update on progress

SO things have been going pretty well on the rewiring of my brain lately. I’ve found myself having the ability to talk myself down when my negative voice comes back. Simply paying attention to when it happens has been really eye opening (can you say denial) and key to me recognizing when these negative emotions come up.

I weigh myself everyday. I know this is a big no no for a lot of you, but it has been helpful to me for several reasons. One being that if I don’t weigh myself everyday I have a tendency to live in fear of the scale and that is no way to live. And two being that if I look at my weight and it’s fluctuations and attach it to all of the many factors that affect weight fluctuations, I can easily associate it as data and ultimately it has been helpful for me to work on detaching myself emotionally.

With all of that being said, I can’t say that I’m fixed. I still have emotional attachment to my weight (although I have noticed significant progress on that front) and it affects my mood and how I feel about myself. The thing that I’ve noticed most recently has been that when I have these feelings my mind has a new program of action and it’s like all of these beautiful little female warrior women carrying many weapons to slay the negative thoughts. It’s like I’m starting to build a little army of female power that is fighting the bad words I tell myself about my body. And the main thing they shout as they are fighting is “IT’S TEMPORARY!” It’s all going to change so it’s useless to attach myself to these negative feelings.

There are things about my body that I don’t like right now, but I’m happier than I’ve been in months. I am working my ass off in the gym, eating reasonable amounts of foods, I’m less focused on my appearance which was becoming a full time job and was affecting my marriage and friendships significantly, and most importantly I’ve stopped binge eating.  Every week eating a balanced amount of foods everyday and not going crazy 1-2 times a week is happening less and less and I’m really proud of that. It has taken a lot of consistent work being honest with myself, making mistakes and admitting them to another person, as well as journaling and a lot of positive self talk. But I’m doing the work and it’s paying off. It was quite an adjustment weighing myself but not hoping the scale would go down, but the more that I do it, the less important the number is and the more I’m teaching myself to actually just take the data for what it is, a pretty mediocre measurement of progress, but an ok way to keep track of health.

All in all I just feel like I’m learning new things that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I’m learning how to eat sensibly without huge dips in deficits and overloads. Maintaining my intake and truly getting used to what that amount of food looks like and how I can live eating that amount has been teaching me a lot. And when I do want to cut some weight I will have the foundation of living and eating in a reasonable way and not the mentality of always trying to be dieting. There is a distinction between losing weight when you are mentally stable and happy because you want to, and doing it because it’s just what you’re supposed to do. Being healthy doesn’t necessarily mean a super low number on the scale. Now is the time for me to learn, and to make mistakes and to learn from those mistakes.

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Eating food is hard

SO for the past three weeks I’ve been on a higher calorie range to allow for normal eating and to take focus off of food. I’m eating a much higher calorie range and it’s been hard to adjust to it. The first week I was rebelling, trying to eat less than the low range, and wasn’t too crazy about the idea of not actively trying to lose weight. I started to warm up to it but then was focusing on eating cleaner foods like more of the stuff I was eating before, (eggs, chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, veggies, avocados, peanut butter). But the focus was still on weight loss in my mind. This week I got my period and kind of went a little crazy over the past few days. I had some chips and ice cream on Thursday,  but I’ve been telling myself that I can eat a lot of more calorie dense stuff because of my high calorie cap. Which is scary to be honest. It’s been harder to control my eating and since I’ve been eating more snacky food, I want less of the good stuff. I guess it’s true that you crave what you eat and you eat what you crave. I just am growing tired of this tendency to think “OK this is the way it’s going to be now!” because it literally changes every fucking week. Yesterday I’ve found myself asking the question “how long is this gonna take” “when can i cut again” because I just want to have some idea of what’s going to happen, and honestly I just want some comfort. Making healthy decisions about food without the goal being weight loss is hard as fuck! I sometimes question why I’m doing it! Then I remember that it’s because living my life without food being the focus is worth it. That learning how to enjoy my life and enjoy food but not it be the center of everything is where I’ll find the peace and happiness that I’ve been craving.

I’ve been telling myself that I look good when I see my reflection in the mirror. I’ve actually been enjoying my slightly bigger body and it’s curves. I’m not crazy about the amount of junk that I’ve been eating for the past few days, but I’m still stepping on the scale every morning and not wanting to slit my wrists because I see a little more weight than I’m used to seeing. My boobs look amazing so that helps too! I kind of keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and to start freaking out about it, but for now I’m ok, I’m liking what I see and I’m not afraid to be this version of me. My ass is bigger so that’s a plus.IMG_1817.png

Not crazy about my tummy, don’t hate it, but honestly never really loved it to begin with.

Back to the food thing, I also find that I go a bit crazy during my period and also when I don’t get to many meetings. Because I’m an alcoholic and I’m not taking care of myself, I reach for food and my period is just a good excuse to eat.

I feel like doing this day by day is teaching me to eat to sustain myself, to enjoy with friends, but also to be healthy. I think that this little increase in food with the intention to stay under the higher calorie range (this week hasn’t been so great for that) but maybe not doing that has been me pushing it to the max (i have a big tendency toward that) and now that I’ve done that I can begin to reel it back in to see what will actually work for me to allow me to be happy and healthy. I do find myself less stressed out about food more and more as the days go on. I’m starting to plan my day around activities and people rather than what I can and can’t eat. That is a big deal. It feels more free and I’m happier.

I know what I can do and what’s comfortable. I know how to binge eat and I know how to cut weight.  What I don’t know how to do is eat sensibly without it being the center of my life or mind. I am learning how to do that right now, I’m in the middle of it, in the thick of the confusion and fear and I just have to be grateful. Grateful that I have this amazing body that feels great a majority of the time. A body that can get stronger and that can look incredibly beautiful. I am a lucky woman to be in this world and have these problems.

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How I feel about gaining weight and my new BOOBS

SO because I’m trying to write this thing like a public journal, it’s not really going to have much of a theme, I’m not very organized, but honestly I don’t really talk or think about much other than powerlifting, body image, tattooing, and sexuality. I hope you guys don’t mind reading about that stuff.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I noticed that I became a happier person once I started to feed my body and lightened up on the restrictive eating. What I wasn’t prepared for was how incredibly narcissistic I had become as a result of being obsessed with food and how my body looked.  It’s been a couple of months since I switched to a more relaxed diet, and in that time period I also got a breast lift and implants. So not only have I switched eating patterns, but I also can’t exercise. I’ve gained about 10 lbs. The implants weigh 2-4 lbs so that’s including that but whatever. I was prepared for this and honestly I feel like if I had been trying to eat the way I was eating before I would had a much harder time dealing with this weight gain.

The problem with eating a limited diet and then eating a not so limited diet, is that I still struggle with the binge. If I haven’t mentioned this before, I’ll mention it now and I’ll definitely mention it again, I’m a drug addict and an alcoholic and really just a person who likes to do everything that feels good in excess. So when it comes to eating I can sometimes control it, and sometimes I can’t.  Sometimes I plan my eating like I’m setting up to cop drugs and set it all up, I order the pizza, I get the donuts I plan what I’m going to watch while I eat it all or who I’m going to do it with. I know this doesn’t sound too abnormal, it sounds like just a normal fun time Friday night with food and friends right? The problem with this isn’t what I’m eating or with who, it’s how much and the way it affects my mind before, during, and afterwards. In very much the same way that I set up a binge with all of the right elements, I also can do the opposite with diet and training. I am able to put my brain in an obsessive place so that I can do what I need to do, but everything has to be just right. I get used to a certain normal routine, and when it goes awry I tend to respond with emotional eating.

So lately I’ve been working on unpacking a lifetime of emotional eating habits and trying to make sense of it all. I feel like I’m at the very beginning, but I know that I’m starting to make progress. I never really looked at any of this stuff before. I used to have a binge, have a hangover from the binge, kind of tell on myself to my husband to be consoled, then forget about it.  I hadn’t ever deconstructed it, looked at the whys and hows and I’m doing that now with someone. It’s hard and a lot of the time I feel like I’m moving backward. I want to ignore it, lie to my coach, and act like it’s all good. But I know that’s not an option.

The thing is, being lean and looking hot isn’t enough to keep me motivated to continue to make progress. I mean I could do that, but it just doesn’t feel right to me inside of my heart. Like I said in my earlier post, being super focused on food brought out the worst in me, maybe I’m just bad at being hungry, I dunno, but I didn’t like the way I acted when I wasn’t able to enjoy food and I just simply wasn’t mentally able to deal with it when the slightest thing would go wrong in my delicate setup.

Gaining some weight has been good for me. It has taught me that the world didn’t end because I weigh 10 lbs over my weight class. That the number on the scale is nothing but data and by looking at that data over a course of a few months I’m actually on track and eating well for a majority of those days. It’s the occasional day or two that I fall off, and that’s pretty normal. It’s been a huge relief to me that it’s ok to not be perfect at this and even have some days when I really over eat. That I shouldn’t expect there to be some day that I’m magically going to be ok and get it all and it won’t ever happen again. I still feel like a failure some days because I place some stupid power on that number on the scale. But at least I can look in the mirror and be ok with myself even though I’m not as lean as I once was.

It also helps that I have big beautiful NEW BOOBS to distract me. Which is why I can’t train, but I’m hoping to be back in the gym next week! But back to boobs. This is another indication of how my crazy obsessive mind can fuck me up. If you didn’t know I used to be pretty fat. I reached my highest weight of 280 lbs when I had my daughter in 2012. Since then I have lost about 100 lbs and breastfed my daughter for 4 years. My boobs went from a GIANT SIZE G to a wee size C (but really a B minus all of the extra skin).

Honestly I was pretty ok with them for awhile mostly because I just didn’t want to take even a second to not be obsessed with powerlifting and training for meets. I did 5 meets in like 15 months or so. I was basically always training for the next one with no off season. That’s just how I roll. I get really into something and I do it A LOT. It’s one of the benefits of being an addict. However going back to that delicate balance thing, if one thing is off it like just FUCKS me up.

I guess about 3 months ago I strained my back. Back spasms and terribleness.  I couldn’t train at all. It was really bad. I kind of freaked out. I had no idea how long it would be before I was able to get back to it and it hurt so badly that I really thought I might not be able to compete. Turns out it wasn’t that long and I ended up fine, but what it did give me was perspective. It helped me to see that training had actually become an important part of my life and that I didn’t have to have a stranglehold on it for it to stick around. It helped me to see that I could survive a little break. And I immediately started to research plastic surgeons. It was a no brainer to me. I wanted boobs and I knew it was the right time.

This post is getting pretty long and I think I want to devote an entire entry to my experience with getting breast implants and getting back into training, I might even make this my first YouTube video. What do you guys think?

But for now since I know y’all love a good before and after here’s my boobs pre op and 3 weeks post. ENJOY!



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new year who dis

So I’ve decided it’s time to write a blog. I finally feel like I have something more to say than what i can fit on my Instagram.  I’ve been putting a lot of content on there recently with regard to powerlifting and body image and food stuff etc. This isn’t going to be very grammatically correct or well written. Just a stream of consciousness type deal, because that’s how i write. SO with that being said, if you are interested, stay and read, and if you wanted me to upload some vlog situation I’m gonna do a YouTube channel as well because most of you voted for video form, and I watch some pretty amazing folks on there.  If you care to check out my life please check me out there as well!

I spent a lot of time in 2017 with some eating issues and I don’t think I was necessarily aware of all that was going on. Now that I am I guess I just want to have a little bit more visibility about it. I’m trying to be really honest about everything that I’ve been going through even the bad stuff.  I wasn’t ever a healthy or fit person until about three years ago so a lot of what I’m experiencing is new territory. Sharing about my journey honestly has always been really helpful for me and is always been a big motivator to my success so I guess I just want to continue that trend into 2018.

I was on a pretty restrictive diet for most of 2017.  And I’d just like to preface this blog by saying that I’m going to talk about weight, weight loss, dieting, and body image. If these things are triggering to you might not want to read further.

Restricting my diet led me into a narrowing of my life and awakened obsessive tendencies that I wasn’t even aware of before.  I’m not saying the diet was bad, it was a combination of my addict mind and being obsessively restricted that caused the problems. It led me to some binge eating, which is pretty typical, but it also affected my personality, my friendships, and marriage.

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve been eating more and the results have been kind of remarkable. I’m not talking about weight loss, I’ve actually gained some weight! I’m talking about my level of happiness, and specifically how I interact with women. I found myself being judgmental of others so much because I was so unhappy that I felt like I had to knock others down to feel good about myself. I was competing with women in my mind to motivate myself to continue to progress, and although that might work for some people, I didn’t like the way that made me feel about myself.

I don’t know what else to say other than I’m glad I caught it, and I’m working on it. I realized that being lean and getting attention for how good I looked isn’t worth sacrificing my happiness, my marriage, or my friendships.








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I’m fat.

So lately I’ve been super inspired by fat girls. And I don’t mean the word fat in the negative typical way that you all are thinking. I’m talking about girls who are fat. Ok, I know that doesn’t sound any better to you, but honestly fat just describes them. It’s an adjective, it’s a word that I use to describe myself, not negatively, not postitively, just a descriptive word. There is no quantifying fat in my mind. There is no fat that is good and fat that is bad. There is just fat. Period. Because if we make it good and bad then that messes with a fat girls head and their image of themselves. And that’s already been fucked with enough. Right?

These girls that I’m talking about can be found hidden behind hashtags, posting in their fashion blogs, and on communities on tumblr and Instagram. They are claiming themselves fat, using hashtags like #fatshion and #fatspiration. They are using the word fat, simply as a way as identifying themselves within the community. The community of women on the internet that are unapologetically taking FULL BODY selfies in their bathroom mirrors and posting them on the whole internet! And I can’t even tell you how happy it makes me.

Growing up my mom was fat, she still is fat. My dad is fat and my two older brothers are fat. My dad’s mom was fat and his dad was fat. His sister was fat and so was my mom’s dad. So is her sister and brother. My Gram (who was never fat) was very critical of fat. She called my mom fat and with held food from her. When I was about 10 my mom went on the Optifast diet and didn’t eat for 3 months. She lost a lot of weight. She gained it all back as soon as she started eating food again. When I got fat I felt badly about my body. I pulled at my stomach in the mirror with tears in my eyes, hoping that I’d magically pull it away. I took diet pills and worked out. I slept with lots of people hoping that was the way to acceptance and love of myself (it wasn’t).

My mom had to shop at Ames because they carried a tiny plus line and also Fashion Bug. Those were her choices in Westmoreland County Pennsylvania aka the middle of nowhere. She could’t get bras in her size, or bathing suits. The clothes were really fucking ugly. It upset her. She wanted to look good! My mother is a beautiful woman. The plus section was always almost hidden in the store it was in some corner somewhere feeling shameful. What does that tell you? That you aren’t important and that your body isn’t worthy of the clothing that is front and center as soon as you walk in.

So what does all of this tell you? If you are fat you should be ashamed, and that being the opposite of fat will make you happy. Well that’s bullshit. I’ve heard this word acceptance a few times and I’ve tossed it around occasionally, but to be honest I didn’t really know how to accept my body until two things happened.

First I had a baby. This post is not about having a baby (that’s another amazing story altogether), but going through the changes of pregnancy and delivering a baby taught me to respect my body in a completely different way.

Second, I saw thousands of women, fat women, looking gorgeous, smiling and enjoying their lives while wearing clothing that suited them and fit their bodies. They posted listings of what they were wearing and where they bought it. Suddenly I had choices and many of them. Recently I decided that I was going to look as good as I could everyday. I put a little more effort into my outfit and makeup. Not a ton, just a little. I started posting photos of my outfits on the internet. I got a bunch of likes, from other fat girls. I joined the community.

I used to rebel against the idea of acceptance of myself coming from the outside of myself but it turns out that just doesn’t work. For me acceptance isn’t telling my reflection that I’m beautiful (although that may work for some people). It’s learning from other fat women who are doing what they want with their lives and looking beautiful all at the same time. It turns out that I was doing that all along but just need some help recognizing it.

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We’re having a baby

Jason and I are expecting our first baby any day now. We’ve been doing a lot of reading, taking a lot of classes, and putting together a lot of IKEA furniture. For the most part, we’ve avoided any type of scary stories, fear based warnings, and hospitals. All of my care is being handled at the amazing Midwife Center here in Pittsburgh. We’ve taken all of our classes (Infant Care, Confident Birthing, Breastfeeding, and Prenatal Yoga) at Shining Light Prenatal Education with the fabulous Deena Blumenfeld who is a wealth of knowledge and a great support. We hired an incredible doula. We wrote a birth plan. I’ve taken great care to educate myself, only reading the most positive and informative books (EVERYTHING by Ina May Gaskin). And to do as much spiritually and emotionally that I can to prepare for birth and beyond.

There have been exceptions of course, I had an 18 week ultrasound in the hospital (they don’t do those at The Midwife Center). I wanted to make sure all of the organs were intact and functioning and just to make sure the baby was on track. We did however opt out of any genetic testing or further ultrasounds. We knew we would keep the baby if it had a genetic abnormality, and it seems as though the tests are incredibly inaccurate, producing false negatives and spiraling parents into a tornado of worry. A worry that results in further tests that are (although much more accurate) more invasive/risky. We had three “medical experiences” for lack of a better term. We went to the hospital for the ultrasound, we toured the labor and delivery unit of Mercy Hospital (in case we should be transferred from TMC) and we “interviewed” two pediatricians. With such little exposure to the “normal” experience of prenatal care and education, these three little exceptions were in stark contrast to the information that we have been filling our brains with over these 9 long months.

The ultrasound was whatever. It felt cold and sterile, the nurse seemed annoyed with us and the machine. And the part of the machine that recording a portion of it to a souvenir dvd was broken. Bummer. I felt like I needed to be quiet and follow instructions which is generally how I feel anytime I’m at the hospital. She asked me what the date of my last period was, and although I couldn’t remember, I did know my date of conception(ish) because I had used the Fertility Awareness Method. She glazed over my response with a “OK, are you sure you don’t know the date of your last period”, and I just dropped it. I left feeling happy that my little person was ok and doing well, and annoyed at that girl. It was then that I began to realize how special the care at TMC really is.

About a week ago we had made an appointment to tour Mercy Hospital. TMC had warned us to take the tour with a grain of salt, and that our only goal was to see what the unit looked like, should I need to be transferred. Our tour guide was a Lactation Consultant in her 60’s who was very informative about how everything happens at the hospital. She gave us good information about how to get into the hospital and where to park. She shuffled all 10 or 12 of us into a hospital room where women have their babies and explained that once the baby is born the nurse or doctor would take it to a warming table, clean it off, weigh and measure it, wrap it in a blanket and give it to mom. In the meantime mom would be getting any necessary stitches and delivering the placenta. From what I have learned this is old procedure. There is evidence that immediate skin to skin contact and the uninterrupted breast crawl have many health benefits and promote successful breastfeeding. So I raised my hand and asked her what would happen if I wanted to have the baby placed on my abdomen immediately after birth. Her response was that it would be too hard. “Too hard?”, I asked. She smiled through her teeth, pissed that I had challenged her at all, and said it would be too hard to deliver the placenta with the baby on my body. She then asked me if this was my first baby and dismissed my opinion for newcomer naivete. And although the midwives, nurses, and my doula would all be there, would have all read my birth plan, and would do everything that they could to ensure that it was followed the best way that it could given the circumstance of being transferred to the hospital, I felt powerless. I felt powerless and like what I thought or knew didn’t matter. The same way I felt when the ultrasound tech asked me about my conception date.

Lastly, this week Jason and I spoke with two pediatricians in hopes of finding one that would jive with us and our little one. We were recommended to two specifically, Dr.David Wolfson and Dr.Steven Levine. I was armed with four hot topic questions: How do you feel about vaccinations, circumcision, breastfeeding, and do you have any experience with the Midwife Center? Dr.Wolfson, although he was a little distracted and forgot that I wasn’t having a hospital birth, handled my questions well and had a gentle manner. He was very pro breastfeeding and had experience with TMC. He was neutral with the hot button topics and was professional with his opinions. The next day we met with Dr.Levine and although very informative and funny, he wasn’t so neutral in his leanings toward circumcision, didn’t have experience with TMC and went as far as to say that he thought that women who gave birth in a hospital had an easier time with breastfeeding. And also that breastfeeding/breast milk doesn’t always work and that formula is needed in cases where the mom isn’t enjoying the experience. As we were leaving Jason pointed out that on the back of the measly pamphlet that was hilariously titled Infant Care Handbook, was an advertisement for Enfamil formula. I’m not anti formula, I think it’s useful in certain cases, however I do think that breast milk is by far the BEST thing you can give your baby and if breastfeeding just doesn’t work for you, that breast milk in a bottle (instead of formula) should be the next step that doctors encourage, NOT formula.

Call me overreactive, inexperienced, tell me to calm down, say that I’m too micromanaging or radical, or say that I’m being too EMOTIONAL. But I believe these experiences in the hospital and with doctors in comparison to just trusting myself and my body create fear, doubt, uncertainty, and when labor time comes, physical obstacles (see Gaskin’s Sphincter Law) about having a baby. I do not believe it is the healthcare professional’s job to encourage the attitude that women don’t know anything about something that comes very naturally to us. I believe in education that is encouraging and supportive, not judgmental and pious. I think it is the mark of true wisdom and knowledge to trust what women already know about themselves and to help us learn supportively. I don’t think it helps anyone to use fear or superiority as a tool. Women have to wade through a sea of conflicting information when it comes to anything concerning their reproductive health. Information about abortion and birth control is riddled with loads of false facts and fears and pregnancy and birth just might be the mother (no pun intended) of them all. It is hard, it is discouraging, and without support and self confidence, it can be impossible for some women to get good care that has their health at the top of the list. When you don’t have a family that is enough support for your health as a woman in all stages, who do you turn to? We have to be able to sort the bad information from the good. I am so thankful that there are people out there specifically ones that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting (see my first paragraph) that truly have women and babies health at the top of their priorities. Thank you.


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