Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And so we begin...

This past weekend my ladies had their official weigh-in and the dreaded 'before photos' taken.

Over the next few months we will all take this trip together as they discover who they are, what they are made of, what they are able to do, and simply, how incredible they are. You will follow along with us as we discover countless ways to get and stay in incredible shape using everything around us, and release the myths that eating healthy is expensive and that cooking is too complicated.  

Each woman was purposely chosen because each is in a different stage of life and has her own story. I’m an avid believer that girls are genetically better and that we have incredible powers. Our bodies can sustain another life inside, we are designed to teach and nurture and support, and by coming together we DO become stronger. So we'll test this mantra. Though the ladies do have me one-on-one, on the weekend we all come together to help each other, support each other, and to push each other through whatever struggles may be arising.

They will document the whole process and I will post their words and videos here and on my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/naturalrhythmfitness. You'll get to hear what they're feeling, thinking, not looking forward to, pushed through, and succeeded at. (Make sure you LIKE us on Facebook to watch this unfold) 

Allow me  to introduce you to Danni. This is her story, in her own words...

Today is Saturday June 23, and what should be an amazing day for me has turned into an epic meltdown.  If the wakeup call of losing the weight was not apparent before, it was very apparent today.  It reinforces why I wanted to be a part of Candace's training program.  When I first applied to the program it was because I wanted to be fit and have a different relationship with my body.  At 50 years of age, a new grandmother, ex athlete, and going through menopause, I want to start the next chapter of my life healthy and whole.  I knew that I had gained a few pounds over the years, but nothing to the extent of what triggered a huge melt down this past Saturday.  This was the first time I've ever felt shameful for my weight.  

The story begins like this.  I've worked really hard for the last four months to produce a short film that received a spot in the Los Angeles Film festival, a major accomplishment for anyone in the film industry and a chance to connect with other filmmakers.  My director called the night before to inquire on what I would wear to the premier of our film.  I told her that I was sure that I had something in my closet I could wear and I wasn't worried.  Not long after that call the festival directors sent an email stating we should dress for the red carpet, as we would be walking it.

Saturday morning I wake up, happy and proud that my hard work will now be shared with others.  My friend Kathryn calls and wants some company at brunch.  I oblige thinking I have plenty of time to get ready.  I mean after all, the festivities don't begin until 6:30.  I'll leave the house at 5:30 to get there on time.  Kathryn and I have breakfast and discuss my excitement for the film and the evening yet to come.  She tells me to relish in the moment and how happy she is for me.  We discuss what I'll wear and I tell her the same thing I've stated all along, that I have something in my closet that I can wear.  We part ways with hugs and good lucks from Kathryn.  Here begins the time line of the meltdown of all ages.
1:00 PM I jump in the shower and wash my hair still feeling fantastic and looking forward to the evening’s events.  I get out of the shower, blow dry my hair and begin to really think about what I'm going to wear to the premier of our film.  I turn on my flat iron and head to my closet to pick out my outfit for the evening.

2:30 PM I'm combing through my closet and pull out my favorite black dress and a pair of heels.  I find the perfect pair of earrings and a simple necklace and head back to the bathroom to flat iron my hair. While looking in the mirror I begin to notice that my stomach is not as flat as I would like it to be for the dress I chose.  I immediately look for the Spanx to wear under the dress and lay that alongside my dress and shoes.  I finish flat ironing my hair and decide to do my makeup, paint my nails and have all of that done before getting dressed. 

3:30 PM I call my niece to wish her a happy 6th birthday.   My sister jumps on the phone to wish me good luck and to send her a picture of me on the red carpet.  We giggle like school girls and talk about the excitement of seeing my film on the big screen.  That call is followed up with calls from my daughter and parents who are all excited and proud for me.  I look at the time and let them know I have to get ready and I'll call them later.

4:00 PM I put on my Spanx and look in the mirror to see how it's shaping my figure.  I see that the bulge is diminished but not completely flat.  Small panic, but since I'm wearing black it shouldn't be that bad.  I head over to my bed and grab the dress to put on.  I step into this amazing dress, again my favorite, and it won't come past my hips.  This can't be right!!  I slip the dress back down and look at the dress like there's something wrong with it because it couldn't be me.  I mean this has been my go to dress forever and for it not to fit, it had to be the dress.  I check the tag and it's a size 10 so it has to fit because that's my size, so what's the problem?  I step back into the dress with the same results only this time I'm trying to shimmy it past my hips.  It's a no go and I realize that the last time I wore this dress, or any dress for that matter, was almost two years ago.  I sigh with disbelief but think that if I can't get it on by stepping into it, I can just pull it over my head and get it on that way.  I begin pulling the dress over my head and now the top section is failing me as well.  I'm flailing, twirling, tugging and pulling to get this dress over my head.  I get it over and it doesn't fit.  OMG it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit, it doesn't fit!!!!!!.  This is the beginning of the melt down.  I struggle to get the dress off and begin yanking other things of their hangers to try on and get dressed for this event.  Dress after dress, skirt after skirt, top after top nothing is fitting.  How could this be, how could I have a closet full of beautiful clothes and nothing fits.

5:00 PM I'm sitting in the middle of the floor surrounded by almost my entire closet.  Tears streaming down my face I begin to think of excuses to tell everyone on why I can't make the event.  My spirits are low and I feel failure and defeat.   What if I just defy the rules and wear a nice pair of jeans and a cute top?  What cute top?  You just tried them all on!!!  Back to the closet pulling at things, trying on, nothing fits.  I'm losing time and I have to figure it out.  Am I going? Am I bailing?  What do I say to everyone if I don't attend?  I think about running to the store and buying something new, but now I know nothing fits and I don't have the time to meltdown in the store as well.  Plus I'm unemployed with no money to spend on an outfit that I won't be happy with.  Back to the closet and there's a purple dress that's left.  It's a simple dress with a flared A-Line swing to it with a small belt.  I slip that on over the Spanx and immediately I feel like Barney.  I try and belt it and it looks worse.  I take the belt off and decide to dress it up with jewelry.  I'm not happy but I have to keep moving forward as if I love it.  I've ruined my makeup from crying, so I wash my face and start over.  I begin to notice every flaw on my body.  My neck is thick, my arms are big, my face looks bloated, and I feel huge.  I can't believe I've let myself go to the point that I have nothing to wear that makes me feel special for this occasion.   My sadness is overwhelming.

6:10 PM I notice the time and I'm officially going to be late.  Maybe I should just call and say I'm sick.  There's a voice in my head that says to just get to the car and get in.  I follow the voice and I'm driving and thinking about how bad I feel and look.  This is supposed to be a time of joy and happiness but it is marred by weight and the appearance of that weight.  I mean, I knew that I had gained a few pounds but not to the tune of not being able to wear any of my beautiful clothes. I'm consumed with the thoughts of ‘how did this happen’ and ‘when did this happen’ but, no need to go through the whys or the hows right now. . .  I'm already low.

6:45 PM I’m late but maybe this will work in my favor since I was supposed to be on the red carpet at 6:30PM.  I park the car and begin to fidget with my dress while walking to the check in for all filmmakers.  I see a few people I know and I am so uncomfortable standing with them.  I'm tugging, pulling, and trying to suck in my gut.  What are they thinking? Do they also see the weight gain? Are they being kind in telling me how great I look?  I missed pieces of conversation because I was so consumed with my own inner turmoil.  I've never felt shame for my body before and the feeling is devastating. 
7:00 PM I’m walking to the theater when a hand grabs me.  It's Jane, one of the festival directors and she's guiding me to the red carpet.  I tell her that we are late and we should just head to the theater.  She tells me I'm crazy and this is my moment to shine.  Rachel, the director, is waiting and grabs my hand and we proceed on the carpet.  My heart is racing as all I can think is that I look like Barney and I'm on the red carpet clumping along like a huge purple dinosaur.  I catch my reflection in the window of the theater and I am mortified.  My ass is wide, my dress is wide, my arms are huge, and the list continued.  I try and hide behind other people as we walk on the carpet.  As Jane and Rachel stopped to speak with a reporter, I raced off the carpet and made my way inside to the bathroom, where I stood in line with my head down in shame.  I made it into one of the stalls where I stood behind the door and let a few tears shed.  I pulled myself together, made it to the sink to wash my hands and prayed to God to get me through the rest of the night.  I sat in the darkness of the theater to watch the film and felt safe for the moment.  The lights come up but I can't tell you what the reaction from the crowd was. The joy and excitement I felt early in the day wasn't there. 

8:30 PM I’m walking to the reception with my friends Warren and Toi who are discussing the film and how much they enjoyed it.  Warren asked if I was ok and I painted a smile on my face and replied that I was just tired.   It was hard to disguise my sadness.  It was difficult to create that smile of happiness when inside I was so overwhelmingly sad.  I made one round at the reception just to say thank you to those that came out to support.  I made a quick exit and headed home numb to the experience of the day.  I drove around for a little while trying to figure out how I let my weight spiral out of control. 

11:00 PM I’m home and I remove my Barney suit immediately and jump into the shower to wash the shame of my weight off me. I kneel to say my prayers and thank God for Candace who I will see tomorrow to begin her program. 
This evening was my wakeup call and I plan to learn and use every moment of time with Candace wisely.  There is no photo for me to share with friends or family of that evening except for the ones taken by others.  The embarrassment of my weight is nothing I want to share at this moment, even though it is prevalent for everyone to see.  This is a journey and I know that there will be ups and downs along the way, but I hope that I will never feel as bad about my body as I did today.  I know that how we perceive ourselves also has a huge mental aspect and my goal is to find the joy of this journey with my body; to learn to love it, embrace it, and discover its beauty. 

It was extremely hard to write this, to expose myself and my feelings to the masses, so you have to know that this is coming from a place of pure honesty and commitment to this process with Candace. I hope that by sharing my sadness, and my feelings of shame and deflation, I’m able to help someone else who may be standing in a similar place in time.

This is my weight loss journey…

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