11 August 2015

#transformationtuesday

It's taken me a while to write this post, but since most of my friends and family have seen me in recent weeks I feel I can openly discuss my weight loss. In January of 2015 I was the heaviest I've ever been. I don't know the exact number because I'm not a fan of scales, but I know I was extremely obese. I could blame it on a lifetime of struggling with my weight and working in kitchens and stress eating from school and various jobs, but that's too easy. The truth is I like food an unhealthy amount. I have no problem sitting down and eating enough portions of something for four or five people and that's what I sometimes did. If I felt hungry or bored or depressed I ate. I have no switch that tells me when to stop eating. I also didn't exercise much unless it was one of those chunks of time over the last 27 years that I was trying to lose weight. The last time I lost a few pounds, I fell out of the good habits I was following in about four months.

In the late months of 2014 I knew I had to make a change. I told myself that 2015 would be a new beginning and despite having told myself that every year before, I really believed it. Yet December 31st rolled around and I slept til 1pm causing my generally sweet mother to sit me down for a talk.

"You asked me to quit smoking so I could live longer and I did. So I want you to lose weight," she said, "You're really heavy and you seem really unhappy."

While she missed the mark on the unhappy part (I was actually really loving life before that conversation), her words struck through me like a splinter under a fingernail--painful, and almost impossible to remove. I will always remember those words and how they made me feel. I was not mad at her. I was mad at myself for pushing her to the point of having to say something. She didn't want to lose her daughter as much as I didn't want to lose my mother.

So the next day I set out to change my life. I started slowly, just eating better foods (something I was pretty good at beforehand--people think I'm crazy because I read ingredient labels obsessively) and counting EVERY SINGLE CALORIE (the real game-changer, it's all about in vs out.) We also started taking our dog, Honey, for hour long walks to the park by our house every day and I gradually began to work on jogging and stretching out my joints. It's not about being thin, it's about being HEALTHY.

When February came, I introduced cardio via Zumba Fitness (Dancing to burn calories? Yes, please!) and I started to notice little changes in my clothes and my energy level. I started taking monthly pictures of myself and even bought an s-word (...scale...I bought a scale.)

In March, my weigh-in was about where I thought I had started leading me to think that I started at about 250lbs. I couldn't believe that I had gotten to that number. I was used to being over 200lbs because of been up there since high school, but hitting 250lbs was too much for me. I got hungry to lose weight instead of hungry to eat an entire pizza.

In April I added some Kettlebell exercises into my routine of cardio and calorie counting and lost another 10lbs. People started noticing and I knew that I was on my way. At the four month mark, I was nervous that I would fall out of my self-disciplined eating and workout schedules. Easter nearly killed me but, even though May and June were rough months for my diet, by July I was down another 20lbs.

The first goal I set for myself was to be 200lbs or less by August 1st. I needed to lose 13lbs to reach it. Once again, I had a few too many cheat days, but I tried to remember what Joey's mom (a personal trainer and owner of Healthy Measures: Pre-counted, pre-cooked meals delivered to your door) had once told me: "Don't forget that one bad day won't send you back to start. Just get up and start again the next day."

When August 1st rolled around, I reminded myself that no matter what I had made it past my four month slump and just needed to keep going. I stepped on the scale and took a deep breath. I looked down and saw three numbers: 203. For the blink of my eye I felt disappointment, but then I threw my fist in the air in celebration. I had only missed my goal by 3lbs and after losing 50lbs, I'd say that's a fucking success.

So here I am in the middle--50lbs down, 50lbs to go. I've now added some good old Jane Fonda calisthenics into my workout and have gone down about 4 sizes. I'm still getting used to my new look, still afraid to let my arms show and I still feel as fat as I was in January, but with the support from my friends and family I'm working on my confidence.

People tell me they would have never guessed that I weighed that much, and I guess it's because I carry myself well, but  I'm getting tired of carrying myself. For once, I'd like to let myself be free and I know I'm almost there. I'm almost healthy and couldn't be more pumped to get there.

                                December 2014 vs August 2015

24 July 2015

Pay Attention To Me!

Finding a job is like trying to lose weight. You have to make it a lifestyle--tracking calories and applications all day every day, working out and writing cover letters obsessively, seeing little to no results after months and months of being hungry and poor.

But here I sit, still overweight and scrolling through the endless sea of job postings hoping to find something that

a) I'm qualified for, and

b) seems like it won't make me want to rip out my hair and bang on my chest until they cart me away and lock me up forever.

Once every 113 postings, I find something that meets my oh-so-demanding criteria. Then I scroll (always scrolling) through the duties and requirements and qualifications and I bookmark it until later and continue my search.

It's been two years since I obtained my MFA. Two long, retail-riddled years. Day after day I endure the heartless stares of wealthy customers who I'm pretty sure just think I'm a ditzy monkey with a ponytail who doesn't understand simple questions like "do you carry acrylic paint?" I purse my lips and reply with a sighing "yes" and lead the way to the fine arts section, even though my apron clearly states that I'm a custom framer. Who's the dummy now?

But I guess it's still me considering I have a graduate degree and only a shitty retail job to show for it. If i had a dollar for every application I've sent out, I wouldn't need to find a better job. I could just retire. But prospective employers only see me as a resume without enough RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE. I frequently feel that if I could just meet with them and work for them for a week, they'd see that I really can handle an administrative assistant position, despite having only 3 years of said experience.

Honestly, I'd prefer to just shout "somebody fucking hire me already!" off of the rooftop of my Baltimore row house and see if anybody bites. I'm pretty sure it's the only way to stand out amongst the bottomless pit of .pdf files and forced cover letters and if not, at least my fat ass would be on the evening news.