Tuesday, 6 December 2011

My Now and Then Transformation

Now: At my healthiest weight to date
Guys I have SUPER, SUPER, SUPER exciting news!

I am been chosen to be a FitFluential Ambassador! EEEK! (*insert high pitched squeals of delight*). So this week I have been prepping my profile to go live and generally floating around on an endorphin high about this amazing honour.I have also spent way more time than I probably should, on the Internet checking out all my fellow ambassadors. And WHOA! I am in amazing company; marathoners, ultra runners, yogis, fitness-gurus, dietary specialists. I can't believe I am even in the same category. Talk about pressure!

But all these hard-core marathoners and fitness enthusiasts had to start somewhere right? And while I still consider myself in the infancy of my fitness evolution I started to reflect on the beginning of my own journey toward health and wellness...

I started this little blog after my initial fitness-intervention, major weight-loss, and following a lot of my early health struggles. So for those of you that have met me in the last 6 years or have just joined me for my Latest and Greatest Genetic Journey I have generally glossed over the details of the years I spent coming to terms with my heart condition, gaining an understanding of my new life with an ICD, and as a FATTY! Yep, its true. I was seriously fat! I am not gonna sugar-coat and call myself anything cute like "chubby" or "pudgy". I was just FAT! Between then and now I have lost exactly 60 lbs and 6 dress-sizes, so it was a pretty big transformation.

Then: At my Top weight
It took me awhile to realise that reality. At first it was just a couple of LBS and a bag of chips to ease the stress of my fresh diagnosis. Then a few more. My clothes were no longer fitting, but I was busy trying to find a treatment that worked for my condition so... There was some more stress eating and that had some how added up to 50 extra lbs. And then it was even more...It took me awhile to accept that I was in fact FAT. To accept that I had let myself get to this point and that there wasn't going to be a quick fix. I kept telling myself it wasn't that bad, and I could start fresh  Monday. Always Monday. Always the next week. But the straw that broke the camel's back for me was seeing this photo ------>
(*I sort of can't believe I am posting this, since I have spent the last 6 years deleting any photographic evidence of this stage of my life!*)

Um yep! That is probably one of the only photos I have kept from that 2 year time period, and I am pretty confident I was at my heaviest here. So many people say that they can't remember me looking like that. And all I have to say is "THANK GOODNESS", because I cannot forget! Looking at that photo I have no idea how I didn't realise how unhealthy I had become, but I really didn't. I think I chose not to notice. Because eating my feeling away was easier than saying I am having a hard time accepting my diagnosis. Because food didn't judge me and made me feel good. Because I was also in a place where I hated my body (a place I still go sometimes). So taking care of it and putting effort into it - just wasn't something I was about to do.

My thought process was that I had bigger problems than being fat. And to be fair to myself; I did! The first few years of my diagnosis were very uncertain. There were a lot of questions of how we were going to treat my condition and how well I would inevitably respond. But what I neglected to realise that I wasn't doing my health any favours by participating in this unhealthy lifestyle. I was angry about being unhealthy. I hated the idea that I was "sick". I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. This new bigger body was a reminder of the all the negative things that had happened over the past 2 years; the car accident that led to my initial diagnosis (a story for another time), several severe allergic reactions to various meds, 2 surgeries, the list was lengthy . Those 60 lbs meant I had lost this battle. I had chosen to let my genetics define me. I had given up.  

I wanted to be fit. I wanted to be happy. I wanted more than anything to be healthy again. It took me a long time to realise that despite my genetic defects I was the only person who could truly take charge of my life and my health. If those were the things I wanted, then I had to make some changes to my lifestyle - and more than anything else - to my ATTITUDE

I was determined that this time I was going to do this. So I started making small changes. I started a food diary. I started writing down my goals and telling people that I wanted to lose weight to keep me accountable. I took my first ever yoga class. I starting drinking 1-2 litres of water daily. I gave up meat and embraced veggies. I started to love myself again. I started going to the gym. I rode my bike to work. And eventually I started running. I started to see what I could accomplish. I started to realise that I was stronger than my diagnosis. And by the end up summer break, before beginning my third year of university I had lost 55 lbs in 5 months.

I still occasionally catch glimpses of my former self. The girl who has a weakness for salt and vinegar chips, enjoys a good stress-binge from time to time, and who would rather sit and watch a trashy reality TV marathon than actually try to train for one. But this year as I face another genetic battle I know I am stronger and MUCH wiser. I know that you cannot always choose the challenges you will face and where life will take you, but you can choose how you will react to it. I am choosing to use this challenge as a catalyses to create the healthiest version of me! This year I will even more fit and fabulous! I will never go back to that place! And this year I will officially make heart disease, breast cancer, and genetics my BITCH!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

PS With the Holidays and the New Year there will be many folks making that trusty resolution so stay tuned to Transformation Part 2 where I outline the steps I took to get started and the tools I still use!