Thursday, October 22

Before meets Almost Finished

My dear wonderful readers…

Today is a big day for me. No, I’m not sharing my “big news” yet. What I am going to share with you is a very special picture.

Last year about this time, knowing full well that my doctor considered me “morbidly obese,” (because he wrote it on my chart. In front of me. LEGIBLY. Jerk.) I felt defeated. I felt like no matter how many pounds I lost in a week, or even a month, I would never get close to my goal weight. Or anything resembling a respectable weight.

What really depressed me is that I have to have surgery before I can have kids again. (My tubes were tied in my previous marriage. A decision I was NOT happy about.) I had to have a body mass index (BMI) of under 35 before I could ever be considered safe to have a tubal ligation reversal, and I was kissing a BMI of 41. I was going to HAVE to lose weight if I wanted the surgery to get pregnant again. (Before you ask-No, I’m not pregnant. I took a test last night and it was a no-go. Crazy to take a test, because I am sterile at the moment, yet I am ever optimistic and believe in miracles!) But if surgery is the route for us to get pregnant, I was never going to have a baby again, because I couldn’t lose weight. I tried, but other than a few pounds of what I am sure was water weight, I couldn’t do it. I was a big fat failure.

You all know that I weighed 238 at my heaviest documented weight. You know that I have been working for a little over 10 months seriously to get this weight off. And now, my fantastic supportive friends who love me and cheer me on…it is time for you all to see “THE ONE” picture that changed my life. After I saw this picture, taken last Christmas morning, I spent the next 3 days crying, screaming, and beating myself up. It is awful. And on the 4th day, when I looked at it, I decided to do something about it. I decided to get serious about losing weight and exercising. I found a tiny sliver of determination (which I am sure was the very last of what I had squandered for 10 years prior) and made a choice. I was going to lose weight.

And now…presenting for the first time in public view… is the worst picture of me EVER TAKEN. Quite possibly the worst picture taken of anyone- ever. I am swallowing my pride to show you the very bottom depths of my weight loss journey. This, my darling sisters in dieting, is where I started.

I am so thankful for this picture. Well, now I am. I hated it for several months. I never wanted to see how low I had gone (or count how many of my chins were hanging out) and wished it would disappear off our computer. I almost deleted it several times. But every time I tried, something inside me cried out “NO!!!!” I have learned to listen to that voice, so I never finished the deed.

A couple of nights ago, I was making a video of a song I wrote for a musician friend who is writing guitar for it (it being The Official Shrink Charlie’s Big Butt Theme Song…it’s a hoot, and we are recording it next week. I PROMISE I will post it as soon as we finish!) and when I watched the playback of the video, I noticed something. My face looked really weird. I didn’t look like myself anymore. It’s tough to notice change when you look at yourself in a mirror every day. But when you have a video and are looking directly at yourself, and it doesn’t look like you at all, you take notice.

So I snapped a couple of pictures of me mugging for the camera, and this was what I saw…

I have no idea who this girl is. She looks…well…she looks thin! What I would consider thin, anyway. Before anyone squawks about anything- let me say this. My body doesn’t look like the face. Not yet. But all of a sudden I realized that I had changed somewhere between the blisters and peeing on my mattress this morning. Because 4 weeks ago- I DID NOT LOOK LIKE THIS.

The reason I am rambling on and on about this is for one reason. I was the girl who couldn’t diet. I couldn’t lose weight. Never have. And I am guessing that some of you out there can relate to that. I bet some of you have said to yourself “I am just going to have to accept myself like this because I will never change.”

And I am here to tell you I know for a fact that YOU ARE WRONG.

You can do this. I’m not going to tell you that it will be easy, or that weight will come off quickly, but I will tell you that if you are determined enough to give it everything you have got…YOU CAN DO THIS.

As I was thinking about this strange girl invading my pictures and singing on the video, I remembered that very first awful, horrific picture. And I decided to put them side by side. I like having motivational pictures of myself floating around the house, taped on the fridge door, on the bathroom mirror…anywhere I walk by. As I was putting the pictures on the same page, I had some left over space on the paper. I decided to think of a phrase that would keep me working on my goal. I couldn't come up with one I already knew, so I made one myself. This was what I came up with:

When you believe in your dreams and face your fears,
You can change the things you face in mirrors.

Catchy, huh? But it speaks volumes to my weight loss story so far. I believed, just a teeny bit at first, that I might be able to do this. I faced my fears of exercise, yoga, sweat, and broccoli. I faced the emotional issues that have come up head on, and you have supported me through all of it.

Then one day, after thinking that I was stalled out and nothing was happening on the diet front- WHAM! That girl showed up, and my mirror was showing me someone that I had never met before. This woman, who was once the one who shied away from cameras and only wore black clothing hoping it would slim her, the woman who used to make power point projects to show while she sang on Sunday mornings so no one would look at how fat she was…this woman, who thought she would never change- she finally changed.

I am crying right now as I write this, because I wish I could show you how ripped open my heart is at the moment. I am proud of what has happened over the last year, but am lying flat out on the floor in humility because this journey would not have happened without 2 important things.

1. The grace and mercy of a God who decided to let me fall so far down by my own hand that I could only look to Him for help in losing weight. When I gave Him control over this area in my life and concentrated on one day at a time, He slowly and lovingly brought me up out of the pit- showing me unreasonable grace every single day of this uphill journey.

2. The faithful friends who have read my blog, commented, emailed, called, and generally loved the stuffings out of me through the whole thing. I MEAN YOU.

OK, I gotta get some Kleenex, because I am bawling at the moment. But you all have no idea how amazing this is for me. I want so badly to put into words what my heart is crying out, but I’m not sure how to word it. So, instead, I will say this.

"If you are in a pit caused by weight at the moment, let me love you like I have been loved. Let me cheer you on like hundreds of people have done for me on this blog. Let me cry with you, celebrate with you, and even eat with you. I want more than anything to pass on this gift to every single one of you. When you get to your finish line, I want to be the one there to give you cups of cold water and hang a medal around your sweet swan-like neck.

I am in the final stretches of my own race now, and I see you standing ahead, waiting for me to cross the finish line. I’m on my way, and soon we will REALLY celebrate. But for now, I’m running side by side with you, every step of the way. I am here for you."

I love you all, and you are more precious to me than all the gold, silver and Krispy Kremes in the world.

Keep running, my sweet sisters, keep running.


Lindsey @ A New Life said...

Now I'm crying!!!

What I love most about the pictures is not physical at is the joy and life only brought about by God shining through in that second one. I'm amazed, but not really. That's what God does!

I'll welcome your prayers on the mountain I am climbing right now; and interestingly enough, on my own weight loss journey. I gained a ton of weight, on purpose, after the big bang in my marriage. Just now getting to the point, where I am ok looking like I used to, and not trying to hide anymore.

Anyway, love you! So PROUD of you!

Leah Gillen said...

You know I'm right there with you sister! I AM waiting with that cup of water at the finish line, and I know you will be for me when I cross it also! Praying 4 u!

Danielle said...

You are so beautiful! Look at that neck! Heee! That's always how I determine if I'm gaining or my neck. Weird, I know.

You are a truly inspiring woman... especially because you know Who has given you success and triumph! PTL!

Girl, I love you and I will be handing over more than just a cold cup of water. I'll be waiting to give you a big bear hug!

Then, I'll be asking that you that you help me kick myself into gear. I'm ashamed that I've gained some weight because of allowing myself to get back into bondage of food and idleness. Stress is a killer! But, I have been making myself get up in the morning and work-out... plus watch what I eat during the day. It is so hard! But, because I am not truly looking to the One who gives true strength.

Anonymous said...

Well, I met you the day after your "before" pic was taken. I knew you were heavy, but you weren't one of those "disgusting" heavy people - know what I mean? I'm so proud of you for your determination and perseverance on this journey. You're an inspiration and I'm proud of you for what you've accomplished so far! You'll make it to the end!

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Thank you. :)

Tracey The AVON Lady said...

Wow! What a difference, not only in looks but the look that seems to be coming from the inside. You are Beautiful!!

Tami said...

Beautiful...inside and out :)

Nichole said...

Wow Charlie! Beautiful!

Lee Ann said...

It's so special that you've decided to share this with all of us. It is such motivation. I do have to disagree with one thing you said though...I think the body does match the face. You are looking so amazing! I was stunned when I saw you in those jeans the other day. So slim!! If I didn't love you so much, I'd hate you with jealousy :)

Debbie said...

Charlie....I couldn't be more proud of you. Your picture is gorgeous!!Through "thick" and "thin" though,you have ALWAYS been beautiful, inside and out!
By your; example, sense of humor, willpower,and most importantly your inspiring example of trusting God throughout this have inspired me to REALLY do it and to KEEP it off this time!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

Okay, little sister, I finally started reading your blog again, and you've inspired me to get back at it! I officially give up all the excuses (no money to go to "the meetings" or the exercise place that I love--I can do this b/c you say so and because God is with me! That was a long and ridiculous sentence, but I'm not the writer, you are!
So, after losing 40 lbs. and gaining back 25+, here I am, back 195 this morning! Ugh! but I'm letting it go and looking forward to what is ahead.
love you, little sister,
PS-I'm so sorry we told you that story ;)

Hillary @ The Other Mama said...

I am so proud of you and proud to know you. That's all. :)

Jordan (@FutureFitGirl) said...

I am crying reading this. This is exactly where I am. I know I need to give it all to God and even with my best intentions, I pull back and try to control things myself. You are so inspirational and I loved seeing you and meeting you (however quickly) at Fitbloggin this weekend!

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