Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2014 Amazingness and 2015 Resolutions

2014 was one of the best years of my life. At the turn of the clock on 1/1/14, I was a few weeks out from Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy surgery, finally on the road to recovery and ready to start living my new life with my new stomach.

To recap, I went on no fewer than 16 trips ranging from weekends at the coast to Las Vegas to the very tippy corner of Arizona bordering Mexico to the Redwood forests in Northern California. I did pub crawls and wine tour days and went dancing and to concerts and to a wedding reception for new friends I met through the WLS community. I went hiking and walking and exploring. I had big parties, small parties, dinner parties, movie nights and book club meetings. I went to happy hours and fancy dinners and went dancing and felt more fully myself than I ever had before.

Gym goodness

Some of my big surgery related accomplishments and notable mentions were that I lost 100 pounds, I hit Onederland (meaning my weight is now in the 100’s), I can cross my legs (most notably under a table!), I don’t have chaffing when I wear dresses and skirts, I can shop in regular sized stores, starting 2015 in a M/L, 12-ish size range. I have BONES! And not just collar bones, but elbows and knees and hips and ribs and a JAW (this is amazing)! I am in the best shape of my life, with so much more room for growth. I can walk and hike and move without constant pain, especially foot pain I completed a 12 week weight lifting challenge and lost 12 inches and 4 pounds… results aside, though, I was PROUD of accomplishing the challenge. I showed up, I was present, I did the work and it changed my life and my attitude on fitness and how fitness and I relate to each other.

As I closed out 2015, I spent a solid month over eating, making poor food choices and drinking way more than I usually do, and, frankly, more than what I prefer. I gained just about six pounds during the month and started to feel worse and worse. I put together a photo collage to remind myself of how far I’ve come and reflected on what I wanted 2015 to look like for me.

Xmas 2013 vs Xmas 2014
Xmas 2013 vs Xmas 2014
I came up with the following resolutions/ goals:
  1. 208 hours of exercise in 2015. I am starting off the year strong with a month back at the Kettlebell studio (more on that later) with 4 one hour work outs per week plus an additional day of cardio (time to be determined) and 75 minutes a week of yin yoga. After the month in the kettlebell studio, I’ll probably go back and do the 12 week weight lifting challenge again on my own. Love me some muscles!!!
  2. I would like to reach my weight goal this year. I had it previously set at 160, but I’m going to try to go for 150. If it takes me all year, that is okay. I want to eat well and exercise and get to where I’m going with the mindset of it’s a marathon and not a sprint. As of today, this leaves me with 44.6 pounds to go. I’ll reassess where I want to be from there.
  3. I will do one Whole30 challenge in 2015. I start this on 1/5/15 so I expect to get this done early and maybe do a second one in May or June, but my goal is to successfully complete one of these. I like doing these in January as I can abstain from all the shit that got me in the ruts in December: Sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy. Protein and produce is what I’m all about this month.
  4. I would like to reduce some old credit card debt that I have. The number I have in mind will take me 2/3 of the way to paying it off in full.
  5. Travel! I would like to take one large trip (5+ days) and at least 4 small trips (3-4 day long weekends). I have WLSFA in San Diego booked and a subsequent cruised booked with some friends I’ve made through the weight loss surgery community. That will be 9-10 days. I already have two long weekends away booked with my fella and we’re talking about doing Dallas and NYC this year as well so I’m well on my way to accomplishing this goal.
So, friends, I’m feeling hopeful, determined, optimistic and excited for 2015. What are your highlights of 2014 and goals for the new year ahead?

Holiday Spirit or Self Sabotage?


There have been some pretty major milestones hit in the last couple of months. I hit 100 pounds lost. I got under 200 pounds (Onderland). I hit my one year surgiversary. I made it into a 12/14, M/L clothing size which allows me to buy clothes in any store I choose. I’ve changed my entire body shape and composition by lifting weights. And so much more. Lots and lots and lots of good stuff.

Holiday Wine Tasting
Holiday Wine Tasting

And yet in the last couple of weeks, I have gained or maintained each week. I am not following my eating plan, I am eating more carbs, slider foods, sugar and just more in general. I’m also socializing more which means I’m participating in more adult beverages. I consciously drank very little in November and seem to be more than making up for that drought in December.

But it occurred to me the other day… is this normal holiday spirit or absolute and utter terror? “Why would you be afraid, Lindsay?” you may ask. Excellent question. One would think that at my lowest adult weight, in a size of clothing I can’t remember ever seeing, and at a level of fitness I’d never before been able to obtain… what is there to possibly be afraid of? I’m not entirely sure, but I know I AM afraid. Afraid of not losing the rest of the weight. Afraid that wherever I end up I won’t be able to maintain. Afraid of gaining some or all my weight back. Afraid of the attention I get from other people that I’m not experienced in dealing with.

So I ask myself if I’m doing the normal holiday celebration thing or if my behavior is, plain and simple, self-sabotage. Frankly, I think it’s both. I’m pushing the boundaries, edging out of the box, seeing how far I can go. But see how far I can go before what? Before I get totally out of hand and my 3.2 pound gain turns into 10? Not acceptable.

working out
working out

My game plan: Get through the holidays. Try to only eat when I’m hungry. I refuse to deprive myself of things, but I do need to keep moderation in mind. I WILL have my Aunt’s incredible pie on Christmas Eve for dessert, but I won’t take any home with me. I WILL enjoy my champagne and wine during these weeks but I’ll recommit to limited drinking come January. In fact, my boyfriend and I are planning on doing a more whole foods eating thing come the New Year. Not really a cleanse or diet, per se, but a conscious effort to cut out sugar, gluten, alcohol and, for me, dairy. My goal is to reduce inflammation and continue to drop weight and his goal is to lose a few pounds and FEEL better. I have to remember that, between now and the end of the year, the more sugar I eat, the more I WANT to eat, so it really is just easier to cut that off at the pass instead of negotiating it while it’s happening. I will continue to work out (although the wine sure has affected my ability to do cardio, let me tell you!) and focus on protein and fluids and just get through the next few weeks with the intention to truly do the best I can.

Happy holidays, friends, and may your New Year be happy and bright!

The One Where She Loses 100 Pounds


Tuesday, September 29th 2014. This is the date I officially hit the 100 pound lost mark. I was silent with it for a little bit. And then I announced it to the world. I posted it on both my personal and WLS facebook pages. I posted a YouTube Video. I received an outpouring of support and congratulations. And still I did not expect to feel how felt. I thought I’d see that number fall below 201.2 (the 100 pound mark) and flip out. Jump up and down and scream and maybe even cry. I was perplexed to find that I felt almost nothing. Maybe a bit confused. A little numb. Definitely shocked. Who is this person? What’s happening here? When I look into the mirror and I see my collar bones and my waist and the small gap in my thighs, I think “she is lovely!” and yet in my head I don’t always identify that person as ME.

100 pounds difference in one year
100 pounds difference in one year

Losing 100 pounds is an amazing accomplishment. I feel proud and blessed and appreciative that all the work I’ve put in, not just this year, but in the last several years, is finally coming to fruition with the help of my new tool (my sleeve). I wish I felt like I wanted to climb a mountain top and roar “THIS IS ME!” But I find myself cowering a bit… wanting to hide… confused as to what is happening.

Perhaps I’m experiencing some trepidation. I have put myself out in the public eye. I have made my journey public… much more so since joining I’ and I think there is an undercurrent of pure terror and panic that if I fail… if I gain some or all my weight back… everyone will see it. EVERYONE will know I failed. I have little doubt that I will succeed (I do have some, of course), but as someone who has lost and gained the same 20-50 pounds for 15 years, it’s hard to wrap my mind around maintaining a healthy weight for the long haul.

One hundred pounds is a lot to lose in 10 months. Many lose that weight in even shorter amounts of time. But for me, personally, it doesn’t feel like I’ve had much time to adjust to it. I lost 70 pounds in 4 months and 30 pounds in the 6 months thereafter. Despite things having slowed down to a steady 5 pounds per month, I still consider myself in the low 200’s. I’ve been below 210 for 2+ months and I still think of myself as 230. My brain has simply not caught up.

100 pounds difference - ONE YEAR!
100 pounds difference – ONE YEAR!

Oh, and let’s not even talk about the hormones. I’m sure I’ll make that another post in and of itself. For now let’s just say that not only is the physical changes to my body shocking and amazing and beautiful and terrifying, but the spectrum of emotion and thought and confusion and joy I feel on a moment to moment basis is a jumble.

I hope once the shock has worn off, I can revel in this incredible achievement. By the time I adjust to the 100 pounds down, I’ll probably see that 1 as the first number on the scale instead of a 2 and I’ll go through all of this all over again! Another big, shocking, incredible milestone. ‘Till then, friends….. feel free to catch up on The Story of Me Part One, Two, Three and Four!

Meet Me at the Barre

One of the many things I’ve been recently obsessed with lately is Barre classes. I found a studio not too terribly far from me, through Groupon, that is not only beautiful but has a variety of Barre classes including Bootybarre, Flex and Flow Barre, Barre Fusion and Barre Circuit (descriptions can be found here. I, personally, love the Barre circuit class. I’ve read some blogs recently that talk about how Barre isn’t that great of a work out and I respect everyone’s right to like or dislike a work out, but I consistently burn 400 calories per hour during a Barre Circuit class and I think that’s darn good (considering I burn 450 in a bootcamp style kettle bell class, which has a higher intensity level).

The phrase “up and inch, down an inch” has become its own type of glorious torture for me, but in such a good way. Most of the exercises are done at the barre and you get low into a pose and then you hover… lifting up just an inch and hovering back down just an inch. I have never ever felt my legs shake the way this kind of isolated movement can make my legs shake. Even after just one work out, I walked out feeling like I had the longest leanest legs ever (I don’t, of course, but perception counts). It doesn’t hurt that everyone in the studio (and I mean everyone, not just the instructors) have absolutely magnificent booties. They don’t call it “booty” barre for nothing.

Holly and Me!
Holly and Me!

While all the instructors that I’ve had while attending this studio have been incredible, there is something inherently motivating about the owner, Holly’s, voice. I love taking the Barre Circuit class with her and her voice has this lilt to it that just makes me feel like she’s rooting for me (and everyone) no matter how torturous the words (again, I go back to “up and inch, down an inch”). She has created such a warm and welcoming space with good music, good work outs and a great team of staff. All the staff is welcoming , warm, supportive and encouraging, but Holly’s voice really carries me through when I’m taking her classes.

I should note that the studio also holds many Les Mils type classes such as BodyPump, INSANITY (I, personally, burn SEVEN HUNDRED calories an hour in this class!), GRIT, Zumba, Cardio Funk etc. (again, descriptions can be found here). They also have personal training, occasional monthly challenges, dance and many other offerings that make this a full service studio for a full body work out, not just for toning and strengthening but for HIIT (high intensity interval training) and cardio training as well. I, personally, am currently on a class kick and NEED the variety to keep me engaged in my work outs. Long over are the days when I could just pedal away on the elliptical with a book in hand. Between this studio, my 12 week weight lifting challenge (more on that later) and other studios / gyms I frequent, my work outs here keep me interested, engaged and pushing for more.

Until next time, friends, maybe I’ll meet you at the barre!

No Pain No Gain?

I was walking to and from my dentist’s office recently, about .8 miles one way, and I was reflecting on how there is not a chance a year ago I would have made that walk. Not only would I not have chosen to make the walk, but I physically wouldn’t have been able to.

In early 2010 I started experiencing terrible pain in my heels. I had experienced plantar fasciitis before and it did not feel like that. I treated it as though it was, though, for lack of any other ideas… long stretches, especially in the morning, wearing a brace at night, self golf ball and ice massage, etc., none of which helped. Finally the pain got so bad that I went to a podiatrist and was told I had heel spurs. And there started 3 years and thousands of dollars spent trying to figure out how to do any walking or standing without pain. I bought $400 custom orthotics, I had several cortisone shots, I had to toss my reasonable shoes (Danskos) and get more reasonable shoes (Merrills and Keens). I tried acupuncture, massage, Arnica and athletic taping. I had to give up my beloved boot camp and any other work out that had any sort of impact. I spent months in physical therapy. I spent $1500 a foot to get PRP (platelet rich plasma) injections that required me to be in a boot for a month on each foot. I had very little hope, by the end of this, that I would have any relief as NONE of these aforementioned treatments worked for me.

My feetsies

In conjunction with Chinese medicine plasters (which DID greatly help) AND losing 100 pounds (read more about that in a post coming soon), here is what I have back: My ability to walk. One could say I could always walk, but every step I took was agony. Every. Single. Step. I started walking on the outside of my feet to keep impact off my heels and then developed bone spurs there, too. I was so miserable. As I was walking home from the dentist, though, I was overwhelmed with such a sense of gratitude that I can walk now with little to no pain. I can work out regularly and at the intensity at which I desire. I can HIKE (one of my favorite outdoor activities)! I can do so many things I couldn’t do a year ago. And not just can, but WANT to.

Hiking for FUN! no pain, all gain!
Hiking for FUN! no pain, all gain!

So while “no pain, no gain” really refers to feeling the burn at the gym, which is a good thing, when I hear that statement, all I think is “no pain, so so so so much gain!”

The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) Part Four

I had considered weight loss surgery before I actually REALLY considered weight loss surgery. In part I rejected the idea because I personally didn’t feel comfortable with the lap-band or with the gastric bypass/ RNY options. I didn’t know about the sleeve surgery when I first started researching and once I did, I started giving it more thought. I also originally rejected VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) because, frankly, I didn’t want to give up all my favorite foods. I wanted to eat what I wanted when I wanted, as much as I wanted. But my weight was creeping back up scarily toward 300 and eventually I had just had enough. My feet and ankles hurt, my clothes were too tight and I was physically uncomfortable much of the time.
I had maintained a relatively healthy lifestyle for several years; I ate mostly Paleo, I tried to exercise regularly and I did at least one cleanse a year. Yes, I drank wine and ate carbs and didn’t move as much as I wanted to due to both my size and my heel spurts. But I couldn’t lose weight. When I made the decision in August 2013 to get the surgery, I went in full steam ahead. I had all my appointments within a few weeks, my date was set in late October and I was ready to start my new life.

To prepare myself, I spent hours and hours and hours on Facebook WLS (weight loss surgery) groups, talking to other WLS patients at different spots throughout their journey and watching YouTube videos. There is a whole community for weight loss surgery patients and I gained a wealth of knowledge from them. Although you cannot fully know what to expect until you go through it yourself, I had at least gathered enough experiences to know if something I was going through was semi-normal or not. And that made a difference for me.

I should note here that my main motivation for wanting weight loss surgery was not all that complicated. I did not hate myself at 300 pounds. In fact, I loved myself, valued myself, did the work (see part 3) I needed to do to feel confident and sexy and worthy at any size. So it wasn’t really about vanity or confidence or looks. I was on blood pressure medication but was otherwise healthy. I didn’t have diabetes and my blood sugar and cholesterol were in check so my motivator wasn’t even really health. It was movement. I wanted to have enough weight off my body so that maybe my feet would get better (they did) and so I could hike and not huff and puff. My heart was healthy enough to get me up a hill, but I was carrying 150 extra pounds and it was HARD! I wanted to just be a “normal” sized person and to be normally out of breath at the top of a hill. I wanted to move my body outside more without the limitations I had as someone between 270-295 pounds.
On December 5th, 2013, I had about 75% of my stomach removed and a hiatal hernia repaired. I got there at 6:00 in the morning for my 8:30am surgery and up until I was wheeled into the operating room, I was wondering when I was going to call my bluff. I walked into that hospital fully sure that I’d walk out saying “Just kidding! Not gunna, no way!” I was terrified. This was for real and this was forever.

Surgery Date: 12/5/13
Surgery Date: 12/5/13

And although my recovery was atypically long and painful, once I was through it, the weight just melted off. I lost 70 pounds in the first 4 ½ months and once I started exercising, things screeched down to a moderate 5 pounds a month. But those 5 pounds have been coming off consistently and I’m stronger and faster and in better shape than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

This is where you find me now. 10 months post op from VSG, down over 100 pounds, working out 4-6 days a week (more on that later, I’m sure). It has been a wild, wild ride, let me tell you. And I think all the things I’ve learned along the way may be better said in another blog, as I have so so so much to say on that, but I will say this. I am so thankful to have received the gift of the sleeve and grateful to have lost the weight I have lost: while I don’t feel I have changed very much inside, I do feel as though I have become more fully myself. I walk and hike FOR FUN, I take any opportunity to get up and get moving, I’ve found work out classes and routines I am absolutely in love with. Life is so very very good.

Here are my 10 month progress photos. Picture on the left is 301.2 on 11/22/13, picture on the right is 200.0 on 10/5/14.

Thank you for tuning in and walking through this journey with me. If you are just catching up, here are links to Part One, Part Two and Part Three.  You can watch my WLS from beginning to end you YouTube as well.

Until next time, friends… make it a wonderful day!
10.5.14 - ten months Side
10.5.14 – ten months Side

10.5.14 - ten months front
10.5.14 – ten months front

The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) Part Three

y 26th year started with me at 320 pounds, (see here for Part Two) totally miserable, chronically single and stuck in a destructive diet/binge mentality. And then the movie “Supersize Me” happened. And it literally changed my life. As I mentioned in Part Two, I was eating McDonald’s almost every day. Once I saw “Supersize Me,” that changed immediately and I quit cold turkey. Within 2 months, I had dropped about 20 pounds and I had not even tried; all from cutting out my almost nightly McDonald’s binges.

At this point I felt ready and willing to date… to put myself out there. I had NO idea how to do it, so I signed up for several online dating websites and put myself out in the field. And I started to date! And it was amazing and interesting and heart wrenching and awful and beautiful all at the same time. Because I had not dated since I was 19, I actually FELT like I managed those “relationships” as though I was 19. I had few boyfriends, but several lovers and many, many, MANY dates. In starting my dating in my mid-twenties, I didn’t fully know how to relate to men OR myself WITH men! I got put into a “friends with benefits” category more often than not because I didn’t know how to stand up for what I wanted. Deep down, I felt like I should take what I could get. It took two pivotal affairs that left me feeling absolutely broken, worn and determined to do better that put me into therapy at 28. That therapist was, to this day, one of the most influential people in my life. She encouraged me to attend a handful of Adult Children of Alcoholics 12 step program which then led me to Codependents Anonymous (CODA).

I was in the CODA program and worked the 12 steps for about two years. I put in the time and I did the work. I began to finally feel worthy. I realized so many things throughout that process. In beginning to heal how I related in all relationships, I was able to come from a place of self-love and self-acceptance for the first time in my entire life, that I can remember. I was still obese and I was still always trying to lose weight, but I worked out, I cooked more whole food recipes, ate less processed food and maintained a weight of around 275 for many years.


By the time I was 31, I had bought a home, found a legitimate boyfriend who genuinely cared for me (we are still together), and started going to a local boot camp program. And here things accelerate a bit. Boot camp led me to lose 10 pounds (at the time I went from 285 to 275. At 275, not able to fudge the scale further, I started working with an amazing naturopath. With her help, I got down to 265. And again the scale froze. My naturopath wrote me a prescription for injectable HCG (human growth hormone) and I did that for 2 rounds and lost 32 pounds, getting me down to my lowest adult weight at the time of 232. I felt AMAZING!!!

And then I went on vacation. My boyfriend and I went to Maui and I ate POUNDS of cheese and drank A LOT of wine. And… when you’ve had 500 calories for 6 weeks and no carbs for 2 weeks following that and already have a deprivation issue… I ate everything in sight. I gained the 32 pounds plus another 30 and was back to 290 within 15 months.

By this time, I couldn’t continue with boot camp as I had developed heel spurs and could barely walk at all, much less work out. I couldn’t shop, hike, go for walks or do anything that involved prolonged standing on my feet due to the intense pain I had from the spurs. I was couch-bound, spending thousands of dollars on treatment and back on the diet rampage. My diets looked different by this time, however, and I was doing juice cleanses and Whole30s and eating Paleo 80% of the time. It was the inactivity and the other 20% of the time that was the problem.

By summer 2013, it occurred to me to consider surgery options. And we’ll go there next! Stay tuned for part four of four of The Story of Us (Me and My Fat).

If you’re just catching up, here are links to Part One and Part Two again!

The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) Part Two

Welcome back friends! So we enter phase two of the story of me and my fat. I left off in Part One just as I’m heading to college. Ahhhh…. College…. And I thought high school was torture. The good news is, I made a few friends and was having fun with them. The bad news is that I had followed my boyfriend, M, down to the town the college was in and by the time I moved there, two weeks after he’d made the move, he’d moved another girl into his apartment and had taken his phone off the ringer. It wasn’t a great start to the year and I’m not going to lie… I lost my shit. I listened to sad records. I cried all the time. I participated excessively in drugs and alcohol. I rang his phone constantly (pre cell phone days). I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate. I ate pizzas, I ate ice cream, I ate obscene amounts of candy. I’d eat a meal in the cafeteria just to go back to my room and eat again. I made the Freshman 15 into the Freshman 35 (I was AT LEAST 220 when I left my freshman year of college). I was absolutely miserable.

I made the decision to move home after my freshman year of college, at which time M and I were back together (trust me, I know… hindsight is 20/20) and within a few weeks, he had me over to introduce me to his female roommate and promptly told me he was engaged to her. That was how we broke up for good… he told me he was marrying someone else. That night I was even more destructive than normal (as you can imagine, it’s a shock when your boyfriend of three years tells you he’s engaged) but I woke up the next morning a changed woman. I stopped all extracurricular partying, I stopped dating and I buckled down and focused on school. I took 21 credit hours a quarter, graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in 3.5 years and remained dateless and celibate for the next seven years of my life.

During the time I was working on my undergraduate degree, I lived at home with my parents. My father was in the midst of a serious drug and alcohol problem and life at home was stressful. I continued to eat to cope with my feelings… It might be fair to say I ate to avoid having ANY feelings. I was prescribed an anti-depressant my sophomore year and I would argue that a good chunk of why I stayed so secluded during these years was because I was over prescribed the antidepressant. I spent seven years of my life being academically very productive, but on a personal side becoming increasingly stunted. I had a few friends, but I didn’t go out much. I went to class, I studied hard and I watched TV. I was essentially a hermit. I was also in an obsessive diet/ binge/ diet/ binge cycle.

While I have no actual clue how high my weight creeped up during this time, I’m guessing it was around 280. I lived a dichotomous existence. On one hand I was SO proud of what I was doing academically but I hated myself. I would even go so far as to say detested. I got by but that was all I did. I did NOT live.

I moved to Southern California in the Fall of 2000 where I started a two year graduate degree program. Here is where I started to have hope of a life more than what I was allowing myself. I had my very first apartment, at age 22 and I made very good friends who I simply adored. Within my first six months, I started on Weight Watchers and proceeded to lose fifty pounds. I learned to cook, I went out every now and then and I put a sticky note on my mirror in my bedroom that said “DO NOT BE AFRAID TO LIVE LIFE.” That message sticks with me to this day. There is no room in my life, as it is now, to be afraid to live it. But back then, I just didn’t know any better. I had wants, dreams, desires… but I did not know how to go after them.

I had started putting weight back on by the time I graduated and moved home. Upon re-entry to my folks’ house, I started gaining weight at a rapid rate. My father was still in the throes of addiction, my mother was deeply depressed and my 14 year old brother was hanging on the best he could. I applied to hundreds of jobs during the post 9/11 recession and took the first one offered to me, six months after the move home. It took nearly another year or more after that to get an apartment and make the final move out of the parental home. I worked for a great company with an abusive boss and guess what I did to cope? I ate. And ate, and ate, and ate some more. To give you an idea, I would eat a coffee cake or a bagel and cream cheese and a large mocha each morning for breakfast. I worked near a mall downtown and I’d have mall food most days for lunch, consisting of a deli sandwich, side pasta salad and a cookie (or several) OR the greasy spoon Chinese food… always the orange chicken, chow mein and teriyaki chicken. Dinners were almost always McDonald’s, or another fast food. Massive amounts of fast food. And ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.
I rang in my 26th birthday at my highest recorded weight, 319 pounds.

Things are really heating up here and the best is yet to come! Stay tuned for Part Three in the Story of Us (Me and My Fat).

The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) Part One

I did not grow up thinking I was fat. I had a happy early childhood and don’t remember having any younger year issues with my size or how my size related to the world. I did, however, weigh more than other children in my age/height range. I am convinced, to this day, that I just have dense bones. ;>

My mother was overweight and struggled with her weight her whole life. When I was 11, in an effort to make sure I didn’t turn out just like her, she put me on a 600 calorie a day diet. I don’t remember all that I was able to eat, but I remember an abundance of nonfat yogurt, string cheese and deli turkey slices. I remember having to regulate myself, with her help, and track calories. I lost 15-ish pounds and my mom seemed happy so I guess I was happy, too. Right?

Wrong. I felt insecure and unsure of who I was and where I fit in with all the others who were more “normal” (aka more slim) than me. Entering the early stages of puberty, I felt like I wasn’t good enough just as I was. I had to slim down to fit in. And I was so so so hungry. In my mother’s attempt to not make me like her, she made me just like her… weight and food obsessed, low self-esteem and a deep sense that being heavy makes one unworthy of the best life has to offer. Bless her heart, she really did (and does) the best she can. Dieting by the age of 11 set up the foundation for a deprivation issue that I struggle with to this very day – when I don’t think there is going to be enough food for me, I panic. Deep, primal, pure panic. And if I get very hungry, I kind of flip out… deprivation mentality at its best.

The overarching message I heard from 11 onward was that when I lost some weight… when I was a smaller size… when I was a more “normal” weight … then I’d get the friends, the boyfriend, the social life I so desired. I was a social kid but didn’t have an abundance of friends (and certainly no boyfriends), and over time, I didn’t think I really deserved them. I took what I could get, putting me in a lot of strange and borderline abusive friendships, and eventually, relationships.


My junior year of high school I started dating “M”, two years my senior, who went to another high school and I was with him, off and on, for three years. It was a mess. I was a mess. While I’ll go into that relationship more in Part Two, it was my very first relationship (albeit, not my last) that could be classified as “love addiction.” I couldn’t let him go… and I was dieting constantly…. Even eating/drinking nothing more than breath mints to try to drop a few pounds. My self-esteem dropped lower and lower. And then high school was over and it was time for college (Stay tuned for Part Two)!

Lindsay Flye Improving 

When I look back on my life thus far, I think in terms of “what I weighed when”. When I was 11 I was 135 pounds and got down to 118. I started high school at probably 145 and I took my senior pictures at 175 and I graduated high school at 185. While college and beyond will be covered more in Part Two, I hope that I can think of my life, eventually, in terms of accomplishments, successes, adventures, love stories and beautiful moments. After all, it is all of these things, and more, that define who we are, not a number on a scale or a size on a tag. We are more than our weight; we are AMAZING!

Stay tuned to read The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) – Part Two – The Middle years (19-26)

Monday, March 31, 2014

The things I learned in Mexico

I seemed to have learned quite a bit to my recent trip to the Riviera Maya. I've compiled some of my lessons for your reading pleasure. :)

You don't need a lot of clothes:
    Seriously. I packed A LOT of clothes. I managed to pack them mostly in ziploc airtight bags in a carry-on, but still, I sold it as "I need options." Guess what, you really don't. When you are on a tropical vacation, you need a pair or two of comfy shorts, two T-shirts, a few tank tops, a dress (maybe), 1-2 pairs of flip flops, PJs, a pair of comfy walking shoes/ tennies and your swim suits (and a cover up if you want one). I needed 2 swim suits even though I brought three. I brought SIGNIFICANTLY more clothing than what I mentioned above and wore almost none of it. Once I was there and it was hot and humid, I went for comfort, not style. There were full days I wore ONLY a swimsuit until I was showering and putting on PJs.

Driving is crazy, no one follows many traffic rules and stop signs mean absolutely nothing:
    Need I say more? People are parked all over, they use the shoulders to pass, they use hazards as brake lights, straddle lanes and never ever did I see someone make a full or even a California stop at a stop sign. DO NOT drink and drive... you need to be alert to drive in the Riviera Maya (and I suspect all over Mexico). But once you're driving and you understand that the only rules are that there are no rules... it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Totally doable.Which leads me to...

Be sure of what kind of insurance you need regarding your rental car:
    I had collision and theft coverage through the credit card I was using to pay for the rental car. I had all my documentation. I was pretty sure I needed nothing else. I DID NOT double check that I had liability insurance. I am sure I would have been covered, but because I didn't double check this with my Visa, I ended up paying $467 for a mid sized rental car for 8 days ($315 of which was liability insurance). Call your credit companies and BE SURE you know what coverage you have, what coverage you need, and what it will cost you. Bring proper documentation with you if you are fully covered so you can decline anything you don't need at the rental counter.

Warm water isn't needed for showering after a day in the sun:
    I didn't experience any warm water during showering in our rental home. And you think "aw shucks, that sucks." but you know what? It doesn't. It feels great. It's not COLD cold, just mildly cold (more cold than warm, though). Washing hair in the cold water is the worst part, but you just do it fast. After a day in the sun, the water feels colder than it probably really is and, honestly, is SO refreshing!!

Try to avoid paying for groceries and gas with cash/pesos:
    I didn't even consider using anything other than my visa for grocery shopping but when I bought gas and the attendant told me that they didn't accept Visa, I didn't think anything of it. I wish I'd asked more (B/c they TOTALLY did accept visa, of this I am sure). When I handed over my 690 pesos for my 682 bill, the attendant flipped my 500 bill into a 50 and tried to tell him that I gave him the wrong amount. I argued with him about this and upon my third reiteration that I did, indeed, give him a 500 bill, he gave me my change. But I was furious (and still am) and am disappointed that the culture promotes this kind of blatant fraud. Which leads me to....

Being heckled is exhausting:
   Everyone said "just don't let it bother you" but it did bother me. I was able to ignore most of it, but when I was told I was not nice because I didn't make a purchase or didn't offer enough money for a purchase at a certain vendor's shop, I thought that was a little far. Also, I want to take time to look at things without someone standing at my shoulder pretty much yelling at me the whole time. My best shopping experiences in Mexico were when the shop keepers kept an eye on me but didn't harass me before, during or after my time there.  which leads me to:

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate:
    Everything is negotiable. I WAY overpaid for most of my souvenirs but some of them I loved so much I really didn't care at all.  My travel companion and best girlfriend nailed it... if they didn't want to pay the price she was offering, she left. If they changed their minds, they would come after her and give her the item for her asking price. If not, she would look elsewhere or re-assess and go back if she wanted it bad enough. I give her major kudos for her bartering skills.

You won't be hungry enough for all those snacks:
    I packed SO MANY snacks. I DID need some snacks on the plane so for those I was grateful, but I also brought, like, 20 protein bars with me. I didn't eat a single one. Not a single one. Between eggs for breakfast, tuna salad or cheese/crackers for lunch and either home made tacos, leftovers, or a meal out for dinner (oh and the multiple mimosas/ margaritas/ pina coladas/ glasses of wine/ etc/ etc / etc), I didn't have room or hunger for anything else. I barely snacked at all. I had breakfast, lunch, dinner and maybe a few bites of things here and there. Next time, I think I'll bring a few bars, nuts/seeds/crackers and that's it. You can buy almost anything else you need there. Don't waste luggage space on food. And frankly, it's too hot in Mexico to eat much. I drank most of my calories on cold beverages. :)

Time is relative when you're close to the equator:
    It's light at 6am (or maybe earlier) and it's dark by 6pm. I woke up at 6:30-7am most days and was in bed by 9:30pm most nights. I didn't think once that I was going to bed too early or getting up too early. It's wonderful to enjoy the solace of an early morning on the ocean and by the time that 9pm comes around, I was TIRED and grateful to have a place to rest my head for the night. I remember Hawaii being much the same... early to bed, early to rise. I kind of love it. :)

Bug spray, bug spray, bug spray:
    While I didn't notice bug spray was needed too much during the day when you're on the ocean, you most definitely need it if you are elsewhere off the coast and the second that sun starts to set the bugs come out. While my travel friends all wore Deet based spray or insect armor (a more natural bug spray), I used only bug off synergy with witch hazel. I got one bite on the first night and at least 4 others in our party were eaten alive, despite the Deet/insect armor. I barely had enough to last me the week, but it got me through and as someone who mosquitoes LOOOOOVE, I had no better test to how well this product worked. I highly recommend it and am pleasantly surprised that I got off so easy.

I am sure I have many more life lessons for you, but this is where my story ends for today. It was a wonderful trip, overall, with wonderful people and I'm so blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to have taken it. I very much love my life and the people in it. :) Have a great day everyone!!