Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Riding The Struggle Bus

Hi. My name is Stacie Brown and I am an emotional eater. For the past forty-six weeks I have been working toward Operation Healthy Stacie. For forty-six weeks I have been counting calories, working out, running, running and running some more. I have been battling internal demons, working on my relationship with food and my relationship with myself.

I have had great successes along the way. I met my first two goals in the first six months before I was suppose to meet them. I trained for and completed a half marathon and beat my goal time by four minutes. I cleaned out my closet because I can't wear most of my clothes anymore and got rid of over 100 articles of clothing. I've gotten stronger, more toned, built up my endurance. I can do things with my body that I've never been able to do before. I like myself more and am happier more often than I ever was before. I have felt sexy for the first time in my life. I fit into a size large for the first time.

I've also had some real lows. My friend and brother from another mother, Jim passed away. I fell in love and then had my heart ripped out and stomped on. My grandfather passed away. I suffered from seasonal depression this winter. My hair stylist moved away. My Little Sister, Toniesha, whom I've mentored for four years moved to Florida. Our Executive Director, Deb (most amazing boss I've ever worked for) left our agency suddenly. My friend and trainer, Erin, left the fitness center very abruptly. This has been a year of great loss and grief. And for the past four months my weight loss has been a real struggle. I'll go down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up. And it's so very frustrating. I'm working so hard and making sacrifices to get to my goal and I feel stuck. I'm so close to being in the 100's - a place I haven't been since maybe fifth grade! I long to be there and will cry tears of joy when it finally happens.

These last several months have been a big eye opener for me. Because just like an alcoholic will never be cured from their disease and will have temptations and slips along the way, I, as an emotional eater, will do the same. All of this loss and grief has been hard and I've reverted to my old ways - comforting myself, soothing myself with food. I've been going to celebrations and eating food that isn't in the plan. I've been going out for drinks and drinking more calories than I should. I've been using food as a friend. I've been feeling so lonely lately - lost/abandoned - but food is always there. So I've slipped. Now I haven't slipped in ways that I use to slip. Old Stacie would eat an entire pizza and order of bread sticks. I'd make a pan of brownies with frosting and eat the whole thing in two days or consume an entire tub of ice cream. I'm not doing those things, so in that sense, I've made progress, which is great. I just need to continue to make progress when it comes to my relationship with food.

The two things that have probably shaken me the most are two things that I haven't really talked to too many people about because they're so deeply painful. The first is my heartache. About a year ago I reconnected with someone I grew up with. We always liked each other as kids, but I was too shy to "go out with him." We both moved away and never saw each other again. Well, thanks to technology, we reconnected through Facebook. And we hit it off, talking every day and just connecting on every possible level. He made me feel like a million bucks, saying things I've never heard any man say to me ever in my life. He desired me, appreciated me, cared for me, valued my thoughts and opinions, pursued me fiercely - something no man had ever done before (or since). And for the second time in my life, I fell in love. Hard. I shared pieces of myself with him that I've never ever shared with anyone in my thirty-four years of life. I trusted him completely. I saw a future with him. I felt like he was my husband and that our reconnecting was in God's timing....well, without going into details in order to not drag him through the mud, he broke my heart. And when I say he broke my heart I mean that he captured my heart, seduced my heart, stole my heart, and then he crushed my heart into powder, he broke it into unrecognizable pieces. Now I've had my heart broken many times in my life, so you would think I would be a pro at this, but I'm not. And the way he broke my heart was more painful than any heartache I've ever experienced in my life. I wouldn't wish the pain, sorrow, depression, anger, self-loathing that it created on my worst enemy. For a moment in time, he ruined me. I am slowly recovering and my heart is healing. The loss of this relationship has effected me for life. I have learned so much about myself and am forever changed because of it.

The other thing that has had a lasting impact on me these past few months is the loss of my trainer and friend, Erin. She has been on this journey with me for YEARS. She was with me in 2010 when I ran my first half marathon, running every step with me. She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. We've been through highs and lows together. She's seen me at my best and at my worst. I've shared things with her about myself, my past, my wounds that I've never told another living soul (and probably never will). And in the gym she pushed me and pushed me hard. She pushed me to do things I NEVER thought I would ever do. With her encouragement I ran a half marathon, I pushed and pulled a sled, I did box jumps, assisted pull-ups, burpees, towel pushes, dead lifted almost 200 pounds. She has helped me see that my only barrier when it comes to fitness is my mind and my belief in myself (or lack there of). She has shown me that all it takes is the belief that I can do it to actually do it. I have lost the weight I've lost so far because of her help. I have become as fit and strong as I am because she helped me get there. She helped me find the athlete in me. And so when she told me she was leaving the gym, I was devastated. How could I do this without her? She's been a part of Operation Healthy Stacie since the beginning. There's no way I can do this on my own. I can't push myself as hard as she pushes me. And I'll be honest, the last five or six weeks have been difficult. It's hard to get used to a different trainer and their style. And they don't know me, where I've been, what I've overcome, what my abilities are - so they can't push me. And as much as this sucks, and I feel like it has a little to do with the poor results I've been seeing on the scale, it's teaching me too. I'm learning that I need to be the one to push myself, that I can't always rely on others to motivate me and to push me and see my full potential. I need to do that for myself. And as much as I miss Erin, I really miss her a lot....I am taking this as a new challenge. And it's my goal to be my own motivator. To see beyond my limits. To push myself to run harder, to lift more weight, to do more burpees, to hear the voice in my head that says "this hurts, so I need to quit" and keep going anyway. I need to honor the athlete that I am and believe that I can do anything with the body I have.

So yes, I am currently on the struggle bus. I am in a rough patch. I have not lost the weight at this point in my journey that I've wanted to lose. I need to pull myself out of the mire and go again....