When Positive Life Changes Bring Unexpected Obstacles

Happy Monday everyone! Jayme here riding solo today, but John says hello and sends you all virtual hugs! I’m doing a bit of a reflective post today. I've had a lot of thought bubbles on my brain-parts that I bet some of you could relate to. It's a combo of celebratory dance parties and scary, but positive, lifestyle changes. AKA - quitting smoking and getting back into the fitness world. So here’s my little reflection piece for the week! Enjoy!

Beginning to work out after not having done so for a long time is pretty intimidating. Especially because I am the absolute largest I’ve ever been in my life. I wish it was like when I was in high school and I would groan about how “fat” I am because of one “roll” (aka - natural crease) that would appear on my stomach when I would bend over.

That’s unfortunately not the case anymore. I am legitimately large. It’s not like I gained 5 lbs over the holidays or anything. It’s - I quit smoking, got an office job, and poorly maintained any sort of regular workout routine - resulting in me gaining about 40 pounds within a year.

This past Wednesday marked my one year anniversary of quitting smoking. I did not smoke my last cigarette ever on this day, but I did smoke the last cigarette of my own pack that I had purchased myself. I had multiple slip ups well into June, but I still feel the need to celebrate because if it weren’t for this date - the slip ups in June would be my first quit day again, and I would probably still be smoking cigarettes.

I really wanted to make some sort of motivational post last Wednesday about my year-long change and “how great I feel” and “how proud I am” and “how freaking awesome it’s been” but all I can think about is that fat tub of lard I see staring back at myself when I glance in a mirror.

It pisses me off because I would never allow a family member or friend to think this way.

john and jayme dancing
John and I in 2012

I would give them the spiel about how it’s what’s on the inside that counts, and they’re still the same person, and you can always change physical appearance with hard work and dedication, and that how they look right now is because a phenomenal lifestyle change they made and that everyone goes through this when they quit smoking.

I try to give myself this spiel but then I end up telling myself, “Shut up and save it, I know, I know, I know, I know, I KNOW -- OKAY!?”

If you or anyone you know has quit smoking, then you are well aware that the biggest change will be weight. This is what prevented me from quitting so many times in the past. I did not want to gain weight at all. I would literally sit there and weigh out (no pun intended) what was most important to me -- quit smoking and gain weight, or continue to smoke and maintain a reasonable weight.

I knew the logical choice, but I wasn’t sold that it was actually what I wanted. Even after I quit I told myself, “You know - you could always start smoking again if you’re not okay with all this weight you’ve been gaining.”

I know how stupid this sounds. Trust me - I’m 100% aware.

Jayme And ashli cartagenaI know I’m beautiful. I know my appearance plays into a tiny percentage of what makes me beautiful and makes me who I am. I feel beautiful, I feel confident, I know that I am strong and all of these things.

I truly do not have a problem with my body or any of these things -- except for when there is a mirror, or someone else taking a photo where I can’t brighten my eyes or enhance the background to distract from the fact that my thighs are making out with each other or that I could smuggle a puppy in my back fat (Note to self -- try smuggling a puppy in back fat).

Now that I have overcome the biggest obstacle -- quitting a seriously addictive and unhealthy drug -- I need to focus on my newest obstacle. 2016 was for breaking up with an unhealthy lifestyle, 2017 is for a new, healthy relationship -- with myself.

Beginning to work out again is terrifying. I try to do 10 push ups, start struggling at 6, and get mad because I used to do 30 - EASILY. I’ll remember how I used to squat 100+ pounds, 10+ reps at 4 sets, while now my legs get wobbly on squat number 8, set one, of just body weight.

It literally seems impossible, but deep down I know it’s not.

Type almost any workout-related hashtag into Instagram and you will see an insane amount of before and after photos. It’s 100% doable. I put this weight on in one year, I can definitely shed some of it off.

What I need to remind myself is that I won’t be where I want to be in just one day, one week, or even one month. It will take time. If building this van has taught me anything, it’s that no matter how tedious or annoying one small step might be, it’s still an extremely important step. And I won’t see any results until I agree to take these steps.

For the times I feel like giving up, or feel disheartened that I am not seeing the results I want to see, I have to remember that I was once saying and feeling these exact same things about cigarettes.

I thought I would never be able to have a conversation with certain people without dying for a cigarette afterwards. I thought I would never be able to take a break at work because I would have no clue what to do with myself. I thought I would always need mints with nicotine in them. I thought I would always be edgy and about to explode. I thought I would always have to sneak to a Walgreens or gas station in the middle of the night, buy a pack of cigarettes just for one drag, and throw the entire pack away afterwards just so I could stop thinking about all the things and people that annoy me and finally get some damn sleep (and feel guilty, of course).

I hung in there when it seemed impossible.

John and Jayme thanksgivingI remember going to a smoking bar in Florida last February and celebrating the fact that I got a headache after being there for too long. I never thought I would be able to get extremely frustrated by someone or something without storming off shouting “I NEED a cigarette!” I never thought the smell of a car that had been smoked in would gross me out. I never thought I could walk into a gas station and not buy a pack just because it had been a stressful week and I just “couldn’t handle it right now”.

But I can, and I have.

I need to remind myself of this when I want to drop out of my plank 10 seconds in. I need to remember this when it would be easier to curl up in my bed and cry about how I used to look, instead of going for that jog. I need to keep this in my everyday thoughts when John and I are deciding what we want for dinner and if I really need that third beer. I want to keep this in mind if/when I ever get the courage to sign up for my first 5k, and maybe someday that half marathon -- or some crazy thought, that full marathon. But for now -- maybe just a 5k.

Or better yet, for now -- just those 10 push ups and 10 squats.

As much as we all love/hate cliches -- I have to remind myself everyday: “A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”

Namaste, y’all.

yoga in van

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Kala Linck
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lady this is me too!! i’ve slowly gained so much weight, and i know i’m beautiful and that’s what i’d tell my friends and family too, but i need a change! let’s do this. cannot wait to see you make another positive change in your life!!

Torey
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Torey

Jayme, I so understand what you are saying. Unfortunately I can’t blame my weight gain on doing something healthy like stopping smoking. I won’t be doing push ups, squats or marathonsomething with you but, for me, knowing you are working on weight loss will help me keep on track with developing a more active lifestyle!

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