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How I Got Here (Part Three)


Changes. Thats how I got here. Four major ones, and infinitely more small ones.  Some of these changes were my choice, and others came with the territory.  There is almost nothing in my life that is the same as it was six months ago, but the change I’m going to tell you about today, is about one of the most profound losses I have ever experienced.  It changed my whole world.

I have written, erased, and rewritten this post more times then I would like to count.  I have spent countless hours pouring over the best way to tell this very personal, and very important story.  I felt torn for a  long time, deciding whether it was a good idea to tell it at all.  But, here’s the thing, the story of how I got here is not nearly complete without it.  If I had written about this 6 months ago, it would have been filled with very different emotions than it is now.  I would have been very sad, angry, and withdrawn,  Today, I choose to remember the love, see the positive, miss the very many happy moments.

By now I’m sure you’ve figured out that this is the story of the loss of quite possibly the deepest and most powerful love of my entire life thus far.  The loss of love is always hard, but this happened in the middle of a million other changes in my life, and that made it all the more magnified.  This loss threatened to derail all of the work I had done to that point- and what made it so hard is that it was a loss I brought on myself.  Despite the fact that I knew in my heart it was the right thing, I still struggled with it every day- sometimes I still do.  That struggle has been so much a part of my weight loss journey, which is why I feel like it is so important to share it with you here.

Four years is a long time, especially in your early 20’s.  My relationship was all consuming in all the of the best and most beautiful ways.  There was literally no one else I wanted to be with, unless she was there too.  Minutes away from each other felt like hours, and it was this way for years.  I have never been so compatible with someone.  Until I met her, I really wasn’t sure if there was someone else in the world with the same affinity for Disney World, Broadway, cheesy movies, Colorguard, music, and everything in between.  From being with her I learned that there was someone who would love me for my flaws and not despite them.  I learned what it means to be in a mutual relationship.  I learned what it means to love someone so much that you think of them ahead of yourself.  And I could not be more grateful for each and every one of those things.

Without getting into the gory details (because I think we all know how this goes), I knew I had changed and I knew my feelings had too.  And while I’m sure there are two sides to this story… my side is that it was me.  I made the change, I made the choice.  I felt like this wasn’t right for either of us anymore.  And the weight of that was so heavy its hard to describe.  I walked around with a cloud over my head for months.  I lost my constant, my rock, my best friend, the love of my life.  And maybe we had actually lost each other long before I made this choice, but I was caught up by the weight of my decision, and it made it so hard to stay on my healthy path.

In the past, I turned to food. When I was sad, I ate, and I ate a lot.  But why wouldn’t I? Isn’t that what every movie and TV show tells us to do? How many times do you see two girls on a couch crying with spoons in a tub of ice cream? It was a mind set established from a very young age… emotional eating.  When something exciting happens, we go out to dinner, celebrate with birthday cake, go to breakfast meetings.  When something bad happens, we turn to “comfort” foods, which are all fried and fatty.  So, needless to say, my gut instinct was to turn to food.

I had a choice to make, completely ruin all of the hard work I had put in (and lose the chance to reach my goal) or find a healthier way to deal with my emotions. I turned to someone who is now one of my best friends (and who then was mostly just my trainer), Lindsey.  She looked me in the eyes and made me a promise.  She said she would be one of two constants for me.  The other one would be exercise.  That when I felt like I wanted to turn to food, I should turn to one of those two things instead.  And slowly, painstakingly slowly, exercise and friends became my vices rather than food.

Its amazing really, how you can train your brain to think differently.  Now, when I have a bad day there are a few things I do.  I run, sometimes very slowly, sometimes sprints… depending on the type of bad day.  I also will call up some of my fitfam and schedule a workout with them.  There is nothing like hitting a flywheel class with Lindsey, Lindsay and Julia to pick up my day.  Or sometimes just a night out laughing with friends is enough to pick me up! These are all much healthier options then sitting on the couch watching TV and eating… which is what I would have done in the past.

When my relationship ended, and I was hurting so much, I wondered if it was possible for anything good to come out of it.  Looking back, I know that I learned one of the most important lessons of the last 6 months, and that is coping in a healthy way. This is something I will carry with me always.  It will help me through any and all struggles I will ever have to overcome.  I’m just so grateful that I now have the tools to cope with it in a very healthy manner.

Sometimes, getting your dreams is a little complicated. Or a lot complicated. But either way, as I come within weeks of reaching one of mine, there is enormous pride in having overcome so much to get here.  And while I would have loved to have come out of this journey with my relationship intact, I know it was the right thing and I am forever grateful for all of the lessons learned because of it especially the ones that relate directly to my health.  Everything, including this, has made me stronger and happier in the long run than I was before.

PS- The picture at the top of this post is one of my favorite ones of my fitfam.  And I think it is one of few pictures that truly captures the sheer joy that this journey has brought me. It seemed the perfect one to share with this post. The happiest of times sometimes come out of the absolute worst.




About Crystal Carlin

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