Category Archives: Motivation

I need a unicorn…

Years ago, when I first started on my successful weight loss journey, I bought myself a Pandora charm bracelet. I was high on life after being able to touch my feet again, dudes…seriously. Sometimes it’s the little things. You can check out the victory here.

Some of the other charms I bought during the 100+ pounds I lost? For starters, I put a blue glass bead on the bracelet for every size I dropped (although I still owe myself a few). I added an airplane charm to commemorate the first time I flew on a plane and didn’t need the seatbelt extender. Yay!!! The bicycle charm came along when I first started riding a bike again. The pedal snags my clothes, though, so it has since been retired. The handbag charm happened when I went from the 300’s to the 200’s…because my reward was a Texas Rangers Dooney & Bourke handbag, so they kind of went together. 🙂

After a while, the Pandora bracelet ended up in the drawer and stopped taking it out again…until recently. I’m wearing it again and it is begging for a new charm. I started poking around Pandora’s website and guess what? They have a freak’in unicorn charm!!!! SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!

I put the word out on my last Floss Tube video that I needed help setting a goal to get this charm…and I’ve decided to go with an increased step count on my new Fitbit. When I was in London two weeks ago, I was logging about 15,000 steps a day and that was really causing some pain – so I decided to take baby steps when it comes to step goals. I normally get about 4,000 steps a day, thanks to my usually sedentary job. An increase to 6,500 steps a day seems like a reasonable goal. And there we have it: 6,500 steps per day for 30 days…and the unicorn is mine!!!

So…why a step goal? Because I have a theory and I want to see if I’m right.

As most of you know, I’m prone to foot injuries. I usually hurt myself when I’m walking too fast, or too fast for too long. Doctors have urged me to ride a bike, swim, or do elliptical training in order to take the impact off my feet. Here’s what I think I’m missing: in keeping off my feet when it comes to the walking thing, I’m missing on the healthy-ish impact of slow…regular walking. Not walking for cardio doesn’t mean not walking AT ALL….right? There’s a process your body goes through with walking that I’m missing out on, so I am going to carefully increase my step goal and achieve that goal with slow, deliberate walking instead of the arm-pumping cardio walking that comes to mind when anyone things of fitness walking. We’ll see if that helps the horrible fatigue my feet and legs feel when I play the tourist. And then the unicorn charm will be mine!!!

Well, at least it will be when it’s back in stock. Damn it! It’s out of stock!!!

Until then, I’m keeping my end of the bargain. I made my step goal yesterday. Just 29 days to go, peeps. Hopefully the charm is back in stock by the time I’m ready for it.

Wondering what Floss Tube is? It’s video blogging for needleworkers like me – but I don’t just talk about needlework, so if you’re interested in checking it out here are the links to my first four videos:

Do you have a fun fitness goal? Please share it in the comments below. You might inspire someone else to live a healthier life…so why not?

Have a great day today…and be nice humans. ♥

 

https://www.amazon.com/Fitbit-Charge-Fitness-Wristband-Version/dp/B01K9S260E/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1537872030&sr=8-3&keywords=fitbit&th=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=batofthebut-20&linkId=9b5994aff5e6f9a77f318c1432bf61f9&language=en_US
Fitbit Charge 2

Don’t look now, but…this may be fun

Okay, so I last left us all in a giant pile of exercise excrement. Okay, maybe that’s not the best way to put it. I got back in touch with all the ridiculous, effed up messages I learned about exercise from my youth…again…and managed to stay conscious of the fact that nothing has changed in my present situation. IF I want to lose the rest of my excess weight, I have to find a way to exercise consistently.

I know how my Hot Mess brain works. If I can’t find something I enjoy, this isn’t going to stick. I think that’s how most brains work, honestly, but something changes in many of us when we see one of those ridiculous commercials for the latest nut job fitness craze, right? You know I’m right. You see a commercial for some ridiculous fitness thing and you’re suddenly telling yourself “Yes, I want to push my sedentary ass through this idiot’s insane crossfit nazi bootcamp! It’ll be fun! FUN, I TELL YOU!!!” Somehow these dickheads manage to motivate us into paying “just $19.95” for their flavor-of-the-month exercise video/book/torture class and we subject ourselves to pain and humiliation…for one day. Or two. And then we give up. Because that shit’s not fun!!! That shit’s just crazy, yo.

I can’t stand most personal trainers. I don’t like weight loss gurus and fitness nazis who just want to make money off of me. Or worse: they see me as their personal project. I am not a project to anyone but myself. Nope, trainers are not for me. Cardio is simple…and free. And, thanks to YouTube, we’re not at a loss when it comes to learning how to do simple resistance training. Free information is out there, so to tell me that I need your special kind of muscle killing bootcamp and you’re going to see me walk away. With a slight limp because I have hip pain right now. Don’t judge.

So here’s the short list of what this Hot Mess Princess needs in order to pensively start down the road to consistent exercise:

  • No Zumba or other aerobics class with yippy yappy woohoo participants
  • No personal trainers or extreme fitness
  • Some kind of resistance training, which I will increase as I go
  • Some kind of cardio, which I will increase as I go
  • 10,000 steps a day…minimum

Let’s talk about that 10,000 steps a day goal for a minute. I mentioned in my last blog post that I once thought my Fitbit was a bit of a nagging bitch. Yeah, she was…but I was also not ready for exercise. I was still too resistant to the idea.

Now? Well, hell, peeps…I’ve lost 116 pounds and I’d like to lose the other 120 pounds while I’m still young enough to enjoy the hotness. 🙂 Let’s get this shit figured out!

When I first dug my Fitbit out of the drawer 2 months ago, I wore it to figure out how many steps I was getting a day. Thanks to my sedentary job, the range was about 1,400 to 2,000. As a general rule, “they” say we should get 10,000 steps a day. I think “they” is the American Heart Association and a bunch of other people who are admittedly smarter than me in this area.

I think I set my first step goal at 4,000 for the first week or so. Then I increased it to 6,000. Before long it was 8,000. Now? Except for last week, which was hell week at work, I’ve had no problem getting 10,000 steps a day.

Can we just stop for a moment so I can step into the spotlight on center stage and do a couple really uncool fist pumps? SERIOUSLY!!!

1,400 steps to 10,000 steps in two months. EFFING AWESOME!!! And that’s with foot pain and, apparently, a hip that doesn’t understand it’s totally uncool to be a bitch to me when I’m trying to figure all this out.

I. Rock.

Okay, let’s get back to business…

I forgot to mention one thing: I need to make all these changes with exercise WHILE continuing to be a bad ass and maintain my weight loss of 116 pounds. In addition to the nutritional changes I’ve made over the past two years, this also means that I need to find time to stitch. Probably the single most instrumental decision I’ve made in changing my eating habits has been to substitute my hobby of needlework for my former unhealthy hobby of eating everything in the house when I wasn’t hungry. And I can’t let that go…because if I decide I don’t have time for the incredibly therapeutic and calming activity of counting stitches and pulling a needle and thread through fabric, then I’m afraid that I’ll allow emotional eating to sneak back into my life. Isn’t that a given? I think so.

I can’t keep growing if I thumb my nose up at the healthy changes that have gotten me this far.

Let’s add one more problem to the fray: the current stitchy piece I’m working on has to be done in time to enter in the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts competition. It’s much bigger than I thought it would be, and with a full time job it’s been a challenge. At this point, I can probably get it done if I stitch for 5 hours a night Monday – Friday and get even more done on the weekends…but that’s all butt-sitting time!

I do have exactly 5 hours between the time I get home and the time I go to bed, but I won’t be able to take any steps or do any physical activity…so that means I have to fit it in before I get home. For that reason, I put a caveat on my 10,000 steps a day goal: I have to get all 10,000 steps in before I leave work.

Sweet Jesus!

You know what, though? I’m doing it. I’m actually doing it…and between my Fitbit and my better attitude towards exercise, it’s been a little bit fun. Friends at work are sending me challenges. So are you guys! I’m friends with tons of blog fans on Fitbit and I love hearing from you guys. It’s not unusual for me to get more than 2 or 3 different challenges from you.

And the resistance training? I’ve started that ball rolling by carrying small weights on my walks with me. I have the kind that wrap around my hands so I don’t have to hold them. These aren’t exactly what I have, but they’re very similar (click the image and you’ll go straight to them on Amazon).

Okay, so let’s recap a bit MORE of what I’ve done:

  • Gave up fast food
  • Gave up soda
  • Stopped emotional eating by picking up needlework instead of Cheetos
  • Increased my daily steps from 1,400 to 10,000
  • Set a goal to get my 10,000 steps by the end of my work day
  • Started the resistance training by adding weights to my walks

I’m starting to feel like one of those guys at the circus or on old shows like The Carol Burnett Show that used to spin 10 different plates on really tall, skinny poles all at the same time. Remember that? If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, well…you missed out on a hell of a useless talent. But it was kind of cool wondering if the dude was going to be able to keep all those plates spinning…

That’s what I am. I’m a plate spinner. It’s a lot of shit to do for a girl who used to only worry about what she was going to pile ON her plate. Let’s all stop for a moment so you can give me a high five. C’mon…let’s go…gimme some more love!

HIGH FIVE!!!!

So I feel like I’ve succeeded in wanting to get my 10,000 steps a day and wanting to move more. It no longer feels like a chore to me. I want and need to continue my stitching, so I’ve made room for that and kept the step goal secure. I’ve started adding resistance. I need to start thinking about cardio…and that’s where the FUN part comes in.

I effing hate cardio. (Seriously, I’m going to show you the fun part but I think it’s important to first explain my shitty attitude.) I don’t know why I hate cardio, exactly. I don’t really care if I find out, either, because I just need to find fun cardio that I can do. And I guess I have Facebook to thank for this one, because I first learned about virtual races in my Facebook feed. I found Make Yes Happen.

Basically, you can sync various fitness trackers like Fitbit or Map My Fitness to your Make Yes Happen account. When you join a race, your steps are automatically logged and you earned Google street view clips for milestones along the route you’re virtually walking. It’s $25 to join most races and you get a sweet little medal when you’re done. Well, not little actually…they’re quite impressive. Some of the money for some races goes to charity. Other times I think it just pays for your medal and helps them keep the site and challenges going.

My first race was The Road to Hana. I’ve been to Maui, but I’ve never taken the Road to Hana…so I was interested in this one for sure. It was fun to see email updates rolling in. They told me where I was on the road, showed me what the view was, and sometimes pointed out interesting things to do at those places. It was particularly motivating to me towards the end as I neared my goal. I was pretty excited about getting that final notification that I’d completed The Road to Hana. As it so happened, I completed it on the first day I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit. It rocked. Getting the medal in the mail was even sweeter. You can see the video that I posted about it here on my Facebook fan page.

So the next race I selected was in honor of my home state of California. I chose the Pacific Coast Highway race, which is 113 miles. Something unexpected happened: because of my higher step count, I finished the race pretty quickly…and wasn’t even really motivated by much of it at all. And then I realized that I basically earned my race medal by walking in the tunnels under our building and back and forth to the ladies room…and that’s really not what I intended to use this for. I want these medals to mean something to me, and I want them to be more challenging to earn.

The Yes Fit community on Facebook is super helpful and supportive, so I asked around to other Fitbit users on how they manage this issue…and I’ve decided to disconnect my Fitbit from the virtual race page and log my steps and exercise manually. I don’t want to get credit for the first 10,000 steps each day. I want credit for anything over that and also for any cardio I do. THAT is more motivating to me.

So which race am I on now? I selected the Sleepy Hollow Redux race. I’ve loved that story since I was a little girl…and I love the movie (Tim Burton’s version and the Disney cartoon)…and I loved the tv show, at least until the writers started injecting their own political opinions into the script. I hate that shit. So the idea of virtually walking through the town of Sleepy Hollow is AWESOME!!!!! You can see the race here.

And that is what I’ve been doing to conquer the “I hate exercise demons”, peeps. I’m already having more fun than before…I’m cautiously optimistic that these changes will be fun enough to stick with, and then they’ll become habit. I have a very busy job that sometimes requires me to travel, and it can be a challenge to keep going during busy weeks…but I already get grumpy and miss walking when I can’t do it. So there’s a little ray of hope there. A little spark of promise. For now, that’s enough.

 

Interested in needlework? Try these sassy designs. *Not for the faint of heart

Walking through a motivation wasteland

Even before I walked out on the unbearably dysfunctional atmosphere of the dance studio I basically grew up in, I’ve thumbed my nose up at exercise. I hate it. I’ve always hated it. Most everyone would disagree with me, but to me…dance isn’t exercise. Not in my effed up little head. To me, dance is fun. Exercise is something you do because you have to.

I am not an athlete. In spite of the emotional abuse I suffered from age 9 to age 19 at the hands of my dance teacher, I’m a dancer. I have always been a dancer. I’m not a runner or a bicyclist or even an aerobics queen. Some of you would argue that Zumba and its older cousins Jazzercise and whatever-the-fuck Jane Fonda used to do are dance, but they’re not. Not to me. They are all exercise.

Side note: I won’t debate the Zumba-is-dance argument here, as my thought process is admittedly based on artsy fartsy feelings and nothing to do with fact…so if you’re a Zumba fan, calm your asses down. I’m not trying to knock your beloved Zumba at all. If Zumba or aerobic dance makes you happy and you call it dance, then that’s all that matters. Get down and funky with my blessings!

Now back to that stupid exercise thing…

I don’t know if they still pull this shit on kids in elementary school, but back in my day we had the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. It probably sounds like a good idea, but it was basically a fancy way of legally harassing lazy kids into doing pull ups. And by lazy I don’t mean fat and lethargic…I mean lazy as in I’d rather ride my bike or rollerskate around the neighborhood with my girlfriends before I go take 3 hours of dance class. I wasn’t a fat kid, and I wasn’t out of shape. Put pull ups? I’d rather have listened to Englebert Humperdinck records with my Mom back in the day…and believe me, I hate Mr Humpy.

I was an active kid, I just wasn’t one for hanging by my own body weight from those big stupid metal hoops on the playground that always ended up smashing your fingers. Nor was I out on the playground saying shit to my friends like “Hey, let’s blow off hopskotch and do some crunches!” That kind of thing made no sense to me, but every damn year our teachers pulled us out onto the playground with clipboards in hand and made us do a series of ridiculous shit in front of each other…including pull ups and sit ups and other crap I just couldn’t do.

I hated those clipboards. I hated being judged up against girls who loved to climb trees and had muscles in their arms. If a teacher had lined everyone up and said “Okay, I want each of you to come through here doing a traveling time step, 4 sets of wings and end in the jump splits,” I would have kicked everyone’s asses. Everyone’s. I would have been the queen of the playground!!! But no, apparently the President wasn’t impressed with my Gene Kelly-esque technique.

To this day, I’ll never understand why they felt the need to rank us on how far we could long jump. When in the hell was that ever going to come in handy? All it ever taught me was how right I was to detest exercise. To me, it was stupid. So I sat there in the school assembly after the whole mortifying process was over and every kid I already felt was better than me at everything stood up and got a certificate and a patch that they were amazeballs at pull ups and long jumps…and I felt like a failure.

Let’s fast forward to after high school when I quit dance because I was so emotionally beaten down by the tyrannical dance teacher there was no more joy in it for me. And I loved the idea of curling up with books instead of sweating my ass off every day and sewing up snags in my tights. So I didn’t just quit dancing, I pretty much quit moving. And that’s where the big problem started.

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know this was the beginning of the path that led to me gaining over 200 pounds. Now I’ve lost 116 of that and I’m stuck because…surprise…I hate exercise. Well…shit.

Looking back on all of this, though, I definitely see the fucked up-ness of it all. I was raised to see exercise as a laborious task that made me feel less-than. Dance was the only physical activity that was fun to me, but even that was robbed of its joy because of the biggest asshole in the universe. Everything remotely connected to moving more made me just want to get away from it as fast as possible.

I’ve tried to get myself going here and there, but I haven’t been successful at the one thing I need: consistency. One of the things losing 116 pounds has given me, though, is the self-confidence to look myself in the face and know that I am good enough just as I am. Gone are the days of anyone, including myself, making me feel less-than because I can’t jog or do 100 crunches. I don’t feel guilty about the fact that the very idea of taking a Zumba class makes me stabby…I just stay away from Zumba class. For everyone’s sake.

I know this sounds horrible and I’m most likely outting myself as a very bad person, but it’s the happy shrieking and whooping in particular that I hate about any exercise class. The class instructor yelling her loud motivating “Let’s go, ladies! Let’s mooooooove!” and everyone responding with “Yeah! WOOHOOOOO!”

I know women who get all revved up at that, but it makes me want to punch them all in the vagina. Sorry. Don’t worry, I’ve never acted out. 🙂

So I’ve searched for exercisey things that are fun to do while I’ve become an expert at maintaining a 116 pound weight loss. As it turns out, for me, that’s kind of easy. I rock at maintaining my current level of weight loss. It’s just not enough for me. I want to keep going.

I still have my beloved bike that HMH gave me last year, which I love…but bike riding in cold weather isn’t going to happen. It’s spring now, so I have a few weeks of lovely bike riding in my future – but summer is coming. And yes, I say that with as much dread as they say “Winter is coming” in Game of Thrones. If you’ve ever been to Texas, you know what I mean. Our summers are assholes. Seriously.

I’m lucky in that we have tunnels built underneath our huge campus at work…and I can walk in air conditioned comfort. There’s something down there, though, that I’m allergic to. There’s a lot of dust and crap from the A/C ducts. Some mornings it’s not bad, other mornings I’m in tears after walking my two laps.

I’ve also been prone to painful foot injuries since I was 13 years old and I have to be really careful when it comes to the impact on my tootsies. I can’t walk fast enough to get cardio. If I walk fast enough for cardio, I get stress fractures. If I walk slow enough to get my 10,000 steps a day, I achieve that goal…but I miss cardio. Up your ass, exercise. You’re such a pain in the ass.

So where does this leave me? The story isn’t over, but for now we’ll leave it here – and we’ll pick up tomorrow with a Fitbit, another Fitbit and an amazing website that has started to put some fun into that nasty word “exercise”.

 

2016, here I come!

Yeah, I suck.

I keep thinking “Wow, it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog post…I need to get moving.” And then I think it again. And again. And again. Meanwhile, it’s nearly 2016 and the last thing I wrote was fucking Halloween? Really???

I’m sorry, guys. I need to do a better job at organizing myself.

I used to hate new years resolutions. A lot. It seemed to me that the best way to guarantee that I wouldn’t accomplish something was to make it a new years resolution so I could procrastinate the shit out of it. Something about losing 116 pounds has changed my perspective, though, and I now look at them like fun little challenges. I never get them all done, but I do get some of them done…and it gives me a little twinge of pride to check one off my list.

For example, two years ago I one of my resolutions was to get my Concealed Handgun License (CHL). It took me a few months to realize that I wasn’t ready for it yet. A traumatic experience I had when I was 15 years old was still hanging on and I couldn’t shake it yet, so I put it off for the year. This year, thanks to a women’s shooting group I found, I gradually felt ready to take it on – so, even though it wasn’t a resolution this year, I did it anyway. Kick ass!

I never know what I’m going to put on the list, and I try not to make most of them about weight loss or physical appearance. I try to make them things that are either fun or interesting or challenging…or all three. So here we go. Here’s my 2016 new years resolutions:

  1. Visit another country. Do y’all know how long I’ve wanted to go to Europe? And I have no excuse. I work in the travel industry, for goodness’ sake! What am I waiting for? Well, I don’t have a passport yet. I know, I know, I know. You can see why this is a goal.
  2. Buy a dining room table. It pains me to admit it, but I haven’t had a dining table and chairs for three years. My dining room looks like a staging area for the old tv show “Clean House”. I have boxes of crap in there that have no home. It’s the holidays, so that means there are four large rubber bins in there as well. I took all the ornaments and decorations out but I never put the bins back in the closet. They’re guarded by the two white wire deer that I always mean to put out on the lawn for Christmas, but I can never find the damn prongs that secure them into the ground…so they end up sprawled on the dining room floor like they’re napping. Or drunk. After the holidays are over, I’ll get everything back in the closet…but the pile of Crap That Has No Home will still remain. We need to stop eating around the coffee table like savages, yo.
  3. Have 18 inch calves. No, I’m not kidding. You may be wondering why this is a goal. Let me just say…I need to make exercise a consistent habit, but if I say that then I’ll psych myself out. I feel myself shrinking away from it and I’m tired of that shit. Meanwhile, I love boots in the fall and winter but my calves are still too big – even for the wide calf boots. If I make 18 inch calves my goal, I still have to make exercise a consistent habit but I don’t heap unwanted expectations on my hot mess head. This way, I’m just tantalized by the idea of wearing sexy boots. It’s a win-win.
  4. Decorate the damn bedroom. Seriously. My bedroom is so damn ugly. The walls are still an ugly chalky white. The curtains are left over from the devil condo in California. Our furniture is old and has Kirby tooth marks on part of it (when she was a hell raising puppy). It’s hideous and ugly, not restful and serene. And the worst part? Sometimes when HMH starts putting the moves on me, I look up and think “My God this is the ugliest room ever!” So now you know how ugly it is, because if it can distract me from sexy time it’s gotta be pretty hideous…am I right?
  5. Have my picture professionally taken. This one makes me cringe, but it’s necessary. I need some pics taken…for my “about me” page here and for the blog I never write about my fiction endeavors. Maybe if I get new pictures I’ll be inspired to finish that book, right? Seems legit.
  6. Publish something. Anything, damn it. My God!
  7. This one is scary and that’s why I picked it: learn to sing. Way back in my days at the dance studio, the King would require us to sing show tunes while we danced to them. For example, every year at the county fair we were required to perform an entire show of songs from Oklahoma – which is funny when I think about it now because Orange County, California is about as country as New York City…but with more Republicans. Anyway, I never felt like I measured up and I love to sing. I mean, I looooove to sing. So I don’t want to start a new career or anything, but it would be nice to be able to carry a tune and not be embarrassed. That’s all I’m after: non-embarrassed singing.
  8. Ride a rollercoaster. I think I’m going to need to head to the Queen Mother of all amusement parks for this one, peeps. Yes, I’m talking about my first ever place of employment: Disneyland, California. It’s a goal.
  9. Be able to do 100 crunches all at once. Yeah, I couldn’t get out of this without setting at least one exercise goal. That’s it. 100. Just reading that feels like I just signed up for an Ironman competition. Shit.

2016 resolutions

So that’s it, peeps. Those are my 2016 new years resolutions. Are you setting resolutions this year? If so, feel free to share in the comments below!


Tools4Wisdom Planner 2016 Calendar 4-in-1: Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Organizer – Purpose Driven Goals Planning Book – Personal Life Progress Journal Notebook (8.5 x 11 / 200 Pages / Spiral)

How I’m Riding an Emotional Rollercoaster…

Today we’re going to chat about the internal struggles emotional eaters can face if they decide to use bariatric surgery as a tool, so grab a cup o’ whatever and nestle down. This is a long one…because I want to talk about our emotional struggles as a whole, first.

Emotional eaters are a weird animal. We don’t eat because we’re hungry. We eat because we’re bored. Happy. Sad. Mad. Anxious. Sometimes we don’t even need a reason. The simple act of putting food in our mouths and chewing is somehow a soothing balm to whatever woes we’re facing in the big bad world.

What makes things more difficult is that it’s not usually crystal clear what’s bothering us in the first place. If you have a bad day, you most likely end up angry at a person or situation and it’s clear to you what happened. A manager at work is such an asshole. Tiffany the Executive Assistant forgot to give your boss a message and now you look like a jerk. The bitch in front of you at the grocery store argued with the cashier forever over a 10 cent coupon. Whatever it was, regular people vent about it and then they feel better. I don’t think that’s usually the case for people who deal with emotional eating…or any addiction, for that matter. I don’t think it’s that clear. At least, it wasn’t for me.

Most of the time there was no one pissing me off. There was usually nothing fresh and new that was bothering me. For me, the specter that my dance teacher created in my head was enough. I walked the earth knowing that I was an ugly, fat, unacceptable excuse for a human being who didn’t deserve love. It was always in the back of my head. Talking to me. Reminding me. Showing me.

You didn’t get that promotion at work because you’re ugly. You don’t get asked out for dates because you’re fat. You have too much hair on your forearms…you look like a monkey. Who could love you? You can’t wear dresses; your legs look like tree trunks. You should feel embarrassed. Stay home in your sweatpants and eat a pizza. No one loves you. No one will ever love you. Get some ice cream, too. That always makes you feel better. Maybe grab some chips for tomorrow because the game is on and the only person who wants to watch it with you is your Mom. How pitiful is that? When’s the last time you even tried to work out? You’re ridiculous. And weak. And stupid. Better grab a candy bar.

I can’t speak for every overweight person on the planet, I can only speak for me…and I can honestly tell you that there is a mindless eating machine at the heart of my subconscious. She is my food demon…and she is a hateful bitch. She has never cared how bad I felt when I went up a size in clothes. In the past, the guilt I’ve felt over the number on the scale has only served to fuel her fire. She wants to eat. She is never full. She is never satisfied. And she is always louder than any other voice in my head that tells me to suck it up…go for a walk…eat a carrot. She is insatiable.

So how do we stop this destructive, self-absorbed bitch? I’ll tell you what’s working for me in a minute. Hear me out first.

If you’ve read my blog for a while you know that I’m a huge believer that each of us has to do what’s right for us. We’re not all the same, so applying cookie cutter solutions to our issues with our food demons is not going to be helpful. If that shit worked, there wouldn’t be fad diets…because the first one would have cured us all, right? There is no Brown Rice Diet or North Beach Diet or Dog Fart Diet that’s going to solve our problems…because what really solves our problems is sitting down and spending the time to figure out what works for us as individuals. And it’s all different. Because what made me a Hot Mess Princess is not what made you a…whatever you are. Amazing Ninja Woman? Incredible Kickass Chick? Fabulous Dude? Superman? (because some things don’t change).

worth it

So how do you handle this food demon that has somehow attached itself to your life and won’t let go? That depends on who you are. Not on who I am. Not on which Kardashian lost 5 pounds on the amazing placenta diet. Not on Dr. Oz. It depends on you.

How do you learn best? By doing? By seeing? By reading? Do you do better with a regimented routine or do you need the freedom to go with the flow? If you need freedom, how much freedom can you give yourself without exercising the freedom to eat a whole box of Little Debbies during Dancing With the Stars? Are you trying to force yourself to follow a plan that doesn’t work for you? Because if you’re fighting it, doesn’t that mean you’re not ready for it? Doesn’t that mean it’s not working in some way? As sucky as it sounds, you have to pick each one of these things up and examine it. Hold it up close. Look it over. Notice things about it. Figure it out. In the end, if you decide it works for you…keep it. If it doesn’t work, is it worth forcing yourself to do it? For me, the answer is no.

I spent 20 years of my life being obese – and before that, I spent too much time believing I was ugly, fat and disgusting. Because someone else told me so when nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve spent my life trying to figure out how to stop the self-loathing, totally jacked up behavior that I used to comfort myself from an emotional terrorist. In the process, I found enough of myself to grab hold of…but I went from 125 pounds to 383 pounds before I completely sobered up.

So last November, when everyone else was planning their Thanksgiving dinners, I had gastric sleeve surgery. Almost 11 months later, I’ve lost 106 pounds and have dropped 5 sizes in clothes. But you know what? I didn’t have brain surgery.

Sleeve surgery allowed me to grab the food demon by the throat, throw her black-hearted ass in a crate, and nail the fucker shut – but she’s still around. I have more than 20 years worth of bad habits under my belt. Having 85% of my stomach removed didn’t change that. Never being hungry doesn’t change that. If I wasn’t mentally and emotionally ready for this surgery, it wouldn’t stop the demon bitch from hell.

Here’s what I’ve learned…

Making sure I had a positive behavior ready to replace my eating with was fucking brilliant. She might be locked up in a box, but every once in a while I can still hear her screaming. Sleeve surgery has afforded me the luxury of never feeling hungry, so I no longer feel a physical, urgent need to eat. I have regularly scheduled, small meals and I stick to that schedule religiously because I find comfort in the routine. That works for me. So when the food demon starts screaming from inside her crate, I calmly tell her to shut the hell up…and I go to my needlework and start stitching. Needlework makes me focus on something else. I have to count. I have to concentrate. And my hands are busy. If I’m at work when it happens, I get up from my desk and go walk around the floor. I stretch my legs…and as soon as I’m up and walking, I feel grateful that I’m no longer walking around in pain. I’m instantly reminded that I’m far from the 383 pound walking corpse I was last year. I am an awesome, kick ass ninja butterfly who gets stronger every damn day.

ninja-butterfly1

In contrast, i know people who’ve had bariatric surgery and weren’t ready. They had no plan for shit like this. They didn’t think it through. For them, surgery was the solution…not a tool. After surgery they couldn’t overeat anymore, so that destructive behavior manifested itself in new ways. Some turned into total sluts. I’m not trying to be funny here. They made scary decisions that they never would have made before. Some became angry and bitter. They couldn’t eat anymore so they got pissed at the world instead of dealing with their shit. One developed a serious spending issue.

All of them have gained most, if not all, of their weight back. I didn’t want to go down that road…so I made a plan.

There’s a difference between real hunger and a gurgling tummy. If you don’t eat for 8 hours or so does your tummy gurgle? Probably. Do you also feel empty? That’s important. That hollow feeling in your stomach is probably hunger. What happens if you eat spicy food? What if your tummy is just gassy? It gurgles, right? That’s not hunger. I knew the difference between the two before I had surgery and I didn’t realize how important it was until I was home from the hospital and my tummy was gurgling like I swallowed a box of fireworks. But I didn’t feel hungry. Weak at first, sure. I’d had major surgery. But as I slowly adjusted my diet back to real food over the weeks following my surgery, my tummy would gurgle with each new stage…and I didn’t freak out about it because I knew the difference between hunger and a gurgly tummy.

Change is challenging and fun. At first, it wasn’t so fun. It was just work. So much work. Life after sleeve surgery was just me fielding one curve ball after another. It felt like it took forever for me to feel comfortable in my own skin. I had to learn how to eat all over again. I was learning to live all over again. Once I’d lost my 46th pound, I started to get excited. (I’d gained and lost the same 45 pounds repeatedly…so I felt like the first 45 pounds was a do-over.) The excitement was a welcome distraction – because right around the third month I hit the “OMG I’m so tired of thinking about eating” wall. It happens. I was used to thinking about eating bad foods. I’d plan my day around that shit. After surgery I was still thinking about food, but it was “Okay, how much protein have I had so far? Do I have room for more yet? Have I had enough water? What do I need to eat today in order to hit my protein goal?” That is some boring shit for a girl who used to think Twizzlers was a food group. There’s no magic formula for how to beat that if it happens. I muscled through it. I didn’t want to be the girl who failed at weight loss even after surgery. I still don’t want to be that girl. But now I realize that I won’t be…because I’ve changed.

When I look back at who I was a year ago, I look forward to the changes I can only imagine are coming. After all, I’m only half way to my goal. When I think about it that way, the road ahead opens wide up and I’m excited about the possibilities that wait for me.

Yes, there are struggles. Yes, there are hurdles. But it’s all an adventure…because I finally embraced change.

If you have questions, please ask. I try to be an open book about my experience because I know what it feels like to be lost in a fog and not knowing where to turn or who to talk to. While I can’t say what will work for you, I can tell you what’s worked for me…and that might just help you find another piece of your puzzle. Until then, just remember that it’s okay if your tiara’s crooked. Perfection is for pussies.

Be original.

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