Sunday, August 27, 2017

Traveling Light No More

Look, I'm just going to get SUPER real with you today.  Like embarrassingly so.

Let me be super clear, I'm NOT looking for anyone to do any of the following:

  • Argue with me that I'm not fat.  It's the thing your sweet friends do when they want to make you feel better.  Tell you you're not fat.  Dude.  I'm fat.  Right now I truly am.  Trust me, I know.  I'm not attempting to be brash, really, but I feel like I'm allowed to use that word in my current state of fatness, so let's go ahead and be OK with me a) calling it like it is and b) not looking to be coddled.
  • Get upset with me for how direct I'm going to be.  Listen, I've been on BOTH sides of this journey.  I know what it's like to be fit and fat.  So I'm going to talk very directly about this.  Please do not continue reading this blog if you aren't going to be OK with that.  This is really for me, anyway. I'm NOT talking about anyone else.  I'm NOT talking to you. If you take something from it and feel this applies to you, great, I hope it helps.  But I'm not poking fun at anyone.  I'm being super real here.
All of that said, here goes.

I do want to start by saying my week was AMAZING overall.  I really truly enjoyed meeting this new amazing team of people doing some incredible work at my new company.  Part of me is marveling at the fact that I did, in fact, land this job at the heaviest weight I've ever been.  Either my thanks goes to my LLR wardrobe and/or these people are amazing and do not judge you by your exterior.  I'm going with the latter.

Traveling as a fat person is AWFUL.  Like I don't even know how to tell you how awful it is without just plainly recapping the travel part of my last week.  

So if you've been here for awhile you remember a blog post I had some years back when I shared a picture of my airplane seatbelt buckling for the first time following some weight loss.  This was so amazing. I used to hide the seatbelt under my jacket so no one could see it wasn't, in fact, buckled while flying. 

For some reason I don't remember traveling much at this weight, at least not air travel.  Then as I really thought about it I realized, I didn't really fly much at this weight before.  Not something I had realized or planned for, mentally. This was almost like a new experience all over again.  Not one of my better ones, either.

I prayed on my way to the airport last Tuesday that I wouldn't have anyone in the seat next to me.  Because I definitely take up more room than I should right now.  Thankfully, on my first flight it was a newer small plane, so I could actually somehow buckle the seatbelt, and the guy next to me was tall and slim so it worked.  No body parts touching.  Relief!  He was very pleasant to talk to, as well.

My second flight I was again on the aisle, which isn't preferable as you kind of have to hold your body upright in order to not get dinged by the cart when it rolls by.  This plane was smaller and I could not buckle the seatbelt easily. I sat next to a tiny person so that was super helpful.  

The other thing to consider is that using the restroom on the airplane is tough for ANYONE.  It's that much harder at this weight. So I was determined in my two short flights to not need the potty.  Which was great until we were diverted to another airport to land and refuel (because someone whiffed on gassing up the plane???).  This took over an hour.  I thought maybe I would deplane and rent a car but decided driving myself through the mountains wasn't a good idea.  I contemplated getting up to go to the restroom but then remembered how humiliating it would be and decided against it.

Very bad decision.

By the time we took off again we weren't even in the air long enough to get out of our seats much less for a restroom break.  I started to sweat realizing I had to pee really badly. Like so badly my goosebumps had goosebumps and I was having chills.  At one point after we took off the cabin pressure felt strange to me.  I began feeling like I couldn't breathe and was certain the oxygen masks were going to drop at any moment.  My heart was racing.  I glanced around panicked and everyone else looked FINE.  So I realized this was me.  And this, I believe, was my first official panic attack.  Oh, great.  I was in row 23 which means once we finally DID land and taxi'd around what felt like the entire airplane parking lot, I was actually in pain and still a really long time from deplaning. I tried to calm myself down the best I could and breathe and not fully panic. It's funny once the seatbelt sign turns off, it just means you can get up but the door to the plane is still closed, so....where you are going, I don't know.  But everyone gets up.  My bladder was legit throbbing at this point, and I really wondered if I would pass out.  Then the woman in the seat in front of me gets her purse strap caught and it takes others helping her get uncaught. Like 5 minutes of trying to get out of her freaking seat.  When I was finally able to get up, I moved as fast as this tail can move right now and made it somehow to the restroom. 

Look, this could happen to anyone.  But I'm here to tell you that I have never, ever had a panic attack.  And I firmly believe that my size and weight had me so uncomfortable that even breathing was a chore, so combine that with feeling my bladder may explode and I honestly felt like I was going to pass out. 

This has all been contributing to the continued realization of what things NEED to change. It's not like I don't know that they need to change.  Trust me, I do.  But this trip was SO HARD physically on me that it really grabbed my attention.  I actually slept through a good portion of Saturday. In fairness I arrived home at 10pm (after landing I had a 90 minute drive home), and it was a crazy exhausting week, but I went back to bed for a morning nap, took an afternoon/evening nap and then went to bed early.  I was so completely and utterly physically wiped out. This is not the normal I once enjoyed.

Other notable challenges while traveling: 
  • My feet hurt BAD no matter what shoes I'm wearing once I've been on them for a day.  All of this walking around is not easy when you're larger.  My ankles were swollen and my skin felt tight every day.  The most comfortable shoes I owned gave me blisters.  It's not the shoes' fault.  It's my size.
  • I tried to bring limited clothes etc. to save the company some money on checking my bag.  Bad idea.  Thankfully I had JUST enough outfits for the week but I would have felt better with a few more options.
  • I had to divert to a different chair in a restaurant because I saw the ones on the outside row of the table and I definitely do NOT fit in these chairs.  I took the booth side.  You have to be so much more observant but also don't want to make a huge deal of things as it's all quite embarrassing.  
  • I met so many fit people this week.  I know they don't know I was once their size.  Not that many years ago, in fact.  But they met me as fat Clara so that is how they know me, and that is the first impression I made on them.  I will not assume the worst, that people would have made judgments about me.  But I was sitting there judging me.  Thankful that I fit into the conference room chairs.
  • I was too tired after a day of being out, about and "on" to walk a block or two to dinner.  I ate at the hotel the other two nights I was there.
  • My feet hurt too badly to do the workout video I brought with me.  And I wasn't on the first floor anyway so there is no way I could have done that without the front desk calling me for a noise complaint (and this happened to me by the way when I was fit - so you just don't work out unless you're on the first floor).
I remember when I was fit and would travel and saw overweight people in the airport, or anywhere, I felt genuinely sorry for them and it always tugged at my heart.  I remembered how hard it was to maneuver through tight spaces myself.  I remembered how you felt everyone was looking at you, and no one was looking at you at the same time.  How people avoided eye contact with you. It's almost like others are embarrassed for you and if they pretend you are invisible, it's just better for everyone. I would pray for these souls when I saw them, for their health, and for their hearts.  

Man I hope someone prayed for me this week in that same way.  I really really missed Fit Clara while I was huffing and puffing my way through the airport.

So this week was the best of times and the worst of times, right?  I am elated at my new position, new team, new company.  But I am frustrated that it will be awhile before I can be truly comfortable when flying.   And part of me is also hopeful that in my monthly visits to the corporate office over the next few months that I will slowly begin shrinking before their very eyes.  

All of that explained, fat Clara is making a doctor's appointment for sometime hopefully in the very near future.  I'm shooting for this week or next, but also realize that I don't have a primary care doctor, so I may have to wait.  I need a physical and bloodwork which I am sure will tell me what I already know.  I'm in actual physical danger here, and things MUST change.  I can't imagine my heart is very healthy at this moment.  I know the strain my body is under just existing hurts as is.  Maybe the numbers will continue to propel me forward in this fight to find fit Clara. Maybe the threat of medication will be "enough" for me to be fully committed and motivated, and actually deep down believe that I will once again lose this weight, this time FOREVER. 

Thanks for following my story, on the good days and the not so good days. I'm determined to make this a better week and finish this year stronger, healthier and better. 

This isn't just about airplanes, anxiety or being supremely embarrassed.  This is about NOT DYING because I didn't take good care of myself.  

I'm committed to saving my own life, again. I need to be.  I need to keep talking about it and blogging about it until it starts to shape my reality.  As the pieces continue to fall into place over the next month of transition I can feel a storm of commitment brewing and I'm believing it's chock full of discipline, motivation, and all the mojo in the world. I have to believe that.

I have to believe.  I'm not alone.  Love this song by the way I Have to Believe by Rita Springer  

Who's with me?


Saturday, August 19, 2017

I'm Not Who I Was...

Gosh SO much has happened since my last post in April!! Quick update...I DID finish that Whole 30. It went well! And then I allowed myself to get too busy to make healthy eating a priority, yada, yada, yada.

Me and mud mountain? Bffs. Again.

I always learn stuff though, ya know? Every difficult situation I'm faced with seems to end with me going "oooooohhhhh...that makes sense." Sometimes I'm rolling my eyes at myself, trust me. But much of the time, I also try to extend some grace to myself, because I know how important, yet against human nature, that can be. It's much easier to make fun of yourself, be self-deprecating, and scoop another bowl of ice cream while I wait for myself to get my act together. Because, obviously, at some point, I just will, right?

Yeah, nope. That's not how it works.

I stumbled across that amazing nugget of a truth bomb this past week when my Facebook Memories (a blessing and a curse, really) reminded me of a time just a few short years ago where I had a no excuses approach to my fitness regime.

"Can't vs won't. Don't tell me you can't do this healthy lifestyle thing or you don't have time or its too hard. I absolutely won't believe you. Just look at what I have done and am doing! It's doable folks. A healthy lifestyle needs to be a priority. Even being a mommy, super busy traveling career person, and preachers wife in my case. It's not only doable it makes you better at all the other jobs you have. So don't say can't. At least not to me."

I wrote that on August 17th, 2013. Almost exactly 4 years ago. So, yes, a blessing and a curse to see how AWESOME I was doing then, and how pitifully I've been doing now. The "grace" part of me reminds myself that I created two humans, and sustained ones life for a year, in the last 2 years. That I have been working my busy corporate job and running a super successful side business. That I'm older and more tired than I was back then.

But if I'm being SUPER honest with myself...a great bit of that grace has turned into excuses at this point. And my own self, from 4 years ago, smacked my 2017 self upside the head with that this week. It stung a little, if I'm being honest. But also brought the last few months full circle. Let me explain.

If we roll the clock back a few months here, let me divert your attention away from my waistline to tell you about some other HUGE news....I was offered an AMAZING new corporate job opportunity with a hospital company in their division office. I start this coming Monday! We will be moving to Tallahassee in early October as that is where my office will be. A few massive amazing changes are that I will be focusing on organizational development (the WAY more fun side of human resources) and my travel footprint will be much, much smaller. I also am joining an incredibly stable company with a ton of growth opportunity. Very sad to leave my current role and teams, but equally excited about this new adventure. So, yes, lots of big changes coming up and FAST.

So after deciding to leave BKD and start this new adventure I had some other major decisions come about. A few weeks ago it was a Tuesday morning and I was drinking my coffee in my recliner contemplating the day. It was a work from home day. I had packages to do from the weekend's sales over my lunch break for my LuLa biz and frankly, had been putting them off. I was tired, weary, and suddenly had a HUGE catharsis.

What things am I doing to prevent myself from reaching my health goals?

My LuLaRoe business. I like it. It's fun. I love the clothes. It's profitable. I'm good at it. BUT. It takes up ALL of my spare time aside from work. My kids miss me. My husband supports me but worries about me when I'm up late into the night answering questions or perfecting packages. We eat out alot. While I can technically work from my living room I'm still actually absent when glued to my phone. When you're good at selling LuLaRoe you're slammed busy. That was me. Really good at it. But really really busy.

Sometimes, we aren't meant to do something just because we are good at it. 

Sometimes, we have to make choices that mean we cannot do everything and that is powerful.

I decided in that moment that I needed to close my LuLa biz. It came as a shock, even to myself. But I felt SO sure and SO free and SO relieved once I talked to Stephen about it. He supported me and agreed, with my new job, the travel especially at the beginning, the move, I needed to be able to focus on those things and relieve myself of my extra responsibility.

So I spent the next few days and weeks getting my stuff together to go out of business. Had one final "thank you for your support" sale and stayed up until 2am multiple days that week packaging up over 400 orders from my less than 24 hour private sale. It was exhausting. This past week I mailed the remaining inventory back to LuLaRoe corporate for a refund that will pay off a huge chunk of (non lula related) personal debt, which was one of my goals when going into the business in the first place.

I am SO happy I took that adventure on. It was a fast, profitable 9 months and I have zero regrets, a closet full of amazing clothes (like, don't even ask me how many Carly's I own...I lost count) and will be debt free in the very near future thanks to this awesome business opportunity. ALL amazing reasons that it was the right thing to do for me, at the time. LLR also provided a good solid distraction for me when I needed it to, to relieve the focus from my post partum depression and get myself out of the house and focusing on others. My why drove me and I made so many amazing friends through this as well! Friends that just might be reading this blog for the first time, today.

Some people close businesses because they aren't profitable or they feel they failed. Neither of these things applied to me. I closed my business because I have other business to attend to. My free time is earmarked for some MAJORLY important things.

I need to focus on getting myself healthy again, and doing whatever it takes to get there.

YES I've been busy. I have had many many distractions and things in the way of me making any kind of progress since W was born.

But even though "grace" might say I solidly COULD NOT with my schedule...I still CHOSE that schedule. So it was much more of a WOULD NOT situation.

And while I'm solidly OK with that, I'm also VERY excited about my newfound time and what this WILL mean now that I'm refocusing said time.

  • Time with my growing little baby boy (16 months old!), and my sweet almost 14 year old growing young teenage girl (insert face of terror here as she gets prettier every SINGLE day). 
  • Time with my amazing husband of almost 18 years. 
  • Time to really enjoy my career and know what it's like to actually finish work at a reasonable time then go for a walk, make a healthy dinner, prep food for the next day....what are these things??? lol 
  • And finally, time for THIS. My blog. My place of accountability. I can try to replicate my successes from the past, but I will fail. My life is incredibly different from what it was in 2010 when I began this journey. The ONE constant that I know will be the same is the need for this outlet and place of tracking my progress. 
Because I may be reading these words a year from today almost at my goal and SO proud of my progress. Or I may be reading these words on my 40th birthday, verklempt that I actually managed to get it together and save my own life again.

I'm so thankful I have these years of blogging to look back on and remember where I was and when. As I begin blazing a NEW trail and a NEW journey for myself over the coming days, weeks and months, I am excited to have it to inspire myself in the now and in the going forward. THIS BLOG was and has always been a huge key to my success. And heck, maybe even a few of you out there who have hung in for this roller coaster will also be inspired. Let me know if you're with me.

I'm still Clara...but also not who I was. I'm better, older, (hopefully) wiser, and ready to take on some amazing new things. I'm Not Who I was by Brandon Heath

Let's do all the things!