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My Personal February Love Myself Challenge

photoI met a fellow blogger friend yesterday named Nicole, her website is Beauty and the Bypass and she is one of those people who I just know I’ll be friends with for years to come. Something about her just clicked. A lot of people have asked me how I know so early on that someone is going to be a huge part of my life. I always go back to a quote from an old Christian Slater movie, “I don’t make sense, you don’t make sense, together we make sense.” That is the best way I can describe the feeling I have had when I have met women like Tora, my chosen sister, Heather, Ashli, Joy, Rain, there is something about each of these women that resonated with me and the moment I met them it felt like I had known them for years. That’s how I felt yesterday with Nicole.

I’ve been going through a lot of emotional stuff lately. I’m not sure where it all came from, but I am defiantly realizing that even when you think you have your head on straight sometimes some emotions from your past can sneak up on you and really throw you for a loop.

A few women that I respect in the WLS community have pointed out to me in the last several days how astute I am when it comes to recognizing my feelings, understanding where my emotions are coming from and my ability to as I call it “own my baggage.”

184cf9ce6da911e2a98422000a9f1513_7When Nicole and I were having lunch the other day we were talking about why each one of us started our blogs, what our intentions were and what we were trying to accomplish and no surprise to me we found that what we had in common was that both of us wanted to help others through our stories and both of us felt that if we were able to do that for just a few readers, we’d be happy.

I think, that once again, someone else has helped give me the perspective I needed to see this. I’ve been very stressed out about so much stuff and what I really need to remember is that if it’s too stressful for me, then I have likely taken on too much and need to hit the brakes and see where I can relieve some of the emotional pressure.

For all of February I am not going to pressure myself to blog, I am going to write when I have something I want to say and I am going to spend a month committed to focusing on working on things that get me towards one of my three main goals this year. Become a Personal Trainer. Run a Half Marathon and become a new home owner.

Each day of the week I will do something that is working on one of these three goals. My challenge to myself for February is to love myself enough to make sure I am working on my goals each day. I’ll be following up and posting about my Desperately Seeking Slender February Challenge to do something to love yourself each day of the month. #WLSValenMine is the hash-tag I will be using.

Today, I start by creating this challenge. Not stressing out as I wait to hear from the mortgage broker about what comes next, and tonight in my bubble bath I will be looking up half marathon training programs and working out how I am going to go about this half marathon run I want to do. But I sort of have an idea in the works. I’ll let you know soon.


Your Voice Can Be Someones Light in the Darkness

I should really be heading to the Gym already, I have so much to do today, but I just needed to sit down and write this first. Yesterday was a terrible, dark, and horrifying day for me…

I had been up for over 24 hours, I was in a state of panic, more than anything I wanted to go run and be able to talk to my Father and try to get my head cleared of the negative thoughts that were racing around in there. But with no sleep and in the emotional condition I was in, exercising wasn’t an option for me. I sat there missing my Father’s presence in my life both physically and spiritually and I felt myself spiraling into such a depression that I even began thinking that I needed to go see a therapist again.

There is one man whose voice means almost as much to me as my Father’s, Chris Powell, celebrity Fitness Trainer from ABC Extreme Makeover. I adore him and his amazing and beautiful wife Heidi Powell. Meeting them is one of my biggest dreams. I’ve had contact with Chris a few times now through his Facebook page. (Yes he does answer back; in fact he has answered me every single time I have written him through Facebook) I decided to drop Chris Powell a note with a link to my blog and let him know that I could really use a little pep talk if he was still listening.

ThankYouChrisPowellAfter my last contact with Chris where I asked him to come to some events I was involved in, I was actually worried that when he told me to contact his management team I might not ever hear from him again. I was literally sitting at my computer yesterday an exhausted emotional wreck, in tears and said to Heather as she was washing dishes in the kitchen, “And Chris Powell probably won’t ever answer me again because I asked him to go to that event and now it’s probably like all contact has to go through his management people and I should have never done that because he was being so good to me!”

No sooner had I finished yet another emotional outburst then I turned my head and saw a notification on Facebook that Chris Powell had responded to my post on his page.

I sat there and I read what Chris had written to me and then my panicked mind that can sometimes run away from me too fast started repeating certain parts of it in rapid succession. “I am still so proud of you.” “It is YOUR body.” But the big thing that Chris reminded me was that I shouldn’t allow those that hurt me in the past the power to hurt me right now.

I started to bawl again as soon as I finished reading Chris Powell’s response. But it wasn’t the same sort of crying I had been experiencing throughout the day, this was just relief, so much damn relief.

I was relieved I still had Chris to talk to, but most of all, I knew that the timing of that response coming in just when it did, I knew I was going to be ok and honestly, Chris writing me back at that moment, it grounded me, it helped me stop, breath, and start figuring out what to do to get past the panic.

I decided that I would write Chris the proper thank you and then step away from the computer. I went and took a long bubble bath and read several chapters in the Kelly Armstrong book I’ve been working on. I had a couple of cups of warm tea, and after a hot bath I let myself indulge in a glass of flat Diet Dr. Pepper, one of my rare guilty pleasures. I finished taking down all the Christmas decorations that I had allowed myself to leave up extra-long to enjoy this year because I spent so much time in bed recovering from my thigh lift over the holidays that I didn’t get much time to enjoy them and then I made a promise to myself that I would go to bed with a positive affirmation and wake up with one. I had some dinner and I watched the season premiere of Dallas and then the Ellen Show on DVR and by 10:30pm I was ready to head to sleep. My positive affirmation before bed was: “Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, and character becomes destiny.” – I have accomplished more in two years than I have accomplished in most of my life. 2013 is my year. Tomorrow my thoughts will all be positive.

This morning I woke up, I decided to get a cup of coffee, get some bills scheduled and then it was time to go look in the mirror. I made a promise to myself that I’d stand there this morning looking at what I looked at yesterday and I would come up with a positive affirmation.

ChrisPowellI thought about what Chris had said to me. I stood there in my sports bra and my UA Leggings and I looked at my body and that is the moment that it came to me… Last month I had been a little blown away when I noticed a quote on the bottom of Chris Powell’s webpage that echoed verbatim what my Father had said to me when he came to me about my weight. They both wanted me have a “Happy and Healthy Life.”

This is the problem that I have had all along. When I was fixated on a goal weight of 150 and beating myself up that I could only get to 160, when I was putting my whole life on hold chasing a “Normal BMI’ of 24.82 @ 149lb and beating myself up because I have a BMI of 26.85 @ 161lb. Being upset because a waist circumference of 37 makes me “overweight” and wanting to lose 2 more inches so that I’m “Normal.”  Or most recently, looking in the mirror and seeing skin relaxation after major reconstructive surgery as some sort of leftover remnant of my past abusers.

Until now, I haven’t been trying to meet my goals; I’ve been trying being “perfect” I actually laughed as I realized it. Chris if you are reading this the first thing that came to mind for me was “I am perfectly imperfect.” The article his wife Heidi Powell wrote on her Blog a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve had it all wrong. I’ve been trying to be perfect and normal and fit into all the little boxes that all these medical standards and scientific measurements say I should and once I fell into that mindset, I forgot that this was never about being perfect, this was about being happy and healthy, and I am all those things, and that is why I am a perfect example of weight loss success and how much a transformation like this can change your life.

So many things have been happening to me lately, I think the stress of it all made me lose sight a little bit of my goals. I’m not here to become a professional athlete, I weighed 420 lb. and had a BMI of 70.04 when I first started this journey and I had a whole lot of emotional baggage weighing me down as well. I’ve lost 260 lbs. I have a BMI today, of 26.68 and the extra skin that I once saw as remnants of my abusers has been cut off and replaced with scars that I see as my own personal battle scars. In a year or so, after the scars have faded, and finances aren’t so tight, I’ll be tattooing over them and working on expressing my weight loss journey in body art centered on their locations.

My weight loss journey first started in July of 2010 and in less than three years I have been through some of the most emotional moments in my entire life and I today, I am a stronger, healthier, happier, beautiful woman and I am exactly who and what I am supposed to be. I might have a little extra skin on my abdomen and I might never wear a bikini, but I don’t need to. What I need to do is be able to live my life to the fullest, maintain the happy, healthy, active life that I have accomplished having, and enjoy it, while sharing it with others, paying it forward and moving on to meet my goals. There isn’t any reason to look back anymore. I got rid of all of that already, what is left is MY BODY, the body that is left after I fought the battle against obesity and WON. The body left after I cut all of that past out of my life and left them behind and the body that I am going to move forward with, become a personal trainer with, and run a half marathon with.

So from today on out I make a pledge that each day when I look in the mirror I will think about not what happened yesterday and most certainly not what happened thirty-two years ago, and not even about what might happen today. Each morning when I look in the mirror and I’m putting on my make-up, I’m going to think about what I’ll be doing tomorrow to meet my goals.

I’m done seeking perfection that was never what I was after. I was desperately seeking slender, and I have accomplished that. I’m done seeking normal, normal isn’t something I want to label myself as anyways.  I’m just going to my perfectly imperfect self. (Thank you Heidi!)

That little bit of skin relaxation on my stomach and that front tooth that is a little longer than the other, and my weird little pinky toe that literally has almost no toenail at all, those things all make me, the me that I am today, the me that is left and ready to move on in the next part of my weight loss journey.

So today I’m ready to move forward, today I am going to do something I’ve been scared to do for weeks and people have been asking me to do for months. Today I am going to build a before and after Gallery of my Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Pictures.

I’m also going to go to buy this little black and star bathing suit that I have been eyeing.

I’m going to spend an hour in the gym doing no impact exercises. And I’m going to contact Chris and Heidi and see if maybe they can help me put together and exercise regime I can put myself on to help tone some of the areas of my body I would like to work on improving; upper body strength, core strength, abdominal strength. It’s time for me to give up a little bit of cardio time to start focusing on a little bit of toning. Maybe even a Yoga class.

It’s time to crack that next chapter of the CI Textbook too. I need to do some catching up, so some extra time focused on this.

I just needed to take a breath, let my mind catch up and get my perspective right. If I follow my course right now and stay focused and just give it everything I’ve got, I’ll be a CI Institute Certified Personal Trainer, New Homeowner, Half Marathon Runner by the time I see many of my readers in Phoenix Arizona August 15-18, 2013 for the OAC 2nd Annual Your Weight Matters National Convention.  Those are my three big goals this year, I can do this, and every time I look in the mirror I’m going to remind myself of that. “I can do this.”

Time to get the day started.  It’s late but I have a phone conference at 2pm, then it’s off to gym.

Chris and Heidi if you read this. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much following the two of you, and Chris’s words yesterday were the light in the tunnel during my darkness. I wish I could hug you both!  OXOOXOXOX – Pandora

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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