kind campaign

i got a fun surprise in my mailbox yesterday. well, i guess it wasn’t actually a “surprise” because i ordered it and was expecting it to arrive at some point today.

my surprise was a beautiful shirt with two beautiful words on it.

be kind. 

my favorite phrase in all of the world.

two words that i use all the time. two words that i wear on my wrist. two words that i preach on a daily basis.

two simple words that saved my life.

as i put on the shirt, i couldn’t help but smile. actually, i didn’t just “smile” – i grinned. i grinned from ear to ear. how is it possible that a shirt could make you feel empowered? because that’s exactly what this shirt did for me. and not only did it make me feel empowered, but it also made me feel beautiful. and worthy. and loved. and special. and strong.

be kind.

you may wonder how those words saved my life.

there was a time, not too long ago, when i was sad. i was unhappy. i was shy & sheltered. i had zero confidence and no motivation to change any of it. i was extremely overweight and had no direction in my life. sure, i had goals, but no plans to achieve them.

i was simply going through the motions of life and not actually living it. i was a senior in college and i was terrified of everything life threw at me.

i was stuck.

not only was i stuck, but i was holding in so much emotion with no way to release it.

this is when the kind campaign first came into my life. almost as if God knew i needed them at that very moment.

i don’t remember exactly how it did & it doesn’t even matter anymore. but when i first “discovered” this amazing organization, i knew i was going to be okay.

the kind campaign opened my eyes to a word filled with young women just like me. young women who had struggled in the past but had come out on top. young women who took their pain and turned it into something positive.

be kind.

it’s what the kind campaign promotes. being kind to others as well as being kind to yourself.

i’d never had a problem being kind to others… it was being kind to myself that i struggled with.

when i was at my lowest, being kind to myself was not an option. i abused myself in all sense of the word. physically, emotionally. you name it. i did things to cause myself pain. i ate until i felt numb. i was a wreck. but at the same time, i knew i needed to work on ME if i wanted to make a change.

it is because of two special young ladies (and all of my KIND sisters) that i’ve miraculously ended up where i am today.

the two special young ladies are lauren paul and molly thompson. lauren and molly are the co-founders of the kind campaign. they are heaven sent. they are two of the most beautiful souls i have ever come across. they are precious gifts to this world.

lauren & molly, a simple thank you does not seem adequate for all you have taught me. thank you for giving me confidence. it is because of you that i now walk with my head held high. it is because of you that i am proud of who i am. thank you for giving me strength. it is because of you that i’ve learned i don’t need anyone else to make me happy and whole. there are no words to explain how grateful i am for you both. it is because of you that i am here… happy and healthy. confident and strong. motivated and inspired. it is because of you that i am alive and well. i owe it all to you, my friends. thank you for giving me a second chance at life just by being such incredible role models. 

so it is with those two little words that i was given back control of my life. i have a purpose. i have worth.

and every time i wear this shirt, it will be a reminder of where i’ve been and where i am today.

be kind to others. be kind to yourself.

“be kind whenever possible. it is always possible.” – dalai lama

xox amanda

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food addiction: the struggle is REAL

chocolate chips. fritos. bread. peanut butter. jelly. almonds.

more chocolate chips.
more fritos.
more bread.
more peanut butter.
more jelly.
more almonds.

all consumed within 5-10 minutes. by me. [and only me.]

“is anyone going to be home soon? is anyone going to catch me eating all of this?”
these thoughts are running through my mind as i shove the food into my mouth… followed by:

“where can i hide the wrappers? will anyone notice that this food is missing? it tastes so good.”

when i’m done i feel happy, sad, full, content, embarrassed, ugly, fat… all at the same time.

what you are reading right now, is extremely difficult for me to write. it’s a secret that i’ve kept to myself for months. years. decades. i am going to take what was once an embarrassing and shameful topic and turn it into a life-changing account of my history with an eating disorder.

yes, i said it. those two dreadful words.

eating disorder.

what i struggle with is called binge eating disorder… as well as food addiction.
i know what you’re probably thinking: food addiction?! what?! just stop when you get full!

if only it were that easy.

as far back as i can remember, food has always been an issue with me.

i wake up thinking about breakfast. while i’m eating breakfast i am busy planning my lunch. during lunch i am thinking about what’s for dinner. while i’m eating dinner i wonder if there is enough for me to have seconds.

whatever my plans may be for any particular day, my mind goes to food.

“will there be food where i am? are there any great restaurants in that area? any special bakeries where i can get a cookie? does the person i’ll be with enjoy food as much as i do? should i stop at the grocery store for a snack before i go?”

if i am out at a gathering with friends where food is readily available, i panic.

“oh, look at that big bowl of chips and guacamole! will they notice if i have a bite? how about another bite? and another? people are staring at me… they’re counting how many i eat. they’re judging me. but i can’t stop. the food is taunting me!”

at the same gathering with friends, i could be in a different room with no food, having friendly conversation, but my mind is STILL thinking about the table full of goodies.

FOOD WAS ALWAYS ON MY MIND. constantly.

it was a vicious cycle that didn’t stop until recently.

well, let me clarify, it didn’t “stop” – these thoughts still haunt me, but i have learned to control them (for the most part.)

in 2011-2012, my eating problems were out of control. although i was losing a significant amount of weight at this time, the food obsession was still apart of me. i knew i wouldn’t be fully happy if i didn’t get this problem under control.

but let me tell you – this was no easy task. i didn’t WANT help! i was embarrassed and genuinely scared.

scared. yes, i was terrified. i didn’t want to admit that i had any kind of problem. i didn’t want my family to worry about me. i just didn’t want it to be an issue!

so i put it off. 

but when these issues began putting a toll on my friendships, i knew i needed to seek professional help.

the first thing i did was make an appointment with my primary care doctor. i went in for a routine physical. we went over all of the normal tests, but it wasn’t until he commented on my weight loss that i told him my REAL reason for being there.

i remember this appointment as if it were yesterday. i was SO nervous as i was talking to my doctor! i even got a rash on my chest while this was all happening!

i explained to him that yes, the number on the scale was lower, but i was still strugglingbadly.

luckily, i have a wonderful doctor so i didn’t have to say very much. he knew exactly what i needed.
(at this time, i felt like a million pounds had been lifted from my shoulders!)
he referred me to a therapist who specializes in food issues & nutrition.
(now remember: i knew i needed help, but i had NO idea that what i had was an actual DISORDER.)

a few days later, i had my first appointment with my therapist.

i remember feeling nervous yet SO hopeful, excited and PROUD!

nervous that i was about to bear my soul to a stranger. hopeful for my future. excited to get my problems taken care of. proud to face the demons that had haunted me for so many years.

it wasn’t until after a few of our “sessions” that she made a diagnosis.

binge eating disorder.

me?! amanda leigh tyson. eating disorder?!

the first time i heard those words, my jaw dropped. my heart fell to the pit of my stomach.
(even though i had been waiting to hear those words & i knew she was right.)

it hit me pretty hard, but after the initial shock, i was totally okay.

i was still me. i was still the same girl i had been the day before.

with this new diagnosis, we were able to work together to try and make it better.
(notice i didn’t say “fix it” – my ED will always be part of me)

even with therapy, i’m not cured. i never will be.

and that’s okay. 

sure, every single day is hard. living with an eating disorder is not easy!
but i’m working on it.
every day i  try to make cautious/healthy decisions with food. i still slip up. at least once a week.
i still need MORE help.
i’m no where near perfect.
but i am ME. and this is part of who I WAS and who I AM.

the main reason i am writing this post is to spread awareness about binge eating disorder and food addiction. YOU might be struggling with the exact same symptoms i had! but you might not have known there was a real issue. maybe you knew it was a problem, but didn’t know it was a disorder.

binge eating disorder and food addiction are both REAL and they are extremely difficult to deal with on your own.

if YOU are struggling and think you might have a problem, PLEASE do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help! i know first hand how hard it is… but in the end, it is worth it because there is NOTHING more valuable than your LIFE.

the greatest thing i took away from therapy is that I AM IN CONTROL of my body and my choices. i am STRONG.

and i am a fighter.
and i am going to keep fighting.
binge eating disorder does not define me.

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NOW! i want to take the time to answer a few of the questions that were asked on my facebook page:

question: how do you lose weight/maintain weight while you’re struggling with a food addiction?
answer: i take it one meal at a time. if i slip up during lunch, i make sure i stick with a healthy dinner. i follow the 90/10 rule: eat clean 90% of the time, and 10% of the time i eat the foods i’m craving. so, if i eat 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, that equals 21 meals in a week. 90% of 21 is 19 – so 19 of my meals will be CLEAN and 2 meals can be foods i’m craving!

question: what is the easiest way for you to stop stress eating?
answer: personally, when i am stressed, i’ll go to the gym to work out my frustration! the best part? after a great workout, i crave only healthy food! so it’s a win-win!

question: do you eat a certain way (paleo, no carbs, low cal) or do you just watch portions?
answer: i don’t follow any special diet plan! my therapist told me i should be eating meals with 1 serving of protein, 1 carb, 1 fruit/veggie and 1 healthy fat. i try to follow this plan with all of my meals.

question: what is your advice for those who are faced with food temptation in the workplace?
answer: i deal with this EVERY day! the easiest thing to do is to bring your own food! i always bring a little more than i need, just incase i’m feeling extra hungry. i’ll bring extra fruit for when the cravings hit. ALSO – i chew gum!! it helps me so much.

question: have you noticed changes once you started drinking so much water?
answer: ABSOLUTELY! my skin has cleared up, my stomach doesn’t feel as bloated, and i’m happier – my water intake has helped me tremendously! 

question: what do you suggest i do to stop snacking at night?
answer: i tell myself that the kitchen is closed after dinner! i make sure my dinner fills me up so i won’t need to think about eating anything else. also, for me, it helps to go to bed early. but if you absolutely NEED a snack after dinner, there are plenty of healthy options – fruit is always okay! i love frozen grapes!

 

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xox, amanda

why do YOU exercise?

i think it has already been established that i might be the worst blogger in the history of blogs. okay, maybe not that bad. it’s been a while! but – i’m here now and that’s all that matters!

just a quick update before i get into what inspired me to write tonight in the first place.

i’m doing wonderful!!!! in fact, i can honestly say that i have never been happier in my entire life. i’ve learned so much about myself in the past couple months. it’s been life changing

i’m still working out. i’m still eating healthy.

however, that’s not all that my life is about anymore.

through all of the calorie counting and hours spent in the gym, i came to realize that what i was doing (tracking everything i put in my mouth. posting it on facebook. working out until i burned at least 1000 calories. posting that on facebook) was becoming an unhealthy obsession.

i needed help. so i seeked help! 

and now here i am today. happy & healthy! i have found a healthy balance and have realized that i am exercising and eating right for ME. not for anyone else. i don’t need approval anymore.

i feel free. free from the obsessions. 

now back to what i came here to discuss! 

today as i was leaving the gym, i stopped to talk to a couple of friends. both of whom work in the fitness industry. to put it simply, we talked about how:

everyone has different reasons for exercising.

my gym is an absolutely wonderful place. there are members who are fit. there are members who are overweight. young. old. injured. broken. you name it.

but somehow we are all there. all under the same roof. working towards goals.

some of us are there fighting for our lives.
some are there to heal emotional wounds.  
some are there to gain confidence.
some are there to get buff & ripped.

whatever it may be, we are all there for a reason!

we don’t know each others stories.

most of the members in my gym don’t know that i have lost 90-something pounds. or that i once lacked self confidence. that i used to be afraid to exercise in public. that just the thought of bootcamp classes terrified me. 

most of them don’t know where i started from.

the moral of our little discussion is that we DO NOT KNOW everyones story. so we absolutely should NOT be judging anyone. inside or outside of the gym! this stays true with ANY setting!

we, as human beings, should have no right to judge others.

also, we should NOT waste time comparing ourselves to others.

i can’t tell you how many times a day i get asked the questions: “how much do you weigh?” or “what size are you wearing now?” 

does it matter? i mean… does it REALLY matter?

no. it doesn’t. both size and weight are just numbers.
(believe me, it took me a while to realize this.)

and those numbers don’t reflect who i am.
or how much i have accomplished.
or how good of a person i am.

i don’t exercise for numbers (anymore.)

i exercise because it makes me happy. pushing myself to an uncomfortable place feels INCREDIBLE. there are times when i feel unstoppable. and the feeling i get after a workout is better than anything. working out gives me a high. it stabilizes my mood. it gives me CONFIDENCE! it makes me want to keep going. 

exercising and eating healthy are just a part of my life now! i don’t have to think twice about it. it’s just what i do. and i LOVE it!

everyone has a story.
(that we don’t know.)

everyone has a history.
(that we don’t know.)

everyone has a different reason for exercising.

facing fears

this has been a life changing week for me. it feels so strange to be writing in my blog… it’s been so long since i last put my thoughts into words. i think i’ve missed it. a lot of people have recently told me that i should start it up again. so, here i am!

like i said, this has been a life changing week.

i did things i never thought possible!

  • i took a spinning class at my gym.
  • i went to yoga all by myself.
  • i tried a new yoga studio.
  • i took a bootcamp class at my gym.
  • i tried brussels sprouts.
  • i started keeping a private journal.
  • i bought a bikini.

some of these things were harder than the others. before my first bootcamp, i was scared to death. it took me a couple weeks to work up the confidence to go. but on friday night, i went. i conquered. i LOVED every minute of it! and the best part? i went alone. and i made friends! amazing, right? and i’m going again tonight.

i think the biggest thing this week was the purchase of my bikini. why? that shouldn’t be such a big deal, right?

it happened yesterday when i was early for a coffee date and decided to run into target to waste some time and pick up a few things i needed. right when you walk in the store, there is a huge display of bathing suits. and there was a big sale going on. at first, i looked at them from a distance.

i wanted to get closer to the display of beautiful tops & bottoms… but my nerves were pulling me the other way.

there were so many people around. the voices in my head were saying – “there is NO way you can go look at those. you’re a big girl and people are going to judge you!!!!”

on the other hand, my heart was saying something completely different – “amanda, you are ridiculous! you have EVERY right to look at those bikinis!! you’ve worked hard! you deserve it!”

so i followed THAT part of my heart and went over to the bikini display. no one starred. no one laughed or made any weird faces at me.

i was worried for nothing! then, i took it one step closer and TRIED ONE ON.

to my surprise, i didn’t absolutely hate what i saw. it wasn’t even the biggest one in the store!!!!

then… the fears came back again when i decided that i wanted to buy it. i wanted to buy it so so so badly but the thought of walking through target with a bikini in my hand was S-C-A-R-Y!

i quickly picked up a box of special k cereal that i was going to buy so i could cover the other items in my hands (the bikini) then… to my surprise… the voice in my head came back and was like:

“AMANDA!!! who cares what other people think?!?! yes, you’re a little bit bigger than other people wearing bikinis, but IT’S OKAY!!!! you have lost 75 pounds and DESERVE to show it with PRIDE!!!!!”

so, i bought it. and i am going to rock it.

people of EVERY shape and size deserve to feel beautiful. beauty comes from WITHIN and we ALL need to realize this. we need to be PROUD of who we are. sure, i’m not at my goal weight yet… but that doesn’t mean i can’t love myself with where i am currently.

accept everything about yourself. you are YOU. no apologies. no regrets. love yourself more. no hiding. beauty is everywhere.

xox amanda

fears & doubts about goal weight

it has been so very long since i’ve last updated in my blog and i am truly sorry about that! there has been so much yet so little going on in my life these past couple days/weeks/months.  i guess i will start with the fact that i am still on this weightloss journey. i have a feeling this journey is going to continue every single day for the rest of my life. it’s not something that will just disappear when i reach my goal.

which brings me to the topic of this blog post: my goal.

you have absolutely no idea how nervous/anxious/scared/excited i am to reach my goal.

i’m currently 205 pounds and i am only 5 pounds away from my first goal: 199… and only 35 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight: 170.

there are so many emotions tied into this. why? because it’s something i want more that you could ever imagine… and because i’ve seen so many people reach their goal only to put all the weight back on.

hey, it’s happened to ME before! well, i didn’t exactly reach my goal, but i did go from 260 to 210 and back to 260 again! i wish i could tell you WHY it happened! it’s something i’ve never been able to figure out.

is it because i couldn’t maintain the healthy lifestyle?
is it because i wasn’t strong enough?
is it because i didn’t have support?
is it because i stopped caring about myself?

all of these things are floating through my mind as i get closer and closer to that number.

 what makes this time different than the last?

i’m actually petrified! scared to death.

i’m scared that once i reach my goal weight, i still won’t be as happy as i want to be. i’ve blamed my weight on so many things in my life… and once it’s no longer an issue, what can i use to blame?!

oh, amanda’s unhappy? it’s because she’s fat.
oh, amanda doesn’t go out on weekends? it’s because she’s fat.
oh, amanda has never had a boyfriend? it’s because she’s fat.
oh, amanda has no friends? it’s because she’s fat.

you get the idea.

the worst part is that i’m most scared of letting everyone else around me down. i do NOT want them to see me fail AGAIN. how can someone be a role model when they fail each time they get to their goal?

sometimes i wonder why anyone looks up to me… but then i remember:

i’m a girl who has succeeded & failed. i’ve had highs & lows. i’ve been brave & i’ve been weak.

i am human.

despite my fears and doubts, i’m not giving up. i will continue to fight as hard as i can for the rest of my life. i’m not sure if my body will even allow me to reach my goal until i figure all of this out in my head… it might be holding onto the weight until i’m brave enough to shed it. for now, i’ll just keep doing what i’m doing.

love you all.

 

one year ago

the photo on the left was taken exactly one year ago at my college graduation.

i remember that day perfectly! i came up with every excuse i could think of to NOT go to it. i didn’t’ want to be seen by my entire college community looking the way i did. i remember the fear in my mind about being looked at. i felt so insecure. so fat. so ugly. why would i want to parade that on stage? but in the end, my parents made me go.

i was 260 pounds at the time. i remember thinking that i was so big that i was going to bust out of my gown.

my college graduation was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. instead it was a day filled with insecurity.

AND not to mention, i was graduating with a degree in EXERCISE SCIENCE! shouldn’t all of those people be FIT?!

well, my friends, a lot has changed since may 2011.

now take a look at the girl on the right side of that picture. THAT is what happiness looks like. today, for the first time i since i was 12, i was able to look in the mirror and smile at what i saw in the reflection.

i can’t imagine a better feeling than what i just experienced.

there’s nothing more beautiful then self acceptance.

i know i’m still quite far from my goal, but i am SO proud of what i’ve accomplished so far.

a weekend to remember, biggest loser style

where am i supposed to begin? this weekend was… incredible. no, that’s not even a big enough word. this weekend was AMAZING. fabulous. eye opening. BEYOND WORDS. great. the best.

first i’ll give you a daily play by play, then i’ll tell you my thoughts on it all!

saturday, april 28:
started out at 3 am when i had to wake up. then drove 2 hours to the airport… landed in LA at 10:40 am and gathered all my friends!  headed to malibu to visit the biggest loser resort. we were at the resort for their weekly graduation. there were a few tears… went to the malibu cafe for dinner then drove to universal city walk. met up with a few friends and had a couple drinks at saddle ranch. ended the night at the hotel in thousand oaks.

sunday, april 29:
got up early and went straight to point dume for a hike. i think that’s my favorite place to hike. all fitness levels are able to do it and the scenery is literally breathtaking.  we stayed at the beach for a while then got food at some little cafe in malibu… i wish i could remember the name because it was deeeelicious! then i believe we headed to santa monica for dinner with everyone. we ate at a mexican restaurant on the pier. it was so touristy of us… we also played skeeball in the arcade. yep. amazeballs. ended the night at the westin hotel then drove back to our original hotel.

monday, april 30:
by far my favorite day!  started out super early… i was running on empty. got breakfast at subway and went straight to the biggest loser resort for our hike! loaded up the van and headed to sandstone peak! the hike was incredible. it lasted 5 hours… the longest hike i’d ever been on! (remember, this is just a play by play, i’ll share more about this hike down below!) after the hike we went to the biggest loser ranch where the show is filmed. i’d been there plenty of times before so it wasn’t as exhilarating, ha. went out to dinner at the grove with mike (who won the at-home prize for BL 13!) we stayed at the westin that night.

tuesday, may 1:
finale day!! had breakfast at the hotel. got all dolled up. had lunch at the hotel then headed to the studio for the biggest loser season 13 finale! okay that was awesome. went back to the hotel and stuffed my face once again. then the party got started!

wednesday, may 2:
running on zero sleep. went to LAX. had a layover in chicago. landed in maine.

 INFO ABOUT OUR HIKE 
like i said before, this was my favorite part of my trip to california!  i went to LA with a group of people i had met at the biggest loser resort, so we all wanted to tie a hike into our visit. we were able to arrange this with the amazing staff at BLR. we each had to pay and with that we were given 3 hiking guides of our choice, a long hike on a mountain of our choice, a van ride, sweat, tears & memories to last a lifetime!

OUR FEARLESS GUIDES
we chose TJ, amanda & castro to be our hiking guides! it wasn’t a hard decision to make. TJ stayed at the front with the crazy fast people. castro stayed in the middle and amanda was the sweep. each one of them brought something different to the hike. i got to know each of them so well during those 5 hours! and let me tell you… they are the GREATEST.

BEST PART ABOUT THE HIKE
the VIEW! oh my goodness. we were above the clouds. i kid you not. we hiked the highest point in the santa monica mountains!

WORST PART ABOUT THE HIKE
that’s easy… the freaking GECKOS. or whatever they’re called!  each time i saw one i had a mini heart attack. those are at the top of my “things that scare me” list… people must have thought i was kidding by the way i was freaking out, but no… it was real fear! it makes me want to puke just thinking about it!

what i took away from this weekend: i can accomplish anything if i put my mind to it. the morning of the hike at sandstone, i really wasn’t feeling it. i was coming up with every excuse to try and get out of it. my fears from hiking back in december were haunting me in my head. i remembered the pain i had been in more so than the feeling of accomplishment. but you know what? i’ve never been more proud of what we all did on that mountain. it was a tough hike! and we ALL finished it!! we had to climb rocks to get to the top of it… i never pictured myself doing that! i was on all fours at one point trying to get to the top. my friends and i have come so far since the last time we were together! we push each other. all i’ve ever wanted was a group of supportive people who know EXACTLY what i’m going through and i’ve finally found them. they’re my family and i love them.

biggest loser resort, thank you for changing my life. you’ve actually SAVED my life. the BLR has helped me tremendously. i never thought i’d be where i am today. the staff has always believed in me and wants to see all of us succeed! my heart is full. i’ve never been more grateful. i’m truly blessed.

lately

there have been so many times in the past couple days where i’ve wanted to write in here… but there was something in my heart holding me back. i still don’t know exactly what it is.

things have been different lately.

my life in general has felt off. my relationships. friendships. work. exercise.

i’ve been praying for answers. i don’t like this place i’m in. and the worst part is that i haven’t wanted to talk about it. i’m usually an open book, but it’s becoming harder for me.

maybe i’m scared.

yes, i am scared.

here’s the deal: i’ve given up on myself. it kills me to admit that. i’m the girl who promotes NEVER giving up and always being the BEST you can be. i feel like a fake. i’ve stopped practicing what i preach. why should anyone look up to me?

i haven’t had a serious workout in a couple weeks.

oh, and my diet? i’ve been putting anything and everything into my mouth. i haven’t been tracking what i eat. i’ve stopped counting calories. i haven’t been paying attention to portion sizes.

i go through these phases where food is the only thing that makes me feel better. sometimes i sit and eat until all the food in my house is gone. and then i feel even worse. so bad that all i can do is cry. WHY do i keep doing this to myself?

i get so far and in a good place, then i throw it all away again. it’s a terrible cycle that i’ve never been able to stop.

i’ve basically shut myself off from the world.

one of the worst parts about all of this is when i get texts from people saying “you look amazing! all your hard work is paying off!” — what hard work? yes, i was doing well for a while, then gave up.

i’m embarrassed to see people i haven’t seen in a while. they’re expecting me to be smaller and prettier and i’m NOT.

i’m going to california on saturday to be with people i haven’t seen since december. we’ve all been working on ourselves these past couple months. some have achieved AMAZING things. all of them have lost weight and are happy with their successes… but me? i’m ashamed of myself.

all of this is extremely hard for me to admit.

on the outside, i’m the BRAVE girl who has it all figured out… but on the inside i’m still broken.

i want to be different. i want change. i NEED change.

i’m crying for help.

i’m praying to God. He is the only one who can get me through this.

i need to find that inner strength. i know it’s in me somewhere… i’m searching. but in the mean time, please say a little prayer for me. i need to get this figured out sooner rather than later.

this will be a mere memory

there’s not a day that goes by when i don’t think about the biggest loser. i find that the “what-if’s” have taken over my brain. it’s been 10 months and i can’t seem to get over it. i’ve been trying SO hard to accept the fact that I HAVE TO DO THIS ON MY OWN. why can’t i accept that?! it’s been almost an entire YEAR. it’s not healthy for me!

while i was in california for finals week of casting for the show, i kept a journal. i wrote every day that i was there. i didn’t write much. nor did i go into a lot of detail. i’m hoping that by sharing these journal entries with the world, it will help me heal from the disappointment. i’m still mourning the loss of my dream.

the following are my exact words from my journal:

sunday, may 15, 2011, 6:15 pm
… on a completely unrelated note… i’m going to LOS ANGELES THIS WEEK!!! not sure when i’m leaving or what i’m doing when i get there… i really cannot believe that i got selected as a finalist for the biggest loser season 12! never in my wildest dreams did i ever think i would have this opportunity. am i dreaming? i’ve been asking myself this question for days… wow, just wow.

saturday, may 21, 2011, 8:15 pm
here i am in los angeles… or westlake village to be exact. i flew in yesterday and what an exhausting day that was! someone named chris (crabby) picked me up at the airport. he dropped off a group at the hotel & then brought another BL hopeful (joe) and i to chipotle for some food. then he brought us to the four seasons. i felt so much better when i walked into the hotel and saw one of my casting directors, kerry. she brought me to my room and i was able to relax for a few minutes before i was brought downstairs to take a psych test. after all of that, a group of us went to the grocery store. then to end the night i had a one on one meeting with the psychiatrist, dr. hogan. he told me he could visibly see my insecurities by the way i held myself.

this morning i had my first doctors appointment at 6 am! thank goodness it was only at the hotel! there were a bunch of blood tests and stuff. later this afternoon i had more appointments at dr. huizenga’s in beverly hills. amaze-balls. heres a list of a few of the tests i had done: eye exam, liver ultrasound, ultrasound on my heart & neck, stress test, vo2 max, hydration test & a full body scan. kevin (kk) brought us all to el pollo loco for dinner. delicious!

aaaaandddd now i am in my room for the night. i just took a bath. this room is incredible. the bathroom has a tv in it! i watched the cosby show in the bath. alright, i’m just gonna go out and say it… this whole experience has been extremely emotional for me. i cried yesterday when i got to my room for the first time and i’ve cried 3 times today? oh lordy, what have i gotten myself into?

i’ve met a couple great people so far. an older woman, a middle aged woman, a middle aged guy, and a young guy who’s my age. okay, time for some relaxing and tv.

sunday, may 22, 2011, 4:40 pm
i’m currently sitting in my bed at the four seasons crying my eyes out. i’m reading the letters that people wrote me before i left on this journey. i don’t know why it’s making me so emotional. luckily i’m texting MK and she’s making me feel better. she just said: ‘do you really think God didn’t know that you would find him RIGHT BEFORE you would need Him most? call on His help. He’s there for you. He will give you strength.  

i’m glad i was able to sleep in today. i think i needed it. i met with dr. cheryl this morning. she’s the nutritionist with the show. she was incredible. after that meeting, a group of us were brought out to lunch and shopping. i had food at california pizza kitchen then went to a couple stores. i ended up buying a sign that says KINDNESS 365 at world market. it was a must buy.

now i’ve been in my room all afternoon. i talked to sami on the phone for a while. now i’m watching some crazy show about chaz bono on OWN. boredom has officially hit.”

monday, may 23, 2011, 12:40 pm
today has been good! it started very early at 12 am when i had to wake up and take some kind of pill. not exactly sure what it was for! i went back to sleep after that. woke up at 6:20 to get ready for my first appointment. i had to do another breathing test and get more blood drawn. after that, i went to sandy’s office. he put us in the “bod pod” which measures body fat percentages. cool stuff! now i’m hanging out in my room watching SNL on my computer. i have to go to a sleep study tonight. should be interesting ;)”

tuesday, may 24, 2011, 3:00 pm
happy 31st anniversary to my parents!  today has been strange. okay, every day has been strange! i woke up at 5 am at that strange sleep study place. creepy having a guy named gus watch you sleep all night. what an experience. i was attached to so many wires all night! it was NOT comfortable. i don’t think i really slept at all. i was there with two other finalists: bonnie & chris. roy picked us all up this morning and brought us to subway for breakfast. i saved mine for lunch though, because i had a breakfast date at breakfast cafe with olivia, kym, tc & joe. after breakfast we went grocery shopping. i’m not sure if i’ll ever get used to eating by myself at a restaurant. it’s so weird feeling!

a few hours ago, two people from the show came to talk with me. it went awful. all they wanted me to do was tell them my story. easy, right? NO. i couldn’t do it without smiling. they could tell i was hiding my feelings. as soon as they walked out the door i COMPLETELY broke down in tears. i’m talking… worst cry since i’ve been here. fetal position on the floor. it was awful.

luckily i had becky on the phone to make me feel a little better. she’s an incredible friend and she’s helping me try to open my heart. 

right after i got off the phone with becky, two more people from the show came to hear my story. this time it was two ADORABLE guys. when they came to my door, i had mascara dripping down my face from crying. i told them that i’d been crying and they were super sweet. i think i did a lot better with opening up to them. it’s going to take so long to improve this. it’s not something i’ll wake up and be better at. but i know i can do it. i can do ANYTHING.”

wednesday, may 25, 2011, 7:45 pm
these past two days have been completely awful. i’ve done absolutely nothing except one meeting. it was in one of the big rooms at the hotel. a bunch of bl12 hopefuls telling our stories to a big team of people. i wasn’t able to say anything i wanted. i feel like i lose all of my chances today. i cried, again.

kerry came to visit me earlier. thank god. i was going stir crazy. i loved having company, even if it was only for like 15 mins. after my horrible meeting, i chatted with sami for a while. so glad modern family is on tonight… praying tomorrow goes better.”

thursday, may 26, 2011, 10:25 am
watching hod a and kathie lee and having an elton john/billy joel dance party. yes, oh, and throwing in some les miserables into the mix. hoping today goes by quickly and that i’ll be able to leave my room at some point?! me and room 437 have become best friends. okay, pretty sure i’m going insane. i need sunshine. i need fresh air. i need human contact. seclusion is HARD STUFF.”

friday, may 27, 2011, 10:30 am
trying to pass the time with the today show. it’s friday, trysday. I WILL GO CRAZY IF I DN’T LEAVE THIS ROOM TODAY. AHHHH. drinking coffee and watching KLG & hoda. GET ME OUT OF HERE. please.

… then my journal entries ended. i was sent home. i haven’t written since that day. the rest of my journal is filled with blank pages. i think i’m ready to continue writing in it. time for the next chapter. 

digging through the past

as i was running on the treadmill this morning for the first time in over a week, i found myself in a weird place. i almost felt as though my mind was in a different world. i caught myself looking at the blank wall in front of me… then my eyes shifted down to the floor where all of my college things were sitting. boxes & boxes of unpacked stuff.

stuff that i’m afraid to dig through.

i moved home from college in january of 2009 and i still hadn’t unpacked yet. why, you might ask? because my move came so sudden. i wanted to get off campus and never look back. i wanted to erase that chapter of my life.

2007-2008 (& the beginning of 2009) are still a blur to me.

back in 2007, when it came time for me to go to college, i was still filled with the endless self-doubt that haunted me from being bullied in middle school.  why would the people in college want to be my friend if no one in the past had wanted to?  these emotions came flooding to me as i packed my bags and left home for the very first time.  from the moment i moved on campus, i knew i was different than everyone else.  i didn’t drink and i was far from being a partier.  my dream college experience was no longer there.  for the first month or so i went home every weekend and hung out by myself.  then, in october, i told myself that if i wanted to fit in, i would have to drink… and i did.

i wanted to fit in so badly that i went against everything i believed in. the girls i lived with that year were considered my best friends & a big part of me felt that my “best friends” didn’t care about me at all. but now i know it was all in my head. i was extremely insecure from my past.

and here’s the worst part. the part i’m most ashamed of.

i’m honestly not sure how to write this or if i should write it at all. but i need to be honest, right? it’s my only secret & i hope the truth will set me free.

when i was alone, i would sit in my dorm room and hurt myself.  

i would do different things to relieve the pain in my head.  it took me away from that lonely feeling. i had no one on my side. i felt like i deserved to be in pain. there had to have been something wrong with who i was. i’d been treated poorly since middle school so i truly believed that i was majorly flawed. this horrible thing continued going on all of that year.

actually, i continued living this way for a year and a half. in pain and alone. at the end of the first semester of my sophomore year, i hated myself so much that i stopped going to meals with my friends… i didn’t want to be seen. i reached my highest weight of 260 during this time. i spent every possible moment in my bed just crying. there were days i didn’t want to live.

i look back at this now and wonder how i ever thought that ripping myself apart would make anything better. at the time, it did. i wish i could take it all back.

all i ever wanted my entire life was to be treated with kindness. my parents eventually found out that i was living a nightmare and we made the decision for me to move home halfway through sophomore year.  the 40 minute daily commute would be a lot better for me.

after i moved home, i decided that i needed to make a major change in my life.  i would say that this was one of many ‘ah-ha” moments for me. moving home was the best decision i could have ever made. yes, i lost ALL of my friends, but i needed to get away from everything.  it was as if something just clicked inside of my head. i no longer wanted to let my past experiences of bullying run my life.  i had let the “mean girls” control who i was for long enough.

the first step in healing my wounds was to learn to love. first and foremost, learn to love myself. it’s the hardest thing i’ve ever had to do. learning to love & accept yourself is a challenge. you can’t fix it overnight. all of this happened 3 years ago and i’m still working on it!

i can now say that i truly do love who i am today. i’m a completely different person and it’s all because i’ve learned that i am worth it. i am worthy of love and happiness. i deserve nothing but the best!

today, i’m surrounded by people who love and support me no matter what. that’s the most important thing i could have done for myself! i’m working on ME and MY HAPPINESS. i need to be selfish once in a while. i’m reaching for my goals and i’m never going to stop. because I AM WORTH IT.

YOU can be ANYTHING you want to be. you CAN overcome your past!

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