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The girl who lost 100 lbs., lost herself in the process, and got her life back after a 60 lb. gain…

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Monday, December 29, 2014

For those of you who don’t know me, I started my weight loss journey in Aug. of 2010. It took me almost 4 years to hit the huge milestone of losing 100 lbs. which I did in April of this year. While it took me 4 years to lose 100 lbs. it only took me 8 months to gain back 60 of those lbs.

You would think I would be dripping with disgust and shame. For a while I was. I was so embarrassed and humiliated when I went from 166 back to Twoterville, that I stayed away from Spark like it was the Bubonic Plague, only furthering my weight gain. The cost of staying away from Spark was so much higher than the number on the scale. I let my fear of disappointing others cause me to isolate, and rather than share my pain with the people who have been such a huge component in my weight loss journey, I carried the burden alone. I have learned that carrying the weight of disappointment in your life riding solo, makes it so much easier to add physical weight to the emotional weight that caused me to gain the physical weight in the first place.

I have spent the majority of my life alone. I didn’t meet the love of my life until I was almost 40. A single mother of a 10 year old boy, my prayers were answered when I met the love of my life. Or so I thought. I thought I had finally found the one. Not only the man who would be a good husband to me, but a man that would be a good father to my son, who never really had one. My son did not meet his father until he was 5, and he only saw him 3 times before he died of a drug overdose, when my son was 8.

While it was not easy raising a child on my own, I am grateful for the experience, because my son and I are closer than just about any mother and child can be. We are thick as thieves, and while he and I both had to make many sacrifices, while I spent 7 years in school earning a double major in both Elementary Education and Special Education as a full time single mom, I knew it was to provide a better life for my son. I also knew I was setting a good example for him. I have always believed that an education is the one thing that no one can take away from you, and I instilled that in my son during the process of earning my degree. I graduated with honors in May of 2013, got engaged in June, and got married in July, rocking a weight loss of almost 70 lbs. to boot. In the words of Timbuk 3, I felt like my future was so bright, I had to wear shades.

My son and I moved out of the house we had lived in for 10 years. For those of you who are familiar with children on the Autism Spectrum, my son is borderline Aspergers. He also suffers from severe anxiety, sensory integration disorder, and ADD. Change is very hard for children that suffer from these kinds of disorders. I was ripping my son away from the only house, school, and friends that he had ever known. Not to mention his grandparents, who lived only 20 minutes away. I know it was so hard on him, but I figured it was for the greater good, because he would be gaining a mother who would be happy beyond measure, and he would be gaining a father in the process. We moved almost 2 hours away. We were both scared, but excited for this new chapter in our lives.

On our wedding day, my son went up to my husband and hugged him and said, “I can finally call you Dad now!” Just when I thought I could not be any happier, seeing my son’s happiness moved me to the point that my cup overflowed with joy. It was like a fairytale.

Two weeks after the honeymoon, my husband asked me for a divorce. I was devastated, but I begged him to give the marriage a chance. In the 2 weeks that followed, I became a target of verbal, emotional, and mental abuse. I knew it was over when in a fit of anger my husband proceeded to hit his head on the counter repeatedly until his forehead split open and started to bleed. Then he turned to me and said, “Look what you made me do.” I should have run like hell after that, but I was determined to try and make it work. I walked on eggshells for the next week and then I pleaded with him to go to marriage counseling. He told me he would rather put a gun to his head and pull the trigger.

I agreed to leave, but unfortunately during the time I was trying to save my brand new marriage, my house sold, and my son and I had no home to go to. We had to move in with my parents. I have never come so close to coming undone. My heart and my spirit were broken. My son’s heart was broken. I was the poster child for grief and devastation. I did not know how to keep from coming unglued. I turned to exercise. I became a fitness freak. I got to the point that I was working out 2 to 2.5 hours a day. I was burning off anywhere from 1200 to 1800 calories a day, and I was only eating about 1400 calories a day. While it had taken me over 3 years to lose 60 lbs., it only took me 7 month to lose the additional 40 that would take me to my 100 lbs. weight loss marker, in April of this year. As I am sure you know, the smaller you get, the harder the weight gets to lose. Losing 40 lbs in 7 months, after already losing 60 of it, was an almost impossible feat. I did it, and I was so freaking proud of myself. From a size 24 to a size 10. Man I was the bomb.com. I was so proud of my accomplishment. I took a bajillion pictures. I wrote blogs. I was on fire.

While I am so grateful that my parents (mom and stepfather) took my son and I in, it was the hardest year of my life. Not only because of the pain and humiliation of my brand new failed marriage, and the loss of dignity in not being able to support my son on my own, along with the shame and guilt that I carried for ripping him away from all he had ever known and loved, only to raise his hopes and spirits for the father he always wanted, and even though I knew it wasn’t my fault, I felt like I had ripped his heart out of his chest along with my own. I felt like a failure in so many ways. On top of that all though, my mother and I are as different as night and day, and living under her roof, meant living under her rules. There were numerous fights. A lot of 4 letter words. Screaming. Crying. Depression. My son bore witness to the 2 people he loved the most at each other’s throats. Talk about kicking a child when he was down. I think I was on my way to the worst mother of the year award.

Losing weight, and exercising became the focal point of my life. I pushed myself way beyond the limits of physical pain. I went from never having run a mile in my life until August of 2013, to running a half marathon only 3 months later that November. I have done irreparable damage to my body. Now when I run, I have to run with an ankle brace on each ankle and a knee brace on each knee.

I realize now, at 227 lbs., after gaining 60 lbs. only since April, how I lost myself when I lost all that weight. I pushed myself to the point of excruciating and taxing physical pain, in a desperate attempt to avoid the emotional pain of my failed marriage. I did not allow myself to grieve. I avoided the pain instead of dealing with it.

In June I got hired to be a 5th grade teacher. Finally, after a full year of substitute teaching and after 7 years of school, while love had failed me, my professional dreams had come to fruition. All of that hard work had finally paid off. I was finally going to be able to make enough money to support my child for the first time in my life, without the help of a husband or my parents. I moved 2 hours away from my parents in a city I had never been to, in a county I had never been in. I ended up having to resign from my job, because even though I had fully disclosed my criminal background (in 1997 I got arrested, resulting in 2 misdemeanors), the principal did not look over my application until after she hired me, and she did everything in her power to make my life a living hell from day 1. I fought as long and as hard as I could, but after being accused of sexual harassment, and after having the police called on me, under suspicion of showing up to work under the influence of alcohol, (which when asked to take a breathalyzer I of course blew a 0.00), I got a lawyer, who advised me the best thing to do would be to resign because she was not going to let up until she found reason to fire me. So I resigned in October. I spent thousands of dollars on my move and in preparing my classroom, buying supplies, furniture, etc. so when I became jobless, I found myself in serious credit card debt as well.

I began eating my feelings and buying bigger pants, but the food was not enough to comfort me. I turned to drinking on almost a daily basis, and I started smoking again after having quit for almost 3 years. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and started having panic attacks. The only thing that kept me from losing it altogether, was that I knew I had to find a way to keep it together for my son’s sake. I sought professional help, and found a psychiatrist. I have felt “off” for the majority of my life. Always driven by irrational and impulsive urges (like for instance marrying a man I had only known for 7 months). I was diagnosed as being bi-polar. I have been taking bi-polar medication since October 9th. It has been the most life changing experience of my life. The last time I saw my psychiatrist, I cried tears of gratitude and thanked him for helping me to get my life back. This is the first time in my entire life that I have felt normal. That I have felt whole. I am subbing part time for only $10 an hour. I had to get insurance through Obamacare. I am filing for bankruptcy. I am fat again, and I am happier than I have ever been in my life. I have come back to Spark and have joined BLC 27. I am so excited about my future weight loss journey, because while I know it will be hard, I know I will get back down to 166 lbs and back to a size 10. The difference though will be that I will not lose myself in the process this time around. I will not neglect my son, my home, my friends, my support system and my family in the process. When I lost those last 40 lbs., I gave up everything else in the process. I will lose the weight again, but I will not sacrifice everything else in my life to do so. I will have balance. I will be a good mom, and I will be a good daughter. I will be a good BLC teammate, and I will find a good job and be a good worker.

I will lose the weight again, but this time I will keep it off because I will do it the right way. After 6 months of smoking I am quitting on Jan. 1st, so it will be a double whammy, but I know it can be done. I know this blog was longer than the Encyclopedia Britannica, so most of you probably checked out halfway through. I wrote it more for me than for you. However, if you are still here, I hope than if nothing else, you can see that the good news about hitting your bottom is that you have nowhere else to go but up. I have fallen off the horse 800 times, and this time I fell hard and fast and it hurt and it sucked. But there is something very powerful and triumphant about getting back on the horse, after such a hard fall. I am so very excited about the journey I am about to embark on and I am sharing it with you at the very beginning, not only so you can be a part of it with me, but so that you can help keep me accountable. If you see me go 3 or more days without sparking please come stalk my butt. As strong as I am, I know that the greatest danger to me is when I try to do things like losing weight, quitting smoking, surviving financial insecurity, and divorce alone. You are all and always have been such an important component in my success.

On Friday, I had lunch with my biological father, who I have not seen in over 2 decades. This last week I have cleaned my house more thoroughly than I ever have in my whole life. For the first time in ummm...ever.... I think...I cancelled a third date with a guy so gorgeous it borders ridiculousness, because even though he does not fall into the d*uche canoe category that most of the men I seem to attract fall into, I know I can do better. I chose to be alone and to continue to clean my house, even though my son was with my parents, because I knew I would get more joy doing something good for myself, than being with someone who I could already tell was taking me for granted.

That in itself is probably one of the greatest milestones of my life. Choosing to be alone rather than with a Hottie McHott Hott. If it weren't for the fact that I do not want to jinx myself, and wind up with egg on my face, I would sing......"The future's so bright....I've got to wear shades." :)

God bless you all.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This made me smile and cry.

    GURL....YOU are the picture of resilience. And grace.

    2246 days ago
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    2257 days ago
  • no profile photo CD9753279
    Hi Shelby! I think you should write a book about your experiences so that the world can know what an amazing woman you are. You have had to face so much but you are still fighting for your lovely boy and for you. Love and hugs Sarah xxx (aka Millie)
    2270 days ago
    2336 days ago
    Shelby, I checked back in to spark today for the first time in almost 2 years and came right over. I am sorry for all that has gone on... but know you from our conversations before. You will find your bliss.
    2358 days ago
    What an inspiring story. While you've certainly faced many hardships--you have overcome them all.

    2363 days ago
    Whenever I have time to read, I look for you...you are SO awesome and so inspiring! God will bring true joy into your life; you have so earned it!
    2365 days ago
  • HARLOW10
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    2365 days ago
    Seriously amazing. I love how real and candid you are. You're a warrior, chica!!
    2381 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13939073
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    2383 days ago
    Such an amazing story. You did it once and you can do it again. Glad you found happiness,that's more important than the numbers on the scale. And because you're happy.you can head for the weight loss with a clear and focused mind.you go girl!
    2383 days ago
    what a great blog keep at it
    2384 days ago
    you go girl
    2387 days ago
  • no profile photo TORRESLY77
    Thank you for sharing, God bless you and may he continue strengthening you through out your journey.
    2389 days ago
    You and I have a lot in common, I wish you all the best and though it's been a long tough road you're a stronger person for it. BEST OF LUCK! Keep your head up - thank you for sharing emoticon
    2389 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12915013
    Thanks for sharing your story. You are amazing. God Bless you.
    2389 days ago
    You are amazing! Be proud of yourself...you've been through a lot and came out stronger. Best of luck in reaching your goals! emoticon emoticon
    2390 days ago
    I can relate to much of what you said. My heart goes out to you and your son. I wish both of you all the very best. emoticon
    2390 days ago
    I am so proud of your strength and courage!!! emoticon emoticon
    2390 days ago
    Thanks for sharing, that must have taken some courage.

    I have experienced quite a number of the things you went through myself. I know about loosing weight being so proud of it and then gaining it again. In me it was RA slowing me down, hormonal problems and making unwise food choices.....

    So we are in this together. Lets shed this weight and this time for good.

    emoticon emoticon
    2391 days ago
  • SJ4TH90
    Thank you for sharing—unfortunately sometimes there are more pot holes than smooth roads. And even with all your woes, it looks like you have a good attitude—I'm not sure I would have survived as well as you have. Congrats on all your accomplishments, big and small!
    2391 days ago
  • KIMBERLY0916
    keep pushing .. keep going!!

    we can be an inspiration to each other!

    sometimes meds work sometimes they don't

    i'm finding out once again meds and me don't mix .. but i'll try it their way for a little bit .. meanwhile i'd gone from almost 300 in Feb 2012 down to a steady 180 most of 2013 .. and down to 165 by June 2014 .. then started meds and psychiatric stress and relationship stress led to bad eating and sedentary lifestyle .. and I've regained up to 200 on the scale :-(

    i'm working on refocusing on healthier eating and moving more every day
    2391 days ago
    This was amazing, and so are you. I believe in you, SparkSister!
    2391 days ago
    What a beautiful blog. I love that you have such a positive attitude, despite all the pain that you've been through. I can't wait to see your progress in 2015!
    2391 days ago
    I say sing it loud and proud! It doesn't matter that we fall but that we get up again. And you have gotten up again and again and again. I understand the struggle with BP and congratulate you on taking your meds--it's very important. I wish you peace. And I already know you'll be successful on your journey!
    2392 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14643906
    You have so much strength to get through what you have. Glad you came back.
    2392 days ago
  • no profile photo KADDYMOMMA
    Great Story!!!
    Please keep on keeping on!!!

    2392 days ago
  • TALA9431
    I'm happy your back. There's been many of times I've logged on to spark people just to read your blogs. I've got to get my sister on this saddle. She mirrors you in some ways. emoticon
    2392 days ago
  • NEWNANCY2012
    My 41 year old daughter was diagnosed BP when she was a 19 year old college student. We have always loved and supported her through her ups and downs. She is an elementary school music teacher who loves her students. She loves her dog Nemo. So do we!
    2392 days ago
    God Bless You! It's amazing that you came through all of the "stuff" that you did!
    2392 days ago
    great blog - thank you for sharing.
    2392 days ago
  • PUGLOVER1999
    Ditto what UNICORN212 said! Ditto what a lot of people said!

    You are so courageous to reveal all your struggles with us, and you are so courageous to DEAL with them now! You are courageous to come back to SparkPeople, which is exactly where you belong and will get the help you need / deserve!

    I am going to friend you, hoping you will friend me back. I want to watch your progress and hopefully encourage you on the way!

    You have certainly encouraged and inspired me!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    BTW, I agree with the teacher who complimented you on your writing. I had thought the same thing! You have a lot going for you! Just one is your ability to express yourself clearly and interestingly!
    2393 days ago
    What a strong, brave person you are. My son has all those diagnoses so I know it can be very trying, because of the school system even more than because of him.

    You always had great love for your son, knew it and were motivated by it. Sounds like now you have great love for yourself too. I hope it takes you far.

    God bless.
    2393 days ago

    2393 days ago
  • ARAZA30
    You're a strong woman. Best wishes!
    2393 days ago
    Very motivational. We all have had struggles but wow you are a amazing woman. Good luck in 2015.
    2393 days ago
    I didn't nod off; rather was inspired by your amazing story. emoticon Thank-you for sharing. I am encouraged by your accomplishments; challenges not-withstanding. Your obvious love of your son shines throughout your blog; which by the way is well written; sorry as a teacher; I always appreciate that; felt that I should mention it; sorry about your failed marriage; don't know how long you dated but two weeks after the ceremony - a divorce? Assume your husband never consented to counseling?
    I believe those shades will be yours again emoticon
    2393 days ago
    I didn't nod off; rather was inspired by your amazing story. emoticon Thank-you for sharing. I am encouraged by your accomplishments; challenges not-withstanding. Your obvious love of your son shines throughout your blog; which by the way is well written; sorry as a teacher; I always appreciate that; felt that I should mention it; sorry about your failed marriage; don't know how long you dated but two weeks after the ceremony - a divorce? Assume your husband never consented to counseling?
    I believe those shades will be yours again emoticon
    2393 days ago
  • ANGELN325
    I'm so proud of you for coming back after some difficult battles. We can do this and your future is bright....even when the challenges happen because it's through those struggles that we grow.
    2393 days ago
  • TAMANI0727
    Hey "Teach"!
    I have sooooo much in common with you...Career and family...Like I tell myself every day- Hang in there, girl!
    Tamani :-
    2393 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15184743
    wow! I too have a son with Asperger's. I couldn't imagine being strong enough to do it alone! WTG! You can do it!!!
    2393 days ago
    WOW girl!
    YOU are the spark!
    I'll be there for you and trust me when i say you're gonna make it! ;)
    2393 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14806848
    Congrats of finding love and congrats on all the progress you have made and all the progress you will make in the coming year.
    2394 days ago
    emoticon emoticon

    :¦:-* ♥ ~ Keep Spreading the Spark SP Friend!
    (¨`•.•´¨) ```
    `•.¸ (¨ `•.•´¨) ♥♥†♥♥
    (¨`•.•´¨) ¸.•´
    ``•.¸.•´ ~~

    2394 days ago
    Great strength of character is carved into us by our life events. Congrats on surviving your battles and popping back up with a positive spirit! You can do this!
    2394 days ago
  • no profile photo CD10895053
    You're on your way to a better you! I can feel it in your blog and I know you can feel it in your bones!! Thanks for sharing!
    2394 days ago
  • MAMABEAR6074
    WOW!!!! We have A LOT in common! Thank you for sharing your story, humor and all. ;)
    2394 days ago
    I hope 2015 is your best year ever!
    2394 days ago
    Thank you for sharing all you've been thru, all you've done.

    This is a new year and new beginnings.

    You aren't alone, and needn't feel alone. You have friends here in Sparkland that are waiting to help you move forward in your journey.

    Please count me as one...and lean on me when you need.

    FebeCG emoticon
    2394 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11319058
    thank you for sharing your story with us. Truly heart felt wishes go out to you and your upcoming successful journey.
    2394 days ago
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