Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reject Fear by Pamela M. from Team #1

I turned fifty this year. My first baby graduated high school and started college, and my second baby --they’ll always be my babies—will get his driver’s license this month. 

And once again I am in the state of reinvention. Embarking on a new career that requires online presence  and- paradoxically- long spans of solitude to get my characters’ voices to flow from my imagination to my fingers to the computer. 

As much as I’d prefer not to, I must confront my fears and look at myself-- and not in my own mirror that lies to me so well. 

Back in April two friends and I did a photo shoot in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park . It was a lovely spring day, with weddings and Mancandy to ogle. Professional photographers who know how to Photoshop encouraged us to ham it up.

But try as they could, photoshop couldn’t erase all of what the spanx under my clothes couldn’t contain. I cropped out everything but my face.    
They confirmed my failures: I hated myself.

I’ve been here before eleven years ago, when my doctor told me I was bigger than him. He was kind, but I still cried in my car. The next day I was at Weight Watchers, full of fresh determination. 

Now my past efforts with diets was “Blech! It won’t work for me; I can’t (fill in the blank).  I already know all there is to know on how to lose weight. And…         I HATE exercising!” 

But I changed my way of thinking. I was ‘teachable’.  I listened and accepted everything that skinny leader taught and embedded it in my brain.  Negativity was out, positivity was in.  When my body craved sugar, I reminded myself that I loved myself too much to give in to destruction; I loved myself so much I would take the best care possible of me. 

I ran. 200+ pounds of me lumbered from one streetlight to the next, then stopped to catch breath, and then did it again. I measured success from mailbox to corner to yellow house at the top of the hill. Soon I measured success with smaller numbers on happier shopping trips. 

I believed in myself. Success begat success. People noticed me, my confidence grew, I took on new challenges. I ran 10k’s and even a half marathon . I took on a new job and started graduate school with a difficult career goal. Everything I tried, I gave it my all. I liked myself and it showed.

But failures and weaknesses can return, and they brought back Fear.                     

My body betrayed me and my weight spiraled back up.  Ten years later I look back and can see lessons that need to be relearned:

95% of weight loss is really a head game. You can actually change the chemistry of your body via your brain’s levels of endorphins --those happy hormones that come when you exercise. Look it up.
When your body moves, your stamina and health improve. Your  achievements increase;  you try for harder goals. But it begins in your head. 

Believe in You. Love yourself so you can love the others around you. 

Face the fear and look at yourself and see and believe. You are worth Success. 

Reject Fear. 

My friend at FishyFace Jewelry made a special piece for me when I told her my story and named it Swimming Without Fear. It’s special to me. Maybe there’s a special something with meaning for you. Not your goal dress or pair of shoes, but  a lifeline. Something to hold that will remind you that someone believes in you, especially when you don’t. Wear it. Squeeze it in your hand when sugar and salt try to woo you back.  And be good to yourself, one day at a time.


  1. I like your mantra of "love myself so much that I'll take care of me." That resonates far more for me than "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" (because I don't know if I'll ever be skinny, and I'm not skinny now, and things sure would taste good now. ::wry grin::

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks for reading Mindy!
    Yes - Love Yourself No Matter What, because beating up on yourself doesn't help the brain chemistry & you end up back in that vicious circle.

    Not that it matters but in case anybody's wondering:

    I lost 65 pounds on that weightloss journey. I went from sz 24 to 10.

    I'm not a 24 again, but I'm not a 10 either. ;)!

  3. Oh Pam!

    This post just gave me the shivers! I'm right there with you in saying this whole thing is a HEAD GAME! I'm rooting with you, for you and for all of us that are taking this journey together.

    Thanks for this pep-talk and for giving voice to my thoughts!!

    YES WE CAN; YES WE WILL kick those pesky pounds ADIOS!

    Melanie F your Team1 mate ;-)

  4. Great post, Pam! It is mostly a head game, isn't it? Staying positive and not beating up on ourselves can help give us the incentive we need to stay focused and make us realize that we all deserve to be healthier and happier.

  5. You gave me a boost today Pam. Was just mentioning to my team that I can do either the food or the exercise but can't seem to do both at the same time. And right now I'm handling food, not getting on the treadmill. And here's where your post helped: there's a good reason besides weight loss to exercise. It improves your mood. so thanks;-)

  6. Great post! Amazing how much of this is tied to self-esteem and simply being happy. I don't have to be a size 2 to be happy, but walking up stairs without getting winded would make me happiER. :)

    I'm determined to make this a permanent change, so I'm not making drastic food changes. For me, it's really coming down to paying attention and educating myself. And moving. MUST KEEP MOVING!

  7. great post! truly inspirational & moving, thanks so much for sharing. I agree, I too need to reject fear -- the fear of failing. After all, you only really fail if (a) you quit & give up or (b) never bother even trying.

  8. This was very inspirational today, thanks for posting it. I am one who lets fear win a lot, I can normally talk myself quickly out of doing something because of fear. Thankfully I have learned this and won't let it take control any longer. The fear is still there but I push through it and make myself jump into those uncomfortable situations. I have had all kinds of wonderful experiences that I never would have had if I let fear win.

  9. Thank you so much, Pamela. What a fantastic post this is. I turned 46 this past week and my problem is I guess that I am not angry enough to turn my numbers around. Every night I get mad and every morning I repeat the same routine from the day before. So for me, I hope that following you and cheering you on, as you embark on your new challenge will rub off on me. Making your necklace ment a lot to me, I felt like I wanted to give you something that would encourage you, give you strength and remind you of those things everytime that you wear it. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to create something special, just for you.

    Take Care


  10. I'm just getting around to reading the posts on the blog. Thank you so much for this post. It really hits home with me! It really is all about fear!