Tuesday, May 13, 2014

15 ways life is better now...

Yep, I know the poster and the title are different. Isn't that cool?

Just in case you can't read the poster, here's what it says (with some explanation):

1. Buh-Bye "Big Girl" stores! (I can wear smaller clothes!) 

If you're like me, you've had plenty of days consumed with walking into a store that you had to drive forever to get to because it's the only one that carries your size...only to look around and think "These clothes are all so...gross."

Fat people clothes aren't designed to be pretty. They're getting there, but they aren't there yet. If you have a bolder, flashier style in general it's easier. But for someone who tends to be a little more on the formal/conservative side it's difficult to say the least. not to mention WAY expensive.

2. My confidence is through the roof! 

This is a big one for me, since I've struggled with an almost complete lack of confidence (which I tried to make up for with bravado and attitude) since I was a kid. To finally be able to look in the mirror and believe that I look good, that's huge!

3. Small, daily tasks - like getting out of the car or standing to wash dishes - are easier and don't hurt anymore. 

I didn't even realize how much pain I was in, how much I was struggling against the weight of my body all the time. I've gotten rid of 65 pounds (six big bags of potatoes and one small one!) Because of that I've been able to pop out of the car without a problem, or stand up for half an hour to hand wash my pots without having to sit down for the rest of the day with an ice pack.

4. I sleep better at night
5. I have more energy all day

These two really go together! Since I'm not tossing and turning all night long, struggling to get comfortable and not crush myself under my own weight, I actually need less sleep and I keep my energy from sleep way easier! It's so much easier to wake up in the morning, to want to get out of bed and start the coffee brewing, to do the things that we all should be able to do with ease!

6. I'm more comfortable with myself.

65 pounds ago, I used to try to take up as little space as possible. (I failed.) I would sit with my back as straight as possible whenever I was around other people, I would tense all of my muscles in an attempt to scrunch my body up and be smaller. It made being around people...exhausting.

Now, I don't worry about it. I don't worry about whether I'm taking up too much space, I just wait for someone to tell me to get out of the way. I'm comfortable lounging around at friends houses, or sitting in a position that's actually comfortable at a coffee shop. Even if I look a little silly, I'm more comfortable in my own skin than I have been since I started gaining weight in the 4th grade.

7. I'm less likely to feel overwhelmed.

The science and psychology behind this one is fascinating, but I won't get into it. The simple version is that without that 65 pounds, I feel less tired. Motion in general is less frustrating and exhausting, which makes life less frustrating and exhausting.

8. I receive compliments on how great I look, everywhere I go.

This one really ties into my confidence level and how I've been able to become more comfortable with myself. It's hard not to feel good about yourself when everyone around you is saying you look amazing!

9. I'm not always more focused on food than everything else.

I used to always be searching for the next source to curb my hunger or my cravings. It would get so bad, I'd spend entire conversations just thinking about what I was going to eat for lunch even if I had just finished breakfast! Now, I can sometimes forget that it's time to eat at all until my stomach reminds me.

10. I'm excited when I think about the future, instead of scared or depressed. 

This is another huge one for me. I used to look ahead and, because of my weight, most of what I could see was the health problems I'd have to deal with or the things I wouldn't be able to do because I was too heavy. Now I know that I can be happy and healthy in the future, and that makes all the things that were already exciting that much better!

11. How much fun I have doesn't depend on how much food I eat. 

In a conversation with an old friend, I was absolutely mortified when the topic of birthday parties came up. Not because birthday parties are particularly embarrassing, but because at one of hers I ate half a sheet cake myself. I had no idea how to handle new situations, meeting new people, or really anything that wasn't exactly as everything had always been. Even little changes would threaten to upset my emotional balance. But life is constant change. To cope, I learned to hover closely to the available food. Food was fun! It was good, it made me happy, and I never had to feel bad about not knowing what to do.

Now, I can go through a whole party without even thinking about the buffet line - and when I get home I still feel like I had a blast!

12. I've developed healthy ways to handle stress, instead of just stuffing my face. 

Remember how I said that change made me upset? Well, that was true of just about all stress. Anything that didn't go according to plan, anything that was difficult emotionally, even just the normal stress of everyday things like being stuck in traffic or having dishes waiting in the sink at home would bother me. To keep on top of the anxiety these things caused, I ate. In fact I ate every emotion, from happy to sad to guilty to bored.

It became so much of a habit that I didn't know how to handle anything without food. Not even being happy! I'd been using food to generate false happiness for so long that I couldn't identify or process the real thing.

Now, I don't need food to feel better! And even better...

13.  I'm less stressed!

Once again, there's a bunch of science and psychology stuff that I won't go into here. But it's really cool!

14. No more concerned looks from my doctor!

At 22, I shouldn't be seeing my doctor frown so deeply when she looks at my chart. Yet there I was with her frowning - no, scowling! - at my blood pressure. Now, I don't have to worry about what bad news she's not telling me yet. I know I'm getting healthier, and she knows it too!

15. I feel like I really am capable of anything!!

Have you ever had that internal eye-roll feeling when someone says you can do anything you put your mind to? I have. When you don't feel like you can even master your own cravings it's hard to feel like you can write a novel, run a business, be a good mom, or really do anything right in life! Now that I've finally got myself on the path to better health and I'm seeing real, tangible improvement, I feel like I can take on anything I can find!

So that's what improved health has done for me so far...what will it do for you?

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