Hello. My name is Sarah and it has been 50 days since I last blogged.
The last post I shared was on August 14 - on the 13th anniversary of the loss of our son. You can read about that here.
To say I feel out of practice and out of the blogging loop would be an understatement. I have missed the community, but for reasons I can't fully explain, I have been living my life more or less in silence. At least here on my blog. I had written a post on depression in the wake of actor Robin Williams' death. I know many people did. I hadn't felt that strongly about writing a post in a long while because I have been dealing with depression - whether you could see it or not, it has been a battle and for a few weeks right around that time, I truly wasn't feeling like it was a battle I could overcome. Not easily, that's for sure.
Coincidentally, at the height of my struggles, I was re-introduced to the myfitnesspal app on my phone. Actually, today is day 49 of continuous tracking on this app.
I was caught in a vicious cycle of grief, depression, and poor control over my physical health. Ron had been working out with a trainer for about a year and even he was feeling kind of stuck with regards to his weight loss journey. Right at that time, his trainer (also a pastor at our church) got him on myfitnesspal so that he could monitor his caloric intake and exercise. He also friended me on that app. I'd used it in the past, but not seriously. I had a handful of friends on it - mostly blog friends - but we were just friends. We weren't intentional about holding one another accountable.
Things changed 49 days ago. We installed the app once again and became very intentional about using it each and every day. Honestly, this app was mentioned by another pastor in the weekend message the very next day (the message wasn't about fitness, but it was worked into the message in a good way). I still wonder how many people in our church signed up that day and what their progress is.
They say that 3 weeks of doing something will make a habit. I could not agree more! As I said, we're 49 days into this. It has become a part of life. I wake up and step on the scale. I log it. I know, I know. I should back off the scale because weight fluctuates so much, and it's the inches that matter. Trust me, I've heard it! I'm a little (no, a lot) OCD about checking my weight each morning, and so I do. I lose (and sometimes gain) weight in little increments each day. Sometimes it stays the same. In all this time, though, I've never had a really bad day. But I've had some pretty good ones!
When I sat down to think about my goals, the first one that sprang to mind was "I need to lose my 'Peyton weight'". That is Ron's first goal as well. What do I mean by that? We lost our daughter, Peyton, on May 4, 2013. One side effect of grief that many people (not all) face is weight gain. Of course Ron and I fell victim to that unfortunate side effect. I'll speak for myself in saying that during the intense initial season of grief, I didn't feel like eating, but then when I did, it was just mindless activity. I didn't care what I ate. I overate. Eating was a comfort thing - especially during half price shake season at Sonic. We gained a lot of weight. I hit my highest weight probably a couple months ago. I was going to to doctor that day and I weighed myself that morning because I truly felt like stepping on the scale in front of someone at the doctor's office was going to be highly embarrassing. And it was. It was the highest weight I'd ever been outside of being pregnant with severe pre-eclampsia. As if I needed something else to be depressed about! I had gained 18.6 pounds in the aftermath of losing Peyton. That's my "Peyton weight" - 18.6 pounds.
In the past 49 days, I have been very intentional about what has become not just a weight-loss journey but a fitness one as well. I have a small group of accountability partners on myfitnesspal - Ron, our pastor/trainer, and a few close friends who are also on a journey towards better health. I have a set number of calories which I am allowed each day based on the data I plugged in. Trust me, in those early days, 1200 calories did not seem to be nearly enough. I kept at it. I began to work out in a group setting with a trainer as well. It is intense. It's unlike anything I've ever done before. Want to know what it's like? This Subway "cropfit" commercial made me literally laugh out loud because it so reminded me of what we call "Robfit":
We work out at church most of the time - in one of the smaller venues within the building, or out in the back parking lot. We've worked out on the beach and have also gone into a crossfit facility to utilize their equipment. Did I ever in a million years think I'd be doing this? No. Did I ever think I could do this? No. Can I do it? Perhaps not gracefully and perhaps not with the skill of many of the other participants, but the answer is yes. Yes I can, with modifications for my ankle injury in some instances, but yes I can! So, 2-3 times Ron and I subject ourselves to some pretty intense workouts. The funny thing is that during the workout I'll reach this level of - well, I'm not sure what to call it..."hate" is such a strong word! But when it's over, I feel amazing. Sore. But generally amazing. And then I look forward to the next time and I actually really hate to miss a day. Me. I'm enjoying this. Huh. Who'd have thought that was possible?!
I'm coming back to you today, writing this post, because I want to share what I've been going through. My absence was not you, it was me. Dealing with depression is not fun nor is it easy. But while I've been absent here, I've been working on myself out there and I'm truly excited about the progress I'm making and the changes I'm seeing.
On September 26, 2014 I reached my first goal. I lost those 18.6 pounds of "Peyton weight". I've actually lost 21.6 as of this morning. I've also lost a combined total of over 16 inches. But those first 18.6 pounds - there is a lot of significance in that goal. I don't think I can really describe it. Maybe it doesn't seem like a huge deal to some of you, but it really is a huge deal for me both mentally and physically. The best part is that since I've incorporated the fitness element into this life change, I've not just lost 21.6 pounds and am back where I was a year and a half ago. I've gained some muscle and I feel like I look even better than I did the last time I was this weight!
My weight loss and fitness journey are just beginning. I've got a long way to go to reach my final goal, but reaching this first goal was pretty monumental.