Friday, March 11, 2016

The First Year

I can hardly believe that it's been a whole year since that doctor's appointment where I decided to fight to get my life back and start this journey to a healthier and happier me. Where in the world has the time gone? 

I know it sounds so cliche, but I can honestly remember that day like it was yesterday and I remember feeling like I had the longest, most impossible road ahead of me. There are days that I STILL feel that way. Days that despite my hard work, I look in the mirror and see the same girl staring back at me- big tummy, bloated face, extra little half chin, thighs that have never seen the light of day in between them, and let's be serious, probably never will. Days where I can only vaguely see a difference because I am and have always been short and wide and weight comes off, at least for me, in the funniest of places. Ear lobes? You betcha. Feet? You have no idea. 

But then I have moments where I will feel more confident in taking a picture of my whole body, where I'm not hiding behind someone or some giant purse. Moments when I notice I have to scoot the driver's seat of my car forward. Or the moment when, for the first time since college, I finally tossed my airplane seat belt extender because I could fasten it around me without it. Or the time a few weeks ago where I went pants shopping for jeans in a size 20 from a size 28 twelve months ago. It's been the funniest little journey. It's been hard, it's been vindicating, it's been wonderful, it's been messy.. But it's really just been my own.

A year ago, my Endocrinologist did a pretty thorough panel of blood work to see what exactly my hormone, glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and other levels looked like as a base line and as per usual, I was hesitant to let anyone take my blood for fear that they'd tell me that the damage I'd done to my body for years had led to Diabetes or that my PCOS was insanely out of control. All truths and facts that I never wanted to hear and so I avoided it all together. And to my surprise (and delight) I found that I was not diabetic, that I still had insulin resistance, my PCOS was effecting ALL of my hormone levels- namely testosterone in particular, making them all high- my TSH was a little high.. pretty much everything pertaining to my PCOS and lipids were high. I left that appointment a little disappointed but armed with a plan to be proactive and finally put my health on the forefront of my focus.

A few weeks ago, I met with another doctor for my PCOS and to even my OWN surprise, I told her I wanted to take another panel to see if my body and levels were progressing (who AM I?) And would you believe that everything was ENTIRELY in the normal range regarding my PCOS and the only areas that were slightly elevated were my cholesterol and triglycerides- which I was expecting because they've always been high-- but even those numbers were lower. We had an honest, real conversation and I know that I still have a long road ahead of me and in every way possible, this is really only the beginning for me. 

I left thankful to have armed myself with facts and the knowledge of a good doctor and thankful that this new woman I've become is one who has started to think proactively and look ahead.. even when it's scary and even if it means giving viles of my blood only to have doctors possibly tell me that nothing is changing. That every level is still high. And "good luck having a baby because it ain't ever gonna happen with your hormone levels and PCOS." I tell ya, waiting for the shoe to drop is no way to go into a doctor's office calmly! But I did it. And there was no such news. And I felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders when I left! 

In every way possible this is just the beginning of my journey and I am still figuring it out as I go. Always listening to my body and making adjustments and constantly tweaking. While I'm not as strict as I was in the "induction" phase of this lifestyle change, I am still very much avoiding sugar, carbs, fruit (with the exception of my once a week treat of berries or watermelon) milk, juice, etc. It's been over a year since I've had pasta (what the what?) but I can't lie and say that I don't occasionally have a treat because I do. It happens. Life happens. Sushi has happened. But the important thing is that it stops there. It's a treat. I enjoy it and then I don't let it continue into days and weeks of tumbling off the wagon because it's simply not fair to me and what I've worked so hard for. 

While I am on this journey, it has truly been a process in avoiding viewing myself as merely the number that comes up on the scale. Nearly all my life has consisted of moments where the scale is telling me so much more than numbers. Those numbers have dictated how I feel, how my day goes, how I should be feeling, what my worth is, and so many other nasty little lies. There have been days and weeks of absolutely NO difference in the scale whatsoever and those times are especially difficult because I am results-driven in every way possible, but especially with weight loss. In my mind, A + B should = C, am I right? #fattoskinnyin5weeks #daretodream But if I'm putting in the time and effort, I should be reaping rewards. But bodies are funny and complex and it's not just that simple. So learning to be patient with myself and to not fall off the wagon into a sea of sushi and potatoes during those times has been a crucial lesson that I am still learning. 

To avoid me totally rambling on and boring you with every last detail of this journey, I thought it'd be fun to take a look back at what this year has looked like for me. It has in NO way been a cake walk..quite literally..  #seehwhatididthere? But when I think about last February and today, I am just so grateful I took that first step. 

The difference between my very first day and in January. "Not a total Betty, but a vast improvement!" #namethatmovie #andthenwecanbebesties

Same shirt nearly 6 months apart. I took this a while ago and posted it on my Instagram. Once a UNT super fan, always a UNT super fan! This was in the beginning of my journey about 3 months in. 

I can't say enough how much I adore being able to hold this guy closer than ever before. It's something so small and insignificant to others who don't know what it's like to be big and a bigger couple.

Exactly one year's difference in my face back in October

The difference of exactly a year back in January.

Hello, blue eyes! So happy you've decided to make an appearance. 

Can we talk about that one time I hiked a mountain? That was quite the day but this picture says it all. #andthenihadtoclimbdown #oyyy

My first annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5k! 

I can't even begin to tell you how much more confident that girl on the right is from one year ago. That was me on Valentine's Day feeling extra sassy in a little leather, leopard and a bright, bold red lip. #yesyesyes

And, Lord help me.. I somehow thought it'd be a good idea to blast a picture of myself sans makeup and very much feeling every bit of the early morning on the internet! Ha. #fortheloveoftheblog 
But this is me TODAY.

And last but not least: funny story behind the picture on the right (a week before I started my health journey). My very dear friend came to visit before moving to Italy with her husband and she has always been such a healthy, mindful eater as long as I've known her. At the time, she came to visit and we'd go out for TexMex and she'd get veggies instead of rice, or we'd have Texas BBQ and she'd order a salad.. and the entire weekend in my head I kept thinking how STRANGE it was that she wasn't eating the rice and loving the chips and queso and why on earth she was at a BBQ place eating a salad instead of the mac and cheese and potato salad. 

And not 5 days later, I was handed my eating plan from my doctor that was pretty much word for word how she and most "normal" eaters eat every day without even thinking twice. I like to think that God was preparing me for what was next. 
The sheer fact that I've seen this journey through-- the ups, the downs and haven't given up over the last 13 months-- is because of Him and His grace. Along with my amazing family and all of the friends both near and far that have supported me, loved me, encouraged me, listened to me and helped me along the way. 

And without bragging TOO terribly much about this guy.. 

I just have to hand it to him. Not a day has gone by over the last year (or the 6 we've been together) that he hasn't made me feel like the most special, beautiful, luckiest girl in the world regardless of what the scale has said.
 From the beginning, we have approached this new lifestyle together and are tackling it as a team. On my worst days, he manages to handle my crazy and become my rock in every sense of the word. He is such an encouragement, the best listener, my truest friend and my partner in everything life throws at us and everything that has come with this journey. 
I could not/would not be successful in anything I do if it weren't for his unfailing support and love- all while losing an incredible amount of weight himself. His transformation has been INSANE and I swear, you wouldn't even know he ever ate carbs before this because he's so dang dedicated. 
If there was ever a truer testament of why the Lord put us together, we've seen it in action throughout this journey. I am so blessed by him and realize more every day how thankful I am for that sweet, sweet man of mine. 


I just couldn't be more thankful for this sweet man..

And last but certainly not least, my year-end post wouldn't be complete without somehow squeezing in how thankful I am to have this woman as my mama. Remember when I tooted my own horn at the beginning of this post about going finally to the doctor-- both times? It's because she reminded me and wouldn't let me forget to make my health a priority every. single. day leading up to both appointments. And even on the day of- she dropped everything to go with me and support me in all my crazy. I love you, ma! And thank you for introducing me to my first serving of mashed cauliflower through my tears and sadness over missing potatoes all those months ago. Because now it's love. And I can't seem to love another veggie more. 

And with all of that, year 2 has already begun. 

Have a wonderful weekend, my beauties! Be good to yourself. 

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