Battle of the Chunks: My Struggle with Weight

My Struggle with Weight

This is one of my favorite pictures because although I’m smiling, it was the most physically and emotionally intense workout of my life . That day Eric put the weight back on me to remind me I must push forward.

All my life, I’ve been the chunky gal of the pack, and for the most part, I’ve always been OK with that, because hey, I’m still cute, right? But somewhere towards the end of 2011, that cuteness had quickly become a self-destructive, out of control, big ass PROBLEM. My struggle with weight had reached an all-time high.

After a bad dating experience in which my weight was crudely called out during a fight (don’t fight dirty, folks), something in me just suddenly awoke. Here I was, an educated, independent, successful, kind-hearted young woman, but my weight was allowing others to think it was OK to talk to me a certain way. It was making others believe I somehow deserved less respect, or had less for myself; that I must be pretty weak. I knew the depths of strength I had seen in myself, and I simply could not stand for it any longer. My struggle with weight had to be dealt with.

So I stepped on that scale I had been avoiding most of that year, mostly because I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty, and there it was, 248. Those numbers burned into my eyes like tar to a roof. For several days after that, I literally had nightmares with those three, seemingly innocent little digits. Having struggled with weight (although never to this extent) all my life, I wasn’t sure what I would do, but I knew I had to do something.

The next week, I dragged my reluctant, self-conscious butt to the gym, and asked to hire a personal trainer using a fitness benefit I had at the time. I wouldn’t even have to pay for it myself for the first 9 weeks or so, so what was my excuse? I had none. That is the day I met my now dear friend Eric-Todd Rushing. I didn’t know it then, but he’d be the one to save me from myself, and make me as strong on the outside as I knew I was on the inside. I’ll never forget our initial meeting in which he oh-so-confidently said to me, “I’m going to change your life.”

And he did. Over the next four or five months, I logged my foods every day and counted my calories. First 1,800 a day, then down to 1,500 and finally down to 1,200. I did an hour of cardio four days a week, and trained with Eric once a week. Our training session included a weekly weigh-in, and the weight was just melting off. I lost 50 pounds in about four months or so just by working out and counting calories – no pills or crazy gimmicks. Whenever I ran into an obstacle or it got too hard, Eric was there to motivate me back into action. And I never, ever felt better, stronger, more beautiful or more untouchable. Eric had become my hero, my counselor, my mentor, my friend and just the light I needed to make a real change. He had turned my struggle with weight into a triumph.

It was one of the best times of my life. I had finally conquered a life-long struggle with weight, but what I didn’t know then is that the fight had just begun. And it wasn’t just about looking better, but about fighting the emotional demons tied to my weight issues along the way, and breaking down many of those walls.

That’s the thing about losing all that weight. It requires being pretty overwhelmingly perfect, and no human being can really hold that up for too long without taking a break. The issue is I took too much of a break and really starting falling back into some old, devilish little patterns. I gained a pound here and there, and I thought no big deal, I’d still kept the majority of the weight off. Then about three weeks ago I went to the doctor for a totally unrelated visit, and of course they are always waiting for ya with that sneaky little bastard of a scale. Up I went, and so went the tears in my eyes. I was now the not-so-proud owner of 20 of my old, stubborn pounds.

At that moment, I was completely disappointed in myself. I had worked so incredibly hard, and did things I never thought I could with my exercise and food intake routine to lose those 50 pounds, and now I had taken a huge step back. So for the first time in a long time, I quickly and truly got myself together, and began logging my food and calories again; not estimating, not assuming, actually counting. Here we are about three weeks later, and I’ve already lost 10 pounds. Last week I got a little sick, so I got behind, but I’m right back on track. I feel so much better already, and after not losing a pound for more than a year (but gaining many if you recall), I found a way to get back on my game because I never gave up hope that I would, and somewhere deep down inside I had remained that different person Eric had helped me become. I never completely gave up on myself, and I would never let my weight spiral so out of control again.

My struggle with weight is a battle I will unfortunately have to fight for the rest of my life. I am just not one of those people that can slack on diet and exercise for a while, and not pick up pounds faster than you can say, “pick up pounds.” Often, it is our toughest and most daunting battles that we give up on the fastest. We fail and so we feel like there is no point in trying again. But there is a point, a big point. Fail 20 times. So what? If you get up and try again, you haven’t really failed, because you haven’t really given up yet. You really only lose when you’ve given up for good.

So whatever your toughest challenges might be, whether with your body, your heart, your goals, or anything else that weighs on your mind, just keep pushing, trying, fighting. From time to time you will get tired, and that’s OK. But you must never give up on yourself completely. Always remember that each new day is truly a chance to turn it all around, and failure is just really the universe’s way of teaching you something valuable. 

Right now I feel re-energized to work towards a healthier, happier and stronger me, because I know I owe that to myself. What life battle will you be re-energized to keep fighting today?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Mean People Suck: Don’t Let ‘Em Break You

Mean People SuckFor the last few days, I’ve been working on a blog post on a completely different topic, but that’s the thing about sharing motivational morsels; it always works best to attack the issues of the day. That’s why I’d like to have a quick chat (albeit a one-way one until someone chooses to comment), on the importance of working together and not against each other, and not allowing MEAN to break you. Quite simply, mean people suck, and I just won’t have it!

I see it all the time in the ol’ day-to-day action. People are so quick to point fingers and find someone to blame when a situation gets sticky, but I always urge myself to focus on results and solutions. I also stress the importance of communicating positively and fairly, regardless of how tough the cookie you have to serve might be. Regardless of the situation, always try to work together towards results, rather than against each other towards conflict. Mean people suck! Don’t be one.

Now I know it’s hard to hold on to your cool sometimes when people fling attitudes and snotty, little pointy fingers at you, but it is definitely something you should always woosah yourself through. Letting negativity or conflict bring you down to its level, what I’m referring to as the MEAN, only worsens the situation and spreads more negativity. Standing your NICE ground, on the other hand, usually helps to soften the situation, and well, quite honestly it gives folks, even the mean ones, a little more hope in humanity. And we could all use a little bit more of that, I think. Focus my friends. Mean people suck. Always choose to be nice instead!

And never let the MEAN break you, make you bitter, or dull your shine – mean people suck, but you don’t have to. At the end of the day, when I’ve walked away and calmed down from my own verge of breaking my NICE, I feel like I always win, have better relationships, garner more respect from others, and just feel healthier. Giving into the MEAN might temporarily feel like a victory, but in the end it is that MEAN that would have won once you gave into it and it’s evil little ways. Mean people suck, but I simply won’t let them change me.

So stay cool, be nice, spread kindness, let the mean-sicles be mean, and keep your heart and spirit healthy with all the NICE you can possibly muster. Because like my pal Gandhi once said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” and, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”

One more time just for good measure, shall we? Mean people suck!

Happy Tuesday!

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Life Lessons Over Vodka: My Lowest Point

Vodka Lessons: My Lowest Point

Last week I met up for dinner with an old friend I hadn’t seen in probably over five years, and in true Sonia style, I found great connection in our conversation. I also walked away with a little learnin’, reassurance, and an invigorated sense of my HAPPY. Today, I’d like to pay that encounter forward, and share a little motivation lovin’ with you on this manic Monday morning. 

One of the first things that really hit me during that conversation over drinks and pizza, was a sudden, jubilated, “You just look happy!” Every single time I hear that statement, I’m taken aback for a second, especially when it comes from someone who knew me in my not-so-Positive-Patty days. It reminds me how far I’ve come in my journey through depression, anxiety and insecurity, and reinvigorates my passion to help other not-so-happy folks hear that same statement from an old friend some day. It should also be a lesson that it is very possible, that things do get better if you put a little effort into this life business, and that your lowest points are simply lessons that make the high points that much more delicious.

And speaking of your lowest points, my dinner buddy reminded me of a very important little morsel of wisdom that has proved crucial to staying on the right track to positivity and smiles. I can’t remember the exact quote or who he mentioned it came from, but I think the general gist will do you a great deal of good.

The basic concept is to always remember your lowest point; that point where you really felt like you could not go on, like things were just never going to get better, like the world was in a race to get you, and get you good. Then remember, the next day, the next month or even the next year, when you felt better, when things started to turn around a little, and when you survived. If you got through that, you can get through anything. So when you’re feeling a little low, lost or just overwhelmingly confused, remember that time you got through it, and remind yourself that you will undoubtedly do it again. That’s the thing about life. It always goes on, and so do you; happier stronger and wiser every time.

I remember my lowest point, always, and I keep it close to my heart even on my best days. I remember sitting on my bed in my pool house, efficiency apartment in Miami, rocking back and forth, feeling like a total lunatic, holding my rosary tightly, crying, saying over and over again in a muffled whisper, “I can’t do this anymore. Please help me.”

Dang, that was almost hard to write, and sure brought the old knot to the throat pretty fast, but hey, it’s important. If I got through that – truly my lowest point – to a place where people can actually just look at me and see my HAPPY radiating from my face, then I can make it through anything. And, so can you! If my lowest point can fuel me, it can do the same for you.

I hope that helps with whatever you might be dealing with today. And remember, just keep swimming, smiling and shining! I do, because the great thing about my lowest point, is there’s only one way to go from there – UP! 

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie