Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Reminder of Where My Journey Began.

I'm going to share something intensely personal with you all.  Something I ran across this morning.  Something that finally made me realize just how far I've come.  Approximately 3 1/2 years ago, I was in the process of completing all the prerequisites to have my insurance approve gastric bypass.  One of which was writing a letter explaining why I wanted to do it, despite the risks and sacrifice.  So this is me being completely honest with myself.  I wasn't exaggerating.  I felt I couldn't do it on my own.  That there was no hope. 

To whom it may concern:
My Perspective on Gastric Bypass
The greatest things in life often require the seemingly greatest sacrifices. It only makes sense in the whole scheme of things that what you sow is what you reap. Sometimes, however, people just don’t have the green thumbs required to sow things exactly the right way, and they are left without a thing in the world to show for it. I’m one of these latter people. My whole life I have done all I can to be the person I so desperately long to be. I have succeeded internally for the most part, but a large part of what’s inside of me is inextricably linked to what’s on the outside of me. That’s why I took the first step in seeking out help with this life-altering endeavor. I know that without help I will be destined to be this same person for the rest of my life. This person who despite having a pure heart and a wise mind still cannot truly live her life the way she is entitled to.
Going into this endeavor I have heard far more scary things than good things. I’ve heard so many times “You must…” and “You have to…” I’ve heard of the horrible consequences that will result if I don’t do those things, and I’ve heard of the real people who didn’t listen. I know that it’s about far more than a happy ending. It’s still a long, hard struggle that will be lifelong. I’ve thought about all of these things for a long time: how my life will be permanently changed in good ways and bad, how a major source of stress relief will be gone forever, how the people around me will treat me differently, how I’ll never be free from focusing on food for the rest of my life. I’ve thought of how afterwards I’m going to have to grieve over losing a freedom that most people take for granted. After thinking of all these things, what I come back to is this: I will do anything in the world if it means I will have fewer regrets in my old age, and that I will even see that old age.
The life I’m looking at now is not nearly as promising as it should be. I can’t plan things as simple as my class schedule the way I want to, I can’t live without some sort of pain on a day to day basis, I can’t be free from the all the burdens that being overweight entails. If I don’t lose weight I’ll likely never be able to have children, and even if I somehow did, I might very well never live to see my grandchildren.
The most striking reality came to me at the last bypass support group meeting I attended. A girl who had lost 140 lbs over 7 months was there. She was so happy and healthy. She had been my size before, and here she stood looking what I would consider perfect. She told me of how her life had improved, and how she would do it again. She was such an inspiration. Someone asked her if she ever regretted having the surgery though, and her response just dumbfounded me. She said, “Yeah, but only at family get togethers. I wish I could eat all the food they have there, and I can’t.” I thought to myself, how can this woman who has been given a second chance at life even say that with a straight face? It just made me realize that if that thought ever crosses my mind I’m going to remind myself of how silly she seemed. She was given all the world, and she was complaining about missing out on an hour’s pleasure of enjoying one meal.
The implications of this surgery are so far-reaching that I don’t believe any person who has never been overweight can fully appreciate them. Everyone looking in sees it as a result of vanity, but it isn’t. They don’t know what life is like being morbidly obese. Try as they might they could never fully empathize. When every single minute of every single day of your life is made either painful, emotionally hurtful, unnecessarily frustrating or exhausting, or simply not of the quality that any living individual is entitled to; then you can begin to empathize.
I suppose the bottom line for me is this: dietary restrictions, vitamins, other required medications, and follow-up appointments are by far worth the effort and worth the sacrifice. I’m only going to live once, and it’s up to me how much I make of it. If I want to live the rest of my life being miserable physically and mentally then I very well can, but if I take the initiative to recognize that I cannot do this on my own and that help is out there then I will end up with a far better quality of life. By having a better quality of life I can, in turn, improve the quality of the lives around me as well.
How can I do this?...How can I alter my life so drastically and cope with the changes that will follow? Because I’ve never wanted anything more in my life, because I have people who love me more than anything in the world who are completely committed to seeing that I do make it through this, and because if I don’t do this I’ll be robbing myself and those around of me of years of lifetime that could very well hold things so beautiful I could never begin to fathom. I can and will do this because I want to live. I’m not going to take the gift of life for granted. I’m going to make the best of it. I’m going to give it my all, whatever it takes, and in the end, it will all be worth it.

It will be more than worth it.

With sincerest commitment and a newfound sense of hope for the future,

Brianna Marshall

So that's where I came from.  And today I hit the 130 lbs lost milestone.  I've never seen the 160s in my life.  I used to dream of the 220s.  Before that, I clearly couldn't dream at all.  So no matter how discouraged you may feel.  No matter how daunting it might seem...the same girl that wrote that...did what she considered wholly impossible.  I'm not some super optimistic driven woman.  I was a woman without hope.  A woman who anticipated a life ahead that was full of shame and pain, as her childhood had already been.  But I did it, and you most certainly can too.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!
Audrey Hepburn

Friday, July 15, 2011

Big Day!!

The day began with me buying my first pair of Size 8 jeans, and then I got news that my magazine was out! :D  Enjoy :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

We Must Carry It With Us or We Find It Not.

First off I wish to reply to all that commented.  You all are so kind!  It pleases me so deeply when I hear from all of you saying that I've helped inspire you.  I know how grateful I am to those who inspired me along the way and helped me through (like you Miss Cheryl!), so the idea that I am that to you all thrills my heart :D  You all inspire me as well.  When I read your stories, I am reminded of the first days of my journey.  How it was a struggle, how I doubted my ability to follow through, how I found it difficult to believe it was even possible to lose the weight.  I felt that way.  I was terrified.  But it's possible.  It is.  You can do it, and you're in control.  There is no, "It won't work."  It will work, as long as you stick with it. Sure it won't be easy, but the things in life worth having always require struggle. 

Secondly, I must admit that I'm getting a little excited at the prospect that in a mere 2 weeks or so my magazine will be in stores!!  I'm not even going to lie..I'll be giddy as a kitten.  I find joy in exact inverses in the universe.  They're meaningful to when I see my article I will be vividly reminded of how many times I looked at those same magazines and dreamt the "impossible" dream.  Never knowing, never even fully hoping that it would ever be me.

Also, I have been struggling with something over this past little while.  Everywhere I go, now more than ever, every woman I meet is on a diet, or about to begin a diet.  I don't know if it's because I'm more aware of it now or if it's truly an epidemic, but it concerns me.  Clearly I support dieting, and clearly I encourage it...but I think we need to look at the bigger picture as well.  If seemingly every woman is dieting, what does that say?  That none of us are alone in our struggle to accept our bodies.  Dieting is serious business that requires will power and time and thought, and people wouldn't do it if they weren't seriously displeased with their bodies.  So here's the thing.  Dieting is fine, and worthwhile.  When you stick with it, your life will improve tremendously.  But during your journey, especially if you've not yet began it...don't be hard on yourself.  Just because you feel like you've yet to reach your potential does not mean you are any less special now than you will be at the end of your journey.  You are the person who is strong enough and brave enough to even dare begin the journey.  That says something!  Also, be reminded that your self-perception is often skewed.  We are intrinsically hard on ourselves.  Those that care about you often don't even notice the things we can't ignore when we look in the mirror.  Embrace who you are now, and that is when you will be empowered to become healthier.  If you don't love yourself the way you are, then you won't value yourself enough to get through this.  That's what made the difference for me.  Though I look back now and realize I was missing out on many exciting adventures, I also realize that there were days at 300 lbs when I felt truly stunning, unstoppable or truly loved and desired.  And that is precisely what aided me in this journey.  Until I found a reason to love myself, I didn't have the courage to discipline myself. 

I want to conclude with some little things to look forward to, and those of you who are well on your way on your journeys feel free to comment with additional things!  Also, for those of you who are doing this diet and aren't beginning with an obese bmi, you might not find these things wholly relatable, but at least a few will be.

So here are some things I've encountered this summer that remind me of what a difference my hard work has made.

  • the hottest days aren't nearly as hot as I remember!  I used to refuse to go outside with the temperature passed 85 or so, now I exercise out in 95 degree weather and love it!
  • Those delightful plastic lawn chairs with the arms that I used to avoid like the plague, now they're of no concern at all.  No spreading of the arm rests to accommodate me.
  • The beach towels that used to not cover a thing, now cover very nearly most of me.  
  • Swimsuit shopping was a truly pleasurable experience.  It used to make me so depressed that I could scarcely cope.
  • The strength in my legs is increasing all the time.  I realize that I used to avoid walking uphill entirely.  No wonder I could barely do it.  Now I climb up steep hills like it's absolutely nothing.  And each and every time I do I can't believe it.  
So that's just a few things that I think about frequently, and that I am very much grateful for.  Also, it's things like that that gave me hope as I faced the most trying times of my diet, so I hope it does the same for you.

Happy Summer!  Be sure to check out FIRST magazine during the month of August to read my story and get some tips about the diet :)

Til next time!

-Brianna xx

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. Ralph Waldo Emerson

And this is something I found delightful.  Be inspired.  It's from

Self acceptance is key to a happy, satisfying and productive life.
What do you pledge?
  • to life or yourself?
  • to others or yourself?
Uncover your life
  • Don't hide
  • Come out into the sun
  • Breathe the fresh air
  • Get the wind in your hair
  • Feel the wind on your back
  • Enjoy and explore
  • Make the most of this life
Find the beat of your own life. Find and experience and gain strength from it. Explore and bathe in it. Play to the beat of another or others and your search, if still unknown or hidden, will still be ongoing and 'incomplete'. Find your own way and your own calling. Be yourself.Quietly, taking the things in, taking the moment in. Taking in your own life.
That's fair enough:
  • Don't be afraid to stand up for yourself
  • Be reasonable, fair and polite
  • Know when to stand your corner
  • Give as well as take
  • Be comfortable with who you are and your contribution
You are your best friend. Rediscover how you - your best friend - can turn your life round and be the best you can be.Don't humiliate anybody. Rather build their confidence. Show you believe in them. (But first you must believe in yourself.)
If you're not good enough that's fine, that's OK. But don't make the excuse, that you can't do it.
Do you have a credibility issue?
Opportunities to do various things in life. 'I have proved myself to everyone.' Have you proved yourself to yourself?
Self control is good practice.
See the logic of life. All created for a purpose.
Don't fall for unsubstantiated promises.
Don't mislead yourself about your life.
'I learned to walk away when I needed to. It was folly to shut myself off from things.'
Appreciate life. Honor and respect your life. Make the most of your life. Give it your best shot. Don't scrimp and save for another day. Do your best today.