*** Yay for the next inspiring person on my list of majorly inspiring people! Julie’s story is today. She has come so far in her journey and is totally an inspiration for me. She’s doing all sorts of active and impressive things these days. The following is in her words! Thank you, Julie!
Trusting people has been an issue for me since around the 4th grade. It was around that time I came to believe that people were hurtful and not to be trusted. This feeling was reinforced in the 12 years to come, and I began to retreat. Poor habits became a way of life. Food seemed to comfort me while eating, and torment me soon after. Food became like a pacifier to a baby. I used it to cheer up, calm my nerves, make me tired enough to sleep, or simply just refocus. And so, began my struggle with weight.
Years past, my weight crept higher. I tried to convince myself and my friends that I was not bothered by my weight. Sometimes I wasn’t, but I often felt vulnerable. My best friend was getting married and I was going to be the maid of honor. Unfortunately, the bridesmaid dresses didn’t come in “plus” size according to the boutique attendant. Of course she made the announcement in front of all the other bridesmaids, the bride and two other women in the store. My friend had that particular dress picked out months ago, so I ended up wearing a different dress than the other girls. Mine was navy cotton with a peplum jacket, purchased off the rack, in the Plus Size section, at Belk’s. The other bridesmaids’ dresses were sleeveless, in a burgundy wine satin. I convinced myself that at least I could get another wear or two out of mine. I didn’t, too many humiliating feelings attached to that dress. Eventually, it was too small.
Because the world seemed full of hurtful people, I found I preferred being around children and animals. I worked in childcare and started fostering animals at home. My time was filled with responsibilities as a mother, wife, employee, and other volunteer activities I could squeeze in. Staying super busy helping others, kept me from focusing on myself.
After many failed attempts at various diets… I just kept getting bigger in the long run. In 2006, I heard about the Lap-Band. I took out $20K loan. I lost 25 pounds on a liquid diet before surgery and another 10lbs in the two weeks after. When I introduced solid foods, I experienced terrible, unrelenting chest pain, and the sweats, until either enough time passed, or I’d finally regurgitate the food. I was supposed to feel full, not sick as a dog, right? After several unsuccessful “adjustments”, it was clear, I gave up on it. The weight I had lost, started creeping back on.
Just a year ago I found out that diabetes was in my family, so my chances of getting it just went up dramatically. I knew the ramifications. I tossed and turned that night and finally decided to search the internet for success stories of people having lost 100+ lbs and then find the ones who have kept it off and find out how. I was done with “diets” and decided to learn how and how much to eat of real food, that I liked. I taped Dr. Oz, The Doctors, Extreme Weightloss, Biggest Loser, Addicted to Food, anything I could and fast forwarded to info on weight loss. Then, BONUS, I found MFP! I had an outlet to share thoughts with others in the same boat! I started counting calories, then added exercising, and slowly, but surely… pound by pound… the weight came off. I started and finished Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred, and read her book Making the Cut”. I became more confident and started doing more activities with the kids. Before long, I was canoeing, mountain biking, kayaking and even paddle boarding! Finally, I fit comfortably into life jackets, roller coaster seats, plane seats (with the tray down!), restaurant booths, movie seats, all the things that used to cause me stress.
A friend suggested I sign up for an event, so that working out would be more like training, and help with motivation. I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon. I went to the library for training books, started and finished the C25K program, swam, biked, ran. I finished that race, and ended up coming in 8th place in my division, of about 70 women. I am now training for a 60-mile charity bike ride.
It’s not been “easy”, but it has been doable. I’ve had to convince myself I can handle stress, conflict, any problem head on, without needing to escape. I’ve refocused on how and where I spend my time. Time is much more valuable than I had realized. I’ve learned to drop my guard and let people know my weaknesses. I was amazed at how many people took time to help me along the way. Indeed, I asked for help, but they were willing! The C25K was completed with a friend who had also never run before, and we ended up taking Yoga together too. An avid biker and I just rode over 30 miles this morning. Another friend helped me with “core” exercises like twisting crunches, v-sits, glut push-ups and planks. I had no idea so many people were willing and wanting to help. I found that MFP helps me by refocusing and refueling my desire and motivation. I’ve learned a lot, changed my appearance and outlook on life dramatically. Life is good, and the best lesson I’ve learned is that “most” people really are trustworthy.
*** Whitney’s Note: Amazing, right? Isn’t she a beautiful woman? Now, who wants to go for a bike ride!? Let her know what you think in the comments! Thanks again, Julie! 😀