Life on the struggle bus
Hello Big boned Biker readers! My name is Becky. I want to thank BBB for asking me to guest post and allowing me the graciousness to be late with it….as I am with everything in my life. Ok so a little about myself……………….I’m a 38 year old single mother of a wonderful daughter who has battled many obstacles in life but my weight has been the most difficult for me to overcome….seems I’m constantly riding the struggle bus. I’ve been on every diet known to mankind, even considered weight loss surgeries such as Lapland and gastric bypass. In 2010 when my daughter was about 2, I decided that I wanted to be a good role model for my daughter and be healthy so that I could make sure I was around for her. For the last four years I have gained and lost the same 50 of my total 80 pound weight loss over and over.
A friend of mine posting on facebook the other day that she was on the struggle bus and it got me to thinking. In her reference it was getting up and getting ready for work on a beautiful Saturday that she would have rather just stayed in bed a little while longer and then go out and enjoy one of the first pretty days we had after a long out of the ordinary winter here in East Tennessee. This struck a chord with me. I thought to myself, man I’m always on the struggle bus. I have been on it for years. I’m beginning to think I’ve moved from passenger of the struggle bus to the driver.
Life is a struggle in of itself…we struggle to pay our bills, have families, buy a house, get to work each day, get every item completed on our perpetual to-do lists…it goes on and on. However struggle doesn’t have to be seen in a negative way…does it? Yes I have been the same weight for 2 years, despite my best efforts to exercise myself to death, but I’m still struggling with my diet. Still struggling means to me I’m still fighting. We can either choose to struggle or we can lie down and die. This is not an option I am willing to entertain. If I’m still struggling surely I’ll eventually get there someday.
SOME OF THE STRUGGLES I HAVE OVERCOME:
Early on in my weight loss journey I really “struggled” with exercising in public because of my size. Most especially when it came to running. Amazingly, my friend and I actually started being encouraged by the people that basically wouldn’t make eye contact with us for months while we walked at our local park. They started speaking to us and say “way to go” “keep up the good work” its like we had crossed over some sort of invisible barrier. So many people have messaged me over the years saying “how do you run, I can’t run I’m too big” I’m quick to remind them that I started running at over 300 pounds and continue to run at my current weight of 285. Overcoming this struggle has led to others overcoming theirs.
For years I only exercised at a local park, where as I mentioned before we became very friendly with people seeing the same ones day in and day out. Being known and accepted is just such a basic building block of needs we all have. However the weather does put quite a damper on things and led me to yet another struggle. I had to seek out an alternative for the rainy days and the winter seasons. I did DVDs, but lets get real about it for me that didn’t work…to easy to just sit down on the couch and play on facebook….or I’d say oh ill do it after my daughter went to bed….hmmm not! This led me to Zumba class! Friends let me tell you I was hooked from day one. It was at a local church and an acquaintance of mine was the instructor. I didn’t have as much of a struggle going to this as I did running but those old negative Nelly thoughts still ran through my mind….will someone make fun of my size, will they make fun of my loose skin going the opposite direction the rest of my body it….on and on and on. There again had numerous people say that my going encouraged them to go.
Another struggle I have had to overcome is the gym. I wish I could do two Public service announcements in regards to the gym….one for the gym rats who are the uber fit of the community asking them, begging them to include us overweight members in their clichés, not to give us the “look”, to make us feel like we belong and not invading “their” space. Then the second one would be to the overweight less confident members….to remind them that they pay their dues just like anyone else at the gym, to go try new things no matter what looks you get, and that once you lose the weight please don’t resort to fat shaming. Feeling and believing I deserve to be at the gym is still something I struggle with. I feel like I’m taking the place of fit person….how ridiculous is that!!! Matter of fact, just typing this out is making me really think about how often I’m letting the struggle get the best of me on this one…maybe I’m still in the process of overcoming this one.
So in conclusion, being on the struggle bus isn’t all that bad as long as you don’t let the struggle get the best of you. You have to look at why you are struggling, what you are struggling for, and how you can overcome that struggle. You never know who is watching and you could change their lives forever. At weight watchers we are encouraged to have an anchor…..my daughter is my anchor. The picture I’m including is of us yesterday at a local amusement park. We are in a ride that I couldn’t have gotten into at my biggest and before I lost weight couldn’t have walked around all day long. I actually wore her out! So keep struggling so you live to struggle another day!
Much love and blessings,
Easter was tough this year, started out with a small gain on Saturday and just went down hill from there. First off, the candy this year was harder to turn down than in years passed. I know it is my weaken resolve but still I tracked for it. On the way to my sisters house we stopped at an “Oasis” and things went downhill fast. I tracked for a roast beef sub from subway but when I got there the food didn’t look like it should be eaten. No biggie I can make healthy choices anywhere! Sbarro was right next to me and I decided to look up a piece of pizza(proud of myself for doing that). It was 16 points for the pizza I wanted so I went and got a slice of the pie. It was yum yum yummy in my tum tum tummy!! Sadly though it was over to quick and left me still hungry. So I decided to go in search of food, and saw Auntie Ann’s pretzels. I walk on by it though determined to find something better, mmm Starbucks sounds good! Not worth the points! Finally, I end up deciding on some yummy popcorn for about 9pp. It really hit the spot, and with that we hit the road again!
So why is my day going downhill? Because what I didn’t tell you was that I ate Denny’s for breakfast, though I tried to make some good choices. I had 4 egg whites, 2 hearty pancakes, and a side of Grits. In all I used about 18 points. Did I mention that the popcorn I ate was 6cups? I wanted to leave that part out, but honestly who am I lying to? We arrive in time for dinner and it is spaghetti, which I had tracked for 2 cups worth. I quickly find myself enjoying a third cup’s worth, like I said not going well. This meal would end up being 26 points, because I also decided to have a Ice Cream milkshake and 2 peeps. So if you are keeping track 18+16+9+26=Totally not worth the points!
I am going to do something that I don’t think I have done before, I am going to show you my tracker. I never like to share my tracker with people because it is a very personal thing. It almost feels like walking out in public naked! Somethings are just suppose to be private. This time though, I am stepping out naked and sharing it. So here it is
shocking I know. To give you some perspective, when I first joined weigh watcher, at an official 432 pounds, I started with 71. However this is exactly why we have our weeklies points! Also, it is only one day, and simple enough to recover from!
As you can see, it didn’t go so well…so what is the silver lining in all this? I think some of you already know, it was only one weekend. I didn’t “fall off” the wagon, I simply hit a slight bump. I love the fact that my entire week isn’t shot, I get to continue on and make new choices with every meal. I didn’t get fat in one weekend, and I won’t get skinny in one either.
I mentioned above about things being point worthy and while it seems like a simple concept I do want to talk about it. What makes somethings point worthy and others not? Aren’t my points able to be used however I wish? Who was the second gunman on the grassy knoll? All fair questions, though I don’t have the answer to the third. What I am going to share can also be applied to those who aren’t on weight watchers, the principles remain the same.
The bible talks about standards such as this
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about these things.”
which got me thinking about my Point Standards. If I was to share my own this is how it would go:
“What ever things are filling, what ever things are healthy, what ever things are positive, what ever things can be controlled, and what ever things taste yummy”
If I have a loaf of bread for 4 points and Johnny takes to bites…never mind. If I have a loaf of bread for 4 points and doughnut for 4 points, which is the better option for a meal? I will give you a hint, it isn’t the doughnut. Now, that is not to say you can’t have donuts, but it is about what is going to be more filling. Filling is a very important part to living a healthy lifestyle, when you walk around hungry you make less positive choices. I know when I get to hungry I just want to bite the nearest person. When we pick foods for treats we should still think about this important factor. Am I going to be satisfied after one, or am I going to want N+1? I know for me, 90% of the time one doughnut is not enough, so it easier to just not have that one.
What things are healthy? Name 4 healthy foods, go! How did you do? What if I told you, I can take any healthy food you can name and make it unhealthy? I bet you believe me, because it is a very simple thing to do. We often don’t think about how things are made, we just see “broccoli is healthy”. Is it drenched in butter? Cream? Steamed? It is about looking below the surface at what is all involved. You don’t have to live on “health” food to eat healthy, it really comes down to paying attention to things like sodium, fats, and so on. In the end though don’t forget that the joy of healthy living is the flexibility to sometimes eat the unhealthy.
Positively positive! We all to often talk about food being bad or good choices (), but really we need to get out of that mindset. I will be the first to admit though that it is a hard thing to do! I try to look at food in a positive aspect, is this food going to make me “feel good” after I eat it? Will I wish I hadn’t? If I eat 2 brats loaded down with all the goodies, was it a positive or a negative choice? Chances are I am going to wish I only ate one of them, and am going to feel it later in a non-positive manner lol. When you make positive choices it invigorates you, and empowers you to make a positive choice the next time. Remember though, if you make a rather regrettable choice, it isn’t the end of the world, and you can make a positive choice as soon as the next bite.
Boom! The trigger just went off, and now you lay on the floor in a puddle of chocolate syrup. I have a list of foods that I simply can not eat, no mater how bad I want them. One single bite can make me spiral out of control. When looking at food the number one question you need to ask yourself is, can I stop at one? To often we lie to ourselves, sure I can stop at one, two, three, four, and soon the box is gone. We all know when we lie to ourselves, it isn’t an “accident”. When you lie to yourself nothing positive can come of it. Ask yourself, with all honesty, can you stop at one? Perhaps you can limit yourself by supply, only ordering one or two so that you can’t eat more(you can’t eat what you don’t have). One thing that has worked for me is finding alternatives to those trigger foods. I love love love love love love cold spaghetti’ O’s with meatballs. I will eat any can of it I can get hold of and still want more. So as an alternative, when I go to an Italian restaurant I often order spaghetti with meatballs. It is a controlled environment and this lets me indulge without worrying about stuffing my gob.
Last part is to make sure you enjoy the foods you are eating. Every bite should be yum! If it isn’t than why eat it? I hate spending my points on food that tasted like dog poop, and I don’t feel positive after those meals. So don’t force yourself to eat on “diet’ mode, it will only make you burn out. As I to often say, I am so glad I don’t diet! I am on a Livet, because we shouldn’t do things that make us die.
I hope you find this helpful, these steps have taken me(and still are) a long time to work on. I will never be free from my food addiction, ever. Every bite is a constant struggle, and sometimes I relapse, but using these tools helps make those relapses happen less and less. When we learn to eat to live and not live to eat, we all will be better off.
One last thing before I go, I got out last night to ride Katrina and it was such an amazing ride! Do to my wife’s new job, the weather, and sunset I have not been getting gout. So each ride I make sure to get the most out of it. The feeling of the centrifugal movements of the pedals under my feet, the wind blowing past my face, and the sheer simplicity of human powered movement, creates a feeling of nirvana.
Don’t forget to check out the Friends Of Katrina section above, and send me a picture of you with your bike! Also, feel free to check out my Amazon store, every purchase helps me save for my bike tour(and doesn’t cost you anything extra!) http://astore.amazon.com/bigbonbik-20
Keep on rolling,
Big Boned Biker
*It has taken me a few days to write this post, each time I come back to it I end up crying and have to walk away. *
As I sit here at the computer both boys are napping, and with my wife out of town till tonight it has been interesting. The weather wasn’t nice yesterday so I didn’t even leave the house. I have been feeling depressed a lot lately and having a hard time keeping my “head in the game”. Since this blog is about my journey, I always promote honesty. I feel like quitting. Not because of the couple of gains I had, but because I feel tired. I have been not minding my points(but always tracking) and not using my anchors ( link to anchors ). I simply have been eating food in the amount I feel like eating. I am not eating though because I am hungry, I am eating because I am sad. Why is this going on?
It didn’t hit me until yesterday when I saw what the date was, it was 6 days till the 6th anniversary of my mothers death. It always hits me hard as I was/am a mama’s boy. I think of her often and even have some nightmares about her being buried alive(and it being my fault). When she first died I would wake wondering if it was real or not, that she was dead. I digress though, every time I get close to this part of the year my mood changes. It becomes harder for me to stay “in control” with more than just my eating. I have a very bad temper, but 99% of the time I keep it controlled(using some techniques I learned in my teens). I find my self snapping at my wife/kids about little things and just being in a bad mood (NEVER Violent though). I know it was a traumatic event, but I feel like this far out I should be coping with it better. I have talked to a therapist about it in the past but didn’t get a lot of help. I have finally realized why it still hits me so hard. I have guilt about her death.
My mother was pretty much in a coma before she died. Her blood pressure kept dropping very low and the drugs the were using to raise it was also hurting her. As some of you may not know, my mother was over 700 pounds, and bed ridden most my life. She often would go to the hospital with “life threatening” things only to find out she exaggerated it. This though wasn’t one of those times. She lived in Florida and I was living in Wisconsin at the time. I had gone down to see her in the hospital a couple of months before hand. She was released and re-admitted a few times since that visit. So when I got the call to come down, I made the decision to stay. I felt I had already said my goodbyes and the last time I had spoke to her on the phone I made damn well sure she knew how much I loved her. So in the middle of the night I got the call, but I didn’t answer the phone. I thought it was just my brother calling to say he had made it to the hospital. I wish I had picked up that phone call, I wish I had gone down, and I wish I could have stopped it. I felt like I let my mother down, that I didn’t protect her like a son should. I was at home sleeping as she took her last breath, and didn’t even think to answer the phone.
Guilt, guilt, GUILT. I feel guilty, and I shouldn’t. Going down to the funeral all I could think about was how I should have saved her. I know I couldn’t but I SHOULD have, and that means I KILLED HER. So imagine you are going to your mother’s funeral and what keeps going in the back of your mind is that you were responsible for this happening. Compound this with the sadness, depression, and other feelings that come with such an event. Now every year it pops back up, that same guilty feeling. I let her down, and it was all my fault.
So I decided to write it out, and show myself how it wasn’t my fault and that I shouldn’t feel guilty. First, there was NOTHING I could have done to save her life at the hospital. NOTHING. I am not a doctor nor miracle worker.
Second, I am not the one who made her eat, just as she isn’t the one who made me eat. We all make our own food choices in the end. She, like myself, dealt with a food addition, it is just as strong as any other addiction, accept you HAVE to still eat food. You don’t have to drink or smoke to live, but you do have to eat. Imagine telling an Alcoholic you have to have one drink a day but NO MORE! That addiction though was hers and she is the one who made the choice to ignore it. I sound like a jerk right now(at least to myself), I shouldn’t be so hard on someone who was going through something like that, right? I am dealing with my own food addiction, and I understand the struggle. It is easier to give in than to fight it, but I firmly believe that we can learn to “control” it. I am not saying there won’t be ups and downs, many people with addictions relapse. It is what happens after those relapses that shows what you are made of.
Finally, at the root of all this is the fact that I have anger towards her, that I never really knew. Why should I be angry? I am angry for the childhood I had(I sound like a stereotypical person blaming their parents for their problems), and the fact that her addiction became mine. Little addicts come from big addicts. She wasn’t able to do anything, she couldn’t come out and play, make sure I did my homework and a host of other things. I am pissed off at her about all of it! She placed her drug of choice above her children, and that is a hard thing for a child. She also took away memories, like the ones I am building with my sons. My sons will never get to know her personally, and give her big hugs. She missed everything! This problem though is my own, and it is up to me to move past it. I can’t hold her responsible for my feelings of anger, and resentment. In an effort to start the healting I will put it here in writing. While I don’t 100% mean it(but know someday I will), it is a first step.
I Forgive you!
When I look at those three things, I realize it wasn’t my fault. I realize the guilt I was feeling is coming from so many other places. My mind doesn’t want to think negative things about my mother, I love her very much. I think my brain said “it is better we feel guilty than to have bad thoughts about her.” Every time this part of the year arrives, and my mind starts to go towards the thoughts of her, my brain tells the same lie. Now, just as I was typing this all out is when the realization of the anger came out. It is a relief, a physical and emotional release even. I know how to tackle this, and what needs to be done.
I know my thoughts don’t always come together how I want them to on here, but I know I got a lot out of writing this.
Keep on Rolling,
Big Boned Biker
So this has been an interesting week for me! First off we have moved from my beloved state of south west Wisconsin, to northwest Indiana. I was surprised by how different things are over here, from the weather to the terrain. Where we lived we got some wind but out here it has been horrible, sending me almost toppling over on my first bike ride(more about that shortly). Eating has been tough, and I don’t know if I made the healthiest of choices. Fine, I know for a fact I did not make the healthiest of choices, but I did track it all(track it and go! Yo ho! Yo ho!).
Before I go into the fun part of this post I wanted to share a bit of a brag of sorts, I conquered a fear. When I found out we were going to need a 26′ truck with a full car carrier I freaked out. I HATE driving, and honestly am not the best at it. Big Boned BIKER not TRUCKER! After some encouragement from my wife though I decided I would give it a try. That and U-Haul(NEVER EVER WANT TO USE THEM AGAIN!!!!) moved my reservation from in Platteville to Dubuque Iowa. This meant I was going to have to drive it around a town and on the interstate anyways. Thus I said I would brave it and drive to NWI(Northwest Indiana), after all it was some easy driving and I would be going around Chicago. For the record, I want to kill my GPS, why? Simple, it sent me through Chicago with a 26′ truck and a trailer. Did I mention we got a late start and it got dark right before Chicago? Also, the headlights on my truck were pretty much useless. However, I simply found a lane to stick to and only moved if it was completely necessary. Did you know that when your driving a large truck and trailer people tend to give you more room? They also didn’t care that I was only driving 45-55 the majority of the trip. Long story short, we arrived safe and I pushed past a fear.
*happy dance *
Are you interested in hearing about my first bike ride in the area? Maybe I should make you wait a big longer? Hmmmmmmm..fine I will tell you. We got a lot of unpacking done so I decided I would go for a short ride when my oldest went down for a nap(my wife was home of course). I head out the garage and dig poor Katrina out, I can tell she didn’t like the ride in the truck. I fix her mirror and pump up the tires, load up my pannier for a half hour ride. I head out and realize I am in a brand new area, with no clue where ANYTHING is, including home. So I decided to let myself get lost, I find it is a great way to learn your way home. As I am biking around I notice just how flat everything is, even the “hills” are short and flattish. I start wondering if switching out the gears was actually a bad idea, however every time the wind gusts in my face I realize that those lower gears are going to be nice. I pedal around the area and can’t help but notice how bad the roads are here. Full of potholes and uneven/bumpy blacktop, which jars my entire body as I ride over it. I swing past a residential area and decide to try it out, I want to get a bit lost after all. I look up ahead, noticing a small path with a cement pole sitting in the middle of it. Oh ya, there is a MUP here(Multi-Use Path)! I hop on it and go merrily on my way, with a happy little ditty on my lips as I fly down the path.
I realized quickly that I had no clue how long this trail was, nor where I even picked it up. I found some folks up ahead and ask how long it is to the end. He tells me it is about 2 miles to the next parking lot area. I keep flying down the path, I don’t know how fast because I didn’t put my cyclo-computer on before I left, nor did I turn on my MapMyRun app. I find myself at the “end” of the trail and get a chance to look at a map. The trail continues on for a bit in to a shady type of town(Gary, In which was the Murder Capital of the USA until recently). I decide it would be a good spot to turn around at, I asked some other folks how long it was to the other end of the trail. They tell me 5 miles at the most, MAYBE 7. LIARS! I should have known better than to trust people on April 1st, right?
I find myself riding along though enjoying the crisp spring day, I come across “the big hill”, which is leading up to a bridge that goes over a major road. I don’t even switch gears, things are just so flat around here. I should mention that before I turned around I finally turned on my app to keep track of my speed/mileage. I found out that I was hitting up to 20mph at times, which was awesome. So after the first 5 miles I started wondering why I didn’t reach the end, and by the second I realized that the lied to me. What was suppose to be a 30min ride turned into a 3 hours ride, and I was not prepared for it. I hadn’t even filled my water bottles, the water in them was left over from the last time I filled them. I had no food, and had eaten a light lunch, leaving me in a bad state on the way home. Did I mention the wind before? Well turns out I had a great tail wind on the way down but coming home it turned into a head wind(funny how that works). It was strong enough that going around one corner it almost knocked me over. I loved the lower gearing that I had and used it with no shame. I limped home on running on empty and drank some of the water from my bottles(which I realized was left from the fall). I got home and I found myself sick to my stomach. I think it was the water, lack of food, and just over doing it. BTW Best wife in the world award goes again to my wife! Not only did she let me go out while she wrangled the kids, did some unpacking, etc. She let me hide in the bedroom till I felt better a few hours later.
I don’t know for sure how far I went, but I know I ride and average of 10mph. I was gone 3 hours so it figures out to be about 30 miles or so. So what did I learn? A few things
1. That there is an awesome bike trail near my house!!
2. Fill my water bottles even on short rides
3. Always bring some sort of food with me
4. I STILL love bike riding!
Not going to lie, I already knew number 4. The other big change is that I am moving my Weigh In day from Wednesday to Saturday. Going to be nice though having a WI in the morning, but I won’t be able to get my last chance workouts in lol.
Going to call it a night,
Keep On Rolling,
Big Boned Biker