Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Most Important Lesson of All

Hi friends!

It has officially been 2 1/2 years since I've updated this blog, which will hopefully show you how passionate I am about the subject I'm about to embark upon.

As you all know, I have been very open with my health journey, and as a result, have many people who feel comfortable sharing personal things with me. I am so grateful for these friends and love them so much... which is why I am writing this. It seems that the past few months have been a HUGE struggle for many people as far as body image is concerned.

I've had people talk to me privately about it, people who have "come out" about it on Facebook, and people who have clearly shown it through their actions.

I am BY NO MEANS an expert in this category. In fact, my self-image has been my #1 inhibitor my WHOLE life. Some may wonder why I've taken such long breaks from my blogs, and I will tell you. I've STRUGGLED A LOT the last few years. Becoming a mom, though my biggest blessing, has also been a huge struggle... a struggle to find balance between my husband and daughter, work, and me. A struggle to find a place in a whole new world, to feel valued, to find my energy, and to work past the hurdles of 3 people (almost 4) instead of just 1. But more than all of those struggles comes the hardest struggle of all... a REALLY poor self-image. This poor self-image, I believe, has made all of the previous struggles that much more difficult.

Putting it on paper almost makes it sound ridiculous. Why would I let something so trivial as my weight and the way I look affect the rest of my life? Those of you who struggle with this know EXACTLY what I'm talking about.

Most of you know that in April 2014, I became a Plexus Ambassador. Plexus has been such a huge blessing in my life. The products really, truly helped balance my body, which helped me with my energy, food cravings, finances, stress, pain, and yes, much of my self-image issues. But I will be completely open and honest in telling you that there are times that I really struggle with promoting health products, well, because I'm not losing weight like others, I'm still 100+ lbs overweight AND I still have some deep issues with food. Not to mention the fact that every time I see pictures of the people who are the most successful in this business, I can't help but notice they all have "perfect" little bodies. (How can a girl like me succeed in a health promotion business?)

A few months into promoting Plexus, I realized (thanks to some prompting from some friends) that my issues were deeper than physiological. I needed some mental help. I decided to start counseling for eating disorders, and ironically, right after I started I found out I was pregnant. Let me just tell you, finding balance is HARD, finding balance when you're pregnant almost seems like a joke! Haha!

It may or may not be noticeable to people that I have been not so positive this pregnancy. I've been blaming the pregnancy, but in all honesty I'm working through a lot mentally right now... and sometimes you have to go through a little bit of Hell to come out better in the end, if you know what I mean. I've learned that it's ok to be vulnerable, it's ok to feel negative thoughts (obviously, you don't want to get stuck in them), but the most important lesson I've learned is that I AM THE ONLY PERSON WHO DETERMINES WHETHER OR NOT I'M BEAUTIFUL and I AM THE ONLY PERSON THAT DETERMINES MY WORTH.

That's right! Nobody else has that power over me. I am SO powerful that I am the ONLY one who can control what and who I am.

I know this may sound elementary and obvious, yet it is SO profound to me. Look at how many of us give our power away to everybody else. If we aren't a certain size, we must not be beautiful because so-and-so doesn't think it's beautiful... you get the drift.

In my process to learn to love myself, I've had to do things that are VERY difficult for me. I've had to quit support groups that I'd been a part of for a long time... Not because they weren't supportive, but because I would get depressed every time somebody with a body I would practically kill to have, would talk negatively about their body. You see, most people don't see your flaws (unless they're a person not worth your time), they see YOU. WE see our flaws and assume everybody else is noticing only those flaws, and it creates a chain reaction that causes us to behave differently than we would otherwise.

While I know it will take me a while to fully learn these lessons, I am FULLY committed to learning them! I look at my friends and see incredible people. I see people that are incredibly beautiful, giving, talented, and worthy of happiness... I wish you could all see that in yourselves!!! Remember, YOU are the ONLY person that determines your BEAUTY and WORTH!!!

Love you all! Blessed be!

P.S. If, on your journey to take your power back, you ever need an outside source to tell you how beautiful and incredible you are, I'm here for ya ;).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wow!

All I have to say is that this last week has been awesome! Though my last post was extremely negative and brutally honest, it was the best thing I could have done for myself. It is like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. My appetite has decreased substantially... In fact, I only took about 1/2 the amount of food I would normally eat on Thanksgiving, and I only ate about half of it. No joke! It was the first time I've ever decided to stop eating on Thanksgiving before I got full... and I truly had no desire to eat more!

Also, tonight I got together with somebody I haven't seen since I was at my lightest and didn't fall into my normal pitfalls... I wasn't worried about what she would be saying about me in her head... When I saw how fit and healthy she looked, I didn't get jealous, rather I was motivated to once again feel the strength and confidence she exuded... After she left, I didn't get all depressed about how much I'd let myself slide, but was extremely excited about how much I'd improved mentally. Hallelujah!

We've made a few changes at our house that I feel have helped me immensely, in addition to my mental shift:

  • I created a full page of "distractions" and pinned it to my fridge, so when I am a bottomless pit and know that I am eating out of boredom, I can find something on the list to distract me. It has worked amazingly well. I'm getting projects done instead of eating, AND it's making me feel more productive, which in turn makes me feel better about myself, which helps tremendously with my emotional eating.
  • I had a serious discussion with my husband about needing his help and support and he has agreed to eat healthy-er with me! This is a huge step, folks! We created a 4-week menu with 3 meals and 2 snacks and have been working hard to stick to it. It's not 100% healthy, but much healthier than we have been and I don't feel deprived.
  • We painted our living room yellow. I know it sounds minimal, but it is amazing how much it has brightened up our house and our moods. Before, our walls were tan and our house was always dark (we don't have much natural light), but now it's like sunshine 24/7. It is so great! Bold, but that's the way I like it :).
I'm praying these changes stick with me through the holidays! I'm not going to beat myself up if I eat poorly, but I am going to do my best to remind myself how good I feel when I eat healthier.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Confessions of a Self-Medicated-Food-Addict

Hello old friends!

It's been a while... I decided to stop doing my little weight loss group in May because my psyche was not in the right place. In fact, I gave up trying to lose weight all together. The result? I'm still riding the same 5-pound bracket that I was when I was stressing out twice a week over what the scale said. I quit both Join Our Journey and TOPS because I needed a break... a break from letting the scale determine my self worth, a break from constant praise over weight-loss and constant "encouragement" after a weight-gain, a break from self-pity, a break from hearing and saying the same thing every time I got together with others that were having similar struggles as myself.

Funny enough, I took so much of a break that I never have resolved any of my psychological issues regarding my health... I've just pushed them under the carpet. However, I've been doing a lot of free-writing the last few weeks to clear my head and I'm beginning to learn about the horrible thoughts that constantly fill it. Thoughts that, up until now, I've chosen to ignore or mask. In fact, I don't think people realize the extent of my struggle with myself because I've become pretty good at hiding it. With that being said, it's time for the gloves to come off. It's time for me to confess to many things that are going through my head. This is not going to be easy for me because I don't like negativity, or letting people know that I feel negative. However, I'm doing this to be honest with myself and with others, so that I might make some logical sense out of the emotional turmoil in my head. Also, I always hope that what I'm going through may one day help somebody (if not, my future self) along the way.

Caution: The following may offend some people. Heck, it offends me... I apologize for the things that I'm about to write that make NO sense logically, but make ABSOLUTE sense to me emotionally. I also apologize for the extreme negativity of this post. Every once in a while we have to face the demons that are set before us. Feel free to close your browser now.

Horrible Emotional Truths
  1. I've learned that I am the weak person I vowed never to become. My whole life, I've considered myself a strong, independent person... until now. I don't know when it happened, but I feel like I no longer have control over anything in my life.
  2. I've stopped being honest with myself. Because of this, I never believe that I will follow through with anything I set out to do. Why make goals and promises, if you know you're not going to keep them?
  3. I've become very bitter... and I HATE this about myself! I find myself upset with others' successes (which is so unlike me). I get angry when people offer me help or advice (especially if that person has never been 130+ lbs overweight). I get angry that I have a husband who can eat anything and not gain weight, and as a result never gets "talked to" by doctors about his health, or made fun of, or grouped into an "unhealthy population". I get angry that other people take for granted their energy and lack of constant desire for food. And I especially hate when people use the phrase, "IF I CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT!" Please, for the love, do not use this phrase! Nobody's journey is the same, and if I COULD do it, I would be in the same successful place you are right now. We are all in different stages of our journey and it's like a slap in the face when people use that phrase. If you believe I can do it, say, "You are a strong person and have the ability to make good decisions... I believe in you!" Don't compare anyone else's journey to your own. Comparison is the root of all evil! (Okay, that was a little dramatic.)
  4. I've become accustomed to playing the role of the victim. I'm "left out" when I see family and friends eating the foods I so desire, but "can't" have because I'm fat. I "was dealt the fat genes", which makes it that much harder to lose weight. I've had more trials in the last few years than I feel I can handle. I'm "bullied" every single day of my life by strangers, by media, by those intending to help, but who say unintentional hurtful things in the process. I feel hurt when others talk about the "obesity epidemic or trend", as if we are a bunch of cattle being herded into this big mass of worthless crap...not individuals with individual struggles and individual stories. Why do people give a crap if I'm fat or not? It's not because they care about me as an individual... They're just there to wipe away the "obesity epidemic" and be the hero for getting rid of all the "fatties".
  5. I'm not happy. At one other point in my life I was at this point. Sad, miserable, hating myself and others and I was able to get myself out of it. Sadly, the very things that made me feel great and motivated to lose weight before are the very things haunting my self-esteem now. People's wonderful compliments as I was losing weight on "how great I looked" or "how strong I'd become" or "what an inspiration I was" started reversing as I started gaining weight back. In my messed up brain, all of a sudden those comments turned into "you sure are letting yourself slide" or "you've lost your mental strength and focus" or "you're a complete failure" or "I knew she'd gain it all back". I know it sounds irrational... It does even to me! But these are the horrible thoughts that have filled both my conscious and sub-conscious thoughts for 3 years now. Even if those thoughts were crossing people's minds, why should I care? Self-esteem should come from within, not from others.
Sadly, the list could go on, but these 5 things have been the most present in my mind. Now that I'm facing these issues that have overtaken my life, I fully intend to start dealing with them. It's going to take time, but because of previous experience, I know it's possible to re-train my brain. Here's my plan of attack on each of my 5 issues:
  1. I may be weak now, but it's only because I've allowed myself to be. I AM a strong person... Always have been, always will be. I've just hit 3 years of massive trials and it has taken time to adapt, but I will not let anything get the better of me. I am strong!
  2. I will set small, very achievable goals, that I absolutely have to achieve. I HAVE to start being honest with myself and learn to trust myself and believe in my abilities. The only way to do that is to get a fresh start on my relationship with myself. Build my trust.
  3. Keep a gratitude list. It's easy to become bitter when you refuse to see the good in everything. For every negative thing I think, I have to think of two positive things concerning that same issue. (This is what I did years ago to help me out of my funk.)
  4. Reverse roles. Whenever I begin to feel like a victim, I will remind myself that we all have trials of varying degrees and that my trials are simply here to make me stronger. God will not give me anything I can't handle. If I feel I've got too much, I'll remind myself that He must think I'm a pretty strong person :).
  5. Remind myself what life is really about. I find myself unhappy when I focus on the wrong things, when I compare myself to others, when I refuse to live in the present, rather than the past or the future. Of coarse we'll be unhappy if all of our focus is on the things that we continually struggle with. So, why do I always put so much focus on losing weight? It doesn't help, it makes me feel like a failure, and I have so many great qualities that SHOULD overshadow my struggle. Regardless of my weight, I care deeply about others and always try to lend a helping hand, I've worked long and hard to be a good voice teacher and accompanist and feel that I am successful, I am a good wife and mother, I fulfill my church callings, I'm a good friend, and I'm intelligent. I'm not listing these things to brag, but rather to see my successes and realize that it's ridiculous to let one area of my life detract from all of the good in my life.
I know that as I retrain my brain to focus on the positive, rather than the negative, that I will succeed in being healthier. Even these last few weeks, as I've come to the realization that my brain has been poisoned with negativity, I have felt the desire to treat my body better. Writing this has been very therapeutic for me and I thank you for listening and caring. Love you all!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April results

So this month was the tightest contest yet... Our winner this month only won by 0.01%. Can you believe it?!
Here are the results:

  • Jerusha: +3 (not a good month for me)
  • Rebecca: -2
  • Clarissa: +5
  • Crystal: -3.2 (Our winner!!!)
  • Jason: -5.4
  • Mary Catherine: +2
  • Patrick: -1
So we were pretty much half and half this month. Next week I will be introducing a new contest that encourages a balanced life. I'm quite excited about it. I've realized more and more lately how unbalanced my life is and as a result I feel my health suffers. I'm the type of person that needs to spread my attention to all areas of my life or I become so overwhelmed with the one area I'm focusing on, I just end up failing miserably. In other words, the more I become obsessed with my weight, the more I gain. We will be focusing on mental, physical, social, and spiritual well-being... Anyone is welcome to join the contest. It will start next Saturday, so if you're interested and you don't regularly attend meetings, please let me know and I'll get the information and rules to you.

Also, Clarissa and Jason got married last week!!! Congrats to both of you... We're all so happy for you!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

March Results/ New Agenda

Hey all! Sorry for not posting last week. Like I said, my March was pretty busy! This month was rough for most of us, but we're back and ready to go this month! Here are the results for the month:

  • Jerusha: +5.2
  • Rebecca: Maintained :)
  • Clarissa: +1.6
  • Crystal: -0.2 (Yay! She's our winner!)
  • Jason: +1.4
We got 2 new members last week... Yay!!! Their results this week were:
  • Patrick: -1.6
  • Mary Catherine: -1
Patrick and Mary Catherine are married and have a cute little daughter, Savannah (no idea if I spelled that right). Here are their before pictures:



We are so happy they've joined us!!!

Last week Rebecca and I were discussing where we wanted these meetings to go and Rebecca set up a new agenda and presented it this week. We are really excited about it. Up until now, the meetings haven't been what we originally had in mind... We've been in some sort of survival mode. We are now determined to make this group what we originally wanted it to be. Basically, we'll have one meeting a month here, weigh-in only on the 2nd and 4th weeks, and we'll meet somewhere and do something active on the other weeks. This month is as follows:
  • April 6 - 8:30 am Early weigh-in and introduction to new meeting schedule
  • April 13 - No meeting or weigh-in (Rebecca and I will both be out of town)
  • April 20 - 9 am weigh-in at Borah High School and walking/jogging
  • April 27 - 9 am weigh-in at Katherine Albertson park and nature walk
If you don't want to join the group, but ever want to join us for our activities, you are more than welcome to come. We're hoping to set up some activities like ultimate frisbee, frisbee golf, tennis, etc.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Update

Sorry for the missed weeks, folks! I missed a week and there wasn't a formal weigh-in and then I got really busy and forgot to post our weekly update. So, to save on time, I'm only going to update you on where we stand since the beginning of the March, rather than filling you in on the weekly weigh-ins.

  • Jerusha : +5 lb (Ouch!)
  • Rebecca: +1 lb
  • Clarissa:  +1.4
  • Crystal: -0.6 (Yay!!!)
  • Jason: +5

As you can see, most of us have had a rough month. I'm not sure what's in the air, but it seems we're all struggling to find the motivation to plunge ahead. I know for me, I've never had this much lack of motivation. I know it's because I feel like a failure after gaining so much weight back and feeling like I can't get it off. Not only that, but I've started walking again and as of last week, I had gone from what used to be 14-minute mile to a 21-minute mile... very depressing. However, my husband has decided to join me in doing this 10k and we went and walked 3 miles today (something I had decided was not currently possible for me), and we did it at an 18-min/mile pace and we probably could have gone longer. Just having the support makes such a huge difference, and I now feel much better about life! My goal for the 10k is a 16-min/mile. I'm hoping to get halfway back to my old pace from today's pace.

Today, Clarissa had us listen to a motivational "pep talk" by Chalene Johnson (Turbo Jam creator) about how to deal with set-backs. She emphasized how important it is to view our situations and set-backs as products, rather than taking our set-backs as personal attacks. When something negative comes our way, we shouldn't look at it subjectively, but rather objectively. For instance, I've gained back 70 lbs and rather than looking at it as "I'm a complete failure", I need to look at it as "I've gained 70 lbs because I've had many health set-backs which have made it not possible to exercise. I've also made poor food choices during those times. What I need to do is make healthier food choices and exercise." By looking at it this way, it doesn't attack what kind of person I am, it makes me look at the situation objectively so my emotions don't take over and fuel the negative fire.

We all have 2 weeks before our month results will be posted. Hopefully, we can turn this month around and have losses! I'm going to do my best to get this 5 lbs back off so I can plunge ahead and continue with my weight-loss goals.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February Results and March Goals

This week we succeeded in our goal to have a no gain meeting! Yay! Sadly, only 3 of us were there, but we represented :). Here are our week and month results:

  • Jerusha: -5 for the week (Wahoo!)/ -2.4 for the month. So happy I had a loss this month... I was worried after I had an overall gain for the month last week.
  • Rebecca was unable to come this week and had a 2 lb gain for the month... totally recoverable!
  • Clarissa: -2.8 for the week/ +1.2 for the month
  • Jason: -3.2 for the week/ maintained this month
  • Crystal was unable to come this week and had a 5.4 gain this month
Like I said, we had a somewhat rough month. I was super excited to be the contest winner this month because I didn't feel really deserving of it. We have all vowed to try harder this month and we are aiming for no gains this month... Steep, I know, but we are determined! Our personal goals are as follows:
  • Jerusha - Make a menu for the month and stick to it/ say no to temptation 6 days a week/ make sure I walk at least 3 times a week.
  • Clarissa - Do her Body for Life plan/ don't miss any workouts
  • Jason - Eat healthy on his trip to Arizona in a few weeks/ stick to his marathon training schedule
We are hoping to hear about Crystal and Rebecca's goals and welcome any of you to post your results or goals as well. We are motivated by people's ideas and involvement, so please join in!

I've set up our team for the Famous Idaho Potato race. Our team name is Join Our Journey and I'm the team captain (Jerusha Baker). We've had a few people drop out and need a few more to complete our team, so please consider joining our team... You can do a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, or full-marathon. Here's the link to register: http://register.bazumedia.com/reg/external-link-ref?la=98216d70fb25941fc1dcee925c5c97098c8863d1