Shabby Miss Jenn

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What's my trick?

These are all photos of me.
Taken over the last few years.
One of the things my family likes to do is little "photo shoots" where we
go to a cool spot and just giggle and laugh. Snapping photos and capturing memories.
Posing and acting like supermodels.

I weighed over 240+lbs.

This is a photo I took of myself this week.
I posted this on Facebook as my profile photo.
My FB wall flooded with messages of "you look amazing".."what a difference"... etc.
I thank everyone that wrote those messages.

My inbox was jammed with private messages asking what my trick was.
As I answered the messages, it brought to mind quite a few thoughts.
Hence it's now becoming a blog post ;)

What's my trick?
What pills did I take?
Was it hard to give food up?
How do I handle not eating the foods I loved?
Was I taking that new thing that Dr.Oz was talking about on tv?
How often was I wrapping myself?

so here's the thing.


I have no tricks up my sleeve that I've been using.
No pills have popped.
I gave no food up.
I have no idea what Dr.Oz has been talking about. (I don't own a tv)
The only wraps I've been touching are filled and look like a tasty fajita.

My weight didn't happen overnight.
It didn't come off that quickly either.
You don't lose weight quickly.
It slowly came off.
It took me a good solid few YEARS to make this change to my body.

I also want to say that when I was large, I was fine with it.
I didn't run and hide when a camera came out.
Many times I was the first one snapping pictures or suggesting the outing.
Sure some photos of myself made me cringe more then others.
I'm sure supermodels feel the same way about some of the photos taken of them too.
I laughed.
I was fun to be around.
I was creative.
I was me.

I just happened to get to a point where my body HURT.
My knees ground together and were so painful.
My back ached.
I huffed and puffed too much for my liking.
I slept like crap.
My skin looked horrible.
My hair was gross.
Did I mention the huffing and the puffing already?
I didn't like that.

That was why I started thinking differently about myself.
I didn't want to change WHO I was.
I wanted to change how I FELT.

I've had this talk with myself numerous times over the years.
I'd stop eating foods that I considered "bad".
I'd become obsessed with working out.
I'd step on the scales numerous times a day.
I'd beat myself up when changes weren't happening in record breaking time.
I'd eat horrible foods in excessive amounts.
The cycle would begin.
and again.

For whatever reason, this time around, it shifted in my head differently.

I didn't give up any food that I love.
I will shred cheese on anything.
I will smother things in gravy.
I will eat potato chips by the fistful.
Pepsi is my go to drink.

I have been known to place cheese and gravy 
on something and then 
wash it down with Pepsi.


I also introduced different things into my eating.
Swiss chard.
Beet greens
Red onions
White onions
Spanish onions
and so much more.
Just about any vegetable that you see when you go into
a grocery store, I have begun to eat. We grew a garden again this year.
We expanded on what we grew.
It was wonderful to walk out and pick a carrot fresh from the ground.
Wipe the dirt onto my jeans and just munch that little bugger back.
crunch crunch crunch
I don't think any snow peas even made it into the house.
All were eaten in the garden while doing other stuff.

We eat meat.
All kinds of meat.
I just learned to eat a smaller portion of it.
My body didn't need me inhaling a huge steak all by myself.
Sure helped on the grocery budget too when a piece of meat
 all of a sudden transforms
into a number of different meals
 instead of just one for me.

Don't go to one.
Trying to set the time aside to go.
The price of gas.
The price of a membership.
A list of excuses running thru my head, longer then I am tall,for why I wouldn't go.
I own a treadmill.
I used it obsessively for a year when I first got it.
It's at my parents house.
It's covered with boxes of Christmas decor and misc other boxes now.

My workout:
Stairs at the farmhouse.
When we began renovations, we started upstairs.
So a living space was created where bedrooms used to be.
14 steps down to the kitchen area or bathroom.
14 steps back up.
14 steps because I forgot something down in the kitchen.
14 steps back up.
14 steps down again PLUS another 12 steps into the basement to do the wood fire.
12 back up. 14 back up.
14 down. 12 down. stoke fire.
12 up. 14 up.

You do that enough times in a day and it can't help but begin to change
the way your body looks and feels.

We have a lot of land with this old farmhouse.
Over the years, it had become overgrown and not usable.
Slowly we started taking bits and pieces back.
Mowing using a push mower.
No ride on mowers here.
I live where we get snow.
No snow blowers here at the farmhouse either.
Shovels. Lots of different size shovels.
Flower beds being brought back to life.
Old plants and brambles being torn out and cleared.
Wheel barrels being pushed across the yard and dumped.
A garden put in.
A garden being expanded on because we feel in love with having one.

We own woods.
We cut our own wood to burn.
Numerous walks into the woods to scout trees to be cut.
Paths over grown. Hills slippery with leaves and rain.
New paths created. Old paths cleared out again.
Cutting those trees and hauling the wood to the truck.
Each piece.
Then off the truck and piled.
Then picked up and piled inside the house after months of drying.
Each piece.

Renovations of the farmhouse.
Have you ever tore out walls?
Old insulation dumped by the bagful.
Full sheets of Gyproc hauled into the house.
Held up against walls while he went for a tool.
Floors ripped up.
Shopvac drug all around trying to keep things somewhat clean during renovations.
Shopvac taken outside and cleaned.

and repeat all of the above.
and over
and over again.

I think one of the biggest changes and best things is we brought some serious flavor into our life.
We have always used fresh ground pepper and hardly any salt.
Garlic happens in just about everything that gets cooked here.
one of the things we began doing was spending time researching foods we wanted to try.
Finding videos online of people cooking different foods.
We'd chose a food.
We'd chose a country to learn about their cuisine.
It opened us up to a brand new array of spices, herbs and blends.
A parade of new foods was placed before us.
When your food is smelling incredible while being prepared and cooked, you can hardly wait to inhale it.
Our pantry shelf is filled with mason jars of spices and dried herbs.
Many things I'd never even heard of before we bought them or grew them.
What were we going to use that in?
Lebanese 5 Spice blend
Brown cardamon
Fish Sauce
Hoisin Sauce
Zatar spice blend
Dried mushrooms.
dried seaweed
and that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Now I won't lie and tell you everything has been incredible
 and I'd eat it by the bucketful.
Some things took me a while.
Some of the stuff he enjoyed more so then me.
I still have to psych myself up to eat seaweed  ;)
Took me 20 years to be willing to try fish sauce again. 
That first brand was horrible! haha

We look at preparing and cooking our meals as something we do together.
It bonds us.
It's sort of like a date for us but in our own kitchen and pantry
 instead of going to a restaurant.  
We have stacks of cookbooks next to the sofa that we read together 
and pick out new recipes to try.
I don't feel a level of resentment at having to cook all the meals.
Or that I have to wash all the dishes.
It happens together.
There are some meals that I cook everything.
There are some meals that he does all the cooking.
For the most part, it's done together.

I don't dread food.
I just needed to learn to see it differently 
and what it was doing to my body.

I have a Pepsi on the desk right this moment.
There is a bag of potato chips on the floor next to my printer.
They haven't been opened yet but they will be.
I don't have to eat the whole bag.
If I do.... I don't have to let it spiral me down into self hatred.

I can eat an extra scoop of swiss chard this evening.
I can walk up and down my stairs a few extra times...even if it's not to stoke the fire.

There are days that I don't want to shovel snow.
There are days that I think I'm going to let that patch of yard 
grow over again because I don't want to mow.
I sweat in places I didn't even know could sweat.

I also want to mention that I have a new body to learn to love.
It was amazing to know I dropped the weight.
My joints don't scream at me at any given moment of the day or night.
I fall asleep as soon as my head hits my pillow now.

But it's not all been fantastic once I got here.

Excess skin is everywhere.
Stretchmarks cover my body.
My boobs are never going to look the same.

I loved myself when I was large.
I'm learning to love myself looking this way too.

I didn't change.
I'm still kind.
I'm still opinionated.
I'm still able to make you laugh quickly.
I'm still creative.

I'm still a beautiful soul.
I look in the mirror and tell myself that every day. 






debbie sweet said...

yay for you.. I know we don't know each other..we are fb friends and knew each other from prim mart..i was a lurker are a real took me over ayear to lose 55 lbs. I stil want to lose another 20 but I am same way as you..i eat every thing I want just not as much as before. you look beautiful..truly..

Mellissa Moar said...

Beautifully written. I adore you!

Robin said...

YOU INSPIRE ME!!!!! That is all! xoxoxo

Karen Taylor said...

I enjoy your Facebook posts. This ties them all together for me. As always, you inspire me.

Cedara_ThruTheAtticDoor said...

Thank you everyone.
it's been a long journey and I'm still learning. Happy I could inspire

Cindy said...

Hi, found your blog via a link from a FB friend. Love it!

The Little Acre that Could said...

You, my dear, are an inspiration.