Well, I’m back.
The last time I posted, I was just about to embark on a January Whole30 – my third. I was bright-eyed and bushytailed, as always, to begin. I had even started an entire Facebook group, and had a good chunk of people who were joining me to fight the good 30-day fight. By the end of it, sure, I had had some results, but I was by no means setting the world on fire, and it was easily the least successful Whole30 I’ve ever done. Throughout the entire thing, I was counting down the days until I was done, and come Day 31, I was already well on my way to being right back to my old habits.
Oh, and did I mention that my gym also held a Nutrition Challenge at the same time? One would think that I would’ve took that, added in the Whole30 and took things to a whole new level. One would be wrong.
While the above is really just an exemplification of several failures I’ve had through the years. The ups and downs of my weight, my focus, my commitment to my health have all been such an entwined part of my life for what feels like all of my years on Earth.
I created YOLO on a Yoyo almost a year ago, at the start of yet another one of these phases of my life. I wanted it to be a point of accountability for me as much as it was meant to be encouraging and supportive of those who strive to find the balance of health and wellness or those who may have been experiencing the same struggles as me. But my hear-me-roar was quickly silenced. I wasn’t providing that. I stopped posting, because I no longer had a story to tell that I was proud of. People only want to hear how much you’re struggling for so long before they just stop listening or having any sort of compassion. And at some point, you gotta start realizing that the problem is you.
And it took me nine months after my first post. A post where, surprise, I’m talking about the struggles of years past, my mindset that brought me to start the blog, the changes that are about to come. Though much of the content is not so different than you’re reading now, the outcome is vastly different.
Within the previous nine months, there was actually a bit of time that I had convinced myself that I was doing everything right. I was eating *mostly* Paleo or at least Gluten Free (hello, gluten-free pizza!). I was working out *most* days. My Instagram looked like I had it all under control with my strategically-posted pics. But the book was very unlike its cover.
Sadly, I still did very little to alter my lifestyle. The yoyo of watching my weight ebb and flow, but mostly flow started to really get to me. I started to really dislike myself. I felt my confidence slipping. I felt myself moving slower and slower, getting more and more lethargic and less and less motivated. Even as I type this, I’m envisioning a giant blob (dramatic, but true) in my head. And I started falling back into a lot of the feelings I talk about in my first post – not wanting to do anything, dreading having to get ready to go somewhere, being so miserable and so uncomfortable that I was often taking it out on others. Then one day, motivation came from a not-so-expected source.
I’m not exactly sure why it was this particular day that finally made the difference. As I continued to grow larger and larger, I had several occasions where I have been made to feel uncomfortable or have just flat out felt uncomfortable about my weight and size…. Trying to squeeze into the back seat of an Uber with two others and knowing you probably should’ve been the one to sit up front. Comments from friends and family, that although they weren’t probably trying to be hurtful, were. Going to a spa and having to ask for a larger robe. Slowly creeping into plus sizes (I’m literally getting full-on body chills as I’m typing this). Having a full wardrobe of stretchy and baggy cotton.
But one day in April, while outside walking my dogs, I witnessed a man who had decided to let his dog poop and chose not to scoop. As this is a huge pet peeve of mine (and also illegal, but I digress), I shouted over to him “Are you going to pick that up?”. He was of course aggravated that I had called him out, and after a bit of an exchange, he said to me, “You’re just mad, because you’re fat and miserable.” The word “fat” hung on me as I went back inside and cried. Yes, it was a dick thing to say, but what struck me so hard was that this was also a clear representation of how I was presenting myself. And I think that’s what it was. The fact that I received verbal confirmation with an unprovoked, unsolicited, unbiased opinion from a complete stranger of what I had become.
As much as I hate to give this asshole credit, sadly, this was the kick I needed to make a real change in my life. Well, sort of. Instead of taking this wake-up call and taking a good honest look and being realistic about the way I was living my life, I looked for something to blame. It must be my hormones… if not that, then definitely thyroid. Maybe both. And off I went to the Endocrinologist to be poked and prodded.
Then the results were in. And I was somehow EXCITED for them. Excited because I had myself convinced that I had some sort of disease or disorder that would lead me to a pill that would solve all of my problems. How sad that I felt disease was a better alternative than the commitment to a healthier lifestyle? But, it wasn’t what I had hoped and expected to see. Nothing “wrong” with me. Everything came back perfectly fine and in some cases even great.
After having a pity party with myself and crying for what seemed like hours, I took a harder reset than I ever had before. I begrudgingly downloaded a calorie-counting app and saw the reality of what I was putting into my body vs. how many calories I was supposed to be ingesting in a day to achieve any sort of goal. I started making workouts a priority. I started truly being Paleo, planning out my meals and never putting myself in a position where I didn’t know what I was going to have available to me to eat.
Over the past four months this has meant lots of things: watching friends eat pizza at a bachelorette party while I ate salad, foregoing s’mores at my SIL’s lake house on several weekends, turning down birthday cake from one of the best bakeries in Dallas, excusing myself from my sales team’s breakfast club, planning special meals or getting a hotel room with a kitchenette when traveling for work, and pulling myself out of bed to work out or fitting in workouts no matter what the day.
And then came the results. When I finally pushed away from all of the excuses I could muster up… and trust me, I have them all… there they were. And no, it wasn’t immediate. It was baby steps. And it still is! My husband constantly reminds me that it’s a marathon not a sprint, but dammit it goes on so much faster than it comes off!
Nonetheless, the wins are there. Some are smaller, like making it through a wedding weekend in California and keeping your eye on the prize. Big ones, like losing almost 40 (!!!) lbs. And just the good celebrations, like doing your first CrossFit competition with your husband. It’s also not so bad to be able to enjoy clothes for the first time in forever. I have missed being able to show off any sort of style so much!
One of the reasons I feel that I am successful this time around, is because I have created a lifestyle. I haven’t put myself on a diet, I’ve truly found a new, healthier way to live my life. For the rest of my life. I’ve done three Whole30’s and always felt that they were going to propel me into being some sort of weight-loss wonder. But the truth of the matter is, if you’re not willing to truly adopt those habits and principles that Whole30 stands by, you will ultimately fall back into the groove of your pre-Whole30 days and cursing the fact that it doesn’t work.
Then there is the mental part of it. I turned “I can’t have (insert deliciousness)” to “I don’t need to have (insert deliciousness)”. Switching my mindset to understand the long-term impact of putting good and nutritious things into my body highly outweigh the short-term gratification of said deliciousness.
And then there is my freaking amazing support system:
- My friends, family, and work family, who, although they would be concerned, I’m 1000% positive would still love me even if I weighed 500 lbs. They consistently support me by doing things like picking Amy-friendly restaurants, confirming what I can and can’t eat, celebrating my small wins with me, noticing when I’m wearing something new, noticing and acknowledging my changes, taking time to send small notes of encouragement and love, and even coming to my CrossFit competition (even if it was only the scaled division – but, hey, we got 3rd!) or cheering me on from a far.
- My amazing gym, CrossFit Deep and its coaches and members, who hold you accountable for your performance and your attendance with an ability to make you feel guilty without ever saying a word. This place has molded me both mentally and physically, and it carries over outside of their walls into my personal and professional lives and relationships. I’m continually being driven to be stronger, more focused, more confident… just a better me.
- And my husband. Forgive me while I start blubbering all over myself. This man of mine has never once wavered on telling me how beautiful he thinks I am, even when I was feeling anything but and not loving myself very much. He has not only embraced my lifestyle, but he has adopted it and pushes through it with me. He is constantly finding new recipes, cooking me delicious meals, dragging my ass to the gym, giving my spirits up, but giving me tough love when I need it, and just plain old loving the shit out of me. I wouldn’t have made any bit of the progress I’ve made without all of these people, but especially him. He is my everything.
The best part of all of this is, for the first time in my life, I feel true freedom from food and exercise. Not every day, but for the most part I feel rewarded by the food I put in my mouth and the exercise that I give to my body. It’s no longer a burden, because I have made it my lifestyle. Finding true balance for the first time in my entire life. Am I perfect? Hell to the no, but I’m so focused, it feels as though nothing is ever going to get in my way again.
I have only scratched the surface to where I ultimately want to be, but it feels so good to have true progress and results and to be in this positive headspace and continuing to check off my goals and make bigger ones. It’s one day at a time, walking those baby steps, celebrating your wins no matter how big or small, and recovering from your failures.
You only live once right? Why not spend it being your best self?