I went shopping today for new jeans. I was tired of the baggy butt syndrome and since I went through all the holes in my belt loop last week, I decided it was finally time to hit the mall.
So a little over 2 years ago...January 7, 2010 to be exact. I was 168.8 pounds. I loved to run. I trained for half marathons. I knew I was overweight for my 5'4 frame but because I was a runner, I felt like I was really not that unhealthy. Yet other signs screamed at me, I was depressed often, had heartburn issues and odd breakouts on my skin. Hello? Anyone home?
This is me having my "before" photo taken at an Herbalife Weight Loss Challenge. I signed up because the competitive side of me will lose weight for money. It was definitely the catalyst I needed but I did not end up winning anything. But at least I lost some weight. My blue jeans in this photo are a size 14 and I was still sporting the muffin top.
I remember filling out a questionnaire. What is your dream weight? I put 145 pounds and the scoffed because it sounded so ridiculous and impossible. I remember them assigning me a coach and it wasn't Leesa. I wanted Leesa to be my coach, because I found out she was a runner. I requested to have my coach switched because only another runner would be able to understand me. I am embarrassed now on how elitist I must have sounded.
When you are not happy with yourself, it is amazing on how many places outside of yourself you will look to fill that void. I shopped for the perfect over-sized clothes to hide the weight. The shoes. The make-up. The perfect hair color. The perfect hair cut. I scavenged malls. I read books. I listened to audio tapes. I read magazine after magazine. I took classes. I tried to emulate my friends' style. I spent so many dollars looking for that instant fix. Every time I came up empty.
Then I finally signed up for the YMCA because my friend Christina dragged me kicking and screaming to a Body Pump class. And shortly after I joined this gym I met, Matt, the spin instructor. Matt is a super fit, high energy, down-to-earth man who also happens to be an amazing teacher. The first time I took his class, I wanted to scream and jump off the bike after 15 minutes. I wanted to run away. But funny thing after I finished, I knew, I would be coming back for more. Every time I suffered through his class, it got just a teeny bit easier.
I went shopping for the first time at REI. Spin shoes were on sale. I asked the sales guy, SO, what exactly is so special about spin shoes? He told me the pulling-up motion while pedaling tones the other set of muscles in your legs versus just letting gravity do all the work. Bottom line: It will tone up your leg muscles even more.
Uh okay... yeah...I was SOLD.
I bought spin shoes and became a dedicated regular in spin class. I started seeing muscles in my legs I had not seen before. And I liked it.
In Matt's class, I met my mom's neighbor Penny who at that time taught water running. You put on a floatie water belt and you sprinted in the water. With the combination of spinning and water training, I started to get faster when running. When my speed improved, so did my hunger for races.
I started reading about nutrition, especially raw food and vegan lifestyles. I started cutting out the cheese, cut back on the meat, and switched to alternative milks like Almond Milk or Soy milk. The weight started falling off.
I had always wanted to do a triathlon, but was terrified of swimming. Well, I had the bike down, now that I was spinning. And the more I took water class, the more comfortable I became in the water. I was ready to tackle my swim issues. A triathlete was born.
In June 2010, my first triathlon (YMCA Freedom Tri) was done on a $99 Wal-mart bike, wearing running shoes (no fancy clip-in spin shoes on this tri) and I doggy paddled most of it. But hey, I proudly finished it. I was hooked on how the cross training made me faster and lighter with less aches and pains. I wanted to do it again.
Fast forward to today. In my last post I mentioned how I wanted to drop to 130 by the Ironman. I am slowly inching toward that goal. And today I had to buy new jeans.
Lately I have had frustrations with my wardrobe. My favorite clothes are not fitting like they used to. I have less clothes than ever because of my size change. I went to the mall today ready to reunite with my old friend. I walked in to Forever 21 and felt like I had walked into a foreign land. The floor sparkled like diamonds, chandeliers hung from the ceiling and club music echoed in my ears.
Wow. Toto, something tells me I am not in Kansas anymore.
The world that I once welcomed and embraced was now freaking me out. I bought 3 pairs of pants and felt exhausted. I could not wait to get out of there. Gone were the days I could spend hours in the mall, critiquing the clothes in all the store displays.
Now, I was looking at racks of clothes of sizes that I have not fit in since I was 18 years old. I thought when I got to be this size shopping would be a dream. But part of me felt like I was dreaming and this was all a joke. Where is the eject button?
Is this my wake up call that shopping is not the answer to my source of happiness? Am I finally fitting another piece to the puzzle of life?
I felt like a snake who just molted out of their old skin and was looking at it for the first time. Who was that, and who am I now?
Who would have guessed that buying blue jeans would send me into an identity crisis?
After 3 stores, and 3 bags of new clothes later, I was ready to hightail it out of that rabbit hole.
Too much to absorb right now but at least I have some blue jeans now that don't give me baggy butt.
Mission accomplished. I think.