Posted by: tracifergus | September 1, 2014

It’s all about the climb

Elementary School

Elementary School

As a kid I was not the most active child nor was I the smallest. I was teased and made fun of for my weight ever since I can remember. I had boys chase after me throwing rocks while calling me fat and ugly. My elementary years were spent in torture as I continued to be bullied because of my weight. I thought for sure it would get better in middle school when everyone goes through their transition but instead I was stuck on my transitional plateau and the name calling intensified. Being called fat and ugly became a regular occurrence. I started reverting more and more inward, finally removing myself from all social settings. I would come home from class, change in to my pajamas knowing that I was not going anywhere the rest of the night. I was coping the best way I knew how but I was still missing out on life. With each day my weight began to pile on and I hide behind baggy clothes and over-sized sweatshirts. When I looked in the mirror all I saw was sadness in my eyes so I decided to stop looking in the mirror. I became so obsessed with what others thought of my weight that I kept telling myself that I was unlovable. No one would ever see past my weight and I would be that fat girl for the rest of my life. I had given up hope because I didn’t see any way out of this downward spiral that I was in. I remember once in high school sitting on the couch and watching an episode of Oprah in my pajamas. On the episode there was a woman that had lost over 300 lbs. She said she started by just clapping her hands above her head and that would wind her. Then she would make a weekly goal to walk to the door in her living room, then to the front door, to the mailbox and down the street. I clearly remember starting to clap my hands above my head and thought,

Age 15

Age 15

“I am only 16 and if I don’t change something soon, I will end up just like her.” I knew then that something had to change but it would take me several years to finally get up the courage to make the change that would ultimately impact the rest of my life.

When I graduated from high school, I was grateful to finally be out of the school setting that had caused me so much torture and anguish over so many years. I told myself that I would never go back and left the people that I met in my past because the pain of those transitional years was too much to bear. The next couple years my weight only continued to increase and I became obsessed once again with weighing myself. When I got to my breaking point I was 18, wore a size 20 and weighed 235 lbs.

My heaviest at 235

My heaviest at 235

I hated what I saw in the mirror and knew that it was time for a change. My family started on the South Beach Diet, combined with the Dr Phil Ultimate Weight Loss Solution. After a week of the South Beach diet, I had lost 5 lbs but knew it was simply a diet and I was looking for a life style change. I knew that changing the way I ate would help me lose weight but I also knew that there was more emotional baggage that was protecting me from losing weight. As we started to discuss the emotional abuse that I had experienced over the years, that is when I started to see the most impressive weight loss. I was ecstatic as I saw the number on the scale continue to drop. Over the course of the year I had successfully lost over 60 lbs. I was elated. Finally, I wasn’t the fat girl anymore. Except when I looked in the mirror all I saw was that same girl that weighed 235 lbs. I still saw the sadness in my eyes and still heard those voices of the people who called me ugly and fat. Even though they were no longer a part of my life, their words had become a constant white noise that I heard in my head. People would tell me I looked great but no matter how many compliments I got, I still downplayed them. I told them, “Oh you don’t see what is under my clothes.” The more people started to compliment me, the more uncomfortable I started to feel. I thought losing the physical weight would be enough, little did I know that I still had mental barriers that I would have to overcome as well.

As the compliments continued, I noticed that I was reverting back to my old patterns. I was starting to emotionally eat again and using my clothes to once again hide my body. I had spent a year working hard to lose the physical weight, but had not focused on my mental weight. I would try the same techniques that had worked the previous year to lose the weight but the number on the scale started to climb once again. I was devastated and terrified. I didn’t want to gain all that weight back and the more I was terrified, the more the weight crept back on. Over the next several years, my weight has fluctuated but I have not been able to lose that final 15 lbs to reach my goal weight. I tried multiple diets, workout programs and even counting calories, but nothing would budge me from that plateau. Then I decided to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was excited to finally have something else to focus on besides my weight. I was excited to serve the people of Peru and teach them about something that has had such an impact on my life.

While preparing to serve the people of Peru, I was playing frisbee and tore the cartilage in my knee. The tear required surgery and the doctor’s removed half of the cartilage in my knee, I was devastated because they had to send me home to recover from the surgery and teach me how to walk again. They told me as soon as I could walk 5 miles consecutively, then I would be able to come back and finally go to Peru. Well when I am given a goal in life, I will work my hardest towards that goal, no matter how long it takes me to get there. After 7 weeks, I was walking 5 miles a day and feeling great. I went in to see the orthopedic doctor and received the news that because of my surgery, he was hesitant to send me out of the country for 18 months, especially to a country

screwsthat had so many hills. I was heartbroken once again. I felt like my heart was already in Peru but was then reassigned to Richmond, Virginia. I was still excited to be able to serve and made the most out this reassignment. I was only in Virginia a week before I re-injured my knee again. This time I was bending down in my suitcase to get out a book and when I crouched down, my knee cap

popped out and started tracking diagonally, I knew then that I would have to go home for surgery but was hopeful that the doctor’s would tell me that with PT, I would be able to heal and not have to go home. After several weeks of pain and doctor’s appointments, we finally got word that the injury was too extensive for PT and would require a surgery that would cut the bone and tendons and move it over 13 mm. I would have two metal screws put in my tibia and it would be a long recovery. I knew that night that I would have to leave my mission and my dream behind. I told myself that if only I hadn’t push my recovery from the first surgery, that maybe this wouldn’t be happening to me. I was sent home to wait for the orthopedic surgery and tried to remain optimistic but after weeks of inactivity, I once again reverted back in to my old eating habits.

staples

My knee surgery was a success but the weeks spent in recovery were anything but productive. Laying there day after day, started to take a tole on me mentally I started reliving the past and hearing those voices telling me I was fat and would never amount to anything. As I lay there I kept allowing my past to taint my future. I thought, “well this is as good as it’s going to get.” I’ll never be able to run again and even walking at that point looked nearly impossible. One day during recovery my niece wanted to watch Lion King. Since I had a huge crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas as a kid, naturally I agreed. While watching this video, I was reminded that even though we have painful experiences in our past, we don’t have to continue to relive them. My past happened and there is nothing I can do to change that, but I can learn from it and move forward with a determination to succeed.

learning from the past

From that point on, I decided that I was going to live an active life, no matter what my limitations. After a couple years, I started training for a 5k. I started using the Couch to 5k running program. For the first month, I felt incredible. I really thought that I would be able to run a 5k by my birthday. I continued training and in February 2010, 3 years after my surgery, I developed a stress fracture in my knee. Once again I found myself on crutches, only seeing failure and the reality that running was out of the question. I tried to accept this reality but ultimately I became numb to my emotions and learned to once again repress the emotions that I was feeling and started emotionally eating once again. I saw the numbers going up on the scale and even though it scared me, at this point I didn’t care. I had lost hope. It wasn’t until I took a weight lifting class at BYU, that my determination to make goals and strive to achieve them was once again revived.

Stewart Falls 2011

Stewart Falls 2011

When I originally signed up for the weight lifting class it was because I have always loved weight lifting and thought why not get college credit for this. In my class I met a girl who became my lifting partner. We had similar life experiences that made it easy for us to connect and since it was summer we decided to become hiking buddies. I hadn’t successfully finished a hike since my knee surgery 4 years prior but wanted to give it another try. In preparing for my hike, I made sure I had all the anti inflammatory and hard core pain medications a person could legally obtain. I had to prepare for any degree of pain. I also brought a variety of knee braces not knowing the level of support that my knee would need and most importantly I brought with me an attitude of determination that I was not going to let this hike defeat me.

We decided that our first hike would be an easy 3.5 mile round trip hike to Stewart Falls up Provo Canyon in Provo, UT. As we

Stewart Falls

Stewart Falls

started on our hike neither one of us was sure if we would be able to complete this hike but as we talked and distracted one another, before we knew it, we could hear the joyous sound of water crashing on rocks. As I saw the falls I couldn’t believe that I actually made it to the end. Completing this hike was more to me then just reaching a destination. I learned that I am a lot stronger then I give myself credit. After this hike we decided that we wanted to continue our hiking adventures. We decided that by the end of summer we would have prepared ourselves to hike Mt Timpanogos. This was a pretty ambitious hike for a us because here we had only hiked 3.5 miles round trip and the assent to Mt Timpanogos was over 15 miles round trip with a 3,200 ft elevation gain. We knew if we planned hikes that increased in mileage and elevation, that we would make our goal in 4 months. We hiked almost every weekend that summer and I knew that we would reach our goal. As summer came to an end, the dream of Timp was looking like a reality,until I once again injured my knee on a hike. I gave my knee a couple weeks and during that recovery time, the first snow of the season fell on Timp. That is when I realized that I was not going to be able to conquer Timp that year. I was determined to not allow Timp to get the best of me and the next year, I made the same New Year’s resolution to hike that mountain. As we all know though with New Year’s resolutions, if the determination and dedication are not behind the goal, then the goal is likely to go unmet as  your resolution and will wain. 2012 came and went and once again I would look up at that mountain and see my failure. When January 1st, 2013 rolled around, I decided that this would be my year. I was not going to let my failures define me and I was going to conquer that mountain even if I had to crawl to the top, I was going to make it to the top.

Perseverance With a new determination and perspective, I decided that I had to change my attitude when I looked at Timp. When I was driving down the road, instead of looking up and seeing my failure, I looked up and saw my success! I envisioned myself sitting on top of the mountain and overlooking the valley. I felt the cool breeze on my face and felt the success pump through my veins, as if it were the life force getting me to the top. I would always say, “I’ve got this.” every time I would see that mountain. In envisioning my success, I started to believe that I would actually make it to the top. In April, I started my interval training again. This time being sure to listen to the needs of my body and if I felt a even the slightest bit of pain, I eased up knowing that it was more important to take the journey slow than to push myself to my breaking point early in the training. With each additional hike, I felt the strength returning to my knee and knew that this dream would soon be my reality. On July 24th, my roommate and I decided that we wanted to hike to Emerald Lake which is 2/3rds of the way up Timp. We figured there was no better way to train, then the tackle the final objective and see our endurance level. We were only a couple hours in to our hike and I thought for sure I wasn’t going to make it to the top.

Pioneer TrekMy whole body ached, my knee was throbbing and everything within me told me to quit. But then I looked up at that peak and once again resolved that this mountain was not going to get the best of me. I made my roommate tell me stories the entire time to distract my thoughts and I focused my energy on putting one foot in front of the other. We weren’t worried about how fast we were hiking but rather enjoying the journey along the way. As we stopped to enjoy the scenery and take in the majesty around us, we were amazed that the miles seemed to pass and before we knew it, we were at the meadow right before you begin the final assent to the top. As we stopped for lunch, every part of us ached but even more invigorating was the fact that we had successfully hike 2/3rds of the way up the mountain. Of course when we made our descent down the mountain, our hips hurt, our feet were blistered, we were dehydrated but we knew know that hiking Timp was possible and that there was nothing going to stop us from reaching the top.

SuccessOn August 30th, 2013 we awoke at 2:00 am. We filled our packs with water, Powerade, snacks, lunch, first aid supplies, our hiking sticks, ankle and knee braces. We were prepared for whatever came our way and even managed to recruit 6 others to embark on this journey with us. We reached the Timpanooke trail head while it was still dark and began our ascent. Since this wasn’t our first time on the trail, the first couple hours went by with ease. Also since it was dark, it was easier to remain optimistic because you did not continuously see the daunting task in front of you.  As the sun began to rise, we began to once again see the splendor of the mountain. Our bodies began to ache but our determination to succeed overpowered any thoughts of doubt and pessimism. If our thoughtsthoughts did begin to weigh us down, we started listening to our inspirational playlist of Journey, Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles and even the Backstreet Boys provided us with continued motivation to reach the top. As we reached the meadow before the final ascent we felt optimistic and excited as we were about to embark on the last few miles to the top. As our eyes focused on the final goal, the affects of fatigue and the high elevation began to set in. Every step we took felt like 10 as we would slide back on the shale and lose rock. The last .5 miles felt like we still had a marathon to run. We kept our eyes focused on the top and slowly continued our ascent. Every large rock became our best friend as we would focus on one large bolder at a time. At each bolder we would rest, take a drink of water and once again rededicate ourselves to our resolve to conquer this mountain. We mustered up our strength and pushed through the final .25 miles telling ourselves that we could rest once we reached the top. As we reached the saddle, we saw hikers sprawled out on any flat surface they could find. We found our own rocks to rest on and were in awe at what we had accomplished. As I sat there I was in shock that I was actually at the top. I had set a goal and I had finally accomplished it. As I sat there I was brought to tears as images and memories flooded my mind at all I had accomplished to make this goal a reality.

I remembered that little girl who was called fat and teased because of her weight and flashed through the years of experiences and growth. Sitting there reflecting on all that I had gone through, I felt the liberation of realizing all that I had just accomplished. I overlooked the valley in awe and splendor, realizing that I had just mastered one of the most difficult goals I had ever set. I sat there contemplating how in life we have mountains that we are required to climb. When we start on our journey, we are amazed at the beauty of the journey, but slowly the aches, bruises and reality starts to set in. You realize that in order to overcome the challenges in front of you, you have to dig deeper and find a determination to just keep walking. There will be obstacles and challenges that arise, but nothing can come in the way of achieving the goal that your heart so desires.

Sitting on the top of the mountain, I realized that I did not want to take the emotional baggage that I carried up the mountain back down with me. I did not want to continue to allow my past to determine my future. Since that day one year ago, I look back upon that experience with fondness in my heart. There have been set backs and slides but I continue to take one day at  a time, knowing that no matter how difficult the obstacle, it’s all about the climb.

 

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Posted by: tracifergus | February 15, 2013

Beginnings

Sometimes we begin journeys in our lives that we know the exact time when we will reach our destination. Like going to the grocery store. You know exactly how long it takes to either walk or drive to your local grocery store and how promptly you will be returning home. It is an easy calculation that makes going to the grocery store an easy task to accomplish. Weight loss on the other hand is not as simple. I started my journey 7 years ago and I am still working toward that goal. When we start a workout program we try to control every aspect of that routine. We know how many reps we intend to accomplish, how long we want to workout and how much energy we have to burn in order to reach our goals. What we do not plan for are the injuries and unforeseen obstacles that we will experience. We can either let those challenges defeat us or define us. For me I chose the later.

5 years ago in October I had knee surgery that has altered my path in life. After my knee surgery I was immobile for 6 weeks. I had to lay in bed with my knee elevated on a wooden ramp, watching TV series after series. Needless to say I became discouraged. Here I had worked 2 years to lose weight and within weeks that weight that I had worked so hard to lose was creeping back on. All I could do was watch the scale continue to go up. I lost my momentum and I felt defeated. At that moment I felt like giving in. What was the point anyways? I thought I was always destined to be that overweight girl that allowed her personality to outshine the fact that she was overweight. My first day at physical therapy was frustrating to say the least. I had to learn how to re-walk again and I did not want to put any pressure on my knee. I was hesitant to take the risk for fear of re-injuring my knee or feeling the excruciating pain of a recent invasive surgery. I continued to baby my knee until my physical therapist told me that if I ever wanted to walk again that I was going to have to endure some pain to reach my long term goal. A little pain during the process would help me greater appreciate the reward of walking in the end. Naturally I did not believe her but gave it my best shot. Each week when I returned I endured more painful exercises, but as the weeks continued forward I noticed a difference in my mindset as well as my range of motion with my knee. Each week I felt mentally and physically stronger. Yes it hurt to put weight on an atrophied leg. It hurt to put pressure on a leg with two metal pins and 14 staples, but that pain was not going to stop me from walking again. I did not know then what an impact this surgery would have on my future.

For years I have been stuck on a plateau. Here I sit making myself very comfortable but in that state of comfort I feel a nagging to accomplish the goal I set for myself 7 years ago. I have the mindset of when I set a goal then I am going to reach that goal. Yesterday I decided that I would write out my fitness plan and today I am proud of myself for sticking to that plan. I am tired of being my own barrier. The time to start is now. the decision has been made and the plan outlined. I continue to move forward knowing that my life experiences to do not have to define me but rather refine me. All of my experiences up until this moment have taught me that I am a fighter and I am not about to give in now when I am so close to the finish line. 

Posted by: tracifergus | October 18, 2012

Hiking Multnomah Falls

Hiking Multnomah Falls

Conquering the mountain that once defeated me

Posted by: tracifergus | December 13, 2011

I have weaknesses and that’s ok

 

I had a very interesting realization today. I was talking with a friend about how during two weeks of the month, I get all crazy and hormonal. During this time I attack my body image and tell myself how ugly I am. No matter what people say, I do not believe them. If they try to tell me I am not overweight, I say in my head that they aren’t seeing what I am seeing when I look in the mirror. If they tell me that I am pretty, I tell myself that I am not. It is a vicious cycle but today we threw an interesting spin at it. I was telling him that I want to live a long life and he asked me why that was important. At first I said because I did not have grandparents to really have that relationship with. And then it hit me that I have been telling myself for years that if I get thin enough, then grandpa will love me. Even though he passed away three years ago, I had no idea what a driving force that was for me. I kept thinking that if I was thinner then we could have the relationship that I saw my friends having with their grandparents. I having been trying to prove myself to him and telling myself it was all about weight, when it was really all about the relationship. I value relationships so dearly and more than anything I wish that I could have had a healthy relationship with him. I spent years hating him and trying to make myself thin just so I could get his approval but to what cost?? I have lost sight of what really matters. It does not matter if I am 500 lbs or 50 lbs people still continue to love me, because I am lovable. Those thoughts will continue to come up that tell me that I am ugly, fat and unlovable but I have the choice to listen to them. I can acknowledge them but I do not have to take council from them anymore. Love is so much more than physical appearance and deep down I have always known that but my view over the years has been tainted and skewed. I also realized today that I do not have to keep setting such high expectations on myself. I continue to tell myself I have to be the best in order to be loved but people still love me even though I am not perfect. I DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT!!! It is ok to have weaknesses and physical limitations. Instead of hating them, it is ok to embrace them as part of who you are. It helps to accept all of you instead of loathing the weaknesses within. Just as Paul in the Bible talks about the thorn in his side, these limitations may not be removed from me. I can acknowledge that they suck, but I don’t  have to keep beating myself up over every little mistake that I make. It is ok to be imperfect and to experience new things. It is ok to fail because with failure, at least you are trying something new that you may never have tried before. It is okay to have weaknesses. These weaknesses allow me to connect with others. In constantly listening to my fears I miss out on opportunities to connect with others at a level that I did not know was possible. I do not always have to have the answers or know what is going to come next in my life. I am constantly fearing rejection, so I reject relationships before they even start. I think that I have to show all my strengths in order to get them to like me but if I am just me then they will love me for who I am. I do not have to be perfect in order to be in a relationship. I have weaknesses and that is ok.

Hope through our weaknesses

Posted by: tracifergus | November 27, 2011

Bullying has its lasting effects

I share these experiences from my life in hopes that if you know anyone particularly a child that maybe is being bullied, I hope that you can talk to them about it. I hope that you can open your arms of love and understanding to a confused, lonely child who just wants to be loved and accepted.

Lately I have had a lot of questions of why I have hit a plateau and can not seem to break free from its grasps. Then on Tuesday I was talking with a friend and we got to talking about my childhood. I realized that there are things in my childhood that I have buried so deeply that even I have forgotten that they are there. Even though mentally I forgot about them, subconsciously my brain has been crying for a release. My emotions have been eating me alive from the inside out. This week I had an experience that helped me to realize that enough was enough and my natural coping mechanisms that I have put in place over the years just won’t work for me anymore. Normally when I get angry I run. Yes I know that this is not healthy for me considering the condition of my knees from my surgeries but in the moment, I don’t really care. I started to run a couple laps around the track before I realized that I was doing more harm than good to my body. Once I ruled out that coping mechanism it was on to food. Normally I will eat my way through the pain but again I realized that this would not work for me either. I was walking home and had a plastic water bottle in my hand. All I could think about was punching something but had nothing to punch. Then I got the idea to throw the water bottle off the third story of an apartment building. After I chucked the water bottle I realized what a great feeling that was. I decided that I wanted to throw the bottle again, so I ran to the ground floor, picked up the bottle of water and that is where I saw it. As I looked over my right shoulder I saw a glorious cement wall. That is when the idea hit me. Why keep climbing up all those stairs back to the third floor when I could just keep throwing the water bottle at this wall. As I repeatedly threw the water bottle, I felt the anger realizing but realized what I originally thought I was angry with, was not who/what I was angry at at all.

As I spoke with my friend, we started talking about my childhood and somehow we brought up the word “fat.” When I said the word it literally took my breath away. I didn’t realize just how much pain there is for me behind that word. I could picture the people in all areas of my life that told me that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough and that I was fat. As kids continued to tease and torment me about my size, I continued to withdraw into myself. The more people teased me about my weight, the more I put the weight on. I used food as an escape to disappear from my problems but in reality it only made it worse. I was too afraid to tell anyone that I was being bullied for fear that my bullies would find out and that it would get worse. I was stricken with fear and that fear only added to my distrust. As I was talking to this friend the waves of emotion continued to come. How is it possible to repress such painful memories, well it’s a lot easier than you probably realize. These memories were buried so deeply that even I didn’t realize that they were there until this week.

At first when I attempted to talk about them I was overwhelmed with the emotions behind the memories. It was as if I was reliving those experiences over and over again. It was very therapeutic as the tears started to flow. I have allowed these memories to keep me from experiencing the things in life that I really enjoy. I have not played sports that I did not know I was good at for fear of being made fun of. I do not like to go hiking with people who can hike faster than me because I feel like I am holding them up and because of my weight am the weakest link. The mentality that I have developed over the years has greatly impacted my life, but I am sick and tired of it. I am tired of living my life by someone else’s negative comments. Why have I given them permission to continue to bully me?

Finally admitting the events of my childhood has finally started a healing process that I know can only help to heal the wounds of the past. My heart feels lighter as I begin to talk about my past and I hope that I can be there to help people in my life who may have been bullied in their lives too.

Posted by: tracifergus | September 24, 2011

Realizations

I was realizing earlier this week that it had been far too long sing I have written on my blog. I realized that I missed my little therapy sessions with myself because when I write I am able to be introspective and check on how I am doing. I think that lately I just wanted to be numb and go through the motions of life, but really how long can a person go on ignoring themselves? I have learned that you can’t and eventually everything comes to the surface if you are ready for it or not. I have had two interesting realizations this week that have caused me to stop and reflect on the logic of my thinking.

First, I realized that as I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I didn’t want to see that I got upset. I have been exercising more than ever and working towards the goal of hiking a mountain but still the numbers don’t add up. That’s when it hit me, realization number 1.  A number does not define me! I stood there looking at that number knowing my body and if in fact that were all fat then I wouldn’t be able to fit the clothes that I am wearing. So as I took in the situation I realized that I am gaining muscle and that is contributing to this number. I stepped off the scale and realized that I could no longer rely on the scale to tell me the level of my physical health. It is time to find a new way to measure my success.

The second realization came while I was talking to a friend. I was telling him how I hate showing emotions and have all my life viewed showing emotions as weakness. He said, “What if we look at this concept from a different angle?” He then said,” What if instead of saying that people who show their emotions are weak, if instead those who bottle up their emotions are the weak ones?” He continued with this line of thinking when he gave two examples. The first guy has been trained all his life that showing emotions is weak and so when he feels sad, happy, anger, basically any emotion he does not know how to handle it, so he goes to an unhealthy behavior to release these emotions. These behaviors could include, drinking, smoking, eating, rage, whatever it is, he is not dealing healthily with his emotions. The second guy on the other hand goes to see Titanic with some friends. He cries during the movie and his friends give him a hard time, but he has released his emotions and has healthier relationships with his friends and family. After he gave these examples I realized that those who show their emotions are stronger because they are able to face those things that at first may be hard to accept.

For years I have repressed my emotions and in turn this has resulted as me becoming an emotional eater. When I am happy, sad, angry, lonely, whatever the emotion, I turn to food for comfort. I cannot remember the last time I had a healthy relationship with food and I think that here in lies part of the problem. I have never looked at food as simply for nourishment. There has always been an ulterior motive to my eating habits. But eating this way for 13 years has not helped me to reach my ultimate goal of a healthy lifestyle. Now it is time to stop making excuses and man up to the plate. Facing my emotions may be hard and painful at times, but in the long run it will be healthier for me. I am not sure exactly how I will go about doing this but the first step to change is acknowledgement, so that is what I am doing. Hi, my name is Traci, I am an emotional eater and I am making changes in my life to stop this process and take control of my life again.

Posted by: tracifergus | July 9, 2011

Success!!!

Well I am happy to report that I have reached a goal that I never thought possible. Four years after my knee surgeries I successfully completed a 4 mile hike!! After my surgeries my doctors told me that I probably wouldn’t be able to hike and that it would be too painful to participate in this activity. Well I was not going to let this stop me from doing the things that I love. I have been working towards the goal of finishing a hike for the past 4 years and every other hike I had to stop shortly after starting because my knee could not handle the pain but when I hiked Stewart Falls something was different. I went with the mindset that I was going to accomplish this. I forgot my knee brace so I had to be extra careful on the rough terrain. As I was hiking I kept telling myself that I could do hard things and refused to give up. I went at my pace and just kept putting one step in front of the other. The closer we got to the falls, the more confident I started to feel. The reality of what I was doing started to sink in and I felt a renewed rejuvenation to finish. When I got to the end I nearly broke down in tears because I realized that I could do anything that I set my mind on. People continued to tell me that it wasn’t possible for me to hike again, but I had a desire within me to hike again. I realized that day that I was a lot stronger than I was giving myself credit for. I realized that I had to stop listening to people and their opinions of me. If I was ever going to be truly happy, then I was going to have to have confidence in myself and my abilities. Now I am working on hiking Mt. Timpanogos in Utah which has a 2,700 ft elevation gain. I have been doing interval training to help ease my knee into the idea of hiking a mountain but as I think about this goal I get excited as I realize that I am my own barrier and as I start to think of all the things I can do, the potential that I have is limitless.

Posted by: tracifergus | April 19, 2011

Sugar free for May

This past couple of weeks I have been so stressed with classes and other things in life, that I have reverted back to my old eating habits. The emotional eater inside of me came back in full force and my food of choice has been sugar. Yesterday at work was particularly bad. There was sugar everywhere and I couldn’t help myself when I would come in from cleaning I would just grab some m&m’s. Well some turned into a handful and before I realized it over the course of my shift I had eaten several handfuls. They weren’t even appetizing but they kept my mind off of the stress that I have been feeling. I got freaked out on Saturday when I stepped on the scale and was at 191. I haven’t been at that weight in almost 4 years and I don’t want to go back there now. I realized that I am going to have to do something to start my weightloss back again. I need to figure out first how to cope with stress in a healthy way because the way I am coping with it now really isn’t working. Since Sunday I have lost 3 lbs and am happily out of the 190’s. Seeing that number on the scale really freaked me out and made me realize that I have to be conscious about the foods that I put into my body. I can’t go about mindlessly eating or I will end up back at 235 before I know it and that is a place I do not want to ever be again. So today I start my sugar detox and know that this time I can do it because I am wonder woman and I can do hard things!

Posted by: tracifergus | April 5, 2011

Plateaus

2008

 

I started losing weight 6 years ago and I feel like for the past 3 years I have been stuck on a plateau and no matter what I try I can’t break through. I think the thing that has changed the most is the length or color of my hair. People tell me diet and exercise, thank you for your advice but seriously that is the first thing that I thought of. I am not trying to belittle their love and

2010

2009

concern for me, I know there is no magical number, I am just curious as to why when I get close to getting

out of the 180’s do I have this freak out and start eating food like crazy?? I decided that now that my leg is doing better it is time to start getting my life back in control. So I started using myfitnesspal again. As I started inputting what I have eaten so far today, I was amazed at how many calories I have consumed. Well no wonder I have been gaining weight recently. I have been mindlessly eating again. That mindless eating has been my constant downfall but now I feel like I am waking up from a winter slumber. Now I know why it is called a lifestyle change and not just a diet. Diets go up and down, just like your weight, if you are not consciously aware of what you are putting into your mouth. I know I have done this before I know what I have to do that will work to get the results that I want. Here is a list that I have compiled that has worked for me in the past:

 

  • Drinking a minimum of 64 fl oz of water a day
  • Eating 3 meals and 2 snacks to keep my blood sugar elevated
  • Eat with smaller utensils and plates
  • Do not go back for seconds
  • Do not eat past 8 pm
  • Reduce sugar intake, some people are able to completely give up sugar but for me I found when I told myself I couldn’t have sugar anymore then I craved it more. Although I don’t by sugary treats for myself, I have a hard time turning them down when offered to me. I am realizing though the more I eat them the sicker I feel, so it is getting to the point where it just isn’t worth it anymore.
  • Find exercises that you like to do. For me those include weight lifting, running, swimming, frisbee, recumbent bike, elliptical. Exercise can be anything that gets your heart going. I am discovering that I really like dancing. Although I wouldn’t say I am an amazing dancer, I have fun and that’s really what matters most.
  • Relaxing: Ok so I know this one works but am still trying to figure out my way to detox at the end of the day.
  • Having a workout buddy. When I have someone that holds me accountable, I am more likely to stick to my workouts and eat healthier.

None of these things are revolutionary and I think we all know them, but for some reason for me there has been a disconnect between the two. Well now it is about finding that balance in my life again. There is nothing worse than being out of balance and feeling like you have no control in your life. If you have an tips for ways that you have gotten off weight plateaus I would love to hear them because frankly I’m stuck and I need help.

Posted by: tracifergus | April 2, 2011

Who is your best friend??

Oh how I love when the sun decides to show its wonderful face after a long and bleak winter. There is something amazingly wonderful about the way the rays can penetrate the body and provide a warmth that is hard to explain. Lately I have felt a little bit like Peach from Finding Nemo, all excited that the sun is shining! It’s amazing how much happier I feel when the sun is shining and I can study outside.

Today I had to go take a test on campus and I had the choice to either ride the bus, or walk there. I haven’t walked up the hill to campus in over 2 months because of my stress fracture but decided I would give it a try. I can’t help but smile as I walk up to campus and even found myself whistling as I went. I asked myself why is it that the only thing that has changed is the sunshine but I feel so happy and then I realized that I am finding a confidence in myself that I didn’t know I had before. Usually I won’t go anywhere without a wingman but tonight I really wanted to go watch the Men’s Volleyball game. I couldn’t find anyone to go with me and at first I was content to stay home, but then I realized that no I wanted to go and I was going to go. Eventually some of my friends came along but it was kinda liberating thinking about going to something alone. I realized that yes I really can do hard things. If Bob on “What about Bob?” can go sailing, then I can go to things alone.

I had an interesting realization yesterday when I was at my group counseling session. One of the members asked how they could learn to love themselves and I started talking about how I have discovered that for myself. He is married so I related discovering himself like when he was dating his wife. He enjoyed dating her because she was a mystery and the more time he spent with her, the more he began to love her. So that is what we have to do with ourselves, we have to start dating ourselves so we can start to love ourselves. We are amazing!! And the sooner we realize our potential, the happier we will be. Happiness is a choice and it is important to start deciding now! I know it is a little strange to think about dating yourself, but honestly it’s true. You have to learn to spend time with yourself and enjoy being with yourself. The best friend that we can have is ourselves. So start the journey of self-discovery today. It is a fun journey and  you’ll be surprised at what you will find, I know I have. 

 

 

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