The Journey to Me

Who you see today is different from Cynthia 4 years ago…completely.

In this ever-changing life, most of the changes happened recently. Changes on speed.

In 2005 I taught High School Foreign Language while applying to seminary weighing in at over 270 pounds.  My actual weight is unknown because I didn’t own a scale…I didn’t want to know.  Stairs left me huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf.

I survived full days of classes teaching teenagers to say “Hola” and “Bonjour” with large bottles of Coca-Cola and PTA cookies and cakes.  By the end of the day I was wiped out yet pushed through 3 hours volunteering at my church.  Finally I would flop on my couch to watch TV zone out before rolling into bed and doing it all again.  I was constantly exhausted and miserable.

Christmas of 2005 my grandmother requested a photo of her girl grandchildren. Sure why not?  Anything to make grandma happy.  Then the photos came back…

 

I was a stuffed sausage in my best pants and tank to with a shirt that couldn’t button. A photo doesn’t lie…I was unhappy.  My grandmother displays every photo on her walls…this one still stares at me as a reminder.

At the same time I had a physical for my seminary application.  Same speech as always…”You should lose weight.  You are too heavy for someone so young.  You will be healthier and need less medication.  You will feel better. Etc, Etc, Etc.”  That time, sitting in a paper gown, hit home.  My weight was holding me back from the life I wanted.

 

 

This required big changes…I didn’t know how big.  With my kitchen cleared of the junk, I loaded my refrigerator and pantry with fresh ingredients and of course a few healthier snacks.

My OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) made calorie counting a natural fit for keeping track of my eating.  I was shocked at what I thought a portion size was.  I was eating like a small army. I quickly learned a new word, M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N.  This was for the long-term, not a quick fix, so balance was key.

Eight months later when I entered seminary I had lost  over 80 pounds and dropped 6 sizes. I was unrecognizable.  My classmates had only seen the first of these pictures…I looked like a different person.

Seminary brought a new set of challenges.  An over abundance of free food and little time to exercise in my schedule welcomed back 20 pounds.  Not instantly but my clothes fit differently and my fitness level faded.  My life had changed and so I had to change with it.

 

I started running in April of 2007 at a friend’s urging. I trained all summer using the Couch to 5K program.  I jumped and screamed, literally, when I reached my goal of 5K without stopping.  Good thing!  I had impulsively signed up for a 5K on Labour Day.  I finished without stopping and ran 3 more  that fall.  I was hooked.

 

After a 5 mile Turkey Trot in 2007 I injured my back.  I couldn’t keep up with my running although I tried.  It wasn’t possible, the pain was excruciating.  I couldn’t run so I ate…a lot and gained 10 more pounds.  It was emotional eating but I was too upset to stop.  Ironic?

For 8 months I was poked and prodded, large doses of x-rays and pain medication in an attempt to determine what the heck.  Meanwhile I finished my final semester of seminary.  I allowed myself one month to wallow in my self-pity…and a pint of ice cream…then decided to do something about the weight I had gained.  I joined Weight Watchers and made the change from calories to points. With the support of a great leader I lost 35 pounds for a total of over 115+ pounds lost before graduation and my wedding in June of 2008.

Oh yeah, did I mention I met a great guy in seminary. :-D  Hunni and I fell in love over football and long walks during our two years of study.  We married the week after graduation.  How’s that for a change!

The injury diagnosis was 3 herniated discs in my lumbar spine.  The last 3 months of seminary I couldn’t sit and could barely hold up my beloved wedding dress I picked before the injury. Even our honeymoon was cancelled because I couldn’t sit to fly. :-(  This was no way to live life…it had to change.

 

 

I had surgery two months after the wedding to replace those nagging discs after a year of torture.  I gained 10 pounds post surgery with inactivity and emotional eating…again.  When freed from house arrest (and I learning to put on my straight jacket like brace) I busted my butt in physical therapy to regain strength and mobility.  Running came slowly with the blessing of doctor and physical therapist.  The eating followed along in stride.

 

 

I set a happy goal weight for myself and the last few pounds came off.  I am focused on maintenance now with an entirely different set of other changes. I’m learning to eat food for my specific health issues (IBS and food sensitivities).  I’ve become a vegetarian, stopped drinking diet coke, stopped eating traditional cane sugar or sugar alcohols, limiting dairy and drink only one cup of coffee a day.

These changes and many others are necessary to maintain my health and retrain my brain on things that are good for ME.  It’s a process but life is constantly changing even at goal.

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