Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When You Don't Recognize Yourself In The Mirror

I've been thinking about writing this post for awhile but have gone back and forth on whether to just journal it or share it with you. I don't want to come across as whiny, or a negative nancy, but in an effort to "keep it real" I decided to hit publish.

If you just come here to read about my training, race recaps, and adventures with London, please feel free to come back Thursday for Thinking Out Loud ;)
Where do I begin...

I don't even recognize myself anymore.

I've gained twenty pounds this year.

I'm not comfortable in my own skin.

A co-worker snapped this photo of me during a shoot yesterday (yes, we were at a fast food place but, it was for an interview, we weren't eating here.)

This is hard to look at

Let's back up to the beginning. When I started training for NYC I weighed myself out of interest. I have a scale, in my bathroom, but don't use it all the time. I wanted a marker of where I was to see if I was going to gain any weight. I was 135. The higher range of my normal but it didn't bother me. Despite, my Crohn's flares and pregnancy, I've always fluctuated between 128-138.
After NYC I weighed myself and was up a few pounds more (140) but wasn't surprised. I had just returned from 10 days in NYC and had definitely indulged in a few treats. I got back home, ran Vegas a week later, and then took about six weeks off from any serious running because of an injury.

By Christmas, my weight was up to 145 and I was getting a little bit anxious about it all. My mom and I decided to sign up for a January challenge to clean up our diet and focus on balancing cardio with more strength training. Two weeks in, I was down to 140 pounds and feeling stronger than ever. And then, something happened. I started to feel more and more bloated. My pants stopped fitting and, at times, I looked like I was seven months pregnant. I finished out the challenge and, during the final weigh-in, was upset to find my weight had climbed back to 148.

Now, I KNOW that weight isn't everything. I don't rely on the scale but I knew things were changing because my clothes weren't fitting. I could look in the mirror and see the shape of my body was different too.

I went to the doctor and they ran some blood work and everything came back fine. He suggested it was my age or perhaps I was working out too much. My mom also was convinced I was doing too much and my body was just shutting down on me.

So, I spent February and March unhappy with my increasing weight gain (by this point I was over 150) and unsure what to do. I was training for a half marathon but eating the same, getting the same amount of sleep and didn't have any extra stress in my life. I started keeping a food diary to track my food and caloric intake but everything seemed to be normal for a person my age and activity level.

When your clothes don't fit.... :(

April, I was back at the doctor's for more tests. All of which came back negative. I had a photo shoot, for work, and despite being made to feel beautiful all I saw was my expanding waist line and wider face. 
I didn't recognize myself in the photos.

So, here I am, it's five months into the year and I'm now at 160 pounds. The weight continues to pack on and I'm at a total loss for why. At last week's appointment, my doctor suggested cutting back on carbs and then we'll re-evaluate in a month. It's frustrating because I eat healthy 80% of the time. I know a 100% clean diet isn't how I want to live.

I've always been someone who's confident in my own skin but, this year, it's been a struggle. When I see people I haven't seen in awhile, I wonder if the first thing they notice is my weight. I went for a fitness job interview, last week, and I almost blurted out something about not usually looking like this.

I have a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. I have new clothes from my running sponsor, Mizuno, I would love to sport but they don't fit and I'm too embarrassed to send them back. 

Here's a comparison shot from last year's Calgary Marathon to a race earlier this month...

None of my workout clothes fit anymore
I don't know where this post is going but I just needed to get it out there. If you're having weight issues, you aren't alone. I know there are other people going through way bigger shit than this but it's easy to see how this could lead, some people, to be really unhappy. I have to admit, I have my moments.

So, what's next?

Well, I won't stop training for races, strength training and trying new fitness classes.

I'm actually looking for suggestions for a dietitian/nutritionist to see if I can have a professional opinion and plan to move forward.

I'm stronger than I've ever been. I can still run fast and I'm about to start training for another marathon. I just need my body to look the way I feel.


  1. Good for you and sharing this. I know it wasn't easy. I wish I had advice for you! I've read done good articles lately on weight gain and training but I don't see a reason from those articles for you. I gained 6-7lbs during marathon training which I feel is kinda normal but for my next one I wanted to reduce that. Anyways, I really hope you figure it out. I know not having clothes that fit proper sucks (I'm in that boat right now too). But know you are beautiful and I'm being totally honest that unless I saw the comparison photos I would've have had no idea you gained 20lbs. We always are more critical of ourselves than we need to be!

  2. All the feels. I've gone through this a couple of times as well and I know exactly where you're coming from. And YES to recognizing you don't want to live a 100% clean diet- me either! Then life's just no darn fun. Who knows maybe one day your body will just click and get itself back to where you're happier. Oof, I'm terrible as writing 'cheer up' comments, but I can relate a million times over. Text me if you ever need to word vomit, I'm here!!! Ps you're beautiful.

  3. I'm going through the exact same thing right now. I totally understand your feelings. I feel as if I'm eating "healthy" 80% of the time and don't think 100% is realistic! Yet I've somehow gained 20 lbs in the last year. I've also been more active then ever before so it isn't making sense. I know it doesn't help but I think you look amazing! I hope you can see that too :)

  4. I'm going through the exact same thing right now. I totally understand your feelings. I feel as if I'm eating "healthy" 80% of the time and don't think 100% is realistic! Yet I've somehow gained 20 lbs in the last year. I've also been more active then ever before so it isn't making sense. I know it doesn't help but I think you look amazing! I hope you can see that too :)

  5. My heart hurts for you but I admire your strength and commitment to healthy living and trying to find the root of why. I know you don't know me at all, but for the last year, I've been struggling with hypothyroidism. I am curious if your doctor has delved deep into thyroid testing? If not, it may be a route to follow up on. I am like you, live an extremely active lifestyle with 3 children, eat very healthy, and was at the point where I had such extreme symptoms and was at a loss for what I was doing right/wrong. I sincerely hope you find out what the health concerns are and they get sorted out. Sending you compassion.

  6. I highly recommend seeing a naturopath. I had a similar situation happen to me after my first marathon last year. When you train at a high level you are putting a lot of stress on your body and often your hormones become less stable. Taking specific supplements can help to make sure your hormones are firing on all cylinders. I was never a believer in holistic nutrition until I started seeing a natiropath. In 2 months I went from not having my period (for the previous six months) and feeling very heavy, to feeling myself again with my period back to normal.

  7. I feel you Kaella. It's uncomfortable. I've put on 20 too and it's rough.

  8. I appreciate your honestly. Like others have said, without the comparison photos I wouldn't have guessed you gained 20lbs. Your body is strong, you are a fast runner, a beautiful person inside and out and a wonderful mother. I have also struggled with my body image this year but once I became honest with myself I realized I was eating too many treats and not enough protein.
    I don't have any advice but I've found naturopaths to be helpful for other health issues so it might be worth exploring.