*WARNING: This blog post is very long. While I contemplated breaking it up into two parts it just didn’t feel right. So if you stick it out to the end, thank you! It focuses on how my relationship with beer turned a little too hoppy (see what I did there?! ;) over the past year.
However, I urge anyone who thinks that they may have a serious drinking problem to contact your doctor or your local AA chapter and reach out for help immediately.*
I was replying to a message that I got from a follower on FB and I said something that really lit a fire inside of me that honestly has never caught my attention before…not even while I was losing the 101 lbs the first time.
I said “if I didn’t stop making the choices I was making who the hell knows where I would have ended up.”
You know those “Ah-ha” moments everyone talks about?? During my Weight Watchers Success Story interviews I always talked about my “Ah-ha” moment being when my now-husband and I were driving through a KFC after just attending a steak bake. Well, I think me writing “if I didn’t stop making the choices I was making who the hell knows where I would have ended up” is a definite “Ah-ha” moment for me this time around.
See, I never was a person who was over weight their ENTIRE life. I went through some of my teenage years actually being underweight. I’ve never really been an emotional eater to be honest. My problem isn’t that I constantly want food. My problem has always been that I just make the wrong choices, or over indulge in things I shouldn’t (Hello, cheese!). Or my problem this time around…my number one lover/enemy…beer.
I’ve never hid the fact (umm…duh, look at what my blog is called!) that I love beer. Craft beers…IPA’s in fact are my drink of choice. Back when telling my success stories I talked about how prior to losing the weight I would come home, get into my pajama’s and start throwing back the Coors Lights. Then when I was losing the weight I never gave up beer, I just started drinking it moderation…like only on the weekends, or after long run or good workout session. I had a healthy relationship with beer and it was something I had control of and was still able to lose my weight and maintain it for almost 2 years.
This time around though, beer had become my enemy. It felt like a mix between a friend who has turned their back on you, or doing something that you know is wrong but it just feels so right.
I blogged before about how I ended up becoming part of the Weight Watchers ‘Believe’ campaign and the crazy events that happened leading up to the audition. Being part of that campaign is still one of the things I am most proud of. I will never regret it and it will always be a story that I will share. But the thing is…I was riding a “high” in 2011…being able to tell my story and show off all my hard work in so many different outlets. The commercials played again and again. The pictures showed up here, there and everywhere. It was the best drug. But like all highs, they don’t last forever.
All of a sudden I wasn’t completely poor anymore. I had a little bit of money. Frank and I were able to do things we normally couldn’t afford to do. It was so completely new to me and I had no idea how to handle it properly.
When there’s nothing really exciting to do in town, the best thing to do is go out to dinner, or go to lunch, or go out and grab some drinks…then grab some drinks at the store and go home. See, this time I could afford all the craft beers my heart desired. I didn’t have to stick with the Coors Light that Frankie was drinking because it was all we could afford. I tried more beers in 2012 than I have in my entire life.
Here is the absolute truth…
The money I earned in sharing my success played an ENORMOUS role in my regaining all of my weight back (plus an extra 30). And a good portion of that (I don’t even want to know the percentage) money went to us eating out and/or drinking.
Of course, the money did make me gain weight…my choices did. But I didn’t know how to properly handle these choices and I chose wrong again, and again, and again…which eventually led me to where I am today…
It got back to the point where I couldn’t afford the craft beers everyday, so it was back to slamming down the Coors Lights. And as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been blessed/cursed with having a high tolerance for alcohol. Even at my goal weight I could still knock plenty of beer/wine back without getting drunk and stupid. So with the extra 100 lbs I was able to drink even more.
So I was drinking instead of running…or I would say I would run but then be too hung-over.
So I was drinking then having 2…3…4 servings (Who am I kidding…I didn’t even pay attention to the servings) of whatever I was eating…or I wouldn’t care what I was eating.
So I was drinking and staying up till 2am on a weeknight…or sometimes even later than that.
I stopped caring. I stopped counting Point Values. I stopped exercising. I stopped getting enough sleep. I stopped putting makeup on. I stopped caring about my appearance. I just stopped caring in general about myself.
Late January/Early February I was in an ambulance, pretty sure I was having a heart attack, but no…it was anxiety attack. But even that wasn’t enough to make me stop what I was doing to myself. I wasn’t anxious. I was depressed. I was embarrassed. And I just didn’t care…or so I thought.
Drinking in the excessive amount that I was made me think I didn’t care about myself at all. It made me think a lot of things. It made choose a lot of things I normally would not choose. It made me unhappy on different levels than I had experienced before. But even that wasn’t enough.
I can’t tell you what WAS enough. I can’t tell you that I had this “Ah-ha” moment that led me to wake the up hell up and see that I was slowly (and surely, I am sure) killing myself. I’m not an alcoholic (as I’ve said before, and believe me, I have looked into it & consulted with Dr’s and other professionals)…I just have a tendency, like people do with food or other things, to binge and/or lose control. It doesn’t happen often and in fact this was probably the longest (and definitely the most damaging) out of control I have ever reached.
Then one day…I just didn’t have any beer or wine. One day turned into 11 days. It’s not the longest stretch I’ve ever gone without any alcohol. I didn’t plan it or set a goal. It just happened. And other than getting married this year it is probably one of the best things that I could have had happen to me. It gave me clarity. It let me see what I was missing in my life….MYSELF! I missed ME! I didn’t just miss Weight Watchers or running or blogging or being part of the “health & fitness” community…I missed who I was on a day to day basis. I missed putting on makeup in the morning…who the fuck am I kidding, I missed just being able to get out of bed in the morning!! I missed counting my WW points. I missed running. I missed feeling like I wasn’t going to pass out for the majority of the day. I missed going to bed with my husband instead of waiting for him to go to bed so I could drink beers and listen to music all by myself (this can be a very dangerous combination for your mental health if you are not in the right frame of mind in the first place). I missed actually enjoying a COUPLE of beers…not just drinking 20 of them “just because”. This past Saturday I had my first beer in 11 days after my run with the Lake Effect Group and it was glorious! And you know what…I didn’t proceed to go ahead and have 20 more after that. I had control again. I knew how I did and how I did NOT want to feel.
“if I didn’t stop making the choices I was making who the hell knows where I would have ended up” …I probably would have turned into an alcoholic. I probably would have added more health issues to myself. I probably would have gone over 300 lbs. I probably would have never ran another mile again. Scariest thing to think about…I probably would have let the thoughts and self hatred eat at me enough that one night I would have let them get me for good. I kept all these issues to myself for the most part and eventually it would have ruined me completely.
So that sentence is my “Ah-ha” moment that keeps me on the track I have been on the past few weeks. One where I am taking care of myself, inside and out…One where I am not drinking to just say “screw all of it” and letting it become a nasty habit …One where every day I am trying to look at today instead of yesterday.
I can’t fully describe how much better I feel. And I can’t thank everyone here and on social media who have complemented me on how I have looked lately…you guys have no idea how much it means to me, especially right now. Funny thing is, people keep saying I look healthy and glowing…well I’m pretty good with a makeup brush ;) and I haven’t lost a noticeable amount of weight yet, but I think just the elimination of beers during the week and the decrease in consumption has done wonders on my overall appearance…thanks to less bloat in my face and eyes and of course, more sleep! Which in turn gives me more confidence which in turn makes me feel better about life in general which in turn makes me make better choices for my body which in turn keeps on turning stuff into a positive rather than a negative.
Everybody has a moment where something gets out of hand…even sometimes the things that make us healthy can turn into something negative if we abuse the feelings we get from them. Just try to step back for a moment. Give yourself a moment to clear your mind. Free yourself from its grip and examine how you *really* feel. Think about what it is that you truly want for yourself…from yourself. I will never give up beer, but I always give up any power that I accidently let it hold on me.
Sometimes you fall down a hole so hard and so far that you think “what’s the point of even trying to get out”…but there is always a point. You can always get out. You might break a few nails or sprain a few bones clawing and climbing your way back up, but you will heal and you feel even stronger than before. You will have more knowledge than you did before…and next time, you might just be able to catch yourself before you fall again.