In Those Jeans

Wow.  This time last year I was just starting my determined quest to lose weight, tone up, and fix my metabolism once and for all.  To those of you just starting out this year.  Keep going.  Don't quit.  You will thank yourself by the time Summer turns into Thanksgiving and you don't have to beat yourself up about extra carbs and a few missed workouts sabotaging your progress.  They won't, because you have already done the work.

I did an 8 week challenge I found on Instagram and the 12 week Bikini Body Guide back to back from January to May.  I continued consistent workouts, but took two months off from a specific program in June and July.  I took a bit of a break in July, due to travel and other things.  I could feel myself losing motivation so I started the 12 week Healthy Body Guide in August and that took me all the way through October.  I had an I have to do this, no excuses mindset that you really need to put up with hard workouts day in and day out on top of work and everything else.  It kept me on schedule.  If I missed a day, I'd have to double up, or I would fall behind.  Skipping even one day, could lead to another, and another so I committed to the process and that was that. I cannot begin to tell you how excited and relieved I was when I did that last total body workout.  It was the end of ten long, hard, awesome, and productive months of 5-6 days a week of intense exercise.  Being on a program is great for motivation and accountability, but I was so tired and so over it, and also pretty proud of myself for sticking with it and accomplishing my goals.  

The year before, I had gone through my closet and weeded out clothes I hoped I might fit into again and others I knew were a lost cause.  So many designer jeans.  Joe's.  Seven's.  Gone.  Never to be worn again.  Expensive jeans were never important to me.  I was fine with Old Navy, Levi's...whatever fit good at a reasonable price, until that one day I went out and bought a pair of Joe's Jeans.  I was hooked.  They felt AMAZING.  I had finally allowed myself to cough up the money for designer jeans and look what happened?  Sadly, I removed them from my closet because I couldn't bear to look at them any more and I told myself I would never buy another pair again.  Ever.  In my mind I didn't deserve them.  I had my chance and I got fat.
December 2011:  Not my lowest weight | December 2016: 18 lbs heavier 
It was so hard to see my body changing in the mirror and have no control over it.  I was aware of the fabric pressing against my thighs making me want to jump out of my skin, and I felt bulk and fat where there used to be bone.  The scale went up, and up and up and then my clothes got too tight.  I still remember that day, summer 2015, when MJ and I were getting ready to spend the day biking downtown.  I went through my drawers, and realized I had no shorts that fit.  I had been hiding under skirts all year, even in the winter.  I had already busted out of all pants, but could still squeeze into shorts.  We had to stop at Kohl's on the way, and there was hardly anything to choose from because summer shorts had already been replaced by Jeans.  I was devastated, miserable, ashamed, and so angry at myself for putting myself in that position in the first place.

By this time last year, I had mourned the loss of my skinny body for almost three years.  I'd gained so much weight and it felt hopeless, but I didn't give up.  I stuck to the plan and  ever so slowly, my body began to respond.  Ever so slowly, I am learning to appreciate the stronger healthier body I have now.

I know I should have been grateful just to have a body that works, but the reality is that I don't think I was ever going to be satisfied with the body I had last year.  I did not recognize the person I saw in the mirror.  It was not my best me, and I knew it.  That body was the aftermath of years and years of disordered eating.  My quest for thin had backfired, leaving me with a decimated metabolism, and insatiable hunger.  I was hungry all the time!  No matter how much I exercised or what I ate, the pounds piled on, and the only way to fix it was to do what I should have been doing all along.  Healthy eating (not minimal eating) and exercise.  It's no secret, but somehow all these years I had no idea that you could actually eat food and lose weight.  That concept did not exist for me and no matter how many times I read it, heard it, and was told it, I refused to believe.  It was my way or the highway, and my way was to eat as little food as possible, do as much exercise as possible, and still be a functioning human being.  It was a big change.  I had to get used to not ignoring hunger cues.  Hunger pangs used to mean I was doing something right, but now they mean it's time to eat.  I had to learn to feed my body what it actually needed.  1/2 cup of fiber one cereal, one string cheese, and a tiny container of yogurt is not lunch and thin deli slices of ham, with 45 calorie slice of reduced fat cheese between two pieces of 50 calorie bread is not dinner.  It's not normal to have a zero calorie day.  Do you know what that is?  It didn't happen all the time, but it is a day where I ate so little food and exercised so much that my net sum calories was zero.  I was trashing my body and it felt good.  I liked it.  Just think about that for a moment.

Oh, the things I had to do to fit into those jeans!

The worst thing about it.  Well, not the worst thing.  The worst thing was being that physically and mentally unwell.  The second worse thing is that I still thought I was fat, and nobody, not my mom, not my husband, could tell me any different.  If you are going to suffer that much you'd think you would at least enjoy being thin right?  But that's not how it works.

I lost about 10 lbs and 5 1/2 inches.  I am fitting into pants and shorts I couldn't get into before, but there are others that I will never get back into.  I cried when I could barely pull them past my thighs, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that I will not and should not ever be that size again.  It's that simple.  I can't go back.  I have curves.  I have a butt.  I can no longer cut glass with my shoulder bones, and knobby elbows and that's okay.  I still have plenty of days when I miss how I used to look, but overall I'm happy with the progress I made and making peace with how I'm built.  I am sitting at 23lbs above my lowest weight, but thin does not always equal healthy.  I actually think I'm in the best shape of my life right now.  My blood pressure was 97/52 at my last doctor's appointment and my resting heart rate is in the 50's.  Those are the real reasons people should exercise.  Not just for vanity.

It took me a long time to come around, but if this is the body I'm meant to have I think it's time to reconsider those designer jeans.  The "fat jeans" I bought in 2014 are getting too big.  I've worked hard, and the curvy me deserves them even more than the skinny me ever did.  


Amanda @ My Life, I Guess said...

You are amazing, did you know that? Not only for working so hard, but for being so open about it and sharing it with us.

Nylse Esahc said...

I've never struggled with an eating disorder to the extent that you did but I have gone through phases where I thought I was fat which was downright ridiculous.

Accepting who and what we are and being healthy is huge. Thanks for sharing.

Lindsay said...

I love your openNess and honesty! I relate to a lot of those feelings. My body has never been good enough! But I'm learning and growing, and hearing stories like yours are so helpful! Your body is totally amazing!! I'm super jealous!

Sherryl Ebanks-Miller said...

Thank you for sharing! I love your authentic writing style. Blessings to you for this New Year. 🙏💖

Jane said...

You look absolutely phenomenal and holy cow! You are amazing, it's hard to stick with something for 12 weeks, let alone a whole year! You rock star you!

Susannah said...

I'm so glad you're learning to be healthy! That's ultimately what matters!

Emily Jane said...

I've been chubby for ages now. I wish when I felt my clothes get tighter I should be like "Hmmm maybe we should eat healthier and move". Instead I just resolve myself to "this is how it is" and buy bigger pants. I'm lazy.

I really do want to change all these for the better. I don't like how I feel emotionally or physically. I need to stop over thinking it and just do the damn thing.

Awesome job on doing the work and getting back into your jeans ! Also, thank you for being so open about your struggles with weight.

Faith said...

Reading this and seeing how far you have come is so inspiring. Not only do you look amazing but you can even see how much your changes has affected your hair! It looks amazing too!

Pegster said...

You've really come a long way. I am loving your motivation. When I see you, I always think that you effortlessly stay skinny :). So nice to read that there are trial and tribulations behind that like everyone of us. You are so motivating.