WritersButt Wednesday — A Life-Changing Journey Begins
I’ve been looking forward to this day and it’s extremely special to me. A couple weeks ago, Jennifer Oliver contacted me, as well as August McLaughlin, about getting control of her health. After we exchanged a few emails, I asked her if she’d be willing to make her journey public on my blog so that she could inspire others. Jennifer agreed because she made the decision to commit to her health, and she knows that with a team behind her, she will have the support she needs to succeed. Isn’t she awesome!!
Shortly after we set this plan in motion, Jennifer shared this great quote on her Facebook page. I think it’s incredible and epitomizes that moment when you’ve finally had enough and have made the decision to make the changes to make things different.
It’s one thing for me to encourage you to workout, do your potty squats, drink all that water, make good nutritional choices and quite another for you to see someone, just like you, actually do all of those things and then share with us how she’s doing. That’s what Jennifer has agreed to do and I’m so grateful she trusts me with her goals and to guide her on this journey.
Now, I’d like Jennifer to tell you her story.
It’s hard to put myself out there like this, to be so honest and admit my flaws for the world to see. But if my words can reach just one person, if I can help someone else in a similar situation, then it’s more than worth it for me to swallow some pride.
It’s no secret that I’d like to lose weight. I’ve posted before on my blog about wanting to get in shape, to get healthy. I made goals, I told my friends about them, and even added them to my ROW80 writing challenge. I bought Wii Fit Plus. I downloaded “Couch to 5K.” The intention was there, it really was. But it just never happened. Oh, I walked, worked out, and ate better for a couple of days or so, and then something would come up that would sidetrack me. “Life got in the way,” I said. But the real truth is that it got in the way because I let it.
Why? Because it was easier. I think it’s human nature to gravitate towards the easy path and avoid the really hard things in life. For me, I didn’t want to not acknowledge my situation. I didn’t want to admit to myself how overweight I’d become. I didn’t want to see how much I’d let myself go. I turned a blind eye to my weight and my poor exercise habits. Essentially, I turned my back on myself.
But ignoring something or putting it off, doesn’t make it go away. My self-esteem was non-existent. Worse, if that’s possible. The weight kept building, to the point that it affected my way of thinking and my relationships. For most of my life, I was the skinny girl. Not any more. I hated the way I looked.
I avoided visiting old friends who came to town. I didn’t want to see the look on their face when they saw me. It’s hard to hide the “Wow, did she get big,” look that inevitably happens.
I didn’t want to go out in public if I could help it. My clothes didn’t fit right, or were uncomfortable. My ankles were puffy and there was NO way I would be seen in a bathing suit. I started saying at home more and more, inside the safety of my house where no one could see how crappy I looked.
I made excuses to not go clothes shopping. I’d say I just hated to spend the money, or that I really didn’t need anything. But really I didn’t want to go because of how it made me feel. Trying on clothes when you are really overweight is depressing. Items don’t fit. You have to go get yet another larger size. Or worse, you have to ask the sales associate if they even have a larger size and you get told “Oh I’m sorry, we don’t carry sizes that big.” Yeah, that feels good to your ego, doesn’t it? So I stopped going. But that’s not all. It gets worse.
I insisted I was embarrassing my husband, too. He denied it emphatically. My husband loves me, I have no doubt about this. Yet, no matter what he said, I just knew his friends were trying to figure out why he was with a fat chick. I would develop migraines from stressing about going to our friends’ houses to hang out. My clothes, my hair, my pale skin. In my mind, I looked ridiculous. My husband would swear I didn’t but I didn’t believe him. I didn’t want to be one of those people that everyone looks at and shakes their head because they were so overweight. In reality, I was embarrassed of myself and it was making things worse than what they were.
I lost friends. I got more depressed. I had trouble writing. I didn’t have any energy. I wanted to sleep – a lot. I wanted to eat comfort foods. A lot of comfort foods.
You know, it’s really hard to take a good, long look and see how poorly you’ve treated yourself. Or in my case, how I neglected myself. But I did it and I didn’t like what I found during that soul-searching moment.
I cried, no, I sobbed. Out of guilt for abusing myself, for the lost friends, and the lost moments of potential happiness that I’d denied myself. And then I decided I never wanted to feel that way about myself again. Ever.
Rationally, I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I didn’t have a clue where to begin. I needed coaching, guidance, a miracle – anything to point me in the right direction. Emotionally, it’s really hard to ask for help. Especially when it’s so personal. So I did what I do best – I wrote. Yes, it was just two emails but, hey, ya gotta start somewhere right? Believe me, those were two of the hardest emails I have ever had to write.
I contacted Ginger and August McLaughlin, two wonderful and beautiful women in my WANA writing group, and I asked them for advice. Their responses were better than anything I could have imagined. They both offered various ways that they could help me. I was humbled by their generosity and compassion. It strengthened my resolve. I must make a change. I have to.
So today, I’m officially announcing my decision to take part in a WritersButt Challenge. I know I’ve tried other things and failed, but I won’t be doing it alone this time. Ginger will be helping me to meet my goals and guiding me on the right path to do so. August will also be helping me by providing nutritional information. It’s going to be hard, there’s no doubt. I’ve got a lot of bad habits to break.
I am blessed to have people in my life like Ginger and August. People who would take time out of their busy lives to help another. Their willingness to help me lead me to make another decision: to share my story, my challenges, and hopefully, my success. I’ll be posting my experiences and progress reports on my blog and Ginger is going to share updates with you, too. August will be visiting my blog to share some of her knowledge as well. With the support of these great women and the encouragement of friends and family, I truly believe I’m finally going to get my life back.
Thanks you so much, Jennifer, for your honesty and for trusting us with your story. Never doubt that you have me in your corner, at your back, encouraging you to take one more step, to believe in yourself, and to celebrate every small victory. I have no doubt that you have August at your back as well, in addition to all my amazing WritersButt Warriors. You have a TEAM!
So team … let’s huddle up, hands in and it’s Jennifer Rocks on three —
One, Two, Three … JENNIFER ROCKS!!