Step Back…Start Again

November 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

startagain

Has it been awhile since we talked? I think it has ūüôā

I’ve been working on acceptance. ¬†And it’s a key to winning this fight. ¬†When we resist acceptance of our feelings, we create tension. ¬†A tension that builds until we simply cannot resist anymore. ¬†And I’m at that point. ¬†Resisting a lot of the feelings I have about where this journey has taken me. ¬†Unsure of how I feel. ¬†And unsure of where I want to go from here. ¬† Just accepting THAT—the very fact that I just don’t know right now which way to turn—has kept me silent.

When I had lost 240 pounds, I felt amazing. ¬†But I was also suddenly placed in a ¬†world that could see me. ¬† I felt overwhelmed. ¬†I went from being ‘worthless and invisible’ to some people to suddenly being considered ‘worthy’. ¬† It was a strange experience but not uncommon. ¬†I have talked with many people who have been faced with this phenomenon. ¬†Losing weight is not the only hurdle we go through. ¬†Even in losing it we find ourselves walking around in a new body dealing with new people. ¬†And at times it can all be too much. ¬†It makes us want to go hide again. ¬†To sometimes regain weight in an effort to shelter ourselves from a world we aren’t accustomed to.

I found myself unable to handle a lot of the changes that came my way after losing so much weight. ¬†I was like a kid in a candy store. ¬†Ironic choice of comparisons, right??! ¬†But for me that “candy” was new life experiences. ¬†Dating. ¬†Socializing. ¬†Just living a life I had been locked away from for so long.

For years I had almost no friends.  For almost a decade I was barely acknowledged.  I lived a very quiet life on the fringes of society.  Only being noticed for what I weighed.  Stared at.  And because I did live alone with my kids, I had no one really other than myself to talk to!  It was just me and God.  And I lived a lot of my life observing the world and not being a part of it.  Losing weight allowed me to have a life again.  But it was like concentrate juice that has not been diluted.  I took in too much too soon and as a result I got overwhelmed.

I scared myself I think when I started living again. ¬†A part of me became overly self indulgent. ¬†At one time my wildest dream was to just get out of bed without assistance. ¬†To tie my own shoes without help. ¬†Heck–To FIT in shoes at all– with swollen feet that for years had only fit in flip flops. ¬†But it felt like a landslide and though I thought I was ready– it turned out I wasn’t.

Part of moving out to the country last year was getting away from society. Instead of hiding in my body, I would hide in a different zip code.

And that is what I did for a year. ¬† Because now I COULD live in this world but I didn’t trust myself to handle it. ¬† I had gone a bit crazy with my new found freedom. ¬†And I hadn’t handled the attention from men well at all. ¬†Even when I had the opportunity to date, I sabotaged it almost immediately. ¬† I had observed life for years but living it was quite different.

So I moved us somewhere that almost mimicked the life I had lived before. ¬†The life ¬†I was used to living in my 400 pound body. ¬†Isolated from the world. ¬†Observing but not participating. ¬†With no social life and maybe one or two friends to speak of. ¬† Because that’s how my life was before. ¬†Before I lost the weight. ¬†And embracing life scared me I think. ¬†I felt that I couldn’t handle it so I removed myself. ¬† ¬†I decided to retreat.

I felt tremendous guilt. ¬†Guilt at living a life so many others don’t get to live because they’re still trapped in their bodies. ¬†Guilt at enjoying my life when my mother is gone. ¬†At living life when she can’t. ¬†I felt guilt at dating. ¬†I had never in 10 years ever had a life outside of my children. ¬†They were my world. ¬†And only them. ¬†I was never given a day off. ¬†A moment to myself. ¬†And I was never in 10 years allowed to feel that it was ok to do so. ¬† ¬†But suddenly I was doing that. ¬†I was allowing myself to be a person again. ¬† ¬†To have an identity outside of being someone’s ex-wife or someone’s mother.

I dated.  I made friends.  I had a social life.  I went and got pedicures.  I got my hair done. I bought clothes for myself in a store for the first time in years.  And I allowed myself to be a person just on my own.  But because I had been starved for that, I went overboard.

And I really do mean OVERBOARD

After all, I was a binge eater. ¬†I didn’t get to 417 pounds because I was good with balance and moderation. ¬†I didn’t get there because I had excellent self control. ¬†I was an extremist with food. ¬†And why? Because it worked for me. ¬†It gave me the effect I desired. ¬†If it didn’t, I wouldn’t have had a problem with it. ¬†I wouldn’t have eaten entire bags of Reeses peanut butter cups and whole gallons of ice cream in one sitting if it didn’t do SOMETHING for me.

It was destructive but I continued to do it anyway.   It was an addictive behavior that I habitually repeated over and over again to my own demise.  I spent years gathering all of my favorite foods around me and then eating them to excess.  And when I stopped doing that with food,  I just found other ways to extend that addictive and excessive behavior to other areas.

I’ve done everything from drinking too much to shopping too much. ¬† Maybe some of us just have addictive personalities.

Whatever gives us that feeling of release or that “high”…that’s what we do. ¬†And then we do it excessively.

But because I went overboard, I felt guilty. ¬†So I coupled the first guilt with the second. ¬†And I retreated. ¬†Because that is what we do. ¬†We feel ‘bad’. ¬†We feel ‘guilty’ and we blame ourselves for not being perfect.

This is something I’m exceptionally good at doing. ¬†Always taking the blame for everything. ¬†My child gets hurt? My fault. ¬†Bad grades? My fault. ¬†The car breaks down. ¬†My fault. ¬†Didn’t stick to my diet? It’s because I’m a bad person. ¬†Everything is always about me not being good enough. ¬†Inherently wrong in some way. ¬†And that leads to more guilt. ¬†More condemnation. ¬†And that never helps.

When you take someone who has been trapped in their body for over a decade filling their mind with self hatred and condemnation—then you release them into the world suddenly free—they may not fly. ¬†They may find their way back to the cocoon and hide. ¬†Because even when our body is free from the extra weight, our mind and heart may still be weighed down.

I ¬†don’t think I ultimately dealt very well with the freedom that I found from losing over half of my body weight. ¬†All the plans that I had made went out the window. ¬†I wanted to use my newfound freedom for good. ¬†But instead I felt in many ways that I used it for my own selfish enjoyment. ¬†I swung to the other end of the pendulum and walked away from my faith and values many times. ¬† Telling myself I deserved it! I was making up for lost time!! But I began to hate myself a little bit more every day. ¬†Regretting my bad decisions. ¬†Not knowing how to get back to who I used to be.

Freedom from my body was a scary thing for me. ¬†I didn’t handle it well. ¬†And¬†I began to think that I preferred who I was at 417 pounds.

I began to  question if I had ever been a good person at all?? If my faith had ever even been real?

Did I stay true to God in my former life because I was truly faithful to Him?

Or did I just stay true to my values because I lacked the opportunity to do otherwise??

Suddenly I wondered if I had ever been anything other than just trapped? ¬†Maybe I wasn’t such a good person. ¬†Maybe I wasn’t even a good Christian. ¬†Maybe I was just someone imprisoned in a body that didn’t allow me the opportunity to make bad choices. ¬†Maybe men ignoring me had actually been safer for me. ¬†Since it seemed I lacked any ability to make good decisions in that area anyway! ¬†Maybe I was better off when I was big. ¬†Because then ¬†I couldn’t be selfish. ¬†I couldn’t go out and party and make bad decisions. ¬†And I began to wonder if I needed to just go back to my cocoon.

I spent a year away from everything.   Living in virtually the middle of no where and retreating back into my shell.  And maybe that is what I needed because when I started living life again after massive weight loss, it was just too intense.  It was too much.  I was like a newborn baby! All the sights and sounds and colors overwhelmed me.  I wanted to see everything.  Taste everything.  Touch everything!!

But it was time to step back.  To learn how to live life in a balanced way.  Not overwhelmed.  Not like a child.

But as someone mature enough to make good decisions.

I think when we live our lives in a trapped body, we often become stunted in our growth.

We no longer have the same life experiences as others.

We aren’t immersed in the world as they are.

We are the ones on the sidelines.  The friend that everyone else talks to about their relationships because we often have none of our own.

We are the kind listening ear because our life is about observing not participating.  Being the sidekick.  But never the center of anything.

You don’t know how to deal with attention from men (or women) because you may not have had it. ¬†You don’t know how to handle people who never wanted to be your friend before but now suddenly want to be. ¬†You are confused by why people seem to honor your opinions more because somehow losing weight in their mind made you ‘smarter’. ¬† Acceptance from relatives who found you worthless previously makes you question everything you know about love. ¬†And all the while you feel strange because you can fit in chairs, wear seat belts and go wherever you want without any hindrance. ¬†Like someone who now has a superpower. ¬†Only your superpower is what everyone else thought was normal. ¬†Like being able to walk through all of Walmart without having a heart attack. ¬†Being able to go to the movies because you can fit down the aisle and sit in the seat. ¬†Walking to your own mailbox instead of having to just pull up in the car.

The curtain is up.  The spotlight is shining. Your quiet life has been unzipped and now there you are living it in HD full color!

But when you are thrust on center stage, you may find the lights too bright. ¬†And like me, you may realize you aren’t prepared for it.

So I took a year off from life. ¬†I moved out to the country and I spent most of ¬†last year doing very little other than being around the people I found safe. ¬†Those who I knew for sure loved me no matter what I weighed. ¬†Who were unphased by my gaining or losing weight. ¬†I didn’t go out anywhere. ¬†I didn’t date a single person. ¬†No parties. ¬†No crazy life. ¬†No bars. ¬†No nightlife. ¬†No temptations. ¬†Just me.

Last year taught me that I’m not a bad person.

But I was a stuck person.

I was stuck when I was 417 pounds.  And I was stuck when I got down to 180 pounds.  And whether the weight was on or off, I would remain stuck until I found a way to integrate who I was on every end of the spectrum.   Like someone with a multiple personality.  Parts of my personality and desires were repressed when I was so big I could barely get out of the chair.  And parts of my personality raged once I was released from that physical barrier.

But whether we are 400 pounds or 130 pounds—we need to find balance. ¬†At any weight.

Breaking free from 240 pounds made me able to live life without physical boundaries.  But we still NEED boundaries.

We need moderation. And we all know I was never good at that!

I was never good with one cookie.  Or just one piece of cake.  Why would getting out into LIFE be any different?

Losing over half of my body weight was like being reborn. ¬†And I underestimated the impact that it would have on my life. ¬†In the end, I became unsure if I even wanted to continue on the journey. ¬†If weight loss was even a good idea anymore. ¬†I felt that I was safer back in my cocoon. ¬†So I tried it both ways. ¬†I moved to a location that kept me hidden. ¬†Not in my body but in a different zip code. ¬†That didn’t work for me in the end. ¬†I found it scary as a single mother to live so far away from everything. ¬†I didn’t have the resources available to me that I had in the city nor the skill set to do a lot of things on my own without those resources around me. ¬†I missed my oldest daughter. ¬†And my children desperately wanted to go back to Texas. ¬†Moving back was a big decision but I believe it was the right one. ¬†It hasn’t been without difficulty though. ¬†And it took a lot out of me emotionally.

I gained back almost 100 pounds in my continued effort to retreat back to what felt safe.  I lost about 20 of those pounds  and have held steady at the same weight now for almost a year.  I was once 417 pounds.  Then I got down to 180.  Maybe even 175 if memory serves me.  Now I hold steady at 255.  And if I never lose another pound, I still know my life is significantly easier just living at this weight.

I’m thankful I am not gaining but I am lying if I said I was free. ¬†I am not adhering to the advice I have given others. ¬†I am eating off any consistent plan. ¬†I am not exercising regularly as I once was. ¬†And I live in an emotional state of not totally even caring about that. ¬†Because to be honest—I’m not sure anymore if I even WANT ¬†to be thin. ¬†If it’s even smart for me to leave behind the safety of the physical prison which I despised ¬†for so long but still feels safer to me now than anything else. ¬†I question if life in the drivers seat is even for me. ¬†Or if being the passenger and observer is just where I belong.

I think in so many ways none of this will make sense to anyone. ¬†I never thought I would feel this way. ¬†I never thought the journey would take this turn. ¬†You always think your life will be better if you could just lose weight. ¬†But I have to say I often feel like it made things worse. ¬†That is my fault though. ¬†It was due to many of my own poor choices. ¬†Maybe even due to a personality that always seems driven to be excessive with certain behaviors no matter what. ¬†And if overeating isn’t that behavior then it is going to be replaced with something perhaps even more destructive.

I fell silent on my blog because I didn’t know when I would come out of the fog. ¬†And when I would have the answers.

I still don’t. ¬†But I know a few things and here they are:

I can never eat just one cookie

 I can never drink just one drink

And apparently I really am that predictable.  Thank God I never did drugs! Because I feel SURE that if I ever did I would get addicted to them too!

Why are some of us this way??  When I gave up food, I developed issues with alcohol.   When I became visible to men, I got addicted to the attention of it.   So I gave up alcohol and just returned to food. I went back to my fork because that seemed safer to me.  I gained back almost 100 pounds because it was easier to be invisible than to handle attention in a self destructive way.  I honestly felt (and still feel at times) that life was better behind a 400 pound fortress.

Who can understand what that’s like? ¬†Perhaps few. ¬†So¬†I have held steady at the same weight now for close to one year

Fully convinced this is as good as it’s going to get

At least I’m not gaining….At least I can¬†still buckle my seatbelt….At least I’m safe in the house…..

Living a life of ‘at least’ is not triumphant or victorious. ¬†And not terribly encouraging I felt to hear about. ¬†So I stopped writing and accepted mediocrity.

Simply unwilling to return until I had something else to offer and my faith in myself was renewed.

But a reader who I now call friend (**thank you Kiera) reminded me of something I had said once

Even though to me it felt like the words of a stranger

‚ÄúPerfection is a fallacy.¬†¬†We put on our happy faces in public but behind closed doors we are struggling sometimes just to survive through the day.¬†¬†Why are we so hard on ourselves?¬†¬†It‚Äôs great that we want to do better.¬†¬†It‚Äôs important that we want to leave our mistakes behind.¬†¬†But in order to make progress we must embrace who we are.¬†¬†Even the bits and pieces of ourselves that aren‚Äôt perfect.¬†¬†I believe that it is in accepting those struggles that we can find our way to the light.‚ÄĚ

Today this is my goal.  I want to embrace who I am mistakes and all.  Every bit and piece of my imperfect self.  And give it all back to God.  This is my journey.  Unexpectedly taken in more directions than the map had originally shown!

For a long time now, I have chosen defeat. ¬†Resigned to let food have the best of me. ¬†The safer “addiction” if you will. ¬†But I know God has promised us more. ¬†And so¬†today I choose hope. ¬†Because while I do not have the answers,¬†I do know that hope will pave the way.

And now Lord what will I wait for? HOPE!! My hope is in you–Psalm 39:7

Let’s hope for what we do not see and then be patient that it will come–Romans 8:25

**** I would like to say a special thanks to the many blog readers who (in spite of my absence) have continued to come and leave me comments asking if I’m doing ok. ¬†And the many who have continued to write to me regularly to let me know how they are doing and to check up on me. ¬†The one thing I am forever grateful for is the community of individuals I have met through my blog that have supported and encouraged me even when I fall off the cliff! ¬†Thanks again to all my wonderful readers and I look forward to interacting with you all again. ¬†God bless you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Calleigh November 17, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Holly I’m so glad youre back, I think of you from time to time. I’m right where you are, trying to find balance. I am also what I’d call an addictive personality, food, cigarettes, over exercising, whatever will fill that focus for a little while. I have stayed away from alcohol because I know myself and I could quite easily abuse alcohol too. Everything you have talked about in this post, I’m right there too.im so glad you are working on it though. You have an incredible strength.

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Wendy @ Wholistic Woman November 17, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your journey. That takes a lot of courage! Blessings as you continue to find your way and be an inspiration for so many of us.
Wendy @ Wholistic Woman recently posted..Who is Wholistic Woman? {plus weight loss update}My Profile

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Alison C. November 17, 2015 at 8:31 pm

Holly –
Thank you so much for your post today – it is honest and vulnerable and so many wonderful things that you and I and all of your blog readers can learn from. I too, cannot eat a single cookie. I cannot eat a lot of things. And that’s okay because I am okay. I am enough, and I am okay, and everything about me is okay.

You too, are okay. YOU are enough, YOU are okay, and everything about YOU is okay.

Sending you peace and acceptance….

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Mrs. O November 17, 2015 at 9:14 pm

Thank you for coming back and letting us know how you’re doing. I appreciate your honesty, especially in this post. You’ve voiced what many of us feel during our weight loss journey, whether we’ve lost all of the weight or part of the weight. I have many days that I think about what it will be like as I lose more weight and sometimes it scares me; when that happens, I notice I will find ways to sabotage my efforts. It’s something I work on every single day and pray that I’ll be able to overcome.

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Rachel November 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm

I am so glad you are back. I had been hoping you were ok and would return to your blog. No matter what you have been a great source of inspiration to me. Struggles are part of being real and human. I hope all the best for you and pray for your balance, peace, and happiness. Thank you for being real and sharing your heart with us.

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Lori November 17, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Welcome back! I have missed you.

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greta November 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm

Very good to have you back. I seldom comment but have always found a nugget (or many nuggets) of truth in your blog. You have been missed!

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Barb November 18, 2015 at 1:18 am

Good to hear from you. You aren’t alone in your thoughts. Life is rough. (((Hugs)))

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Linda November 18, 2015 at 1:36 am

Holly,
You are a beautiful person !
Thanks for letting us follow along !
This weight thing is a constant struggle for ne , as well .

I sometimes think of Oprah and with her billions of dollars, she still struggles.
It’s an emotional/ mind challenge more than a physical one !

Fondly,
Linda carson

Linda carson

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Samantha November 18, 2015 at 2:20 am

Holly I’m so happy you posted this!! I feel like I completely understand you and I’m crying and praising God knowing that another person seems to have similar struggles with an “addictive” personality. I too lost a lot of weight and have re-gained a substantial amount and wonder which life is better; living life as a thinner person is so much harder than I ever expected. Thank you for the inspiration and honesty and God bless.

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kathy November 18, 2015 at 2:29 am

I’m so happy to hear from you! I think of you often, Holly. I think many more of us than you think will totally get where you are coming from. Please continue to write…we get stronger together!!

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Nikole November 18, 2015 at 2:42 am

Glad to see you’re back. I just had my gastric. Bypass two months ago and now we are about the same weight. Let’s support one another.

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Kathleen Miles November 18, 2015 at 4:42 am

I read your post and wept. I wept for you I wept for me, and all of us who have similour struggles. I too lost a large amount of weight, 200 pounds in 1995-98. Before then I was never married, never dated, I owned a tiny beauty shop in Nebraska. I was a sweet Christian girl that had not experienced much life. I also felt lost, I didn’t handle being healthy either. I have gained back the 200 plus another 100. I was not ready for the life ahead. I’ve entertained all the thoughts you have shared. I’m back on track now with 110 pound loss. I fear slipping, I just want a peaceful life without the burden of so much weight. But getting out there and living scares me too. Thanks so much for your open sharing. I’m still very heavy 427 pounds in spite of the 110 lost. I have a long road to go. I am surrounding myself with people who have suscessfuly lost weight. Your blog, even tho you have not been active has been an inspiration to me. God bless you as you make your way back to health.

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Bonnie November 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Welcome back! I have missed your posts. Thank you for your honesty about your struggles as it helps us deal with our own struggles. Continued well wishes and prayers as you try to find health and balance in your life.

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Melissa November 18, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Thank you for sharing your struggle. I am having a similar struggle and until I read this I didn’t even know it. I have battled with my weight all of my life. Losing and gaining weight through a vicious cycle of love/hate. I was finally able reach a “healthy” weight in April of 2014. I maintained my weight within 10 pounds for almost a year. But since this past March I have gained approximately 70 pounds back and am having a hard time getting back into fighting mode. I am enjoying large amounts of foods that I shouldn’t be. It’s like hanging out with old friends. Friends you don’t have to impress. Friends that have seen you at your worst and love you anyway. I realize now it will always be a battle. I just have to find a new battle plan. So thanks for helping me to realize some of what is going on inside me. And definitely thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one.

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) November 18, 2015 at 4:11 pm

I may never have been as big as you (I topped out, likely, around 350 – but never stepped on a scale when I was that big). And, as a 6-foot-something male, society looks at me differently.

But I still understand all of this.

A few takeaways, though: I still see myself as a fat person. I’m not – there isn’t a single metric that I can use that would define me as “fat.” Yet, in my head, that’s precisely what I am. I’m left thinking back to a friend of mine from college, a struggling anorexic. At one point, I had to fill out a form where I would circle my impression of her, based on rudimentary drawings of people from “dangerously thin” to “dangerously obese.”

I remember being amazed when we compared my finding to her own finding.

And I wonder how I’d fill things out, for me, right now . . . and how those closest to me might.

One cookie, one drink . . . well, I’m not exactly unknown around here. I’ve done my best to keep sugar out. Cookies, simply, do not enter my body (though, I’ll admit, I’ll be relaxing my “no sugar” rules for Thanksgiving & Christmas; I’ll try my best to do things “in moderation” but, well, I don’t believe I’ll be able to actually moderate myself). Drinks – well, I actually have limited myself to a single drink, on multiple occasions, though I’ve failed to limit myself to a single drink on far more occasions.

What scares me, now, though, is that I don’t have a “journey to drunk.” Less fat in my body seems to leave me “having a drink or two” to “drunk” with the blink of an eye. And that has me drinking a LOT less – I find myself purchasing those “single serve” bottles of wine when head to a BYOB establishment & taking one, maybe two in . . . so that I don’t have the option of going overboard.

The cheap in me keeps me from heading to a restaurant that doesn’t allow me to bring my own wine in.

And when I’m at home, I FORCE myself to a glass, and only a glass, with dinner. Then I bathe the kids (removing myself from the option of drinking more). Often, that’s enough to keep the drink at bay . . . sometimes its not.

On my own journey, I’ve been doing QUITE WELL lately. I recently ran a marathon, which had me relaxing all of my rules (I was eating flour & rice) to build the glycogen stores (though, having just read “Natural Born Heroes”, I may be avoiding the carb load, entirely, before my next big race, just to see how I end up adjusting), but I’ve been pretty clean since then. My weight is hanging out between 190 and 200, but I’m doing more pull-ups than ever, so, even if I’m a bit heavier than I was (I was down to 175 for a little bit), I feel like I’m healthier than I’ve ever been.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted..Where I look back over your last yearMy Profile

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Lori November 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I can see myself in this post, as I’m sure so many of us can. Self hate, blame, good addictions, and bad, hiding away. Through it all we know we need to make a change. That is the first step….the most important step. I have read you for awhile, and have missed your posts. Glad to see you are back. You have so many people to support you. Don’t stay away….put it all out there and you will receive love and strength from us all.
Lori recently posted..Folklore and FriendsMy Profile

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Jessica November 18, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Holly – I was so happy to see that you had posted. I’ve been wondering about you, and hoping/praying all was well.

this is truly a struggle that I believe many of us understand. And the beauty of the internet, and blogs like yours, is the reminder that we are never alone. And while we all have different stories, many of our stories resemble what you write. Thank you!

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Jen November 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm

So nice to see you back.It has been a hard,hard journey for me too,I hear myself in you.I weigh 251 now,have been steadily losing weight this last year.The only thing that has helped me is radiantrecovery,found online.I’ve not yet detoxed from sugar,but following the steps otherwise.
The main thing that I hear from you here is how you’re learning to have a relationship with yourself.Not based upon performance,how you look,what you’ve done,but the essence of you-a deeply loving person (I can tell by the light in your children in your pictures)..We don’t know each other although we’ve shared via email a few times,but like I said,I hear myself in you.One day at a time,being who we want to become,will take us everywhere,all in good time.

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ErinK November 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm

Welcome back Holly! And yes – here’s one who understand exactly what your saying and feeling. Wish we lived close enough that we could get coffee and chat. : ) Just realizing and acknowledging these issues is huge! Praying for you and your sweet family!

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Carla (from Alabama) November 18, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Holly,
It is so good to see a post from you and know that you are okay. I know that you are having struggles but you are not alone in those struggles. Anyone who has ever lost a significant amount of weight has struggles that are a lot like what you have shared here. I have been overweight most of my life. I lost weight in 1985-87 (245 pounds) and slowly started gaining it back after reaching my goal. I too, was suddenly thrown into a world I had never knew. Men would pay attention to me and open doors for me and women were even nicer to me. I could sit in a booth at a restaurant and have some room between me and the table. I actually went to a movie and was able to sit my purse in the seat with me! But I still felt on the inside like I did when I was so much bigger. I couldn’t grasp the changes in my body so fast, either, like you. This year I reached a all-time high weight for me of 436. I have never been over 400 and most of the time I maintained my weight at 380 (for years). Reaching a weight above 400 has been so hard on me. I can’t hardly walk or stand and everything, I mean everything I do is a struggle. I rejoined WW 5 weeks ago (I lost the 245 pounds on WW plan, it took me 11 months) and I have lost 16 pounds since joining. I am able to stand a little longer. It is a wonderful blessing.

I have often thought on the same lines that you have shared here about wondering if I liked being overweight more because I felt safer there. It is a hard thing to come to terms with because on the one hand you want so much to be a “normal” person but at the same time you don’t feel comfortable with all the attention you suddenly receive. It is a little scary and hard to understand. I mean I am the same person inside as I was before my outside changed. Why do all of you only want to know me now and couldn’t give two cents worth of a think in my direction before I lost weight? Do I really want to know someone like that? A person that would by pass a person on their looks or size alone?

Anyway, I thank you for writing this post. I hope you come back to write more. And believe me you are okay. You are a wonderful person. Your thoughts, prayers and love for all of us who need to hear what you have to say is greatly appreciated. And I am praying for you too, Holly. God is good. He judges us only from the inside and that is what matters the most…the heart we have. He will help you find your way. He will help all of us.
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Jo November 18, 2015 at 10:04 pm

Welcome home, I’ve missed your writing. I’m sorry you are struggling. I will pray for you.
Jo.

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Kathie November 18, 2015 at 10:44 pm

You have just written my life

Thank you for coming back on your blog

Thank you for being honest and open

Thank you for being you

Jeremiah 29:11
This verse I cling to …. it is all I have

xx

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Anneli November 18, 2015 at 11:58 pm

I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve been worried about you. I don’t think what you’re experiencing sounds weird at all. In my psych class I’ve been learning about existential therapy and it’s all about finding meaning AND being able eventually to embrace freedom, because freedom is a scary thing. We just don’t talk about it in America, because we’re too busy listening to infomercials about how wonderful life will be when we lose weight. Whatever! Here’s a heresy for you—maybe weight isn’t the most important thing. Maybe being a great Mom is important or maybe struggling to be a good Christian is important. I love the way you think. And I’m glad you’re back!

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Lisa F November 19, 2015 at 12:27 am

I found your blog a few months ago, and I felt like I was looking in a mirror. In fact, the picture of you sitting in the chair in a hospital gown could be me. I am so glad to see you back, and I am so glad I am not the only one who feels like you do. I struggle with the same exact issues with attention. I do great losing weight, but as soon as people start noticing, I panic and sabotage myself. It took me years (10+) to figure that out. I am still about 150lbs over weight, but I am very slowly going down. (haven’t gone up in over 5 years.) I need the baby steps.

Please don’t give up. Realizing that there is so much more than just the physical weight issue going on is half the battle.

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Melinda November 19, 2015 at 3:04 am

Holly, I love you and pray for you peace , healing and acceptance. I promise you I have read what you posted today like three times. LOL!! You and I could be family we are so close in our thoughts, behavior, heck our LIFE!! I too lost a lot of weight only to put it almost all back on and I am STUCK and I am STRUGGLING!! I am tired, frustrated and I have cried, begged and pleaded trying to understand why this keeps happening to me and why I can’t lose weight. No I don’t want to be a model but yes I want to be able to fit into a movie seat. I am prepared to seek physiological help now. I have tried everything! . I have read books, done low carb, sugar busters, liquid diets, weight watchers, EVERYTHING. Like you, I can’t have one cookie. Why I don’t know, hell because they are just so darn good!! But you and I both know, there is more than that taste of the cookie in our mouth. I am here for you if you want to email me some time. Share your thoughts or what is working. Thanks for posting so openly and honestly. People like me really appreciate it and you help me every time you lay it out there. Thanks again. Know you are a wonderful person and you are worthy of wonderful things! God bless you and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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Melody November 19, 2015 at 3:39 am

I’m fairly new to your blog but I find your blogs to be inspiring. Thank you for your candidness. It’s refreshing to say the least.

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C November 19, 2015 at 5:55 am

Oh, Holly – it is so nice to hear your voice again. I’ve checked in each week since the last post, hoping to “see” you here. Delighted to have you back!

However, I can completely understand why you might feel that sharing your life with readers is too much of a burden. It is hard enough to live, let alone try to explain to an audience what you think, feel, and do. I’ve never had a blog and think you are very brave.

I love what you said about acceptance, not perfection. That is exactly right. You are worth knowing. A number on a scale has nothing to do with that. You’re *always* worth knowing, no matter where you live or what sizes are in the closet.

Thanks for continuing to share your very worthwhile thoughts. I learn as you are learning. You help me think through things in a new way.

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Penney November 20, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Dear Holly! I so understand every single word you shared. I never cease to be amazed at your willingness to share the deepest part of your heart. That alone is more inspiring than you will ever know! This weight loss journey is so much more than we ever really think it is. And it comes with so much baggage I often think I should have my own airport terminal! You hit the nail on the head though. We have to love and accept exactly who we are…imperfections and all. And regardless of the number on the scale give it to God and see where he leads us. For me, I am not sure where that is right now except out of my own head and into hearing what God says he wants for my life. I want you to know I am praying every single day for you. Not that you have weight loss success but that you have soul success. Finding peace in who God wants you to be and joy in the journey he has you on. You radiate so much love and honesty in your posts and for that to stop would be a greater loss than anything! You are a precious blessing and perfect to all of us that follow you exactly as you are! Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving and know you are on my life of people I am thankful for every day! Penney

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Dawn W November 21, 2015 at 2:17 am

I continue to fight the same battles sister! I got comfortable with my life and stopped holding myself accountable. I regained my composure and I restarted my journey 6 weeks ago. We’ve got this my friend!!
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Karen P November 21, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Welcome back!!! I hope you have a set plan support in place for your next steps.

Cheering you on for the now and your future. Karen P
Karen P recently posted..You know why I baked at the holidays? So I could eat in secret, not too much of a shocker, I know!My Profile

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robin November 24, 2015 at 10:56 am

Yea I don’t think you should’ve ever left Texas. In fact I had wrote it seemed impulsive and I don’t think you liked that comment. Your daughter was starting school, it was a lot to adjust to. But now here you are and you’re getting it all figured out. What works best for you and your kids. A work in progress just like the rest of us. Have you ever looked at the thin people around you and realized they all have things to deal with too? Because they do. Well glad you’re back, don’t give up.

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Nancy November 25, 2015 at 4:46 pm

Holly, I am so very glad that you are back blogging!! In your times of triumph (which have been many and very inspiring) and in your times of struggle (which I can always relate to), you give me inspiration and hope! A lot of that is because you are so open and honest, you keep trying to figure out what works best for you and sharing what doesn’t work for you, and basically you keep on going and trying and doing the best you can as much as you possibly can. Often your blogs are just the encouragement I need to keep going myself.

I also have an addictive personality. Food has always (since the time I was seven years old) been my primary addiction. When I had my weight loss surgery and couldn’t use food to fulfill my addiction (for the first year and a half or so after the surgery), I started to shop more and spend too much money. I started buying/collecting Hummel figurines on Ebay. I never had purchased a single Hummel figurine before that time. I bought a whole new, too extensive wardrobe when I was approaching and got to my lowest weight. Now none of those clothes fit me, and I have had to buy another new wardrobe (although I’ve not gone overboard this time, since I am really hoping and praying I can turn things around and start losing weight again).

What caused me to start gaining weight was my daughter had a mental health crisis, and I started to use sweets and carbs again to help me deal with all of the anxiety and stress I was experiencing. And of course I started to gain weight. I also quit exercising. And then my husband had a very major mental health crisis, and has been out of work on medical leave for over six months now, and is so anxious that he shakes much of the time (even with anxiety and depression meds). And I kept on using sweets and carbs to help me feel better. I’ve found that sweets and carbs are slider foods for my gastric sleeve, so I’m right back where I was before my weight loss surgery, using them to help me handle my emotions and get through all the stress my family and I have been experiencing. I’ve gained back close to half of the weight I lost, and I haven’t been able to stop gaining yet. And now we are heading into the holidays, with all of the opportunities for eating too much, especially sweets and carbs.

So I can really relate to your struggles. From reading your blog posts practically from when you started blogging, I have gained so many great insights, strategies to try, motivation to exercise, hope and inspiration, etc. I’m really impressed that with all that has been going on in your life – especially two moves in a little over a year, that you managed to first lose some of the weight you had regained, and then you have been maintaining that weight loss. That is success to me, and what I am aiming for now – just to stop gaining weight and at least maintain. And then to start losing again. Thanks so much for coming back to share with us!!!

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LHA November 26, 2015 at 1:41 am

I am thrilled to see you back! I want to congratulate you for the enormous victory of holding a weight steady for a year. To me that is harder than losing weight!! Thank you for blogging again and I hope that all of us who read your blog can help you and help each other find peace with food and balance in our lives. Welcome back.

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Holly November 27, 2015 at 8:53 pm

A lot of people who have compulsive behaviours around food have the same issues in other areas of life. You are so, so far from alone. I’ve found a lot of help and peace in my OA group, at oahop.org. I had been burned with OA pretty bad in the past, but this group focuses on the spiritual and it’s really different.

I think you are a beloved child of God at any weight, and so am I. Thank goodness! You are in my prayers!

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Belinda December 1, 2015 at 5:50 am

Thank you for sharing all of this, Holly. I am so close to almost everything you said. It helps me understand me better. I am grateful to you. I too lost about 125 pounds, kind of freaked out once I got there, and have since gained back about 80-90 pounds. I’m having a very hard time with depression, and food addiction. I just can’t seem to break free this time. But, yes, there is still a little tiny flickering light of hope.
Thank you again
Belinda

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Kristy December 8, 2015 at 10:34 am

Sending good wishes to you, Holly.
Your blog has always seemed an open space where you’ve told your truth. So much more inspiring sharing your lows as well as your highs. I really struggle with my weight and have recently gained over 20 kilos.
It’s so tough. Recently I dreamt I reached 130kilos. Blogs like yours give me the strength to carry on fighting this fight. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about nutrition and quality of life and the positivity you feel about living a brave, empowered life. It’s so tempting to run away and hide but that’s not where we are living. Thank you so much for your blog and welcome back. You’re admired for the whole, real person you are. Good luck with your next steps. The move back to Texas seems a positive one. Your neighbourhood, your friends, your city – it’s so special to have your home and your people. Good luck to you.

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Roxanne December 11, 2015 at 5:35 am

First things first, I want to

thank you for sharing your story

with us. We can totally relate to

your problems and insecurities.

Your story inspires us not to give

up in our life and start over

again. I agree with you that while

losing weight is such a great

opportunity for us (imagine we can

transform our body to a sexy

wonder woman!) it. is. scary. Many

people will start paying attention

to you. The first time I lost

weight, I was scared because all

of a sudden I shifted from being

an “outcast” into an “instant

celebrity” . A lot of men started

to court me, and a lot of women

suddenly add me their circle of

friends.

Of course, since I didn’t get to

experience any of this, I love and crave for more attention and passion. But after a year or two, my life started to go downhill because of some family problems. I started gaining weight rapidly, then those friends I gained when I lost weight, was gone. I was at a total loss back then.

It’s really hard to get back on your own two feet. I started blaming myself for it. Everything was my fault. But then my best friend made me realize that if they cannot accept me for being me, then they’re not my friends. I don’t deserve them. She also made me realize not to be too hard on myself. I need to stop blaming myself for everything. I must accept who I was. Yes, change is good, but I must never forget that the “fat” me was once a part of my life.

From then I started to start over again and dedicate my life, love, and attention to those people who accept me for who I was, regardless of my physical attributes. It also made me realize that God will always be there for me, when no one else can.
Roxanne recently posted..Learning The Truth Behind Food LabelsMy Profile

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Roxanne December 11, 2015 at 5:38 am

Urrgh d*mn notepad! I apologize for the weird formatting. I drafted my comment in the notepad and when I copy pasted it became like this. You can delete it if you want, that’s fine with me. I’ll just have to repost my comment if it’s alright.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 11, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Actually I loved the formatting. As you know I occasionally write just like that!! In one sentence formats. Like a poem. Not always but I do it a lot and so I kind of loved getting your comment in that format!! I was like…she and I are so on the same wavelength hahah And thank you for your words. I relate to it all and I appreciate it so much

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Teale December 15, 2015 at 9:55 pm

I can’t say too much right now except I get it. I totally get it. It hits close to home and while I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, at least now I know I’m not alone in my feelings. I am almost 3 years post gastric sleeve. Lost 150, gained back 100 now. I get it.

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ebony December 16, 2015 at 2:36 pm

Dear Holly,

We all love you! you are not alone… i hope to not sound like i know it all but maybe see your doctors to check your sleeve. i have seen cases of the sleeve not working for some. Yes i know we all indulge but sometimes these surgeries can fail people and it may not entirely be down to your actions. have it looked and it if you want to talk, i am here and i want you to know you are beautiful and you are an overcomer. listen to the song “overcomer'” by Mandisa.. thats for you my gorgeous

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 28, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Ebony,

First off—beautiful name. I love Mandisa and I love that song. Thank you for reminding me of it.

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Sean Anderson December 26, 2015 at 2:56 am

Amazing post. Merry Christmas, Holly!
Sean Anderson recently posted..December 24th, 2015 He’s Going To Flip!My Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 28, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Thank you Sean. I was encouraged to read your blog and I am doing so daily. I recently rediscovered it and I like your daily tweets of your meals. I’m going to get back to logging on MFP again as well and I think your blog is extremely wonderful for helping so many. Thank you again!

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JANICE December 26, 2015 at 11:35 pm

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed reading every word you had to say. Thank you.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 28, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Thank you Janice!!

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Wendy January 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I have only found your blog as of today, so I’m a brand new reader. This post really hit home with me. I am on my own weight loss journey, losing over 220 pounds (low carb only) over the past 2 years. I am very close to goal, but I am not happy. I’ve been quite depressed, and this past week has been probably the worst. Your quote from your friend, “Perfection is a fallacy. We put on our happy faces in public but behind closed doors we are struggling sometimes just to survive through the day…” summed it up perfectly. It truly is a daily struggle and I’m glad to know it’s normal. Thank you for sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings. I attempt to explain what is going through my head to my husband, but it’s almost impossible. I hope all is well and your journey continues with a joyous finale. ūüôā
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