Anniversary Post

So, this was originally supposed to be posted on May 13th. Except, I was in Ohio, and Blogger was experiencing their own apocalypse. On ward, and upward, I always say!

(my official before picture)

Starting weight: 323.3
Todays weight: 292.3
Total lost in one year: 30 lbs

How I feel about that:

Awesome. I have maintained a weight loss of 30 for nearly a year. The last time I lost weight, I was 16, and I was starving myself. It hurt, and I scared me. But now, I have a lot going on for myself this year.

I was so hung over in this picture…

Originally, I was going to make this a long drawn out post, detailing all the cool stuff I’ve accomplished in the last year, all the heart ache I suffered but survived through, and a list of goals set for the future, but most of that is covered in my “about me” tab, and as for goals this year? I just want to keep moving forward.

To those that read my ramblings and constant “I” statements, I appreciate it, I love your comments and I am so glad I’ve chosen to share my journey with you. Reading your blogs and tweetchats has been a great inspiration to me, and I love you all. Thank you for sharing in this with me.

MS Walk 2011

I once met a woman with MS. Her mother was my college!sister’s Godmother. During thanksgiving, we went to visit her at the hospice center where she lived. She was completely immobile, her hands looked like arthritis had played a dirty dirty trick, and her eyes wandered about the room, constantly looking for something new.

I don’t remember her name. I do remember feeling terrified. Multiple Sclerosis is a relatively terrifying disease, with many stages, symptoms, onsets, and no cure.

On Friday afternoon, I got a text from my friend, asking me if I was going to be attending this 4 mile walk, to which I responded, “There’s a walk this weekend I don’t know about?!” as we were figuring out the details, I registered for it online. There was no fee, just a suggested donation/raising of funds for $50.

Saturday arrived, and my friend picked me up half an hour earlier than originally planned, because her friend thought there was something we needed to be early for. Turns out she was incorrect, and her friend showed up about 20 minutes after we did.

We all chatted, and one who was in the army offered me some unsolicited advice on how to lose weight. It involved interval running, and building up to a set amount of miles. “When you let your heart rate go back to normal, and then raise it, and repeat that cycle, the weight just drops off like that!” she explained to me with a snap of her fingers.

I was quite happy to explain to her that I was already doing something similar, though, as with everything, when I start talking to strangers I tend to start stuttering, and lose my confidence, therefore trying to end the conversation as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for me, ( I don’t remember her name) she had a 5hour Energy, two red bulls and a handful of other ridiculous energy boosters that may or may not have been laden with sugar as well. She continued talking to me, telling stories and eventually drowning out the speakers as the “race” was beginning with her chatter.

The countdown began, runners were called to the front. I was right at the imaginary starting line, and decided, “What the hell! I’ll start off jogging.” And so I did. For about… 25 seconds. And then my legs started hurting real bad.

The last time I got any real mileage outside was probably the end of September when it became to cold and rainy and dark to continue walking home from work. Since then, I’ve used the treadmill and elliptical machine, and the difference was stunning. My first shinsplints set in, and my legs felt like lead. My music was bumping, and I tried to get into it, but singing while walking always leaves me a little breathless. So I started to really focus in on my breathing, the “left-right-left inhale right-left exhale”.

At the end of the first mile, there was a station with port-a-potties and volunteers handing out water and orange slices. I grabbed an orange slice gratefully, bit down and sucked out as much juice and pulp as I could in one bite, then threw the masticated carcass in the trash, about two yards head. I kept going. At that point, I noticed the pain in my legs had gone away, my breathing had evened out, and I wanted to finish as quickly as possible, so I picked a place to start jogging, and went to a predetermined place to start walking again.

I did this again and again. Of course I forgot to count how many times this happened, but I would say no less than 7 times. Each jog wasn’t long, maybe 10 or 15 seconds, but it was more jogging outside than I had done all year (which is to say, I haven’t jogged outside at all this year) and I was pretty happy to do it. At one point I really hoped we were already on mile three. I was ready for it to be over. Just as I was wondering how far left there was to go, there was a sign posted that said, “Congratulations! You are half way done!” Instead I pulled my shoulders back and marched onward. (I think I used that sign as a starting place for a jog, actually.)

The MS Walk took place at Lake Hood, which is right next to the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. It is the busiest float plane lake in the entire country, however it was still frozen over while we were out there. We saw a handful of planes take off, and one even held up a hoard of walkers just in front of me.

Finally I could see where the walkers were turning off into the parking lot where the race started. I considered jogging the last bit of it, I felt I had it in me, but when I saw that the walk truly wasn’t timed, I decided to just walk instead. As I was turning the last and final corner into the parking lot, I saw a car full of my new friends, waiting for me to finish! It was nice to see them cheer me on. I finished the four miles in approximately 1:08, according to my friend’s timer. 17 minute mile average. Pretty slow, I think, but I’ll take it. Its better than not finishing at all!

Afterward, I grabbed a hot dog and some water. We ate them in her car, and I got ketchup on my face. She drove me home, and then I took a long bath, and a 4 hour nap. It was a good day. Perhaps next year I’ll actually try to raise some money. I sure would like a teeshirt!


“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” Anais Nin

I think this is the quote that finally got me moving last year. The quote that made me reconsider my entire life. When is enough, enough? At what point do I say, “I am ready to face the unknown!” and actually do it? I’ve been scared my whole life. Scared of being made fun of, scared of dying, scared of living, scared of disappointing others, scared of disappointing myself. I’ve encouraged myself to stay hidden in the shadows, to not participate in life, to accept being shy as an excuse to not communicate, all for what?

Of course, over the years I’ve made huge leaps and bounds. I went off to college with no money in a place I’d never visited, with no real support system. I moved to Alaska in basically the same situation. But I still only did the minimum required of me. Even today, I still feel like there is more I could do to participate, to be engaged. It was always seemed so much safer to tread the water, not knowing what lied beneath the murkiness. I think if I just put my feet down for a minute, I would realize how shallow the water actually is, how much easier it is to stand on my own two feet and trust myself not to drown.

Since reading that quote over a year ago, I have seen progress. I’ve participated in life. I’ve walk the walk, I’ve talked my talk. I stood up in front of hundreds of people knowing I could have looked better, but still felt proud of myself, because I was proud of myself. I accepted that they accepted me just as I am.

I see now that I’m blossoming. I see the change within me.

Looking back over your progress, do you see change, emotionally and/or physically? What kind of changes do you see?

Letter to my 14 year old Self

Dear Lily,

You have not yet adopted the name Lily. That will come nearly eight years later at a dead beat job, where someone with your same name steals your identity and logins for work. But more on that later.

You’ve spent the last two years, and will spend the next five or so years, treating yourself like crap. I really wish you would stop. I wish you would listen to your mother when she says you’re beautiful and smart and capable of anything you put your mind to. I wish you’d stop being afraid all the time- there’s really nothing to be afraid of. I wish you could see how awesome you are, not how much you stand out in crowds. Its okay to stand out. You’re not going to fall off a cliff. Even if you do, you’ll land safely enough, that I can promise you.

See, I remember how it felt, sliding that razor across your thigh, crying in the shower, and wishing for something, anything to change, or to just stop feeling all together. Coming up with self destructive plans to make yourself beautiful, only to fail because, well, nobody gets skinny overnight, and you were already beautiful. Truly. And then hated yourself some more. You realized quite early that only you could change you, but it took you a long time to really understand what that meant, and how to make it happen.

If there is something I could do or say to comfort you, I would, but right now you are inconsolable, and that’s not your fault. It really truly is no one’s fault. You have a swarm of hormones rushing through your body and you live in a community where no one else looks like you. I will say, you’re not alone in feeling like a freak. It gets better. Oh boy, does it get better.

In four more years, you’re going to take a train to Virginia, for college. Yes, college. You’re going to finally be surrounded by people that look just like you, and who are willing to be your friend. Not gonna lie, you only stay there for a year, and you begin to think the end of the world is nigh when you leave, but really, its just getting started.

I could tell you about your re-return to Oregon, or how you ended up in Alaska, but you might again look at those events as something negative. You really must know that it is not. Life changes. People change. You’ll figure it out eventually, but you’ve got to give yourself that chance.

Lily, you didn’t lose weight immediately. You continued gaining weight until you were twenty-four. You used food as a shelter, something to hide behind and calm you down when things got tough, or as a reward for surviving impossible odds. But you remained capable. You were still able to do exactly what you needed to do to get where I am today.  Eventually you started to take care of your outer-self in addition to your inner-self, and its made all the difference. You never thought you would weigh 300 lbs, and be proud of yourself. I am here to tell you that you are, and you are.

Don’t forget to be awesome,