I am more nervous about this trek to becoming healthy than I was about my wedding day. Why am I nervous? I’ll tell you why… I’ve done this before. I’ve coached people through this before. I was successful before. I was fit before. I remember “before” like it was yesterday.
Going from fat to fit is a lot of work and a lot of pain. It’s serious dedication to one’s self, and the moment you take a “break,” it can all come crashing down, making it even more difficult to get back on track. I remember this. I lived it. I lost it.
In 2008, I was about the same weight I am today. I was miserable. After a really bad break-up, I decided to change my life for the better and take control of my misery. I ate right, I exercised, and I even had plastic surgery when I reached my goal. In two years, I went from a size 20 to a size 8. I felt on top of the world and I could tell you that the size 8 girl could not believe that she was ever the size 20 girl. Miss size 8 SWORE she would never go back to that disgusting, miserable place, EVER again. She would have bet her life on it. The cost was just way too high, and Miss size 8 wanted to live!
Fast-forward eight years.
I found myself working for one of the major tech giants on the west coast – it was my DREAM job. I worked long hours and was getting accolade after accolade, when suddenly my boss went out on medical leave for four months. When she came back, she was seemingly possessed by an evil demon with a high school mean girl’s brain, who didn’t know the first thing about leadership. The environment became hostile and she became somewhat of a cancer to the team. Most people quit within the first few months of her return, but I held out, determined to win her over and be successful once again in her eyes. (Why?!?!)
Being a perfectionist and an empath, I ended up facing one of the most difficult years of my life, trying to stick it out with that devil-woman. I landed in the hospital several times over stress, and my body even started disrupting my heart beat at random occasions. Eventually, I was having migraines and anxiety attacks on the regular, and my weight was starting to creep up, even though I was still very active (daily gym AND yoga, hiking a few times per week, weight training, walks, etc).
During that same stressful year at work, I also discovered a few things were going awry in my personal life; no doubt, a domino effect from being miserable at work. Losing trust and faith in those closest to me at both work and home was more than I could handle. I began to REALLY gain weight. Rapidly. Like a pro wrestler. Seriously. I hopped up to a size 16 in 6 months. Wine and sugar became staples in my diet.
I eventually took a medical leave of absence and decided to get myself back in good mental and physical condition. I abandoned the wine and sugar, and went to a fitness retreat for three weeks. We were hiking and working out every day, and I went back down to a size 12. I felt great! I was back! I wasn’t a size 8, but I felt the energy return!
While I was at that retreat, a recruiter called me about a new role for a different company, in a different state, working alongside someone very well-known in my industry. At first I turned it down, STILL determined to return to my employer and make my current job a success. (I’m a little slow on the uptake)
I returned to work with a whole new perspective; rested, positive, healthy, and excited – full of energy, once again! It only took two days and one major meeting for me to see that my current job was an extremely unhealthy environment and that my boss was, in fact, from Purgatory. I quit and called back the recruiter from the other company. One week later, I was flying to Ohio to rent an apartment.
The good news is that leaving the west coast and starting a new life has so far been one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time. I moved across the country, started a new job, got married, bought a home, and I’m working for one of the greatest leaders in my industry (who just so happens to not think much of my former boss – and I can’t help but smile about it!) Stress is still fairly high, but the anxiety is gone, the migraines are non-existent, and I love what I do.
The bad news is that once again, I am miserable with how much I’ve let myself go. I lost my youthful look, I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s skin, I hate looking at myself in the mirror. I have no energy, no drive, I’m not working out, I’m eating like a garbage disposal, and I sleep like a hibernating bear with sleep apnea!
I love our new home and there are so many things to like about the area…. BUT, I’ve moved to a place where being health-conscious and active is really difficult, and really unpopular. I’ve been here for 18 months and I’ve slothed and gluttoned myself back up to a size 18. I have a treadmill collecting dust in the basement, I’m wearing sweat pants to work again, and I can’t even remember what kale tastes like!
Once again, I’m the girl who has to unbutton her pants’ top button when sitting down, just so she can breathe…and who gets winded riding an escalator. How did I get here? Miss size 8 promised me 10 years ago that this would never happen again! Lying bitch.
Being fat hurts. My skin hurts. My lungs hurt. I have acne. I sweat a lot. I feel extremely unattractive, and I feel judging eyes on me whenever I eat. I never thought I’d be here again, and it seems even more daunting to get out of this situation than it did 10 years ago.
On January 22, the running shoes go on (I hope my swollen feet will fit into them), and I start that painful trek back to health and happiness, with the help of Whole30 and my dusty treadmill. I invite you to follow me on what promises to be a hilariously chaotic ride back to Onederland. Even though I decided to keep it PG with the website name, this whole journey will be about me “losing my shit” in both good and bad ways. I promise tears, cussing, and truth. You were warned.
Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions. — Dalai Lama