Sunday, June 17, 2012

Who is your #1?

Support – to keep something or somebody stable; to give active help and encouragement

Have you surrounded yourself with an incredible support system?  Who is your number one supporter?  That person that
·         Holds you accountable
·         Challenges you, pushes you, encourages you
·         you can lean on when you are having a bad day and eating everything in sight
·          understands your hatred for the treadmill (or exercise in general)
·         will tell you if an outfit is flattering on you or not or if in fact that size fits you or not
·         gives you great ideas of new foods or exercise to try
·         talks you through a plateau
·         understands all that a significant lifestyle change for the healthier entails and the trials and tribulations along the way

I wanted to share my story of how I came to know my #1 cheerleader and our recent girl’s weekend.

Fate is an amazing thing.  I believe that people are brought into your life for a reason.  2 years ago a friend of a friend on Facebook was looking for a photographer to take her son’s senior photos.  I saw that my friend had commented on her post, so it showed up in my news feed.  As a photographer, I commented, joking that if she wanted to take a roadtrip to where we lived I would love to do them for her.  Nothing came of the photo shoot, but we became facebook friends.  I never knew how that one comment would change my life.  Crazy!!

Through something as simple as facebook we began to get to know each other through status updates.  Not surprising I guess, as we are both facebook addicts lol.   We found that we have very similar stories – both are remarried.  Both are working moms.  Both are very open, wear our hearts on our sleeve kinda people.  Both have similar likes and dislikes.  Both recently started on the biggest journey of our life – to become healthier and lose a significant amount of weight.  Melissa started on her journey almost a year ago (Aug 1) by joining Weight Watchers.  I also started making changes to my lifestyle about this time too, but not as dramatically as she did.   While I started the very beginning of my diet and lifestyle change in August, I didn’t really get 100% serious until January.  That’s when I started logging my weight, really committing to watching my diet consistently, trying to introduce exercise, etc.

Melissa faithfully posts a weekly photo on facebook to show her progress to hold herself accountable.  Along the way I started noticing a major change in how she was looking.  Her face was getting thinner.  She was losing weight.   I would comment on her weekly progress post, giving her kudos for a job well done, encouraging her on.  She inspired me to begin taking photos of myself to document my progress, though I wasn’t “out of the diet closet yet” and sharing that I had begin this journey, much less my progress.  It was my own little secret.  I was writing the blog, but was using it as my own therapy and not sharing with anyone.  
It was about Feb when I suddenly noticed a significant change between my FB profile picture and my weekly progress photo.  I was excited to see the changes in my own face and posted on facebook .  That photo was received by many positive comments and people asking if I had lost weight and what was I doing.  It was at that moment that I “came out of the diet closet” and began sharing my story with others, hoping that I could help inspire at least one person the way that Melissa has inspired and continues to inspire me.
We just “get” each other.  We have been through the “good weeks” together.  We have been through plateaus together.  We struggle with food the same ways.  We both struggle to stay on the wagon and not slip back into our previously bad habits.  We give each other new snack and meal ideas.  Exercise has not been something we enjoy or have been good at or consistent.  When one of us is having a bad or an off day, the other offers words of encouragement that only a fellow dieter can understand.  We don’t judge.  We support….no matter what!  Without envy, or jealousy.  Just true friendship and support.

So while seeing her weekly progress photos, I noticed we also have similar taste in clothing.  She was always wearing such cute outfits!!!  And she would post status updates of her bargain shopping adventures – that girl knows her way around the clearance rack!  So as my weight continued to drop off, in such a way that a new wardrobe was becoming more and more necessary, I told her we were going to need to plan a girl’s weekend shopping trip so she could help me find some new things.  So a plan was born!  I drove almost 5 hours to her house last weekend for the most relaxing and pampering weekend I have spent in a long time, maybe ever.  From the minute I hit her front door we were instantly confirmed that a truly great friendship had been formed.  We chatted until late into the night.  She introduced me to some new food ideas.  We got pedis.  And of course we shopped our hearts out!

I normally hate shopping with anyone else.  I am not a good person to shop with.  I don’t like to shop for clothes because I don’t like the way they fit on me. I wander around the store, usually several times, looking at the same items.  I pick up a few to try on.  I HATE the way I look in the dressing room mirrors!  I usually find that the things that were cute on the rack I don't like on me.  So I often waste time in the whole process and go home frustrated and empty handed.  So I tend to only shop if I NEED something.  But I was at the point now where I NEEDED to get new clothes so I had to shop.  I had multiple people telling me I was looking "frumpy" and my clothes were hanging off of me.  And they were right.  So my thought was that if I had to go shopping I might as well do it with someone who has great taste, mad bargain skills, who has my back (and the honesty to tell when something is HOT or NOT) and just make it as fun as possible.  

And BOY oh boy was that the right call!  I had the best time shopping I have ever had.  We found the cutest things!  I actually enjoyed shopping for once!  Of course, what's not to love when you are trying on sizes smaller than you have even been able to think about  in a loooooooong time and you have someone telling you how great you look! What a treat that was!!  For pants I was a wider range, 20, 18, even one 16!!  I even got a skirt that was a size LARGE....crazy!  I didn't buy a SINGLE top that was larger than a what a strange change that was!  I still don't feel like it's sunk in and I've adjusted yet to seeing the new sizes in my closet.  I know my old clothes are baggy and loose (but they are familiar, comfortable and safe) and the new clothes fit but I still seem to be seeing the 280 pound fat me when I look in the mirror or wear clothes.

I firmly believe that when you go through such a life changing transformation like this you NEED to have people (at least one person) in your life that will regularly, continuously tell you encouraging great you look, how great you are doing, etc.  You need to begin hearing the compliments and get to the point where you begin accepting them.  I have begun to realize that at my heaviest, I had a broken soul.  I had lost my self worth.  I was not confident in myself.  I was the fat person that no one, including myself, should want to love.  I was hiding from myself and the world behind food and my fat.  I didn't realize how truly unhappy I was on the inside.  But the person you truly are within, at your very core, is a strong, confident, beautiful, sexy, vibrant person.  You just need to find that and allow yourself the gift of becoming the person you were meant to be.  You deserve to be all of those things.  But you have to keep telling yourself that and hearing it for it to begin sinking in, and allow it to sink in.  It is a process, a journey, and takes time to migrate away from the former state of self-loathing and negative thoughts to being truly loving yourself and who you are.

So I encourage you, if you are going through the journey to changing your life, becoming healthy and losing weight, make sure that you have a #1 Cheerleader in your life.  Find a great support system and surround yourself with encouraging people that will build you up and help you to realize amazing person that is inside you, begging to come out.  You deserve to find happiness, confidence, and inner beauty.  Embrace it!  Enjoy it!

So in closing, I ask you.....who is your number one?

1 comment:

  1. Ok, let me clear all the tears, so I can see what I'm typing!!!! You are AMAZING Jennifer!!! Although my husband is Also AMAZING...he still doesn't get the whole picture of support and understanding that I need. YOU DOLL FACE get me!!! You are my NUMBER ONE!!! Fate is an amazing thing and I adore you to pieces. I am so proud of that fact that you are now an "out of the closet" dieter, and you get to embrace your BEAUTY!! You are GORGEOUS inside and out Lovey!! I'm so PROUD to add such a HOT MAMA to my handful of people I consider to be a BIFF (Best Friends Forever) I look forward to many more GIRLFRIEND Pampering weekends with you!!! Keep on keeping up your positive attitude and BEAUTY that explodes from you inside and out and I'm sure you will get to be the PROUD motivator to another human being!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH GIRLIE!!!!!!!! :-)