“I can’t seem to lose the mental pounds I gained. Not a one.”
This blog post started as an Instagram caption. I planned on sharing the photo you see above with an inspiring caption, short and sweet but moving. All resulting in a feel-good happy ending sort of moral to the story. That’s how many, actually most, of my Instagram captions go. Life may be hard at times, but I’m still optimistic!
Today…I just couldn’t.
I’m going to get very real with you. Maybe because I am approaching the midnight hour and slowly becoming delirious, or maybe because I am ashamed of being too wordy on Instagram. In fact, in the morning I may feel an uncomfortable anxious regret in writing this all out and sharing it with you all.
I have come to find that others appreciate transparency and honesty. We all want something or someone to relate to, especially with what makes us most uncomfortable in life.
Me typing my caption:
“These two photos are both old ones, but I wanted to share them now. They are both from about two and a half years ago, eight months apart. The left is January and the right is August. Left: I had just made the most progress with myself since I started Blogilates six months prior. I was eating so much better and exercising regularly. Right: after eight months of eating fast food several times a week and working out maybe only once a week, if that, all progress was lost. Progress was not only lost in those eight months, but I took myself farther backwards than I had ever been before.”
That’s when I trailed off…
I realized this was too much of a story to fit into a simple caption. This needed more words, more depth, and more than just double taps for hearts.
Eight months was all it took.
In eight months, I actually lost two and a half years. Because even after all this time, those eight months are still effecting me.
In that time, I didn’t just lose momentum or motivation or progress. I didn’t just walk away having gained physical weight, I gained a mental weight too. One I still carry around with me to this day.
After those eight months, my body was never the same. Going from one extreme to the other with no kind of transition was hard on my body. At the time I didn’t see what I was doing, but looking back I have no choice but to admit…I gave in and I gave up.
January, I remember moving in on the first day of my college program with Disney. I was so excited to begin a new adventure in my life! I had just made some major physical progress and I was feeling super confident and happy! Wanna know the first thing I did after moving all my stuff in? I worked out. I set up my phone because we didn’t have wifi for our laptops yet, and I did my usual full hour workout from Blogilates! I remember thinking to myself, “This is great! No way I’m getting off track while I’m here”. Shortly after completing my workout, my roommates parents ordered us a pizza. When they asked us what toppings we wanted I actually told them I didn’t want any. I had a few healthier options that I had brought with me and I didn’t want to get thrown off track food wise on my first day there.
When the pizza arrived and I saw the other girls enjoying it, I couldn’t help myself…I gave in, telling myself one or two slices wouldn’t kill me, and went about my day. Later that night, my roomies wanted to go out to Downtown Disney to celebrate the start of our program. Of course I wasn’t going to say no. I faced the same dilemma at dinner and ended up caving once again. I told myself, oh it won’t hurt, I’m celebrating after all, and the other girls are getting whatever they want! I’m just having fun, no biggie. But the next few nights were exactly the same. Going out, eating out, and giving in.
When I began working, it became the convenient thing to do. I remember my first trip to Wendy’s after work with a friend. We were on our way home and both starving from a long day of training. I remember saying to her; “This is great! Our job is awesome and we make enough to eat out like every night! And I mean, after a long day, it’s so much better than going home and cooking!”
I shouldn’t have such vivid memories of such silly moments like these, but they became engraved in my brain because of the blame I lay on myself every day since then.
The months went by and it only got worse…I was living off of turkey sandwiches and pizza at home, vending machines at work, Mickey bars in the park, and fast food three to four nights a week. Taco Bell, McDonalds, Wendy’s, you name it. My poor body was lucky if I exercised once a week if at all. Blogilates and clean eats were slowly becoming a thing of the past.
I had fallen. HARD. But what kept me from realizing it was a glimpse of progress I could still catch here and there in the mirror if it was the morning or a good angle. If only the mirror could have shown me what was going on in the inside and what was to come the longer I continued like this.
Unaware, I was slowly building an unhealthy relationship with food.
I look at these photos and see failure. I look at them and feel regret and disappointment with myself. I feel a longing to go back and re-do it all. I wish to get back to where I had once been physically and with much frustration, wonder how I did it the first time, thinking it must be possible. If I could do it once, I can do it again!
But it’s harder this time…this time, there is a mental roadblock. Actually, it’s one mental roadblock after another, after another.
Even though I have since then lost the 15 pounds gained in that eight months, I can’t seem to lose the mental pounds I gained. Not a one.
After I came home that August, two years ago, it was hard to change my ways. Bringing that fifteen pounds home with me was a big slap in the face. I knew it wasn’t a good thing, but I was afraid that since I had been doing it for so long, it would be nearly impossible to fix it and go back to focusing on losing weight and being healthier again. I had come home just in time to start college classes again in two weeks and I would be away from home all over again.
I used that semester to get my focus back, and that’s where my story really began. I spent the next few months, depressed but determined. It was pretty dark times for me. I went through a lot of bathroom floor tear sesh nights and a lot of cardio and salad days. I was unhappy but becoming happier…I think. I was seeing progress again which was the only thing keeping me going. I poured myself into my workouts and somehow dealt with all that was going on in my head along the way.
But let’s fast forward…
Today I am staring at these two-year old pictures and they are stirring up all kinds of feelings. And after all that I just wrote, I’m finally getting to what I really wanted to write about…This is the part where I am already beginning to feel uncomfortable about continuing, but I’m going to say fuck it. Let’s do this.
Today, staring at these pictures, I have all these thoughts. Thoughts of anger, jealously, bitterness, regret, longing, anxiety. All these thoughts and one result: I’ve realized that those eight months had a bigger impact on me than I ever knew before.
I have now talked myself in circles and it comes back to this:
Even though I have since then lost the 15 pounds gained in that eight months, I can’t seem to lose the mental pounds I gained. Not a one.
Ever since I got home from that Disney College Program, my body and my mind have changed. I’m frustrated and stuck. I have goals for my body that I can’t seem to reach because those eight months destroyed the way my body reacts to food and exercise. It’s a mental fuck because it’s like I’m back in college again taking a psychology test…do you know that I tried every level of studying from legit study groups to not studying at all and I still made the exact same grade on every single test? That’s the state my body is in. I can go as hard as PIIT or not work out at all and I still get the same results.
To the best of my knowledge, I believe Cassey would call this “Metabolic Damage”.
My body went from the intake of super clean eats, to super unhealthy eats, to normal-healthy eats with little to no transition…and like I keep saying, not only did it totally mess up my body, but also my mind.
Ever since my time at Disney, I have acquired a fear for food. Now, I’m not a doctor, so I am not going to walk around calling it a phobia or an eating disorder, I am simply going to call it as I see it and as I feel it: An unhealthy relationship with food.
I associate food and going out with friends as my downfall. It’s my reason for my failure and after finally ridding myself of the pounds, I’m deathly afraid of falling back into the routine and into the trap. So I keep to myself and attempt to have control at all times. I am also all kind of mixed up and discouraged since I can’t seem to make any more progress. I get so down on myself because of it that I give up easily and often only to scare myself back into it. I feel like since I’m not getting anywhere anymore because I messed up, there is no point in trying and I’m just stuck looking the way I look and feeling the way I feel about myself. I’ll have good days and bad days and all I can do is hold onto the good days for as long as possible until the next period of bad comes along. I’m maintaining myself with the bare minimum because I’m stuck and discouraged.
Sometimes I get really mad with myself because I think, if you could only control what you eat, maybe you could finally reach your goals. If you hadn’t let go back then, maybe you could have already been where you want so badly to be. I try so hard to remember what worked for me before to try to remedy the damage that has been done by those eight months. I think to myself, okay you ate chicken and veggies or salad for every meal. Okay, you never went out with friends and didn’t eat fast food. You did a lot of cardio. You somehow did it before, now just do it again. Then it doesn’t work and the feelings of failure come rushing in again.
It affects me. It affects my relationships. It’s everywhere in my life. I feel so bad about food that I feel guilty eating nothing out of the ordinary like toast or ranch dressing. If you think it’s bad for me to feel guilty over silly foods like that, don’t even get me started on actual junk food. The suggestion of going to a see a movie with a friend becomes a night crying on the bathroom floor because I know that if I go, I’ll want to eat popcorn and candy but I can’t eat those things because they will make me gain weight. (Yes that is a real example of something that happened to me.) I feel guilty for “having no self-control” and indulging in food that isn’t so good for me here and there. I feel guilty for even eating the common every day food if it is not chicken and veggies. Because that’s the key to success. Chicken and veggies. Cardio. You somehow did it before, now just do it again.
I lost control before. So now, I must have control, and if I can’t control myself, I have failed. So every day…I’m failing.
Could you tell? Did you know any of this about me?
If you didn’t then my plan is working. I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want any of these feelings to surface. Because if they didn’t…they could stay in my head and never truly be real…but they are. They are real. They are so real.
And something tonight told me…maybe you’re not the only one.
I didn’t want to share these thoughts and feelings because I want only to encourage and inspire others. But maybe this entire time, I had it all wrong. Putting up a positive front and acting like I can handle all that life throws at me can be inspiring…but maybe what someone needs to hear today is the deep dark truth. The parts even they are too frightened to share.
I stared at these two pictures for what felt like only a moment tonight…but in that moment, I had so much to say. And after thinking all these bitter thoughts I’ve just shared with you, I also laughed a little… You know when they say, it took however long to put on the weight so why are you expecting it to take however little time to lose it? It’s one of those common phrases but so damn true every time. That’s when I laughed…8 months is how long it took, so why did I ever think it could take any less? In the past two and a half years, I know for a fact that I haven’t worked my ass off for 8 consecutive months. Maybe that’s where the answer lies. Maybe I am damaged, but maybe what it takes more of is time…not chicken and veggies. I need to reverse my method. For every time I ate fast food during the week during those eight months, I need to work out, and for every time I worked out in those eight months, I need to eat junk food. Who knows, maybe putting in as much hard work as I did laziness I could actually get somewhere.
That semester back at college was my last before I changed my life and began to pursue POP Pilates wholeheartedly. It may have fed my obsession to a certain extent, but it also somehow made me insanely happy along the way.
Gaining that fifteen pounds is actually what it took to change my entire life.
Because of it, I became so passionate about working out that I lost interest in my original plan. I became obssessed with the positivity and happiness fitness brought to my life and very unhappy with the negativity school brought to my life. If I had kept going to school for theater, I would have never found the time to dedicate to fitness and POP Pilates. I would have never made the decision to come back to Florida, which actually was one of my biggest battles. I nearly didn’t move back down in fear, because I associated Florida, the college program, and the entire process with getting off track and gaining weight like I did before. I would have never made the decision to become a POP Pilates instructor, and more than likely would have missed out on so many more opportunities I am blessed to have acquired over the past two years.
I know, I know…I ended up still finding my feel-good happy ending sort of moral to the story. I can’t help myself.
After all this has been said and done, I’m still damaged. Tomorrow, I will probably wake up feeling the same way. Frustrated, anxious, afraid…but I’m fighting back. Every day.
And even if I hate my body some days and I feel like I’ve failed myself, you know what always makes me happy?