The elephant in the blog

You'd think missing three Monthly Check-Ins in a row meant I was splashing around in a gigantic pile of Twix wrappers. But all is well – I've been busy taking a long hard look at myself.

This past month been incredible and I am so full of the joys I could spew! But before I get to the fun stuff, I wanted to fill in the gaps.

. . .

It's a bizarre thing to write about your weight in a public place for eleven years. Kinda ridiculous, let's be honest. But I love this nerdy habit and have met so many amazing people as a result. The trick is not to let it mess with your head. Unfortunately, I'd begun to do just that.

Despite working on the mindfulness and self-acceptance stuff, the old "You Suck" voice had reared its grotty head these past couple of months. I'd start writing then feel completely bowled over by shame, anxiety and dread, stemming from both the regained weight and my failure thus far to re-lose it.

Sometimes the shame was sparked from within, other times triggered by external stuff. I've developed a tougher skin over the years but when you're already feeling low it's hard not to crumble a little when you receive opinions ranging from friendly curiosity, concern, to apparent disappointment over the size of your body.

Anyway, there I was feeling like a stinking fraud and like nothing I wrote would ever be worthy until the day I could report, Hey folks, you can come back now. I'm normal again! I match the After photo!

Suddenly it was all about the lard again. If I wasn't scheming ways to worm out of all social plans for the rest of the year, I was doing frantic maths to figure out how to lose X kilos in Y weeks by cutting down to Z calories so I'd look halfway "acceptable" again.

But then I had an epiphany in early April, at my friend Sarah's wedding. All night I sat on the sidelines, too self-conscious to get on the dance floor with my friends. Dancing is one of my favourite things in the world, but I was frozen to my chair. I could not stop thinking about how much space I took up. The thoughts came so dark and fast; I felt like I was growing wider by the second.

The déjà vu was a smack in the chops – the last time I'd felt like that was a night out with my friends back in Australia, eleven years earlier.

Shauna, this officially SUCKS, I thought. Are you really going back here again? You know you want more than this.

It was time, as mentioned earlier, to take a looooong hard look at myself. This is what I figured out:

1. Focusing on external stuff doesn't work
It must be the 357th time I've relearned this lesson, ahem. But fear of public events, disappointed strangers, holiday snaps, not being liked and/or increasingly enormous undies are not lasting incentives to get me on the spinning bike. When I'm home alone with the kitchen cupboard doors flung open, they're not compelling enough reasons. Shame only takes me so far forward, then it leads me straight back to the biscuit tin.

2. I need to focus on what I want
… rather than what I think I should want, do or be. I asked the flaming obvious question, "This is your life, what the heck do you want out of it?". I wrote a dorky list of stuff and I've been reading it every morning. It took a few weeks, but now it pops into my mind when I'm working out or staring down a cake. A gazillion times more effective than, "I shouldn't eat that or I'll look crap at Fitbloggin" or "Must do training walk otherwise I'm a shite example for Up & Running."

3. I'm a bloody boring person when I fixate on weight
Dude. There's more to me than my size. I have a wonderful, kickarse life. But for awhile there I couldn't see the forest for the flab. I was hiding away from my friends, being a moody git, not being very present. Which leads me to…

4. Fun first, fat second
Because there's too much good stuff happening! I had to get out of my head and back into the world. First on the agenda was finally going indoor climbing with my friend Tor, the awesome one who persuaded me to do the Santa Run and Loony Dook. She'd asked me yonks ago but I made all sorts of excuses, including "I'm Too Fat for climbing". Yes, I was back there again!

But thankfully I came to my senses and Tor very patiently showed me the ropes, HAW HAW. There was a hilarious moment when I could not let go of the wall… top metaphor! But awhile later I lost my grip and fell off and instead of being shitscared I was just annoyed and wanted to do it over… an even better metaphor. It was an awesome, awesome day (thanks Tor!) and made me feel rebooted and refocused on what's important.

Here I am in my post-climb squinty sweaty glory!

Let's climb

Since then the momentum has been building. And whaddya know… the scale is going down again.

Well, you deserve a medal if you got through this post. Next time I need to tell you all about ITALY and the Up & Running retreat and the big race and the Nutella.

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62 thoughts on “The elephant in the blog

  1. It really is an ongoing thing isn’t it. I feel a sense of deja vu when i read your posts i remember this all to clearly. I had a huge epihany when i had my son, i was overweight before i got pregnant and got much bigger during and i loved every second of it. He was totally worth it and now i feel more balanced than ever. It’s not about thinness its about fitness and happiness. Thankyou for continuing to share your journey. P.S i hope you got my email.

  2. You and KCL Anderson , both. Sometimes when you post I feel like you are my twins and I should just say “DITTO”…..

    I have gained back about 50 lbs of the 135 lb I’d lost and had maintained for a couple of years. I recently decided to give my self permission to diet. I mean -to be ok to diet which is weird but I felt better when I was to 200 than to 250. I had the same issues you referenced , going through the mindfulness and self acceptance stuff. But the scale climbed. I also wrote out a list of what I want and what is ok and not ok (more about me not beating up on myself than anything…and I covered it with butterfly stickers…my inner 15 yr old). When I wrote my list of what I want “having fun” and “not getting obsessed with the numbers were right up there at the top”. Let’s be well and be happy . We are so worth it.

  3. I’ve missed seeing photos of you!! (Love, your creepy stalker.) No but really, I’ve been curious, and so I’m happy to see your smiling face. You are gorgeous as ever.

    Your Long-Time Lurker, Jo

  4. So, I was just cleaning out all the oldy, moldy diet blogs from my Google reader and was happy to see this post. In fact, it’s exactly how I’ve been feeling.

    *saves this feed*

  5. Shauna, this post is very timely… I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the diet / no-diet concept and you’ve reminded me that I need to go back to basics and remember WHY I’m on this weight-loss road!!!

    Deb

  6. Allô Shauna. Thanks so much for sharing here. I’ve discovered your blog very recently and it’s just awesome. I really do wish you’ll keep updating it for much, much longer =) Today’s blog really hit home. Most of us know what it’s like to lose and gain, then re-lose and then re-regain. It’s hard but it helps to remember we’re not alone in this. You just keep at it, you know we’re rooting for you!

    Oh yeah, I was feeling real crappy today and found an article that proved useful and even managed to make me smile. This is called : The Complete Guide to Not Giving A Fuck. Here’s the link to it :

    link to inoveryourhead.net

    Thought you might like it too hehe

    Amitiés xoxo

  7. Nodding my head as I read…right up to the end and the epiphanies and increased movement and feeling good….

    And a little shock and awe and honor in seeing my name mentioned in the comments!

  8. You are freaking amazing. NEVER forget that. You probably should tattoo it backwards on your forehead so you’re reminded every time you look in the mirror. ;)

    I so know where you’re coming from, and I agree that just living your life is the solution.

    xx

  9. I love reading your blog. I may have started following it because of your inspiring story but I look forward to every post and keeping reading because you are real and you are sooo funny. You never tell anyone how we should live our life, just what has worked or not for you. I am sure all of your followers just want you to be happy and healthy and to keep writing!!!

  10. It’s a scientific fact that maintaining a loss longterm is really, really fracking hard. And something that many of your faithful readers can relate to, including the beating oneself up part.

    That is a super cute post-climbing wall picture!

  11. Supercute photo! You look great! I like your fun first, fat second motto. I can’t wait to hear about Italy!

  12. I get it, Shauna. Especially the “hey I match the After picture again” bit. I have been aiming for that and failing and feeling quite sorry for myself about it. But life calls, we have to live… no matter WHAT else we are working on at the moment. We can’t waste precious time waiting.

  13. Hey Shauna, you rock and you’re funny and real. Your list is good- gives me the shits that we have to relearn these bits all the time! I’ve lost 30kg and am nearly ish half way- you know what- I need to step and go ‘Tanya- you rock’- your head was in the right space etc. I have been the same weight since Christmas- surely that means I have made true ‘lifestyle’ changes because I certainly haven’t been hyper focussed on food or exercise- also rocking- you know what I am thinking- hooray, you rock but ‘keep going, keep up, re focus, you’re not there yet’ etc. The other thing I wanted to say, which I reckon is abit true (and I know you said you had some external chipper- inner on the debate they are the exception)- I reckon most of what we think people are thinking about us- they’re not- they don’t give a shit (too busy worrying about what others think of them?!) Take care- when are the 2 fit chicks reconvening? missing your podcast x

  14. just for the record… I never read your blog for you weight journey: I do it because you’re a good writer with a very sick sense of humor. You’re fun and clever.
    You could be writing about grass, poop or tractors and I’d be reading just the same.
    I do care about your dimension, meaning that I love your depth.

    I definitely can’t wait to read your next post ^_^

  15. GOOD MORNING! Thank you so much for your comments folks, you’re very kind… especially after months of wishy washy blogging around here!

    @Tanya – we’re on hiatus at the mo, life is a little jam-packed for us both! i miss it so much :(

    I so get what you mean, that most people are too busy to care and/or are totally cool. But when you blether on online for as long as I have, and do the book thing, a lot of people take the time to let me know what they think of what I do and how much i weigh.

    I choose to put my life out there, so I accept that it’s part of the territory, but I have let it get me down for TOO long. I wanted to acknowledge “the elephant in the blog” and admit that it can mess with my head sometimes.

    I just needed to blurt it out so i could move on. Now I am making a real effort to be a tougher cookie about it :)

    @Maven – I did! thank you so much, it made my day… sorry i’ve not been able to reply yet!

    @PJ – that sounds fab, mate.. and you can’t go wrong with stickers!

    @Jo – ooh delurker! cheers comrade :)

    @Julie-Andrée – LOVE the sound of that, hehe!

  16. Shauna- I was going to say you could write about the grass growing and I would be thrilled to read it but I see saral beat me to it!

    Fun first!!

  17. Goodness me Miss Shauna, you are truly one of the most gorgeous and beautiful people inside and out.

    As someone said earlier, I never came here for the weight loss story – I come here because I love reading about you. I am a bit of a creepy stalker.

    I just want you to be happy, you make me ever so happy!

  18. You near broke my hart when I saw you hide. Stop it damnit <3 Like the others mentioned already. I read your blog because you make me laugh and think. Not because of the size of you lovely booty ;)

  19. I’d love to read your dorky list, and I WILL write my own. I, too, am more than my size. We’re traveling the same path, and I feel like I’m in SUCH good company!

  20. You rock, Shauna. There will come a time in life, when we will see ourselves thru friendly eyes and stop treating our bodies like worst enemies.
    I hope!

    edda.

  21. It’s funny isn’t it, how we procrastinate for so long on saying how we’re really feeling / doing on our own blog that’s meant to be our open forum where we can be honest and ourselves. And then when you do, you find everyone else feeling the same or has been there before you! I’m grumbling with the stone I’ve managed to put back on, but then realised that I’ve been looking at the wrong motivation, and not paying attention to the basics, and suddenly I feel better (and hopefully will continue to!). No more hiding please! And isn’t climbing brilliant? I did a beginner’s course a while ago and loved it, and you’ve just reminded me that I haven’t been back since to go to the improver’s club – time to remedy that!

  22. You know I came to your blog because I read your book. Twice in a row. Finished reading it and read it again. I love your sense of humor and your passion for life…you have that fat, thin, and everywhere in between!

    I remember reading your book at the beginning of my weight loss journey thinking “boy, she’s so hard on herself even when she’s doing really great”. We are our own worst enemies sometimes. I do *get* it because just this past week I looked at myself, with my new glasses on my thinner face and thought “god, losing weight should have made me look better, I look ugly now, my skin is loose around my neck, I looked better fat”. Our minds play wicked tricks on us, I tell you!

    You look happy and proud in your rock climbing pic and that’s what really counts isn’t it?

    Kim

  23. Oh Lordy! I have to keep relearning the same lessons OVER AND OVER AND OVER. I feel like such a dumb-ass, but one of the recent lessons is that life is just like that. You don’t accomplish one thing and then you’re set – all of life is a process of constantly striving, sometimes with “success”, sometimes without. That part never changes.

    It’s too early for me to wax philosophical, but hopefully you understanding what I’m trying to say :)

  24. I, too, read your blog because you’re a wonderful writer, you’re interested in so many things, you love to travel, you’re a student of man/woman, and you’re funny. I struggle with all you struggle with. I’ve gained 40 pounds over the past few years and am slowly starting to “release” them. I don’t want pictures taken, don’t feel like I deserve the goodies in life, etc. But, like you, there’s a part of me that knows that’s garbage. I’ve been reading Renee Stephens’s Full-Filled and listening to podcasts from http://www.handelgroup.com. They are really inspiring and are turning the beat around!! Keep climbing and sharing your adventures with us. Can’t wait to read your next book, which will chronicle your travels and observations!!

  25. Keep it going, girl!

    I just got out of a low-motivation-low-performance-weight-gain phase, too, on Monday.

    I guess we’ll just have to live with these episodes. The important thing is that we get back on track! Actually, you book usually helps me to get my act back together, as does your blog :)

    I’m so jealous to see you at the climbing wall. I haven’t dared roped climbing yet but LOVE to boulder!

    Looking forward to reading again from you soon!

    As I said initially: KEEP IT UP, GIRL!! We can do it!

  26. Have to agree with some of the other comments…. we read you because we love you. You write “our” story for us, we have the same struggles. And while you don’t know us in the same way, you will pop up in conversations in my life. Anyone who’s ever struggled with their weight will probably always struggle, we just can’t give up the healthiness fight. Rock on, Shawna

  27. Is anyone else as tremendously excited about the Nutella portion of the next blog as I am?!

  28. I hadn’t even notice you hadn’t done a goals check-in, and I am subscribed to your feed so I get all the entries. Though maybe that says more about me than you :)

    Rock climbing looks like fun! I’ve never gone, though I suspect I’d find it terrifying.

  29. What an honest girl you are. I just blogged about not realizing how unhappy I was until I lost 180 lbs. and saw all the things I could do at a normal weight! You have been heavy, skinny and now just a little more than you want to be, but you never lose that joy. I tried to ignore my morbid obesity, but when I got to an age where it was really limiting my movement I started to worry that I was going to need a walker or a wheelchair, so if I didn’t want to lose my independence I better do something now. You have years and pounds to go before that would ever happen to you, so no worries YET.

    Shauna, my only complaint is that I wish you blogged more….love reading anything you write. Heck, I read your book TWICE!

  30. Great post Shauna, all of us worry far too much about the weight stuff when really there is so much more to our lives. We should all be out there living it!

  31. I’m just beginning this journey. My set backs so often begin with the shame and the shoulds. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is a timely reminder that before I’ll ever lose the weight, I have to get my head straight– so inspiring.

  32. This is why I love your blog so much – we are all just mere mortals and sometimes real life rears its head and we occasionally fall off the (chocolate-flavoured) wagon. I too am wagon road-kill at the minute but I’m brushing myself off and climbing back on this week. No one is perfect and if they are they’re a robot!

    Let’s hear it for the real people!
    (and now I’m off to weightwatchers to be told how fat I am lol)

  33. I love this post – remember you are gorgeous and fab and worthy and have helped whoa shed-loads of people around the world (of whom I am one!)
    Thank you for your beautiful writing and inspiration and thank God you are human because frankly I don’t think any of us could deal with the fall out if you became one of the “knit your own yoghurt, live on a rice cake a day, never crave any tasty food” types………..we all need to love ourselves and our bodies (whoa! and I have not even had any wine yet!) x

  34. Reading your blog and all of the following comments was just what I needed. I have been horribly depressed and bingeing nightly, but I realize that this, too, shall pass. Even better, I am not alone! Thank you for your honesty. You don’t know what a gift you are giving to the world by putting yourself out there. Consider it your public service!

  35. You’ve gotten me through my first 50 lbs and I never read you for the weight advice (although it helps). I read you because you are a partner in crime. Keep it up Shauna- just live your life. You’re doing a hell of a job of it!

  36. You know what? it doesn’t matter what your size is… big or small, we all love you no matter what! This might be a shocker but… you are human just like every single one of us!!

    If anyone gives you grief, just publish their name, email and whatever else info you have and we will through the means of the internet, do a virtual egging of their home :P (Or, at the very least, use their address to sign them up for internet porn sites to inundate their emails with porn spam…)

    Missed ya!

  37. Get outta my head!
    Seriously though, you are awesome and amazing and all that squishy-gushy-gooey-lovey stuff. We read because of YOU, not because of your pants size.

  38. great blog as usual…

    LOOK my half-namesake–not only do you have a “kickarse life” but you are funny as hell and cute as damn aussie button–so says, well me. :)

    hollering all kindsa love atcha from so cal
    ~shauntay

  39. You, miss, are my new hero.

    Over the past weeks I’ve actually been reading ALL your blog posts. It’s been a feast of recognition, all the ups and downs, the battle with (or without?) the food, exercise/torture dramas, but also the progress and the fun.

    Keep on writing, also when it feels it’s all falling apart. Your worshippers might just be able to pull you through ;)

    Take care, Loes (from Holland)

  40. Thank you very much for taking the time to comment, it really truly means so much and I feel so much less of a loony now! CHEERS!!! xoxoxox

  41. You are GREAT Shauna!!! All of us are doing the same thing, up, down, up, down, struggle, victory- repeat……… You bring me up no matter what!

  42. Go Shauna!
    The hardest part is being honest with ourselves. I reached the same position last year and it sucked.
    This year I have taken it in my hands and focusing on the things I love, rather than things things that aren’t going to plan. It has made me realise how much I enjoy spending time with the people who love the same things as me and not stress so much about spending less time for older friends where we have grown apart.
    I’m so glad you have posted as I love your blog :)

  43. Up to my elbows in chocolate mousse (not a metaphor!) I was thinking about this today.

    The hardest thing is to be NICE to yourself. To treat yourself like you’re worthy.

    I know how kind and encouraging you are to Up and Runners – hope it rubs off on you eventually :)

  44. Hey Shauna! Honestly, honey, the reason I love reading your blog is because you are like the realistic ones among us who DO struggle, who DO have to deal with our own brains and try to battle against the little voice that tells us we’re crap. You don’t profess to be a health-guru, a perfect example, or a superstar super-marathon/channel-swimming legend. Yet in so many ways you ARE each of those things, with your amazing encouraging writing which inspires us all to find a way to be healthy for ourselves in our own way, and your example of how to get back up again when things go a bit wrong, and your inspirational way of showing that anyone can really try their hand at any exercise that takes their fancy and be good at it and make it work for them.

    Keep doing what you’re doing and be confident, you have plenty of reasons to be…:)

  45. Wonderful post Shauna. You are one amazing, courageous, gorgeous, huge-hearted and much loved lady. xx

  46. I greatly appreciate your candor–I’ve lost about 30 lbs and have put on roughly 10 again. When I think about feeling fat, I eat more. You’re totally right; shame never works. When I feel good, I eat much better and take care of myself better. I’m glad to see your success in working out fitness & happiness for the long term, not just being skinny for the sake of skinny. I’m working on the same thing & following in your footsteps.

  47. I loved this post. I’ve kinda lost my way of late and I am fighting my way back so it did my heart good to read your post. Thanks
    Alli

  48. I don’t know how you do it, but you always post the exact thing I need to hear at just the right time. If you’re loony (you’re not!), then I am off the charts crazy bananapants (I’m not!). Thanks for having the courage to put these things out in the world. It means a lot!

  49. Love this post! I’m struggling with similar things right now (and have in periods in the past as well). I’d been doing really good over the last half year – lost like 50 lbs. However, my life is feeling like it’s falling apart right now (breakup, need to find a new place to live, buy a car, medical stuff, getting older stuff) and so I’m not thinking about the long-term consequences of my bad eating, only that I have an excuse for making poor food decisions because things are crappy and delicious food is delicious. I know that I’m going to feel even worse about my situation when I get on the scale next and so I appreciate your words and think they’ll motivate me to reconsider bad food ideas.

  50. Hey Shauna, Best Post Ever, thank you so much…even though I am on a holiday of a lifetime with my family, your post really hit home. I have been really trying hard to get in those holiday snaps, as the memories are much more valuable than the lard!! chat soon, Jen *

  51. I just want to say that I love this post. I discovered your blog through Google while searching for something unrelated.
    I struggle so much with the YOU SUCK voice in my head, and if change (or add) to the word “weight” the words “learn language of foreign country you live in” “be better mother” “be better wife” “be better housekeeper” “finish long standing craft projects” “furnish house I’ve lived in for 8 months” and all those other little voices that just tell me all the ways I’m failing each and every day, then you can also end up at the base of a pit of self loathing and despair. This post got me to switch off my phone, and tackle an organizing project which annoys me every single day but that I’ve been putting off due to lack of energy. Ok truth be told I only half finished it but I’m off to complete it now. Just wanted to send you this thank you for a great post and a good “kick in the pants” :-)

  52. Thank you so much folks. And nice to meet you so randomly, Stacy, really glad the post helped. I am intrigued as to what you organised! :)