One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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Guest Post: Svanhvit’s Story

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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.



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However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.

Discussion

There are 15 comments so far.

    Erin

    October 16, 2012

    What a wonderful and inspiring story. Svanhvit, please know how brave you are for going through all you did- and coming out on top…and for telling your story with such beauty and grace. I am having a really rough time right now- feeling very defeated and alone…reading your great words gave me a little hope -thank you! :-}

      Svanhvit

      October 17, 2012

      Erin, thank you! I send you big hugs and lots of strength. You will find your way.

    LisaM

    October 16, 2012

    Roni, if this isn’t reason to keep your blog going FOREVER, I don’t know what is. Svanhvit, thanks for giving Roni the gold star, and another big one goes to you!

      Svanhvit

      October 17, 2012

      Thank you, Lisa. That means a lot. And I so agree with you, Roni should never stop. Even in my darkest moments, her posts were always a great pick-me-up! :)

    nancy

    October 17, 2012

    Svanhit thank you for sharing. I know it will help me and others to keep going.
    I am also glad Roni takes the time to share her energy and spirit with us every day.

      Svanhvit

      October 17, 2012

      Thank you, Nancy. I much appreciate that. If I can help in any little way, I would be delighted – the help I have found has been so precious.

    Paula

    October 17, 2012

    A very powerful message. I needed it as I am going through one of the longest and roughest patches in my life. I am teetering right on the edge of giving up in every sense of the word. This post just pulled me back those few inches. Thanks for sharing.

      Svanhvit

      October 17, 2012

      I am glad. Don’t give up. You have infinite strength and you WILL make it. ((hugs))

    Geri

    October 17, 2012

    That was such an amazing story. It just makes me more proud of you than ever.

    Karen Jaffe

    October 17, 2012

    Svanhit, a very inspiring story and a wonderful tribute to being a friend across the miles. I’m sure so many people can relate to your story, and you are paying it forward with your display of courage and perseverance. Best of luck to you in your continued journey of personal growth!

      Svanhvit

      October 17, 2012

      Thank you so much, Karen, I much appreciate the good wishes.

    Sheri J

    October 17, 2012

    Svanhvit, your post really touched me and is so timely for me right now. I am VERY discouraged because after succeeding in losing the “magic” 10% (and then some) of my weight, my dr. is going to start me on insulin injections because the “magic” is not working for my glucose levels. Your story is very inspiring and motivating. Knowing how much you have struggled and suffered and still “kickin’ it” makes me realize that I can DO the same. I know so many others will find strength through your story as well and I cannot thank you enough for sharing your life with us.

      Svanhvit

      October 17, 2012

      Thank you, Sheri. I am humbled and glad that I am in any little way able to help. You really CAN do this.

    Carol

    October 18, 2012

    Wow! What an inspiring story. I work as a WW receptionist and sometimes people come to me with struggles like the ones you experienced and it’s hard to know what to say to them. I’m going to keep your story in mind as I try to help other people find their way on their weight loss journey.

      Svanhvit

      October 18, 2012

      Thank you, Carol. That means a lot to me.