April 12, 2011


If the problem isn't hunger, then the solution isn't food.

I really want to post a glowing, post-race recap. But to be honest, I'm pretty depressed right now. I thought about organizing substitute teachers for today, but that would be counterproductive - I need to get out of the house, I need to move, I can't sit around here and be mopey.

Every day I wake up with the best of intentions, but lately, I've been slipping, and finally yesterday, I fell. Even now, I'm sitting here asking myself, What happened? For seemingly no reason at all, I woke up in a stinking blue funk that I couldn't shake all day. The accomplishments of the day before were forgotten, and I spent all day either sleeping or binge eating (calories totaling to the tune of nearly three and a half times what I aim to eat in a day). This was not overeating - this was self-harming. I wasn't hungry, I wanted to hurt. Why?

I don't teach on Mondays, but I usually head to the office anyway and put in a full day of work so I have time to myself at night and on the weekends. I decided to head in a little late and run to Target first since I needed a few things for around the house, plus I made a personal goal to get back in the pool this week, so I needed a bathing suit. I totally loved my suit from last summer - plain black, with a little skirt to cover the tops of my thighs, which I have always been self-conscious about. But that was a size 26/28, and it was barely covering me anymore. When I bought it, I needed my sister to help me get it on because it was really too small, but it was the biggest size Target had.

This time around, I found basically the same suit again - except this is a 16.

i hate math
But even that couldn't make me smile. I came home, sobbed, ate until I felt numb, took a nap, and then ate some more. I thought about going to the gym about forty times, but I couldn't stop crying long enough to seriously consider it. Sobbing in the pool just wouldn't be a productive workout. So I sat on the couch, then laid on the couch, then laid in my bed, and before you know it, it's dark out.

I know it's silly and ridiculous, and I know that right now I just need to leave my pity party - put on my big girl pants, get out there, and do the right thing. But I can't shake what happened on Saturday. Even with the dozens of incredible messages of support and love I have received, I feel defeated. I don't feel good about my pictures from the race on Sunday - I was just starting to get ahead and recognize/love my current, smaller self, and now I feel almost completely set back.

For example, this is a picture that was taken post-race:

feel this moment forever
This girl ought to be thrilled. She's glowing. She just ran the heck out of nearly five miles of the Chicago Loop and downtown. Said she would do it in 65:00, wanted to do it in under 60:00, did it in 57:18 - and that was in 70-80ยบ weather. Less than a year ago, walking up the flight of stairs to her apartment had her winded.

Right now, I can't see happiness in this picture. I'm smiling, but I'm not truly happy. What's to celebrate? Getting one good thing done is nice and all, great job, whatever - there's still so much work to be done.

After finishing the race, my first thought was that I wish I could sit down with the girl from my before picture and tell her that the future holds nothing but good things for her. One year and three days after passing her MA exams, she will be running nearly five miles in a huge race. This is something she is strong enough to accomplish, something she is capable enough of committing to. Sitting on the couch yesterday, stuffing myself with snack after snack, I could see myself gaining back every ounce that I've lost. And that's something I never wanted to understand.

back to being unable to tell the difference
I love running. I love eating well. I love feeling healthy. And I love the fact that my self-esteem was at an all-time high - up until about noon on Saturday. I can't stop now - I love my new life and the new me too much to throw in the towel. I know I am doing fantastic things - 128 lost pounds equals 448,000 calories exercised off or not eaten. I can't let a fraction of a second by some thoughtless jerk devalue months and months of sweat and willpower. I've worked too hard for that.

Losing weight is a physical change. The only problem it solves is carrying around excess body weight. It's not a cure-all. It's not a magic potion that makes all of your problems go away. And sometimes, even I forget that. Everything starts going so well - I count my calories, I exercise like a fiend, I drink tons of water, and the numbers on the scale keep dropping - and it's easy to forget that physical weight isn't the only issue I need to be working on here.

So, the bad news is, I binged, and I'm feeling pretty lousy today in the aftermath - both physically and emotionally. But the good news is, I woke up today. And once again, I have great intentions, and a plan - I'm going to make today the best that it can be. Every single bite from yesterday was logged, so like it or not, there's a whole page in my journal full of the damage. And like my last binge, I didn't order takeout or eat anything that wasn't already in my house, so there are small bright spots even in this dark time. I'm going to work my way through this and get back on track, starting right now. There is no other choice.

you are beautiful


downsizers said...

You do the most creative things on your blog. I love what you did with your pictures (especially the bottom one). Self-sabotage is certainly a problem for so many of us. Why? Why? Why? We just have trouble handling success and adjusting to a new body and when we are on the road to recovery some thoughtless comment throws us. Are we subconsciously looking for a reason to self-sabotage? Who cares if everyone doesn't appreciate what we have done and where we are going? You are doing this for YOU not some loud mouth. Those aren't the kind of people you want to befriend anyway. Rather than use it to beat ourselves up let's use it to strengthen our resolve. Read my blog today - it has a quote from Ayn Rand that you need to know and commit to memory.

Ann said...

Okay, lady, you can get through this - nobody is perfect and it doesn't matter what happened yesterday or the day before, or the day before. Make yourself proud today!!!

Maude said...

I'm so sorry that happened. It was a needlessly cruel thing for someone to do and I would be devastated if it happened to me. But you have to stop giving that stupid jerk your power and energy. What happened was over in a moment, and it was hurtful, but now you're letting it take even more from you. He doesn't deserve to get more of your time than he's already taken. I know that it's all easier said than done, but he shouldn't get anything more from you. You're wonderful and amazing and smart and beautiful inside and out. He's a random dumba*s. You're an incredible writer! He clearly has nothing original or useful to say. So put this behind you where it belongs and keep moving forward.

Katie Warren said...

Mary, no words of wisdom, really. I just wanted to send some <3 I know you will pull through this because you have already shown us how strong and amazing you are. This is just another bump in the road on your way. Some people will always be jerks, and it's that guy's loss that he doesn't get to know you and see how great you are like we do. =) He should be jealous.

Caron said...

It's great that you've worked through the bad stuff and now have "a plan". Most of us out here in weight loss blogland can identify with your slip and the overeating. I must admit I have not had to deal with stupid hateful remarks like that in my adult life but words CAN hurt. Hang in there. You've done too much to turn back now!! :)

Jessica said...

When I read your blog, I only see the girl in the bottom picture!!! You are amazing! And I know you will keep on amazing us!

Amy said...

This was an amazing post, so raw and personal. You'll get past this because you're so strong.

I have a sorta-friend (you know those people on FB that you know but you're not exactly friends) that has a tattoo that says "I was given this life because I'm strong enough to handle it"

You can totally get past this - we all have blips on the map, and yours are always short-lived, some people get in month...year long funks, but you recognize them just as they are happening and you find a way to conquer it, and that is so admirable.

Guys (kids) are assholes. You can't get around that. It's reality. They feel the need to yell out of cars. One day some guy is going to yell out of the car that you're hot, and it'll probably feel quite flattering, but you'll still realize that they're just idiots yelling out of cars!

Tammy said...

I'm soooo sorry about those stupid fools!!:( They are jerks..more than, but I won't write that here.:) If they were by themselves..individually, they wouldn't have said anything..but they think they have to act like idiots when they're together. You have done an amazing job! I have just found your blog and I love it already!! Just keep your head up and keep going. It only matters what YOU think. OK, I really need to take my own advice here.LOL You WILL feel better..let yourself have your pity party and then move on. Believe me, I have plenty of my own...maybe it helps some.

Krista said...

Everyone has these rough moments when going through a life changing weight loss. I have had plenty of them myself; where I just get really depressed (despite thinking about everything I have already accomplished) and just sit around and eat. No matter how hard I remind myself that it is not going to solve anything and it is just going to undo some of my progress, sometimes I can't stop. However, what's different about it this time around is that the next day, even though I feel guilty about my behavior the day before, I get myself together and start going again. Instead of falling off the bandwagon and staying there, it's important to get back on right away and keep going. The truth is, you are not going to gain back 128 lbs from a day of binging, but I'm sure you already know this. I think the fact that you didn't order any take out and you STILL logged everything is a huge representation of the progress you've made. Keep your head up and keep going, you're doing great :)

AlmostGastricBypass said...

Are you done yet ? Enough please. You have made tremendous strides health wise. As for how you look, the difference is astounding and you are beautiful with or without the fat suit. You look great now, this is a marathon, and if some idiots yelling at you change your plans, then I am not reading anymore. You are alot stronger than that. I get called fat everyday. F#$#$Ck them all, you are a star....

Pretty Pauline said...

First of all, dimples are just SEXY! So there you are. I surely understand all the sentiments you shared here and cried a bit with you actually. I'm glad you're getting your mojo back though. It's so hard to overcome sometimes, and OH the derailing of the mind is a much bigger obstacle and so deep-seeded and many-faceted... Yuck.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I am so sorry to read about what you have been going through. It sucks and all the encouragement in the world can't pull you out of it until you feel ready to move on. I didn't share this on your Saturday post, but I will tell you now - I had something very similar happen to me once. This was a couple of years ago when I was still making efforts to run around the track at a nearby university. I had stopped to rest and sat down on a curb for a few minutes when a truck full of obnoxious college boys pulled up to me. They started hooting and hollering and yelling things like, "Oooh, sexy!" It made me feel like absolute crap. Probably not too different than what you are feeling. Hang in there. I love what you have done with your photo - remember THAT girl, the smiling, accomplished one who is so much more than what that jerk could possibly see.

Anonymous said...

The last picture says it all!! You should be so proud of yourself!

And okay, you binged - you caught yourself today and have a plan - there are always going to be pumps in the road to a healthy weight - its how we react to the bumps that will prove us successful.

My husband is unemployed, he's recovering from colon cancer, and my job is about to be eliminated. But by some miracle of God I am realizing that food isn't going to find my husband and I new jobs, and isn't going to help my husband's recovery any faster.

(btw, I don't mention my husbands unemployment on my blog). I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago - you kicked ass on the Shamrock Shuffle!

Anonymous said...

Do no give strangers and anyone that much power over you. You are better than that, stronger than that. You've come so far and you're beautiful. There will always be people who try and tear us down no matter how we look or act. They are the weak ones. They are not worth the time or effort it takes to even think twice about them or their words/actions. Don't let any jerkwad choose your weather.

Amanda said...

I thought about what happened to you on Saturday a lot over the weekend, and I wanted to add in there that I'm sorry that for some reason cruel, ignorant jerks are allowed to run wild on this Earth. I know digital hugs are no substitute for the real thing, but I am sending them your way.

I also want you to know that you are definitely a person I look up to. On this journey you are so much further down the path, and I am amazed at what you've done. One of the many things I learn from reading your blog is that even after an emotional turmoil, taking the time to reflect afterward and re-center is key. Thanks for always sharing everything honestly.

timothy said...

ok take a deep breath i'm gonna tell you something that might make you uncomfortable, ready? ...........you are a beautiful special woman , oh yes i'm talking about you! you're funny smart and completely open and honest. do you know how wonderful that is in a person? do you realize how many people you inspire on a daily basis? the world is brighter for having you in it! yes there are morons to blind to see the truth, i pity those people they miss the joy and beauty the world holds. they're so miserable they have to destroy others to feel better about themselves. don't you dare let them take away your hard won happiness.so you slipped it happens, over done, now put on those grown-up girl panties (you are no longer a BIG girl)and get back on track. to quote the fabulous rupaul "if you can't love yourself how the hell you gonna love anybody else"

Heather said...

You are glowing and radiant! Just looking at your before and after pictures and I think wow!!! You are doing amazing don't be down on yourself, and don't let anything ignorant people say get in your way. They no nothing about you and how far you have come and quite frankly their lives probably aren't as good as yours is now! just keep on keepin' on! You Go Girl!!

Ashley said...

That last photo made me smile. You are absolutely beautiful and so so adorable! Not only that, but I can tell that you have a kind heart by the words that you write. Never forget that though you may still have a long way to go, you've come an even longer way! You've accomplished wonderful things! You are STRONG! You are much healthier than you were. Focus on your good qualities! I know that it is very hard to do, but maybe you can write out the things you love about you, and then put them where you can read them every day. You can find love and acceptance within yourself. For me, that started with a "I love the color of my eyes" and it blossomed into so much more than vanity. I absolutely love myself on a much deeper level these days because of that one tiny little compliment I gave myself. I'm cheering you on!

Mrs. O said...

There's a part in the movie "Pretty Woman" (my most favorite movie of all time!) where Vivian and Edward are lying in bed together talking and she tells him "People put you down often enough, you start to believe it". He tells her, "I think you're a bright and special woman". She responds back, "The bad stuff is easier to believe. You ever notice that?" Isn't it true that we'd rather believe the one remark that puts us down instead of the dozen that lift us up.

Don't let the ignorance and stupidity of a couple of idiots who don't even know you keep you depressed. You are beautiful, sexy and you've done what so many of us are still struggling to achieve. :)

gracies tough journey said...

Those creeps are just evil. You are beautiful inside and out. I agree with Laryssa, it is so easy for us to believe the bad things versus the truth and wonderful things about us. Dont let those creeps win. You, young lady are a winner and are awesome. God Bless

Deirdre said...

Hi Mary.

I found your blog about 2 weeks ago, and ended up reading all the to the beginning (being S-M-R-T, I started at the current posts and moved backwards). Your openness, your creativity in writing and in life, and your journey are all inspirational, and I've had quite a few 'A-ha!' moments about myself while reading.

In the last few months, I've also had quite a few incidents with asshole guys shouting out car windows. I live in the UK now, but I'm from Ireland, and this is an entirely new thing for me to deal with. It's not usually even words here, just shouts, but it never fails to make me feel exposed, vulnerable, objectified, disgusted (at them for their behaviour, *and* at myself for allowing this to be a problem), and very deeply angry that this is a culture where men feel entitled to publicly comment on any woman's appearance, and where the woman in question is socialised to question her own worth as a result.

I'm sure you know this, on some level, but I'm going to say it anyway. This kind of behaviour says a whole lot about the ignorant idiots in the car, and very little about the person it's directed at. Your writing and your actions tell a compelling story, and it's the story of a strong, capable, beautiful person who is changing her life (and the lives of those around her) for the better every day. When you live your life like that, I think it's really hard to accept that there are people who (seem to) try to make life worse for others as much as possible. For me, that's the hardest thing to deal with, because it makes me question the fundamentals of my interaction with the outside world. What I keep coming back to, though, is that living life on the defensive, constantly trying to protect myself from random acts of unkindness, and making myself invisible in the process, is more painful even than these moments of absolute vulnerability and questioning. Both options require hard work, but only one is really an option for me - and I suspect that this is also true for you.

You have done amazing things, and you will continue to do amazing things. Be gentle with yourself, and ease back into the outside world when you must. You are not alone in this.

Marla said...

I started planning my comment before I saw the last picture, so I'm going to keep going with my thoughts. In the after race picture I see girl who looks on top of the world because she kicked ass running 5 miles. She's beautiful and has a contagious smile.

You're giving people permission to be in your life that have no right being there. It's not easy, but it's time to let go.

Ellie said...

Wow, i am soo sorry to hear you are feeling this way. Your ability to turn negative words into positive ideas is uncanny. Please please don't give up on yourself!

Jen said...

I just started reading your blog and I had to comment because I've definitely felt this way too. I know how corny this will sound, but know that "this too shall pass." I get defeated and down on myself often. Just make a list of all your awesome accomplishments, of things you like about yourself, tape it to the mirror (or the fridge!) and do something good for yourself (go for a walk, buy a new outfit, hang out with a friend). Turn the negative into positive!! You'll get through it.