The Riddle of Me: Self-Image

Whenever you’re obese it’s incredible how aware you are of every inch of space you take up. I was always painfully aware of my size. Whenever I’d have to squeeze past a table in a restaurant or push myself past bodies on an airplane to get to my seat, I was filled with an agonizing embarrassment and self-hatred. People were judging me, most of them just avoided looking my way but some would let contempt hang on their faces. I always avoided eye contact. I lived inside my own mind, constantly tearing myself down, and never paying attention to the world around me. I could never separate who I was from what had happened to me. I was too pliable, like extremely depressed Play-Doh.

I was jealous of all the other human beings that could hide their insecurities or bad habits. I would look around and imagine some to be compulsive gamblers, pathological liars, or maybe just awful people, but they looked normal. They looked healthy. I couldn’t hide how bad I was at life. I had to wear my shame every second of every day. I was a binge eater; I couldn’t cope with my emotions or the challenges life threw at me. I would hide, eat, lie about my emotions, and sink into my depression. I never imagined my life could be any other way. I was just made this way and I didn’t have the determination or hard work to make it better.

What a harmful lie I was feeding myself. What a harmful lie that was fed to me by others.

I hated my body and mind in every sense of the words. It was like being held hostage by my bad habits and choices. No improvement, no education, no growth. I would sit for hours every day and imagine what it’d be like to run again, to eat healthy balanced meals, to pursue education and knowledge, to be loved and to love myself. Those “dreams” would consume my thoughts. I now realize when I reflect, I never believed I would be better. Honestly, I think I was just waiting for an excuse to end it all. I thought that being happy and healthy was never in the cards for me. I spent years of my life never moving towards my goals while simultaneously hating this world that never made me someone that moved towards their goals. See my point?

I chose to be a victim. I chose to always victimize myself. That was my self-image.

When I thought I’d lost everything. I had nothing to hold onto.

So, I set fire to those thoughts.

One of the worst things that ever happened to me in my life, losing two people who were more dear to me than myself, it changed me. It changed me for the better and it made me open my eyes. I now feel like I see with such clarity what the world is, what life is, and more importantly what the possibility of a life well lived is. Stop putting expectations on yourself for tomorrow, stop putting expectations on your loved one’s behavior, stop putting expectations on your life.

Pursue goals, dream, hope, but never be anything but grateful. Once you realize how lucky you are to even exist. You can start to appreciate how short, scary, and beautiful life is. Stop ruining it by overthinking. Stop hating yourself. Embrace who you are and pay attention to your thoughts. You are in control, your choices and how you choose to allocate your time determines who you are.

Stand on the frontier of life. Push yourself and everyone around you to be better. Don’t choose to be less than what you could be because the people around you are fine with standing still. I will never let another human being on this earth tell me what I can or cannot succeed at.

Set the example. Impress them. Encourage them. Inspire them.

Stop being complacent in a life you’ve made for yourself.

Today, I am about as different from the person I was 4 years ago, as I am to a stranger on the street. My thoughts, my habits, my reactions and interactions, they astound me daily. Whenever negative and harmful thoughts pass through my mind, I no longer let them control me, belittle me, and dictate what my day will be like. I recognize them like a bird flying by in front of me, I acknowledge them, and then let them go. On to the next thought, the better thought, the more productive thought, the wonderful thought.

The best example I have is that instead of letting my thoughts and emotions consume me. I merely reflect them. It’s like being a mirror inside of yourself. The voice that answers to “I” in my head is constant. That is what I consider “me”. I am not the sum of my memories, thoughts, and other people’s behaviors toward me. I am the mirror, so I merely reflect it.

People’s behavior around me no longer offends me or hurts me. I don’t take responsibility for it. I can only be truthful and direct with my words and intentions and let the pieces fall where they may. If someone is rude or does something I don’t agree with morally or socially. It’s no longer dramatic or stress inducing. I merely remove myself from their company and continue to pursue my own happiness. I hold no ill-will towards the people who are no longer a part of my life. I wish them every joy and happiness. I just know that there are some human beings that will only harm my progress or add chaos to my life. I no longer have the time or the patience to fight with people. It has made me a more selfish, productive, and happier person.

I make a choice to dwell on the positive, helpful and true. I choose to reject or move from the unhealthy, false, and unhelpful thoughts. I strive for my mind to be filled with ideas, curiosity, fascination, love, truth, and hope.

I’m constantly pushing myself to be better every moment. I’m looking for ways I can challenge myself and improve. When I look in the mirror, I no longer focus on every part of myself I want to change. I look at my eyes and contemplate their complexities and colors. I marvel at how they show me the world and my body, how they let me perceive the universe around me.

I look at my arms and instead of hating the flab and their shape, I stare at them and marvel how far they’ve come. How strong they are, how much they help me throughout my day, throughout my life, how much I’d miss them if they were disappearing. I stare at my stomach and I marvel at what’s under the skin. The intricate organs, fluid, tissue, the constant activity that makes it possible for me to be here today. I marvel at how one day hopefully; I will grow a tiny human. I can be moved to tears with the slightest thought of how incredibly my entire body is. I see the “magic” in myself now. I have changed my mind about this life.

I hated this journey for so long because I only reflected on how bad I had let things get for myself. My health, my body, my emotions, everything was a wreck. I’ve now realized how lucky I am to have been through everything I have. The loss, the weight gain, the pain, the suffering. It has given me the gift of perspective. The gift of self-love. the gift of confidence.

Nothing lasts in this life. I choose not to grieve over what I have had and lost, I choose to embrace what is around me. I choose to look in the mirror and not only feel peace, but love. I have such a clear view of who I am, what I’m capable of, and what I want out of this life. It’s similar to the feeling of falling in love, except I’m not depending on anyone else for this euphoria and purpose. It’s me.

Now when I’m in public, traveling, dancing, existing. I no longer apologize for the space I occupy. When I stand, I feel my strength. I am confident. Losing weight does not make you a better person. It will not fix your life. Your size is insignificant in comparison to your life and happiness. Let weight loss be merely a side-effect to a balanced life, to a balanced you. Love yourself and the rest will follow.

So I guess what I’m saying is it all comes down to you. It all comes down to your choices.

What’s it going to be? Do you want to start loving being you?

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A letter to me

Dear Devon,

It’s 2013, you’re 22 and I know it feels like your whole life just crumbled around you. Matt and Mom are gone. The grief your feeling is constant, scary, and overwhelming. You don’t know if you’ll survive it or if you want to. I know you don’t want to get out of bed and I know you don’t want to even think about the future, but you have to. It feels like you’re alone, but you’re not. You have your family, your future in-laws (that’s right. you marry him. WOO!), your friends, and especially David. You don’t have to suffer in silence, those people love you and they want you to be happy. You may not want to talk about what you’re feeling, but you need to. Don’t hold it in and stop pretending to be so brave.

Right now you feel like everything is out of control. Your binge eating is at the worst it’s ever been and I know you can’t look in the mirror without being ashamed and angry. I know you think you’ll never be more than a victim. You don’t think you’re smart, beautiful, disciplined or destined to be happy. You think that what has happened and what you’ve done to yourself will just be what you are. I’m so happy to tell you it’s not.

You’re incredibly strong and you don’t even know it yet, but you’ll find out soon. One day you’ll realize that you can think about Mom and Matt and still be able to breath. One day after that you’ll realize that eating the way you are is self-harm and you don’t want to do it anymore. Then one day, you’ll wake up, go look in the mirror – and you’ll feel this feeling you’ve never felt before. Pride.

You’re going to start making choices that push you towards your goals. You’re going to stop putting yourself down and you’re going to learn new things about yourself every single day. You will pursue knowledge in a way you never have before. Your strength isn’t just emotional either, you’re athletic and capable. Once you get that weight off and you start working out, you won’t believe what you can do.

You don’t have to be so angry at yourself and the world. You don’t have to believe that voice in your head telling you that you’ll never be enough. You are more than enough and your love and kindness will touch people in ways you can’t imagine. You have a husband that loves you and pushes you to be better, and you’re going to have family and friends that make you feel overwhelmed with love and gratitude. Buckle up, girl. You have a lot of living to do, and guess what? You’re incredible. 

I can’t wait for you to figure that out.

Love,
Me

thebestone

 

 

– Let’s talk food prep. February 8th, 2017

Vitamin Donuts Coaching Week One 2/2

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Hey guys! Hope everyone is sailing through their week! 

I’d love to talk about food prep. Now, I know when you hear that term you might be thinking about a protein loving, muscular man making 8-135 containers of brown rice and chicken on a Sunday, but I’m here to tell you how I made it flexible enough to fit in my life and how it has positively impacted my eating habits.

So how often does this happen to you? You’re driving home after work, running errands, grabbing the kids, whatever, and you realize, you’re hungry. Now either you could go home and cook for a couple hours, do the dishes, and be exhausted. OR you could pull through a fast food joint and feed yourself (and anyone else with you) in just a couple minutes flat. Now I don’t know about you, but I love finding an excuse to eat fast food. Doesn’t matter where. I’m just itching for a reason to pull through and enjoy some french fries and a chocolate shake. (That’s right. I’m a dipper.) I’m always blissfully thinking the words, “I did so much today. I don’t want to cook. Why not?”

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I learned very quickly that if I wanted to break the habit, I would have to get some discipline, and stop giving myself excuses to make bad choices.

So I challenge you this week. I either want you to make a little bit extra when you do cook or I want you to make time this week for a couple hours to make yourself some healthy food. You don’t have to make a ton, I promise. Just make a little bit extra so you can maybe get 2 lunches out of it. Usually instead of just making enough chicken breasts and mushrooms for my husband and I, I’ll make twice that. I want you to do the same with any recipe you want and that’ll keep for 3-4 days. Be creative and make something you’ll enjoy eating. So, after I make all that, not only have I cooked a lot of chicken (yum!) – it’ll go bad if I don’t eat it. Now let me tell you, I have gotten creative with chicken. They go in pitas, on salads, with fruit, covered in condiments. Chicken is just so darn versatile.

I encourage you to try new recipes and don’t get bored of your meals. There are so many ways to do things, it doesn’t have to be torture to eat this stuff. I genuinely had the best chicken and veggies I’ve ever had last night, and I’m the one who made them. I loved it, I enjoyed every bite.

A sweet trick I sometimes add to my chicken breast is some sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese. It’s nice spin on a recipe that my big brother taught me how to make.
(Thanks Jeff!)

I also like keeping falafel, chicken salad, tuna, egg salad, and this kind of weird vegetable medley I came up with in the fridge. (I’ll share a couple recipes down below.) Now, when I’m driving home I know that if I choose to go to fast food, instead of home. That’s a genuinely harder choice for me. I know there is perfectly good, healthy food for me at home – yet I’m still choosing those calories, fat, grease, and bad feelings anyway. I’m telling you, it stops me 80% of the time.

Here are some of the recipes I personally make every couple days. I have kind of a rotation going now with things and I add new things as I find them. As always, be flexible with this and make it suit your diet and taste buds.
I want you to find your way to do things – this is the best place to start!!

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Now let’s be clear guys – I’ve been trying really hard this week to take pictures of all the food I make at home. I’m telling you, it’s either the lighting (my preferred excuse) or that my food lacks sophisticated presentation. (My food is ugly)

Apparently, I’m not that good at taking pictures of food. Haha. I’m getting a better camera and I’m really going to try hard to get better at this – but until then it’ll be a mix of my pictures and some stock images to help with the instructions/ingredients.

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Devon’s FAVORITE Chicken Breast. EVER.
Boneless skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Garlic powder

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

First, I always take the chicken breast out of the package, lay them between 2 sheets of glad wrap and pound those puppies until they’re about 1-1 1/2 inch thick. (either by mallet or with my skillet) then I season them with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. You don’t have to use a ton, but make it taste good. You decide how much you like.

Then I put some avocado oil in my skillet and let it get hot. Medium – High ish. Once it is hot – and I mean sizzlin’ hot – then add the chicken 1-2 breasts at a time depending on how big they are. If you overcrowd that pan, the chicken will get boily and weird. (thanks Food Network)

Once your chicken is browned on both sides, 3-5 minutes a side. I pull them off and put them on a foil covered baking sheet. Spray the sheet with pam to prevent sticking. Then I put the chicken in the oven for 15-25 minutes or until cooked all the way through. (I’m one of those that uses a thermometer to ensure a nice 165 degrees)

When they come out, make sure they’re done and then
IMMEDIATELY COVER THEM WITH FOIL.
I’M NOT JOKING. DON’T TOUCH THAT CHICKEN.
Let them rest for 5-7 minutes. (This step means a lot to me)

After that, take them out and enjoy! They’re really tasty (:

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Devon’s Veggie Medley

This exact amount makes enough for a topping/side for 2 people.
I’d at least double for prep.

1 package of mushrooms, I prefer baby bellas
1/2 poblano pepper
1/2 bell pepper, usually red
pinch of salt, pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce
avocado or olive oil

I put those in my pan covered for 15 minutes,
then uncovered , (10 ish minutes until I like how they look.)

Cut, cook, and done!
I make it as a side usually, but sometimes
I’ll make more and make it a veggie meal for myself!

I always suggest adding a salad to your meal. I personally use romaine hearts, give them a rough chop, add some italian dressing and cracked black pepper. It’s simple but it tastes good and keeps me on track getting those greens in.

I’ll say it again – Try it many different ways. & it’s always a good idea to pay attention to how many calories your dressing of choice has. If you prefer blue cheese or something heavier, I suggest having it on the side and dipping instead of smothering the lettuce – it keeps you mindful so you can enjoy your preference while watching the calories!

I also encourage you to look into greek/Mediterranean foods and recipes. It has become one of my favorite cuisines and it’s so easy to keep it healthy and enjoy every bite.
Tzatziki sauce is everything.

Here are some products I get that are either freezer/prepped foods that keep me on track! Some are quick eat things and some I add my own twist to. If you’re interested in a particular one, let me know if you’d like to see the recipes I use personally when I make them! Not all of this is the healthiest stuff, some of it is high in calories and sodium but it’s tasty, healthier alternatives,  and it’s stuff that is usually in my fridge.
I do use portion control and I use mindfulness when I eat these things. 

Egg White Salad w/ chives – Very good recipes for this on Pinterest
Fully Cooked Falafel – Frozen – Also look for healthier homemade recipes
Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets – Frozen – Just bake in the oven and bam, done.
Al Fresco Chicken Sausage – SO GOOD, I use it in all scrambles and breakfast recipes
Black Bean & Jack Cheese Burrito – It’s amazing and I like that it doesn’t have meat. It’s also 510 calories and loaded with sodium. I try to eat it in 3 portions.
Egg Muffins with Italian Chicken Sausage – AMAZING. Pinterest.
Avocado Chicken Salad – Delicious on or in anything. Pinterest.

I encourage you to get on Pinterest or google this week and print off/save some recipes you would like to prep to keep yourself on track!

Let me know how you’re doing and of course, stay cheerful!

Dev

Weight loss transformation –

the 1st weight loss vlog

I am not a doctor or a health care professional.
I lost over 100 pounds over about 20 months. My start weight was about 278

 

1) Do not take it day by day, take it meal by meal. Just because you wake up and eat a crap breakfast. Don’t call it a day! I was a huge fan of the “I’ll start Monday” camp. It didn’t do me any good. It kept me from making progress, and honestly it made me feel like a failure. Try to make every meal count towards your goal, but if you mess up. Whatever. Just make the next one better. Don’t give up.

 

2) Write down everything you put in your mouth. Yes EVERYTHING. This does not work if you cheat yourself on it. Write down the good, the bad, and the absolutely horrific. I use the internet or an app on my phone to not only calculate the calories, but the fat, protein, and carbs. I write that down next to it. This not only keeps me accountable, but it gave me so much knowledge about food. Just because it says “low fat” or “low carb” it can still be NO BUENO. Don’t be afraid to look! It could inspire you to pick a better option for your meal! I always look back at it to see how I failed, what triggered it, and what I can do next time to make sure I don’t do it again. It also helps me keep track of tasty recipes!

 

3) Healthy food does not have to be disgusting. You do not have to eat what everyone else does. Build your own menu! Do you like fried chicken? There’s a healthy recipe for that. What about pizza? That too! And with my diet, I can even indulge from time to time without planning ahead of time. I really like to eat Jello with a low cal whipped topping at night. Is that the healthiest option? No! But it keeps my butt away from my husband’s Oreos in the snack cabinet.

 

4) Telling other people about my plans was causing me to fail. Have you ever heard about that crazy thing where humans actually get satisfaction from telling someone they’re going to “go work out” or “pick up a salad”. I was doing that 100%. I would tell my husband about my big health plans for the day, get his praise, and then I would TOTALLY FLAKE. I finally had to stop doing that. I kept my mouth shut, worked out, ate my kale salad (I can only do it with a fatty poppyseed dressing) and then come home and cook us a nutritious meal. THEN I would brag about it! To him, to facebook, to instagram. Wherever! I just had to stop counting my chicken breasts before I ate them.

 

5) Exercise is not punishment I remember stepping on the treadmill at 278 pounds. I can actually make myself cry if i think about it long enough. I couldn’t breath, I felt sick and hopeless. But more than that. I hated myself. I had been an athlete in my teens and sometimes at night I could still dream about what my body had been capable of when I was healthy. I started walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill or working on a stationary bike for 30 minutes. Then my husband introduced some light weights into the mix. After about 50 pounds I was brave enough to try yoga and I found out that I LOVED it. It was exactly what I needed. A little peaceful moment in my day to make me feel centered. You have to find your own groove and what works for you. Like dancing? Do it in your living room. Like to run? Put on some music and run somewhere beautiful. Just find what doesn’t make you miserable. Find what brings you peace. Don’t let anyone tell you the right way or wrong way (unless you’re hurting yourself). You’re an individual! Try a thousand different things and hate 999 of them. But you’ll find something. – – I hope this helps somebody, anybody else. Because I felt really alone when I was doing it. If it wasn’t for my husband’s support. I’d still be binge eating and hating what I was doing to myself. It took me a really long time, too long actually to understand that this journey isn’t about getting skinny, or being able to wear that bikini, or even making people like me more. It’s about being the strongest version of yourself inside and out so you can face whatever life throws at you.

 

EDIT:

1) – Portion control is such a huge part, I actually bought small side plates about 1/2 the size of our normal ones to help eat smaller portions of things. It worked for me!

 

2) – I never used shakes or herbalife just because I wanted to have a diet that I could follow anywhere. Scratch that, not even a diet. Anything like those shakes 3x a day or pills or wraps will stop working once you’re off of them. You will gain weight back. Try to do something that doesn’t feel like a diet, do something that feels like a lifestyle. I’m not saying those things don’t work – I’m just saying you don’t need to spend money or spend more money to eat healthy and work out. Don’t let people tell you that you need to pay for programs or shakes or whatever the hot new trend is! I love you guys!!! Send me questions, stories, whatever!

 

If you’re feeling like you need some support, encouragement, or a daily dose of butt kicking to hit a goal, please reach out to me. Either on here or on FB. Find the weight loss group I created, Fight Chub. It’s a group of really great people posting their failures, success, and daily grind for health and fitness.