to do what they did, you can walk around the block.
  3. People told me not to weigh myself every day. I am going to tell you that you should. It will make you accountable. Sure, eat that burger with a side of donut, but tomorrow morning the scale will laugh at you and tip that extra pound. And that is ok. You need tough love right now because that is what it takes to break those bad habits.
  4. Hang a pair of your target-size jeans in your bathroom or bedroom where you will see them every day. You need to be reminded of your goal every morning before you head out to the mean, greasy world out there. Better yet, try them on before you get dressed. If they are not making it up one leg… yep. Use that as motivation for the day.
  5. If you buy a cookie, a cake or a burger and tell yourself “I will only eat half,”… you won’t. You will eat it ALL … eventually, so put it down.
  6. If she looks skinnier than you, she is. Don’t get depressed, go do something about it. Use that as motivation to work that much harder.
  7. You are what you eat. Literally. I don’t care what anyone says, healthy food is affordable and attainable, if you just try to educate yourself. We live in a world where calories and ingredients are listed on every bite we take. Make sure you know what you are eating so you can calculate what it equals in work out time. If you are eating a burrito with fake meat and ingredients that sound like a science project, use common sense and acknowledge that your body will need to work harder to work this crap off. Meanwhile if you eat whole, non-processed foods, they will go right through you. Poop is a beautiful thing. Make better choices.
  8. Stuff your face once a week. Yep, you need to splurge every now and then. Whether it’s a greasy lunch with friends, date night with the hubby, or pizza delivery with the kids, stuff your face. This food will taste so much more amazing now that you are eating healthier, but this will also give you something to look forward to. This creates a lifestyle for you, not a diet. You can still enjoy the naughty foods you love, just not as often.
  9. Don’t DRINK your calories. This will be the easiest, simplest change you can make. It isn’t worth it. Water tastes amazing and it is so good for you. Sweet tea may taste great, but unsweet is not that bad. Make the switch. Soda is the devil. Stay away from it. Unless you are juice cleansing, you should be drinking just water in these crucial days of habit changing.
  10. If you must drink an adult beverage, do it… but be smart. Pass the sugary margarita and go for the prosecco or vodka soda. After the first or second, they taste just as good.
  11. Wheatgrass shots should be considered cheating in the world of weight loss because they are SOOO easy – cheat all the time. So full of nutrients and few calories. Taking these little cups of magic will change your life… and your digestive system.
  12. No one feels sorry for you so stop making excuses. You work too much at your one job? Someone out there has two. You get tired too easily? An older grandma out there is working harder than you. You are too busy being a parent? Someone out there has more kids and feels better than you. There is no excuse to not take care of you. If you feel fat and not confident, it is your Own. Damn. Fault.
  13. There will come a moment when you reach your target weight or jean size. This day WILL come. And you will set yet another goal because you know you can do better. This is the day you are working for.

I ran almost every day. I juice cleansed regularly. I drank less. I googled food before I ate it. I cared. I worked my ass off. 60 days later on my 28th birthday, I slipped into a string bikini at a sparkling pool with my husband and felt as sexy and confident as I did on our honeymoon. I lost 26 pounds and felt strong, healthy, energetic, and back to my old self. This entry is about advice I wish someone told me, because every woman needs to hear that no matter how lofty a goal may seem, it is worth every moment of working your ass off for it.