You may notice I rarely accept guest posts, but when I do it’s from fellow bloggers or readers that I consider friends. So when Svanhvit emailed and asked if she could write one, I immediately said yes. I don’t “know” Svanhvit in a traditional way. We never met. We don’t even live on the same continent! But we’ve emailed and chatted on facebook for years and I do consider her a friend. I hope you find her story inspiring.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.”
– Sir Edmund Hillary
Mine is a story of long struggle and sickness – but also of perseverance, friendship and hope and so I would like to share it in the hope that it may perhaps give someone else a little hope.
I have always struggled with my weight and like so many, I thought that becoming skinny would be the solution to all my problems. The sad thing is, I never was fat. I was a skinny kid and a very normal teenager but saw myself as huge. I am 6″ tall and compared to my tiny friends, I always thought I looked like clutz. My struggles really began after having a second child in 2006, just 21 months after my first one. While pregnant, I was studying for and completing the written part of my bar exam in law. I also spent a lot of time on my own as my husband had to move away for work in the second half of my pregnancy.
I ate. A lot. My beautiful boy was born and just 4 weeks later we all moved to be with my husband in a not optimal flat, to say the least, in a place we didn’t know and where I knew no one. It rained and was grimy gray for 6 weeks when we first got there. I felt severly isolated and out of place and hardly slept. I was sad. I ate. I ate for comfort, I ate to keep going. I ate cheep calories that would give instant energy and some comfort. I was deep down in post-partum depression and didn’t realize it. The strain played havoc with my health. I had several serious bouts of mamitis with high fever and picked up every cold and flu going around. I kept beating myself up for not only not losing but continuing to gain weight. When my baby was a year old, I went back to studying for the second part of my bar exam with not much help. Still expecting myself to keep a perfect household, etc. I ended up burning out and getting seriously ill a month before my exam with herpes zoster (shingles) on my eye. It was horrible – so painful and just drained me of the little energy I had. Still, quitting was not an option, so I went through with my exam in july of 2007. Different reasons made me choose to move back to my own country for work with my 2 babies, leaving my husband behind for 8 months. That was a hard time. Getting the kids settled in a new home and country. They kept getting ill. I was new in my work and working hard. I crashed again and got another bout of zoster in late 2008. I have since gotten a couple of bouts and struggled untill early 2011.
I then found a way out of that with exercise. It was great – until I injured myself gravely in January 2012 and broke a disk in my back, resulting in agonizing pain and paralysis and a surgery in April 2012.
This, of course, is a long story cut very short. There were plenty of happy times. Glorious times. Sweet times. But through it all was always that struggle. I wanted to lose the weight I packed on. I started. Over and over and over again. I would do a couple of days and then find an excuse to give up. I was always looking to be perfect. Do everything right. Find that one magic formula that would change everything.
Through the years, I have been reading Roni‘s blog. I even proudly call myself her friend, despite the thousands of miles that are between us. She’s inspired me ever since I first found her blog when Ryan was still a baby. Even in the times I gave up and was mad at the world, I would keep reading. Little by little it all started to seep in. Things weren’t working the way I wanted them to because I was always trying to do them someone else’s way. Not mine.
But I kept reading.
I kept thinking.
Ever so often, a blog post would come just at the right moment. I have cried over this blog a thousand times. Happy tears and sad ones, tears of joy, laughter, hope. All through them the message would come through,
“You can do this.”
“You don‘t have to be perfect.”
“It‘s a way of life.”
“There’s no on and off.”
“You are stronger than you think.”
I can’t count the times I have sent off a virtual hug, thanking Roni for different posts that lifted me up.
After my surgery this spring, something happened. It was hard. Agonizing. Extremely painful. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to my body. And in some weird way, it was the best thing that happened as well.
If I was to get through this, I would have to find a way. I found a well of strength because I had no option but to be strong. After 6 long years of trying all of a sudden, I am not trying. I am not over-analyzing. I am just doing. Because in the end, I had to find a way to make this work for me. And by making myself strong, I am giving myself a good chance of not injurying myself.
So, I go about my work. I have changed my eating habits pretty drastically and feel a lot better. I don‘t stress it, though, and I live life and roll with the punches. If there’s fun and drinks at work one night, I will join in. I enjoy a fun evening with my kids
with ice cream and popcorn and a movie. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t drop huge numbers. It‘s not about the speed – it’s a journey and I finally know I will get there.
I have gone from struggling to walk 10 minutes at a time in late May this year to now swimming 1400 meters sidestroke without a break. I could never do the sidestroke before but always wanted to. It was hard at first, and I thought I would drown. I couldn‘t even make the length of the swimming pool without a break. Now I can walk and hike for miles. Squats have suddenly
become rather easy. I enjoy making good choices in food and exercise is my outlet. I so enjoy it.
I have become stronger, physically and mentally. I am more assertive. I am calmer. Happier. Good things are happening both privately and professionally. I go for things that are good for me
and quitting is not an option. It’s never an option. I have learned to ask for things that are important to me. I make plans —simple ones— to keep me going. I will be travelling quite a lot for work in future, so I find a hotel with a fitness area and I take along a couple of DVD‘s to do in my room. I don’t overstress the food but I strive to make good choices.
Most important of all –I have realized that the number on the scale is not the be all and end all of things. Sure, I feel better. Stronger. My clothes fit better. But essentially, my weight being this number or another won’t make a difference. It‘s what I choose to do with my life. Every.single.day. And it’s good to have a choice.
So please, if you are feeling down and hopeless – there IS a way. You CAN find it. Keep looking. Keep reading. Keep reaching out. Look inside yourself – there is a wonderful fountain of strength and determination in there, you just have to dare to use it.
Thank you Roni. You helped me through more dark moments than I care to tell you. You have changed my life. Your generosity and friendship gave me hope and hold when I needed it the most – and it inspired me for years – and helped me dare to dig deep and live to my potential.