Monday, April 30, 2012

The disconnect.....

We all have that disconnect between the self we see, the self others perceive and the self we feel. Sometimes the difference is truly great and it seems an impossible feat to find the middle ground and the way to see and show the self we feel. For some people, looking in the mirror is easy, for others it is torture. There are some people to begin to find every single flaw and pick it all apart. For those people, getting dressed, doing their hair, putting on make up  all feel like a pointless endeavor. It doesn't mean that they don't try, but they do feel like it is not going to help. These people are often the last ones you might expect.

My disconnect is quite large. The self I feel inside is not exactly the self I allow the rest of the world to see. It isn't just about size, though I will admit that is a part of it. Those of us who have not always had an issue with weight have a large disconnect between the "us" we feel and the "us" in the mirror. The issue for me in this regard is that I see one thing, others see another, and the mirror shows another. :( My point isn't to be "down" on myself, or to fish for just honestly is how I see myself.

My friends will tell me I'm pretty and I'm talented, but it is much different when my husband says it. It is a different matter altogether when you look in the mirror and think "My goodness what are they smoking?!?" It sounds funny, I know...but I just don't see myself as pretty. Now I don't see myself as ugly per se, but I certainly don't think I'm anything special in the appearance department. When I look in the mirror I see someone who is plain, ordinary and overweight...I just assume at that point that the people who tell me otherwise are just trying to make me feel better, but that it isn't really true.

I say this because my blog is about being honest with myself...and "you"...with the harsh reality of what goes on in the mind of someone who is struggling with something....and trying to find themselves again. We ALL feel this way about ourselves, at one point or another in the least. We are ALL a work in progress and we are ALL learning what our strengths and weaknesses are. One of my weaknesses is certainly my self esteem. (As I established in my very first post!) When I "fail" or have a "set back" on the scale, I feel it...not just in the sense that I feel like I let myself down, not just in the way that I feel ashamed at the failure. When I "fail" I beat myself up. That voice in my head tells me that I will never gain control, I will be fat and disgusting and ugly forever, and that eventually everyone I love will realize this about me too. True or not, it is how my "inner voice" works. I emotionally abuse myself to the point that I feel that eating is pointless....and the depression sets in.

Emotional abuse is painful when inflicted upon you by someone you love, but I think it does far more damage when you do it to yourself. The words are not spoken out of hurt or anger, they are "spoken" out of shame and guilt of failure....a double edged sword that cuts deeply into your inner psyche. It is a cycle of self destruction that I have been battling most of my adult life. It is a war I am determined to not lose. I honestly believe that realizing the cycle and it's detriment is the first step to overcoming the pattern.

My goal is to find the little successes in my life and in myself. I want to find joy in that. I want to encourage others to not let the evil voice inside them tell them they aren't worthy of love. Don't wait to be "perfect" in your own eyes, you could already be perfect for someone else.

It is about loving yourself, in spite of all your flaws...those around you already do.
It is about finding beauty in yourself when the disconnect feels too great to do so.
It is about overcoming the obstacles we place in front of ourselves.
It is about proving to OURSELVES that WE are wrong about us...not about proving others right.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just keep going....

The last couple weeks have been really challenging for me. They put me on medications and I had TERRIBLE side effects. I was moody (read depressed and irritable), gained 6 pounds within the first week of being on the medications (even though I was still watching very closely what I was eating and making sure to eat the RIGHT foods not just the right calories), getting 30 minutes of exercise every day etc. I also had several other ones that honestly are just way beyond I'm sparing you the details. Needless to say after 2 weeks of this I took myself off of the one medication that was causing the issue. Now my body is trying to catch back up and lose what I gained.

I'm not giving up, but I think my goals have changed a bit. While I want to complete a half marathon or even just a 5k this year, I'm not sure that I will be able to realize that goal this year. It might have to be what I start off my new year with.....but I guess we will have to see how the rest of the spring and the summer go. My back has been giving me issues as well as some of my other medical issues, so I  have had to focus a bit more on those things than on others. My first priority MUST be my health and being safe about anything that I do in order to get healthy. I just can't push my body too hard some days. The weather has certainly made remaining mobile a bit difficult. As it rains and the temperature goes back and forth between chilly and warm, my joints get stiff and ache pretty some days I just rejoice in the fact that I can at least somewhat move. The arthritis will do that to me for the rest of my life so I might as well get used to it. Right? :)

The important part of all of this......of this whole to just KEEP going. I have to keep my goals in mind, try to stay positive and to not give up, no matter what my body throws at me, no matter what medications do to my body or how they set me back, no matter what anyone else says about me, about my methods (although it is important to note that I am under the direction of 3 different doctors), my progress or my attitude.

It is difficult, for all of us, to feel beautiful when the world tells us we aren't. For a "plus sized" woman it is difficult to feel pretty and often we feel like others are judging us because of the way that "fat" people are portrayed in the media, talked about in magazines or on TV, the way that clothing designers don't make clothing to fit us properly and because of the way that others look at us. Just because we are "working" on losing weight (or even for those who aren't) doesn't mean we can't feel beautiful in clothing that fits us. Why wait until I'm at a healthier weight just to feel good about myself? Isn't it time we encourage each other to feel our best regardless of size?!?

I guess my only option is to just keep going......just keep going.... two steps forward and one step back, it is still a forward matter how long it takes to get there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Going about it all wrong....

So, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) last week. I started doing some research immediate and found that there were things I didn't know about the condition. There are a lot of things still unknown about it, but most people when they hear "PCOS" think: Fat bearded women. While it is true that many women with PCOS suffer from higher levels of androgens (Male hormones such as testosterone) which can cause increased hair growth, not everyone does.

PCOS affects women differently. Some women have more severe symptoms while others don't. While I don't suffer from infertility (I have 2 kids as it is) many women do. PCOS affects my cycle and it isn't uncommon for me to skip it, but my estrogen levels are still within a "normal" range. I do have some body hair, but I don't have it to the degree that some women do. I don't shave my chin, or my chest...but I have hairier arms than most women and have had issues in the past with some thinning of my hair on my head.

When I got my diagnosis I immediately thought I was doomed to be fat forever. I was depressed and discouraged. I guess to a point I feel that way even right now. I know the cards aren't exactly stacked in my favor but I can't give up...right?

So the research began. I got a book on managing PCOS the natural way with diet and exercise. One of the things that brought me some hope on losing the weight is that it says that if you have PCOS then you have always had it. Interesting....because I haven't always been overweight. I went through my teen years quite thin actually, and started gaining weight when I was 19. I realized in reading the book's information on the history and the scientific information on PCOS, that my issues started when I stopped being as active as I was before.

You see, PCOS greatly affects one's insulin resistance and sensitivity levels. I have always thought that what I needed to do was reduce my calories. The truth is that while to a point that is true, there are things that I have to worry about that are much more important. Carbs and sugar. You see, I keep track of everything I eat every day. I eat about 1200-1300 calories a day. I eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I do NOT eat breads, grains or dairy. I found in reading the book that this is actually WRONG for me. I NEED those foods to lose weight, I just have to eat them in the right forms and in the right amounts. For me, cutting out bread or carbs in general isn't the answer....eating a lean protein, with the right carbs, several times a day.

Basically, I have been going about dieting all wrong. I have to eat a certain way due to my condition...a "special diet" is kinda needed...but life doesn't have to be so restrictive in order to get a handle on my weight and my health. I did 30 minutes on my stationary bike calf muscle did ok for it! YAY
I have managed to keep the carbohydrates down to the recommended daily amount for PCOS women with insulin resistance. And I have NOT been hungry all day! :) YAY!

A good dose of PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) and that eureka moment in reading the book has me motivated to keep educating myself and being proactive on my journey. :)

A lot of people lose weight to look good.....and while I want to look my best, I'm doing it for my health and for my life... I'm doing it for me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The hits just keep coming.....

I tore my calf muscle the week after joining our local rec center so I could exercising.  I was on crutches for a couple days and it was NOT an easy feat with all the stairs in my house. I ended up not using them at home, but kept my calf wrapped and have managed to improve to a point of being able to walk (rather well) now... I'm slow but I walk. :)

Tuesday I got a diagnosis that we suspected for years, but doctors had gone back and forth on. One doctor would say I had it, then another would say there was no indication that I had it. SIGH So after seeing my Gynecologist Tuesday for a follow up on some tests they did to try to find the source of all my pain I have been told that I have PCOS. Which means the pain I have been having, along with the weight gain, difficulty losing weight and several other symptoms, are all due to the PCOS. The doctor has put me on a couple of different treatments including hormone therapy (which is essentially birth control that regulates the hormone levels in my body) as well as a diabetes medication to help my body process insulin. Insulin issues are VERY common in women with PCOS and though I don't currently have diabetes, my risks of getting it are pretty high. It runs in my family, I'm overweight, and I have PCOS and already deal with blood sugar and insulin issues. FUN.

While happy to have a diagnosis, and relieved that I don't have cancer in my ovaries, I'm left wondering if I'm just never going to be able to get all these issues under control. The hormone therapy they put me on, being birth control, commonly causes weight gain. SIGH. So here we go again, another set of odd stacked against me. It isn't that I feel sorry for myself, it just starts to feel like maybe I should just get used to being fat, tired and in pain every single day of my life. But at the same time, I feel like that is such a defeatist attitude and I'm certainly NOT a defeatist.

It is hard to wake up every day in terrible pain, the pain meds that the doctors give you helps with the pain, but then you can't really function at full capacity...I can't drive on the narcotic pain meds for example. I guess I just choose every day to suffer through as much as I can manage. I don't like being "drugged" and I don't like missing out on life because of pain or weight. So I smile and just keep going.

I'm doing some research on how to diet when you have PCOS...the weight loss is truly necessary (as I stated in a previous post) because of my back issues.  I'm planning on getting back into the pool (hopefully today or tomorrow) and get my body moving. I just have to go slowly as far as walking or cycling goes due to the calf tear. I still have big goals for weight loss and I'm trying to remain optimistic about achieving those goals, I'm just finding it difficult to not feel so defeated right now.

The trick is keeping at it. Right? I might fail, but I'm not going to fail because I didn't try. Not working for it is the only guaranteed way to fail. The hits keep coming but I'm still standing.