Belated Ramadan and Eid mubarak everyone!! I know I disappeared for a while there but at least there’s lots to talk about now!
For anyone who’s not in the mood for a long update, I can sum up everything in these words: I did not lose ANY weight. Shocking, I know. I actually gained some, putting me at a hot 232 pounds. Yay! Although I didn’t lose weight, I did lose a friend to cancer. I lost my hope. I lost my optimism. I lost my willpower. I feel like I lost a future I had been dreaming about for most of my adult life.
For anyone interested in a more detailed (okay a LOT more detailed) update, grab a cup of tea and a blanket, turn your phone off, and get settled into your favourite reading spot. Here we go!
Last time I wrote, I was doing very well with my workout routine and eating well. I was a totally different person, so much so that I didn’t even recognize myself most days. It was new and fun and wonderful. But then…life happened. My mum had some health things come up that needed to be taken care of in another city so that meant staying in a hotel for a couple of days. Now, any other person would’ve come home after those two days and just gotten right back into their routine. Not me. No sir, I went back to my old ways with a vengeance! Eating bad, sitting around, sleeping late, etc. It was as if those six weeks never happened. To this day, I haven’t gotten back into that routine of working out for an hour and a half every day and staying within my calorie goal. I’m so mad at myself! I know what it took to get to that point and I can’t believe I let it go so easily.
Returning to my old unhealthy ways was quite a blow but nothing compared to what happened on May 12 when I got a phone call that changed my life forever. I still remember the moment I was told that my old coworker and friend Karen had just passed away from cancer. I was silent at first, in complete shock. I kept asking if they were sure it was her. “Our Karen??” I just kept asking, “OUR Karen??” I couldn’t imagine a world without our Karen in it. What a loss for the world.
Let me tell you a bit about Karen. Both of us started working at my old job within a week of each other so together we were the new girls. I didn’t get to know her too well until a couple of months later maybe when we started getting more shifts together. We had a seriously good time. I looked forward to the days I would work with her. I would eagerly check my schedule to see when we’d been scheduled together. She was a lot of fun to be around, always making a witty remark and always had a smile on her face. Over time, she revealed more and more about herself and I can honestly say she became an inspiration for me, and still is one. She told me about the time when she was given the Canadian Medal of Bravery for saving a girl from drowning. Can you believe that?? I was blown away! Then she gave me the cherry on top: she had lost over 100 pounds. I only knew her as the tall, skinny firecracker that she was but then she showed me a picture of her old self and again I was blown away. She was the definition of inspiring! The way she talked about her kids was adorable. She had just gotten engaged to a wonderful guy. She was so happy. And all of a sudden, she was gone. Just like that. And it was one of the rare times when I actually felt sorry for the world for what it lost: a lovely human being. Now, I’m not going to pretend we were the best of friends, far from it. We lost touch after I left the job. But I meant it when I said she was my inspiration. I would think of her often on my 6 week journey. I knew a real live person who had accomplished so much of what I wanted in life, how could I not think of her? And do you want to know the real kicker? She was in the process of writing a book about her weight loss and life experiences. I used to look forward to reading it. I used to daydream about reaching my goal weight and visiting her at work to show her my new self, especially because she used to give me advice on what to eat and things like that. I still feel her absence. She had such a presence about her. I pray her good deeds are accepted and Allah SWT gives her family strength through their loss.
Losing people really puts the spotlight on how quickly life can be over, despite our best intentions and plans. I mean, everyone knows this but it’s one thing to know it, and another to feel it. I got really scared after her death. I thought of all the things I hadn’t done yet. I thought of all the things I was doing, most of them not in any way beneficial to me or my soul. I wish it was enough to help me make a change in my life but, you guessed it: it didn’t. Only in my head. It made me ruminate over what I should be doing and what’s going to happen if I don’t but I still didn’t take any action.
I did start going to the gym for a little while consistently. I didn’t hate it. I started really slow and I think that helped me stay consistent. The funny thing is, before my problem was with going to the gym but I was good with my eating. Now I’m good with the gym but uncontrollable with my eating. One victory I’ve had is over Coke. It’s been almost 115 days since I’ve had a sip of any kind of pop. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Especially during Ramadan and Eid. I never noticed this until now but when people throw dinner parties, pop is more of a staple than water. More often than not, I had to go searching for water. Also, I thought I’d be safe sticking to juice but there’s even pop in juice sometimes!!! And it is oh so tempting to say “screw it!!” to the whole endeavor and have a small glass, even one sip. Nobody would actually care. And in this heat, it would be heavenly to have a cold glass of Coke. But I’ve worked so hard! I don’t know if I can last as long as I want but I need to try. I don’t want to be controlled by my addictions anymore. Chocolate and artificial sugar has to go next but it seems impossible. Anything to do with food seems impossible right now. Every morning I wake up so determined to do things right but it never turns out that way. I may have a good breakfast but the rest of the meals are horrendously bad for my body. But I don`t feel like I can change it. Junk food just seems to be a part of my soul. I love it too much. I don’t feel the same way about healthy food. I know everyone says that once I eat healthy food for long enough, I’ll start to not crave the bad stuff but I just can’t seem to stay away from it for long enough. I CAN’T CONTROL MYSELF. I don’t know how it’s possible for someone to think about something for basically 24 hours a day and still not have the willpower to do it. To anyone who says that losing weight is as easy as “putting the donut down”, IT IS NOT. To anyone who says “you just don’t want it bad enough,” THAT’S NOT TRUE. There just seems to be something blocking us. I prefer to think it’s timing. There will always be something stopping us, big or small, legitimate or stupid, until the time is right. And God picks the time. How can it be that somebody wants something so much but can’t make it happen? There must be something bigger than us, something outside of us, that gets in the way. All we have to do is be patient.
Being patient is bloody hard. So so hard. Mostly because there’s no assurance that it WILL happen. It’s easier to be patient when the question is “when” rather than “if”. It’s the “if” that gets me. But again, I gotta remember that even “if” it never happens, if I don’t lose the weight, if I don’t do all the things I want to do after I lose the weight, it must be for the better. There’s no better reason for not getting what you want.
So what do you do while being patient? Do you sit there in self pity? Do you stay on the sidelines watching life, people, experiences, relationships pass you by? No, you take opportunities as God presents them to you! Tonight I went to one of my really good friend’s mehndi celebration. She had her heart set on her cousins and friends doing a few dances. If you knew me, you’d know I’m usually miles away from any mention of dancing. I love the idea of dancing, it’s one of my deepest desires to be able to dance well. But with this body I can’t. Not because it looks bad, but it physically just doesn’t move well. So I usually do anything, and I mean anything, I can to avoid it. But this time I said yes. We spent two days practicing. I personally spent two days practicing, agonizing, freaking out, practicing some more, and almost crying. Was I really going to get up in front of 120 people and DANCE? Was I going to do this even though I wouldn’t even dance by myself in a windowless room with the lights turned off? Yes, yes I was. And I did. And although watching the video of it makes me cringe so much my eyelashes get tangled, I don’t regret it. I made sure to remember the whole time that I was doing this to have FUN. Not for it to look good or to impress anyone (though it did impress me 😉 ). And alhamdulillah, I did have fun. I got to make new friends. I got to see what my body can do. I got to see what my mind can do (learning moves is harder than I thought!). I never thought I would do something like this, especially with the way I feel about my body but Alhamdulillah I was able to forget my insecurities and do it!
Again, I must come back to my problem with food. It’s unraveling everything I had planned, everything I wanted, dreamed about, talked about, and wrote about. The day you realize you cannot control yourself is the day you feel true fear. Every other time I told myself I can do this, I can make changes, I can be a different person. This time I realized I don’t think I can. The power that food has over me is too strong. I literally believe the only thing that will help is prayer. This is true at any point of a situation but sometimes you still feel like you can play a part. I don’t think I can play a part in changing. I’ve tried, and tried, and tried, and tried, and tried, and tried, and tried until the word has lost all meaning. I have failed every time. I’m genuinely scared. It’s like hurtling towards a wall without any brakes. Sadly I’ve put prayer at the bottom of my list of things that will help me. It should’ve been the first. My Quran teacher once said something to me that was so simple but so profound: “If you’ve made the niyat (intention), then how can it not happen?” Do you feel the weight of that statement? If you’ve said to Allah SWT that you are intending to do something, that there is something you desire, in this world or the hereafter, why wouldn’t He give it to you? We often forget that His love is more powerful than a mother’s love for her child. If we ask for something, in some form, we always get it, subhanAllah! I once asked to have the confidence to one day not worry about what people think of me. I always thought that would only come once I had my dream body. But tonight, I did just that; I danced without a care!
Stay blessed my friends!