What I Learned in my first 10 days as an It Works! Distributor

So, I recently announced publicly that I’m a distributor for the It Works! product line. I’ve never been a distributor for this, or Herbalife (which was my primary protein shake source), or any other networking sales company before.

I have, however, used their products throughout my journey and have nothing but appreciation for those who have tried their best to sell this product. Initially, the whole reason to join was strictly to get free products. The Berry Greens-on-the-Go were what I’d used back in 2014 into 2015 to jump-start my journey, and I knew I needed more in order to do that again. I then began using the Body Contouring Wraps and Defining Gel for the extra skin I had - to help elasticize it and reduce it. The before and after photos from that last couple of months of that year really show a difference from the hard work I was already doing, my “try” and the It Works stuff just gave me a little “umph”.

If I can do this…YOU can do this!

In celebrating the fact that I’m new and trying out all the great things they have to offer, I’m hosting a giveaway! YAY!

Enter to win a sample wrap valued at $25 now (to the right!) so you can experience this product for yourself!  I’ll send you the wrap with a guide of how to get the best results from the wraps.

I think it’s rather interesting the mixed reviews and comments I received in the last ten days. Not only do people have this perception of this company as “bad” or they think it’s a scam, they look down one those it actually works for because of it’s potential for being fraudulent in it’s claims or a scheme to take people’s money without delivering a quality product; peddling it for money and ‘get-rich-quick’ mentality.

What about Apple products? What about Victoria’s Secret, or Starbucks? Do they not “peddle” their coffee or advertise what their “offers” are and what they sell as products? "Peddling" is such a negative word for "advertising"... I wonder why there’s this stigma with this company, more so than any other doing simply the exact same thing - but helping others get healthy instead of spending an inordinate amount of cash on the latest iPhone, something we all accept as a necessity.

Will this product line make you magically skinny in a month? NO
Do you still need to eat a proper, balanced meal? YES
Does this replace hard work and exercise? NO

It never claimed to do that - If you look at the advertising, it states in plain lettering on the Keto Energy, for example:

Energize your body and focus your mind, whenever and wherever you need a boost! Rip a packet open and let the powder melt in your mouth –no water needed!

Keto Energy is powered by Vitamins B6, B12, and encapsulated caffeine. The combination of Vitamins B6 and B12 boost brain function to enhance your mood and help your body to better deal with stress and fatigue. The encapsulated caffeine helps to improve your mental performance while increasing stamina.”

That’s EXACTLY what other pre-workouts do! For example, this is what is on the Cellucor’s C4 product description (what I’ve also used in the past, and is the exact same price): “Explosive energy, heightened focus and an overwhelming urge to tackle any challenge...that’s the C4 experience.” The difference with the It Works products and other brands, if you look at the ingredients, is they have other not-so-great additional constituents. Just check out the facts:

and that’s just ONE example out of MAAAAAANY of their products!

ItWorks not only sells this pre-workout, they sell 30 other products, most of which I’ve begun ordering myself. The girlfriend of mine who helped me get into it again swears by their CollagenWorks Tropical Crush Drink, so much so that I’ve ordered it strictly due to the results she’s had.  to become familiar with them and see what I like the most

Supplements that are not only expensive but most hadn’t made a difference in my performance in the gym. That’s what I liked most about this line (and Herbalife to be completely honest). The name is ItWorks for a reason, and to boot they’re all Non- GMO and made of botanical ingredients you can actually pronounce!

What it WILL do?

Will these products fix all of your ailments? NO!

It WILL, however, enhance the healthy steps you’re ALREADY making by eating properly and exercising, though. This is what a "supplement" does. It doesn’t *replace* a routine or a practice. It ADDS to it, and helps you obtain your goals. You have to do the work, this just assists you in your effort.

You don’t have to have a car to get to a location, but it HELPS you get there!

The products aren’t going to work if you don’t! As with everything - ALL supplements, such as protein powder, pre-workouts and other things offered out there - they’re “ADD ONS”, not a replacement for healthy eating and exercise.


Join Me & See the Results for Yourself!

I’m so excited to be in the ItWorks family, truthfully! I’m not a salesperson. I never have been good at it, nor do I like that feeling. What I am good at though, and have done on this blog for almost three years now is share what I’ve used personally - my mistakes and triumphs….and I’m sharing that all with with you, Piggie Posse!

I’m thrilled for what’s to come and I can’t wait to help others make some exciting changes in their lives! The reason I joined, like I said, was because I wanted my own products at the lower prices (if not completely free) and right now there’s a promotion until December 24th where you can join for JUST $20 AND you get a box of wraps, a sample of the defining gel and a get-started distributor kit!  Some people choose to sell those 4 wraps ($25 a piece is what they sell for) to get their immediate investment back, and some keep the wrap to continue their own experience.

As a distributor you’ll get:

  • 40% discount on all products,

  • You’ll earn bonuses

  • You’ll earn free product

  • You’ll earn commissions on every sale you make and best of all

  • You’ll meet some amazing people!

I’ve made some new friends in the past 10 days and their stories are pretty inspiring; these fearless women have strength, drive and determination. If you’re interested in being on my team as a distributor I’d love to have you join us! Join my team by filling out THIS FORM and learn more - let’s start working your business together! PLUS I’ll give you the promo code for that $79 discount on your enrollment.

Getting Back to Basics

Fitting that this should pop up around now. The left photo was me six years ago. Then, when I started watching the crap I put into my body, I slimmed down quite a bit in under 13 months.

You all know how and why if you follow me here at The Soaring Swine, but getting back into the swing of things has been tough... especially with all the crap I've been through lately. I’ve struggled quite openly, and I know I haven’t been making the best choices for myself. I’ve gone through the depression tunnel of my trauma, and I’m beginning to see the end of it. The reason for this post is to finally put that to rest and re-focus on what I want. To put it down here, to shout it to the universe and make it happen again.

I just haven't felt motivated or up to it being both emotionally and physically exhausted. So, I'm excited to say I've hopped on board the It Works! train... looking forward to having more energy and feeling happier and healthier, and back to myself again.

  This was the result from 2012 to October 2015 - fit and toned

This was the result from 2012 to October 2015 - fit and toned

Managing this weight loss wasn’t easy - like I’ve said over the course of the last few years, it takes dedication, routine, and a whole lot of determination to get to the goals you want. I used so many different products and methods to get to the above photo on the right. I went through Herbalife Rebuild Strength shakes, the local health-quake shop in Ventura and drank both aloe and collagen. This coupled with eating properly and exercising is the way I was able to get to my goals and I’m excited to say I’ve started re-framing my journey and honing what it is I truly want that will make me happy. The happiest I’ve ever been was when I was working towards a better version of myself.

In order to get to this level of health and fitness, I used the Berry greens religiously. I also used the Fat Fighters when I could afford to buy them both at once. Find them and other helpful products on my page HERE.

I just want to be healthy again, and I’m looking forward to making that happen.

 There’s a sale going on right now for the    ThermoFIGHT™ -    Buy One Get One  !

There’s a sale going on right now for the
ThermoFIGHT™ - Buy One Get One !

I Refuse to Sink

There’s something to be said about sitting in your childhood living room with your parents and feeling “home”. It’s just safe. You can check your emotional baggage at the front door, walk in and it’s like you’re a teenager again and no time has passed. Sometimes I think back to that day in September I had to write my statement for court, and I remember feeling like that was gone. It had been taken from me, stripped away like when peeling wallpaper off a hallway you’re remodeling.

Growing up, I’d unfortunately watched my mother, a paralegal, help several of my friends compose similar letters - I never imagined I could be one of them one day, having to look at a judge and explain as a victim what had been done to me, and how I didn’t feel safe. After four months, it still hasn’t fully come back.

I had such hope for him…

I'd forgiven him so many times for lying during the time we were together. Each one, he made me look and feel equally foolish for forgiving and choosing to believe him and his tall tales of any attempt at sobriety while under my roof. I spent so many nights crying after dropping him off at work, only from pure exhaustion was I able to sleep.

He told me he loved me, that I was the “only one he’s ever wanted to marry and have children with”; that he wanted a future with me… that I was the only one he’d ever been “madly in love” with and said he’d only ever said it first to me - but is that even true? Come on Jaycie… no. It’s simply what he’s told us all to love-bomb us into enabling him and getting what he wants.

If he loved me, and more importantly if he RESPECTED me, he would have told me the truth - every single time. He would have ensured that over all else, bullshit aside, I would have trust in him always even if it made me unhappy to find out the truth.

For someone who claimed that “there’s no relationship without trust”, he sure never gave me any reason to ever do so. If that had been the case, I would have been given a choice.  I understand too much shit in this life; I understand human motive and reason.

He lied about everything. After speaking with multiple members of his family, I was finally able to piece together the facts and figured out the truth.

Lie 1: He never had a car, his brother never borrowed said car, and the non-existent clutch never went out.
Lie 2: He didn’t have a real job. He got paid cash, under the table at craigslist odd side jobs so he could dodge paying court mandated child support and garnished wages.
Lie 3: He lied about how many children he had. At first, he said he only had a daughter. Then, that he has a daughter and a son. THEN he failed to mention that his second son was in fact not conceived as an act of kindness for a woman who couldn’t have children, but that it was an unplanned accident he couldn’t afford to keep.
Lie 4: He is a felon for his own cocaine possession. He has an ACTIVE heroin addiction, not just his past. He said the paraphernalia I found (on multiple occasions) was not his.
Lie 5: His ‘apartment’ didn’t burn down in the Thomas fire, rather he was fired from his job, and homeless… and both he and his (also heroin addicted) mother (who never had COPD, btw - Lie #6) used the Red Cross for shelter. I could go on, but you get the point….

He asked me to give him back some paperwork he’d left one evening in August… I said I would send it back to him by mail, as I didn’t want to see him - I was terrified that I would get sucked right back in to the lying and manipulation, due to my feelings for him. He refused to accept that answer and showed up to my neighborhood anyway… I agreed to let him pick everything up from my empty balcony, and as I watched him walk up to it through my sliding glass door my heart broke just as I thought it would all over again. Seeing him trying hard to look nice for me -a black collared button up shirt, and what looked like clean hair and a recent shave - made me weak. It made me feel as if I should let him back in… I logically knew I couldn’t trust this wouldn’t happen again, and my emotions fought hard to surface. After becoming upset to learn that my job was aware of everything to that point, he frightened me again with suicidal ideation.

That’s when I contacted police, and that’s when everything changed. If I had to pick a turning point - that night was it. It was no longer about him and I and whether or not to get back together; it became “How can I get him the help he needs? How can I hold him accountable and stop this insanity? How can I stop this from happening to me and to someone else?” He did this all to the others. As I came to find friendship in the trauma, the flood gates of truth eventually opened.

After a couple hours out front with officers and mental health crisis evaluators, his enabling Aunt made up a story about me “messing with his head” and that’s why he was in an extreme emotional state. Due to California law and needing to meet specific criteria to “violate his rights” and put a 72-hour hold on him, they let him walk away from that toxic event, in an uber his enabling aunt paid for no doubt.

The officer suggested I get a restraining order, and that is exactly what I did. What I didn’t expect was just how much he would violate it.

Speak your Truth - Even if Your Voice Shakes

The letter my mother painfully helped me draft for court was probably the easiest part of this whole scenario… Which says a lot, because writing that thing was a bitch.

I think we spent so much time trying to sound appropriate for court, all the while trying to explain everything that happened. The good part was focusing on composition helped me keep my emotions at bay. I'd been such a frantic mess, that it felt nice to not think about how I felt in that moment, but to force myself to sum up facts and events like math calculations - no emotions or feelings, just logic. Black and White versus the ever present grey any other time.

I’ve read my emotions out loud before; once back at a poetry reading in the back room of a valley pub in 2016. It was raw and a beautiful expression of how I loved someone who was incapable of returning that love in a healthy way (seems to be a running theme with me). This was a whole different ball game.

This time, I not only had to read my feelings to a room full of strangers, I had to read it in front of the very person who I still loved; who I allowed to victimize me because of my feelings. Adding insult to injury, he was unshowered, miserable and in handcuffs. There’s one thing I will wish you never have to see - someone you love, who just weeks prior kissed, hugged and promised to support - seated behind a wrought iron enclosure, dressed in a county-provided blue uniform and in handcuffs, head down. I know he saw me while I was in the victim’s separate room, between the blinds. What he doesn’t know is that I wasn’t crying because I “didn’t care and she’s playing the victim”… I was crying because I still did care very much and I broke into pieces when I locked eyes with him through the gate and the window to that room, fifteen feet away. He made a crucial mistake, though.

The only thing that made it easier to hold my ground and continue was when I saw the public defender hand him my statement and accounts of abuse, in disclosure, through the bars. That was when his emotions got the best of him, and he began shaking his head and making gestures while reading it. Watching his mannerisms change from sad and somber to angry and defensive gave me the strength I needed in that moment to open the courtroom doors, walk in with my head held high and take a seat next to my parents and wait to be called by the judge.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life to read out loud the following statement:

“I don’t know where to begin. I’ve written this statement several times and still don’t feel like it says everything I want to say. I could fill novels with the damages I’ve incurred from the defendant’s lies and betrayal as well as the feelings and insecurities resulting from his emotional abuse.

This entire ordeal has been nothing short of a nightmare. I am an educated woman with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree by age 22. I consider myself to be a fairly intuitive person, but he had me doubting myself as well as events I’d witnessed firsthand. He would say I’d seen things that didn’t happen – his manipulative nature and exceptional ability to forge lies to sound like truth had me reduced to a trauma-bonded girlfriend. His ability to evoke empathy out of specific and detailed lies played on my kind and giving nature on several occasions. He easily influenced me into believing his apartment burned in the Thomas fire rendering him homeless. It had not, and he took advantage of the support of the Red Cross last December to provide he and his mother shelter, as well as relocation resources, which is morally unacceptable to me.

The defendant violated my trust, my boundaries, my kindness and my open heart. After the decision to end the relationship was made, there was an onslaught of further emotional abuse – something he is no stranger to. He stole possessions …”

like my Jawbone fitness tracker he so graciously posted online for my benefit…

“…and money, attempted to steal my credit card, housed drugs in my apartment without my knowledge and conned me into feeling empathy and love strictly for his own survival.

He has a pattern of badgering his women, harassing them, becoming emphatically emotionally abusive and creating fake online profiles in an attempt to contact and ‘reconcile’. If that doesn’t work, the suicide threats and placing of false blame begin. There was an instance in August where he claimed to have overdosed strictly to make me feel responsible for his emotional state - that he no longer wished to live, and was rushed to the Emergency Room by ambulance with family in tow. I had called the police for several welfare checks during these threats, and was informed there was no such call for Pulse Point or Gold Coast that day… When those threats of suicide no longer work, he then gets nasty and belligerent. Between the hundreds of obscene emails, the 150 overwhelming and vulgar text messages in one day, and the cumulative phone numbers I had to block, I am at my wit’s end.”

He created 18 new email addresses after I’d blocked his original one. It didn’t stop there. He called and texted me non-stop from 53 phone numbers to urge me to get back together or to offend me and call into question my “promiscuity”. Several, pretending to be other people to illicit responses. When that didn’t work, he took to many social media platforms (43 Facebook accounts, 34 Instagram accounts, and 13 Pinterest accounts) to do the same thing. Unfortunately, most of the attempted contacts were not to communicate, but instead, were to verbally abuse and threaten me.

“The crude words and accusations he’s made me endure over time have been emotionally taxing, draining on my personal friendships, and negatively affecting my therapeutic progress and mental health. I am always on edge, stress lives in my shoulders and causes undue anxiety that he or others may show up to my home in an attempt to exact revenge. This has now become a battle for me to recover from this trauma. Additionally, through these hundreds of attempts at electronic contact, he’s apparently researched and sent me Google images of my childhood home in another county with my car parked in my parent’s driveway. This has stripped me of any safety zone, from both my current home, and now where I grew up.

I began sleeping and waking up with headaches and awakening from nightmares of him or others outside my window. I am exhausted in the mornings, and have been unable to wake up for work on time on multiple occasions. I feel emotionally numb at times, and have stopped enjoying things that I used to enjoy. I haven’t run in weeks, for fear that if I turn a corner, he’ll be there - or awaiting me at my doorstep, since he claimed he would cut his throat and be there for me to find. I now cautiously look over my shoulder and have a paranoid awareness of my surroundings at all times, so much so that I have now purchased a home security system and several cameras for safety.

Prior to meeting him, I never knew what words like “rig” or “the ditch” referred to. I’d never seen a syringe other than when witnessing a flu shot or a diabetes injection. I had never seen or smelled heroin, or what it made people look like.”

I hate that I know that heroin smells like vinegar

“Now when I smell vinegar in the future, it will remind me of this time of my life and how I once loved a drug addict who tried to use me and stole from me and abused my giving heart.

I had never first hand seen the damaging affects drugs have on a person’s body, their mind, or their actions. You go through drug education programs in school and learn about it, but you never think of “junkies” as functioning members of society. I grew up in a much protected household, and I hate that I now have more knowledge of judicial process and have been made into a statistic. I am now technically a “victim” in the eyes of the court, the advocates, the attorneys and his probation officers. That’s embarrassing, making me feel a range of several emotions of which I have no idea how to process. Add “post-traumatic stress” and now, begrudgingly, domestic violence victim. I am not the first made victim by the defendant, but I hope I am the last.”

I asked the judge in court that day during our hearing that he be required to complete inpatient drug rehabilitation and random drug screenings thereafter, for the duration of his probation. I also asked that he be mandated to find alternative housing, away from his addict mother who has enabled him in previous attempts for his sobriety.

“I was and am still fearful of this behavior continuing, once he is released. The defendant’s obsession, co-dependence of drugs and/or women and clouded judgment stem from his previous drug use, and it is a threat to my safety and mental health, as well as that of others, should he not be in compliance of these requests.”

Cognitive Dissonance

“I’ve lost a part of myself in loving him that I’ll never get back: For caring for him more than I cared for myself. For caring more about his welfare than my own. I can’t trust people mean what they say anymore because of him.”

If you ever have to read a victim statement in court, DON’T read it in order to reason with your abuser. EVER. Read it for YOU. I had people warn me not to, since they wanted me to heal and move forward without giving him a second more of my time or energy… I didn’t listen.

I’m even reading this statement right now, for myself yes, but also stupidly hoping that it reaches him on a level that makes him cautious in the future and that he makes healthy choices; So that he doesn’t use and abuse drugs or take advantage of some new poor, unsuspecting and trusting female... like he did me; I hope he realizes that this is rock bottom; that he gets healthy again and does better.

I couldn’t save him by enabling him... so I hope I can at least help him understand.”

The rest of the court hearing was a blur to me, and thankfully, my father was cracking jokes left and right about drugs and my mom is complaining about how terribly the public defender was doing her job. I was grateful for the distraction, but I was side-eyeing my ex while he stood, listening to the judge. She eventually became the teacher from Charlie Brown. All I thought right then was hopefully he heard me. That he maybe felt what I was feeling and how badly I didn’t want any of this to end this way.

It was an extreme case of victim bargaining and cognitive dissonance… which is when you’re having inconsistent thoughts relating to behavioral decisions or attitude changes. To believe he’d hear me out is implying he actually gives a crap about what he just did to me, or  is capable of any empathy.

But still, as I sat in court and watched him speak to the judge in short “yes” an “no” responses, I felt for him. He’s only a product of two shitty, drug-addicted parents and had no real male figure to truly emulate. Knowing that, and understanding it, my heart has broken too much for him that I believe the pieces “could pass through the eye of a needle”.

As he turned around and followed the officer leading him back to main jail, all I wanted to do was to exit the court room with him and speak to him. Hug him. Rewind time, and wish he was never a liar; that I was never afraid of him - I so desperately wanted to believe in every promise he made. I didn’t want to give that up. When he walked out, a piece of me walked out with him.

Being afraid of someone you love and being unsure of what they’re capable of is maddening. It’s this confusing fight between rational thoughts and your feelings. You feel guilty for loving them and terrible for feeling guilty. Being gas-lit and manipulated, well it just sucks. They’re supposed to be your person: your best friend, the only person you can rely on... and instead they become the very person you are afraid of and should protect yourself from.

Fast Forward -

Time is served, he gets released two weeks later. I had two weeks of silence and it was fucking glorious after not having peace for almost two whole months. However, I don’t think I’ve ever cried more. I was finally able to digest everything that had transpired and the healing process began immediately and it was excruciating.

Just as I started to relax and fully let myself feel everything I’d gone through, an old message he sent me on a dating site freaked me out. Then on all the platforms, he began popping up as within 13 miles of me and in retrospect, I know where he was at the time - somewhere I imagine he is now, trying to avoid being arrested for his bench warrant on his failure to appear in court. Everything I’d known about his fidelity was laughable. As he was with one person, he was still seeking me out.

Each time I came across his profile, I reported him to the associated agency and sent forward my documentation of his abuse as well as the restraining order documents. I would warn them that he had no business making more women his victims and without telling me they blocked and deleted his accounts, they each disappeared. Until they popped right back up again. On one, he sent me a smiley face and on another, he “swiped” right. What smarty-pants didn’t know is when you pay for Tinder or Bumble, they show you who has already swiped and liked you. I took screen shots of it all, forwarded it to his probation officer and upon arrest, we went to court the following day.

As I was finding parking in the lot closest to the law library, I noticed a man in a my favorite color - a teal/lighter blue and black plaid shirt, walking slightly ahead of a girl with long hair and glasses. I think I was mid left turn into another aisle when I locked eyes with him and realized who it was. My stomach had begun easing over the course of those three weeks, and it all came rushing back like a swift punch to the gut. Not only was he walking around, parading a false level of cockiness, he actually followed through with one of the threats he’d made while still attempting to win me back - to bring another girl to the hearing. I started laughing at the audacity of the power move. In my mind, I toasted his amount of pettiness but then also questioned the sanity of said chess pawn; I thought to myself “Now THAT is a helluva first date! Guess this is what you have to look forward to yourself!” I thought, perfect! She’ll get to hear and prepare for whats ahead of her.

Immediately, I regretted the thought - not so long ago, I’d been right where she was. Well, not literally, but I would have (and DID) believe every lie he told - why wouldn’t I have? If he would’ve brought me to court to battle one of his exes at the height of his love-bombing stages, I probably would have sat by his side too, the exact same thing.

Man, he’s good at getting sympathy. Like, if it was an Olympic sport, he would win Gold. Every time. Hands down. I’ve heard so many stories about his ability to get out of trouble simply because he was able to bullshit his way out of things.

His probation officer asked me for a statement, and like last time, I went in and read it. It never gets easier… Just FYI. There was an 18-year-old girl who was also there in the victim room with me this time, and she was just as nervous as I was the previous time. Helping her, and supporting her felt cathartic. As much as reading the following to a now seated-five-feet-away-from-me ex-boyfriend of mine was:

“I wanted to take the time to express my anxiety over this case and the defendant's lack of understanding a simple "no-contact" order. I've spent the last three weeks trying to mourn the loss of a false representation of a relationship I thought to be real. I have been grasping at the mental and emotional recovery that needs to take place.

I've seen several therapists, re-filled a now increased dosage of depression and anxiety prescriptions, and am trying to make a sincere attempt to begin rebuilding my life after the destruction the defendant has caused to my livelihood. I am both angry and heartbroken that I was capable of being in this situation at all.

I had to change my phone number, change my social media, stop posting on my blog and allow comments from followers; all to make efforts to be invisible and battling feeling socially penalized for the his behaviors and lack of boundaries; where he gets to have internet access and make efforts to communicate with me and others like a normal civilian and I have to hide away. My rights are limited due to sheer terror of who may be on the sending end of any digital communication ON TOP of scared to walk alone in my neighborhood and potentially seem him near my grocery store, for example.”

There was a day where I could have SWORN I saw him. I swear I locked eyes with a man in his camouflage jacket and signature knitted beanie behind the wheel of a black Prius at the intersection where I was turning into and it freaked me the hell out. I pulled over and fought every urge I had not to turn around and follow to see if it was him. The juxtaposition of feeling both visceral fear and love simultaneously for a person is a confusing combination.

“I struggle daily with the trauma, effects and emotional marks that he has left on me. That is sufficient damage enough, not including the rumination and over analysis I am expected to endure over the recovery process, however long that may be.”

This was not a normal break up. I’ve gone through the worst gas lighting of my existence, and need to work through the fact that he was not everything I wanted - he was just a good actor. Minimization of the abuse he put me through is something I’m no stranger to - his Aunt and mother did a pretty good job of making me feel like I “played with his heart”, when all I wanted was a boyfriend who was honest and sober. They say “Survivors tend to ruminate over incidents of abuse as well as the initial love-bombing they received from their abusers. Baffled onlookers (counselors, friends, family members) may assume that the survivor is ‘stuck’ or ‘can’t move forward’ because they ruminate over the incidents of abuse.

rumination and over-analysis are Normal effects of the trauma

“Survivors of any form of abuse are always attempting to sift through the thoughts, feelings, and memories which have caused them this cognitive dissonance. That’s why they tend to tell their stories again and again – because they are attempting to provide a coherent narrative to the trauma they just experienced. To interrupt the process of rumination in a way that is judgmental and invalidating is especially harmful to a survivor who is just trying to figure out what happened to them.”

Asking me to “look within” and “know my worth” can even cross over to victim-blaming, and you need to understand the effects of the trauma bond that we developed with the abuser throughout the course of the relationship. This is a bond created by the intense, emotional experiences in the abuse cycle. I say again, this was not a normal breakup.

I was enabling him, the whole time

-without even really understanding what that meant!

By caring for him and trying to make his life better, I made it worse. I gave him the easiest ways to keep doing what he wanted to do and living the life he TRULY wanted… not the one with me, but the one where he didn’t have to work hard for money or drugs. Where he could lay back, and let me do the work while he skated through. Similar to the previous girlfriends he abused and cheated on.

I only ever wanted him sober. I only ever wanted him to be honest. I didn’t want to be mixed up in the illegal activity. I loved him and believed there was something good still buried inside him somewhere… and I still do. I just can’t be a part of it.

This truly was the only way for him to get sober. Saying he didn’t want to live and threatening to kill himself wasn’t healthy. I didn’t want it to get to this point, but I tried to help him and he wasn’t doing it for himself or for his kids. His reasons weren’t to get better or be better, they were to keep me. The fact that he now has a probation officer on his case for the next three years making sure he legally cannot be around drugs and he has to complete domestic violence counseling gives me hope that I did the right thing.

I got the restraining order out of fear - making sure that I couldn’t be contacted and verbally abused by him for my decisions - but also because I didn’t have the self control to not respond. He wasn’t making changes that needed to be made and I couldn’t save him because he wouldn’t save himself. I had to save myself from going under alongside him. I was hurting us both to save us both in the long run.

I tried to convey that in court with my statement, but he heard none of it. He thought I was simply plotting to ruin his life.

If he’d listened to me, he would know that I had to leave him, even though my heart didn’t want me to... that’s why his Aunt thought I was going back and forth and “playing with his heart”. He hadn’t changed for his kids - what on Earth made me think I was special to get him to change?

I was battling my feelings for him versus what needed to be done. He broke my heart by lying to me and by using. It broke my heart to leave him while I still loved him. It broke my heart to see him in custody that day in court, and I was nervous I would cry... but his anger and vulgarity made me confident and reminded me I was doing this all for my recovery instead of a way to “reach” him. He didn’t even listen to me or what I wanted him to hear of my statement. He’ll never know that I did this all for him.

He just sat there, shaking his head and mumbling nonsense under his breath… and it devastated the hope in me, even though I know for a fact it’s a façade and he is simply embarrassed that this is his reality.

Everything I felt for him was real. Everything is real. I am mourning the person I fell for - the person he pretended to b and so desperately wanted to be what I deserved but wasn’t able to execute. I so desperately wanted them both to be the same. I loved him more than I’ve ever loved anyone before... That was always the truth. I’ll never be able to trust it ever was for him and that fact is devastating.

I think about teaching him to slow dance in my living room and that memory is tainted now. I wonder if he was looking around attributing dollar values to what he could steal from me and what he could sell or trade for drug money. I wonder if he actually enjoyed my company and wanted to be with me, instead of constantly lying to me and proving otherwise. The fact that I’m even second guessing his motives to anything and everything while we were together is a cut that runs deeper than any other hurt I’ve ever known.

I think about the good version of him every day, and am still hopeful he’s in there. Seeing him like this, angry, using and denying his problems, actually hurts me. All I’ve ever wanted was him to be healthy and happy.

I’m not a religious woman… I don’t even know what’s up there. But I pray and hope on everything I love that he gets the help he needs. I’d hate for him to self-fulfill the prophecy of winding up like his father or his mother, using drugs well into her sixties, “flying signs” for easy money. I’d hate for him to look as haggard as she looks, like he’s 90 at only 63, because he’s so handsome. I’d hate for him to accidentally overdose like he pretended he did, or like his cousin actually did. A lot of people love him. A lot of people still love him, despite the despicable person he has been in his past.

Your past abuse explains your abusive acts now, but it doesn't excuse it. Unless you try to make positive changes, your crappy behavior is going to remain on you. You can’t say it’s your past if it’s still your present, Ankles.

What I wish for me?

Healing… and a heart that will no longer break. That’s what I wish.

It’s About You

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I write for therapy, if you all haven’t discovered this by now.

Growing up, my mother always told me to “have a little mystery”. I remember it vividly because she was always trying to keep me from showing too much of myself to those who would turn around and use it against me, which was her right and duty as a mother to protect her child.

At the time, I didn’t understand why I should hide the parts of myself that made me who I am - which I still don’t - I don’t think the lesson of holding mystery ever truly got through to me, as I clearly have a blog and put myself out there nearly every week with my feelings and thoughts for you all to read. I’ve also grieved and struggled with my trauma very openly lately, and many of you may find it irritating how vocal I am - you might describe it as my “seeking attention”, or a cop out. Shit, these might just be my own projections but I felt like this has to be said, for my own health and healing.

I’ve actually heard others say “she’s being over dramatic…”

“Why is she posting another meme on Facebook?” “How can she fall apart so publicly??” Because I don’t know how to fall apart. Because I’ve never been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder before. Because I’ve never had to recuperate from loving someone with an addiction. I don’t know how to heal from this. I’ve never been abused or been subjected to this kinda of trauma before, and because frankly, I don’t care how many times I have to say or reiterate something to finally feel better. I will heal on MY timeline and however publicly or privately I choose.

How sad is that? When someone goes through a traumatic life event, we immediately categorize them into one of two labels: deserving and understanding of their emotions and validate their experience, OR we devalue what they’re feeling and what they’ve gone through.

They say don’t rush - “don’t jump in too soon” - they say to hold back, have mystery…

Well, it may be stupid or reckless, but I refuse to apologize for loving all in and hard. The fact that I’m capable of doing that means I have a huge heart. Yes, I may give it to the wrong people or those undeserving and it may hurt me, but I wouldn’t be my authentic self.

I’m in roller derby, and injured my arm last week. is that going to keep me from skating? NO

Every person deals with and goes through their own process of healing, and every bit of progress is different for everyone. I’ve been saying this for almost two whole years now, after the narcissistic abuse of my adulterous ex-boyfriend:

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“Hard is not relative; Hard is Hard. Who can tell me that explaining [your story] is harder than telling your child you’re getting a divorce?” There is no “hard-er”, there’s just “HARD

We need to stop ranking each other’s issues and experiences against one another to value or devalue their existence.

It’s called compassion. I’ve spent years focusing on what I can do for others and sacrificing my own happiness to do what is either expected of me to fit within a box or to cater to others and their needs.

This is and will be very much about me.

An Open Letter to my Addict-Ex's New Girlfriend

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I’ve mulled over the news of finding out you two were together and attempted to warn you several ways… Facebook messenger, through mutual friends, even my friends/school staff & faculty since I work at the school you attend (I find that a little coincidental). You responded less than favorably… and I understand your apprehension to my compassion. You don’t want to believe it, just like I didn’t and I can’t blame you for that.

If you’re reading this, you’re most likely thinking I’m “crazy”, “obsessed” or “jealous”. No, sweetheart… I am very much sane and definitely NOT jealous or envious of you and the position you’re in now. I was there not too long ago, and only “lost” someone who tried their hardest to hide the truth from me. Just like he is doing to you now.

I am not thinking wishful thoughts of how to get him back into my life - just the opposite actually. I am fighting desperately to no longer feel the very real emotions I had been manipulated by a con-artist into feeling: his false love-bombing and emotional abuse.

It’s possible to miss someone who has abused you because love-bombing is abuse too. Love-bombing is a form of cult indoctrination, like brainwashing, and in this case it’s done under false pretenses. It’s just as much a part of the abuse that has been inflicted as any of the more obvious forms.  This is difficult, yet critical, to accept. 

Further, the fact that we have a hard time accepting this fact that missing them is part of the abuse is itself also part of the abuse because it makes us vulnerable to being further abused. 

Understanding and accepting that all of the stages of our relationship with the narcissist were abusive is crucial, because until we do, we can stay stuck in a hoovering phase, or even if we have gone no-contact, we can feel lost, disempowered, and without hope by what happened for years.

I am not “vengeful” for getting a restraining order against him after a barrage of communication attempts and verbal abuse when I cemented boundary lines and he repetitively crossed them. I never “played with his heart” the way he or his mother or aunt claim - he played with mine. He made me believe he only wanted me, and that I was the love of his life; his soulmate, the only woman he “ever wanted to marry”… which he in fact said to all of us. I bet he’s already told you he loves you… no, I’m sorry - “madly in love” with you, right? You - “short stack” & “big booty Judy”... right? He called me that. He called all the others that… He’s quite unoriginal to say the least.

You said something to me in your message about being “happy in your relationship” and to “move on” because it’s “not healthy”. I was happy in the beginning too, sweetheart. Until his true nature began shining through - until he stole from me, blatantly lied to my face and began abusing me when I didn’t want to be with a heroin addict and a liar; when I could no longer trust he was who he said he was. Feel free to read for yourself…


What I DO wish, though, is for you to see through his nonsense and to be smarter and braver than I. I wish for you the strength I had in the end - what I should have had at the first sign - to no longer allow him to blind you with his charm and tales of false sobriety and self-victimization of his own behaviors in the past. I hope he never brings heroin into your apartment or never lets your daughter see the nasty side of him the way he has his own children.

I wish to save you from the pain I endured from allowing him to envelop my life and derail my personal growth. I am not the first woman he has done this exact pattern to, and my dear, I would bet my life that I won’t be his last. My only wish was that you would have listened to me so that you weren’t the next on his long list of victims, of which include his own sister.

Your boyfriend is an abuser and an addict.

Addicts abuse themselves and abuse others in their wake. They use people for their own gain, think of only themselves and how they are affected. They cannot love others, for they do not love themselves.

See, his exes and I all know he cries a good story of woe and pain. We each understood and believed we could love him into being someone he would never be: Clean and sober, loving and caring.

He`s handsome, charming and has a personality that will melt you like sugar. He will cry, crocodile tears, and you will feel empathy to his pain. Eventually, though, you will feel pain and cry because of him. Because he doesn’t have the capability to show you love and support outside of himself. He will tell you he does, but his actions will speak louder than words.

What you won`t see until it`s too late is the anger he carries inside because of his childhood trauma and how you will pay for it as we all have. This is why he`s an addict now.

His own children pay for it, also. They carry the scars of having a father who is an addict, and completely void of any responsibility to them. Fortunately, he chose wonderfully selfless and nurturing women to make mothers, and they both try very hard to teach them good values.

The beautiful part is that someone is doing it right - It is NOT him due the credit.

You are likely still trying to do everything possible to make him happy and make up for all the hardships this man has endured and love him as you are capable of doing. He is not.

You believe his lies that WE were the abusers, his manipulation of who I am and his other exes as well.

We are

  • “the women that used him and were too lazy to work"

  • “the ones who never appreciated him

  • “the ones that didn't do anything for him

  • “the guilty ones” - that he is the victim, not us

I bet your friends are beginning to see it. That you’re buying things for him that he cannot afford, or if you do, he promises to pay you back… that you’re driving he and his mother to and from places because of the bus schedule. That secretly, you feel shame when you bring him around people you know, because he wont shower or clean up to get introduced to them. Or you’re buying him new and nicer clothing and shoes without holes, like I did. I wonder if he told you that his apartment burned down in the Thomas fire last year, or if he said his brother “borrowed” his truly nonexistent car… or that he worked in construction. Those were the lies he told me to evoke sympathy and bank on my good heart to provide things for him.

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I wonder what ridiculous story he told you to get you to drive him to court that day for our arraignment - the violation of my restraining order against him. I wonder when you two first began talking, because as he was winning you over, he may have still been abusing me. I wonder what he said to make that day seem like a normal occurrence, or how he spun it to make himself the “wrongfully accused”. You can’t wrongfully accuse someone with solid proof - screenshots don’t lie like he does, dear.

I bet a little voice inside your head is going off but you are talking yourself out of the accumulating red flags, like I did. “It’s not that bad… He`s so charming. He’s everything I’ve ever emotionally wanted, who cares if his clothes are a little dirty.” Deep inside your instincts are going off. You should listen to them. I didn’t and I regret it every day. I regret not listening to my family; I regret hearing the clicks of lighters through the bathroom door and seeing the syringes and not removing myself from the situation sooner.

I`m not talking about, “a little coke here and there”, or that he “experimented with drugs a long time ago”. I`m talking a full-blown, lying, daily heroin-injecting, meth-smoking drug addict.

You know it too

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He never hides it well, he just picks women who want to be loved so much and have had a hard past and manipulates the situation to be the perfect man and no one wants to give that up, right? I pray your daughter never gets a hold of his needles, pipes or his black tar. Don’t you wonder why he’s always so sweaty? Why he wears long sleeves and complains about not being able to sleep? I wish I had someone warn me like I desperately wanted to warn you.

Yes, I know you are still in that process of still wondering who he is compared to what his actions say compared to his words. I bet you are carrying the majority of the financial load as well.

He’s an incredible liar. I only know because he said all the same things to me.

My dear, I am a good-hearted person - like you - and I gave and gave to him. I nearly lost myself to provide for him the best that I could, all while he was slowly destroying my spirit with his abuse and addictions. I am still healing from his abuse - not from losing him. I still have a long road ahead of me.

Getting the police involved helped a lot. Originally, my motivation for getting them involved was not for myself, but yet another attempt to help him and to put him before my own well being. You see, I felt badly for him. I still do. I knew he needed more help than I could provide by enabling his behaviors, and loved him with my whole heart. Finding syringes and a meth pipe in my apartment on several occasions, and my cats batting around the baggie of heroin, I knew this was bigger than me driving him daily to the methadone clinic… especially when he was still using, manipulating me and lying.

I wanted to help do the right thing for him. To me - in the moment - that meant sacrificing what I wanted most. I had to sacrifice the person who withdrew my energy, faith, hope and love for his own good. It broke my heart when he was arrested for violating the restraining order. I didn’t want to be the one who subjected him to that, but I had to remind myself that I wasn’t the one violating the law. HE was. All I did was get a restraining order, and he willfully chose to violate it, I didn’t make or force him.

I didn’t want him to be hurt, even after he’s said every nasty, vile, crude thing about me and my character. Even after he told me he was going to slit his throat on my apartment doorstep and hoped I would watch him die & inflict pain and suffering to my psyche.

He spins the story that I hate him, and how much I want to see him “ruined”, but that wasn’t the case at all. I just wanted him to get sober like he promised me, time and time again. I knew that the restraining order and terms of probation would legally require it, as well as require him to go through counseling for the underlying issues and why he abuses drugs and women. That was until I realized that I was simply another drug he was co-dependently using; he never loved me. I was simply a pawn in his game of survival.

I still have days where I am haunted and nights where I wake to nightmares of him or a scenario we were once in, but I know I am healing because each day gets a little easier. I know for sure that you are good person. He only settles with good people who he can suck dry - the kind, caring, loving women who have generous hearts.

My hope for you?

That you will see and listen to your instincts and get out before he destroys your spirit.

Love yourself more than you love him. That was where I faltered. Unconditional love is about loving someone through their faults, yes, but it is NOT about putting up with someone’s lack of respect for your boundaries and their toxic behaviors because you love them.

You are on a road to hurt beyond anything you can imagine if you choose not to listen… believe three other women who have been in your shoes, and his sisters.

I’m not angry with him… The only sad part about all of this is that I know too much about psychology to truly hate him for what he’s done to me. I can only forgive and move forward. I hope you have the strength to do the same, for you and for your little girl; she looks to you as a role model, and I’d hate for her thoughts about love to be tainted by his toxicity.

Healthy Fat Makes the World Go Round

Like I said l this time last year in Your Healthy Fat Survival Guide, “Non–Fat foods are good for me, right? Like, they’ll help me lose weight? WRONG! We actually need fats; can't live without them, in fact.”

They keep our skin soft, deliver fat-soluble vitamins, and are a great source of energizing fuel. It is BEYOND easy to be overwhelmed by all of the dietary knowledge out there right now about what’s good for you and what’s bad – there are so many conflicting messages and fads out there in the world, that I understand your confusion.

Healthy Fats are UNSATURATED fats (or poly and mono saturated fats to be specific), or ones that raise our HDL/good cholesterol and lower LDL levels. These all stars of the fat section of your grocery aisles provide essential fatty acids to our bodies.

This includes:

Avocados
Whole Eggs
Fatty Fish

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grass Fed Butter
Chia or Flax Seeds

Nuts
Cheese
Dark Chocolate

I’VE BEEN THERE! I know what you’re going through

What are good fats vs. bad fats? How much fat should I eat? How do I avoid artery-clogging Trans fats? What is an omega-3?

I’ve written about it numerous times – specifically in Your Healthy Fat Survival Guide, The 3 Secrets of Clean Eating that Everyone Misses AND in How to Boost your Metabolism.

*Many* foods low or void of fats are mainly high in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and calories. If you look at the last 35 years and read myths regarding the Low-Fat Diet fad, you’ll find that obesity doubled in America since it began. You NEED healthy fats, aka fats that are unsaturated (mono and poly), like extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados in your diet to help you manage your mood, mental balance, fight fatigue AND – whoa! – control your weight. Monounsaturated fats improve blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease, too!

What makes them healthy is that, among other heart-health benefits, they help reduce LDL cholesterol (the kind that clogs your arteries), and they can benefit insulin and blood sugar levels, decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. Our brains are 60% fat, so it’s *vital* to our body’s physical function to have and absorb healthy fats.

The answers aren’t to CUT the fat out – it’s to make the best choices for your body!

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Why I Chose NOT to have Surgery...

Okay - I'm starting this post out with a disclaimer:

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That being said, I know I'm going to piss off a lot of people with this post.  I opted NOT to have surgery, and that was the best choice for me.

"But Jaycie, you weren't 300-600 lbs - why would you even think of surgery, to begin with?"

Now THAT is a very good question. I know about five people - great friends of mine, and inspirational women - who may not have had the luxury of time or the ability to dedicate the effort to a program. Or those who, unfortunately, struggled and potentially still struggle with disorders of body dysmorphia and clinically are suffering and waging a different battle than anyone could even imagine... I admire you and your abilities to make it day to day with these issues (We all have *some*thing that gets to us).

BELIEVE ME

I get it - losing weight the 'hard way' or by slow, methodical steps, is not only time-consuming and non-conducive to the fast pace we live in, sometimes we have to face that for some is just not possible.

Back in 2012, I worked part-time. 20 hours a week, came home and had the time to meal prep and work out almost twice a day. I was 265 lbs, and I had the advantage of an affordable personal trainer to teach me the things I needed to know. I had help and extra income from my then-boyfriend when this all started, to boot. I had a support system in him at the time, and he allowed me to experiment new dinners and replacements such as zoodles or cauliflower 'mash' instead of the real thing (Well, I kind of took the reins and didn't allow him to say no in hindsight, but it made him healthier too haha).

I don't think I could ever thank my ex (from when I began this journey in 2012) enough for allowing me the freedoms that he did, actually. In a true comparison to the relationship that followed him, I definitely can say that I couldn't have flourished the way I did without the constant affirmation that I was doing a great job. That's what I'm trying to be for you all...

They say when you're actually tired of living a certain lifestyle, there isn't a single thing that can get in your way; not even yourself. I want to say that's true, but if I'd started this journey with anyone else, I probably would've given up not even halfway. It's just as much about support as it is diet and exercise if I'm honest. For some, that means a surgery. That means a liquid recovery diet, bed rest with minor aches and pains, not being able to play with your kids for a span of time for fear of incision infection or other site woes. I don't even know the full list because personally, I haven't done it. For others, like me, that means going to the gym four or five times a week, planing what muscle groups and what meals you're going to eat for the next week and managing grocery lists. Melting it away over time was the option I went for, and it wasn't because that's what I wanted - it's because it was my only option.

What not a lot of people know about me is in 2010, I had a consultation for lap band.

I was recently 21, and already 250lbs. I was in my Master's degree program and not exactly sure how it had gotten to that point. I ate whatever I wanted, regardless of how it made me feel physically (ill, laggy, gross, etc) and I didn't exercise but maybe run a half mile a week.

I read up about the surgery and looking back on it now, I'm so glad I didn't do it.  I opted OUT of my choice to cut into my own body and recover from a surgery on top of the already added changes I would have to make simply because I didn't like how my body looked. I didn't opt for scars, liquid diets, and modifying my eating habits because I had to - I had the emotional and mental strength to change my mind about the way I view food and the healthy relationship I have with it now...

It's everywhere now though - the easy fix. For those who may not even actually *need* it (as far as health concerns go).

One morning on my way to work, I heard an ad on the radio for gastric bypass surgery. The woman in the ad claimed to only need to lose twenty pounds and professed that the advertised surgery and program was the best and most effective way to do it for her (Heavy eye-roll).

One night while babysitting a few months ago, I scrolled past TLC's my 600 lb life, "Lupe's Story". In between commercial breaks, there was another ad for this pill that is an appetite suppressant and suppresses cravings for go-to foods. The side effects? Suicidal thoughts or actions, depression increased blood pressure, nausea, constipation, migraines and the list goes on. I'm sorry, but I already have depression. I don't need to put myself further into yet another category of struggle, on purpose.

WHY ON GODS GREEN EARTH WOULD I SUBJECT MYSELF TO THAT just to be skinny?!

First - It's supposed to be "I want to be *HEALTHY* - but that was what I used to think it meant. Skinny was what I once wanted to be. Until I changed my mentality. 

Look. I GET being depressed. I GET feeling like a beached whale. As if no one loves you enough for the person you are inside and like everyone is silently or outwardly judging you when you eat. When you walk in a size-too-small outfit but it's the only one you could find that fit you. When you're trying to exercise but get it in your head that people are looking at you and making fun of you. 

I still struggle with that to this day.

I struggle with overeating. I struggle with knowing better and taking the easy way out. I know what it feels like to utterly loathe yourself while eating six jack in the box tacos for $3 or a fried chicken sandwich for $1 - and how easy it is to pull up to the drive-thru window instead of prep vegetables and cook for 30 minutes in the kitchen for something that may or may not hit the spot or curb your craving for French fries. It's absolutely maddening!

The complete opposites that go through my mindset on a given day is nuts. I look at my body and get sad, then when I get sad, I think "what's the point?"

You get it.  My point - THE point - is NOTHING WORTH HAVING COMES EASY. Even surgery.

Yeah, that's right. I said it. I've been saying it since the beginning on here though (How to Be Enough, Shedding the Mental Fat Suit).. there is NO MAGIC PILL. There is no easy fix to being overweight.

To those friends of mine who have had surgery, or are going to be on the table in the future: With every genuine fiber of my being, I really hope you know that it's not about what your body looks like. It's how you FEEL - it's how you love yourself, by NOURISHING yourself with both compassion and food, alike.

Surgery, to me, would only temporarily fix my issue. If I was still in the same detrimental mindset, AND didn't do the hard work to EARN it in both the kitchen and the gym, I would never have appreciated it in the end - and I definitely wouldn't have kept it up.

You won't change your habits by simply cutting or inflating parts of your stomach. It's just not going to stay or stick.

You have to change your mind

You have to get help for addiction or therapy for why you eat your feelings (that's my issue). Food is so very clearly an addictive substance. Cutting corners like that is not going to get you anywhere.

I know people who will probably get mad or misunderstand me. What I am NOT saying is "surgery won't help you". It does work, but only if you DO IT RIGHT.

Please read what this young woman had to say about her surgery and why she regretted it.

Yet there are still some people who think that now that I’m losing weight again, it’s a sign that my surgery is finally a “success.” Not so. The real success is no longer hating myself. The real success is how happy I am now.
— Women's Health Mag
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It's a beautiful homage to ALL struggles. Surgery or not.

STRESS! … And How it Affects your Weight Loss

I'm back! I'm sorry! I keep doing this to you guys... This time, it was a long hiatus than before, but if you only knew...

Between moving last September, and my job duties increasing shortly after, I was swamped. I moved, I got settled; I had more responsibility, then got used to it; I got into a new relationship... and then that got complicated. To top it all off, my job changed again, two weeks ago to the date! It's been STRESSFUL! Which, conveniently brings me to my first post since November... 

STRESS!

We all know it – we feel it when it creeps up on us and then balloons into this giant mushroom cloud out of our heads…but is that the only way we feel it? Hell No!

Sometimes, when I’m stressed, I eat! Okay okay, not sometimes, MOST times. I don’t exercise and sink into the stress and eat more than my normal portion size, or I tend to eat crap and succumb to cravings. Isn’t that how everyone deals with their situations? I mean, why would anyone want to do anything else? That’s why it’s called “comfort food”.

When you’re stressed AF, it makes sense that eating well and working out regularly aren’t high on your to-do list and of COURSE you would think that alone would make you more likely to gain weight. NOPE

If you’re a freak (and I say that in the most loving nature because I’m similar to this too) and you love to exercise your stress out of your body, I’d say go for it – BUT stress alone can make the number we all despise from that black square on the bathroom tile read higher and higher.

Wait, what? Stress makes you fat??

Yep - You heard me!

If you thought you were done thinking about hormones when we graduated high school, you’re wrong. Let me tell you about a snappy little chemical in the brain called cortisol. They don’t call it the “Stress Hormone” for nothing. This little bugger rises when you’re feeling any type of pressure or tension, and turns portion control into an afterthought. It increases insulin levels as a result, and your blood sugar drops and you CRAVE sugar and fat to make up the difference.

Your body is trying to ward off an unseen threat during long periods of time where you have chronic stress – the kinds where you’ve gone through a break up or the kind when you get laid off from your job… not just one bad day at work. This increases visceral fat, deep in our midsections, and it’s tough to get rid of it later.

So, how DO you stop stress from stopping your goals?

  1. Eat mindfully
    Combat your urges to binge (I know, I know – I get how hard it is). I see you, and I know what you want. I want cheesecake… or Pho, or sourdough bread. BUT is that going to derail me? YES. Is that going to make me feel more tired later? The cycle perpetuates, here, piggies! Eating mindfully helps you stay on course and removes the increase in *later* stressors, like not being able to put on that dress you used to feel slim in (believe me; it happened to me three weeks ago)!
  2. Distract Yourself
    Create a routine where you won’t be within temptation’s reach for that pot of macaroni and cheese (enter favorite comfort food here if other) and maybe go for a walk every day after work or on your lunch break.
  3. Meditate
    Honestly, I wasn’t a fan of this before, but I SWEAR between yoga and therapy, I really got used to mindfully breathing. Taking a minute to stop, inhale slowly for fifteen seconds, hold it, and exhale for fifteen seconds REALLY helps. My apple watch reminds me to take a moment and breathe every few hours. I was in a therapy session once trying to explain how difficult this was for me at the time. I was so preoccupied with the tasks flying across my desk in the Athletics department that I didn’t have the luxury to stop for a few minutes and breathe directed by my apple watch. I told her “I don’t have time to breathe!”, but she stopped me right after my exclamation, and repeated it back to me – “You don’t have time to breathe?” I felt silly but it’s true – you need to make time for the things that give you a moment of relaxation. You have to.
  4. Make time for your hobbies
    I know I tend to lose myself in the mundane. Make sure that you're taking the time to garden if that's something you enjoy. Make sure that you carve out time to get a mile run in here and there (or any distance you prefer). I stopped running for a while, and let me tell you - that made me crabby and feel like i was walking around the office with a forever tense hold in my shoulders... Do the things YOU enjoy in order to remove the vice grip you've put on your body.
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Honestly, all of the above is just how I deal with stress and what helps me... But If you need to treat yourself in other ways, make sure to do it positively - Eating a grip of cheese wont help you in the long run.

Make healthy choices and the rest will fall into place...

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Why Having a Positive Support System MATTERS

I have to say, I have a real LOVE/HATE relationship with the app called TimeHop. It's been a constant reminder of bittersweet memories... and this week I was reminded of why support means so much.

I’ve been struggling with a lot more than just my weight or my motivation in the gym for the last two years, and this last one (like you read last week) was a DOOZIE.

If I can’t write it out here, what is the purpose of this blog? What is the purpose of having this forum of expression and ability to share things with people who might be feeling lost/scared or any of the similar emotions I am?

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Blue is not (traditionally) my color. It wasn't last year and it's not supposed to be this year, but here we are. There have been so many factors that have led to my decreasing motivation for the gym and eating properly, and this has cast a light on how important a positive support system is. Not only do they remind you who you are when you’ve forgotten, they most DEFINITELY remind you of why moving forward can be daunting, but with one step at a time, it’s possible. I've lost so many people this year, those who I thought were genuine friends, but turned out to be wolves that ended up turning on me at the last second... including the one I held most dear. That does something to a person.

“I just need to work on myself right now.”

That's what this whole thing is about - working on yourself, making yourself the best version to move with positivity and growth in this life. Oh man, how after-school special do I sound right now?

I think the single most influential aspect of health and fitness is having people that are for you just as much as you are for them. If you don't have people that cheer you on, you might lose the will or the fighting drive after some time. Lord knows I had a few moments where I wondered why I was even here - I considered ending it. But then that means other people win. NOTHING is worth that. I have no shame and way too much pride for that.

I call it having an "accountabili-buddy"

I have been dabbling in this blogging world for just shy of two years now, and I've learned a few things. I've been networking and trying to promote this little project of mine, and have gained a couple special connections with fellow bloggers. I was interviewed by Evoke STRONG last week on her facebook live feed, and I've begun developing a meal plan to offer to you lovelies! I'll be rolling that out shortly...

"I need someone who challenges me"

But another check mark is that I'll be working again with a personal trainer to keep me accountable. He's young and spry, and when I first met him, I asked: "Can you kick my ass?". He assured me that indeed he could, as well as loved the fact that I wasn't shy with heavy lifting. It's a good deal his responsibility that I've been getting back into the swing of things. It's made me re-evaluate why I've slowed, as well as helped me earn another chip of self-respect.

I miss my gym-buddy! 

Doctors and fitness minded individuals alike state that teammates or coaches, or simply friends who say 'good job!' are pivotal to the success of your journey. I know, I know - everyone calls this a journey (I've seen that word so many times, I think it's starting to look misspelled)! But it's true! I read a quote from an article that reminded me of a time when I was my most motivated self, and it was all the power of having a gym buddy!

“In my 10 years of experience evaluating what creates long-term health-and-fitness success, the single most important factor is having a support system,” says Wayne Andersen, MD. Exercise partners provide a powerful combination of support, accountability, motivation and, in some cases, healthy competition. “They can play the role of teammate, co-coach, and cheerleader — all while working out,” says Michelle P. Maidenberg, Ph.D." - Strength in Numbers: The Importance of Fitness Buddies

So wait - WHY DOES IT WORK?

Habit Reliability 

Exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits. IF they have the same habits or similar goals to your own. If your accountabili-buddy is at a radically different level of health, fitness or ability, you could be held back, pushed too hard or - worst case - injured. “Having a reliable workout buddy increases your chances of sticking with your program,” says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. Pushing yourself beyond your perceived mental ability is tough if you're alone in the gym, and it's also difficult to increase your weight without a spotter to keep you progressing.

Emotional benefits

Kara Thom, co-author of Hot (Sweaty) Mamas: Five Secrets to Life as a Fit Momsays that “during a workout, more than our pores open up. We find ourselves connecting with our workout buddies more intimately than we might if we were just meeting over coffee. Workout partners not only get us through a challenging workout but can help us through life challenges as well.”

So...

The more people you have actively engaged in supporting your fitness efforts, the more likely you all are to enjoy the process as well as the results. 

No-friggin-wonder I've been lagging lately (aside from poor choices in diet slowing me down)! I have been recuperating and mending all of my pieces together and have had a serious bat with who I am, discovering what I'm willing and not willing to tolerate in all of my interpersonal relationships, and that takes a toll on your motivation. 

I seem to be back in the habit of things, and that's what is most important.

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You Shouldn't Have to Shatter

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I know this isn't primarily about fitness, but this is soothing my mental health to write about, so thank you for your support while I get my shit together. I appreciate it. It's all for growth, both to become the physically and emotionally healthy woman I want to be. It's risky content, but like Taylor Swift says, they're burning witches even if you aren't one - so light me up.

The whole "blessing in disguise" thing is bullshit. I still attest to that, nearly ten months after all this. 

What wasn't a blessing, you ask?

  • Asking him why he'd slept on the couch that night.
  • His sheer annoyance of the question and insistence not to talk about it.
  • Him screaming in my ear, shoving me aside, and speeding off while I cowered away, afraid. 
  • Telling him as he left: 'go cool off' at his dad’s that night, and to “not come home”.
  • Not knowing that when I left for work, that would be it between us - over; done. 
  • Coming home to an empty apartment, subsequently single walking through the door.
  • Finding out that everyone he worked with knew I was single before I even did.

This one nearly killed me

I don't think it's right to completely shatter in order to move forward. To finally experience positive life changes. I've been feeling everything. Every little misstep or uncertainty in my personal life for the last three years - I'm a sensitive woman, but this has been ridiculous. The truth is, I can't even be mad at him anymore. This is now on me.

I finally have realized why I'm not 100% okay yet. Every time an acquaintance tilts their head to the side and asks "how have you been? are you okay?" I almost feel reluctantly forced to say "I'm fine" or "Yeah I'm good." That's what everyone says, right? "Fake it ‘til you make it" - thinking that if you act like you're happy, you save a little dignity or pride. That if I pretend enough, I may eventually get there. I figured the last ten months would be healing enough over the break-up and my co-worker reminded me of one important thing - "You ARE over him, Jaycie." She basically said that I'm just not over the experience.

What I realized today after she said that is that what I'm dealing with is the post-traumatic stress of it all. I don't miss him anymore because I've finally detoxed off of him - the high and happy I'd been idealizing and romanticizing was because he was confident and unyielding in his decisions; he had power, and power over me, but that was what eventually led me to feel like there was zero in my control. Underneath all of that bravado lies a selfish person with no regard for those individuals he uses to get what he wants - and only in the moment. I know we brought out the worst of each other. Rationally, I know that's not a good situation for anyone. But emotionally...

I'm an emotional war survivor. With PTSD to boot, and the residual mutual friendships that remind me of what I've been through are my triggers. The reminder that I was once a person I didn't recognize... That he brought out the most insecure version of me. That I lacked any and all self-worth to tolerate being lied to, tricked and manipulated. The fact that I was once a person I didn't respect for accepting that kind of treatment and calling it love is what makes me sick to my stomach. 

"Oh, but he loves me" - the all too familiar sound of an abused woman claiming her abuser loves her is what I would say in my head over and over. "Don't make him mad - you know how he gets, this will just upset him. Leave it alone." When something pushed him over the edge and we'd make up after a fight, I'd tell myself he still cared and that's why he sticks around: He loves me.

Wait, did he ever even tell you that he loved you?

Yeah, that's gonna be a big fat NO. He eluded to it a couple of times... called me his best friend once. But no, never once did he say that phrase in two years, so who the hell knows if he actually loved me or if he simply found me convenient and made me work for breadcrumbs.

For those that don't know, "bread-crumbing" is the deceptive practice of giving someone just enough to keep them interested, even when you're not. Bread-crumbing keeps someone around to your liking, and is designed for dishonesty.

Basically, I'm not sure if it was real since I was convenient to keep around - to either feed him and do the "wifey shit" or feed his ego. Not with the way he talks about me now, I'm sure. I've heard so many nasty things that just point the finger away from him. All I wanted was his time and love and I received neglect, judgement and resentment.

How powerless I felt in the last two years... That's officially over. All of these reminders and flashbacks show me how unhappy I actually was, with a naive endless hope that we could be better - I'll never be THAT girl again. The healing can only begin when I truly see what our relationship actually WAS: a terrible Empath/Narcissistic relationship paradigm that has *thankfully* now ended and has subsequently shifted my self-worth and self-esteem.

A blessing in disguise? I'd fought so long for that to not be true... but it turns out, the fact that we're no longer together IS indeed a blessing. 

I'd been discussing it with my girlfriends and nothing quite like today's conversation had truly hit me or made me realize why I was still hurting - because I still blame myself.

I allowed him to hold this power over me, one that stunted my growth and my confidence in my own convictions. I had found myself compromising basic relationship necessities simply because he didn't 'like' them or didn't agree with me on them. He never wavered, rarely compromised and made me feel guilty for feeling my feelings and needing my needs; I'm not mad at him anymore for all of that. He is the person he is. I loved him with all of my heart and tried desperately to accept him as he was, ignoring a lot of my own gut reactions in an attempt to do so.

I'm hurt and feel deceived, naturally... but I'm mostly mad at myself for staying as long as I did. With every red flag waving, practically blaring a train horn in my ear, and I somehow was deaf to it. We'd been doomed from about six months into it, and I should have ended it prior to living with him, that summer when I first found out he was talking to someone else, and eventually multiple people.

Friends seem to think that my constantly pushing the conversations that made him uncomfortable were my subconscious cries and prodding for him to eventually get fed up and leave the way he did, since I clearly couldn’t bring myself to do it. I somewhat see that, but who knows why I became brave enough that morning and enunciate through the rolled up glass of his driver side window “don’t come home”, so he could 'hear' me… Maybe I, too, had enough of it - the lying, the lack of boundaries (that we both pushed), our unhappiness.

I’m ready to be this girl again ->

The woman I fought so hard to be - the best version of myself and oh so healthy.

It's times like these that remind me what it is to struggle. Yeah, we all have those mundane day-to-day issues, but this was probably the worst hurdle I've emotionally ever had to face - AND I've BEEN FAT and BULLIED. I'm living proof that being scared and having a sincere "Oh shit" moment - the fear of the unknown - but that it's going to be okay. You will, just like muscle builds, gain the strength you need to press forward. I am hell bent to get back to this person I was before the two-year trauma. I’m almost there.

It's not that it gets easier... you just get STRONGER.

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