Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Proper Goodbye.

I realized that I never gave this sweet blog the farewell it deserved. I stopped posting on it years ago, but rather than give it a final goodbye, I just ignored it
I started this blog as a lost soul, navigating her way through the world, and the Midwest. By the time I finished this blog, I had a new last name. A new boyfriend. A new career. And had lost 4 pant sizes. I now know my way around wisconsin, and a bratwurst. I won’t pretend this blog has been shakespear-level writing, but it was the platform I needed to rediscover myself.

I posted this picture recently on facebook:

Shelley when the blog began, and shelley now

The Shelley now doesn’t need this blog. but she’s so thankful it was around. 

So I want to give this little blog the 21 gun salute it deserves. To tell it thank you. Thank you for being a life raft when my life was sinking. For giving me something to cling onto. A point of focus.

So this is where I bid it, and you, adieu. As my farewell, I’ve decided to see if I can possibly help someone else. See if they can learn from my mistakes, and my successes. In truth, I’m really writing this to 2008 Shelley. But in case there’s anyone out there like me. Who measured their self-worth by the 3 digit number on the scale. Who decided that fat meant unloveable. Who wanted to lose weight, but needed someone to believe in them (turns out, you don’t need anyone else. Just believe in yourself). In case there’s anyone out there, here you go.

My tips for being a healthier, happier you.

work out. a lot. That whole philosophy of “Why can’t i lose weight?! I’ve tried EVERYTHING!” when you know that you actually only worked out for 3 days is no longer going to cut it. Work out everyday for an hour to lose weight, giving yourself one day's rest. And once you’ve reached your happy-size, continue to hit the gym 3-4 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes to maintain.

don’t set goals.
you're looking at me and saying, “schwaaa?” I know it sounds silly, but hear me out. Giving yourself the goal of “I need to be a size __ by my sister’s wedding!” can go one of two ways.
1) you don’t achieve that goal in time (because I have a feeling you set a ridiculous goal of losing 4 dress sizes in 2 months), and you feel like crap at the wedding. when in fact, you’re a size smaller than when you started!
2) you DO manage to achieve the goal. What do people do when they’ve crossed the finish line? they stop running. You fit into that dream dress! You’re proud of yourself! You decide, “I deserve a break from all this hard work.” Before you know it, you haven’t exercised in 6 months, and you are out of napkins with which to wipe the pizza grease from your chin.
If there’s no “end” in sight, you will always continue to challenge yourself and improve.

drink water.
it sounds silly. Of course you drink water. But drink more. All the time. It is the easiest trick in the book. Want to have healthy, hydrated cells? Want your skin to glow? Want to feel amazing? Drink water from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. Find out what it’s like to feel fully hydrated, and then keep that feeling going at all times.
When I look back at “old me,” I can’t
believe the number of times I quenched my thirst with sodas and such. Do I still drink coffee and soda? Absolutely (and beer!). But I keep a constant flow of water in me, and the extras are only as treats, not as part of my main hydration philosophy.
And drink a lot of water. I’m serious. Bulk up your water intake, and the weight will start to fall off.

go to bed. I don’t mean: pass out in front of the TV for awhile, wake up, and stumble to your bed. I mean, physically make the effort to go to bed. Put on PJ’s, brush your teeth, wash your face, and give yourself a bed time. And while you’re at it, use nice, clean sheets and splurge on some actual pajamas. Get yourself a nice bedside lamp too, so that you don’t have to suffer under your glaring overhead ceiling light (that’s too bright but the effort to get out the ladder and put in a lower watt bulb sounds too complicated).
Remember that spa you went to that one time, and it was such a peaceful relaxing sanctuary that you wanted to curl into a ball on the floor and never leave? Give yourself that. Your own little spa-santuary in the comfort of your own bedroom.
A full 8hrs of sleep allows your body the necessary rest and revival it needs. Healthy people sleep. And when you climb into that bed; make sure there’s no TVs/Tablets/electronic devices of any kind on to stimulate your brain. Give yourself a relaxing moment before your blissful sleep experience. Utilize this time to practice thoughtful meditation techniques. Rubbish you say? Then read a book for 20 minutes. An actual book (no electronics, remember?), and no more than 20 minutes, or if you’re like me, you’ll get too interested and stay up all night reading.

brush & floss. Look, I have no true scientific reasoning behind this one. All I know is the same moment I began to take care of my body, I also started a good oral regimen, so I’d be remiss if there was a correlation and I failed to mention it.
I do know that proper flossing is linked to reduce the risk of heart disease; and it stands to reason that people who make the effort to take care of their teeth probably make an effort to take care of their life.

eat produce. another super simple one. But one you aren’t currently doing, am I right? And no, vegetables sitting atop your cheeseburger doesn’t count.
Stop in the produce section of your grocery store, and take a good look around. How many of those items are staples in your diet? Buy more of them, and try new ones. There’s a whole exciting leafy green (and red! and blue! and yellow!) world out there, waiting for you to discover.

realize your value.At some point in my life, I decided I was a hopeless case. And I gave up on myself. I put all my time, energy, and effort into other’s-- into my loved ones that I still had hope for. That doesn’t work. You have to love yourself, believe in yourself, if you ever want other’s to do the same. Want that dream job? A gorgeous engagement ring from the boyfriend? Why would they invest in you, if you’re not willing to invest in yourself? Decide that you are worth getting healthy. You are.

invest in your self-worth.
this goes back to the previous part. If you’re not willing to invest in yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to either. Take a good, hard look at yourself, and decide that you ARE worth those super fancy running shoes. That you ARE worth the expensive produce at the grocery store. That the gym membership in fact costs less than all the restaurant meals you’ve been buying. You’re WORTH the cost of all these things, and you’ll feel great as a result.

diagnose the outside factors.
stress eating? there are factors outside of yourself that might be impacting you. Take a step back, look at your life as a whole, and diagnose the issues. Is your house too cluttered? Is your job the equivalent of a 2,000lbs elephant sitting on your chest? Is your mother-in-law criticising every single move you make WHEN YOU’RE JUST TRYING TO BE NICE FOR CHRIST’S SAKE??? Write down the issues in your life causing you stress. Look at the list pragmatically. Figure out ways to fix the ones you can, and “let go” of the ones you can’t. When in doubt, I say the
Serenity Prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
It might take me an entire lifetime to find the “wisdom to know the difference,” but I’m trying, dammit, and that’s all I can do. It’s all any of us can do.

This is where 67% of you roll your eyes and say, “enough, hippie!”-- but hear me out. As Americans, our society doesn’t often take the time we need to mentally process life. Our free time is filled with TV, internet, and other forms of delightful rubbish. All things I love. But, there’s a reason(s) you got fat, and you owe it to yourself to work through those issues. And a distracted mind can’t do that.
You can do the traditional meditation, I love it! I never feel as “in control” of my life as when I devote 20 minutes a day, twice a day to sitting in peaceful stillness. However, for those who are sceptical, take it a different route. Sit in dark/quiet and do 5 minutes of control deep breathing.
Or when you’re going for your walk, Unplug. Use the time to think about yourself, to think about life. If you think about “bad stuff”, push yourself in your workout and help your body
and mind process through those.

get help.
Personally, I’ve dealt with depression on and off for several years. That was a large mitigating factor as to why I got big in the 1st place. I can not overemphasize the importance therapy had in my life. Granted, when I decided to change my life, I was also dealing with a terrible break-up and career change, but either way, There’s something to be said about talking with an outside third party who won’t judge you. Who will listen. Who you can dump everything on, and you won’t lose their friendship over it. Besides, at some point, your friends/loved-ones really do get tired of that whole “woe is me” attitude. Let someone else--someone you pay-- hear it from you instead.

“Bank” the good.
This one is so important. There will be times in your life when you’re feeling superbly happy, beautiful, and confident. And there will be times when you are the saddest that anyone has ever been in the history of existence. Take advantage of the good times, and write them down. Write yourself a letter. Set a “way to go, me!” calendar event to surprise your future self with, make lists of why you rock. You’ll need them during the down times, and you’ll be oh-so grateful you took the time to bank those little reminders of how truly awesome you are.

never, ever give up. the is single handedly the most important component of your life changing adventure. There is never a better time than now to start-- It’s true, because you’re only getting older. And if you give up, what happens then? Are you really accepting that you want to be this size your whole life? Don’t let yourself decide that maybe “someday” you’ll try again. Get back on the damn horse. There will be setbacks. You will lose and gain the same 5lbs a million times. You might have various pant sizes in your closet to cover fat days and skinny days (hell, i sometimes have fat hours and skinny hours), but you need to remember where you began, and where you are now.

No matter what, you’re winning. Way to go, you.

And with that, I say farewell. I’m sure I’ll be back on the interwebs again in some capacity, I like writing too much to give it up forever. But in the meantime, it’s been a pleasure, y’all.


Buddy said...

Dear Shelley, You possess such wisdom. To say I'm proud of you wouldn't be saying enough. I'm very damn proud of you. You express yourself so eloquently. Always have! You are a wonderful person. You are mature, considerate, loving, and loved. I have missed reading your blog. I embrace you for sharing your struggles and conquest, the good and bad, ups and downs. Hurry back to us mere mortals who struggle expressing ourselves. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being my daughter. I love you.

Shellbell said...

Dad, you are the BEST. I am so glad to have you as a dad, buddy, and friend. Thanks for being patient with me, and for teaching me so much. Maybe it's time you start your own blog ;)