Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everyone falls and spins.

I've been thinking a lot about where I've been the last couple of years lately, and it felt like something I needed to get out.  A lot of my regular blog readers know most of my story, but as I know several of you reading this don't know me from Adam, I'll recount in a little more depth.

Around the time I got married in April of 2008, I weighed about 175 pounds, give or take a few.  My daughter, Cori was born in September of 2009, and I weighed 211 pounds the day she made her arrival.  Over the next 12 months, I managed to get down to 154 pounds, which is when my second child was conceived.  The day that my son, Avery, was born in June 2011, I weighed in at 224 lbs, which was certainly the most I'd ever weighed.  By September of 2012, I had lost 85 pounds through TurboFire and running (okay, and breastfeeding), and was 4 pounds shy of my ultimate goal of 135 pounds. During this month, my brother came home from Afghanistan, and oddly enough, my husband and I separated the same weekend. I was forced to move across the country with my 1 and 2 year old children, and start a new life sans husband/daddy. I had to go back to work since being a stay at home mom didn't pay the bills, and sadly, my son weaned as a result. 

Shortly after, I began a cycle of bad eating, binge drinking, failure to exercise, and a string of other bad habits. I found safety at the bottom of fruity, high calorie drinks that took the edge off of my marital worries, and when I found out about my husband's infidelity that he had covered up time and again, it was clear that our separation would soon become a divorce.  My picture perfect family was over.  My self esteem was at an all time low.  It was then that I tried to find beauty in myself, by finding myself in the beds of men I knew would never respect me.  I convinced myself that what I was doing was normal, not unhealthy at all, and that I was finding myself.  As it turned out, I did find myself, but not before plummeting to a complete depression at the person I had become and the dangerous lifestyle I had fallen into.  Over the previous 5 months, I had gained a total of 54 pounds, and had lost all self respect, with good reason.  Suffice it to say I was absolutely disgusted with myself.

In June 2013, I began training with two ROTC instructors from Furman University, working once again towards my goal of joining the US Army.  I worked with them for several months, and though I lost weight very slowly, and sometimes not at all, I found an unbelievable strength (and not just physical) through the weights I lifted.  I ended up losing about 12 or 13 pounds, and lingered just above 180 pounds.  I struggled hard to hit 165 pounds, the weight required for me to join the military, but I kept at it, and my recruiters and I made plans for me to hopefully leave for basic training over the next several months, so that I would be enrolled in the ROTC program at Furman by the next academic year.  When I blew my knee out in August of 2013, I knew my dreams of being a soldier were undoubtedly gone, but I focused on the injury and another distraction in my life, and didn't put too much thought into the sadness behind it all. 

Just a few short weeks before sustaining my injury, I met Spencer, and had no idea he was going to change my life in huge, huge ways.  We clicked immediately, and our undeniable chemistry had me constantly wanting more.  We took our friendship to the next level, and began dating by the end of August.  My surgery for my knee was in September of 2013, and thus began many grueling months of recovery, and tears, and pain.  In mid-January 2014, I ran for the first time, much to my physical therapist's dismay and something my surgeon had said I may not do again.  It felt incredible, and I knew I wasn't stopping.  I was careful not to re-injure myself, but was absolutely ready to continue my fitness journey, since I'd been sitting at 181 pounds pretty constantly for the last 7 or 8 months.  I was fortunate not to gain a single pound while I was laid up after my surgery. 

I picked up TurboFire off and on, always careful to keep everything low impact, but that didn't keep the workouts quite as fun, and it was harder for me to find motivation to do them.  Still, I kept at them, and also mixed in some of Jillian's 30 Day Shred.  Spencer and I started running together too, something I have loved from the first time we did it.  He motivates me to push harder, and take that extra stride when I'm out of breath and dying to quit.  We don't get to do it much, since we have three little kids between us, but when we do, I really cherish it.

Now that it is April 2014, I am at 165 pounds, and happier than I have ever actually been.  I still have a lot of very real struggles that come with single parenthood, but I am happy with where my life is at, and where I see that it is going.  I have slowly rebuilt my self esteem and when my boyfriend tells me that I'm beautiful (something I haven't heard nor believed in many, many years) or what an incredible mother I am (something I'd never heard), I actually believe him.  I have much respect for the journey my life has taken me on over the years, including the struggles and the triumphs.  I get to wake up to a house full of love, my beautiful children, and my incredible man.  Through the struggle, I never saw myself here, but here I am.  I don't necessarily strive to be 135 pounds again because I've learned through my fitness adventure how little the number on the scale really means, but I do look forward to getting in better and better shape every day, to defining my muscles, and getting stronger, physically and mentally. 

The struggle makes the success even sweeter, my friends.  The struggle makes the success so sweet.

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