December 5th. That was the morning I woke up, looked in the mirror, and asked myself, “Who are you? And why have you allowed yourself to get so heavy?”
Yes, I have asked myself that question before. I have struggled with my weight for the past 8 years. But it was finally the wake up call I needed to help me say “No!” to all my poor choices of my past.
Cancer screwed with my metabolism. Chemotherapy, being sedentary for a year on a couch, and steroids caused my metabolism to plummet. My body has never quite been the same. But reality is that I’ve been in remission long enough to not be able to use that as excuse any longer.
The fact is I could eat this stuff for the rest of my life and cancer or no cancer, it will cause me to gain weight. No questions.
“Is being healthy truly important to me or is it just what I know I should say?”
“Do I find myself attractive? Do I walk with the same confidence I had in my personal image when I met Jeff?”
“Do I feel the same energy levels as I did when I didn’t have 57 pounds of extra weight on me?”
I live in a world that is discriminating towards people who are overweight, especially women. Anyone who argues with this fact hasn’t been overweight. I went to a class where I saw this first hand. The thin healthy girls were chosen as the examples in every case and used as models for the portraits. It was possibly the most degrading I’ve ever felt as an adult. The same 5 girls were used over and over. It was blatantly obvious and brought up by several participants later in the hotel lobby. I acted as if I didn’t agree with them or notice, but I knew it. I tried to use my normal optimistic, “Oh girls. I think it’s just been a long day and we will all feel better in the morning.”
Hogwash. I knew it was hogwash as it was coming out of my mouth. You see I used to be the skinny, healthy athlete that was always chosen. I can not tell you how much it crushed a part of me. Even typing this is hard because I am having to face the fact that I’m not that healthy person I once was.
When I gained weight, the last thing I wanted to do was buy fashionable clothes. It was the mentality, “I’ll buy cute clothes when I lose weight.” My wardrobe consists of clothes used to hide my weight. But all it does in reality is make me feel worse. What am I hiding? I’m just accentuating it by dressing in a potato sack.
If I don’t get my body fat down, there is a high likelihood that I’m going to get a recurrence of cancer or another disease. I’m a nurse. I know the sobering facts. And Jeff and my children don’t deserve that. Heck, neither do I. I’m finally at a place in my life where things are starting to happen in my life and with this blog. The last thing I want to do is fight for my life instead of living it to the fullest as I’m starting to taste right now.
So on December 5th I stepped on the scale and I was 187. I feel like I need to be as honest and vulnerable as possible. Typing that weight itself just made my eyes well with tears. That’s painful for me to admit. I’m not putting down anyone that is heavier than me.
This morning I am 169 pounds. I’ve lost 18 pounds in roughly nearly 6 weeks. It’s no rocket science what I’m doing. Eating right, eating more of what is good (protein and vegetables), eating less of what is bad, and moving more. No hidden secrets. I have 39 pounds to go towards my goal. At 130 – 135 pounds, I’m typically a body fat percentage of 18-20%. It is that body fat percentage, not the weight, that I need achieve and maintain to keep cancer at bay. I ask for you to pray and send good thoughts. I must get there.
I received an email yesterday that shook me to the core. I don’t know if it was the sender’s intention. I’m going to say no, because I want to believe the best in people. I did respond in love because all I can do is control my actions and the words that come out of my mouth (or blog). That is what I am responsible for.
Essentially the sender was thanking me for wonderful stories, my cupcake series, and tutorials but pointed out that my blog would be more powerful if my personal image improved so that I could “put cute self portraits of myself in trendy clothes” in my posts daily. She said it could get me to the next level.
I was having a great day. Getting lovely comments about my polaroid tutorial and had just responded to a second email from a person going through cancer treatment. I was feeling like I was making a difference. Then I received this email and I ALLOWED it to sink me into despair. That sadness effected the rest of my day and my family.
All the goodness that was flowing in was immediately sidelined by one email. I read these 2 posts from Karen and Hayley last night before going to bed and they put me in a better frame of mind. After a good night’s sleep I am in a different place.
So here is my response:
Dear Anonymous Reader,
I received your letter yesterday and at first it hit me like a ton of bricks. I believe you had honorable intentions and I thank you for your compliments about my blog. I too wish I had cute self portraits and wore trendy clothes. But alas, that is not me at this time. My cuteness is just surrounded by a little too much fluff right now.
I started this blog because of a wake up call to live life to the fullest. I didn’t want to see another moment pass me by where I wasn’t living intentionally to achieve my ultimate goal and passion of completing items off my life list.
If I accomplish all of that and have only 5 readers at the end of this journey, THAT will be the ultimate level that I choose to strive for. If more than 5 readers want to join along and feel inspired, then great. But if I don’t achieve my goals on my life list and have 50,000 readers at the end of this journey, I will have failed. I will have failed myself. And I will have failed you.
You see, I might be fluffy but I can assure you I am authentic and I speak from the most vulnerable place right now. A place of pure painful honesty. Thank you for reminding me why I am writing this blog, living this journey, and why I must get healthy. I just think our definitions of making it to the next level are a little different.
Blessings sweet reader – Jenny
I promise updates to follow. My goal is health and a low body fat percentage. I struggle like you to find that balance. But if I can help encourage any of you or you have any suggestions, I welcome them. I treasure your comments and try to respond to all of them. Even the ones that sting a little.
Please be gentle in your comments to all involved. I’m just genuinely speaking from my heart. I am by nature not a critical person.
Have a lovely weekend sweet friends – Jenny