Okay I’m back and ready to divulge more! Where should I pick up the story of my life? Oh gosh I feel like an old lady writing my own autobiography…so many choices…
Let’s dedicate this post to my health because after telling quite a negative story last time, I will be able to focus on some positives!
As I mentioned last year, the month after my ex-husband left me I was devastated when I ovulated for the first time in my life. It was like the Gods or Mother Nature or Tom Cruise’s alien rulers were playing some kind of cruel cosmic prank on me.
But looking back on it, I know now that I ovulated because I’d shocked my body into action. When my ex walked out on me I lay in bed for a week like a zombie not eating or sleeping. I lost 5kg within the first 10 days through pure misery. I honestly think my body was just confused and malnourished and ovulated accidentally.
Not that it mattered because my Fallopian tubes were still blocked as blocked could be. But it still hurt. I felt wounded by my own body yet again. I was only focused on the ovulation and no other aspect of my health.
After I recovered from the initial shock of my ex’s departure and returned to work, a few people stopped me in the hallway and commented that I was looking great. When people said these things to me I was stunned and unable to process their sentiment. Great? I was looking great? I was going through the worst crisis of my entire life. I hadn’t slept for days. I’d eaten half a sandwich two days ago and nothing since. Why were people telling me I was looking good when I had never felt worse?
A week or two later I entered a new phase of recovery. And when I say recovery, I mean that I became focused on my husband returning to me. A focus which predominantly involved my weight.
In the months leading up to the end of our marriage my husband had been telling me repeatedly that I was getting fat. It was true. I put on 16kg during our 8 cycles of IVF. But he told me that the emotional eating and IVF and miscarriages had made me overweight and ugly. He repeated it again on the night I left – telling me I was no longer attractive.
Suddenly I had this light bulb go off inside my head. Clearly I was losing weight because people kept telling me I looked good. If I could focus my energies on losing weight and becoming more attractive surely my husband would return to me!
On the night he left me, I weighed 81kg (179 pounds) and was so deeply ashamed of my body. Mostly because he told me that I should be.
So I started dedicating myself to healthy eating and the gym. I’d go to the gym in the morning, eat like a Victoria’s Secret model during the day (think lettuce, people! Lots of lettuce!) and then go to the gym in the evening after work.
I started off walking slowly on the treadmill for 15 minutes a night, then jogging for a while, and then one day without realising it I was running for an hour at a time. Hello, fitness!
It didn’t take long at all before my clothes were hanging off me. My skin cleared up, my eyes were bright and shiny and everybody I knew was noticing my weight loss. And when I say everyone, I especially mean men.
I’d been so out of the loop with guys trying to pick me up because I’d been dedicated to just one man for so many years. But suddenly all these men were coming out of the woodwork to show their interest in me. Of course I wasn’t interested in any of them, but it was nice to know that perhaps I wasn’t as unattractive as my ex told me I was.
It was around this point that I stopped writing in my blog because I reached a very low point in my recovery. The darkness was consuming me and I felt I was losing the battle.
But when I turned the corner, and started fighting for myself and climbing out of the hole in which I’d sunk, I had another shocking revelation. I was losing weight and improving my fitness for all the wrong reasons. Why was I trying to impress someone who had left me behind? Who had not loved me unconditionally? Who had called me awful names and hurt me so badly? Who had left me right after we lost a baby and I needed him most?
I realised that I needed to do this for myself. To become a whole person again. To feel good about myself and love myself. I needed to take charge of my own health.
So I changed my perspective again. I stopped eating lettuce and started eating a healthy, balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables. I changed my workout plans at the gym to incorporate a lot of weight lifting to improve my muscle strength and tone. I suddenly found myself enjoying something. I couldn’t wait to get to the gym every day. I enjoyed legs day, arms day, core day, cardio day.
Every aspect of fitness was fun. And if I woke up the next morning in pain, I loved that too! It was a healthy and constructive pain. A physical reminder that I was improving myself, not the mental anguish that I’d lost everything I loved and cherished.
And at night time when I lay awake at 2am and felt the hysterical crying begin, I would get up and put my gym clothes on. Thankfully I belonged to a 24 hour gym, so it was a haven that was always available to me. I would hop in my car bawling my eyes out and cry all the way to the gym. Then I’d put my headphones on and listen to angry music and workout for an hour then sing along to the radio all the way home again. Sure I still wasn’t sleeping, but the insomnia was manageable.
Within 5 months of Doug leaving, I had dropped from 81kg (178 pounds) to 65kg (143 pounds) which I was pretty happy with once I factored in the significant amount of muscle I’d added to my frame. I was toned and down three dress sizes.
By Christmas time last year I was down to 61kg (134 pounds) for a total weight loss of 20kg (44 pounds). I wasn’t stick thin but I was fit. I’m not going to go as far as to say I was happy (because I’m not going to pretend I didn’t still miss my husband) but I felt like there was meaning in my life.
I enjoyed food – as long as it was healthy food. I liked how I looked. I wasn’t ashamed of my body for the first time in years. I would wear tight clothes and not feel self conscious. I would wear my bikinis at the beach.
People kept stopping me and asking me what my secret was. I told them my secret was dedication. Everybody kept telling me how amazing I looked and congratulating me on my success. And you know what? I felt like I deserved their praise.
And even more miraculous, my hormonal acne completely cleared up and my reproductive cycle regulated itself for the first time ever. After going from sporadic periods with cycles ranging from 14 days to 100 days, at one point not having a period for almost THREE YEARS, I was getting my period every 30 days.
I could actually pinpoint in my diary the approximate day I was going to get my period and plan my life accordingly. It was just fantastic. I was loving it! Even if I wasn’t loving the fact that suddenly I was having my period every month after seeing it so sparingly for most of my adult life…
So there you have it. A positive story. I turned my life around in a meaningful way.
I can’t even tell you how much health and fitness managed to lift me out of my depression. It gave me drive and purpose and goals. It just made me a better person.
I don’t have a photo of myself at my heaviest because I was too ashamed to be in photographs, but here’s one from when I was around 75kg and then another as I improved my fitness.
Sorry about the weirdness of blocking my face out. Don’t feel safe enough to “out myself” on a public post just yet…
I was so proud of myself for achieving something good in 2014. After losing my last pregnancy, my husband, my home and my friends I really had no expectations that anything good would happen to me at all. But I created goodness for myself and that makes me even more proud.
I promise I’ll update again soon!
ps if anyone can tell me how to get rid of the double post I’d really appreciate it! I hit publish twice then sent the duplicate to the trash but I still see both?! 😦