It’s Been Three Years Already!?

 

My attempt at The People's Eyebrow (a really bad hair day) and the beautifully sparkly Courtney

My attempt at The People’s Eyebrow (a really bad hair day) and the beautifully sparkly Courtney

They say that time flies when you’re having fun and i’ll tell you what…it could not be more true! Three years ago today I found myself on a plane headed out to Los Angeles, California for finals week of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition. I didn’t know what to expect and I was nervous as all get out. We were all picked up on a charter bus and little did I know, but the last one to step on to the bus was this loud, happy, and exceptionally sparkly girl who would become the love of my life. The first couple of days I stayed to myself and unbeknownst to be the others stayed away because of my “do not disturb” sign on the door (which was only for the hotel staff). Courtney was busy being the social coordinator so when I decided to find out what the rest of the finalists were doing I called her room and asked if I could come hang out (oh my how times have changed).

Y’all know the rest of the tale, but aside from finding my future love what I found were people who were battling the EXACT same thing I was. I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb like I did back home. These individuals knew exactly what I was going through and what life was like being “super obese.” For the first time in a decade I took my shirt off in front of other people (at the pool) because I felt comfortable that I was not going to be judged. There was a level of acceptance unparalleled and the beauty of it all is that we were all trying to change our lives for the better in being there. We had all become fed up with our current life situations and were taking control of them. Those 16 people had a profound impact on my life in one way or another since I have known them.

The first finalists of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

The first finalists of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition

This week was also the first time I got to meet Chris and the moment I met him he endeared himself to me just by knowing who I was. Chris Powell was my saving grace and I couldn’t even begin to thank him for all he has done for me. Three years have passed since that week and I can’t even believe it.

Obviously a lot has changed since that day three years ago and I must thank God that they did. I thank God for bringing Courtney and Chris into my life. They have both had a big had in helping me become a better me. I didn’t know it then, but as time progressed I realized that Courtney is my one and only. Thanks to Courtney I have love and thanks to Chris I have life.

Here’s to great memories and hoping the next three are just as great!

Me, CP, and Court

Me, CP, and Court

Life: An Unexpected Journey

Life is full of various twists and turns that we generally don’t see coming. There are pretty much two options when we get to those twists and turns: 1) go with the flow 2) swerve off the path into who knows what. Over the past few years my life has taken a number of twists and turns that I would never have even imagined possible. Three years ago I never thought that losing weigh was a possibility. I thought I was forever destined to be 459 pounds. Then came Chris Powell, Extreme Makeover, and hope. He showed me what I was capable of and gave me the knowledge and the tools to make it happen. Over the course of the next year, and with the help of an AMAZING support system, I lost 216 pounds. I was given a whole new lease on life!

Then came love. I finally loved myself and in doing so I was able to open my eyes and my heart to a woman who had been one of my very best friends throughout my journey. Courtney Crozier stole my heart and for the first year of our relationship we did the long distance thing. She came to Georgia on numerous occasions and I went to Indiana a time or two. Being away from her for weeks at a time was terrible, but we made it work. However, she was opening her own frozen yogurt shop, YoAmazing, in Indiana which meant that we were destined to be apart much more. I wasn’t alright with that and that meant another twist in my life was right around the corner.

So, one year ago today, after an INCREDIBLE Christmas in which Courtney surprised me on Christmas Eve with help from my dear friends Alison and Ardy, I picked up and moved to Indiana. I never thought I would live in Indiana…EVER! Love does funny things to you though. I knew it was the only way I would get to see the love of my life so it had to be done. Had I stayed in Georgia I know my heart would be longing to be with Courtney, but I didn’t and my heart could not be any more happy.

I also couldn’t be any more happy or thankful about the people who have welcomed me into their lives. Kevin, Marci, and Casey Crozier are fantastic people with big hearts who made my transition so easy. Their hospitality and humor are unrivaled and I am blessed to call them family. Thank you for all you have done!

I’d also like to say thank you to the Arroyo’s, Teresa, John, Joe, and Nick. Always welcoming and with delicious food (hello skirt steak). Even when my family came to visit for Spring Break they had us over for a feast. Thank you!

I can’t believe I have been in Indiana for a whole year. The one thing I will say about the state is that the winter’s do not play around! Being from the south does not prepare you for this kind of cold.

Here’s to the next twist and turn!

Step by Step

Let me ask you all a question…did you take a step towards your goal of living a healthy life? They didn’t show it on my episode, but last year my first challenge was to run stadiums at Turner Field. I had to carry a bucket with 40 lbs of Coke up and down the field and terrace levels from the right field foul pole, behind home plate, and all the way to the left field foul pole. I honestly thought it was impossible. A third of the way around I thought I would never make it. Chris told me to not look at the whole challenge. Look only at the step in front of you and take it step by step. That is how you have to take all challenges in life…weight loss, school work, or any other thing that must be conquered.

If you want to start your weight loss journey then take the first step and CHOOSE to change. Then create a small attainable goal so that you don’t always look at the big end of the road goal. That can be a scary thing. I would sometimes look at the fact that I had 216 lbs to lose and I would be overwhelmed with analysis paralysis. Not a good feeling, I’ll be the first to tell you. I made sure to focus on the smaller, more manageable, easier on the brain goal. I know I didn’t hit the first couple of goals, but I put a solid dent in each of them and ultimately got to where I want to be.

So, if you have a goal to accomplish, be it a weight loss goal, a job goal, a school goal, or just a life goal then take it step by step. With each step you’ll make progress and your goal will be within reach before you know it.

A-Train

Integrity

Integrity – adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

Integrity, in my humble opinion, is a very important part of a person. Think about it…if your integrity is high you feel better about yourself. If your integrity is low, then odds are you aren’t feeling too great about yourself. You see, integrity and self-esteem are interconnected. How about an example?

Say you have dinner plans with a friend and you are going to meet at 7pm. You show up at 7:10. That 10 minutes damages your integrity and your self-esteem whether you realize it or not.

I know that’s a very generic example, but it’s one most of us can relate to. If you’ve ever been late before (you have, don’t lie), then you probably apologize for your tardiness upon arrival. That’s something we call clearing your integrity. We’ll get to that later.

During my year with Chris Powell on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition we spoke about integrity quite a bit. He is a big proponent of keeping your integrity high because if your integrity is high you can be more productive and accomplish more. There were times throughout the year when my integrity was low and so was my self-esteem. Story time:

During phase 2 (the second three months) my integrity and self-esteem were very low. Granted I had already lost 97 pounds, but that really didn’t matter. I was supposed to work out for 5 hours a day, 6 days a week. There were days where I just didn’t want to do it and I didn’t even though I said I would. I committed to Chris and myself that I would do 5 hours, 6 days. The fact that I said I would do it and then failed to do so damaged both my integrity and self-esteem.

Story #2: I didn’t bail on the 5 and 6 all the time obviously, but when I didn’t bail I had a difficult time getting my butt to the park on the schedule Chris and I created. Showing up 10, 20, 30 minutes after I said I would hurt my integrity and self-esteem. I wasn’t meeting anybody there. It was just me, myself, and I. So, I was only accountable to myself. By not getting there on time I wasn’t hurting anyone other than myself and doing so showed in the results I had in phase 2. They sucked.

Something Chris impressed upon me was to commit to what I would actually do. Don’t commit to 5 hours if you’re only going to finish 3. You’re only hurting yourself. Commit to 3 and finish those 3 and you’ll feel much better because you did what you said you were going to do. You kept your integrity intact. If you fail to follow through it could turn into a vicious cycle. One day turns into two. Two days turn into three. So on and so forth. So, if you have one bad integrity day don’t tell yourself you’ll do it again and just succumb. Make the next day better. Commit to something and follow through. That will raise your integrity and self-esteem and the feeling that brings will make you want to continue on that path.

Eventually I started feeling better about myself and committed to 5 hours and rocked 5 hours. It was a mental war I fought with myself. I may have lost a battle here and there, but I won the war. 216 pounds later I am committed to keeping my integrity and my self-esteem sky-high. Come join me up here the weather’s nice!

This is what happened when I took my integrity and self-esteem to new heights!

A-Train