Monday, December 14, 2015

What being adopted FEELS

It's extremely challenging to really put into words what being adopted "feels" like.

I guess I should preface this by saying, this is what it feels like TO ME. I do not represent every adult adoptee in the world, and each of us have our own feelings that can often evolve and change as we grow and age. So, this is how it feels today, but not exactly how it felt 10 or 20 years ago.

Today, being adopted feels like a burden that nobody understands or has to bare but me.

Today, being adopted feels like this giant stigma that people make assumptions about.

Today, being adopted is exceptionally frustrating because as I find out some huge genetic news, it feels as though very few understand how and why this news is huge to me.

It feels as though an ENORMOUS piece of myself was stolen from me. It feels like I was literally robbed of an experience that NO current learning or knowledge could ever possibly make up for.

It feels when I look into the mirror that I don't often know who I am looking at.

I often feel like I am a part of something and yet still standing on the outside. I attribute that to my adoption. That's not to say that my family ever intentionally set out to make me feel like that (they didn't) but it's all internal. I have CONSTANTLY felt like I was physically in a group but still stood away from everyone else.

Being surrounded by people and yet being utterly alone.

Being adopted used to make me alternate between just wanting to blend in to wanting to intentionally shock...just to feel noticed.

Being adopted and hearing people talk about traits they get from their parents makes me sad.

When you're adopted, and you express a sense of frustration or strong feelings about anything related to your adoption, you are typically instantly pinged as being "bitter" or "angry".

Do you know what that feels like? To have this HUGE life narrative that people automatically write you off as "angry" for?

I'm not an angry person. I am an exceptionally passive person who is constantly talking about love and peace and goodness and yet the MOMENT I express that something about my adoption is frustrating, hurtful, or bad- I am AUTOMATICALLY called angry.

Honestly, if you want me to GET angry, call me angry. Ha.

I am dismissed constantly for "dwelling on the past". How do you explain to someone that it isn't the past that you are dwelling on but your very current life? How do you explain that things like genetics for example STILL make up a huge part of who I am NOW, and that they matter? How do you explain how a life event such as the continued rejection of my birth mother (in adulthood) shaped me as I am now and that when someone brushes it off as the "past", they invalidate me?

Some days, like when I work with teens in the foster care system, being adopted gives me something to relate to them with. It gives me something to bond with them. Those days, being adopted isn't bad, but rather something in my life that gives me drive to help another.

Some days, when an adoptive parent "gets" whatever I am trying to explain to them about how to relate to their children, being adopted feels like a good thing, because I know that I am potentially helping another child not have to deal with some of the same experiences I had.

Then there are days when people say things such as "Well, what? Would you have rather not been adopted?" I stare at them blankly and internally think "YES."

Please don't misunderstand that. It doesn't mean I wish I was with my birth mother. It means I will that adoption wasn't a part of my story. I wish that I had just been born into my family.

And then I feel guilty.

Guilt, sadness, anger, confusion, happiness, love, hate....those are just some of the feelings I feel about adoption. It's so unfair to expect me to feel just one when this is just a part of who I am.

And I'm not against adoption. Don't get it twisted. Am I against unethical adoption? Yes. But having the feelings I have about adoption doesn't mean I am against adoption.

See how complex that is? It's just not black and white. There's a WHOLE lot of grey.

So when people say "What does being adopted FEEL like?"

.....there's just not an easy answer to that question.

As always, leave me some comment love. <3

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Weight Loss: July of 2014 to December 2015

I have always been a "big girl". Always. Even when I was a kid, I wasn't quite fat, but I was definitely on the bigger side. Around age 11 I ballooned out and it's been an uphill battle ever since.

This is my journey. I am not done, this is just my progress up until now and how I've gotten where I am.

In July of 2014, I was nearly 280 pounds.

I officially started my "journey to health" in November of 2014 and was 267 pounds, a tight size 22, a 42ddd bra size, and I was sick all the time. I was tired because of my blood sugar raising and dropping (I was pre-diabetic), I was weak, I had headaches, I had stomach issues. I was just SICK.

Today, I am 206 pounds, a size 16 jeans/14 leggings, a 38dd bra, and I am no longer sick. I have energy, I sleep much better than I ever have, I don't have headaches like I used to, and I am no longer pre-diabetic.

People ask me all the time- "What's the secret?" or "I don't have time to workout".

So, here's a step by step what I have done.

Disclaimer- I am not a doctor or a nutritionist and I can't guarantee that what worked for me will work exactly the same for you. I strongly recommend getting a professional opinion before embarking on a new lifestyle plan. :)

From November of 2014-January of 2015,  I did weight watchers. This gave me a good start on getting myself educated on portion control and eating anything in moderation.

From January of 2015-May of 2015, I basically just ate anything in moderation. I ate 3-4x a day, small meals, heavy on the fruits and veggies and ordered kids meals when I ate out. I still ate junk food regularly, just in tiny portions.

From June of 2015-September of 2015, I stopped drinking any kind of soda even diet. I stopped eating fast food completely EXCEPT for the occasional salad or wrap (and Chipotle doesn't count...haha). I started increasing the amount of water I was drinking and I cut out sweets except for dark chocolate, and that I only ate in moderation. I started only eating locally grown, mostly organic food. All of my meat, dairy, produce, etc. was purchased via the farmer's market and/or Ellwood Thompsons.

October of 2015-Present, I am a vegetarian that is mostly vegan. I occasionally will eat dairy and/or eggs (locally raised, organic) but in general I am MOSTLY eating vegan. I don't eat fast food, I only RARELY eat "junk food" and even then it's usually local, organic, and/or from scratch. I eat 4-6x per day in very very tiny portions. I drink nothing but water (usually 5-6 liters a day), hot tea (without sugar), and coffee. The only juice I drink is the orange juice I put in my green smoothies.

A typical day of food for me today would be something like this:

Early AM- Coffee

Late AM- Green smoothie (kale or spinach, strawberries, pineapple, banana, chia seeds, orange juice, and ice)

Early PM- A large salad (romaine, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, and a LIGHT vinegar based dressing) with 2 pieces of toasted bread.

Late PM- A sandwich with either just veggies or chickpea "mock tuna" salad and veggies with some "just mayo" vegan mayo, and dijon. Usually a side of either kettle cooked chips (organic) or a light salad.

Early Evening- Simple pasta with marinara or rice and veggie stir fry.

Late Evening- My current snack obsession are these organic blue corn tortilla chips with homemade salsa but sometimes I will eat dark chocolate.

So, this is what I have been doing from a dieting standpoint. I don't think of it as a diet, but rather a lifestyle change. I do not plan to "stop" eating like this. I do, however, have to adjust periodically to prevent or get past a plateau. This is normal. For some people, cutting out one new thing can have a huge change. Dairy, white carbs, etc. You just have to be willing to adjust as you need to.

Now, as far as working out goes.

From April of 2015-August of 2015 I was going for at least one short walk a day.

Today? I do nothing short of my normal routine. I am going to be adding in a workout plan (very light, and mostly to tone) here soon, but the majority of my weight loss has had nothing to do with working out, and everything to do with changing what I eat. Walking for over a mile would burn off one cookie. It's easier to not eat the cookie.

So, as far as my "secret", it's just been changing my life. No more McDonalds, No more 2 liters of soda. No more binge eating.

I have very little patience when people say they "can't do it". You can. You are choosing to give up.

If *I* can do it, you can do it. Stop making excuses.

Yes, there could be medical issues at play. I get that. I was pre-diabetic and I still have PCOS. That has CERTAINLY made an impact on how much weight I lose. But I didn't let a dx (a dx I have BECAUSE of my weight) hold me back.

Thyroid? PCOS? Blood sugar issues? Chronic fatigue? Sleep apnea? Family history?

Yes, those are real. They will make it harder.

But it doesn't mean you can't do it.

Start today. Don't wait until tomorrow. You will have bad days (I do!). But when you have a bad day, you wake up the next day and say "I will do better today!" and you do. You don't give up. You just keep going. Eventually you will see the progress.

But it all starts with making a decision to do it.

And you can do it. <3

As always, leave me some comment love. :)


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