Sunday, January 03, 2016

Ups and downs.....10 year anniversary

10 years.  Wow. How has that happened?   Has it really been 10 years since I started this blog?????   10 years ago today I turned to the blogging world.  Just shy of 1800 blog posts later and I am still here!!!!   Wow,life has changed something fierce since I started this blog.

So here is a ten year in review and some lessons learned along the way blog.   I struggled with taking pictures of myself along the way.....a regret of mine.  (pictures are SO important on this journey)

I started this blog as a heavily overweight woman.  Here is a picture or two from that time....or rather, these pictures were taken December 2005....the closest pictures of myself I could find to the 10 year anniversary of this blog.   I was probably right around 260 pounds at this time....and had already lost roughly 50 pounds.

Not easy to see........

But I had a mission.  I was going to lose the weight.  I sadly, was losing the weight for the wrong reasons.....NEVER lose weight to try to make someone love you the way you want to be loved.  They need to love you for you and not the number on the scale or the size of your body.  It took me quite a few years to figure that lesson out. 

Right or wrong, I started working  diligently on this weight thing!!!! I walked.  I rode my bike. I became a collector of exercise videos and I actually used them....EVERY DAY!     I watched everything I ate.....and guess what?   It worked!   I can see my face had started thinning out in this picture.

By mid 2007 my weight was lower than ever and I was feeling fantastic!!!!  I wasn't done  I kept moving!  I kept working it!  And the weight just kept dropping!!!

By 2008 I had reached my goal weight (as prescribed by my doctor).   Oh my word.  I can't even describe how fabulous I felt.   I was on top of the world.  I had never felt that well physically as an adult.   My arthritis in my knees all but disappeared.  I felt confident.  I just can't describe how life was...I just felt GREAT! (Size 10 shorts in the picture lowest size)

I even managed to make it to be a lifetime member at Weight watchers!!!!!!  GO me!!!!!!!

I still had some weight to lose.  I was still about 15 pounds over where the BMI charts told me that I needed to be in order to be healthy.  I pushed..and pushed.   Family and friends started to worry about me and told me that my face looked gaunt and started asking if I was sick.  I knew I wasn't.  I never saw myself as a thin person.  So I pushed forward.  But I can NOW see how my face was SOOOOO thin!  

It was shortly after this picture that I realized that losing the weight in an effort to make my husband love me the way I needed to be loved was NOT working.  My marriage was still on the rocks, and nothing I was doing was working  (I had tried everything...not just a massive weight loss!).  I stopped caring about my weight....after all the purpose for losing weight had crumbled and proved to be ineffective. Ok, I still wanted to be thin, but I didn't want to bother with watching everything.  I didn't want to worry about the work it would take to complete my mission.  I started to slip.  

In 2009 I had done something I said I would NEVER do.....allow my weight to creep back above 200 pounds.    

By the way...I don't like the weird mouth thing going on...but my hair was AWESOME in this picture!!!    In 2009 I met a blog buddy for the first  and we rode Girls with Gears!!! What a fabulous experience and what a fabulous friend!!  I was about 210 pounds.  

Donna and I had so much fun doing the Girls with Gears Bike ride that we decided to do Pedal to Preserve the same year.  You can see that I gained weight between these two rides...two short months.  My hair was still awesome though!!!

I vowed over and over to stop the weight gain.  But I'm ashamed to say that it kept creeping up and up.

I took steps to try to eliminate the weight.  I just struggled.  I rode in Pedal to Preserve the following year, 2010  (I have no pictures of me doing it)   I had gained even more.     

I never gained everything back as evidenced in this 2011 or 2012 picture. But I had done some serious weight gain!

My salvation during this time was that I never stopped exercising.  I still rode my bike.  I had started going to zumba religiously.  I was still moving  and being active.  I was just gaining.  Weight is lost in the kitchen....NOT the gym and I was/am living proof!

In 2013  I decided to start losing weight for ME.  I didn't care what anyone else thought.  This was a mission for ME.   My weight started to drop again.  I was well on my way.   Things were looking GRAND for me and my weight loss.  I was featured in a newspaper article talking about my weight loss.  I had this in the bag I was on my way back to my goal weight!!!!!

Yup.....a picture from the article.  Not the grandest picture...but it was out there for the world to see.

Remember when I said I 'had this'?   I thought I did.  But my already crumbling marriage took a blow that no marriage should EVER have to endure.....and I lost my focus again.

I'd like to say that I got that focus back.  But I didn't. Once again I kept moving.  I was running.  I was going to zumba.  I was riding my bikes.  I was walking.  But the weight was not coming off.

I ran in 5K's and even a few 10K's and the weight just wasn't dropping......

 In mid 2014 I started to lose weight again.......

Then my life changed drastically.  My marriage ended....and I finally admitted to the world what I had known for years!      Life was upside down and I still couldn't get a grip on it...but I kept moving!!!!  I kept pushing....but gained again.

2015 was rough for my weight.  I regained what I lost in 2014.....maybe I needed the year to come to terms with where I was in life.  My life had turned upside down in so many ways.  I had to come to terms with being single.  I had to come to an understanding with the dating world (wow.....just wow). I had to figure out where I stood in this world.  And my weight suffered.

It took quite a bit of time....but in October of 2015  it  clicked and I am back on track.

I've been on some vacations and done some day trips since I got back on track.  And I have still managed to lose weight!  I have walked a fair amount site seeing (my tracker showed me on a good many of my vacation days walking well over 5 miles each day...with some being as high as 10 miles) and have been doing some more walking and hiking with a friend outdoors.  (and some spraining of the ankle sorry "J".... I know that freaked you out!!!!!!!)

Sprained ankle.....crazy life changes....I'm not out for the count.  (Ankle bothered me last night so running still on hold!!). I'm working it and slowly losing again.  This is a lifelong's not an easy one.  It's not one with a definitive end...because when the weight is gone it shifts to maintaining the loss......for the rest of my life.

Honestly, this post was difficult to write.  Emotional.  It was awesome to see the confidence on my face as a thin woman.  It was torture to watch the weight creep back on and to relive that failure.  It was emotional to relieve the emotions of the last 10 years.  I wasn't happy for most of the 10 years....just masking the pain and sadness with a false smile.   But I can see when I was taking steps for ME that the smile actually radiated from my eyes and my soul.   Hmmm.....another lesson learned!!!!!!

All of these lessons over the last 10 years have shaped me into the woman I am today and have directed me to be the woman that I want to be.

It's time to look to the future.  The future is out there.....and I can write the book any way I want!

I want to write it as a thin woman.

I want to write it as a happy woman.

I want to write it as an ACTIVE woman.

I will write is as a content woman!!

This is MY story, I am in control!


finding lori said...

I absolutely loved this! I loved seeing all your pictures. (esp the last one) :) I have only been with you for about a year, but you have been a source of inspiration and accountability for me and I am happy that I found your blog! Happy Anniversary!!!!

Shelley said...

I remember finding your blog shortly after I'd started losing weight, back in 2008. You were at your goal weight and, like what I was facing, had lost A LOT of weight. You were an inspiration to me back then, and you still are to this day. Life hasn't been smooth for you, Mary Fran, but you've kept moving forward (even when it might not have felt like it to you at the time). I see you blossoming, coming into your truest self, and it's lovely to watch unfold. Thank you for sharing so much of your life over these last 10 years!

Lori said...

My doctor gave me a goal weight that was still in the overweight category according to my BMI. He said he didn't care about all that. I thought he was playing mind games with me just to get me to lose weight. I got three pounds below that weight and could not break through. I never saw myself as thin, although I was. Everyone around me was saying I was a good size. I just couldn't see it. I still saw the fat girl looking back in the mirror. Then, as my weight crept back up, I didn't see that either. I'm still sometimes surprised when I see pictures of myself. I wonder who that fat old woman is! She is leaving this year to be replaced by a strong, fit and healthy young woman.

Darcy Winters said...

I don't remember when I started following your blog, but it's good to know your journey!Best wishes for 2016! It's our year!!!!

LuckyMama said...

MaryFran - You write this blog as an awesome woman!!!

I loved reading this - thank YOU! Remember...failure isn't falling; it's not getting up!

Alati said...


Anonymous said...

YOU. Are amazing! You did something – several somethings – that statistically few people ever lost a significant amount of weight, did NOT regain ALL of it or MORE, and added consistent regular exercise into your life. That's HUGE. And such a hard thing to do for those of us who struggle with eating issues (it's easy for someone who has never smoked to abstain from smoking)!

You're making progress...maybe not as fast as you'd like, maybe getting sidetracked occasionally – but you're moving forward, not back, and I know you'll continue to do so.

I agree with you that part of the reason keeping the weight off is so hard is because there's a part of ourselves that can't accept, can't see ourselves, as slim. The program I follow suggests looking at a picture of yourself where you felt and looked great (like the one above), post it where you'll see it every day, and every time you pass it look at it and say, "THIS is the person I'm meant to be. How would that person eat, and what actions would she choose for herself today?"

It's not a magic charm, but it has helped me, I think. Onward!!!

Fran said...

Wow 10 years! Impressive.

You have gone through a lot especially last year but what I admire you for is that you never give up. If you fall, you get back up and try again. What I wish most for you from your last sentences is that you are a happy woman, you deserve that.