Title: Believe, regardless.
Depression since birth.
Not good enough. Never good enough.
Too perfect. Self-sabotage, deeper, darker.
Doing all the things and a lack of follow through.
Eat, eat, keep eating.
“It’s your own fault if you leave hungry” by my hero, my grandma.
Straight A’s, birthdays, Tuesdays, eat, eat, keep eating.
Shame, guilt, embarrassment, self-loathing goes round and round.
Cycles started, tried to stop. Tried and tried again.
Nothing. Hollow. Empty.
Eat, eat, keep eating.
Emergency surgery and almost dead.
“Change something” by the universe screaming.
Sunday coffees, ease, convenience, devour.
“Something has to change” by me, finally.
Acceptance, understanding, coming to terms.
Work, work, work.
Hike, hike, hike.
Ounce by ounce.
Sudden death, overwhelming grief, burning to ashes metaphorically.
Pain, pain, more pain. Eat, eat, keep eating.
Darkness, stormy, endless pain.
And then, rebirth.
Overnight but not overnight.
Hope, dreams, progress.
Love yourself to lose.
Shedding weight. Pride, accomplishment, fear.
Self-sabotage, eat, eat, keep eating.
“No, it’s all wrong” by my brain.
Stop binging, stop drinking, stop popping pepto.
Focus on fun, not results. Journey not destination.
Grief powering progress.
Progress powering movement.
Movement slashing bad habits.
Making room for good, happy, healthy, fun, adventure.
Introducing Health Coach and Holistic Living.
Focus, toddler brain timeout, rub fingers.
Routines transformed, thoughts pivoted, judgments replaced.
Pound after pound, eliminated.
Mile after mile, added.
Balance, happiness, me, found.
Nightmare Rollercoaster turned ally.
Published author, hobbyist turned professional photographer.
Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, death of my hero, my Papa.
Sadness but no despair.
Grief but no pain.
Happiness but no guilt.
Acceptance, understanding, coming to terms.
Dreams coming true. Future now.
I have arrived where I didn’t know I was headed.
Perseverance even through the darkest darkness.
Persistence even through the stormiest storms.
Consistency even through the chaotic chaos.
Digging deep for strength, even when strength evades.
Leaning into unapologetically me.
Trusting instincts and guts.
Bravery, courage, excitement.
Living List, adventures to be had.
Depression controlled, ADHD hacks in place, empathic abilities made conscious.
Take back control. Recall spoons.
Intermittent fasting, food for fuel, not comfort.
Mental health healed and healing still.
Physical health a work in progress.
No signs of stopping. Won’t stop.
I wanted to try something new for this post. It seems to be that this is becoming the year of trying new things. But I still have a story to tell.
On our friend date Wednesday woods day, we scrambled over a downed tree. We knew it was there. The signs told us so. But us being us, walked around the signs, knowing full well that we would turn around if need be.
Anyway, I had no problem climbing onto and then sitting on the downed tree.
That was something I overcame last year with my friend by my side.
But earlier this year, I told her one of my goals is to stop being afraid of some of the shit we were doing. Like walking down a steep ass muddy incline. I was never sure of my feet and a tad scared of falling. Ok, a lot scared. But this year, I want to be less scared.
I didn’t want her to have to always hold my hand to get me to the other side.
And with my friend’s help, I have been doing much better. Friends are invaluable. Best friends are priceless. Best Friends who encourage and support and don’t enable or coddle or sugar coat, are rare, invaluable, and priceless. That is who this friend is to me.
I want to say it’s thanks to all the weight I have lost. But the truth is, I have grown in confidence and bravery and courage.
Which has ultimately, surprisingly but yet not surprisingly, helped lead to the weight I have lost. No. Eliminated.
As I was looking down at the other side of the log, that fear I used to have hit an all-time high.
On the other side of the log, if I were to place my left foot down, it would have been directly on the literal edge of a cliff. If I were to have stepped down, I would have had to quickly fall forwards or jump as fast as I could.
I started panicking.
I stopped thinking.
I didn’t know what to do.
But my friend helped me through it. She didn’t come rescue me like I wished she would and hold my hand.
She talked me through it. “Put your right foot down first.”
I had to think. I had to reposition. Mind you, there was very little room to move around on top of this fallen log that had a convenient cutout space to stand or sit.
She walked me through where to place my feet.
I was panicking but I managed to listen to her voice. I did what she said, afraid to be stuck up on this log for eternity.
And then something amazing happened. I made it. I made it to the other side of the log without plummeting to my death.
I put my pack back on, grabbed my phone that I made her hold just in case, and I caught my breath, slowly returning to my pre-panic levels of adrenaline.
Conquer And Continue
A year ago, we would have climbed up and around the roots like it looked like tons of others did. All because I wouldn’t have been able to do what we just did.
Two years ago, I would have seen that fallen tree, the makeshift muddy incline to go around, and the sheer drop-off on the other side of the “easier” route and then immediately turned around without a second thought to take the much longer detour.
Five years ago, I would have given up.
But on Wednesday, I conquered a fear I didn’t even know I had.
My friend told me why. Her words full of wisdom and sage advice.
First of all, this trail was my “white whale” (new moniker TBD).
In 2018, this trail conquered me.
In 2023, I finally conquered it. Even with the downed log.
Secondly, as she pointed out, I have been doing things lately that I thought about and wanted to do but they were all out of reach before with my size and weight.
But lately, I am doing things that I never even thought possible, never dreamed possible, never imagined possible.
And, while that thought is scary, it’s also empowering.
All Because I Started And Stopped And Transformed
When I finally got off that log without tumbling to my eternal doom, I couldn’t fight the smile, the positive adrenaline, the overwhelming pride, or the crushing excitement if I tried.
When I finally got off that log, the next phase in my life started.
All because I have put myself first, both mentally and physically.
All because I have taken back control of food, rather than letting it control me.
All because I have learned to have fun, even in the darkest of days.
And all because, when I rose from the ashes after my best friend’s death, I didn’t look back.
I stopped letting my past trauma, my past pain, my past bad habits rule my future.
That meant learning how to start focusing on the present, the here and now.
That meant learning how to change my mindset from instant negative to instant positive.
I started switching the ugly to finding the bright always.
I started talking about doing the things with certainty rather than leave an opening for the uncertainty, the doubt, and the eventual self-sabotage.
I stopped losing myself in comfort food and instead, found comfort in reading, writing, photography.
All things I am deeply passionate about.
All things I can hyperfocus on easily enough to combat the white knucklin’. All things that keep my brain busy so I can give it time to retrain, relearn, re-become.
All things that have helped me transform.
And most importantly, I stopped judging myself (and others), ultimately ending the cycles of shame, guilt, grief, embarrassment.
We Are Perfectly Imperfect Humans
Now, this isn’t to say I am perfect. Fuck, I am far from it.
This also isn’t to say that I never fall back into old patterns and bad behaviors.
Quite the opposite actually.
I am human. As are you. Falling back on a bad habit that once brought comfort, one we could rely on bringing us comfort – happens and will happen.
To declare it will never happen, is a lie and will only set you up for failure.
Yes. We want to stop doing the thing that no longer serves us or our future. But it’s NEVER going to be an overnight, rip-the-bandaid-off type of change. It’s just not.
No matter what people say, it’s not and to tell yourself that, will only set you up for the failure that puts you back in that stupid shame, embarrassment, guilt cycle you are desperately trying to break free from.
Give yourself the grace, the space, and then embrace that you will face your fears and be on pace to become the best you, no matter how many times you trip, go off course, step out of bounds, or run towards the opposing team’s goal.
Because if you at least prepare to fail, you will be prepared to recover. You will have a plan. And that, my friends, is a hard skill to learn.
So, the goal is not to be perfect and then shame ourselves.
The goal is to make conscious decisions, understand that we are human, and be grateful we have another chance to try again.
And, the goal should always be in how we recover.
The ultimate goal is to rewire our brains so we automatically, second-naturedly stop doing the thing that no longer serves us and our future.
But it is going to take time, practice, and patience for that rewiring to happen.
So, it is in that recovery phase that we learn who we are underneath.
It is in that recovery phase that we learn just how strong we are but didn’t know it because it was hidden under all the bullshit.
And, it is in that recovery phase that we learn how to grow our confidence and, ultimately, how to make lasting changes that will stay long after letting the baggage and bullshit and pounds, go.
A Nightmarish Rollercoaster From Hell
My health journey has taken me on a wild ride that could only be considered a nightmarish Rollercoaster from hell.
A nightmarish Rollercoaster from hell that I would never trade anything for. I wouldn’t trade a single second of crying so hard my chest hurts or endless shame over binging again.
It was because of that Rollercoaster that I am who I am today.
It was because of those nightmares that I know how important my health is to me.
And it was because of that living hell that I realized how I not only need to recover, but how to prepare so I can continue kicking ass on my health journey.
For instance, I have been preparing myself for loose skin for a long time. Well, ever since The Biggest Loser showed me what happens. I didn’t want to be blindsided with it, or ignorant, thus deflating any confidence I may have gained.
It’s finally becoming a problem, yet it is fun to actually see it because it’s proof that what I’m doing is working. I am not scared or saddened because of it. I am proud of it.
And now, I am going to bring up to my doctor the idea of loose skin repair (or whatever it’s called), at my physical in March. Something I didn’t think would ever become a reality.
The Last Time
Also, even though I have been on this specific health journey since April 2018, and even though I hated how slow the process was, my weight loss has finally picked up speed.
But this time, I am grateful for everything that has come before on my journey because this time, I KNOW is the last time.
Not only am I in the right head space, but I am also actively listening to my body, making a conscious effort to trust my body, and am adamantly not following another bullshit diet that will fail.
Instead, I eat what I want, when I want.
Turns out, I don’t want to eat sweets and snacks and junk constantly.
Turns out, I’m only really hungry for brunch and dinner.
Turns out, I actually crave the proper food. All because I am listening and trusting my body.
Over the years, I have gained mementos along my health journey, as a way to reward myself and remind myself of how far I have come.
I wear a bone necklace my auntie actually brought home from Hawaii back in 2011 for her but somehow I ended up with it. I put it on when I hit 299.9 lbs around 2019/2022 and haven’t taken it off since.
I got my nose ring to celebrate doing things for myself that I have always wanted to do.
When I hit 250lbs in 2022, we went to Pow Wow and I bought 2 leather bracelets to mark the HUGE milestone.
I am going to go indoor skydiving when I hit 100 pounds eliminated (currently at 92.1). And once I hit 199.9 pounds, I will be scheduling to fly in a perfectly good airplane and then pay to jump out of it.
Each of these represents another milestone on my weight elimination journey that I hold near and dear and look forward to.
P.s. I hate the term weight loss. I’m not losing the weight in the hopes of finding it. I am eliminating the weight, destroying the weight, kicking its ass out the door, never to come back again.
But, the biggest thing I have learned on my neverending health journey, is that I had to wait until I was ready.
Reasons And Results
I tried a dozenish diets. All failed. All failures led to more weight gained.
In February 2018, my youngest (5 at the time) escaped and ran off during one of her epic storms.
I couldn’t catch her. I couldn’t walk fast enough. I didn’t even try to run because I knew I couldn’t. I cried and tried to keep an eye on her.
She finally made her way back to the thankfully unlocked car. But that memory is forever seared in my memory banks and one of the reasons keeping me moving now.
Now, 5 years later, I can walk up and down the stairs multiple times and no longer feel exhausted at the mere thought of having to go back up and down.
I feel good in my skin. I am having fun I am actually following through.
To think my life could have ended on the operating table in April 2018 because of my weight, pushes me harder. To live. To love. To laugh.
And the coolest piece that I never imagined was possible, just like not falling to my doom launching off that fallen tree, I am learning how to intermittently fast.
Not only has this forced me to tune in to my body, but it has taught me that when things get uncomfortable, it’s only temporary. And when my comfort boundaries get pushed, I am right where I am supposed to be.
Consistency has become my word of the year. In fact, consistency in all things has allowed me to actually make plans for the future because I am able to see a path to make them come true.
And, if I have to work through a complex problem, like my diabetes and hyperthyroidism diagnoses, I know I will get through it because I am smart, capable, and brave.
Something Has To Change
It also no longer feels like a chore to evaluate a bad habit and then provide a positive alternative, a good habit in exchange.
For instance, I needed to break my bad habit and obsession with going to McDonald’s for breakfast every single day.
To both save money and curtail eating unnecessary empty calories, I replaced that habit with going on a short, 30-minute walk, on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.
I have also now added Friday afternoons with the whole family.
And while I started this walk as my thing, somehow it has become a thing I do with my mom and her pup Blue. Because of this new change, we are spending more, meaninngful, time together than we have in years. AND WE LIVE RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO EACHOTHER.
But, I have noticed that these small walks feel like nothing to me nowadays. It’s a weird sensation, and an empowering dilemma.
Watching my mom struggle puts it all into perspective for me.
I was in her position 5 years ago. 2 years ago even. And if I would have given up, I would still be struggling to breathe up a short incline.
But now, I actually looked at my legs in the mirror the other day and realized that I am going to rock a two-piece bikini this summer. Loose skin and all.
I am also at a point where I had the spoons to dedicate to quitting picking the skin on the bottom of my feet. Because I knew this bad habit would also be broken, I white knuckle’d it and held strong.
35ish days later and I am no longer white knucklin’!
But, I still do run my hands over my feet and have picked a teeny tiny piece a few times, but that is getting fewer and farther times between. Baby steps.
For once, in a very, very long time, I am fucking excited about the future.
Excited for what is coming for my family and for me.
The Updated Me
I no longer care what other people might be (but probably not) thinking about me or my body or my choices.
I sometimes feel crazy because I am so anti-external validation these days, but I lived too long in the darkness to ever go back there.
I will get my diabetes and hyperthyroidism under control, just like my depression.
I will find hacks to make my brain and body work efficiently, just like my ADHD.
Pharmaceuticals help. Marijuana helps. And spirituality has helped.
Side note: my health journey also includes my spiritual journey because I feel more grounded than I ever have been, and I owe A LOT to my spirit guides and my unending need and an insatiable curiosity to understand more.
More about me.
More about the world around me. More about why I do things the way I do them. More about why I do the things I do. More about why I am here. More about how I can keep updating who I am.
Every day, I spend time contemplating life and the universe and all its mysteries during what I have coined “Vibe Time”.
During this time, I look at myself deeper than I have ever done before.
And it’s because of this practice, of setting my intentions, and of journaling freely and unrestricted that I have discovered that I have finally arrived where I didn’t know I was headed.
Here. To this moment. Where life is full of joy, adventures, and laughs.
Here. To this moment. Where life is only moving forward.
And here. To this moment. Where my health journey is finally paying off and losing weight is just a byproduct of having fun.
All because I didn’t give up while I was healing, pushing, or eliminating. Instead, I lived. I became fun. And if I couldn’t find the fun, I made the fun.
I found my health journey anchor. It’s me. It always has been me. I just needed time, experience, death, grief, pain, rock bottom to bring me here. To this moment.
If you are on a health journey, whether to eliminate those pounds, heal mentally, or push yourself physically, I have one piece of advice for you.
Have the fun, be fun, bring the fun, make the fun, but just have fun.
And if you are on a health journey, what anchors have you found that have helped you through the darkest of dark?
In the meantime, Adventure on with Curiosity,
~Kelly “Beast” Steele
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