And Now For Something Completely Different

This post is a break from the norm for this blog, but after hearing today that Kansas City is now the sixth-fattest city in the nation combined with the ever-present health epidemic in the United States anyway, I figured if I could help someone by sharing a brief glimpse of my story, no matter how mortifying, it would be worth it.  The focus of this blog isn’t changing, but I feel like I’ve got an opportunity here; so I’m taking it.

A little background: I was never a skinny kid, per se, but I started playing soccer at the age of 5 and was involved in competitive sports until I graduated high school.  I was a bit overweight in elementary school, but then, adolescent metabolism took over, and while I was never anything close to skinny as a rail, I managed a fit, athletic build throughout high school.  I never thought I was thin, but, looking back, I know I was as thin as I should have been.

That all changed when I hit college.  I was no longer involved in sports; I was no longer exercising regularly; and I was certainly not eating anything even close to resembling a healthy diet.  On top of that, and pardon my vagueness here, I was very, very unhappy and trying very hard to look quite the opposite.  All of those things took a huge toll on my physique, and I gained around 100 pounds in about four years.  In short, it sucked.

In 2006, I started making changes.  I started working out and eating better.  With the help of SparkPeople, a social weight loss community, I lost about 40 pounds.  Life intervened, and my efforts took a backseat to other issues (once again, pardon my vagueness).  I kept working out, but I did it less; and diet became about maintenance rather than weight loss.  Twenty or thirty pounds crept back on, though they were thankfully significantly less noticeable thanks to my workout routine.

In 2009, I resolved a lot of those old issues that I’d thought were more important than my own health and well-being (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.).  I started putting myself first in a lot of aspects of my life, and I knocked those pounds off again plus a few more.  This year, as part of my Year of Awesome initiative, I’ve kicked back into health & fitness high gear.  As of May 10, I’m down 34.8 pounds for the year.  From my highest weight ever, I’m down 78.6 pounds — a number that is both impressive and embarrassing.

Today I got my new badge photo, and seeing how different I look from my old one warrants the same emotions for me: I’m impressed and embarrassed.  Weight loss is a mixed emotional bag, folks.  Posting this old photo is a pretty big deal for me, but, as I said, if it can inspire even one person out there to put themselves first and get moving, then it’s worth it.  So, here we go.

As mortifying as that first picture is, I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished.  I’m happy and healthy now, and the best part is, thanks in large part to Jillian Michaels and Tony Horton, I’m kind of crazy strong — both mentally and physically.

And the truth is, ANYONE can do it, folks. We don’t know what we’re capable of until we try.  And most of the time, we can do WAY more than we originally think is possible.  Check out The Biggest Loser.  Michael, one of this year’s contestants, was thrilled when he jogged one mile on the treadmill.  Bob Harper, co-trainer along with Jillian, told him to keep going.  He was skeptical, but he did.  He got to 3.1 miles (a 5k!) and was ecstatic.  Bob congratulated and told him to keep going again.  He was still skeptical, but he kept moving, all the way to the 5 miles Bob demanded.  Michael, by the way, weighed somewhere upwards of 350 pounds that episode.

So, if you’ve been wanting to eat better and move more, then get to it.  Make that choice, and then make the first step.  And then take the next one, and the next and the next and the next.  Saying it’s a difficult journey is an understatement, and there are more layers of emotion than you’d probably expect, but I cannot put into words how worth it that journey is.  As Tony Horton says in one of his P90X workouts, “We tumble, we fall, but we move!”  That’s the key, folks — you keep moving.  And that’s with any goal you set, whether it’s weight loss or writing or whatever.

So, that’s a tiny slice of my story.  Health and fitness is something near and dear to my heart these days, and what I’ve learned on this journey has transferred into every other aspect of my life, as promised by Jillian at the end of one of her DVD workouts (which are all completely fabulous, as is her book, Master Your Metabolism).  I’m happy to talk details of my journey via e-mail (izzi dot ditty at gmail dot com) or facebook if you’re curious or need a little motivation and inspiration to start your own adventure.

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21 thoughts on “And Now For Something Completely Different

  1. I love you. No, I really and truly adore you. The interesting thing to me about these two pics is that you look gorgeous in both of them, but you look AMAZING in the 2010 pic, not because of your weight or lack of weight, but because of your obvious self-assurance. That confidence isn’t there at all in the 2005 pic, but it’s undeniable now. You didn’t even have to tell me that you are crazy strong now, because it’s just self evident. You have eyes like The Buddha. 🙂 How old are you and you already have your shit together? Wait until you reach my age; you’re gonna be nuclear.

    Great post and great message. Who says superheroes aren’t real?

    • I may have just gained 10 pounds in ego thanks to your comment, Mary! And you know the adoration is completely mutual. I certainly wouldn’t say I’ve got my shit together, but I think I at least have it much better arranged than a couple of years ago. 😉

  2. I keep forgetting how pretty you are.

    I’m trying to lose 14lbs. Sitting around all day writing — even when eating healthy — makes it inevitable that weight will be gained.

    Keep at it, Ditty.

    • Aw, you make me blush, Kevin! Thanks. 🙂 And I hear you about writing vs. weight loss. I’m not one of those who tends to have writing epiphanies whilst working out, but I do find my brain works better when I’m exercising consistently despite that. So, you keep at it, too — both things!

  3. You know, you look great in those glasses. The kind of super sexy school teacher look. Men everywhere are just waiting for you to smack them with a ruler…. *cough* 😀

    I’m proud of you, and as one of those few that have known you since the 8th grade I can safely say that you’ve always been beautiful. But I agree with Mary, the confidence and self-assurance that you carry now is worth the weight, in every way. Thanks for being my friend for the past 13 years, you’re awesome.

    Also, kudos for the Monty Python reference in the title! 😀

  4. Wow. Powerful testimonial. That’s just the motivation I needed to make sure I make to the BODYPUMP class tomorrow since I missed it this morning. Thanks.

    • Ha, I’m glad it sounds confident! In actuality, it was a neurotic battle of wills in my mind: “Are you really going to post that?” “Yes, I think I should.” “But do you have to post the picture?” “Probably…” “Come on, no one needs to see that!” “Shut up! Maybe they do!” “If you say so…” “You’re making me feel even more embarrassed! Knock it off!”

      And that’s an insider’s look at my brain. Scary, eh? 😉

  5. Woot! You go girl! Very proud of you. Erin and I have started to try and count calories and eat better too. But it’s hard here because you eat a lot of street food and have no idea what the calories are. But I started climbing again and Erin has been walking a lot. I loved reading this. Very encouraging.

    Rick

    • That does make it pretty difficult. Have you tried http://www.calorieking.com? It’s the best calorie counting site I’ve seen out there. I’m sure they don’t have everything you’re coming across, but it might be a little help at least. That’s great about the climbing and walking. I’ve always wanted to try climbing. If you ever go when you’re back Stateside, maybe you can let me tag along instead of buying me Diet Coke. 😉

    • Evil, Mr. Hayes. That is what you are. But really, what point would there be in living without the occasional bread pudding?

  6. Good for you! I’ve battled with weight since I was a kid. I was up and down, fat and skinny, and it took me a looooong time (and a bout with anorexia at age 13) to figure out my problem was with food. In college I ballooned up to well over 300 pounds, and since then I’ve dropped about 80. I still have a good ways to go, but I work hard not to use food as a drug — that includes overeating and starving, a compulsion that didn’t leave when I “beat’ anorexia — and I exercise regularly. People will keep trying fad diets and fitness crazes forever, but it’s all about the lifestyle change. That’s just how it is.

    • That’s awesome, M. It really is about lifestyle change. I have people come up to me fairly often and ask how I’ve lost so much weight, and they always look so disappointed when I say, “I eat better and less, and I exercise more.” Kudos to you for your fantastic progress, and good luck on keeping it going!

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