Saturday, January 10, 2015

New Year, New Me?!?!

*Disclaimer: This has been the hardest post of my life to put out there. I have sat on it for over a week trying to decide if I really want to go through with this. It is really long, a little rambling and should have been split out into 2 parts. Yet I was afraid I would chicken out and never post the second half. So grab cup coffee and get settled in. I will be the girl over in the corner hyperventilating in a paper bag because I finally had the courage to share something I have been trying to do for almost 2 years. Cheers!

Happy New Year!!  2014 was an epic year for the Martin family. Both Kipper and I set out to accomplish goals that just a year before we could have never dreamed of.  Along the way to achieving those goals we made new friends, grew closer to old friends, celebrated 10 years of wedded bliss, did more laundry and dishes than I care to recall (damn water bottles) and learned more about ourselves than we ever imagined.  As we welcome the start of another year it is time to set new goals and put forth a plan to achieve them.  A new year, a new me…right?!?!

Sort of, but not exactly.

At one time I was REALLY big on New Year’s resolutions. I would spend so much time coming up with big goals and ideas of things I wanted to accomplish for the entire year.  And while a few bits and pieces would happen, the majority always fell to the wayside and made me feel like a failure.  My New Year’s resolutions were just another example of me trying to map my life out 365 days in advance and never planning how I would adjust when life threw me a curveball.  And life always throws you a curveball (or five!)

Over the last two years I have done away with what I traditionally called New Year’s resolutions and focused more on attainable long term goals, reevaluating things every few months.  I think Kipper said it best – there is nothing magical about January 1st!  (Other than getting to use a new calendar; which is kind of magical if you are dorky like me!)  If you have a goal or a dream you can start on a random Tuesday in March or a Friday in September.  And if you get off track, all you need to do is wake up and start again. Every day is a chance to start anew.

Life is about growth.  I truly believe you must continue to grow and develop all areas of your life in order to fully live life the way God intended us to.  Sometimes that means pushing past your comfort zones.  Breaking down walls and allowing yourself to be more vulnerable in the eyes of others.  It is an ongoing journey and it can be so scary, yet so incredibly freeing. 

When I started my blog, my goal was to focus on craft and dyi projects, with the occasional post about my personal life.  I didn’t realize it then, but looking back I realize my blog was away for me to escape from issues I didn’t want to deal with at that time.  I quickly found that I was writing more personal posts than anything, although the majority of them remained up published.  I slowly started posting more of them, but was still extremely guarded. 

In 2013 I made a promise to myself that I would be more transparent in my blogging and I began to open up about my struggle with depression, ADHD and infertility.  In 2014 while my blogging was limited, I shared some of my rawest, most honest posts ever.  Sometimes I still can’t believe I ever hit publish on them, but in the end I am so thankful I did. 

Every time I took a leap of faith and put my heart out there, I was blown away by the response.  The amount of love and support I have received, from places I would have never imagined, has been amazing! I was always so concerned about how others would judge me and I am sure there are some who have. Yet through this experience I have found a support system that I would have never had.  I have connected with others in a way that would have never happened in our casual friendship and have been blessed to have been a very small part of helping a few other women start their journey breaking down their own walls.  

Because of the promise I made to myself in 2013 and the small chance this might help someone else, I have finally decided to open up about the issue that scares me the most and plays a huge part of my battle with depression – my weight and self-image issues. I have written countless posts on this topic, but I have never been brave enough to share.  Today - in the spirit of the New Year - that changes.  

Long story short, I have had a long, extremely unhealthy relationship with food and my weight.  For years my thoughts were consumed with calories, dress sizes and weight. I measured my worth in numbers and even at a size 2/4 and 120 pounds I wasn't truly happy.   

Anytime something didn't work out, in my mind, it was always because I was fat. Seriously.  Broke up with my boyfriend – I was too fat. Didn't get the part in a play I wanted – too fat. Didn't make the grade I expected on a test – you guessed it, too fat!  It never crossed my mind that things don’t always go your way or that maybe if I wasn't so preoccupied with what size my new jeans were and spent more time studying I MIGHT have done better on that test.  

In my 20’s I found some relief from this thanks to antidepressants but at the cost of gaining weight.  I came to a point that I just stopped caring about my nutrition or working out, literally doing everything I could not to think about it. Yet I hadn't actually fixed anything, only band aided it and I still thought about it often. It took me several years to realize that. 

A little over 3 years ago, after the hardest year of my life, I had gained a considerable amount of weight – 40 pounds to be exact.  I was miserable.  By the grace of God I decided to start running with Kipper. My original motivation was weight loss. Only I had no idea how this decision to run would change my life so many other ways.  At the heaviest I had ever been, I signed up and completed a Warrior Dash mud run.

Over the next year I kept running and worked extremely hard to get myself off Prozac and Adderall. It took almost a year but I was able to get off all my meds and was feeling better than I had in ages. I lost a little weight, just not as much as I had hoped. Yet I kept running and setting new goals. Somewhere along the way the goals stopped being only weight related and became endurance and health related.

Fast-forward to 2014. Training for and running a full marathon and watching Kipper complete an Ironman 70.3 changed everything.  For the first time it all clicked. My imperfect body had carried me through the hardest and most epic challenge I could imagine.  I had wasted so much of my life consumed with my weight and being smaller.  When I was 120 pounds, I couldn't run more than maybe a mile. Yet there I was at 240 pounds and I had run a marathon.  It actually makes me more proud of myself knowing that I had the courage at this weight to start and finish something that only 1% of population attempts.  (Now excuse me while a freak out that I just shared my weight with the entire world…something up until now only my husband and doctors have known!)

As I move forward in my journey I know that while I am completely healthy now, my weight can’t stay here because there will come a day it will affect me. I also know that dropping some weight will make a huge difference in my running.  Kipper has long thought that part of my issue is on most days I don’t eat enough or I have a major splurges and am way over. I don't have a happy medium. My body is all out of whack and confused.  And while I have agreed with him for some time I have no evidence to support that theory because tracking my food terrifies me.  It gives me great anxiety and takes me back to a former version of myself that I never want to be again.  I will track here and there but as soon as I start to panic, I stop.

I am finally in a place that I am ready to tackle that fear and anxiety once and for all.  I know it is going to be tough. It is going to force me to face demons I have tried to bury for far too long. But I’m not the girl I once was. Food isn't my enemy or a substitute for a therapist. Even though I struggle some days, a number on a scale doesn't define me.  Somehow surviving the first week of tracking my food without any freak outs has reconfirmed all of this.  

Moving forward I have promised myself I will continue to share this part of my journey. It terrifies me. It is the wall that I have never let many past, but it is time. I am so thankful that I have an incredibly supportive husband and that God has placed a handful of people in my life over the last few years that have given me new perspective and helped get me to this point.