More than thirty pounds ago, my life was different. As a naturally happy person, thankfully, most people didn’t notice the changes in me. Yes, of course, they could see the extra weight I was carrying, but I’m talking about the big wet blanket effect that dampened my lust, my enthusiasm for just about everything. Most people couldn’t tell because I love to be happy. I love to make other people happy. I could force myself to be my outwardly chirpy self while I hated the package I presented to the world, and worse yet, in which I kept myself entombed. Trapped. Desperate. I told myself that my weight didn’t change who I was inside, but man, it did. Dramatically as it turns out. As the numbers on my scale climbed and I flailed for footing on that slippery slope so I could grab myself by the fat rolls and get control, it began to change my personality. I yo-yo’d quite a bit. The effect would wax and wain accordingly. The higher my weight got, my normally naturally high enthusiasm would drop inversely.
My love for tennis, Gaelic football (I was a founding player for the women’s team here) was suffocated. I became embarrassed to show up. Don’t get me wrong, I was talented and respected, even at the top of my scale, but the respect and affection was all outside coming in. Looking around the court or the playing field, I hated knowing that I was the largest person there. My whole athletic life, until adulthood and babies, I had always been one of the smallest, quickest — confident, coordinated, talented, enthusiastic and fun. Suddenly, there was a deep self-loathing. My competitive spirit didn’t leave, but my joy was stifled. I hated not loving what I loved passionately.
Recently, I figured out that my lack of interest didn’t stop there. As a business development rep, it’s my job to be “on” all the time. It’s my job to sparkle, shine and lift clients up and help them shine, but especially in the last year, I found it difficult to care at all. My job was a drag. I dreamed about quitting. I wanted to just do something from home. I was sick of people. I was sick of working. I did not like much of anything beyond the walls of my home. So, after my knee surgery, which also happens to be when I finally hit my 30 pound mark, I had a miraculous re-invigoration for work. Suddenly, I remembered how good it feels to like what you do. I burned it up and made calls, wrote emails, reached out and felt renewed excitement at helping my clients with their businesses. A client once said to me, “You walk in here like a ray of sunshine. I love to see you come in that door. You always make me laugh. You spread sunshine!” I’d forgotten how great it felt to spread the joy, sunshine again. I forgot how fun it is to be me and to do a job so suited to my disposition and talents.
That wet blanket, that layer of fat, was suffocating the life out of me. It was a big wet glob of insulation that kept the yuck inside and the sunshine out. Life was out there and I was hiding inside this terrible place full of self loathing, shame, and self imposed ostracism.
I didn’t get out of there on my own. I tried so many times, so many strategies! I exercised a lot. I’d play tennis, hike, mountain bike and otherwise sweat my guts out, but it was so hard to lose a pound or two. I’d go out with friends, family and feel so happy laughing, drinking and eating crap. Then, I’d spend the rest of the night feeling sick, and angry. What a brutal ritual. It was a ritual too, because it got repeated over and over and over again.
Here I am. Me again, and I’m only half way there! Let me tell you what I think happened.
Ideal protein happened. I heard about it from a tennis acquaintance. It had obviously worked for her. She said it was fast and easy. She wasn’t done yet either and she looked pretty damned great. If she could, I could. I was ready. I was miserable and 50 pounds too heavy.
Why did/does it work for me? That is the question. The answer, I believe, is multifaceted. The timing was perfect, I was having to stop playing because of my knee injury. I felt like I was at rock bottom. I wanted to stop playing anyway. It wasn’t fun, even when I kicked ass, because I was so embarrassed by how I looked. It didn’t matter how well I played, or how fast I was, to me, I was just fat. The IP program is pretty perfect for my body type. I’m very naturally muscular. I build muscle easily, and quickly. Ideal Protein is high protein and low carbs, but not to the extreme. It’s sort of a hybrid (in my opinion and I could be completely wrong) between Adkins and South Beach. I eat vegetables now for cripes sake! Now that I’m eating this way, I honestly (seriously, honestly) have no desire to eat high carb, sugary things. When I do take a bite or two, I’ve found that I don’t want to bust out and and go crazy. My whole relationship (I’ve said it before) with food is completely different. Eating is not a celebration! It’s not really supposed to be anyway. It’s nourishment for this machine. That is all. This machine has a glorious life to live!
Why did I stick it out? If you’ve been with me from the beginning starting with my first Ideal Protein post on June 11, you’ll know it wasn’t always easy. In fact, I had a hell week or two… I hated it. I was pissed. I felt like dog, like dirty dog. My body detoxed hard. I lost 10 pounds of gunk the first really, really hard week. For some reason though, this thing was damned well gonna work, and suddenly, I was not alone. My friend Wendy started with me. My coach Dee texted all the time. I wrote my heart out right here on this blog and suddenly, readers began to comment on my posts. I began to read other’s blogs and engage and feel connected, encouraged, (gasp) almost happy! I’ve made friends here in the blogsphere. You know who you are. Thank you profusely, and from my heart of hearts.
I’m not there yet, but I’m back. I’m right here. My enthusiasm, my natural energy and desire to be Sarah sunshine has been resurrected. I’ve shed the wet blanket. My desire to get on that court, and onto that field are burning a hole in my heart. I’ll rehab this knee just like I’m rehabbing the rest of me. I hate that I wasted any time at all there under that cold, wet, dark blanket.
Please, figure out a plan you can really stick to. Mine sincerely is a way of life now. I thought that phrase was a load of bollocks. Now, I know. Get out! Escape that blanket and you’ll be so relieved to have your life back. I promise. I’m here to help, encourage and motivate. If you want me to stop by your blog, leave a comment. I will. I know what support can do to a person’s morale, and I want to help.
Come on out, the weather’s fine!