;

Jillian!

Jillian!

Jillian!

I hear over an over coming from an unrecognizable, thick Acadian accent.

I am groggy and disoriented from the handful of pills I had taken earlier that evening. My plan was to go to sleep and not wake up. I didn’t know how to cope with life or my crippling sadness. I felt worthless, hopeless and alone. So I gave up.

I was chatting with a friend online that evening and told him what I had done before before I logged off and went to sleep. He called 911 and the parade of lights and sirens made their way to my house. A stranger from the internet had sent in the Calvary to save me.

Jillian!

Jillian!

Jillian!

It was the voice of the female RCMP officer from Rogersville.

I was taken to the hospital by ambulance where I was met by my mother. I will never forget the look on her face. I imagine it was a cross between fear, panic, relief and “I want to throttle you”.

My mother was my pillar of strength. She guided me through the healthcare system where I was prescribed antidepressants and began counselling. It was incredibly valuable to have a safe space to open up to someone. My counselor helped me immensely in developing coping skills, building my self confidence and helping me understand the chaos that was going on inside my head.

I was worried about what my dad’s reaction would be, and as I had feared, he was angry. I remember his disapproving look as he stood at the top of the stairs that night. It seemed he was more concerned about the ambulance bill than the flashing sign above my head that said “I’M NOT OK”. In his opinion someone with mental illness is “broken”, however in our family his quick temper was responsible for most of the breaking.

I am grateful to be able to share my story, because that means I am still here to tell it. It was not “the end”, but a “to be continued”.

I could have easily been another statistic of teenage suicide, which appears to be on the rise. When I hear of so many young people taking their own lives, I am heartbroken because I was there. I know all too well the despair and loneliness they are feeling. I know the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness and that your dysfunctional brain convinced you that the world is better off without you in it.

But it’s not.

Your brain lies.

Things do get better, but you have to work your ass off for it. I know there are some days you don’t even want to get out of bed, the thought of doing anything at all is overwhelming, but those are the days you need to work the hardest. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and no, it’s not an oncoming train. It is a tiny flicker of hope. With time it will get brighter and brighter, and before you know it the light will wash away the darkness.

I am living proof that the darkness doesn’t last forever. And while I still get the occasional visit from my old friend, I have the skills, strength and support to keep moving forward.

Mental Illness is coming out of the shadows of stigma. It is something that so many suffer from, but nobody wants to talk about it. The invisible illness that shall not be named. The Voldemort of healthcare issues. Our silence is a disservice to those who carry the weight of an illness that no one else can see. We need to discuss Mental Illness. We need to support those who are fighting daily battles that rage in their own minds.

We need to be kind, compassionate and lend a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen.

Please don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling, reach out to your friends and family. You may not think so, but you have a whole network of people who love and care about you. Talk to your doctor, or counselor, or even a stranger on the internet. I owe my life to one.

You are not alone.

You are loved.

You are worthy.

Your story isn’t over yet.

New Year. Same Me.

The Near Year is traditionally a time to set New Years Resolutions as a blueprint for the 365 days ahead. And more often than not those goals have a lot to do with getting healthy, whether that be by losing weight, exercising more, or practicing self care.

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I am typically not great at setting goals. For example, the last time I set tangible goals was over 4 years ago in this blog post. I am great for setting goals and then forgetting about them, much like the RonCo Rotisserie oven.

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Although I am happy to report that I did accomplish some of the Goals I had set back in 2012.

My fitness goals were to do Box Jumps, Double Unders and Pull-Ups.

Box Jumps. Check.

Double Unders. Ugly, but Check.

For those non-CrossFitters, A Box Jump is exactly how it sounds. Jumping up onto a box, typically 20 inches tall or higher if you don’t care about wrecking your shins. My 2012 explanation of a Double Under is still accurate today – it is a “jump rope technique where you get the rope around/under you twice in one jump. There’s no practical use for this skill in everyday life. At least with a pull up I could attempt to save my life if I were clinging to the side of a cliff or something….double-unders won’t save me from anything!”

My goal to do a Pull Up by the end of 2013 was a bit ambitious, given my tumultuous relationship with gravity. So that it still on my to do list.

I had set a goal to lose 30lbs by my Birthday in 2013, but I ended up gaining it. Sometimes I am a bit backwards with my goals. Maybe if I practice reverse psychology on myself it would work differently. Ok Self, I want to GAIN 30lbs.

Um….Maybe not.

I DID go on an honest to goodness vacation to Hawaii and managed to stick to monthly massages until I couldn’t afford it, and I continue drink lots of water regularly to the point that I would be at home swimming with a school of fish, but for the most part a lot of the goals I set back in the day fell by the wayside.

So if you were looking at this blog post as a way to find helpful advice to get motivated to set goals, well…I am not a good teacher in that respect.

But I am here to offer some support.

It would be easy for me to be discouraged and disappointed in myself for not accomplishing my whole list of goals, or even failing to set goals more regularly than almost every half a decade, but I am learning to be a bit kinder and gentler with myself.

I did the best I could at the time. I had some successes, and I had some crash and burn failures, but it is all a part of that crazy thing called life. Celebrate the successes, learn from the failures, and move on.

So if you started out the year super ambitious ready to conquer a Mount Everest of goals, I am proud of you. If 18 Days in you tripped up on a pebble and are back at square one, I am still proud. If you are still going strong, keep it up! I believe in you! And again, proud!

As the calendar flipped to January, Social Media has blown up with people sharing their goals, food porn and gym selfies. There was a Study done in 2015 titled “The Big Five, self-esteem, and narcissism as predictors of the topics people write about in Facebook status updates”. The study concluded that those who post gym selfies, or regular updates about their fitness regimens show traits of narcissism. Links to articles about the study have been making the rounds on Facebook lately, almost as a silent protest “Stop! No More Gym Selfies!”. However, I don’t see it that way.

Now, if you are just going to the gym for the sake of taking a selfie with a dumb bell in your hand and aren’t even breaking a sweat, then maybe you need to rethink your motivation. While their may be the odd dumb bell wielding narcissist here and there, the updates that are coming through my news feed are real people, doing amazing things. Social Media can be a place to celebrate the successes, and keep yourself accountable to others. We are more successful when we have others to lean on and offer support. There truly is strength in numbers!

And you never know, you might just inspire someone else in the meantime. I know you all inspire me to do better every day. And I don’t see any harm in that.

So whether or not you have set goals for 2017, strive to be a new version of yourself, or are happy with the old model, I hope everyone has a safe, happy and healthy year ahead!

The Desire to be Liked

When you type “Why don’t” in the Google search bar, the first auto-fill that comes up is “Why don’t people like me?”

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In the age of social media, a lot of our self worth is based on the perception of others. Accumulating LIKES is the equivalent of pats on the back or stroking the ego. I am becoming increasingly aware of my addiction to social media and the affect it is having on my life, relationships with others, and with myself.

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The desire to be liked is strong. It is something that I have struggled with for a long time and I consider a huge fault of mine. Forever socially awkward, I have always had a hard time making friends and my first impressions aren’t always the best. Sometimes I even struggle to even introduce myself. You know that kid that is always picked last at gym class?

*waves*

I wear my heart on my sleeve and despite being covered in a hearty layer of fat, my skin is quite thin. I wasted a lot of my time and energy worrying about the opinion of others. I spent a lot of time crying by myself because I never really quite fit in. A square peg trying desperately to fit into a round hole. It hurt. A lot.

Being a victim of bullying throughout childhood, my self perception was negatively influenced by the insults hurled towards me by my peers. If you are called names enough, you eventually start to believe them. It seemed to be the general consensus that I was a fat pig who created earthquakes when she walked.

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Oink.

I didn’t even have to DO anything to be on the receiving end of that hateful behavior. My big fat existence was enough. I was sorely reminded of that a few months ago when saying “Hi” to a couple of teenagers on a bike ride later ended in me being called a fat bitch.

That escalated quickly…

It has taken YEARS to reprogram my brain and realize that what people have said about me is not always true, nor does it matter.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, however it is VERY important not to confuse opinions with facts.

I am not a pig. I HAVE pigs. And they are pretty damn happy.

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Look at that face! What’s so bad about being a pig?!

I am not fat. I HAVE an abundance of fat, but this does not mean that I am a horrible person, less than, or unworthy of kindness and respect.

I am gradually moving away from desire to be liked. I have learned some valuable lessons from experiences and ghosts of friendships past. I would stick around in negative, toxic relationships that would drain the life out of me because I didn’t dare upset the person for fear they would say mean things about me, but more often than not they were doing it all along. Haters are going to hate, regardless of what you do. Sometimes the most difficult decision is to walk away from people and the storms they create, but once you get over the scary part, life seems a lot lighter and it is smooth(ish) sailing from there.

I am finding that the more I start to value myself, the less I care about how others perceive me. It’s amazing what a little seedling of self esteem can flourish into.

It has taken a lot of time and growing up, but I have put on my big girl panties and actually started sticking up for myself when people approach me with news that so-and-so has said this or that about me, which seems to happen more often than one would expect. For someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat, I appear to have had made waves a time or two. If it does not serve me in a positive manner, I don’t need to hear it. Don’t get me wrong, it is OK to call me on my bullshit, or if I had unintentionally hurt someone’s feelings, I’d like to know. But I no longer wish to subscribe to gossip and negativity. Life is much too short for that shit.

Not everyone is a card carrying member of the Jill fan club, and that’s OK. One could even say I am a lot like Cilantro. Either you love me, or I taste like soap. I am not a garnish for everyone, but it is better than being bland and boring like Parsley.

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The only opinion about you that matters is your own. Live life on your own terms. Do your best to create a life that you can be proud of. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and empower you, not those who tear you down.

 

And never be afraid to be yourself, because the world needs more genuine people.

The world needs more you.

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Holiday Blues

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly…

…I seem to have missed the memo.

The Holidays have always been a difficult time for me. Living across the country from my family is hard at the best of times, but it seems to be amplified over the holidays.

Combine that with stress, close friends moving away, and a couple of months of repeated injuries and illness,  by the time the holidays roll around, I have nothing left.

On Sunday “Little Saint Nick” by The Beach Boys was playing on the radio and rather than bop my head and snap my fingers to the upbeat tunes, I burst into tears. Typically The Beach Boys don’t elicit uncontrollable sobbing, but their smooth harmonies unleashed the floodgate of emotions that I thought I had been doing well to contain. Thanks a lot, Jerks.

 

Run Run Reindeer. Cry cry Jilly.

I am trying my best to cope. And bonus points for me for getting out of bed in the morning because some days it is really, really hard.

 

One thing I have learned about myself is that I NEED to exercise to maintain my mental health. It has become a valuable tool in treating my depression. It helps me deal with my stress and I often compare it to therapy as it gives me an hour of day to shut off my brain and focus on the task at hand. And that rush of endorphins when I am all done? Wooooooooooo boy! Happy Brain, Happy Jill. Give Jill her CrossFit and nobody gets hurt.

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Unfortunately I have had terrible luck as of late when it comes to remaining mobile.I pulled my groin running and had to take a couple of weeks of CrossFit in October, followed by a rolled ankle in November, then I got really sick and had to take off 2 more weeks, and THEN I slipped and fell on the ice a couple of weeks ago and twisted my knee which resulted in another 2 weeks away from the gym.

Clearly gravity is not my friend.

After an Autumn of starts and stops with exercise, things started to go down hill, just in time for the Most Wonderful Time of the year.

My eating habits haven’t been THAT terrible lately but the desire to eat my feelings is very strong this time of year. And what a coincidence that it is the time of year for copious amounts of sugar, which is my Kryptonite.

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Once I have a taste of sugar I find it hard to stop, and then it is all gone I walk around like a sugar-high junkie looking for more. “I NEED IT!!!”

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Typically when I eat my feelings everything I consume in an effort to make me feel better usually makes me feel worse in the end. Sadness does not usually evoke a desire for salad, so I end up getting into that vicious, yet delicious, cycle:

Sadness = Food

Food = Sadness

Burp, Cry and Repeat.

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No one really prepared me for Christmas as an adult. I miss decorating the tree, setting out milk, cookies and carrots for Santa and the Reindeer and the excitement of Christmas morning. While I had many painful childhood memories growing up in a home with an alcoholic father, Christmas was usually a brighter time. One of my favorite Christmas memories was when we would watch Santa’s journey being tracked by NORAD on Christmas Eve. I remember looking up at the sky and seeing a blinking red light and believing with all of my heart that it was Rudolph leading Santa and his sleigh.

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Now the wide eyed wonder is gone and that blinking red light was just a plane full of uncomfortable and cranky people.

The world is a sad and scary place. People all over the world are dying in wars and acts of terrorism, meanwhile consumers trample each other in Black Friday sales. Christmas Commercialism and the desire for more and more and MORE material possessions has gotten carried away. There are increasingly unattainable expectations with gift giving and after a year of struggling to get by financially, I, like many, feel unable to live up to the expectations of the holiday. Christmas isn’t supposed to make you feel bad, but the increased materialism of our society can cause feelings of inadequacy and anxiety for those who cannot afford to give.

I think it is important to acknowledge that not everyone thrives during the Holidays. While it is typically a time of happiness and togetherness with friends and family, it is often a difficult time of year for MANY people, many of whom suffer in silence. Whether they are dealing with mental health issues, loss of a friend or family member, separation or divorce, illness, financial difficulties, or all of the above, the Holidays can be a trying time devoid of Comfort and Joy.

But you’re not alone.

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If you know someone who is struggling, reach out to them. The best gift you can give someone is a helping hand. Your time, unconditional love and support is priceless. If you yourself are struggling, reach out to your friends and family. It is OK to be sad during the Holidays and to not fit into the cookie cutter mold of Christmas Cheer.

To those who are struggling this Holiday Season, I wish you HOPE for the Holidays. I hope in time the darkness will be lifted and your days will be Merry and Bright, even though right now they may feel sad and poorly lit. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday.

And if you need company to cry along with Christmas Carols…I’m your gal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setback VS Failure

I feel like a failure.

My ever supportive husband stresses to me that this is just a setback. He said a failure would be if I ended up on TLC, however no one is cutting out a wall to get me out of the house.

So…Setback.

November 1st was the 7-Year Anniversary of my run in with the stairs. I was grateful for the reminder of where I started as I have come a long way since then. At the time it was the kick in the arse that I needed to start and actually stick with a healthy lifestyle after so many starts and stops and half-assed attempts. Leave it to me to find the silver lining while strapped to a spine board.

Once I was well enough after my accident I went all in.

Years went by, and slowly but surely the pounds came off. There were no quick fixes. This took what seemed like FOREVER.

But then I became complacent.

I have learned the hard way that this journey is never truly over. It is something that I will have to be conscious of every day for the rest of my life, because complacency results in major setbacks.

I had a rude awakening yesterday as I was weighing a cat at the humane society so I could administer a proper dosage of medication. I picked up the cat and stepped on the scale and exclaimed “What the fuck?!” as the number flashed on the screen. Deep down I secretly wished that I was holding a 20lb cat, but unfortunately she only weighed 8lbs.

So in the spirit of full disclosure, I have gained 20lbs since January 1st. What’s worse is that I have crept over 300lbs, a number that I thought I would never see again. That’s one hell of a setback.

FUCK.

I have been working out every day, but you clearly can’t out exercise a bad diet. This is something that I have preached about before but am a little slow when it comes to heeding my own advice.

Last night I cried myself to sleep because I was so disappointed in myself. How could I have let this happen? It is hard for me to not spiral down into a pit of self loathing, because it is one thing that I am really REALLY good at. While I do my best to be a kind person to others, I don’t always reserve a lot of kindness for myself, and it is something that I have to work on every day.

So here I am, tightrope walking that fine line between a setback and failure.

A failure would mean giving up. And I’m just not ready yet. I have come too far to throw in the towel.

Part of me feels like I have no idea how this happened, like little gnomes came in the night and stuffed me with extra fat and then one morning I woke up and poof! Where did that come from?! But sensible and logical Jill knows that is this is of my own doing, and I can’t blame it on the fat gnomes. I fell back into old habits and reintroduced foods into my life that I eliminated for good reason.

Another part of me also feels hopeless. Like I don’t know where to go from here, or what to do, and that it would be much easier to quit and just sit in my PJs and eat Halloween candy until I puke…

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But I can’t give up.

I know what I need to do. And it is going to be hard. And sometimes it is going to downright suck, but my health is on the line. Although I can be a downright jerk to myself, putting my health first is the biggest kindness I can give myself.

I may have taken one step forward and two steps back, but I am still farther than I was 7 years ago, and I have to hold on to that success, even if some days it doesn’t feel like one.

So here I go again.

 

 

 

 

Message in a Massage

As I was having a massage the other day, or an expensive nap as I like to call them, I had a bit of an epiphany. Contrary to popular belief, I get a lot of deep thinking done during a massage in addition to snoring, twitching and drooling, but I digress.

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I thought back to years ago when I was at my heaviest. I was given a gift certificate for a massage from a dear friend. At the time I was in a terrible place mentally and physically. Who would have thought that a nice gesture would have opened a floodgate of emotions and sent me into a panic.

“Oh my god. I can’t let anyone see me naked.” I felt embarrassed and humiliated at the idea of going.

So I didn’t.

It’s not like I have never had a massage before in my life. In university my friends and I would go to the local massage school for cheap massages by the students. But as years went by, the pounds piled on. My weight wasn’t the only thing that changed, but also how I saw myself. As the number on the scale went up, my opinion of myself hit an all time low. I no longer loved myself and somehow, I was no longer worthy of something as simple and nurturing as a massage.

Our self-talk has the ability to convince our brains of some crazy things. That little voice in your head can make or break you. And mine had gotten to the point where I was a shattered mess.

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I spent years depriving myself because I had convinced myself that I was a hideous blob that shouldn’t subject anyone else to my presence.

With self-talk like that, who needs enemies?

As I have lost weight, I have regained some confidence in myself. My self-talk has changed dramatically. I have picked up the broken pieces of my spirit caused by the insults I have hurled my own way. While I do still have days when I am hard on myself, it is nowhere near the extent that it was in the past. I went from being my own worst enemy, to a friend. I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin and continue to be amazed by what my body can do every day. I am stronger, both physically and mentally.

In an effort to promote self love and self care, a couple of years ago I set a goal to treat myself to a massage every month and I’m happy to report that with the exception of one or two months where I was tight in the financial department, I have been sticking to my goal. When life is overwhelming, a massage has been my way of pressing pause from life for a little while. After I reset, I wake up, wipe off the drool and feel like I can take on the world.

It’s silly now to think I’ve deprived myself of them for so long, but no more!

I am worthy of love.

I am worthy of positive self-talk.

And I am deserving of a really really amazing massage.

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Respecting the “Before”

When embarking on any lifestyle change or physical transformation, there is always that “Before” photo.

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Before you lost weight.

Before you gained confidence.

Before you became stronger.

And the comments associated with that before photo are more often than not, negative. I’ve heard many people who have undergone substantial weight loss refer to themselves as fat cows, pigs, hippos, or many other robust species of wildlife.

Putting your “old” self down is pretty pointless, and not at all helpful in the grand scheme of things. And the thing that really gets me, is that “Before” was, and still is…you, albeit a different weight, size and outlook on life, but it’s still you.

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A lot of life experiences led up to my “Before”. It was so much more than just eating everything in sight and gaining weight. There was (and still is) a lot of hurt, anger, depression and grief under those layers of fat. I had over 400lbs of dysfunctional coping mechanisms. I dealt with life the only way I really knew how, and every day is a struggle to right my prior wrongs. I will admit I still have days that feel like nothing will help quite like eating my feelings, but they are not nearly as frequent as they once were. I’ve gotten to the point where I have developed new coping mechanisms, and have used exercise to help deal with life and all of its ups and downs. Honestly there are few things lifting heavy weights and sweating your arse off can’t fix. Like tears, sweat can be very cleansing and therapeutic, but much more smelly.

When I look at my “Before”, the last thing I want to do is call myself names. I’m still in there. I’ve spent my whole life being teased for my weight, and the last person who needs to join in on the bullying is me. “Jillian Jiggs the Big Fat Pig” has endured more than her fair share of name calling. Cutting your old self down is not a motivational tool, at least not for me. It just makes me feel like shit about myself.

If I’m being completely honest, there are some days that I still see myself as my “Before” and feel that I am bigger than I truly am. I’m not sure if that’s something that will ever go away. The brain is weird that way.

I made the following collage when I began my lifestyle change a few years ago. I had it on my fridge as a reminder every time I opened the door to make healthy choices (Which is a much more gentle tool than a motion sensor cow that moo’s whenever you open the fridge!). Take notice of the words I used, and the ones that are missing.

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“Fat Cow”, “Lazy Pig”, “Huge Whale”, are nowhere to be found. There’s so much more going on deep down, and using those words would very likely trigger me and have the opposite effect. Even though I am an adult (in theory, anyway), I am still triggered by certain things people say, which ends up making me feel like I’m being bullied at 7 years old again and want to run home and cry into the warm, noodle-y comfort of a bowl of Alphagetti. There goes my weird brain again!

So, the next time you’re flipping through old photos and see that “Before” and your first impulse is to speak negatively about the person staring back at you, just remember: That Before, is still YOU and YOU are deserving of love and respect, Before, During AND after.

 

 

I’m Alive!

I’ve neglected this blog for awhile…345 days to be exact! But now is as good a time as any to check in.

So…How’s it going?

The truth is, I have been struggling. Everyone around me is setting Personal Records, and the only PR’s I’ve set lately are how many donuts I can eat in a day. In case you were wondering, the answer is 5. I had enough sense to stop myself before I reached half a dozen…because that just sounds much worse than 5.

Go me!

My eating has been all over the map lately. Like my feelings. I’ll be doing great for a week and then the weekend turns to shit. Rinse and repeat.

The biggest change that I’ve gone through was revisiting Vegetarianism. I tried being a Vegan for a solid week, but couldn’t hack it. Upon reflection, I was on my way to becoming my heaviest when I was a Vegetarian the last time, and then I fell off of the wagon at a Chinese Food Buffet and went face first into a plate of chicken balls. It scares me to think that I could possibly be heading down that road again, but old Jill’s version of Vegetarian was mostly Carbs; Bread, Cereal, Chips and Ice Cream. The epitome of a Junk Food Vegetarian. No animals were harmed in feeding me, but I sure as shit was killing myself with my poor food choices.

I told myself I would give it a solid month of doing it right. I’ve had a few slip ups and am actually 3 months in.  I’ve been tracking my macros and making sure I’m OK in the protein department, and have been doing well for the most part…and then…weekends, and junk food, and things that aren’t even considered food are making their way into my mouth again.

What the hell is going on?

My self control is non-existent these days. It’s like I stopped trying. I haven’t completely given up on myself, but I need a huge kick in the ass, or a personal assistant to follow me around and swat food out of my mouth. All I’ve been capable of is giving myself a pity party, and I can throw one hell of a party! I’ve got the snacks covered!

But all in all becoming a Vegetarian again has been a positive thing in my life. The hardest part is dealing with other people. A word of advice, if you ever decide to give up meat, keep it to yourself!  I’ve also been dealing with my own guilt when I consider someday returning to eating meat again. I was raised Catholic so I am well versed in the guilt department.  I’ve watched one too many slaughter videos and documentaries. Not sure if I can go back…but who knows, another plate of chicken balls may call my name down the road.

I have also been dealing with some physical limitations these days. I’ve always had lower back pain, but it’s been pretty bad lately, to the point where I can’t bend over in the morning without incredible stiffness and pain. I even have a hard time putting on my socks and tying my shoes, which is reminiscent of 400+lb Jill, and I don’t like it! I used to go to 9:30am CrossFit classes but now it’s become a struggle. I recently went to a Saturday morning class and I realized pretty quick that morning workouts were going to be quite challenging for me. I pushed through the pain, but it did not “hurt so good”.

I finally got around to getting X-Rays as I had also been having tailbone pain for months that is still unresolved. My tailbone is apparently fine, but it turns out have arthritis in my lower back.

They say to move it before you lose it…and I am terrified of losing it. If I’m feeling this shitty at 31, what’s the future going to look like for me? I know in the grand scheme of things this is peanuts…salty, delicious peanuts, but it feels pretty limiting when I’m having troubles with every day things that I once took for granted.

I guess this is all a part of getting older. Adulting is hard (as I type this I’m wearing a Onesie…Adulting comes with it’s perks.)

I need to start taking better care of myself, but at the same time, be gentle with myself when I do slip up. And knowing my track record, it WILL happen. And that’s got to be OK.

Life was meant to be lived, and I still am very much alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DOn’t quIT

I participated in my 4th CrossFit Competition in January, marking my 2nd year at the Battle on the Border in Lloydminster, Alberta. It was great to be back in the “familiar” territory of a Competition that I have done before. There were a lot of familiar faces, and plenty of people patting me on the back, saying they were glad to see me back again this year. By far, BOTB has been my favorite competition. It was also great to see how far I had come as an athlete since the last BOTB.

The fact that I made it there at all was a huge accomplishment in itself. I had tried backing out, due to the funk I had been in; stress, financial troubles, and on the cusp of a depressive episode. In the end, I decided it wasn’t fair to back out on my partner, or give up on myself, so I ended up going. Thank you to my partner Karla for sticking with me, even though I was a flight risk!

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I was SO glad I went. The positive and encouraging atmosphere was just what I needed at that time.

The highlight of the weekend was when Karla and I were finishing up our Chipper workout. It included burpees, and anyone who knows me knows that that is my kryptonite. It sucked, but we pushed through, and ended up finishing just under the time cap.

Afterwards when we went to watch the other heats we were approached by a lady who commended us on finishing, and said that we were an inspiration to her 6 year old grandson. As we were working away at finishing while everyone else was already done, he exclaimed  “Look Grandma! They’re still going! They’re not quitting! Is this why you tell me I should never give up?”.

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What wise words from a 6 year old. I was choked up and walked away feeling all warm and fuzzy. I was grateful that our temporary struggle was able to inspire someone else, especially at such a young age. I accomplished much more that weekend than I would have sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. It didn’t matter where we ended up on the leaderboard, that moment alone made the entire weekend worth it. I am grateful for the perspective that only a child can provide!

When things are difficult, it’s much easier to just give up and walk away. But I know just as much as the next person, that nothing in life worth having is easy. The struggle is an important part of life, and growth. CrossFit continues to challenge me, and those moments I want to quit, and don’t, make me a better athlete, and a better person. This journey I am on is the furthest thing from easy. Every day takes a conscious effort to make the right choices, and sometimes I make the wrong ones, but I refuse to come this far and just give up because things have gotten a little difficult.

I am worth fighting for.

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Thanks to EyeOn Photo for the great shot!

No matter where you are in your life, what battles you may be fighting, what struggles you may be dealing with, always remember; never give up. Sure, walking away may be easy, but the regret that will follow after giving up will be incredibly difficult to live with.

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 I promise you, whatever your goal, the struggle will be worth it in the end. You just have to get there.

And you never know who you may inspire in the process.

The 5 Stages

This is one of those blogs that I don’t want to be writing. Because it’s no fun to admit that you’ve failed. To be honest, It’s downright humiliating, but I know I need to get this huge weight off my chest, thighs, butt…wherever it has distributed itself.

Yes, that’s right folks, I’ve allowed 30lbs back into my life, and onto my body.

I’m sure it’s been pretty obvious to those closest to me; I have been struggling. A lot. I am stuck in a rut and have been dealing with a lot of stress. I’ve generally been sucking at life these days.

As I was chowing down on a fast food burger, a dear friend inquired, “What’s going on with your eating?”

That’s a good friend right there. It’s good to have people in your life that keep you honest, even though sometimes I’ve been struggling to be honest with myself.

So, what’s eating Jill, when she’s not eating everything in sight?

I have allowed my life to become so consumed with worry, anxiety, stress, anger, and sadness, that I put myself on the back burner, and stopped paying attention to what I have been putting in my mouth.

And poof! Just like that.. 5lbs…10lbs..20lbs..

30lbs…

Hello again. Not so nice to see you.

Despite the “poof”, It didn’t happen overnight, this screw up was a year in the making.

I have been battling a lot of emotions in dealing with this weight gain, so allow me to share with you…

The 5 Stages of Weight Gain

Denial

I didn’t gain 30lbs of fat…I’ve been working out lots…it’s totally muscle!

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The scale is broken.

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These jeans feel a bit snug…must have shrunk in the dryer.

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It’s totally water weight. I DO drink a lot of water!

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Maybe I’ll be on an episode of “I didn’t know I was pregnant”…with a food baby.

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….oh shit…what If I AM pregnant?!

(As you can see, I’ve spent a lot of my time in the denial stage!)

Anger

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How could you let this happen to you?! Do you want to go back to the way you were?! You like being able to tie your own shoes don’t you?! SMARTEN UP!

What are you stupid?! You didn’t gain muscle! You gained cake!!

Bargaining

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I went swimming and did CrossFit today, that deserves some cake!

If only I would have managed my stress in a more healthy way…

If only I hadn’t taken that one bite…two bites…three bites…

If I eat this salad, I can have fries too! It’s a balanced diet…right?

I’ll eat really good during the week…and then eat my face off on the weekend. OK?!

Depression

You’re hopeless. How could you think you could change?

Once a fat kid, always a fat kid.

You’re such a disappointment.

Might as well stay in bed today…at least that way you won’t eat. That pillow looks pretty tasty though…like a marshmallow.

I’m so depressed that I gained weight…so I’ll eat this bag of chips to feel better.

*face palm*

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Acceptance

It is what it is. 30lbs. It happened, and it sucks, but it could have been much worse. I can drown my sorrows in cake, or I can wipe of the crumbs, get off my ass, and fix this. The first steps to making a change are awareness and acceptance. And in the grand scheme of my weight loss, it is a bump in the road…a rather big bump, but a bump nonetheless. I need to remind myself that I have still lost 120lbs overall, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the little struggles, that you lose sight of the big picture. I am on a lifelong journey, and it can’t be smooth sailing all the time.

This whole experience just drives home the fact that eating habits play a HUGE role in weight loss. I have been pretty consistent with exercise, even when I was on vacation. But if I’m eating like crap…well…you know how that turned out. I can give myself 30 reasons to put down the fork and get off my ass. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet, because you will lose gain every time. It’s not like this isn’t news to me, but obviously I needed the reminder as my common sense appears to have gone out the window and made a beeline to the nearest buffet.

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It was also an important reminder that weight loss is something that needs to be worked at every single day. I know what works for me, and what doesn’t. I know what foods I am better off avoiding, because they just lead towards a slippery slope of overindulgence. I know that when I eat healthy, I feel better.
I know all of these things, but I just got sidetracked. But that’s OK.

I’m here now.

Tomorrow is a new day, filled with opportunities to make healthy choices. I refuse to let this setback discourage me from moving forward. It’s an opportunity to learn from my mistakes, pick up the pieces, and carry on.

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