It’s a word I hear often these days. That I’m an inspiration. That I inspire people. And I get it, I do: I’ve lost almost 80 lbs and I’ve done a complete 180. Not just with my weight, but with my exercise and activity level and attitude. With my life.
It’s a word that means the world to me, to hear it from other people. From family and friends. I get emails and Facebook message from people I haven’t seen or spoken to in years. I get them from people I only know online, asking for advice or just to be a sounding board for their own weight loss struggles. These are people bigger than me, my size, or even smaller than me and something about what I’m doing has struck a chord with them.
At the same time, though, it’s a word I have difficulty adopting or internalizing. My initial reaction is disbelief and I want to let them know I don’t have all the answers and still struggle myself. I skip workouts (like this morning’s run) and there are certain foods (I’m looking at you, Nutella) that I can’t even have anywhere in my apartment because I don’t trust myself around it. I want to point out that if I knew what I was doing, I never would have gotten up to 311 pounds.
I mean, that’s the thing, right? That’s the whole point to this. I used to weigh over three hundred pounds. I was lazy and inactive and had a terrible diet. I was in denial about my health and, let’s face it, my self worth. But the key there is “used to be” — because I’m not over 300 lbs anyway more, in fact I’m halfway through my journey, so while I might not have known what I was doing then I appear to know now. I might not have all of the answers, but I have some of them. More than I had a year ago and that, more than anything, is what counts. Because, c’mon, nobody has all of the answers.
When I started The Year of the Phoenix back in January, I only had a vague idea of its purpose. Its message. My message. What did I want to say? What did I have that was worth saying? Let’s see. Well, I’m thirty, I’m single, I’m a librarian, I live in Cleveland, and, oh yeah, I’m losing weight. A lot of weight. In the beginning, that last bit seemed secondary. I guess I just thought there was no way anyone would only want to read about my weight loss journey. It just seemed like such a boring focus for a blog, even though I read other weight loss blogs and I love them. Love them enough that they inspire me.
I think the problem is that these changes, the food and running, all of it, are second-nature now. They’ve become such a fixture in my life that I’m not able to see how they are viewed from someone on the outside. When I think about it, I’m like “Okay, so I’ve lost over 75+ pounds but I still have 75 to go” without comprehending that means I’m on a journey to lose 150 pounds. That is, um, astounding and only now am I fully grasping how, well, inspiring that is to other people.
Not only am I grasping it, I’m embracing it. Fully and completely and with my whole heart. Because people don’t find my posts about my family inspiring. They don’t find my posts about living in Cleveland inspiring. They find me and my journey inspiring. So that’s what I’m going to write about. I mean, I already do write about that, obviously, but if it doesn’t relate to this journey, it’s probably not going to make it to this blog. At least not as much as it has in the past. And I want to thank all of you who HAVE said this to me, because it really does completely overwhelm me in a very good way and it’s part of the reason I’m shifting focus here. I’ve even given my blog a bit of a face-lift (and I seriously apologize to anyone who has visited over the past 24 hours, because it’s been a hot mess over here). New attitude means new look, with the header being the biggest change. It’s my way of saying This is Who I Am and This is What I Write About.
So hi. My name is Jill, I write a weight-loss and fitness blog, and holy hell it’s already May.
Love from the ashes,