Traveling with Anxiety

Tomorrow will officially mark the start of “race week” for me. After just shy of 15 months of training, I will be running my first half marathon in Disney World on February 23rd. I think it is fitting that I run my first half in Florida, as this was the place that sparked me to begin my almost 3 year long battle to loose weight. It was my cousin’s wedding and it was the first time both my mom and almost 1 year old son had ever been to Florida. So it was a super happy time full of celebration and new experiences. I had a great time visiting with my family, we made some new friends and got to spend some time at the beach with my mom and Henry. I returned to work anxiously awaiting to talk about my trip. Everything was just grand…until I uploaded the pictures.

Call me superficial, but I have always taken pride in my apperance. Even during my pregnancy. I had never been overweight a day in my life until I had my son. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing about becoming a mom, but I hit rock bottom when the weight didn’t come off as easily for me as it did for the rest of my friends. I had a lot of issues during my pregnancy, from gestational diabetes to high blood pressure. Throw some thyroid issues in there and you have yourself a trifecta of weight gain inducing madness. I actually lost weight in my first trimester from being so sick. I gained back the weight I lost and then about 8 pounds during my second trimester. I was on track to having the “ideal pregnancy” according to both of my doctors. You know, only gaining in the belly, 80% of the weight being the baby and baby growing fluid or whatever the hell it is called? Well, thanks to that statement, I was jinxed. By the start of my third trimester, I had gained 50 pounds. When I was weighed at the hospital on the day I was admitted, I had gained almost 100 pounds. Something was clearly wrong, but it was never diagnosed. I never had enough protein in my urine to be diagnosed with preeclampsia, but I had all of the other indicators. At my 6 week post partum visit, my primary doctor admitted that they may have missed the diagnoses. Especially with the weight I lost right after giving birth (20 pounds in the two days I stayed in the hospital. All excess fluids). Who knows? Too late now. All I knew was that I still felt awful.

After the 6 week postpartum visit, I was cleared to exercise. I tried to lose weight on my own just by eating what I thought was healthy. Yoplait yogurts and low fat everything. I should have gone to a doctor outside of my OBGYN to have some tests ran, but I have always been untrusting of doctors and the whole “pretty sure we missed you having a deadly disease while being pregnant” didn’t help to change that. I lost maybe 10 pounds before we headed to Florida for my cousin’s wedding. I had hoped to lose more, but I was headed to a wedding and I  had one of the first new  babies in the family in almost 6 years. I knew the attention would not be on me. In fact, I hid behind the attention Henry was getting for a long time. No one was really noticing me anymore, so who cares! Mommies are supposed to be plump. That is how they survived the plagues and shit during the 1500’s.

I was wrong. I was also embarrassed that I couldn’t lose weight and it wasn’t until I saw the pictures I was forced to take while in Florida that I noticed I had a problem that needed to be addressed. And quickly. I was mortified. My face looked swollen and even my fucking nose was obese. How does that even happen?

I joined a gym with the help and encouragement from a good friend. She was just getting into this fairly new sport called Crossfit. I walked into the gym and almost walked right out. No way could I ever achieve what these people were doing. Ever. Never in my lifetime could I even begin to lift just the bar of one of those weights over my head…repeatedly then drop and do 230 burpees. Fuck that, where’s the treadmill?

But, this friend has always been my rock. I was told “quality not quantity” and “form not weight.” After 6 weeks I had done enough WODs to feel almost secure in myself. I even explored kickboxing and cycling classes. My friend and I were even trying out this crazy new “diet” called Paleo and we were trying our best to Zone. (Look that one up, still makes me LOL). It was so crazy back then (like almost 3 years ago was SO long ago, but Paleo has really taken off in the last few years). This way of eating seemed so foreign to the people we tried to explain it to. You know, it was just insane to eat as if you weren’t a bored and fat American who relied on Kraft products on a nightly basis for sustenance.  Anyway, after two months I had lost 25 pounds. But my victories were short lived. Unfortunately, my job became super busy and time consuming and I began dealing with some health issues that Henry was having. They are all well under control now, I won’t go into them because that time in my life is far too painful and time consuming to explain. Maybe one day. But because of these things,  I took an almost year long hiatus from exercising. I openly admit to using these thing as excuses and I still feel ashamed of it to this day. But, I justified it then by still attempting to follow the “Paleo rules” while eating for the most part, this did not include the insane amount of alcohol I was drinking to cope with a sick child, or the binge eating of “Paleo approved” deserts for dinner.

Fast forward to November of 2012. I had a doctor’s appointment for a ruptured ear drum. I usually never get sick, but when I do it almost always warrants some sort of medication. I had to be weighed for proper dosage of an antibiotic. I didn’t want to look at the number on the scale, so I looked to the side. Unfortunately (or fortunately, really) I saw the number because it was a digital scale that had the readout on the wall. 210 pounds. All I thought was: 210 pounds. I still weighed 210 pounds. I had a baby over 2 years ago, lost some weight and I still weigh 210 pounds. Oh, and my blood pressure was still high.

It took a few days to recover from my ruptured ear drum fiasco. Which, by the way,  is one of the shittest things that can happen to you. I joined a new gym, that didn’t have Crossfit or my friend (she moved to Oregon a few years ago). I didn’t know anyone there, so I knew it would be a huge challenge for me to stick with it. But I did. I stuck with it because I had to. My health depended on it. No excuses this time. I have stuck with it for well over a year now. I have my off days, more so now than when I initially joined the gym due to the numerous and oh so joyous injuries that occur when you run (shin splints, anyone?). I even managed to take myself outside of the gym and began to run in the   parks that surround my house. The old Diane would have been to anxious and insecure to do that. But it wasn’t until I began to run outside that I fell in love with it. I mean, how can you fall in love with running while you are on a treadmill watching Ellen? I dare say I even  looked forward to it. I even got a running partner, an adopted golden retriever named Moses to run with me.

Running almost daily, combined with my diet caused the weight to fall off quickly. One of the best things about eating Paleo is that I am never hungry. I never calorie restricted to the point of starvation, so I never binge ate. I didn’t eat processed sugar, so I never craved it. I FELT AWESOME. Until the shin splints developed from running, but I gladly took the pain . After all it meant that I was moving. Quickly. They were my earned stripes in some strange way. My blood pressure became normal within 6 months of healthy eating and running and by March of 2013, 5 months into my journey I had lost almost 30 pounds and over 12 inches off my body. I stopped weighing myself this past November, but the last time I was weighed was in October, just before Halloween. I was once again at the doctor for an ear infection. Instead of looking away, I anxiously awaited the number to appear. 158 pounds. All I thought was: 158 pounds. I haven’t even been running for a year and I weigh 158 pounds.  

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Photo on the left was taken outside of our hotel in Florida in 2011, photo on the right was taken at Tipsaw Lake in September of 2013.

So now, as I sit here and relive this whole crazy journey to health, I am becoming anxious about my upcoming trip to Florida. I am ready for the race, I know this in my heart. My mind is just always anxious and tries to come up with excuses for me to cop out. It has always been that way. I will admit, there will be a lot of firsts on this trip as well. The biggest one being that it is just Henry and I going. I have never flown anywhere by myself. But, I keep telling myself that if my elderly grandmother could travel to Texas with me as a child, I can totally do this. I can also totally finish a half marathon.

I can have my gluten free cake and eat it too.

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