It's easy to get caught up on these thoughts of following through with a perfect workout regimen and eating super clean, especially when you have a goal weight in mind. Realistically, people will try and try again to get these two factors to work in harmony. In my own fitness journey, it took over 6 attempts to finally get them to work. I tried Slim Fast, 3 Day Diet, too greedy for Atkins, was and still anti diet pills, was willing to work out for two weeks and then decided against it. Any diet craze that hit the market, at the very least, I thought about it.
In May 2013, I decided to give myself a real fighting chance thanks to a wake up call. My career, livelihood and happiness depended on it. I created this visual board, placed it in my shared home office space and looked at it daily with my workout regimen. I opted against starving myself or eating what people would refer to as rabbit food. Thanks to technology, I allowed Myfitnesspal to do the hard work for me in factoring my caloric intake, fat and all in between. Within the first month, I dropped over ten pounds. The regimen was truly working.
Shortly after, I went to yoga classes 3 times a week and I felt incredible. Months later, I started running with Black Girls Run. By March 2014, I was already 60 lbs. down. Things were progressing beautifully. My weight loss wasn't as rapidly as it once did and despite my worries about hitting plateaus, I was going great. By the time I landed a photo shoot with RedBook Magazine in April, I was 85 lbs. down. Going from 265 lbs. to 180 lbs. in less than one year was nothing short of amazing. By summer, my weight was at a stand still and while curious about the sudden stop, I thought I physically looked great. Most of 2014, I couldn't acknowledge that I was no longer a plus size woman. Sure, I put on a great front for friends and family who weren't around me on a regular basis. Unfortunately, my family members and best friends heard the personal insults that I gave myself.
When I spoke to my doctor, he told me in so many words that if I continued on this way of thinking, he wanted me to talk to a therapist about body dysmorphic disorder. In simple terms, the image that I saw in the mirror wasn't the same as what was really presented. By November, I was ten pounds from goal weight. I should be happy, right? I was miserable.
Here I stood at 165 lbs, finally acknowledging that I wasn't a size 18 - 22 anymore, I didn't like my physical reflection. Sure, I lost a bunch of weight but I wasn't happy. Here's the basic list that I experienced that you may have heard on other blogs or websites:
I rarely hear about the folks go through the mental struggles. THIS was my case. I lost most of my weight in the most common and healthiest ways possible. I worked out several days a week, balanced meats and smaller portions and kept myself in a decent circle. Nobody warned me about my mental health.
In my last two months, I was going through a real life shit storm where it seem like everything I touched sounded like a whomp whomp bitch moment. This notorious rain cloud followed me everywhere and whenever it could, I could see the middle fingers swirling in my face, calling me a loser. I was used to being an emotional eater but I never knew what it was like to be so depressed that I didn't want to eat at all. Around this point, I started my epic journey to being a fully functioning alcoholic (Read Here). My support group was large and small at the same time. On the outside, I have all of these people cheering me on but because of perception, folks felt like I didn't need much more than that. Friends thought that I was too busy to contact and thanks to seasonal depression, I was too busy hiding from them like most people dodge Jehovah Witnesses. I was scared of cursing people out for no reason. Too scared to fail. Too scared to be successful of actually completing my goal of losing weight. Just scared of everything and not given permission to show "weakness."
Mental health is the reason why so many people pick up gym memberships and leave them on the wayside like a dad who just says fuck it. It's why most New Years Resolutions don't make it to month two. Too many of us exercise the body and whip our diets into shape but neglect the mind. Our mind is an incredibly strong muscle and if not cared for, it can damage EVERYTHING that we worked so hard for.
I thought some magical number would now mean this magical banner of an achievement unlocked would pop up above my head. Instead, I stared at the reflection most days asking myself, why did I allow myself to get so skinny. Like I have stated in countless blogs before this: I have no problem with people who desire to be smaller. It's just not MY goal. I wanted to be healthier. I achieved this months ago when I didn't think about it. Physically, I wanted to look stronger. I neglected this aspect when my depression kicked in. It didn't help that I wasn't much into strength training.
Welp, I'm Here: Now What?