Feeling hopeful.

I lost a pound tonight when I weighed in at work.

That puts me at a total loss of 8.6-lbs. so far for June!

I am satisfied with my progress. Had I not been -29 weeklies this week (translation: if I had laid off all the processed root canal-friendly food and resisted that pitstop yesterday at Dunkin’ Donuts), I would likely have lost more than a pound.

However… I am going to live and breathe by the very mantra I preach weekly to my Weight Watchers members: take baby steps because it all adds up.

I made enough good choices this past week to outweigh the questionable ones I also made. I managed to find some semblance of balance, and I took care of myself by getting my tooth situation sorted out.

I am a happy camper.

My plan is to tighten the reins this week and work really hard before I hop on that plane to Vegas next Thursday.

Weigh-in will be on Wednesday next week!

rachaelxoxo

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Finding my way back.

The blog is currently under construction, so please bear with me.

I feel like it’s time to do a little renovation to better reflect who I am now and where I’m headed on this journey. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon how you look at it) I am no longer the same 21-year-old girl that started this blog back in 2014… And I think it’s time to showcase that.

So! In the meantime… Here are the basics I think you should know right now:

  • I switched my weigh-in day to Thursday. I work a Weight Watchers meeting on Thursday nights, so it’s a really easy and convenient time for me to just hop on the scale and get a weight recorded.
  • I decided to totally and completely restart on Thursday, June 1st. This was somewhat of a hard decision to come to because on one hand, I don’t want to negate what I’ve done over the course of almost three years. Yes, I’ve gained some weight back… But I haven’t gained it all back, so starting from scratch feels kind of wrong… But on the other hand, I simply cannot just pick back up exactly where I left off back in the heyday of my weight loss. Circumstances have changed, my motivation and mindset are both in a different place, my goals and focus have both been completely redirected, and, most importantly, I am not the same girl anymore. A total restart allows me to accept all of those things and establish a new normal… So that’s what I’m going to do.
  • I am going to start the Whole 30 on July 1st. I will still be utilizing the Weight Watchers app while I do this; I’m simply going to switch my tracker over to Simply Filling and then make adjustments as necessary.

After one week of kicking some of my nasty habits (namely, drinking booze and eating crappy, grease-bucket fast food), I weighed in on June 7th and managed to lose 7.6-lbs!

Unfortunately, this last week didn’t go quite as well. I started having pain on the right side of my face sometime mid-last week. I let this go on for 3 days before I finally decided to see my dentist. I couldn’t figure out where the pain was localized, but, regardless, the dentist seemed like the best option… Good thing I went in, too, since it turns out I was in need of a root canal. My dentist prescribed me an antibiotic and a narcotic for pain, and then he sent me to an endodontist.

For the last week I’ve been on the “root canal diet,” which basically means I’ve been eating a bunch of processed, soft, easy to chew food. I’ve definitely been off my game food-wise, but I have been tracking everything… which is how I know I’m -29 points for the week.

My plan is to weigh-in tonight at work and face the scale like a trooper, and then give it everything I’ve got this week to do better—tooth pain and temporary crown situation be damned!

I’m off to Las Vegas next Thursday with a big group of friends, so I’m expecting my food choices to go off track a bit. However, we’re staying at an airbnb instead of a hotel, which means we’ll be eating at home and cooking the food ourselves a good bit of the time. I think that booze is going to be my biggest problem, honestly, but I’m content with that. A long weekend in Vegas calls for a little carefree partying—it’s part of being in your mid-twenties. I’ll have my Fitbit with me all weekend, and I know that I’ll get plenty of walking in, so I’m not concerned in the slightest. I need a little break from reality and quality time with the people I love, so this is just the ticket!

I hope you guys are all doing well! Drop me a line and let me know how things are going!

rachaelxoxo

 

Lemonade.

I was never a Beyoncé fan… until she released Lemonade.

Lemonade spoke to my soul; suddenly Beyoncé felt like a close, personal friend of mine when she shared this part of her darkness with me (well, actually with the world, but it felt like it was written just for me, ya know?).

I have the album playing in the background as I write to you now; “Forward” is currently ringing in my ears.

My heart hurts.

I don’t know how to pick myself up, you guys… and that scares me.

I’ve been going non-stop for the past 6 months: I’ve been working 7 days a week, drowning myself in schoolwork and volunteer work, partying until the break of dawn, eating like shit and boozing it up until I’m sick and hungover, and, of course, my favorite thing—I’ve become a serial dater.

I only manage to sleep for a couple of hours each night.

I’ve become a crazy “New Ager” and I’ve started collecting self-help books and crystals like my life depends on it.

I have dream catchers hanging all over my room.

I try not to be alone too often these days because when I’m alone, I’m afraid the Darkness is going to sweep me into Its arms and I’ll never escape Its grasp.

When I’m alone in my Jeep driving to and from work, I have to be careful to keep my mind as blank as possible, otherwise I burst into tears.

I’ve always struggled—always. I’ve always had demons; this is something all of you know by now. I spent the first two decades of my life eating my way straight to 320 lbs. …Normalcy and I have never quite figured out how to co-exist, obviously.

When my best friend killed himself last October, my life changed forever. He may have finally found a way to escape his pain, but the pain he’s now inflicted upon everyone that ever loved him is unreal. My heart is so heavy I can hardly breathe some days. He’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I go to sleep each night.

I don’t know how to “move on” from this. Do you ever really “move on”? How does this work?

My weight is absolutely out of control. I am concerned that eventually I am going to lose my job at Weight Watchers if I don’t pull it together… but every time I make an attempt, I turn right around and self-sabotage.

The Universe has handed me an entire fucking lemon tree…

And it’s time for me to make some Lemonade.

I happened to scroll through WP last night and catch sight of Brooke Birmingham’s latest blog post. Brooke, like Beyoncé, feels like a close, personal friend of mine because she shares so much of her heart and soul with me (aka, with the world…. but she’s also responded to a couple of messages of mine over the years, so sometimes she really is just writing to me).

Brooke, if you happen to read this, I want you to know that your latest blog post may have just helped me get my life back on track.

It’s time to reflect and reevaluate… and, most importantly, it’s time to be my true, authentic self once again.

When I look back on the last 2.5 years of this journey, I can hardly remember, let alone recognize, the 21-year-old girl that decided to pen that first fearfully brave post about joining Weight Watchers—the girl who was willing to tell the entire world her stories and struggles, her successes and failures, her deepest, darkest secrets and her big, beautiful, wild dreams.

When I was that girl, I hated her.

Today… this girl longs to have that girl back—even if just for a brief moment in time.

I want that girl’s tenacity and courage, that girl’s steadfast determination and you-can-do-anything attitude.

That girl had more going for her than she ever realized or gave herself credit for.

But… when I started out, I wasn’t doing this for me. I was doing this because I wanted other people to like me—to love me. I wanted men to want me. I wanted people to stop hurling insults at me, and I wanted to fit into society’s mold of all that’s pretty and beautiful.

Eventually, I ended up with the attention I wanted. Men started seeking me out, and since the tail end of 2015, I’ve been on more dates than I frankly care to remember—I’ve gotten caught up with enough assholes of the male species to last me a lifetime.

Men and women alike will talk about my “beauty” now, and I just scoff. What is beauty? Really! What does any of this mean when my heart is so unhappy? What does it matter if Joe-Shmoe thinks I’m beautiful or really pretty when I still am not satisfied or happy with myself?

It’s taken me nearly 3 years to realize this… but happiness comes from within.

I have to start over—really start over. I can’t just pretend like I can pick up from where I left off oh so long ago. Everything is screwed up right now—even more so than it was on that fateful September morning nearly 3 years ago… So there’s just no going back—only forward.

So here it goes…

My name is Rachael. Today is the first day of the rest of my life… and I’m pretty terrified.

Weigh-in is on Mondays. Finding balance is my hope. Happiness is the end goal.

New.

Hey, friends!

First off, I want to say thank you for the incredible outpouring of support I received after my last couple of posts.

I’m figuring out how to move forward with my life. Somedays the darkness threatens to overwhelm me and almost completely consume me… and other days I laugh and giggle with my co-workers and my friends and the boys that I’ve been going out on dates with and everything is fine.

I haven’t been taking care of myself, though. I’ve been working myself to the point of exhaustion—I’m currently coming off a 12-day string of shifts in which no days off were to be had. When I’m not working I’m studying, going to class, volunteering… or drinking and partying—something I’ve admittedly been doing far too much of.

It’s definitely occurred to me that I’ve maybe traded some of my terrible food habits for some new terrible habits involving work, booze, bars, and men… but, alas, that’s another topic for another day. We’ll just shove that under the rug along with the rest of my psychological issues…

I bought a new Fitbit, so if you’re not friends with me, you should be! I’m trying hard to work on my fitness.

I jumped back on Instagram tonight and sent out an SOS to my 900+ followers, and I’m hoping there are still some people out there! I’ve decided I’m going to make myself get back into the habit of posting regularly on both Instagram and the blog! I always do better when I hold myself publicly accountable.

I’ve stocked up on healthy food again! Lots of fruits and veggies, low-fat/low-sugar yogurts and cheeses, lots of fish, protein shakes and bars, and a plethora of Weight Watchers products, too (that employee discount sure does help!). I have other stuff, too, but it’s after midnight and it’s just too much to remember. The point is, I have the most important tools I need to be successful again: healthy food!

My social media lives have officially collided. Tonight I saw that a boy I went to school with a decade or so ago follows me on my @myjourneyonedayatatime Instagram account. There was a brief moment of sheer panic when I saw that… But then I just thought to myself, “Screw it!” I am who I am. I have to start liking the person that I am. It’s not a secret that I was (and that I still am) a fat girl. It’s also not some great big secret that I work for Weight Watchers. I have to stop caring about my two “separate” lives intermixing.

So, what did I do once I had this big realization? I requested another couple of my “real life” friends from my WL Instagram. Go big or go home. The secret is officially out!

The scale has been going up and down for me—shocker, right? I don’t want to post my weight right now. I’m not ready to admit how badly I’ve fucked things up.

Just know that I’m back and I desperately need your help.

Thanks for always loving me for me. You’ll never know what you mean to me.

rachaelxoxo

-5.2

Yesterday I said goodbye to a best friend.

I cried. I hugged his mother and his sister and promised them that I would keep this incredible man alive by never letting the memories fade, and by allowing him to live on in my heart for as long as it still beats.

I loved him to the very depths of my soul.

He was the very best human being I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was loyal, kind, considerate, compassionate, and loving. In all the years I knew him (which equates to the majority of my life), he never said a bad word about anyone. Even during those crazy, young, impressionable periods of life in which boys are typically mean-spirited and both knowingly and unknowingly hurtful, he was not.

No matter what everyone else was doing or saying, he was living his best life, always—even though that often meant marching to the beat of his own drum.

He lived his best life until his very last breath.

And I love him all the more for it.

Yesterday, I watched his untimely death bring peace and healing to others in the most unlikely of ways.

As I hugged the boy of yesteryear that once deemed me “Tractor” and “Bulldozer,” I realized that time really does heal all wounds. As I watched my former friends, my former classmates, my former bullies and tormenters alike mourn the loss of the beautiful boy whose 24 years on this planet irrevocably changed my very existence, I swear to you I could physically feel my heart expand in my chest.

You can’t take past hurts along for the ride of life, or you will never make it—you’ll never survive it.

My friend taught me that.

Last night I drank too much beer. I chain smoked cigarettes with my friends. I laughed. I cried. I played a little air hockey.

This morning I went to Weight Watchers… and I lost 5.2 lbs.

I promise you I’m not going to waste my life anymore… waste my time.

165 lbs., here I come.

I miss you, Cory. I’ll miss you until the very last beat of my heart.

rachaelxoxo

Thanks for caring.

I’m here, and I’m still kicking… Although just barely.

As I sit writing this, the three draft posts I’ve been working on over the course of the past several months seem to be mocking me.

A lot has happened—some good things, some not so good things.

As many of you guessed, my weight is, indeed, up, but I haven’t regained everything, and that’s what’s important.

On Friday, I had planned on writing an update post, but then my world shifted on its axis… and now I feel more lost than ever.

One of my oldest and dearest friends took his own life on Friday morning, and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again. The world feels darker now, and things that once seemed important don’t seem important at all now.

Thank you for caring about me. The little comments and emails I’ve received have made me smile.

I owe it to you to be here, and I’m sorry I haven’t been.

I’ll be back soon. Right now I just need to figure out how to cope and move on with my life—in more ways than one.

rachaelxoxo

Life.

Hello, friends!

Long time no see, huh? I know, I know… I’ve been gone for more than a month… my longest hiatus to date! But, alas, I am still alive—although just barely!

When I last wrote, I mentioned that June had been really, really tough on me. Unfortunately, things didn’t let up in July—in fact, I’d hazard a guess that July may have even been more challenging than June was. 

My stress levels skyrocketed, followed directly by my weight, and then, accordingly, my grades plummeted. There was a brief moment that I really and truly thought I was going to flunk my anatomy + physiology course… I was working far too many hours, sleeping and studying far too few hours, and eating nothing but crappy processed foods at random intervals in between massive sugar and caffeine binges.

Something had to give… And without giving it too much thought, I decided that what that something was was my job.

Weight Watchers sent me on a weekend business trip to Chicago on July 15th so that I could complete my leader training. I worked the weekend before that trip, but the rest of the week leading up to it? I decided to find subs to cover every single meeting I was supposed to work so that I could take the entire week off.

That business trip, surprisingly, was a godsend; it put some things into perspective for me.

seatbelt!

My first time on an airplane in over a decade… + I fit in the seat! My seatbelt needed to be tightened, + my tray table came all the way down! I nearly cried with relief + excitement.

Being surrounded by new leaders—by people from all across the country with new and exciting stories just like mine, who understood me probably better than anyone else I work with here at home in Colorado—was eye-opening, and it re-energized and re-motivated me like nothing else has been able to do thus far.

NewFriends

As you can see from my hair, humidity + Colorado girls don’t mix! …Not to mention we’d just walked 3 miles to do some touristy souvenir shopping at the mall + then get some—you guessed it—deep dish at Chicago’s famous Giordano’s… because Weight Watchers leaders eat pizza, too!

The group of new leaders was pretty big; there were over 30 of us. These ladies in the photo, though, were the ones I seemed to form a special kinship with. They “got me,” and they understood what it was like to be in this in-between of learning how to balance becoming a staff member and continuing to be a member yourself. Surprisingly, not all of these gals were at goal yet either, so I found myself in good company in that department, too.

On night two, when we were given the teeniest bit of free time, we commiserated over deep dish pizza and booze (though neither of which were overdone… because we actually were watching each other!). This was quite a change from the chef-prepared Weight Watchers dishes we had cooked and served to us otherwise (three times daily!) because, yes, believe it or not, Weight Watchers did, indeed, make sure their brand new leaders were eating nothing but plan-friendly meals, desserts, and snacks while we were slaving away in WW Bootcamp:

LMS1LMS2GiordonosDinner

This whole “having every single meal cooked, prepared, and served” thing was amazing. I figure this must be what it’s like to be Oprah on plan! Every single recipe was from one of the many Weight Watchers cookbooks out there in existence—even the desserts!—and it was fabulous. We also had free, unlimited access to all of the Weight Watchers products we sell in our stores and online, and a wonderful, free fruit and veggie bar that was replenished by the hotel staff throughout the day, too, meaning everything I consumed that weekend, aside from our Giordano’s adventure, was 100% on plan. My coffee creamer, my snacks, my everything was Weight Watchers approved…

And for some reason, this turned me on to the idea of really and truly giving Simply Filling a go after I returned home. Literally the entire time I was in Chicago schooling up on the latest and greatest techniques of facilitating a Weight Watchers meeting, I was working up the nerve to make a new plan for myself and, in turn, make a new start at Weight Watchers.

It’s no secret—at least not to all of you—that I’ve struggled with SmartPoints. When we first rolled out this new plan, I complained to just about everyone who’d listen, and that included all of you here on the blog… But then reality set in: I had decided to accept a job with Weight Watchers, so I had to put on my big girl panties and work this new program… I had to… Otherwise I’d have to quit the job that I felt was really right for me at this particular phase of my life, because I just couldn’t have it both ways.

So I gave it the old college try (with a lot of grumbling, mind you), and for awhile, I started to lose weight again… But that trend didn’t last long. Soon enough, I was slowly but steadily gaining weight, and before I knew it, twenty—yes twenty—pounds had crept up on me.

Let me be clear about something: I don’t think, fundamentally, there’s anything wrong with the SmartPoints plan… and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Weight Watchers employee. The SmartPoints program falls right in line with the latest and greatest scientific studies surrounding nutrition and weight loss. Have you ever seen the documentary Fed Up? Watch that bad boy just once, and you’ll be outraged at the world and gung-ho to follow SmartPoints to the tee—really.

But the thing is, for me, this is not working. For my longtime readers, it’s no secret that around 10 months into my health journey, after being completely, gloriously binge-free, I “fell off the wagon” and relapsed into ED hell. This was before the change in our program, so I’m not blaming SmartPoints for my relapse. However, I will tell you this: I am blaming SmartPoints for my inability to crawl out of the darkness… And here’s why:

This plan requires a tremendous amount of discipline. For those of you already shaking your heads, anxious to tell me that weight loss and a drastic health journey of any kind takes tremendous discipline, let me stop you before you start. Don’t be trite. Don’t say things we all already know, OK? 

Of course this sort of journey, in any form, requires discipline. But with SmartPoints, it’s a little different. On the PointsPlus plan—the plan that I used to drop over 80-pounds—that famous Weight Watchers motto “you can eat whatever you want and still lose weight!” was really the truth. You could eat ice cream for dessert every day if you wanted. You could have a fancy coffee and a donut for breakfast without demolishing a day’s worth of points. You could go out for pizza and beers and still be on track for the day, week, what have you. That plan was a lifestyle in every way, shape, and form.

SmartPoints does not allow you these same freedoms. SmartPoints doesn’t allow you these daily “treats.” SmartPoints gives you the opportunity for maybe one “treat” per week, and that’s that… And you know what? In the grand scheme of things, I get that that’s the way it’s supposed to be. I get that people who’ve never had a weight issue also likely aren’t eating ice cream and donuts every day. I’m not stupid, and I do see the correlation… But that doesn’t make it any easier to actually stick to this… at least not for me.

I have struggled with my weight and, more importantly, food for the entirety of my life. I’ve been at every end of the spectrum as far as both my mental and physical health are concerned. I’ve been on every diet in the book, and I’ve lived and learned about true darkness at the hands of this particular struggle. I’m under no illusions; this is my “cross to carry,” so to speak. I will never be “cured,” and this is something I will have to work at and be mindful of forever… And for the first time in a really, really long time, I’ve decided to start making changes and doing what I have to do to help myself… even if that means making some tough choices.

So here’s the deal: 

I am throwing in the towel on SmartPoints indefinitely. I fought the good fight, and I feel no shame in this. What am I doing instead? Simply Filling. So, not to worry, I’m not giving up on Weight Watchers—not by a long shot… I’m just going to go ahead and walk down the path less traveled.

I am also going to be saying a super tough goodbye to my Friday 9:30 crew… at least as a member. As some of you might remember, I mentioned that I started working this meeting awhile back… And that was a really, really cool experience. To be able to go from a meeting member to a staff member and take part in these folks’ journeys in a brand new way—these people who I really and truly grew to love and admire—was a once in a lifetime, priceless gift. Many of my dear member friends tell me weekly that they miss me in the meeting and wish I could be a member again, and for awhile, I was making promises to them that that would happen on the days I wasn’t needed on staff… But after a lot of thought, consideration, and soul searching, I’ve decided that that’s just not the place for me anymore.

I will also, from now on, only work that meeting on staff when they need someone to fill in; I will not be there each Friday to greet my friends at the scale and talk them through their week.

This is really hard for me because I truly love those people… But an unfortunate consequence of my taking a job with this company is that sometimes things that were once a good fit are no longer so… Sometimes people outgrow one another, and sometimes change is a little too hard on all parties involved.I will miss my 9:30 crew more than I can say, but I hope beyond hope to see them around—because I will be around… both personally and professionally. Maybe some of them will pop into my meeting in the near future! 🙂

I am planning to sit in this Friday one last time as a member… And then I will be moving on to a new meeting where I can blend in a bit better.

My work with Weight Watchers is also going to change just a bit. It’s important to me that I get my own health and weight loss journey back on track, and it’s also important that I keep my sanity intact… And with 3 more years of school on the horizon, that might be just a tad bit difficult if I don’t work a little less. So I am not quitting my job… But I am going to choose my meetings more carefully so that I can manage my time better!

I love the people Weight Watchers has brought into my life… But sometimes loving yourself has to take priority over loving your job and loving others… Which is something I’m slowly but surely figuring out.

So yeah… Lots to take in, lots of information… If you’re still with me at this point, I appreciate it tremendously.

I’ll end this ramble by leaving you with my horrendous weight stats I’ve failed to post up until now, and I’ll also let you know that I’ve already made the switch to Simply Filling, and I’ve, thankfully, also already started to see results on the scale in response! I’ve also started to feel better and more in control. I’ve finally seen the light that my BFF Alison has been trying to get me to see for over a year: Simply Filling really is freeing!

254.6

Last Posted Weight: 250.8 lbs.
Weigh-in #95/07-01-2016: 250.8 lbs. (+/-0 lbs.)
Weigh-in #96/07-08-2016: 252.6 lbs. (+1.8 lbs.)
Weigh-in #97/07-15-2016: NO WEIGH-IN
Weigh-in #98/07-22-2016: 256.2 lbs. (+3.6 lbs.)
Weigh-in #99/07-29-2016: 254.6 lbs. (-1.6 lbs.)
Total Weight Lost: 63.6 lbs.

 

Until next time,

Eat well. Be well.

rachaelxoxo