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March On

Have you ever driven a route so often that when you arrived at your destination you couldn’t remember how you had even gotten there? As if you were on auto pilot. (I know I’m not the only one!) I’ve found myself at my destination praying I stopped at all the stop lights along the way and hoping I didn’t cut anyone off. Maybe habits are no different than being on auto pilot.

I’ve had brief moments of clarity here and there. One such event was when I realized I was connecting my fat loss journey to my self – who I told myself I was. As time passes those moments of clarity get pushed so far in the distance I can’t even see them anymore. Maybe the only way to close the distance between myself and those moments is by continually bringing me back to it, until the destination to them will become a familiar path, one that I don’t have to consciously think about or forcefully remember to bring to the forefront.

Last week on the Biggest Loser the contestants were confronted with their fears. I could totally relate. What really captured my attention were the comments they kept repeating over and over about how they were “broken” and fat before. And now they’ve broken down walls to face their fears; they were changed; they weren’t even the same person. The part of me that is still a little bitter about the hand I’ve been dealt says, “yeah, we’ll see if you still feel that way when you get back to a ‘normal’ life and you gain back some of that weight, if not all of it. On top of the fact you’re probably screwing up your metabolism too! Good luck after that!” Again and again they repeated this. I think I heard it 4 or 5 times, if not more. But then, as if a light switch had been flicked to “ON”, I got it. Yes, again, I got it, for those that have followed me for long (you know who you are!). But THIS time I got it on a deeper level, with more clarity than before.

I have gained back…. here it comes…. 50 lbs.

*sitting in silence for a few minutes with that*


It’s hard to admit that. But it’s also hard when I think without really thinking. I say to myself (and others), “I get to start ALL over again! It was hard enough the first time!” I feel like a failure in this place. I feel like an embarrassment and a fraud. “Look at what an inspirational role model I AM. Do you really want to be like me now?” Yet, when the switch was turned to “ON” I had become aware of the reality of the whole situation. I am not in the same place, and I’m not even the same person. Where I am now, 50 lbs or not, I cannot compare this place to the other place.

The differences are many. It took me many months to see them (6 to be exact). One quality about me that a lot of people commented on that I could never quite own was my tenacity. I’ve argued with and disbelieved a lot of the qualities I possess, and only now am I beginning to see them more clearly. But this one stood out the most to me for some reason. When I finally did admit I possessed this quality, I saw it only pertaining to my ability to lose over 100 lbs and train my ass off for 2 figure shows regardless of the odds stacked against me. I persevered… I was tenacious.

When I gained the weight back I blamed myself. After all, I was the one doing the work. I owned it all, every bit of it. I saw it just the same as I had gained the weight before – a lazy, overeating quitter. Even now, I can’t tell you why I saw it that way. I just never stopped to see the realness of it. That realness is, I created this, but I didn’t create it knowingly. I would never do this to myself on purpose. Yet, here I was owning it.

Just like the contestants were saying, I’ve broken down walls that were never rebuilt. I think on a completely different level. I live with a completely different belief system. Years ago at this same exact weight, I was a completely different person. I was struggling to fight for my own needs and wants. I was struggling to just know what those needs and wants were! I was struggling to know I deserved anything I wanted. I was struggling to figure out who I was. I was struggling to fight through the fear. Today, I am disappointed, frustrated and angry where I am and what I have to fight my way out of, but I’m a fighter. For the first time in my whole entire life I know something about myself without a shadow of a doubt.

“I’m a fighter.”

It was through this realization that all the other areas of my life that I AM tenacious in and always have been came in focus! Take my fat loss story away, and I’m still a fighter. Yet, I needed that avenue to see this more clearly. I feel like now I can challenge the other qualities that I doubt. I’m optimistic that I can work on taking ownership of who I really am.

Shortly after this moment of clarity, I got the privilege to review my entire journey – the good, the bad, the ugly, the struggles, the growth – the entire beginning-to-”end” journey. It was if I was having an outer body experience. I was looking in from the outside at the entire process. I saw nothing short of amazement. Forget the fat! I was filled with awe. Do you ever feel like we are given exactly what we need at exactly the right time? I felt this outer body experience solidified all that I was becoming more aware of.

I’ve always perceived the day I decided to lose the weight as “the beginning”. Now I’m beginning to see I had only begun to scratch the surface. The “weight loss journey” was only a portion of a much bigger picture. Ironically, I’m diving a little deeper into believing more of who I really am, who I’ve become, as I live it more fully, not through weight LOSS but through weight GAIN. More paths of habit will need to be traveled to close the distance before I can completely trust myself and fully believe and accept who I’ve come to be – who I am. I’m not at the “end”; I’m only now entering the beginning.

I’m working on walking in the gym with my head held high, or accepting that I don’t fit into the clothes I’d much rather be wearing, or the reality that swim suit season is upon us and I’m not sure I’ll wear one, but I’m one step closer to acceptance than I was before. To heal from adrenal burnout involves taking care of one’s self, unfortunately that indirectly translates to weight gain. I have to nourish my body, rest and recover. It’s taken the same tenacity to heal as it did to lose 100 plus pounds. I am a fighter, and I AM tenacious.

“The difficulties you meet will resolve themselves as you advance. Proceed, and light will dawn, and shine with increasing clearness on your path.” ~Jim Rohn

Steve Thomas says:

I want to say, “Told ya so”. :)
You are indeed tenacious and youre ability for introspection is now serving you well. You know now that some weight swing is the nature of the beast in the figure/bodybuiling. When I competed my off season weight was about 235, day of contest 195. And I was never “out of shape”. I have settled into a comfy 220 pounds. You have experienced some health challenges and makes a difference too. But most importantly, as you observe, you are not in the same place in your life.
With your intelligence, determined nature and a really cool car :) , you will be where you should be. You may never compete again, or you may win countless trophies. The important thing is that are where you should be and balanced in your life.
Enjoy the mud! Yeah, I know, nobody else will get that. :)

KCLAnderson (Karen) says:

Tara, thank you SO MUCH for sharing!! What a similar path we both have walked. I am astounded, really. You ARE tenacious, that is for sure. As am I. And we’re both so much more than our weight. I think that is the real lesson when we regain. I love you!

This post blew me away! It’s never about the weight, is it? It’s always about uncovering who we are.

Wow, Tara! Truer words were never spoken! I’m so proud of you and happy for your “a-hah” moment! We are not our scales – we are fighters and writers and friends and wholehearted individuals. My regain coincided with my thyroid going bonkers and my “I’m a loser” outlook didn’t help matters. When I divorced My Self from the Scale, everything got a little clearer. Have patience with your body as it heals and love yourself no matter what. :)

…and the power of that number is stripped. At least that’s how it works for me.

You are amazing, tenacious a fighter a giver and so much more! Far far more than could ever be expressed by a number on a scale.


Much love and hugs to you.

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