Friday, May 11, 2012

Fitness Friday - How did I get here?

Welcome to the first Fitness Friday post. I figured the best way to begin this segment was to explain how I got to where I am today (health/weight wise) and going forward talk about the things I'm doing to get healthy and my progress!.

***NOTE: This is the first time I have ever been completely open and honest about why I'm at the point I am today. I apologize for the length now and will understand if you do not want to continue, however once I started writing, I just couldn't stop. I could have split this in to 2 posts but I felt I needed to get it all out now and start moving forward. There are 2 big events that led me to where I am today. I shed a few tears while writing this, and ultimately I feel this has really put me at a better starting point than I thought I was already at.***

I was always an in shape kid. Being the only girl in my family, with a younger brother and 4 older boy cousins, for 16 years meant that instead of tea parties and traditional Barbie activities, I was with playing sports, running around, and using Barbie dolls as throwing objects! (my baby sister was born the summer after I turned 16!) By the time I hit high school, I was short, healthy and in shape. I never felt like there was ever a problem with my weight, until my step-dad would make comments about me having a fruit snack or 2 when I got home from school. Or my mom would pipe up when I had seconds at dinner. I think the most annoying part about it all was that I wasn't an inactive teenager. I walked a half mile to and from school every day. I lived in a great neighborhood, so a lot of my after school time was spent walking around with my friends or taking my little brother to the play area in the housing development close to our place. Did I have times where I sat at the computer? Yes. Were there days where I would just hang out in my room? Yes. But I was a teenager. That's what teenagers do.

I stayed around the same weight (145lbs) all through high school. By the time I left for college, I was THRILLED!! I spent a lot of my time helping take care of things at home, and watching my siblings while my parents were out. I missed out on a lot of fun times with my friends because of it, and moving away for college was going to be my chance to start MY life. And I chose to move 3000 miles from home, from Washington state to Pennsylvania!

When I got to college, my eating habits weren't that great! Dining hall food, HUB restaurants, 2am Pizza escapades! But I was a freshman, with no car! It was a mile walk ONE WAY to just about everything I needed to get to. Dorm hall to class? A mile. Class to work? A mile and a half. Back to my dorm? Almost a mile. Do that 2-3 times a DAY, and there was no Freshman 15 for me! When I came home at Christmas break, I was actually almost 15lbs lighter than when I had left. For a short girl with big hips and a large chest - I looked great!

I only spent one year in Pennsylvania. The program I was in wasn't right for me, and because I was an out of state student from a poor family at a pricey school, I just couldn't afford it. I moved back home for the summer before heading to Central Washington for my second year of college. I moved into an apartment off campus with a girl who had a spare room. I got a job on the opposite end of the college town working for Subway. And again, I didn't have a car. It almost didn't matter what I ate, because I walked so much and so far, I burned off all the extra calories I ate. And that's when I met a boy.

When I started my job, I met one of the locals. His name was Michael, but everyone called him Mikey. He was tall, in shape, and wore these adorable glasses. I was smitten immediately. Mikey and I hit it off right away and became great friends.I was an outgoing girl, but when it came to telling Mikey that I liked him as more than a friend, I was so shy. For months, we hung out, went on drives, and did group functions with friends. I was falling for this guy more and more each day but I couldn't tell him.

At Christmas time, our boss, Greg (who was like a surrogate dad to Mikey and I), held a party at his house. We closed up the restaurant a bit early on a Saturday and all the employees hung out and did a gift exchange. Mikey even dressed up in Greg's Santa Suit. For a tall skinny kid, it looked hilarious! After the party, we all divided and went to different "after parties". I wound up going to another co-workers place, and Mikey and a few others followed. We watched movies and talked about our Christmas plans. I was cuddled under a blanket on the couch when Mikey came to join me. We sat and talked and he cuddled under the blanket with me, casually of course. And then, out of nowhere, he held my hand. I jumped at first, not knowing how to react, and then just went with it! After a few hours, Mikey drove me home.

He stayed the night with me and we spent the whole time talking. He confessed that he had been to shy to say anything to me before about how he felt. He went on to talk about all the time we spent together and how he was falling for me every day too. And at that moment, we decided that we would be together! I told him it would be hard to keep it from people, especially since we worked together! I spent months falling in love with this boy, and now that he'd reciprocated, I couldn't hold back. We agreed that after Christmas, we would tell everyone. Besides, what harm could a week do?

The first 2 days were hard. People at work questioned us, because we were each giddy all day. But we just chocked it up to holiday spirit! On the 3rd day, I worked late. Mikey offered to come back and give me a ride home when I got off work. I told him I would be fine. This night was special for Mikey, because his older brother was coming home, and they were going sledding! I told him to enjoy his night and I would see him at work in the morning with a fresh batch of cookies.

That night, I contemplated calling him to come pick me up so I could join in the fun. Instead I started making cookies and every single one of them came out in crumbles. I was so discouraged I finally just went to bed. I didn't have to work until the afternoon, so I was excited to be able to sleep in. That is until I was woken up at 6am to my phone ringing. At first, I ignored it. I heard the answering machine pickup and figured I'd check it later. Then the phone rang again 10 minutes later. And 10 minutes after that. I finally answered and it was Greg. He told me he needed me to come to work, right away. In my head, I'm thinking he's crazy. He already had 3 people scheduled for first thing in the morning, and the town is deserted with all the kids gone home for the break. He wouldn't tell me why I needed to come in early, just told me he would pick me up so I didn't have to ride my bike. I said fine and went to get dressed.

When Greg showed up, I knew something was wrong. He was quiet and holding something back. I asked if everything was okay, and he said "No, there has been an accident". My mind raced. What on earth could have happened? "Mikey and his brother were in a sledding accident last night and they took them to the hospital". I panicked. I told Greg to take me to the hospital immediately, I was NOT going to work and needed to see Mikey. Greg told me that the day after the Christmas party, Mikey went over and told him about us. Apparently Greg was the one who encouraged him to finally speak up. And because of this, Greg said his next words were the hardest thing he ever had to say.... "Mikey isn't at the hospital. He passed away last night"

I don't think there are any words to describe how much my heart shattered at that moment. And Greg wanted me to go to WORK?! Absolutely Not. I cried in the van the whole way there. It felt like hours, when it was less than 5 minutes. When I walked in the back doors at work, I saw that the place was filled. Greg had called everyone in to work and we were all there together for the whole day. Word spread pretty quickly, and those that came in to the restaurant knew Mikey well, so they mourned with us. It was a day of tears for everyone.

When it was time for the viewing and funeral, I first refused to go. Greg convinced me I needed to go and that he would take me. I was a wreck. I think the worst part was that Mikey's glasses were broken in the accident, so during the viewing, he wasn't wearing them. I kept thinking it wasn't real. That it wasn't really him because he wasn't wearing his glasses. But I knew he was gone. The first guy I truly loved, and shared my feelings with, was gone. Michael Ross passed away on December 18th, 2003.

I spent the next two months completely lost and eating everything in sight. I went about with my classes and going to work, but I felt so alone. I didn't talk to anyone. I didn't WANT to talk to anyone. I wanted to have that warm feeling back. I wanted Mikey to be standing in the office when I got to work and just give me a huge hug. I needed to feel comforted and safe. I needed companionship.

It was so hard for me to spend time with the friends I already had locally, so I started spending time online with friends I had who didn't live in the little college town, and met some new people in the process. Then one day, I met Mr. B. He was sweet and funny. He knew exactly what to say to make me feel better, to make me laugh, to make me happy. We spent weeks talking online before he decided he was going to make the hour and a half drive to my town and visit me for the weekend. Before you freak out about me hanging out with a random stranger online, we weren't completely strangers. We had a mutual friend, but we had never met in person before. So it wasn't completely weird, though I was nervous.

When he showed up, it was wonderful. I finally felt secure. I finally felt like someone was there for me. I didn't feel so alone. Mr. B and I were together via long distance for about 4 months before I made the decision to move closer to him and go to the satellite campus of the college I attended. The satellite was only a few miles from where he lived. We decided to move in together with our mutual friend, since it would be easier, and we could start our life together. Before making the big move though, our friend moved back to her home state, and it was just the two of us. So when the school year ended, I took the summer off and moved to Everett, WA. My friends were not impressed, and my family was not thrilled at all. But I insisted they didn't know me, the "real me". They didn't know Mr. B and were just jealous. They didn't understand how happy I was and I wasn't about to let them take it away from me.

We moved into a sketchy apartment complex, because it was the only thing we could afford that was open. I was scared to go outside because of the area, and there wasn't much around to keep me busy. I started to spend my time indoors more and eat fast food all the time. Apparently, this was standard practice for Mr. B. It didn't take long for me to learn that Mr. B was lazy. Shortly after getting together, he lost his job and spent months NOT on unemployment, lounging around the apartment all day, while I worked full time and was taking classes. I eventually had to stop going to school because it was too much to handle. I was frustrated and angry. I wanted to go places in my life and he kept pulling me down. My friends told me to leave him. I wanted to, but then Mr B would tell me how much he loved me, and how we could get through the hard times. I ate up every word he said.

It didn't matter how many times things like this would happen, Mr B had a way with words that made me believe anything. It was about a year after we had gotten together when someone mentioned something about my weight. My own mother. I was angry. But not at myself, I was angry at her. Who was she to tell me I was gaining weight? I was fine. I was living MY life and I was in love, and I was doing what I wanted to do. In the back of my head though, I kept thinking "yeah, I've gained a few pounds, but Mr B loves me, so it doesn't matter".

This continued for almost 5 years and things just got worse. Mr B got lazier, I was doing more and more to keep our life going and getting nothing in return. He once told me he wanted to marry me and have a family, which made me so happy. Its what I had always wanted. Yet whenever I brought it up after that, he would tell me I was pressuring him, so I would drop it. I knew I had packed on a few pounds, so I thought if I tried working out, he would be more attracted to me, and then he'd HAVE to ask me to marry him. But he always found a way to sabotage my efforts, and I always gave up.

Being so far away from my hometown friends, I started hanging out with some new friends from work. Friends who didn't know me in my past life. Friends who didn't know me when I weighed only 150lbs and had the whole world in front of me. And it was these people who helped show me where I gotten myself. And where was I? I was living a dead end life with a manipulative and lazy guy who spent all of MY money. Who had used my credit cards to fund his spending habits, and I had nothing that I wanted, at all. I was going nowhere fast. Before this realization, I would look in the mirror and still see 150lb, gorgeous Holly! The girl I wanted to be. Suddenly, I was taking an honest look at myself in the mirror, and I finally saw the girl who weighed 297lbs. And I cried.

After visiting my family for 4th of July, and seeing Mr B's interaction (or lack thereof) with my family, I knew I was done. I needed someone who loved me AND my family. Who loved being active. I missed camping, quading, playing sports, and being outdoors. I was with a guy who did nothing but play video games and hang with deadbeats. I got home from that vacation and started thinking about my options, about moving to Idaho with my family, about moving into my own place, or maybe just staying with a friend. It took about a month for me to get the courage to do anything, but after talking with friend who said I could live with her, I looked at Mr B and told him I was done. By this time, he was accusing ME of taking HIS money. Which was a complete fabrication considering he'd put me in thousands of dollars in debt already. I didn't want his money. And then he told me he NEVER wanted to marry me. That he didn't want to waste his the rest of his life with me. I wanted nothing to do with him from then on. So I left!

I only packed up all of the things I wanted that would fit in the back of my friends pickup truck and was gone. I left him everything. I didn't want or need any of it. I wanted a fresh start, and a new life! And that's what I got! For the next 6 months - I just had fun! I spent time with my friends and taking classes again. I saved up enough money to move into my own apartment. I started to gain my own identity again. I wasn't actively trying to lose weight, but I managed to lose 30lbs.

And then I got my fresh start! This is when I met Josh. He liked me for who I was. He hung out with me, with all my faults. He helped teach me how to live again. He helped me to trust people again and to have fun.  I was nervous to be with a guy who was so calm and collected in the most frustrating of situations, but he was the perfect blend of calm that I needed in my life.The first year we were together, I was finishing my degree. It was a stressful time in my life and when I'm stressed I turn to food. But Josh was there to keep me busy. To take me to the beach to just walk, take me on drives to relax me, and he even helped clean up my apartment when I was too busy to get to it.

At the end of our first year together, I graduated. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. After a couple months of job searching, I finally scored a job utilizing my long worked for degree! It brought a whole new level of fun and stress into my life. It took me a while to learn how to balance my work life with my home life and my relationship with Josh.

Shortly after we celebrated 2 years together, I realized I had hit the comfortable stage. I had finally managed to balance work and life. I was becoming more active, but I noticed that I had retained a few "honeymoon phase" pounds in the process. I was finally out of school, with a degree and with a job in my field! I was starting to get the hang of REAL life. That summer, I realized that I needed to get healthy! I wanted my outside self to match my inside self! I needed to stop putting off my weight loss efforts, to stop giving up when things got hard, and really dedicate myself. I went to the doctor at the end of the summer and talked to her about what I could do. She gave me a diet plan and some tips on where to start. So on August 1st, I started a diet and exercise routine. The best part? Josh was supportive and behind me the whole time! Our life hit a few road bumps by Thanksgiving, when Josh lost his job and the added stressed caused me to fall back into old habits. By Christmas I had lost a total of 25lbs from when I started in August.

Which leads me to this year, 2012! I've been at a stalling point since the beginning of the year with my weight loss. I've been trying to find the right kinds of foods that work for me and exercises that are the most beneficial. And now I have more motivation than ever. If you haven't already read, on our 3 year anniversary, Josh proposed! Not only do I have the desire to get healthy and lose all this weight I gained over the years, but I have the motivation of finding the perfect wedding dress to keep me going!

So join me each Friday as I go through the process of getting healthy! I will be shedding these pounds and sharing the successes and struggles with all of you! I have 102lbs to lose to be at a healthy weight for my height - so it's going to be a long journey! To kick off all the fitness fun, I'll be participating in my first 5K (as part of the Princess Procrastinators team) this Sunday! So be on the lookout for a bonus post this weekend where I recap the first adventure of my Fitness journey.

Peace and Good JuJu,


  1. Holly, that took guts to get that all out. I am behind you 110%. It must feel good to shed this extra weight of worry on your shoulders, get it out there and now move forward to getting on the track you desire. You go girl!

  2. So proud of you! I know you can do this, just have to find that inner strength and motivation inside of you again. Either that or maybe my dad needs to make you your own personal box hockey set :)


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