You Know What They Say About Assumptions

If you’ve known me at all over the past decade, you know one thing for sure. Whether we’ve worked together, been close friends, or even just friends on social media, one thing is clear. My weight has fluctuated, A LOT.

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Me at 22, Levi at about 8 months

From school, job changes, having babies, crash diets, and finally lifestyle changes, it’s been a roller coaster for my poor body.

If there’s one standout, positive thing that my weight fluctuations have given me, I’d say it’s perspective.

Over the past 10 years, I feel like I’ve had the opportunity to experience life in so many different body types. From sedentary to active. To morbidly obese, to “skinny fat”, to lean. From a size 22+, to a size 4, and everywhere in between.

Embarrassing Thoughts

I know the thoughts that can go through your mind in each of these bodies, and one thing that I’ve come to realize lately, is how much we can judge people at the other end of the spectrum. It’s easy to look at a stranger at face value, and assume all kinds of things about them when you’ve never lived life in their body, or in their shoes.

When I was obese, I assumed that the thin people of the world made all kinds of judgments about me. But honestly, I had a lot of opinions about them too.

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Me after many crash diets, at 25, Levi at 3

I figured that they were just genetically lucky. They didn’t have to work for their body, or think about what they ate. If I saw a thin girl at a restaurant scarfing down a plate of nachos, my mind would subconsciously jump to conclusions right away.

“Must be nice!”

“I bet she won’t look like that after she has kids.”

“I wish I could eat whatever I felt like and not gain weight, but I wasn’t blessed with her metabolism.”

These types of things would race through my mind about her, and then I would start on myself:

“You were just destined to be overweight.”

“You’ve ruined your body, you’ll never look like that.”

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Age 28, about 5 months postpartum with Tyson

“You’re lazy, and not disciplined enough to ever look like that.”

The way we compare ourselves to each other, and the things we say to ourselves can be awful. But I didn’t just limit my judgmental thoughts to eating interactions…oh no! If ever there was a time when I was disgusted with myself enough to actually try to go to the gym and lose weight, I would automatically start judging those dang skinny girls at the gym too.

“You can’t seriously enjoy this, and clearly you don’t need to lose weight, you must be here to meet a man.”

And then to myself:

“Why are you even bothering? This is awful and you’re not going to be able to keep this up for as long as it’s going to take to lose weight.”

“You’re wasting your time.”

I judged “fit” people, and I assumed that they were judging me too. All of these things I told myself, I just assumed were the things that they were thinking too.

Switching Seats

Over time I learned to turn those thought off.

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Age 29, Thanksgiving Day, the day before I started pulling myself out of the hole.

I pushed those thoughts to the side, because my need to accomplish my goal, was bigger than what other people might be thinking. I had to quit caring what other people thought, and learn to keep my eyes on my own paper.

One day, I finally looked up, and realized I had somehow changed seats. I looked in the mirror, and aside from a little loose skin and some pretty gnarly stretch marks, I was starting to kind of look “fit”. I was starting to be able to actually see my muscles in places, and I truly enjoyed my time spent in the gym. I had a whole new perspective, that I had never had before.

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Age 30, down 114 pounds tracking macros and lifestyle changes

I didn’t worry anymore about what people thought about me in the gym, and I began to notice how I wasn’t spending as much time comparing my body or my eating habits to img_3294others either.

Now when I see a “skinny” girl at a restaurant shoveling down a cheeseburger, I don’t think, “must be nice!” Now I think, “Yes! Cheat meal!” I realize that I always just assumed that she was just one of the lucky ones…one of those blessed few who could eat whatever they wanted and have the perfect body. Now I have enough knowledge about nutrition to realize, she probably doesn’t. She probably doesn’t eat that way all of the time like I used to. Because if she did, her body probably wouldn’t be able to keep up with all of those extra calories either. Maybe she’s been tracking her macros all week, just waiting for this special “cheat meal”. Or maybe she has far worse issues with food, and that’s the only thing she’s eaten today. You just never know.

Maybe that “fit mom” at the gym is just like me too. Maybe she didn’t always look that way, and maybe she truly enjoys that little bit of alone time she steals for herself each day. Maybe she really needs that time to focus, unwind, and feel good about herself before she goes home and has to wipe snot and poop for the rest of the day.

Now that I’m on the other end of the spectrum, I feel like I have a unique perspective, not on either extreme, but from somewhere in the middle. I understand why that thin mom loves the gym and how she balances her diet. But I also remember being in that other body, feeling judged, and tired, and like I was chasing my tail…caring so much about how my body looked to other people, but trying to pretend I didn’t.

I Totally Get It

I see that gym-lover, and I think, “Good for her. I totally get it, I’ve got a long day ahead too. Blast that music girl, forget that to-do list for an hour! You’re a beast!”

And when I see that person, just at the beginning of their weight loss or fitness journey, I make no assumptions about their lifestyle, why they gained weight, their eating habits, and especially not about what they’re capable of. The only thing I’m thinking is, “Good for her. I totally get it. I hope you find a way to feel comfortable here, your body is just as capable as anyone in here, and I hope you keep going. The way you feel right now will pass, just give it some time.”

You Know the Saying

You know that saying about assumptions? It’s true! We should never, ever assume that we know another person’s lifestyle, or body, or motives.

I can without a doubt tell you, that my current lifestyle and body type are my favorite so far. But shockingly, I can say now, that I do feel lucky to have had the experience of living in my body, in so many different stages. I feel like it’s given me the gift of perspective, and I hope that I can use my perspective to help some else realize how capable they are, and that they can view their life from a different seat whenever they choose to.

YouTube is My Guru

I have officially categorized myself as a “dabbler”. I’m not sure why, but every few months or so, I get the itch. I have a thought, about how I would like to learn how to do something new, and quickly, I escalate from questioning how, to full-blown obsession. I’m all in, or I don’t care about it at all. I guess this can be a strength or a weakness.

The Parade of Hobbies

One time it was cake decorating. I loved watching baking shows on TV, and Lord knows I love cake! It sounded like the thing for me! I knew nothing about decorating cakes, but I got on YouTube, and looked it up! Viola! I’m decorating cakes, cake pops, cupcakes, you name it. I even took a cake decorating class at Michael’s with my mom, and may have accidentally squirted icing in a lady’s hair. It’s kind of hazy. Until my mom reminds me of it once a year or so, because she thought it was hilarious.

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Next, it was knitting. I thought, if I can learn this cake decorating stuff on YouTube, I bet there are videos about knitting too. It seemed like it would be relaxing. Before long, I was knitting up a storm, and channeling my inner Grandma.

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Naturally, the next step after knitting, was quilting. Why you ask? Your guess is as good as mine!

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All I know is, I have a kitchen full of cake decorating supplies, a tote bag full of yarn and needles, and a sewing machine collecting dust in my laundry room cabinet. I get the urge to learn something new, and watch out YouTube, momma needs a new hobby!

Using My Obsessive Personality For Good

You Get the point. I am a firm believer, that if there’s something that you’re interested in learning how to do, you can learn it on YouTube. From cake decorating, to breastfeeding, to flexible dieting. Trust me, it’s on the Tube.

I had heard of flexible dieting before, years ago, and even had a friend make me a meal plan to try it out. But soon after starting to date my husband, I basically just said screw it and went wild with fast food, when and wherever I felt like it. That’s what you do when you’re falling in love I guess. Haha.

When we started dating, I was hovering around 160 pounds. A year later, after we had were married and decided to have a baby, I had ballooned up to 225, and when my youngest little angel was born, I was tipping the scales at 247 big ones.

So after I delivered Tyson, and life settled down a bit, I decided it was time to get my postpartum booty in gear. I started making small changes here and there. Dropping weight slowly, while still trying to breastfeed.

I dabbled (because I’m a dabbler), in different eating styles, and even tried to do the vegan thing for a couple of months after watching too many food documentaries on Netflix. Which is hilarious to me now, knowing how much meat and cheese I eat on a daily basis.

Finally, I decided to do the thing that may not be the easiest, but what I knew would work the best for me long term, if I could figure out how to do it for myself. I knew this was a methodical way of eating that people in the fitness industry had been using for decades. I had just been putting off learning it because it seemed so complicated. So many numbers and calculations.

Who did I turn to? Ol’ Faithful, the Tube. I binge watched so much YouTube, scouring the inter webs for flexible dieting info.

Not Just a Hobby

Here I am, 107 pounds lighter, the lightest I’ve ever been in my adult life. I’ve learned how to eat, how to get my mindset right around weight loss, and I’ve found a gym routine that I love and crave doing. I finally found a “hobby” that I love and have stuck with for way longer than any other, which in itself is still mind-blowing to me. You don’t have to buy anything to learn. I learned by investing my time. While the baby was taking a nap, after the kids went to sleep at night, I was a sponge, soaking up everything I could find about flexible dieting, and later about strength training.img_7048

Maybe most importantly, I didn’t learn everything about flexible dieting before I started implementing it. It was a learning process. I took “messy action”, refining and tweaking my macros and my meals as I learned and figured out what worked best for me and my body. Invest in yourself, and your knowledge. It can seem overwhelming at first, but you’ll be doing so much for yourself in the long-term, than any pill or fad diet could do in the short-term.