Big Bully

I’ve been debating whether or not to write this post for awhile now, and while I’m still not entirely sure I want to/should push publish, I have to just say my peace and be done with it…

There’s a person I know who has a nasty cyber bullying habit of poking fun at people who are different than they are. This person’s favorite targets are frequently, but not always, overweight women (in addition to homosexuals, people of color, women in general, nonathletic men, etc). I know they are not the only, nor the first person to do so, and that their pathetic insults are symptomatic of a much, much larger cultural problem, but…enough is enough.
4efcf949530ddf844ecb86d42c71997fIf I’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s that no one is allowed to criticize me for simply being me. I am 100% allowed to look, think, feel, speak, and do as I please (within the realm of law and reason, of course). If I want to take a few dozen selfies of myself and post them to my Instagram, I can do that. You don’t like it? Don’t look. I can wear yoga pants in public even if I don’t have a thigh gap or if they aren’t a size small. You don’t like it? Don’t look.

You are always allowed to be exactly who you are. Always.

I could sit here and go on about how our personal confidence is what matters, that our differentness should be celebrated and not judged, and preach love for ourselves and others (ahem), but instead, I want to ask a seemingly simple question:

Why?

Why do you do what you do? What do you gain by tearing someone else down? And if who I am, what I stand for, or what I look like bothers you that much, then why bring attention to it passive-aggressively on a public platform via social media and not say it to my face? Who are you to make any one person feel less than? My dear Bully, you are not perfect—not in any sense of the word. You’ve screwed up, made mistakes and bad choices. But that’s okay. We all have. We’re all flawed. So, really, not one of us has any right to point out another’s misstep.

Finally, I have a request for this person and all other bullies out there: if you’re going to make fun of me at least be clever about it. Recycling the same fat jokes over and over doesn’t just make you mean. It makes you lazy, boring, unintelligent, and mean.

But forgive me, I’m not here to judge…and neither are you.

Pushing On

Dreams come true, Amanda, that’s what they do. The only variable is when.

For the slow approach: Resist. Attach. Insist. Deny. Stop. Second guess. Whine. Argue. Defend. Protest. Cry. Struggle. And ask others, when you know the answer yourself. 

For the quick approach: Visualize. Pretend. Prepare. Dodge. Roll. Serpentine. Do not waiver over intentions, but over methods. Show up, even when nothing happens. And give thanks in advance. 

You knew that,
The Universe408139403425619602hn0DZOMc

Happy Anniversary!

One year ago on this very day, I started Manda Kay Makes It. And what a year it has been. I can’t even begin to wrap my head around all the beautiful, frustrating, triumphant, semi-devastating things that have happened in the past 12 months. It’s been an unbelievable journey. I’ve learned so much–about me, about my place in the world. I’ve had new experiences, new setbacks. I’ve tried new foods and new exercises–new ways of moving and experiencing my body just as it is now.

And I can’t wait for more.

A big, gigantic thank you to each and every one of you for all the reading, commenting, and encouraging you’ve done. As much as this is a solo journey, I know I wouldn’t have come near as far as I have without all of you cheering. Thank you!

As I said, I learned a lot this year. Here are a few of the mantras I want to take with me and continue to put into practice this year:
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Head Case

Since the end of May, I’ve been stuck. I’ve openly shared, and been secretly embarrassed by, the struggle I’ve been having to bust through the plateau I hit when I lost my first fifty pounds. When you’re as big as me and you’ve been successful recently…why doesn’t the weight just fall off?

I understand the logic behind plateaus, that your body settles into new patterns and metabolic rates. I understand there are crazy hormonal things going on that are seriously affecting me. I understand but don’t appreciate my own weaknesses in trying to deal with all this. Especially more recently. But I do not understand how all of this can go on for five. Freaking. Months.

This is Manda Kay Makes It. Not Manda Kay starts to make it but then gets stuck so she sits around eating cake and watching Friends reruns.

I spoke with my doctor about all of this last month. She had no real answers or advice, other than this is totally normal–not at all comforting to hear. I immediately turned around and booked an appointment with a dietitian, thinking there has to be something I can do to move past this. Or if nothing else, hearing “plateau” from a qualified professional would at least lessen the blow. Maybe.

Guess what, guys? My new best friend, Becky the Dietitian, told me the exact same thing: this is purely a combination of my body adjusting, hormones freaking out, and my weakness in response.

I sat in Becky’s office so full of anxiety, so nervous yet hopeful. After deciding that I basically want to be Becky when I grow up–fit and pretty with an awesome job–we discussed my background, my current habits and reviewed my food journal. Every time she asked a question or offered a suggestion, it was something I was already doing:

Do you drink enough water? 
Over a gallon per day.

How often do you eat out? What do you get when you do?
Rarely. Fish or salad.

Do you have a support system in place?
All bases covered: I’ve got my amazing readers, my family and friends, and the wonderful MFP community.

Though we made a few tweaks (upping my fat intake and tweaking my calories slightly), I am, apparently, doing everything I should be doing to be successful. It’s just up to my body and mind to catch up.

As reassuring as it was to hear that, it was also so incredibly disappointing. I wanted her to find some flashing red warning sign of what I’ve been doing wrong. And I shared as much with her. Then Becky shared this nugget:

“You need to win the war in your head and remember how far you’ve come. You’ve lost an incredible amount of weight and despite what’s been happening for the past five months, you’ve maintained it.”

She’s right. We all know how easy it is to get sucked into that negative head space. You think about how far you have to go, what you haven’t done yet, all the things you can’t do because of your weight, feel guilty when you don’t work out or slip up with your diet. You become caught up in the instruction and opinion of others. There always seems to be something else you should be doing to succeed.

I’ve had this jumble of thoughts floating in my head for the past few months, getting caught up in Twitter, what other bloggers are doing, the latest super food I need to eat or workout I need to do. I listen too much to the voices of others, inviting them into my fragile mind space, allowing them to confuse and annoy me to the point where I want to shut off all communication with the outside world (hence the lack of blog, MFP, and Twitter updates). But when Becky said what she said, it all clicked for me.

When you allow yourself to be surrounded by the noise of others, it becomes incredibly difficult to see the forest for the trees. 

Focus on you. Focus on the positive.

Remember where you came from and where you are now. Be proud. Always. 

I left my appointment feeling completely rejuvinated. I am doing what I need to to be successful. I have set myself up wonderfully for a life-long change. But I need to stop worrying about others–their opinions, advice, successes, and failure. I need to get out of my head, plan the work and work the plan, then trust the process.