Sunday, October 23, 2011

The wardrobe evolution

Don't ask me why it's taken so long to do it... I've progressively been "de-cluttering" the wardrobe and bedroom of clothing as I've progressed the last few years, particularly the last six months.

Even more so when I was given the 'challenge' to try new colours, new styles and reinvent 'Amy's style' a few months ago - which sparked an almost 'mass onslaught' sorting of my misspent clothing accumulated over the years...

Bulk of it ended up in a HUGE (and I mean HUGE) pile in front of the wardrobe - and I've progressively been selling it off bit by bit via my online clothing facebook page (here) OR ebay - whichever works to get rid of my goodies! Bit by bit they were going back out the door to new owners, and I didn't really think much more of it... There was still so much there, that the pile was STILL literally two big base drawers high and the entire width of the front of the wardrobe long...  with more in the cupboard itself, left to contend with!

Meanwhile, I've been finding new bargains and creating my basic essentials as I've gone, but with so many changes in such a short space of time (this year in particular I've dropped from about a size 20-22 down to a size 16ish) - even the "new" gear has had to walk back out the door!

So, despite my plateauing up and down within the same five kilos the past few months, I've been pushing my fitness goals through the roof - and my body (despite the skin issue) is STILL changing. My shoulders have more definition, my back has changed shape, my legs are more toned... as much as it pains me with the excess skin (of which I can do ZERO about right now) - there ARE changes happening, and physical benefits. My losses may have stagnated, but the body is still doing something.

It was the other day when I was staring myself down in the mirror during my Pump class - in my hot pink fitted singlet top - with all my wobbly-arm-bits and belly-bulges (again, of which I can't do anything) STILL hanging out there... I kind of just didn't care! I AM fit and my body is trying it's freaking hardest to keep me happy - so it's time to stop negating what I've done and give it some sodding acknowledgement!

It was time...

Let go of all those "old faithful" clothes that had been sitting there in my bedroom as my safety net. At my heaviest, I really have no clue what size I was. I didn't fit conventional clothing AT ALL - I was roughly a 32-34+ but as I carried bulk of my weight in my very round belly, there was few clothing brands that actually catered for a great big walking balloon - pants and skirts rarely fit. I was smaller in the top, so was always out of proportion to my belly. Any skirts I DID find that fit, I'd have to "wear in" just so I could wear them regularly.

I had a MASSIVE load of clothing in size 26 - after all, that was literally all I could buy "off the rack" in places like Autograph (my favourite shop!) - and the amount of money I'd spent on expensive "better fitting" clothing (let's face it, Big W, Target, Kmart - all those 26s were even smaller in sizing than these higher range brands - I had to fork out serious cash for even the basics on the branded-gear just to get it to even slightly fit!)...  Anything I could get on sale, I'd buy. Anything I really liked, I'd buy. Ofcourse, it was rare that it even fit, but I'd still buy it "in the hope I'd fit into it one day"....

And so began my obsession with buying whatever I could find, stashing it away "for one day" and hoping I'd actually get a chance to wear it! To be honest, I was so revolted in my size, I wore the same thing day in, day out. It was the only thing I was comfortable in - black tshirt, denim skirt.

People mock me now about the denim skirt - but try being 190kgs when you feel TOTALLY conspicuous and the only clothes you have that fit your very bloated body, is a stretch skirt (that you'd stretched well beyond its make) and 'black' to "hopefully" camouflage you into the background.

Every day I'd try and aim for something different to wear - but it always looked the same. Dark brown tops, denim skirts in a couple of styles... that's about as adventurous as I'd get. Nothing else fitted properly, and anything else made me feel even more huge, more "obvious", I'd get really anxious about being seen in it and just want to hide...

SO when I actually DID start losing the weight, all this mass load of clothing I'd accumulated over the years was still sitting there in the 'one day' pile. I'd flick through occasionally and find something that fit my (somewhat) smaller body, but for the first year, despite 30kgs down, I was still hiding in my old "fat clothes". It was my safe zone...

Come the start of this year, and 75 kilos down, bulk of this gear was now well and truly too big for me! Despite still fitting into 20-22s, my really big gear (the few denim skirts, the one pair of black pants) - had been put away "in hiding shame"...  They were my reminder of where I'd been, but was far too ashamed to actually pull them out and torment myself with them.

That was until the Commando Challenge - and when I went to the photoshoot thereafter in May, bearing my black pants (re-sewn multiple times just to hold them together...) - and near burst into tears the moment I pulled them out of the bag and held them up in front of me - least of all then fitting into ONE LEG!  THAT was a pivotal moment for me... but it was only the beginning.

I haven't really had the courage to venture down that road again since - there's been lots of changes and shrinkage this year, and my head has struggled to contend with it. It might be easy for some to pull out their old clothes and run around in joy that their pants are falling off, or their tshirts are falling off their shoulders (... I DO love that too incidentally...) but bulk of this is often too confronting for me to deal with rationally. I get upset... and it derails me (slightly) from staying brutally focused and having this steely resolve to keep pushing day after day. I have to limit my self-indulgent upset-edness (!!!) - "damage control" if you will?

.... until the other day. I knew I was going to get upset, but it was time...

Walking home from the gym in my hot pink singlet top, my arms hanging out, not caring if someone saw my wobbly tummy in my very fitted gym-outfit - I was on a mission! Opened the front door, threw off the shoes, hit the bedroom and started sifting through the mound of clothing on my floor.

One after the other... tops, skirts, jackets, underwear...  SO MUCH CLOTHING!!!   Bulk of it with tags still attached, or barely worn. Bulk of it in size 26.

By the time I hit the floor (hallelujah, I see the floor!), my bed was missing under a sea of 'black' (that was really my staple colour), and I'd lost half my loungeroom and sofa to all this mass load of clothes.... and I wasn't even finished!

Opening up the wardrobe, I found the next wad of stuff - cardis, jackets, blazers, pants, brand new skirts I'd hung up for 'one day'  (that had very much come and gone - somewhere along the line...)... and it started to hurt. THESE were the things I'd go and buy - NICE clothes - clothes I aspired to - things that I'd intentionally put aside!  They were embroidered skirts, and long-line jackets - gear I'd never even been BRAVE enough to wear, irrespective of not fitting into them.... and the tags were all still attached.

It HURT to realise how ashamed I truly was - it HURT to see so much waste sitting in that wardrobe. Not money (though that pained too!) - but wastage for ME. Wastage in the form of the confidence I SHOULD have had wearing these gorgeous skirts... The compliments I never received... The self-respect of a girl "I should have been" hidden in the dark of the wardrobe... The occasions I never got to wear any of these things to because I was too ashamed to be seen to ever go out...  It freaking HURT.

Off to the loungeroom I went - camera in hand.  Taking the photos and going through these things piece by piece... I winced - often - when I'd pick up one of my "old faithfuls" - there was a few of them - my poor little heart was aching.

It's one thing to hurt because of "what should have been" with the new gear I'd found....  but these were what WAS - the things I DID wear - and it was much more real and much more obvious. Tops and skirts from when I was at my heaviest - and I still remembered wearing them! It pained me to say goodbye... ridiculous as that sounds... but these were my 'camouflage' for so long, and I was saying goodbye to another chapter?!

Listing them all up on my site (here) - I had this overwhelming sense of RELIEF!  This wasn't just me trying to recoup some cost (though that was a part of the incentive to do all this - so I can put the funds back into the time I spend on everyone else, and start my surgery fund!)...  But I just wanted these things to go to ladies who needed them now - who are struggling to find nice clothes and step outside their comfort zones (like I did)...  To stand up and dress nicely and be PROUD of themselves!

... not to hide away in their over-worn black tshirts and faded denim skirts that are fraying at the seams because they literally can't bring themselves to wear anything else...

It's funny how a few key pieces can really bring it on home... As I dug down to the bottom of the pile, I found a chocolate short-sleeved top - I'd worn it ONCE.   .... given I didn't dare show my arms, it was the 'once' off top that prompted me never to do it again! ... and formed one of my most hated photos to date...  I'm pretty sure I sighed a huge sigh of disgust when I picked it up - instant flashbacks of wearing it, thinking I looked nice - only to see the photos and BAM, come crashing down... 

I threw it on the pile and walked away... but curiosity got the better of me. I couldn't help it - I needed TO SEE. Aside from the fact the top was now too big (yay!) - it just helped reinforce the changes in my physical appearance - my arms and torso in particular - that despite the saggy skin, I STILL look and feel better with those issues than I ever did before... My body IS trying it's damnedest to appease me!!

Getting past the emotions of all this - I wanted to turn this baby around! Negatives be gone - it's time to celebrate!!   ... and what better way, than to celebrate the evolution of my wardrobe with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour (Amy style!).

The evolution of my denim skirt.... 

I did have to chuckle when I took this shot - despite having reservations to actually pull the old faithfuls out of the bag hidden under my bed...   The smaller I've shrunk, so has the size of the skirt (naturally), but it's also become noticeably SHORTER too!!  haha...  THAT makes me laugh!

I still wear these babies - my denim skirts are comfortable and I'm confident in them! These are still my 'trusty friends' and what I'm ok wearing - but as per the pic below, it's not about "hiding" anymore.  I'm STILL developing that inner-confidence to strut my stuff in whatever it is I'm wearing... denim or not!!  ... but at the moment, my denims still give me a little false-confidence when I'm often lacking.

So I shrug off the sentiments of all my denim-haters - it's one of the things that have kept me clothed for half of my life - and for THAT I am eternally grateful!!!   (... and so is everyone else, thank you very much, haha!)

SO - right now my entire loungeroom floor and sofa is covered in clothing that's listed up for sale (here) - and what doesn't sell is off to Vinnies!  I'm REJOICING in the fact that my ENTIRE existing wardrobe now starts in 1s  - not 2 and 3s!!  It's the FIRST TIME I've allowed myself the freedom to know I WILL NOT GO BACK to that sizing, and therefore BE GONE the burden of fear that I "need" to hang onto these safety blankets of mine...  I am NOT the person I used to be! 


So just when I thought it was safe to let the wardrobe air out for a while... a GORGEOUS friend of mine throws me a loop!  Off on our Mount Panorama walk with my local group of 12wbters this afternoon, one of the ladies gives me two GYNORMOUS garbage bags filled to the brim with clothes!

... and they're all around my current sizing!!   I spent AN HOUR going through and trying them all on - it was like playing dress-ups!!!   Choosing what I wanted to keep, and adding things like SHORTS (I haven't worn shorts since high school!) and capri pants, short-sleeved fitted shirts and a GORGEOUS DRESS to my new wardrobe!  (... I couldn't help but self-indulgently model this one for you guys.. hahaha!)

It was like Christmas - and I can't thank Allison enough!  It was just the most beautiful ending to this little story I could have had - and I didn't see it coming (...which made it all the more lovely!)  

.... though NOW I can't find my hallway for all the clothes covering the floor...   hehehehe!

C'est la vie!

I do have to confess - that girl that used to buy straight off the rack, never try anything on, and then hide it away... SHE would be so envious of what's happening right now - and as much as I regret what's already passed (and for which there's nothing I can do now but let it go...)  - it just reinforces why I do what I do, and why it means so very much to me to choose the changes that I have.  Moments like these - despite the hurdles and heartache, and the frustrations when things aren't going the way I want them to - ARE the cherry on top, and I'm SO very grateful for them.  They keep me grounded....

Sunday, October 16, 2011

"You shine when you smile"

So this morning I was supposed to be up on Mount Panorama, doing a lap with the other 12WBTer local ladies... a meet & greet, get together, sweat-session that I bailed on, because I came crashing down off my enthusiasm cloud last night...

I was all set to go - geared up and ready to meet them, then minute after minute last night, things just got progressively worse. Always happens that way, I'm fine, then I just 'decline'...  Doesn't take much to spark it these days (if anything) - but just gets worse and worse... to the point where you have a death-grip on your phone in the middle of the night, just willing someone (anyone) to send you a message just to show you exist, and end up crying yourself to sleep instead.  Again.

Don't really know what my point to this blog post is today - if any - I'm just fatigued with it all. The constant self-berating and questioning that goes on because things aren't "falling into place" the way I envisaged they would when I lost the weight... is grating on me to the core, again.

I always imagined that I'd be 'happy' when I got down to about a size 16...  I mean, it seemed like such a pipedream when I was a whopping size 34+  To be half my size, in my head, meant I must look better, feel better, be more confident, be happier, be sexy even?! ... but I can honestly say I barely scrape the surface on ANY of those traits...

I can't handle what my body looks like right now - I keep circling the subject and not really telling it "how it is" because I'm too ashamed to admit to it...  but the excess skin I have carrying around makes me feel REVOLTING. I've NEVER felt this foul in my life - even at nearly 200kilos, barely being able to walk or breathe (or do anything for that matter) - riddled with so much self-hatred and disgust... it didn't feel the way it does NOW. I feel like a deflated old wrinkly balloon, my arms, legs, belly, neck, boobs... everything... just wobbles and hangs. I'm a 32 year old woman, and I feel like a revolting piece of skin on legs.... I'm fit and athletic underneath it all, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is this disgusting body that NOONE would ever want...  cuz noone ever has...

... so I shut my mouth and don't say a word - cuz when I DO, I get told off...  "Amy, everyone has that!"   ... well no, they don't. There's not exactly a walking conga line of ex-190kgs women out there, parading their excessive jiggly bits around to make me feel better about myself?!!

But it's not even that. If I get down to the crux of the matter, it's pretty simple. It's just not one that I've brought myself to talk about too much.... cuz quite frankly, I'm embarrassed. It's just who in their right mind would want a girl that looks like I do? I don't have a partner who "loved me at my heaviest" to make me believe I was worth something 'before' - and I don't have anything to tell me that I'm 'ok' in THIS skin either...

How do you break the cycle of self-loathing when no-one wants you?!   How do you believe that you're worth something to anyone when you have nothing to validate that?    ...and before someone yells at me (AGAIN) or starts spieling off that "there's someone for everyone" out there...  well, I can't stop you doing that, I gave up trying to explain this ages ago. I can't explain why I'm so broken with this one...  It's RARE that I come across someone who truly understands how it feels to be the girl that got left behind...  EVERYONE else seems to have partners, significant others, friends, HISTORY and experience that makes me so very envious...  Their 'other half' who still loves them, flaws and all... they just don't understand how truly envious I am of that...

It used to be that I assumed it was my weight that was the reason people didn't want to know me - why guys didn't see me - and why it was just easier for me to hide away and be a hermit. You can't shame yourself more if you're not seen, right?    ... but that only works to kill your social skills off completely and destroy any semblance of 'life' that you thought you had.  Been there, done that, hated it, still have the scars...

So now, half the size I was... I'm trying to rebuild from scratch. Trying to be a "normal 32 year old" amongst all the others who have "life experience" that I've only ever imagined (literally... me and my raging imagination - that's all I've got). They're married, they have kids, they have social circles and adventures. They work and shop and talk... and I watch, and I'm just SO envious cuz I have to FIGHT every freaking day to push myself to do those things that people take for granted....  I'm NOT naturally social - I'm NOT a natural talker - and up until very recently, I was totally INVISIBLE to men (ironic considering how enormous I was) - and I have NO CLUE how to make it less painful, except to just push and push and push myself to try and make it better...

... and granted, yes, it's slowly working. I'm not as shy as I used to be, I can actually look someone in the eye (for the most part, but far out it takes some effort)... and I now KNOW I'm a good person inside, so I SHOULD be worth talking to, right?!

... so why do I feel so NOTHING all the time?!  Why am I riddled with this horrible loneliness that just engulfs my whole body and strangles me so much from the inside... ?  WHY can't I have just a taste of all the things that other people seem to have, without having to fight to breathe every single fucking day?!!  ('scuse my French).

I would give ANYTHING to have just one night with someone's arms wrapped around me who knows how much I need that... to know what it felt like to be wanted properly... to hear the words "I love you Amy..." ...god, I'd sell my soul for that...

I CAN handle being the invisible girl - hell I did it for 99% of my life - I know how to be that, inside and out. It's not good, but I can handle it.   .... but this getting smaller and increased attention thing is really doing my head in...   It's SO superficial, and so not real.  The people I AM attracting, I don't feel the same about them - it's not mutual - it's so rare for me to feel a connection with anyone, cuz I've spent too long making sure I never did. The rare couple of times I've found someone I really like, and they seem to like me (?), I've lost them because of my fucked up insecurities!   (... there goes my French again).

Instead, I get the "You're a nice girl Amy, you're funny, smart, beautiful.... but.... "   I KNOW I'm insecure, but how the hell do you break that when there's noone willing to help you break that?!  How do I let someone in, when they don't have the strength to contend with me pushing against it?  I can't win. 

I used to believe I made people physically ill if they touched me - it was so ingrained in my head that I would automatically flinch if someone even so much as remotely touch my shoulder or hand. I know I'd offend and upset people even if I COULD find the words to explain how I saw it in my head, so I won't...     SO, forget hugs - that would nearly make me run for cover.... and rule out ANY form of relationship (see aforementioned "rare to find someone I'm attracted to who doesn't do a runner" clause above).    It's taken me the last couple of years of repeatedly FORCING myself NOT to flinch, to try and fix that bullshit thinking, so that I can have just the tiniest bit of humility for basic human touch left in me....  because what's the point in life if you don't have basic human touch?  If you can't give or receive hugs?  If you don't have love?

... so how the HELL do I let someone get even closer when I'm fighting all this fucked up thinking, AND a revolting dead-balloon body... AND men who favour someone whose confident in their skin?!    I'm seriously screwed...

Finding myself running away from people who show any interest now - socially or romantically - cuz I'm too scared of being rejected over and over and over some more...  I don't know that I have the energy to fight the hurt anymore...  When I DO find someone I like, I lose them because of my insecurities (not because I'm not a good person, or how I look, or all the stupid things I USED to believe killed it...)  - it's because I don't know how to BE ME in this body and my head is so wonky, I scare them away...   WTF am I supposed to do?!!    How do you fight against this when you just need someone to push through to help?!  How do you find self-validation when there's nothing external to help prove your flawed thinking wrong?  I'm going around and around in circles...

I got told the other day that "maybe you should just wait until you have your surgery, so you feel better about yourself"... and he was right, to a point. I probably WILL have a false-confidence when I don't feel so revolting in my skin - but whose got a spare $50grand up their sleeves to get that done first?!

... and how do I stop this hideous loneliness from breaking me EVERY SINGLE DAY in the meantime?!   It was nearly my undoing before I lost the weight, but that was self-inflicted so I had less people to hurt when I just disappeared...  but NOW, when I need that interaction the most, to prove to myself that I'm worth being here, I keep messing it up?!!

God, how do I fix this mess?!  How many more nights am I going to cry myself to sleep, or hide away because I can't handle what's going on?!   WHY is this all so fucking hard?!!!  Lose weight - get healthy - get happy - get a life?!  THAT was how it was supposed to be...  !!!

This is just screwed.... and there's not a damn thing I can do to fix it except fight, and fight, and fight. I just wish I knew it was worth it...

* * * * * *

I wasn't going to post this blog entry cuz clearly I wasn't in a very good frame of mind when I wrote it...   and why would I want EVERYONE to know I'm NOT ok?!

... but that's the reality of what's going on.  You go from being a girl that wanted to end her life because she believed she was worthless, to someone whose fighting tooth and nail to piece it all back together - and fighting this mammoth list of insecurities because of it... often, with very little return. 

THIS is what the 'glamour' before and after weightloss bullshit DOESN'T tell you. I fight this stuff constantly - the loneliness has never gutted me so much as it does right now - and it's only because I actually HAVE some new-found self-worth and know I don't deserve this!  I don't deserve a lifetime of loneliness, that's how it's been "so far" and what I THOUGHT would change ... but the rejections lately, and the hideous mental games I'm having because of it, fighting off my demons over and over... I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

... if I COULD believe in all the things I keep getting told (the "it'll happen for you too", "there's someone out there for everyone", "you'll find someone who doesn't care about the skin"... etc etc etc... I've heard them ALL)... then I wouldn't be crying myself to sleep every other night.

... and yet, the dreamer in me is still in there, I know she is, because part of me is still waiting for that guy who DOES see me for me, and DOES have the courage to hold my hand when I'm trying to run away, and help me be the better version of myself...   (I don't know if that's ridiculous wishful thinking or not though...).

I got told yesterday "you shine when you smile"... and it was one of the most beautiful things I've heard.   ...but I feel like such a fraud when I'm just hurting so much underneath it...  Maybe that's what sparked the decline last night - not the beautiful compliment, but because it's ME whose tearing myself apart from the inside...

That's the reality of it. It's all a part of my transition, and as hurt as I am, there's nothing I can do about avoiding it. There's no point pretending this stuff doesn't exist - and acknowledgement forms part of having the courage and ability to fix it... 

So I post...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How do you stay motivated?

If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me "Amy, how do you stay motivated?!" then I reckon I'd be lying on the floor whipping my arms around making 'money angels' in all my shiny gold coins right about now!!!    (sadly, I am not.. haha!)

It happened again today - right after I posted on Facebook about my SSS workout - my 1115cals burnt, 2.5hour sweat-session - that saw me haul some serious arse to beat the weekend challenge, and prove to myself that I'm still in this game.  ...And right there on the post was the conspicuous "Amy, how do you stay motivated" question that I see so often! It made me smile - it's something I've wanted to talk about for ages, and something I was flicking through in my head as my legs were ticking over on the tready today!

After the last few weeks (albeit months, if I'm truly honest) - the self-sabotage and hideous mental games that have fueled me with more self-doubt than I like to admit...  I knew damn well my "motivation" had literally flown right out the window. As usual.  Didn't feel I had the right to spiel about something this big...

Running on the tready at the gym this afternoon though, post-Pump class and feeling that freaking awesome burn that comes with pushing your limits (and proving your self-doubt wrong) - I KNEW right then and there that motivation really had nothing to do with this latest breakthrough...  and it was time to sort this out - both for my own benefit and all those that think I have a never-ending supply of 'motivation' at my disposal!!

Let me explain.

"At the beginning"... being nearly 200 kilos, I was plagued with doubt, fear, repulsion, hatred, severe self-loathing (I could go on, but I won't...) - I was trying to pull myself out of a hole I'd dug for myself, and I literally had NO belief that I was capable of succeeding.  Looking for 'motivators' was habitual - I'd scour the internet, magazines, watch TV shows, trying to find people in a similar scenario that could "show me" it was possible - because I didn't believe it was true. All the other attempts I'd failed, so how was this time going to be any different?! Things would start out great the first day or two then I'd lose the plot and be right back to where I started. Lost count of how many failed "diets" and ridiculous gimmick products I'd tried, and NOTHING worked to keep me moving forward...  My innate ability to believe in failure before I'd even had a chance to succeed was always my undoing. Things HAD to change...

Knowing full well I had well over half my weight to lose, it's all fine and dandy to say 'motivation' was what pulled me through for results... but motivation is fleeting - it's short term! It doesn't stick around, it only lasts until your first slip-up, a badly calculated move, an unexpected visitor or an unscheduled birthday cake hits the office...  It gets tossed to the back of your mind when you get stressed, there's 300 jobs on your to-do list due by the end of the week, there's issues with the family, it's raining outside, the cat just vomited on the carpet and you ran out of time to get to the supermarket...  Motivation = gone!

Hear it time and time again, people throwing the term "motivation" around like it's the ONLY way they'll ever succeed in their weightloss (or any goal for that matter)... but motivation isn't the sole driver creating champions!

It's funny, I'd fight ALL the time, "trying to get motivated" and get moving.  You know the mental fight.... You're sitting on the couch, takes all your energy to put your joggers on - all the while your brain is ticking over with the "you can just do twice the session tomorrow, or maybe if I just eat less tonight it won't matter so much" (knowing full well you'd stick to neither) - then by the time you're actually ready to hit the pavement or the gym, you feel like your head is about to cave in, you have the energy of a deflated balloon and any motivation you DID have is well and truly gone!  Bulk of the time you let it beat you, berate yourself and your so-called 'motivation' has let you down, again!

This is usually where people tell you to pull out the JFDI (just f-ing do it) card.... but again, that's fleeting too, and just like that limited motivation that's already eluded you, only serves to push you through that brief session too!  It's handy and DOES work as a tool, but not so reliable for the long-term either...

I don't discredit motivation at all - I think it has its purpose and reason, and plays a KEY part in anyone's attitude and drive towards success (on any level)... but again, is NOT the sole reason pushing someone forward.  And I'll reiterate - it's SHORT TERM.

SO this is the part you're not going to like...   Stop looking for your lost motivation, it's already moved on!  It was there for a bit, now it's gone!  It all comes back to YOU.

YOU have to be the reason. YOU have to be the instigator. YOU have to be the facilitator. It all comes down to YOU.

For me, trying to find someone as a "role model" if you will, that could 'motivate' me towards success was basically impossible.  Looking for inspiration and motivation elsewhere became redundant for a girl who had a hundred kilos to lose (there's not that many of us out there!!) - and still something I struggle with today when I come up against new obstacles I don't quite know how to contend with!  One foot in the front of the other, and a blind faith that I just have to keep moving through the issues, and hope like crazy I'm doing what I need to do.  I just have to DO...

That's NOT reliant on motivation. That's belief, faith, determination, habit, trust... (etc) - "intangible" things that you can't see or touch to prove the possibility.  THEY are what's stuck with me for over 3.5 years - holds my hand when I'm too scared to step out of my comfort zone, moves me faster when I just want to stop, calms my head when my world is spinning from all the changes, and comforts me when I just want to cry...   THEY are the reason I've lost half my bodyweight - they're the catalyst beneath all the good behaviours, the new learned habits, the proactive choices, the calculated risks and the plain, good old-fashioned, bloody hard work!

MOTIVATION - on the other hand - is an aspiration!  It's what I want, it's the goal, it's an end result that can be celebrated. Yes, it's a driving force, but it's NOT the heart and soul of the operation!  It's something that I haven't got yet - but I want - but it's too far ahead of me to be reliable. It helps put the fire in my belly - because I have somewhere that I want to be - but it comes and goes!! 

It took me a really long time to realise there was a significant difference between relying on something fleeting (motivation) or to acknowledge what really drives me forward.

I AM the reason, and therefore I produce the change.  I work at this every day.  I eat well, I exercise, I learn new habits (21 days to form a new healthy habit), I push myself when I need to, I make mistakes and I learn from them, I educate myself, I support others, I instigate more change...

This is NOW just what I do. No games, no gimmicks, no spiels or carry on. This is the new ME, and 'motivation' plays very little part in that.

Just like today, as I was running on the tready, I had this smile spread across my face when one of my favourite songs hit the Ipod...  I picked up speed and pushed my legs harder, and aimed for another five minutes...  just because I was so happy, in that moment, and I'd proactively CHOSEN to be there!

I USED to be the girl who couldn't even walk a few steps down the block, and it fills me with this overwhelming happiness and the most beautiful feeling of self-belief and worth, knowing full well that what I've done isn't fleeting...   I beat the "I've lost my motivation" cycle - regularly!!   It comes and goes (as it always has) - but it's so unreliable, I have to believe in ME now.  I AM the reason - and I'll do what I have to do! ... I simply won't settle for less.

There's always going to be obstacles and challenges - THAT is what makes this all the more worthwhile!  If it came easy, there'd be no value to the work. Success comes to those who put one foot in front of the other and BE who they need to be in order to achieve.

Champions create their own motivation - they don't wait for it to show up randomly and hope it sticks around long enough to make a few lasting changes, or expect someone or something else to drive it. Champions make it happen!

I'll say it again.. Motivation is fleeting - it's SHORT TERM!  It has its place, but it's a "friend" who'll visit you sporadically, hold your hand for a little while, then leave when it's time for YOU to step up and take control.  It's a BEAUTIFUL tool, but just know it's only there to give you that little push when you need it - not drag your butt right through!!

It pays to know the difference!!!    My 3.5 years and STILL working towards my goals tells me so!

So, next time someone says to me "Amy, how do you stay motivated?"... maybe I can say (without sounding like an over-inflated egomaniac!) it's because I aspire to be a true Champion. I'll just keep making it happen... because that's just what I DO!

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THANK YOU!!!!   
You guys freaking ROCK - thank you for your support - SO humbled by it all. 
It's definitely helping me keep my momentum going!!! 
(... do I detect a slight bit of 'motivation' in there... hahaha!!)