Friday, June 17, 2011

Been There, Done That . . . You Can, Too!

Bleh, I hope I can get through this without so much water works today! The day started off AH-mazing yesterday!!!! I decided to start off my 2 year transformation anniversary (2YTA) with a nice 3 mile run. In all honesty, I did not really want to go run, my quads were still screaming at me about the run/bike/run training I had done the day before. Since I had a full body circuit planned with a friend for later in the day I was going to ditch the run. But, another friend was having a bleh kinda morning and didn't want to get her workout in either but challenged herself to 'Suck it Up Buttercup' and she got a great workout in! This energized me! If she can suck it up, this buttercup can too! So, out the door I went!

Later in the day a friend was talking about doing a vision board to help her stay on track. I used to do vision boards or at least put a picture on the fridge of a dress or swimsuit I wanted to look good in. I haven't felt the 'need' for one in a looooong time. I have a vision board in my head and in my mirror every morning. But then I thought I do still have goals, things that I am working on, places I want to go, things I want to learn. Maybe a vision board would help me feel more focused in those areas. So, I pulled out the pile of magazines that were designated to donate or otherwise share with others. I hate to throw away good health magazines and some I just will not get rid of, I think of them as resource materials. While I am working on this board I am feeling so focused. I find yoga poses and routines I want to do, recipes I want to try, exercises I want to incorporate into my schedule, and a couple celebrities whose character and presence are ones that I would want more of in my life (kindness, warmth, sincerity, generosity, humor). Then I think I SHOULD find a body type that I want to work to be more like . . . why? . . . because that is what I have always done in the past. I'm supposed to want arms like this person, abs like that one, legs like so and so. And I realize for the first time in my life, I have the body I want. I don't want it to be more like someone elses. It is mine, it is strong, it is healthy, it is lean(er). I have a close and loving relationship with this body, why would I want it to be something it is not?

This came as quite a shock to me that for the first time in my life, I like my body. I am not delusional, I know all it's flaws, I was there in the creation of those flaws. In the relationship with my body I have been the abuser, the one that took it for granite, underestimated it's abilities, stopped loving it, believing in it. I abandoned my body and left it to fend for itself and then blamed it for failing me and not giving me what I wanted. Why couldn't it be lean like so and so's? Why couldn't it be strong like hers? Dress up once in a while! Look pretty! Act nice! Why or why must you make me look frumpy and lazy all the time after all that I do for you?!!! Give me something and maybe I will take better care of you, if you deserve it. Such a dysfunctional and hurtful relationship I have had with my body. So to have this moment yesterday when I realized we are actually both in the same place right now, we are in sync. My body and I are in agreement that we have it pretty good and want to live life to it's fullest, happy, whole and in love with life. My cup runneth over and splashes all around in huge puddles at my feet.

In this full of life moment, I started pulling out pictures to chronicle the people that have come into my life over the past two years. Some are people who have been in my life for years, like my parents and closest friends. Others I met because of this weight loss/health journey. I will share the pics and tell you the thoughts I was thinking as I found them.

This is my family, my brother, mother and father. I love these people. They have seen me at my worst and if they were truly honest they would say they gave up on me long ago, well maybe not my brother. I believe my brother knew I was stronger than I was giving myself credit for. Once I stepped out and started he was a great source of support and encouragement. In this picture I was actually VERY happy and hopeful because I had lost 10 - 12 lbs. and felt momentum building.

Me with my BFF Kim! We have been friends since we were in the sixth grade and I can honestly say I love her more with every year that passes, even though we are miles apart for the first time (I moved to Indiana 5 years ago). Kim is the one person in my life who has never treated me any more or less important no matter what my size. She is like a sister to me. At 267# or 151#, our friendship has remained the same. The only difference is now we can borrow clothes from each other!

Another BFF, Pami! She keeps me from taking myself so seriously! She always makes me laugh and see the lighter side of life. I don't think she has a judgmental bone in her body. Just like you can never have too much cowbell, I can never have too much Pami in my life. I need more to keep me sane!

Christine and I actually went to the same high school, but just recently became friends through facebook and our mutual friendship with Pami! Christine I must say has been my number one encourager and instigator! She challenges me (dares me) to go big or go home! Funny thing is, she doesn't exercise, but always challenges me to do things like run a marathon! The big guy in the middle, Chuck, he has been this warm protective presence in my life since high school. I can always count on Chuck to be honest with me, sometimes brutally honest. He does not let me get away with destructive behaviors without calling me on them. Everyone needs a friend like him.

There was still so much going on in my head that my husband could not understand or relate to at this time. My heart was so hurt, so isolated, so afraid of being vulnerable enough to let anyone in.

My first half marathon! I met up with a couple Sparkers for dinner at iHop the night before the race!!!!! Laura and Tiffany continue to be sources of encouragement, inspiration and support! I love having an online connection with them and to have met them in person gives the relationship even more meaning.

I should have put this gal first! Carie (HOTLIKEHUBBY) was the first person to get me involved in running again. I had just started jogging a little while I was out on my walks. I had just down loaded the Coach to 5k program to start trying to run a little and she says "Hey Carolyn, you wanna train with a group of gals for a half marathon?" Yea right. Long story short (because I have told it before) she planted a seed that took root! I did train for and run that half marathon. Later that same year (2010) Carie says "Would you ever consider a full marathon?". Craziness!!! But, we did it!!! She and I crossed the line later that year and become 'marathoners'.

I have had the pleasure of working with three different student personal trainers at the university. Each was just what I needed for the level of fitness I had at that time and were uniquely gifted to help train me for the race event I was working towards. This young man, Ryan, helped me take my 'game' to the next level. A level that I didn't even know existed. He made me feel like an athlete and that if I trained well, I could do anything. I do not have enough words to speak all the kindness I feel for this young man.

This isn't the picture from the first time that I met up with Amy, this is the most recent picture from March 2011. Amy is like a little sister to me. I want nothing but the best for her and she expects nothing but my best from me. I could make a list of all the things she does for me (music, photos, reminder of calendar events, etc), but that wouldn't encompass all of her strengths or abilities. I am looking forward to meeting up with her again in the next week or two when I am in Virginia . . . look out world! Here we come again!

Angie! This girl is like a sugar plum. She will love on you and make you feel like the sun shines only for you. I cannot help but smile when I think of her. I don't think she has known a cloudy day! (actually, I know she has seen some pretty dark days, but you would never know it). Cheerleader, go getter, rah, rah, rah!!! She cheered me on, bragged about me and 'showed me off' to her friends numerous times. Then she became her own weight loss success story! I am so excited for her and she will be joining me in our first ever duathlon this fall!!!!!!!!!!!! Roommates and teammates!!!! We need matching jerseys! Pink! With skulls!

Tosca Reno, March 2011. Larger than life. What do you say to or about the woman who gave you the tools to change your life. There are no words to put here. Thank you, Tosca. You are beautiful and I love you.

My truly favorite buttercup. I met Allison at the Arnold when I met Tosca. To me, Allison is a celebrity success story in and of herself. Reading Allison's story and following her blogs on the Eat Clean Diet website, made me believe I could do it. She is beautiful inside and out and continues to be a source of information, encouragement, support, motivation and inspiration to be a better person. She walks the walk and makes me want the same for my life.

This is Carolyn, the instructor at Sumits Yoga in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She was the instructor of my first, second and third hot yoga experience. She is simply amazing. I feel in love with her on day . . . two, lol! Day one was a little rough, but I knew I would be back! We had the most amazing conversations and I loved the energy she brought to the class whether she was instructing that day or there as a student.

I was so high and euphoric feeling going through all these pictures, people, places, feelings, memories and then I opened a file of pictures labeled garden. Mostly pictures of my flower, herb and vegetable gardens and fruit trees. But in that file was this picture:

And despite the smile that is on my face in the picture. I know the pain that was in my heart. I know how isolated, depressed and hurt I felt. I know she needed a hug and to be told that everything was going to be okay. I know she needed a hand to hold and someone to believe in her . . . because she had given up and no longer had any hope. This is a dying woman, dying from the inside out, begging to be rescued, sad that no one sees, hears or seems to care. This picture and those thoughts brought me to my knees. I cried and cried and cried. And am crying now. No one should ever feel that alone or afraid.

I couldn't shake the sadness I felt. I didn't feel like binging, or quitting or curling into a ball. Just this sadness that I can't explain and maybe a little fear. Then a couple online buddies (whose pictures I don't have) reminded me that had I not been THERE, I would not be enjoying the HERE so much. And that HER story brings hope and purpose to MY journey.

The difference 6 months can make

The difference you can make in 12 months

If I can, you can. There is hope, if you only believe, step out of the shadows, you are never alone. I have been there, done that and I know you can too!


  1. Great BLOG - awesome journey - and it's only in progress - never over !

  2. I wanna give that woman in the picture a hug too... I am overjoyed that you found yourself, your self-confidence and love for yourself, and you found some direction in life.
    Thanks so much for posting these photos and giving us some more insight into the shining star that is Carolyn.

  3. What an amazing journey, Carolyn. Thank you so much for sharing. I am just beginning my journey and can so relate to your "before" expereiences, emotions, etc. It's comforting to know that I am not alone -- that others have felt the way I do, but more importantly, that they have come out the other side stronger. I look forward to connecting with you through Allison's group.