My Journey: Learning to Love Me
In the summer of 2003 I found myself moving again, a military transfer with three kids and a dog. Our first stop was my best friend?s house. She?d been on her own journey struggling with weight and had recently lost some.? She owned a few bathing suits she thought might fit me, so I tried them on.? What I hadn?t realized, until that moment, was that I hadn?t seen my body in a mirror, below my neck, in years.? But there I stood in a bathing suit, in front of the full length mirror, crying. I truly saw my weight, all 207 pounds of it. That was the height of it for me. This isn?t a story just about my weight though; it?s one discovery and learning to love all of me.
By October that year, I had a job and joined the local Weight Watcher meeting.? I made a lot of friends, learned how to eat and started exercising. In the past, I?ve always loved to exercise once I was doing it. It was the lack of motivation to get there that caused a problem. I created and allowed many excuses to get in my way, but once I joined there was no stopping me.? I lost 72 pounds in 15 months and by January 2005, I?d made lifetime. Weighing in at 135 pounds and a size 6, down from a size 18/20, I was the smallest I had ever been in my life.? I was happy and motivating others, at least that is what I led people to believe.
Then, as life carries on, another transfer was upon us and we moved back to the Keys. My husband was moving to a big boat which meant we wouldn?t see him much.? So, needing to keep myself busy, I decided to do something for me, and I went back to school. This schedule meant I had three years to start and finish the nursing program before we would transfer again.? What I didn?t realize, was that August was how everything was going to change.
2005 was a busy year for me. I started going to college, really for the first time. My three children ranged in age from elementary to high school and my husband was deployed.? I lost a cousin that was like a brother to me to cancer and then in October we were hit by a hurricane and lost almost everything we owned.? For 5 months we lived in temporary quarters.? We were very blessed to be safe and a have a safe place to live and we all knew it.? Within the next two years, I lost 4 more family members that were close to me, moved back into my house and graduated nursing school in May 2008.
Immediately upon graduation, I started working at the local hospital.? Husband was deployed, working 12 hour shifts and taking care of the children afforded me more excuses to not take care of me.? I was still going to my meetings and still wearing the badge of lifetime, but didn?t see where I was.? After one year of working in the hospital, I left it, took a job at an office so that I could take better care of my family, and myself.? It took a while, but I realized my mistake when I lost weight the first time.? I had never learned to love me.? When I would look in the mirror, I still saw the same person I was, not the person I had become.? No, this wasn?t a visual thing, I could see the weight loss, but I would always see what needed to be fixed.? The stretch marks, the wrinkles, the weight that was still there.
During the two year period between 2009 and 2011 I would try to focus on the program that helped me lose my weight, but I still wasn?t where I needed to be emotionally to do it right.? Summer of 2012 found us moving again, this time to Orlando, where I decided to go back to nursing school and finish my masters. At the same time, I was planning to refocus on me and take care of my health.? In the fall of 2012 I started classes at the University, and started going to the gym regularly.? I still wasn?t really focused on my eating, but I was on the right track.? Then I bought a few workout DVD?s I knew would challenge me (Jillian Michael?s Body Revolution).? That set was amazing and truly helped me to physically get to where I am.? January 2013 I hit it hard and started focusing on eating and working out.? Now when I say that, I don?t mean that I went nuts. I?m not as disciplined as so many others and I have never believed in deprivation.? What I mean is I started eating more of the weight watcher friendly meals, cooking at home, eating more fruits and vegetables, and not going out. It truly isn?t a magical thing, eating healthy and working out truly does work, you just have to have a great support system.
Currently I weigh around 153 and I still have more weight to lose. While that may not happen immediately because I am in the toughest semester ever right now, I?m not worried about it. I am still doing what I can to get my workouts in and eating healthy. I am learning to love me, the stretch marks, the imperfections and the wrinkles and grey hair.? During this journey I learned that I have to love me to be able to be healthy.? Now I know that you have only seen me focus on the number, and I want to make sure that you are aware I truly mean that isn?t the focus for me now.? I have two herniated discs in my back and have had back problems for years. After working out and learning proper stretching and building my core muscles, I haven?t suffered from the back pain in at least 2 years.? I have spurs in both of my knees, and as long as I follow the doctor?s instructions and stretch properly, they don?t bother me either.? I have a bad shoulder that I endured an intense physical therapy program for 9 months to be able to move it at all.? Now I can do planks, back bends, downward dogs, all the things that really make me feel good.? I know that you may not be at this point yet, I wasn?t either. I have found that when I miss my workouts, I become very sad. The hormones your body releases when working out do more for you than any medication a doctor can prescribe.? I know this because I have had to experience that as well.
Focus on something other than the scale.? These are called non scale victories (NSV).? Getting into a smaller size pants, looking in the mirror and feeling good because you made a healthy choice today, these are non scale victories.? It takes one step to start a journey and this is definitely a journey. All you need is the courage and motivation to start it.
Starla has created a new Facebook page about her journey. Join her there at?https://www.facebook.com/Stargetshealthy.