Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Let Down

Most of you have been reading this blog for a long time. You know that I always choose honesty, and that I've been incredibly open with you about my weight loss journey, my dad, my struggles in relationships and friendships. We've celebrated, too, and I've shared a lot of memories. So that's why I'm trusting you now as I write yet another honest post.

As you know, two weeks ago I hit my goal weight- a number I've been aiming for since June 2013. I was so incredibly happy. I also wrote about it here, and how even though it's exciting, life will still go on. I'll still need to keep up my healthy lifestyle, and I've had to accept the fact that I will probably always have to watch what I eat. I'm fine with that. I get it. I have several friends who have lost a lot of weight and although they do allow themselves to indulge once in a while, they pretty much are consistent with their healthy choices. So I know it's what I have to do.

But in the last two weeks, I've also felt a bit...defeated? Down in the dumps? Sad? However you want to label it- I felt it.

After talking this through with some folks close to me, I know that this feeling is fairly common after hitting a goal. And boy, did it hit hard. I felt anxious, like I needed to quickly replace my weight loss goal with something else. I wondered if I should start training for a half marathon, or if I should learn photography or how to sew, or to finally write a book. All of these ideas were flushing around my brain, and all I kept thinking was that I needed to do something new. I needed to accomplish something else in order to ride on this happiness trail. I felt like if I didn't have a project or a goal, I was letting myself and everyone else down.

Deep down in my heart, I know the answer: Let it go and enjoy life. Don't focus too much on trying to be better or to accomplish something great. You've done that- now live.

But my foggy mind can't quite get that.

It should come naturally to enjoy what you have, but for me, and probably for countless others, it doesn't. So that is what I am working on.Slowly. That, and working on not obsessing over my weight while keeping up my healthy lifestyle (aka: finding balance).

I know that this is an incredibly common occurrence. Go ahead and google "depression after hitting a goal"- it doesn't matter what kind of goal, this is common. So I know I'm not alone. And, lucky for me, I have really great people in my life to help me.

I'm sharing this for a few reasons: To let you all know where I stand right now; and to spread awareness. This is the "downside" to reaching a goal that no one really warns you about.

Please do not think I am not proud of myself, because I am. There's just some baggage that comes with that pride, is all.

Don't worry, folks. I'm working hard on getting to know myself so that I can let go and enjoy life.

Also, this Demi Lovato song helps. Cuz, you know. Pop stars get me.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

131 lbs later.

When I started this weight loss journey, I used to dream about the day I would reach my goal weight. I imagined a lot of tears and celebrations, hugs and high fives, and a deep, thought provoking blog post about it.

So far, only a few of those things have actually come to life. When I saw the number on the scale, I did cry. A lot. I burst into this ugly cry that I didn't know I could muster. Tom thought I saw a spider in the bathroom because I made this weird screechy noise. But when he saw the look on my face, he figured out what happened, spun me around in a circle and said "You did it!" 

We walked to breakfast and all I could think about was that I hit my goal weight. I was smiling like a fool. I texted my family and closest friends with shaking hands. I made a Facebook post. 

And then- just like that- life went back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be when you have a parent in the ICU. I was back at the gym yesterday and today. I'm still counting calories and steps and trying my best to stay away from foods that could be a trigger for me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it wasn't a life changing moment. It was a moment of pride and celebration and joy, but just as quickly as it crept up, I started to plan for maintenance, to remind myself that I can't give up now that I've "made it", and to push myself even harder in my workouts.

But rest assured, just because life goes on, my entire body beams with pride when I think about what I have accomplished. A montage of the last two years and 4 months flashes through my mind- I think of the classes I took, the stair climb, the planning, the cooking, the counting, the moments in dressing rooms where I fit into clothes, the moments where I realized just how strong I am- and how strong I've always been. Those are the things that make my heart flutter when I think about my weight loss. Not necessarily how I look now, but more how I feel now, and how damn hard I've worked.

Although I didn't realize this at my highest weight, I've always been beautiful. It just took two years and 4 months of pulling it out of me to realize it. My now slender body is NOT what makes me beautiful. It's my confidence, my determination, and my passion. Megan's always been awesome. She was just in hiding for a while and used her body as a way to avoid the world. 

What happens next? I may have hit my goal weight but that certainly doesn't mean I can walk away from my healthy lifestyle. I can't just pass it off like it was a phase. It's my life now. Of course I am terrified that I will fail, or that I will give up. But the new me isn't a big fan of giving up, so I don't forsee that happening. I still choose health and happiness over anything.

I cant thank you all enough for your support over the last two years. Some of you have been here from the start, when I was at my heaviest and could barely do 2 minutes on the elliptical. Some of you came in the middle, when I was down about 50 lbs and you've seen me push past plateaus. And some of you are just getting introduced, you didn't even know me at my highest weight, yet you're still so supportive of me. THANK YOU. I am not sure I could have done this without you all and your sweet comments, encouragement, and love. You kept me going when I wanted to quit. Thanks for putting up with my before and after pictures, frustrating Facebook rants, and workout check ins. I love you all so much!

Now onto phase 2- living this healthy life to the fullest.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

This is what grief feels like

My cousin Lynn passed away late Tuesday night. Even though I sensed she would pass soon, I still felt gutted. Heartbroken. Mad. Helpless. Sad. Guilty. 

I wanted to cry but I couldn't. I wanted to eat a whole cheesecake. I wanted to go for a run. I wanted to go to church. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to be with people I loved but I also wanted to be alone. I felt so conflicted and confused and anxious. I finally realized that I was desperately searching for comfort. But nothing, no matter what I tried, seemed to satisfy that. Not even the pumpkin pie ice cream my mom and I ate.

Because when someone dies, there's no quick fix. Nothing will make the hurt magically go away. When I realized that I finally took a deep sigh and thought "okay, yes, this is what grief feels like". You forget, I think , until it happens again. 

I also remembered a quote I had learned from my days working for hospice, which is "grief is not a problem to be solved, it is simply a statement that you loved someone".

I can't solve my grief or the dozens of others who are heartbroken over the loss of our Lynn. My ONLY comfort is knowing that her spirit lives on through those in her life. I'm almost jealous, actually. I wish I had known her in the same way some of her dearest friends did. But I am lucky to watch from afar, to read the stories and to see the pictures and to verify what I've always known was true: my cousin is super cool. 

I loved Lynn, and I love our family. We've been through hell and back. We've lost folks tragically. But we have an incredibly love for one another, a bond that cannot be broken, and an instinct to jump in when someone needs help. I'm so proud to be part of this family. 

Lynn, I am going to miss your humor and your bravery. I'm sorry we could not spend more time together but I've always admired you, cared for you and rooted for you. Your music, wisdom and laughter will love on. I promise we will take care of your siblings and your parents. Rest sweetly. Give Laurence, Terry, Mike, Jim, Tom, and Grandma and Grandpa my love. You are beautiful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


A few weeks back, my cousin Lynn, a breast cancer survivor, shared with us that her cancer had come back in the brain. There were multiple tumors that caused her to have a seizure. The plan was for her to undergo chemo and radiation. Lynn was so positive and confident- she was ready to fight cancer, once again. Unfortunately, the cancer is just too strong this time. Lynn's health is declining.

Today Lynn's Facebook page has been absolutely flooded with incredibly sweet messages from her friends and family. It is quite evident that she is very loved- whether it's an old college buddy, a neighbor,  or a parent of one of her former preschool students, Lynn was admired. I sat in front of my screen for quite a while trying to figure out what to write to her. There just aren't any words.

I want to be mad. How dare cancer come and latch itself onto someone so young? I want to be sad. I hate knowing that Lynn is so uncomfortable, and my heart absolutely aches for her, for her boyfriend, for her siblings and for her dear, sweet parents. I want to HELP. I want to FIX IT. I want it to stop, I want her to get better. I want cancer to go away. I want us all to live in a world where cancer doesn't exist.

And I can promise you, the American Cancer Society is working tirelessly to make that happen. I know some don't believe me. Some people believe a cure is out there and someone is hiding it so that we can continue to make money off of cancer. That is so far from the truth. Each and every day I work alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, researchers, specialists, etc who want cancer eliminated just as much, if not more, than you do. Even if it means we're out of a job. That would be the best day of my life, of all of our lives, is if cancer was no longer in business.

So I can't take away Lynn's pain and I can't kick the cancer out of her body with a snap of my fingers, and I can't even find the right words to comfort her or her family, but I will keep being a warrior in the fight to end cancer. That, I can promise you. Cancer is going DOWN.

My own memories of Lynn are faded. We are eight years apart, and when she went off to college in New Orleans I was just 10 years old. She never moved home after that. But I do have some memories. They mostly consist of Christmas gatherings and doll houses and Fort Walton Beach. But one thing I clearly remember is that I always thought she was just so cool. She was so artsy and creative and passionate. She was in a band-I mean come ON! How cool is that? I loved that she was a preschool teacher. She was so easy to talk to, always smiling. Even back then, I thought she was one of the bravest people I knew. She still is. She always will be.

Tonight as I was praying and reflecting and trying not to punch a wall while all my emotions came out, I suddenly thought of Laurence. Laurence was my cousin who passed away at 16 from brain cancer in 2010. Something told me "Laurence has got this". I know he is watching over Lynn and our entire family right now. He's been where she is now. I can just picture him standing over her, praying with her, playing a U2 song.

To close, I will share with you Lynn's band, The Kitty Lynn Band. It is a collection of pictures of her and the band with their cover of "Run Boy Run"