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If You Are Reading This – I Owe You An Apology

Almost four years ago, I started doing something that I never should have done.

I stopped being a blogger. You see a blogger, is someone that regularly writes material for a blog.

I was a blogger, a very passionate weight loss blogger for the better part of five years from 2010-2015. Many of you followed me along my journey from desperately seeking slender at 420lb. and my challenge to get my BMI to where I needed it to be to have weight loss surgery. Many more of you joined me through my weight loss journey, through the death of my father and through my reconstructive surgery journey. Together we ran half marathons and traveled all the way to Wilmington, NC, where I began pursuing my dream to become a personal trainer and help those affected by obesity.

Then it all started to change…

Though I still passionately pursued my dreams, and in fact, made them a reality, I stopped sharing that journey with you.

Looking back at it now it’s easy for me to see what transpired. It’s a little harder for me to admit it, own it, and write about it. When you write something down in words and publish it for the world to see, you can’t take it back. You are now vulnerable and exposed. I used to be good at being vulnerable and exposed. That is what many of you admired about me.

But once we got to that part of the journey together, when I had torn down all the walls that I had built up behind my weight, given up my relationship with food and realized much to my surprise that losing weight didn’t instantly fix everything that was wrong in my life, all that was left was the woman that had started building all those walls to begin with.

I convinced myself that I didn’t have anything relevant to write about.

I wasn’t “desperately seeking slender” anymore. I had achieved slender. I had accomplished the healthy lifestyle that my father and wished for me. I told myself that if I kept writing about all the stuff that was going on in my life I would just be the “skinny bitch” that everyone wanted to shut up and stop rambling on about how great their life was while everyone else was still in that desperately seeking slender phase.

But that was far from the truth. I had plenty to write about. I just didn’t want to write about it. I didn’t want anyone to know how much I was struggling. I didn’t want to be honest, exposed and vulnerable. I didn’t want to be judged or gossiped about. I was scared. So, I started building walls again.

This time I build them with silence, exercise, a busy career, and “love” instead of food.

Losing all the weight had made me a healthier version of myself. I was fitter and in much better physical health. I had a much better chance at the “happy and healthy life” my father had wanted for me so badly. But I was nowhere near happy. I wanted to be happy. I was chasing happy like a coyote chases a road runner. But if you’ve ever seen Wile E. Coyote chase Road Runner in a Looney Tunes cartoon, you can only guess how that was working out for me.

This presented a whole different issue. Here I was, trying to make a name for myself in the fitness industry as a weight loss and wellness coach and while I had won my battle with obesity and emotional eating, I was in a whole new battle with emotions, my past, my mental health and myself.

It’s time to own the truth, be honest and vulnerable again…

Some people might call me an addict. In truth, once upon a time I was an addict. A food addict. Now, I’m a recovering food addict. As a recovering food addict the one thing I know beyond any shadow of a doubt is that I can’t ever go back to that addiction. I can’t let myself slip back into that dark place. I’ve been there before. I’ve fallen off the wagon. It ended up with me weighing 420 lbs. for a second time in my life and having to find the strength courage and perseverance to start all over.

I’ve been emotionally and verbally barraged by someone I dated for the unhealthy behaviors I used as my coping mechanisms enough times to have almost been convinced that addiction was my problem. But I know, at the core of who I am, that is not what my problem is.

No matter what my vice is at any given time. I can trade it for something else. If I want to. I stress the I in there. Because it must be something I want. Not something someone else wants for me.

If you try to bully me, pressure me into doing it, beat me up for it emotionally, nag me about it all the time, argue with me about it in a fashion that board lines emotional abuse, what you end up with is Pandora in survival mode and victim mode.

I’ll fight back just like I did when I was a little girl being emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually or verbally abused. Whatever fashion you come at me in, I will come out swinging in the same manner. And when the fight is over, I will do what I do best, find some sort of escape from it.

Because that is what my issue is… I am an escapist.

There is always something that I am using to distract myself from whatever reality, issue or emotion I don’t want to face. Something that makes me “feel better,” whether that’s emotionally, mentally or physically. Sometimes I make some good choices regarding what I use as my escape, other times, I make some horrible ones.

We can talk all about addiction vs. escapism in blogs to come. Because I promise you, there are more blogs to come. We can talk more about food addictions, healthy emotional outlets, unhealthy emotional outlets. We can talk about how losing weight doesn’t fix everything. We can talk about battling re-gain, about weight maintenance. We can talk about exercise, fitness, and nutrition. We can talk about how desperately some of us that have been affected by obesity seek love, to the point that causes us even more emotional and mental trauma.

We can even talk about that 10 lbs. of yo-yo weight gain/weight loss that if we tallied up would probably be another 100 lbs. of weight loss and in the end, constantly leaves us in that “Desperately Seeking Slender” struggle with obesity.

You see we have a whole lot to talk about. I was lying to myself when I convinced myself differently.

I used silence as my escape from the dark realities of life after bariatric surgery and weight loss.

I am not going to do that anymore. I owe you all a big apology for doing it to begin with. Because you see my friends, the truth is, if I had stayed open, honest and vulnerable with you through my journey, some of you who were experiencing the same sort of things might have had an easier time with it. You might have known you were not alone.

Some of you might have appreciated knowing there was someone else struggling with the same things. Some of you might have been more prepared for some of the issues, challenges and obstacles you might face.

I got called out on my silence.

Here I was trying to convince this woman I hold in such high regard, that the entire reason I wasn’t a blogger anymore was because I had decided that what I had to say was irrelevant to people, and that they didn’t want me going on and on. I was trying to convince her, and in truth myself, that I had gone silent because it was what I would have wanted. I explained how I thought I needed to get someone else, that was more in that phase of “Desperately Seeking Slender” to write for this blog and its previous reader base. I justified it all by telling her how I always tried to treat people the way I would want to be treated.

This is what she said…

 “You deciding what other people didn’t want to hear about was selfish Pandora. Maybe some people thought that you had found your “slender” and you left them behind, abandoned them, and that you didn’t need them anymore. The golden rule is to treat people the way you want to be treated. But the Platinum rule is to treat people the way they want to be treated.”

That hit home hard. First because she was exactly right. What I did was selfish. But even more so, because what she proposed some people MIGHT have felt. Was exactly how I would have felt. So not only am I guilty of not treating my readers how they might have wanted to be treated, I’m guilty of not treating my readers how I would have wanted to be treated.

I vanished. No explanation, no discussion. I used silence as an escape and the facade of a far to busy life and good intentions to justify it.

To each one of you who have read even one of my blogs throughout the years…

To those of you who might have read all the blogs I haven’t posted in this period of silent escapism and couldn’t because I didn’t write them…

To anyone that felt like I moved on and abandoned them, or worried about the reasons behind my textual Houdini act…

I apologize.  

It was one of those “really horrible” choices of escapism methods I mentioned I sometimes make.

Now that I’ve come to terms with the reality that I have done it, I am choosing not to escape in this fashion anymore. I am back. I am willing to be open, honest and vulnerable again. Today that vulnerability starts with …

I am sorry.

DSSPostSig

Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

A Marathon of Half Marathons

image1I have my clients keep “Celebrations and Confessions” journals. This is a journal where they write down some of the things that they feel that they need to confess as they go through their weight loss journeys. It’s a safe place that they can get it out, let it go and move on without beating themselves up to much over it and in the process of doing so, cause themselves to fall into the vicious cycle of feeding feelings and emotional eating.  It is also a place where they write down the things that they are proud of and the things that they want to celebrate in their journeys. 

Sometimes the only way someone else knows we want them to acknowledge and celebrate an accomplishment with us is if we make the effort to make them aware of what the accomplishment is.

Today I have a really BIG accomplishment I would like to share with you all and ask you all to celebrate with me.

IMG_5869Three weeks ago I ran the Star Wars The Dark Side half marathon with my partner-in-crime Jeff Newell. It was Jeff’s first timed and chipped half marathon and that was a really big accomplishment for him and that is what the majority of my focus was on. 

But it was a really special accomplishment for me as well. It was my 26th half marathon.

26 half marathons. A full marathon is 26.2 miles. I know this real well because I just ran my first full marathon last January when I took on the Dopey Challenge and managed not to die after 4 days of getting up early and running far too many miles each day. So 26 half marathons is quite literally a marathon of half marathons. That is quite a feat.

Pandora420lbIf you had told 420 pound me who could hardly stand in the kitchen and cook a meal without experiencing foot and back pain that just 6 years in the future I would be celebrating an accomplishment like this I would have wondered what sort of drugs you had been taking and why you weren’t sharing it, because obviously that was some pretty good stuff.

I look back at photos of that girl and I scarcely recognize her or the lifestyle that I was living back then. 

I think back to that moment that my Dad came to me and told me that he would love me no matter what, but that I was digging a grave with a fork and a spoon and that he was worried I wouldn’t live a happy and healthy life.

I started running as a coping mechanism of dealing with the loss and grief that I experienced when my Dad passed away. Running has been my way of staying emotionally connected to him even though he can’t be here with me anymore. When I run I talk to him, I share what is going on in my life with him and I always know that he is listening to me.

26 is just a number. But it is a number that has held a lot of symbolism for me in my life and in my weight loss journey. My father was born in 1926. It has always been one of my favorite years. When I had lost 260 lb. I got 26 stars tattooed on my back – one for every 10 lb. I had lost. The number 26 has great significance to me. 

13173693_10206671781488519_7014395854559789663_nI looked up my split times for this latest half marathon the other night and my fastest mile was mile 11 – my dreaded mile. Mile 11-12 is usually the one I struggle on the most. But in this last event I ran that mile in 10:01— Who ever would have thought this girl would be running a 10 minute mile. That astounds me.  I remember a day only 6 years ago that I couldn’t even walk a 30 minute mile.

I am amazed each day at the difference in my life the moment I started living it outside the confines of obesity. For the first time in my life I am experiencing life, love and happiness without having to try to change myself or who I am to feel like I earned it. I am just being me and enjoying every moment.  

Since Star Wars I have run the Myrtle Beach Diva and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and now have 28 Half Marathons on the books and I am currently trying to decide what my next goal is going to be,

But for today, I am Nashville bound to speak and teach an exercise session at this years the WLSFA ( Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America ) Annual Meet and Greet. — Now if only I can find the time to go to the Johnny Cash Museum while I am there.

Until next time, remember that celebrating your wins against obesity and sharing your story and giving yourself credit for your  successes can be very important part of your weight loss journey.

See you all in Nashville. Yeehaw!

DSSPostSig

Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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