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My Biggest Bully

There are a lot of things about myself that I simply don’t like. I think about my flaws for a good portion of my day and I’m constantly pining for change.

I like to think everyone thinks that way, but that doesn’t really make me feel any better. I just wish things were different.

I wish I was thinner, and that I didn’t have MS. It bothers me that I haven’t travelled more and that I haven’t gone to grad school yet. I think about how much I hate my thighs/arms/stomach and will go to great lengths to hide them. I think my freckles are extremely unattractive. I hate how unorganized I am and that my room is always messy. It’s a never ending obsession and I just can’t get my brain to stop bullying me.

One thing that’s always stuck with me is how much I hate the way I look when I laugh. I know it sounds stupid, but it’s true. I used to see commercials where people would look so beautiful when they laughed that I would try to practice it in the mirror (well, this is embarrassing), but no matter how hard I tried, my natural laugh always took over in the moment. Recently, I was out for dinner and drinks with a group of friends and my brother snapped a picture of me mid laugh and posted it on Facebook before I had a chance to delete it.

Before I knew it, that picture had more likes than any other picture I have on Facebook. People were posting “Wow, you look great!” and “Gorgeous!”. Even though I’m still not thrilled with the way I look when I’m laughing, clearly this is all perspective and that makes me wonder if everything else I’ve been worrying about is also my own perspective with a negative twist.

I don’t need to love everything about myself because then, I wouldn’t have the drive to achieve more. I want the most for myself and, bottom line, I love myself more than anyone else. I want to try to see the things that bother me as opportunities to better myself. I want to love every aspect of myself and mold who I am into who I deserve to be. For now, I’ll recognize when I’m picking on myself, but then I have to let it go. I can only be who I am in this moment and who knows, maybe most of the people I know really love that part about me.

I guess I’ll have to worry less and laugh more…even if I wish I had a prettier laugh, a genuine laugh is apparently far more attractive.

I’m sick.

Just the typical runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, needing a thousand tissues type of sick. Nothing severe, no need for antibiotics even, yet I’m absolutely miserable.

BEFORE you laugh in my face, let me remind you of one little thing…. I have MS.

No one understands what it means to get sick (even with a simple cold) unless you have MS (or a comparable illness).

My muscle spasms are back (not in full force THANK GOODNESS), my feet are vibrating, intense fatigue, general weakness, body heaviness (this sucks!), optic neuritis, and my lack of balance is actually pretty laughable.

In the last two weeks alone, I’ve had to leave work for muscle spasms, I could barely get up my stairway because my body was just so tired, and I fell in front of everyone at work (including the new people who don’t know I have MS, so, now I just look like the clumsy girl who can’t get herself together). I went to work one day this week without taking my sunglasses off (they let me do this via a note from my doctor about my optic neuritis and staring at the computer screen all day) and literally no balance.

I looked drunk, and maybe blind, but definitely drunk.

We had a visitor come in and this man saw me and was clearly terrified. He leaned up against a wall as I walked (okay realistically I tripped, stumbled and tumbled) down the hall to the bathroom. I looked at him and said Hi and he inched by me (still pressed against the wall) barely muttering Hi back as he scurried down the hall in the opposite direction. Did he think I couldn’t see him? I clearly didn’t look my best that day, and I definitely didn’t care. All I cared about was getting orange juice and more tissues.

Over all, I’ve definitely been sicker, and my symptoms could be worse. I have the next two days to recover and then I’m off again on Sunday. Hopefully that will be enough to get me back on my feet (and actually staying stable on them).

Thursday, April 4th: 289.8
Pounds gained this week: .6 
Total Pounds lost: 67.6

I’m not surprised. I haven’t been keeping up to date with my exercise routine and to say I’m “stressed” would be the understatement of the century.

It’s not that bad, I just have to make sure I’m keeping myself accountable. Going to my trainer tomorrow, hopefully that will boost my mood, if anything!

Goal for next week: 287.4

I haven’t updated in over a week, which is odd because I have so much to say. A lot is happening, so I’ll give you the bullet points to spare you from another one of my famous long posts.

I’ve been maintaining my weight for the last two weigh ins at 289.2, it went down to 289.0 and then up to 289.6, but overall its just been hovering for now and thats perfectly fine with me.

I’m moving. I have no idea where I’m going to live or if I’m going to even stay in Miami. I’m torn between my options, but luckily, I have about 2 months to make up my mind… Realistically, not knowing is driving me mad.

I’ve been going out with friends a lot. A couple times a week at least. I’ve been really good about not overindulging too bad and still enjoying myself. I’m also getting kinda tired of going out all the time so I’m going to scale back. Starting yesterday.

Last, but CERTAINLY not least: I had my year review with my neurologist. The appointment where we go over my MRI and discuss my MS “progress”. Well, turns out, I’M DOING FANTASTIC! My physical came back with no abnormalities and my MRI showed NO new lesions and only 1 active lesion.
Things haven’t been this good health wise since before I was diagnosed. If things continue like this, I like to think I can control my MS more than letting it control me.

In the end, I’ve been pretty happy recently. I’ve been studying non stop for the GRE and trying to solidify where I want to go to grad school. Beyond that I’m still volunteering at least every other week with the MS Society and I’m working non stop. Life has been busy and I couldn’t feel more blessed.

Life is good.

Weekly Weigh In

Thursday, March 14th: 289.2
Pounds lost this week: 3.8

Total Pounds lost: 68.2

Sorry about the late post, I had a family emergency to tend to yesterday so I didn’t have the opportunity to write my weekly weigh in post. This is for yesterday’s weigh in.

I mean, obviously I’m happy! That’s a huge drop and, while I know I can’t expect that every week, it’s nice to see it once in awhile!

I’m so close to being back at 70 pounds. At this point, it’s felt like I’ll never get back there. Finally it seems a little more realistic! I can’t stop now!

Goal for next week: 287.4

MS Bike 2014

Last week was the Bike MS South Florida 2014 event. This is the event that I’ve been working on with the MS Society for months. I’ve been going into the MS Society’s office about twice a month and doing side projects as much as I can.

The two-day event consists of a 50, 75, or 100 mile ride from South Florida down to Key Largo (and then returning to the same spot the next day). I showed up at 4:45 am to volunteer on Saturday (March 1st) and there were already riders there ready to go. I was in charge of volunteer check in and assigning volunteers to their stations. We had such great volunteer shirts!

When it came time for the riders to head out, the head of the event told me to go “see what I helped put together”. It was such a great feeling to be appreciated for all the work I put in!

After they took off, I had to run to work and get a good nights sleep. Sunday I had to be back at 9 am to hand out medals!

Day two came and I came in to find a BIG group of volunteers from a local high school that I spoke to a couple weeks earlier. Seeing them there was so heartwarming. I went to them and spoke about my story, about the ride, and about MS in general. They were receptive, but I didn’t realize so many would show up!

Everything felt great until the very end. A woman rode across the finish line and just started screaming and crying out. She had MS and was so proud of herself for finishing. I told her I had MS and she grabbed me and hugged me. She wanted a picture with me and then told me she rode for “us”, for any MS patient, and she took my hands in her hands and kissed them. Right then, another young girl rode into the finish zone. She had a big smile on her face and her parents were along the sidelines. I saw her go to kiss them and her mom burst out in tears. “Thank you for doing this for me! I can’t believe you did this for me!” she kept saying as she hugged her daughter.

Watching them made me realize that yes, I’m a volunteer, but this is all for MS patients. I’m the charity. I got stuck in this tug of war of feelings. On the one hand, I’m constantly struggling with the idea that I’m a lesser person because of my illness. On the other hand, I shouldn’t be feeling bad about myself. Here are THOUSANDS of people who spent their time not only riding, but fundraising and spreading some major awareness. I have to stop seeing my MS as a flaw or a weakness and start seeing it as the thing that makes me strong. I choose to talk about my MS openly. I choose to have a positive attitude despite my symptoms and fear of whats to come. I choose to take a healthy approach to my mental, emotional, and physical health out of respect for the body I was given. If anything, MS has made me stronger! Now I want to work on choosing to appreciate myself and my MS rather than seeing it as “points against me”.

I’ve decided to ride the ride next year. Bike MS of South Florida 2015, I’m coming for you!

Thursday, March 6th: 293.0
Pounds gained this week: 0.4
Total Pounds lost: 64.4

I haven’t done a true weigh in for a couple of weeks. I’m not disappointed. I went on vacation and took a break from the scale.

Overall, I’m feeling good. I’m solid in my diet, I’m consistent with my trainer, and my body is starting to (finally) feel much better.

The better I eat, the better my body feels. Less muscle tightness, less headaches, less back spasms. It’s as simple as that.

I’m not stopping now…very excited to see next weeks weigh in!

Bike MS South Florida is THIS WEEKEND!

Bike MS South Florida is THIS WEEKEND!

For the most part, I don’t really understand this whole “I hate my body” thing that other girls (and guys) complain about. I like my body. It’s really curvy, my skin is soft, and I’m very well proportioned. I should be praying to the plus size gods on a daily basis to thank them for this gift of a body!

Then, once in a while, that grateful mindset flips.

It happens every time I’m going to be in a bathing suit. I don’t care if I’m alone or with others (although alone is preferable), I hate the way my body looks and feels in a bathing suit. I feel like every roll is out on display and my “thick” thighs and over pouring arm fat is on display for everyone to see. Don’t even get me started on the widespread cellulite and stretch marks.

This past weekend I went down to Key West for a girls trip for one of my best friends birthdays. Not only was I the biggest girl there (as usual), but I don’t even own any shorts or tank tops. Not that I would wear them outside even if I did. My travel bag was filled with the basics of what I own…all black clothing. Black leggings. Black long sleeve tops. Even black underwear. I felt out of place. Ugly. But most of all, I secretly hated on my body all weekend.

I’m not even close to a normal weight yet and every time I have to show any part of my body that makes me uncomfortable, I really dig into myself. It’s this undeserving feeling. As if my size makes me less worthy of being out in the sun and enjoying a relaxing weekend away. I’m simply too fat (and gross) to feel good about myself when surrounded by thinner girls.

I recognize that this thought process is not only ridiculous, it’s extremely self deprecating and bad for my overall wellbeing. There’s no reason for me to be so hateful towards myself, I work hard to be healthy and I’m still losing weight. It would just be nice if I could bare to look at myself in the mirror before I go to the pool.

So, maybe I don’t look very good in a bathing suit right now. And MAYBE I should consider expanding my wardrobe past the color black. But I need to remember that I am BEAUTIFUL and this is not forever. If you don’t like something, change it. I’d like to go back to Key West next year, and I really look forward to wearing some cute shorts and a tank top when I go.

If you’ve read my blog at all, you know that, even in my hardest times, I try to focus on some sort of silver lining. I struggle with stress management and have focused on maintaining a negative attitude in the past. It wasn’t like I was a real life Daria or anything, but I complained often and was constantly over-stressing my mind, body and spirit.

I like to think I’ve made strides since then. I worked on my self awareness when it came to complaining and on letting go of grudges. I find that if I push for positive energy, it eventually manifests and I can’t help but think more constructive and healthy thoughts.

Just like with my weight over the past year, we all slide back into old habits sometimes, and I’m feeling the ill effects of that now. I’ve had a lot of stress recently and I don’t know how to manage any of it. I’m trying to stay positive, but the universe is testing my patience right now. I find that I’m having more difficulty ever losing weight (I couldn’t even bring myself to get on the scale last week). Not for lack of trying, in fact, this is probably the hardest I’ve ever worked. I know the stress is preventing my weight loss, now I just need to learn how to control my stress!

The last few days I’ve slipped on my diet. As a result, my body HURTS. My legs feel heavy, my head aches, I’m tired, my ribcage hurts, and my back is tight. Because of the stress, I’ve been clamping down on my jaw at night (and sometimes during the day)…this is probably connected to the headaches now that I think about it. I’ve been treating the symptoms but I know I need to get to the root.

Sometimes I forget that everything is holistic. My body and my brain are connected and just like when I used positive energy to my advantage (hello weight loss, less stress, and less pain!), negative energy will take over my body just the same.

I need to find my way back to a positive place. I don’t know what it is thats stressing me out so much but I better figure it out soon. My ability to a healthy existence depends on it.