Being Overweight and a Bit About a Wedding Dress from 1995

your overweight lifeYesterday, I woke at 5AM to prep for the day’s events: I moved to Boulder. The entire process – packing up my life, yet again (the 4th time in only 3.5 years) has been nothing short of cathartic. I’m a single 39-year-old woman who still seems to fill a 16 foot moving truck, and that’s after donating five (and half) Honda CRVs full of assorted and sundry shit to various Goodwill dropoff points around town.

Dear sweet Jesus, I am overweight.

Let’s couple that with looking in the mirror and seeing the body I’ve…oozed into after 3.5 years of excuses.

Overweight is really the only word for it.

So I got to pondering exactly why it was that we’re always seemingly to fight The Battle of The Bulge in some form or another. Waistlines, general life bloat — it seems to me that it’s a matter of two halves that come together to make a whole. And when we don’t let them meet in the middle, we get the unsexy that the ladies refer to as Muffin Top (or Side Ass, which I’ve taken to calling it when speaking to my friend Jenn Fields) or the other unsexy we refer to as Storage Unit.

Behavior and Beliefs.

Why Do You Keep Doing That Thing?

Coming from a gal who used to weigh a rather remarkable 170lbs, I know overweight. I also know right how I got there in the first place (let’s just say that it’s never good when the folks at the Hardee’s drive-thru recognize your voice over the intercom). I woke up one day and said, “This sucks.” Five months later, I’d shed forty pounds. I got fit. I got so fit, in fact, that I became a personal trainer and ended up running my own business in that field for over three years.

I changed a pretty significant portion of my behavior. I started working out (and loving it) for the first time in my life. I paid attention to what I ate.

And here I am, over twelve years since I dropped my baby-got-back-front-diagonal-sideways looking at a body I don’t dig. Granted, I’m nowhere even close to that OMGapotamus gal I used to be, but I know one thing for certain:

I’d fallen ass-first into some bad behavior. Those things I didn’t need to be doing.

This is why diets generally fail. People see diets as instances, short-term schedules they can plug into and then unplug from once their goals are met.

Or until they quit. Which is what usually happens.

Changing anything requires changing your behavior. Changing your behavior sure as hell isn’t a one-night stand, either. It requires a long-term commitment to a set of practices that are good for you. For the people you love (starting with you). Your business.

And if you keep finding yourself in the same fucking situation time and time again, it’s a result of two things:

You didn’t change the behavior that led to this epic destination in Fuck Thisville and you didn’t have the beliefs that back up the necessary changes.

Whatcha Thinkin’, Vern?

As I packed my house for this move, I came across boxes that hadn’t been opened in over 3 years. And by not opened, I mean taped shut in Las Vegas in November of 2008 and never opened since. Now, before I’d moved to Las Vegas, I’d purged. My then-boyfriend and I dispensed with unfathomable piles of crap via sale or scrap. I’d done this “purging” nearly every time I’ve moved.

And here I was, doing the same goddamned thing again (and needing a 16 foot truck to fit what remained, to boot). Purging. My life was – again – overweight.

So why is it that this shit – this “overweightedness” – keeps happening?

Because somewhere, I don’t believe in what’s required to change my behavior.

We’re creatures of habit. We can do amazing things. We have inspiring thoughts. But for fuck’s sake can you tell me what a wedding dress from 1995 is doing in my everloving basement?!?!

NO! You CAN’T! Because I can’t! I also can’t tell you why there’s a box of assorted cleaning products, a yellow corduroy dog coat, one oven mitt and a shitting Little Book of Zen in a box in my garage that’s been taped closed for three years! I have no bloody idea why I still own a skirt from 1997 that I bought at TJ Maxx on FM 1960 in Houston, Texas that’s ripped clear down one side and doesn’t fasten. I have a pile of clothes that I love to wear and can’t because a water buffalo stole my soul while I slept and made my ass the size of one of the smaller Baltic States. I love the cake. I eat the cake. I don’t need the cake, but I want the cake so I eat it and then I complain when my ass resembles Lithuania.

The problem: my behaviors ain’t got backup from the beliefs.

Maybe that sounds familiar.

So What’s Next? Cut the Muffin Top

Not even Seinfeld could make a business based on muffin tops work. Why are you holding on to yours? Your excess.

Take a look at your behavior and figure out what you need to believe in order for the behavior to change.

Are you worth more?

Do you deserve more?

Can you live with less?

What is it all worth?

How does it make you feel when you spend your energy paying down a 30-year mortgage in Fuck Thisville?

Here comes a holiday week for those of us in the US. There’s no better time than now to celebrate your independence from bad habits and ruts and start working on a set of beliefs that will set your life – in every iteration – towards slender.

Nimble.

Agile.

Easy to maneuver and looks good in sexy underthangs.

Clients you love.

A business you love running.

A life you wake up to every day and think, “Wow – I don’t really want for anything and love what I have.”

Crazy shit like that.

Being overweight – it’s not about hormones, glands, or forces out of our control. It’s about having (and owning) the beliefs required to put that house in Fuck Thisville on the market and relocate to the greater Awwwyeah area.

 

39 comments
Jackie Hutchings
Jackie Hutchings

Great post Erika. The only way to really lose weight and keep it off is to change habits. I finally weaned myself off sugar. It took a year before chocolate stopped creeping into my thoughts and the cravings slipped away. So many weight loss program don't tackle our eating habits - they just get us to eat less of the bad stuff.

cindy
cindy

I read your stuff and some days it's like you have hacked my brain!  I'm reading this one just a day after I'd hopped my 25+ #s overweight butt off the sofa saying, "enough of this shit"!  Crazy but it makes me feel better knowing I'm not alone.  I've laid down some plans (not my customary mode, mind you) and come hell or high water, I'm getting on a different path.  Another slap well placed!

Tonia Daigle
Tonia Daigle

I've been reading your column for a long time, but I've never commented until now. Your columns always speak to me in some deeply personal way. Heavy with a sense of humor is what I often times think. This one really blew me away. Like not only am I thinking about what I have to do lose weight, but what I have to do to make my life less complicated and bloated. You know, how do I stop carrying around all of this excess baggage that contributes to me carrying around all of this extra baggage. 

Katharine Tapley
Katharine Tapley

My husband and I had a conversation kind of like this recently. We're going through some shitty job/chronic illness stuff that is, unfortunately, out of our control for the time being. The mass of stuff that we're holding on to from the last moves, the things that we don't use, won't use (baby stuff that our 4 and 6 year olds no longer need), and depress us to see (clothes that fit during the competitive cyclist days and will never fit again)...those things we can control, and we can control them by getting rid of them. Passing them on to the young, the broke and the skinny.  

Lauryn Doll
Lauryn Doll

Fuck Thisville .... I've been meaning to move out of this neighborhood for a while now.  The community meetings chew pubes.

cindy heine
cindy heine

The only response to this is - exactly!

Shannon Johnson
Shannon Johnson

F*ck yeah! And Lithuania totally looks like a dimply butt.

JackieDotson
JackieDotson

Just the slap of reality I needed. I'm not skinny, (I am 25 lbs overweight for my height) but I am not obese, so this makes me "skinny" in the eyes of a lot of people). Took a year off from triathlon (partly economic reasons, partly burnout from 4 straight years of doing a lot of races). Anyway, I noticed that I gained nearly 10 lbs, even after giving up most fast food in the past year. Not cool.  Recently, I read the book Turning Pro (which was a slap in the face on every page), and that, coupled with a series of life events led me to decide to "turn pro" in my own life. A big part of turning pro for me is keeping commitments that are important to me. I've been "meaning" to lose this 25 lbs for YEARS now but always broke the commitment. Finally I'm actually going to do it along with a bunch of other stuff....

Sderk
Sderk

Loved, loved, loved this.  I woke-up with this very epiphany  -- too much junk in my trunk and in my basement, about 6 months ago.  35 pounds, and 23 car-loads later, I'm still getting rid of fat & stuff.  It's reminders like this story that give me the kick in the pants to keep going, and change my behaviors so it doesn't happen again.  Thanks!!

Melisa Anderson
Melisa Anderson

I think with every new post I read, I love you more. I am an overweight personal trainer. My house is full of clutter. My brain is always full to the point that I experience insomnia. Connected? Perhaps.

Shelly Kramer.
Shelly Kramer.

Well said, says the girlfriend who just sent you freaking delicious designer chocolates that she hopes you become as addicted to as she is. So that your asses will be somewhat the same size. After all, what are friends for?

JosephRatliff
JosephRatliff

At the beginning of last year business was BOOMING!  And so was my waistline.  Then, in a short matter of 2.5 months, health issues started appearing one after another... ... so I got fucking tired of it and told myself "Self, fuck this shit!" Over the next 12 months, I lost 72 lbs... lost 2 sizes in pants... and am still keeping it off. Smaller plate size, more balanced diet, and walking 3 miles every day... combined with staying active and hydrated. Oh yeah, and stopped drinking soda and eating ice cream 100% . Over the same year, I "magically" lost half of our stuff ;)

Rebecka Hathaway
Rebecka Hathaway

gawd this made me laugh!   "a water buffalo stole my soul while I slept " That's exactly what happened to me about 20 years ago. This post is indeed timely for me as well. About 3 months ago I woke up and realized I didn't want to be like "this" for one more day.Simple as that- the switch was flipped and everything is changing  from my body weight to all the clutter around me. I've been a professional dieter for years, but it finally occurred to me that I have to make a plan that I can stay with for the rest of my life, not just til the weight comes off. Yay me! and yay you too!

April Johnson
April Johnson

Must. muster. up. the. energy. to. make. some. [effin] changes. 

Shawn Scott
Shawn Scott

JAYzuz first someone sends me the "21 pictures to restore your faith in human kind" and now this?  I'm bawling in my office and everyone thinks my mom died....  I apologize in advance for the notinagoodspakindofway fat-wrap that my belly gave your fist as you suckerpunched me in the youshouldtakebettercareofyourself gland. 

Janine Smith
Janine Smith

Funny. I was planning my day this morning, and realized there was absolutely nothing I have to buy today. But looking around the house, there's a hell of a lot I could get rid of. Got a whole new to-do list now....

talktherapybiz
talktherapybiz

Entertaining way of bitch slapping us into seeing how excess weight = under-accessing boundaries around food, professional attitudes and habits, and gluttony. I'm sure as shit going to that 6:30 p.m. kettle bells class tonight. Happy 4th, Erika and readers!

Mike Stenger
Mike Stenger

Last week, was watching a webcast and hearing Travis Robertson speak. He shared a quote from someone (can't remember who), but it was something like, "People aren't afraid of failure. They're afraid that they won't be able to maintain success." That can relate to losing weight and a number of other things. Never thought of it that way before.

Hannah Dee
Hannah Dee

Seriously timely shit. I have been musing about this myself, ALOT. As I tend to be a "glass half empty" gal, I've been practicing verbalizing and thinking like a "glass half full" chick. I find saying things out loud makes them real for me and motivates me to continue the good behavior.

The Redhead
The Redhead

I quit. You win. (I *had* two..another story for another time)

Kellie J. Walker
Kellie J. Walker

What was that? I couldn't hear you over my crunching my way through an entire bag of chips. Your timing is impeccable, Red. I'm taking advantage of a small home project to cut out much of the bloat in our home. And, since I'm too cheap to buy yet another round of 'fat pants', I'm finally giving up soda... and recommitting to a daily Bikram Yoga routine. I'd have done it sooner. But, I was working really hard to prove that I could eat ice cream, drink Coca Cola, sit on my ass all day, and stay thin. #ihatefailedexperiments

Bryce Alan Katz
Bryce Alan Katz

Was that a bitch slap? Cuz it felt like one ... and that's not a bad thing for me today. Now you've got me all energized and stuff. Tuesday? Still time to pwn you!

Danielle Tomlinson
Danielle Tomlinson

Amen! I think the main issue is we are encouraged and taught and rewarded for "having it all", "having more", "everything is bigger in America", our houses, our cars, our asses, our portions.. all it takes is a small trip outside the country to see how much excess we have. Is it really making anyone happier?? I recently watched 'Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead' along with 'Forks over Knives' and realized (just what you said above) that I am the only one who can make this change. Good luck with landing in Awwww Yeah ville...I bet it's a super happy place! Love your writing!

Tracie Perniciaro
Tracie Perniciaro

Red - you have hit a nerve with this girl. I've just lost 50 lbs in only 4 months! FINALLY HEALTHY and thin as well!! Back fitting in my wedding dress in fact. PM me if you'd like to know how. -Tracie Perniciaro

Claire Hay
Claire Hay

Totally agree. Excess is excess no matter where it is in your life.  Up until a year ago (when I had to buy a mattress), everything I owned would fit into the back (or on top, in the case of my skis) of my Subaru Outback. I lived like that for almost 3 years. That is the standard that I continue to hold myself to--if all of my soft goods (non-furniture) and gear (kayak, skis, bike) can't fit into my car, then I get rid of crap until it can. In other news, I've recently lost 3" from my ass :)

MaureenEMcBride
MaureenEMcBride

Way fun post. Popular myth=To loose weight all you have to do is eat less and move more. Reality=To loose weight you have to eat a f$%#$ of a lot less and move a f#$%@#$ of a lot more. You have to keep track of what you put in your mouth and get on the scales a few times a week. You have to stop eating as if you are seven feet tall.  And you have to create an environment around you that supports you choices. This means planning. Ahead. Haven't come close to all this yet but working on it!  

Christina
Christina

Love this one, came at the right time - thanks!

Kpenn12
Kpenn12

Got you beat. I have dragged 3 wedding dresses across the country. Mom's, MIL 's and mine. At 30+ years mine is the newest.

Sheila Scarborough
Sheila Scarborough

I've been saying that I have grown a butt the size of Nebraska in the last few years, but Lithuania is a MUCH better analogy!  Thanks for this....:)

Rich Mackey
Rich Mackey

Please stop speaking directly to me in these posts. It's unsettling. kthxbye

Lou
Lou

I sent you that picture of me in confidence *sob* I didn't know you'd use it.  Now everyone knows I'm a tubby bitch.

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