Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Changing My Mind About Me

Me at 18, holding a book in front of my
"huge" stomach.  If only I could travel
in time and have a good talk with that girl!
 I recently rediscovered these two photos.  They were taken the summer after I graduated from high school. I was 18. I've been carrying them around for a couple of days, pondering them and processing the life events that got me to where I am today.  It wasn't long after this summer that I started packing on the big pounds.

There aren't many photos of myself anywhere because I was convinced that I was fat and unattractive and hid from the camera.  Looking at these photos now, I would love to have that body again (and I think I am on my way there). Not only that, aside from the bad perm, I was far from ugly!

My whole life I've wrestled with self-esteem issues.  When a boy in first grade called me names or said unkind things about me, I would internalize those words and carry them around with me.  When my second grade teacher called me "hopeless" and "stupid"  I believed her.  Year after year I would carry the opinions of others about me inside of myself, choosing to believe unkind words rather than believing in myself to make up my mind about me.  Not once did I stop to question the opinions of those jerks.  I just accepted their unkind assesments as fact.

The self-imposed misery was so deep and dark that by the time I reached 12-years-old, I was sneaking treats after the family went to bed and anesthetizing the hurt inside with food.  When I reached my sophomore year in high school I was bingeing on snack food and then purging. I was never diagnosed as bulemic, but I am pretty sure that's what I was. 

Before I turned 24, I  was beaten.  By that time I had quit purging but had frequent binges where I would buy huge amounts of junk food and polish it off within a few hours to purposely "trash my system," after which I would crash and sleep for hours on end. 

As I got older, overeating, drinking to excess and other cringe-inducing, self-destructive behaviors became a way of life.  It wasn't until recently that I realized that food wasn't the issue, but how I felt about myself and the dialogue I was carrying on with myself that was the problem.

I had nothing nice to say about who I was, what I looked like or what I had to offer the world around me. As a result I grew fatter and more disgusted with myself.  The weight was a symptom of a much bigger problem.  I had to change my mind about Lanza before anything else got better. 

I once read the words "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."  There's a lot of wisdom in those words and I took them to heart.  It was past time for me to say "What a load of crap!" to all the negativity I was carrying around.

Me at my peak weight, probably well
over 300 lbs., on my wedding day in 2006
A couple of years ago I made a conscious decision to change the way I look at myself and the way I live my life.  It has been hard work and has taken a long time, but each day I come closer to overcoming the habits and opinions built over a (misguided) lifetime. 

I decided to love myself, regardless of dress size.  I looked myself in the eye when looking into a mirror and said nice things to myself (which is a lot harder than it sounds),  I no longer said unkind things about myself and if I caught myself thinking something negative about myself, I would stop the thought and purposely say something nice about me.  It may sound silly, but as I started to feel better about myself, my size began to shrink and other parts of my life began improving.

I am a beautiful, divine child of God.  I deserve to be happy and I deserve to love who I am!  It was high time I realized that Lanza rocks!

A year ago I started biking to work instead of driving a car, which was unthinkable three years ago.  I was still loosing weight and getting healthier, but it was coming off slowly and my joints were suffering from the years of carrying around all the extra weight on my frame.  I decided to do something completely out of character, and a bit scary, in order to get to a healthy weight.  A couple of months ago I applied for a local weight-loss reality program.  I figured if I committed to loosing weight in a public way it would keep me motivated to succeed.  

I wasn't chosen for the reality program, which I now feel was for the best.  Soon after I was rejected for the program, I started hearing about the new Ideal Protein program that a local chiropractor's office was offering. A relative talked me into going to a seminar about the program and I said I would go.

So here I am, three weeks later, showing amazing progress.  I don't think it would be working as well as it is if I hadn't changed my mind about myself.  In my old mind I was fat, even back in the days when I wasn't.  Words have power and self-talk is just as strong as prayer.  If I call myself fat, my sub-conscious mind hears it, believes it and the words become self-fulfilled prophecy.

I have also made a conscious decision to commit myself completely to this diet.  While I am on this diet I will not complain about the restrictions. I will approach each day in the program with enthusiasm and belief. I see this program as a change in lifestyle and an opportunity to re-educate myself about eating, not as another fad diet. I will believe in myself and in Ideal Protein.

Without the belief and proper attitude, this will just be another failed diet.  With the old thought patterns I might have lost some weight, but I doubt I would be willing to stick to the program or will be able to keep the weight off once I loose it.  This is the last diet I will ever go on because this diet is going to work - I refuse to accept any other outcome.

So I've changed the way I look at myself and the way I look at my diet - and the outcome this time around is already very different than it has been in the past.


  1. Thanks for sharing, Lanza. Glad you are looking at yourself with new eyes. Your commitment is contagious.

    (side note: I miss leg warmers.)

  2. Oh yeah, me too! I thought those bulky socks around my ankles were soooooo fashionable!!