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Merci, Becky!

Merci, Becky!

Ok, guys, this is going to be a bit out of the norm for me, in a way. Not out of the norm because I will obviously still be talking about myself, not out of the norm because I will be discussing what is going through my gourd, not out of the norm because, sure, it has to do with working out, fitness, running, and…yup….foooooood.

What is out of the norm will be obvious in a minute.

oprah courage

I want to make something clear. I have a relatively positive body image. We all have those days, of not feeling like we look the way we would like. And for me, what qualifies as a “lesser body image day” has definitely changed. When I was younger, I absolutely was a chunky kid. I have mentioned it before–I was active, but my hand was just about always moving some piece of food towards my mouth. Not much has changed, but I make smarter choices, and I am also no longer a growing kid. I have experienced 2 big time balloonings of weight since I was diagnosed. We are not really sure what caused them, but both times (in high school and then in undergraduate) I went from about 115 or so (I was 5’4″ and then 5’5″) to 143 (oddly, this was always the weight where it stopped). Oh, and this would happen over a few weeks.

Imagine your puffiest, most “bloaty” PMS day. Multiply that times 20, and make it so that it doesn’t go away. I felt like the Michellin man. I vividly remember just wishing that I could take a syringe and jam it into my abdomen and just let the area ouuuuuut. Seriously, it was all I wanted. The first time that the weight gain/bloat came on, in combination with wanting to stay off any future steroids and wanting to improve my general health, acted as the impetus for the overhaul of my diet and lifestyle and when I started working out with a personal trainer. I got to the point that I looked amazing, but my weight kept dropping as I went into a flare. I got down to 110, but I fought it back up.

Don't ask--long story. But looking good and healthy

Don’t ask–long story. But looking good and healthy

By the time that I went to college, I was a super healthy, fit, 117, and I loved my body.

I was a trophy wife with my geek-millionaire husband for a date function

I was a trophy wife with my geek-millionaire husband for a date function

My wieit stayed there my first year, until the very end of the semester, when my body freaked and I went back up to 143. Over the course of a month. It jumped about 10 lbs the first week, and then accumulated from there.

Not the best picture, but you can tell how much heavier I am.

Not the best picture, but you can tell how much heavier I am.

It took me 2 years to get back to about 125, and then (this was when I met Alex) 3rd year hit, and I went into a flare and lost 20 lbs over the course 5-6 months. After that, I flatlined/maintained for a bit, but then my weight kept going down. In short, I was restricting, but I was still so scared of my body, and I had no point of reference for what was “normal” to be eating. When I went to Jamaica, right after graduation, I was super skinny. I hate all of the pictures while I was there. I supplemented my diet (there were certain things I just couldn’t take a chance on eating) as best I could, but when I came home, I got a wake up call.

One of the very few pictures of me from this trip.

One of the very few pictures of me from this trip.

So. I fought back. I put myself on an intensive regiment of eating, and strength training, and I got myself back up 8 lbs before his brother’s wedding.

Since then, my weight has fluctuated, but mostly down. Part of the reason that I love running, that I love training for races, is that I know how to train my body, and I gain weight more easily–and it is good, strong weight. I looked pretty darn good for our wedding, and then for the marathon. I could feel my weight slipping a bit around the holidays, so I worked hard at it. And then this winter hit, with all of its stress and cold and work and injury. And I lost the ground I had gained.

Susie in the Gym Back Picture

Last summer–gaining muscle, but still not great with the extra padding, as it were.

And then I stopped working at the restaurant, and chose to take care of myself, and use this time to my advantage. And, chile, you can tell. When Mom was up here a few weeks ago, I was changing (she had last seen me in Mexico), and I walked out and said, “Hey, Mom, what do you think?” And her jaw dropped. Not because I was “so skinny!” as people love to tell me. But because I looked and do look strong. I’m filling out again. I’m muscling up. I’m not doing as much strength training as I was, but with yoga, my body split days, and running, we are covered.

I love seeing the muscles in my legs as I walk by the street level windows around town.

I love wearing my yoga pants and my sleeveless tanks. I love that when I put on pants, there is a booty (booty booty booty rockin everywhe-yah). That I’ve got some cleave again. When I was in ninth grade, I had DOUBLE D’S, guys. I was about 120 at the time. People talked to my chest. I got hit on by 40 year olds all the freaking time. When my weight dropped (after it ballooned), I got to a more comfortable size, and I’m glad to see it returning, from the other directions. I love that my back is getting back its definition, that I”m having fewer “skinny arm” days. I used to LOVE my arms and shoulders, and I have missed them.

And how have I done this? By taking care of myself. I know what works for me, so I amplified it. Being out of the restaurant helped with that. While I was there, I was definitely eating a lot, and nibbling on everything, but my body was under so much stress, that I was basically breaking even. Now, though, greater variety in my diet, my yoga practice, better sleep, better nutrient timing, my running, and just really being happy again are working their magic.

A "pirate" selfie for BK and Peanut.

A “pirate” selfie for BK and Peanut.

Saturday, I ran 14 miles (thanks, #flatsfriday!).  Later that day (after a few good refuels and some rest) I was walking back from Whole Foods, I walked by a store window, and thought to myself DAMN GIRL. Hot Freaking Damn.

I’m not going to show you all pictures and show off, that is not my style. This is not a post asking for compliments or to show off or anything like that. I just wanted to share with you all part of my struggle, and where I am out. That we all have a past, we all have a present, we all have a future. Am I at my “final,” where I want to be? Nope. Still working on it. I have a body, I work hard on it, but I also am training for a marathon. With a chronic illness. I have to be preemptive. More than ever, I have to fight (for my right to party). For my health and happiness, now and in the future. And so do you.

So go out, strut by a shop window and let yourself have a superficial moment.

crazy colors suzlyfe

Tell yourself DAMN GIRL/BOY/PIGEON. You are rocking it. Today, I was walking around in the most ridiculous outfit imaginable. And I was owning it. Not because I was skinny. Because I was strong. Because I was happy. Because, right now, I am right where I want to be. I got my brain to the right place, my emotions in the right direction, and now my body? It is following. Mind and body–you need them both. It doesn’t matter how hard you work out, you will never truly get that health that we all seek after, until you respect yourself.

Treat yourself to the life that you deserve. And that is LIFE. Not survival. You are so worth it.

Merci, Becky!

Merci, Becky!

Speaking of taking care of ourselves, have you entered my Chicago-Inspired Office Survival Kit Giveaway? I’m giving away a prize back of tasty treats inspired by the Windy City and meant to help you get through the day! I am designing it to work for our Gluten Free friends, and because I am creating it and sending it myself, if there are dietary issues, we can work it out! So enter, and help me celebrate my new job!

work survival giveaway suzlyfe

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  • Reply Sarah

    I got so excited seeing your link on Treat Yourself Tuesday! I know you aren’t looking for compliments – but you DO look fab!!! As someone who has struggled with weight her entire life (on the opposite end of the spectrum as you)… it’s reassuring to read your side of things and remember that EVERYONE can have issues no matter what number is on the scale.

    I’m proud of you and think you are BOSS.
    Sarah recently posted…One HundredMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 6:22 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, that means a lot. I think that so often, people look at petite people, and just assume that they have always been that way, they way often times people look at larger people and assume that they have always been there, as well. We all fight our demons, some are just do it in a less outwardly-obvious manner.
      No YOU da boss

      June 24, 2014 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply your mommy, Clare

    You DO look good!!!!! You do look GREAT!!
    There have been times, especially when you’ve been very ill, when Alex and/or I have needed to tell you “you look scary.” NOT because you’re too “skinny” but because we’re scared–you’ve looked ill. It scares US because we know how hard you’re trying to keep weight on and put it on…..and your body is not absorbing what you put into it. We’re scared because we know that a severe weight loss, with Crohns, can mean FLARE

    For all the concerned “friends and their moms” who have suggested that you “might have an eating disorder” I’d like to punch them…… and then educate them about Crohns and Colitis. I KNOW how much you eat, and how hard you try to keep as healthy as possible.
    Being healthy is not just a given….it is a “gift”….and most people don’t recognize that the “gift of good heath” can be gone in a flash.
    You look great! and you also looked great as a “solid” kid! Healthy weights come in all sorts of sizes and shapes! As a kid, you’d put on weight and then grow 2 inches overnight. Your brother did just the opposite.
    Steroid (prednisone) weight gain is not fun, or pleasant or healthy, but when you needed the steroids, we had to take the bad with the good. Sometimes, we have to listen to what our bodies tell us…..even when we don’t like what they say.

    June 24, 2014 at 6:41 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So, so true. I vividly remember you going through your own weight fluctuations (as a result of HRT rather than steroids), and I also vividly remember the look on your face after we came out of that appointment when that woman told you that I was lying to you, to her, to everyone. There have been times when I have stretched the truth in order to create a story that I liked better, but I work hard to never lie. I can’t say I never have lied, because that is dumb, but I am just scared enough to never lie when my or my loved one’s health is in danger. I think that comes with learning not to be prideful, and competitive. This is a race that I am running. I am not running it against anyone else. Why not be proud of the steps that I take?

      June 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm
      • Reply Suslyfe's mommy, Clare

        You should be proud!
        I am. Whether those steps you take are done at a run, a walk, a crawl….or a canter!

        June 24, 2014 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes

    Great post. I have struggled with my body image my entire life unfortunately and I’ve never really been overweight. Yea, I put on the freshman 15 and then took it off years later, but I think my self confidence issue comes from post baby body. Let’s face it, no matter how hard I work, I just cant get the prebaby body back. Things move and shift and hips expand and they never go back. I’m doing the best I can but I definitely struggle on a daily basis. You look wonderful and you are rocking that body! Great job!
    Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes recently posted…How do you deal with an injury? My picks for staying in the game during recovery!My Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 6:55 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, and I return you kind words right back to you. There comes a time in everyone’s life when other things are just simply more important than the perfect body, and THANK GOD! The times when I felt the least secure, had the most time on my hands, that is when I worried about superficial control the most. Life is about balance, and choosing your battles. Sometimes the gym whens, sometimes/everytime ice cream wins, but at the end of the day, health is about doing the best for you. Mind, body, soul. All of it. I am willing to give and take here in there to keep things in balance. Like letting Alex go to the gym when I would rather he hung with me–but if it makes for the rest of our time together being more fulfilled, then off to the gym with you!

      June 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm
  • Reply Sarah @pickyrunner

    I absolutely loved reading your story. I always wondered but reading it really put everything into perspective. Having a chronic disease makes everything about your health so much more complicated. My mom’s weight has been all over the place since she was diagnosed with Addison’s. I have noticed that you look awesome recently- so healthy and HAPPY! This post makes me smile big time πŸ™‚
    Sarah @pickyrunner recently posted…A Letter to GOMIMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 7:26 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, and I know I have said so, but I want to reiterate the same sentiment to you. And I want to let you know: You are at such a tenuous place of change in your life–hold on to the self love that you have so carefully cultivated over the past year. There will be times you will question everything. But just like GOMI, sometimes you have to tell your own damn self to SUCK IT.

      June 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    “DAMN BOY/GIRL/PIGEON” <—I am going to start referring to myself in the 3rd person as "pigeon." Hilarious!

    Thanks for posting this! You know I'm going through my own struggles at the moment, and it's nice to be reminded that we are not alone. I have definitely noticed positive changes in my body and in the way I see myself, so I just need to keep trucking along. My legs are REALLY strong these days, and it's freakin' AWESOME!
    Rachel recently posted…Be a TiggerMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 7:38 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Can you be a Tigger/pigeon hybrid? That would be MAGICAL. And remember, you never are alone. We all fight the fight, and we can’t help it in this day and age. I honestly think that one of the hardest times of physical transition is when one is the age that we are and becomes active like we are/have/will continue to do for the first time–your body changes, completely, and so does your mind. But it is kind of like getting over the hump of the first few weeks of running–it usually sucks at first, but then you start to see what amazing progress you have accomplished. And who doesn’t like beastmode legs?

      June 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm
  • Reply AMBER

    I literally was JUST talking about this on my instagram account today. Six pack abs and a ripped physique mean NOTHING if your mind is not in the right place! Kudos to getting your mind and spirit where it needed to be <3 Personally I know I will NEVER have a six pack, my body, my IBS and the constant bloating, and my love of carbs, it just won't happen, and I am OKAY with it, because I am happy, but most of all I am healthy <3

    June 24, 2014 at 8:06 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I will have to check it out, I’m so glad that you commented! I think that those of us with digestive issues but also big dreams (especially revolving around exercise/activity!) often forget that we are fighting a bigger fight, and sometimes we have NO control over the obstacles. But I like to think that, if we persevere while doing our best to do what we know is in our best interests (read: sometimes that is eating allthebread), we will find the balance.

      June 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm
      • Reply AMBER

        You are SO right. We ARE fighting a bigger fight, and sometimes exercise can make that fight worse (too much stress on the intestinal tract) and amen to eat all the bread, except, I can’t eat bread, well I can eat GF bread, but I don’t want to eat all that… i’ll rephrase it to EAT ALL THE CARBS/QUINOA/PB2/CHICKEN πŸ˜‰

        June 25, 2014 at 10:53 am
        • Reply suzlyfe

          I can respect that schmorgasbord of foods lol

          June 25, 2014 at 11:43 am
  • Reply Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I am so glad that you have figured out what works for you! Its taken a while, but I am at a point now where I would rather feel “strong” than “skinny”. I am so over the days of counting calories and making sure I burn enough calories. I would rather run what I want, lift heavy weights, and eat food that will fuel my running and makes me feel good, while drinking wine when I feel like it.
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…How To Prepare to Train for a RaceMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 8:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Preach. It is so funny, but the easiest things in life (eating properly, doing what feels innately good), becomes the most difficult! I never wanted to feel super skinny, but then I just got used to seeing what I saw, and I needed the wake up call to put my health first. Then it was easy. Cheers to alltheruuuuunnnning

      June 24, 2014 at 3:40 pm
  • Reply Brianna @ I run He tris

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s so easy for someone to only look at the outside and make an uneducated judgment. I’m glad you have found that happy, healthy balance. Thanks to a funky thyroid (underactive according to blood work, but overactive according to symptoms) it’s difficult for me to gain weight. I lost a lot of muscle while I was pregnant and LOVE that I am finally gaining that back. Like you I missed seeing my arm muscles. πŸ™‚

    June 24, 2014 at 9:09 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Ugh I know all too well the struggle of conflicting symptoms and blood work. Would you believe that I never tested positive (bloodwork wise) for Crohn’s? And yet, particularly at my diagnosis, I was TEXTBOOK. We are totally going to get our arms back. It is going to happen, even if I have to do rows with the cat.

      June 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm
      • Reply Suslyfe's mommy, Clare

        If you do rows with THAT cat……….Champ will haunt you…… in your sleep! No, he’d never haunt you, he’d just stuff an old toy in your face.
        As I read all these replies about weight, strength, running, eating properly, I do think of Champ, a lot.
        For those who don’t know, Champ was our “perfect” yellow lab who, among other things, became our family mascot. He died at 12, right after Susie came back from her UVA graduation. He waited until he had his whole family together again, and then he could let go.

        But, back to my point–Champ should not have been as active as he was, or as happy as he was— his spinal arthritis was so severe, he shouldn’t have been able to move at all. But HE didn’t know that! He couldn’t read the x-rays!

        He just lived IN THE PRESENT. Champ wagged his whole body, as much as he could, brought and picked up his toys on “command” and ate his body weight in whatever was available.

        He didn’t worry about his weight or how he looked, he loved his life, his friends and his family. That kind of happiness comes from within, without regret or expectation of something more or less.
        Kind of makes you want to wag your whole body, doesn’t it!

        June 25, 2014 at 9:32 am
        • Reply suzlyfe

          I need to do a post dedicated to the Roodog

          June 25, 2014 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants

    Yes. Seriously yes. This may be my favorite post of yours to date! And that is saying a lot because you know I love your posts. I want to say more and at the same time I feel like you have already said it all so beautifully that I’m going to let your words do all the speaking! Love!
    Kate @ Baking in Yoga Pants recently posted…A Taste of TexasMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 9:45 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      This comment is like the biggest hug ever, and it makes me so happy. Love right back!

      June 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Anna

    Thanks for sharing your story! It was a great read, and I’m so glad to hear that you feel good about your body and yourself. It shows and that’s a great thing! You’re so right about taking care of ourselves and getting the right amount of sleep, exercise, food, etc. These are the most important elements in looking and feeling good, and when we feel good, we look good!
    Anna recently posted…Weekend HappeningsMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 9:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, and I couldn’t agree more. Feeling good about yourself doesn’t mean you are kidding yourself, it comes from seeing things as they are, that you have miles to go before you sleep, and being content to at least take a nap before attempting them!

      June 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm
  • Reply Shawna

    thanks for sharing this — your humorous way of telling even a serious story and sharing important parts of your life is great, and i think so many girls can relate to the weight fluctuations and struggle to feel comfortable in our own skin. i definitely have a lot of days and moments where i’m not thrilled with my body or my food choices or i second guess everything about myself, but the important thing is to keep trying to be healthy and to count our blessings for our beautiful strong bodies and to work at it day by day, and you’ve shown this. good on you for a) running those 14 miles and b) knowing you look hot. πŸ™‚
    Shawna recently posted…it’s summmerrrrrrMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 9:47 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      (cross body girl snap) Thank you for the support. I have always been someone who needed to weave humor through tragedy as a way of finding balance. Same with how I have dealt with my body, my disease, my brain, my life. It is in the times when I take things too seriously that I get into trouble. And wearing that much black just doesn’t work for me. I wore grey, at least, for NYC’s sake. haha

      June 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm
  • Reply Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner

    You look fab! I love all of your pics. So many of us struggle with body image issues and it’s great that you feel comfortable talking about yours. I’m sure that it helps others to see your pics and hear your feelings. I’m also into those Oprah Starbucks sleeves. Not sure what to do with them though.
    Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner recently posted…Reston Relay TriMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 10:35 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      There has to be a pinterest creation for the sleeves. Martha Stewart probably made it, haha. And thank you so much, I really do hope that it helps to see that we all have to fight the fight. I try not to talk about it too much so that when I do talk about my body image it will have an impact, but really it has just truly come together for me again recently. I hope that I can hold on to it.

      June 24, 2014 at 3:50 pm
  • Reply Caitlin

    I love your mom’s comment. It’s beautiful and true. I love how far you’ve come in your journey of both self love and health. You’ve spent so much time and energy researching all the stuff you have going on and then figuring out what works for you, which is more than most people ever do. You have one of the best understandings of your body of anyone I know, and I’m excited to see where you go from here
    Caitlin recently posted…Whole Lotta…My Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 10:42 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Right back atcha. I have to admit, a lot of things I have learned the hard way, but I needed to do it that way. Otherwise, I think I would have rejected what I discovered. But you know me, even though I like to think that I am right, I will always admit when I feel I was wrong. And look at you! You are leaps and bounds away from where you were just months ago, too. Isn’t it amazing how chaos and upheaval ultimately was just the ticket to getting us to where we needed to be?

      June 24, 2014 at 3:48 pm
  • Reply Earl-Leigh

    That back though! When I grow up, I want wings like that!! Thank you for sharing your story girl. Getting out of that head space is tough but dang it feels good.
    Earl-Leigh recently posted…Wedding Recap {TIU Bridesmaid}My Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I miss that back, for sure. And PREACH it feel soooo goooooood

      June 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm
  • Reply Hilary

    I have to admit lately I have not been happy with my body and have been having far to many bad days! But whether I am where I want to be or not right now you reminded me that things can be changed! I can change my mind and body and work on my health! And there is nothing better than remembering I have control of this πŸ™‚
    Hilary recently posted…Half Marathon Training Post 1My Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 3:03 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      We all go through those periods, and you are in the midst of an intense and complicated transition time. When that happens, I always find that I focus on the things that I “can control”–which is my body. Or so I think. I don’t think that I can also control my own mind and mindset, that change is inevitable, and to be embraced, in all aspects.

      June 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm
  • Reply Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie

    It’s crazy how weight can drastically impact our body imagine. It’s downright scary actually. I remember a few years ago when I went on a certain medication and gained 20 lbs. in a little over a month. I didn’t feel like myself, and I just wanted to live in my sweat pants. Thankfully, my body went back to my ‘normal’ weight once I quit the medicine. It was still such an unpleasant experience in my mind, and one that I’m scared to have happen again.
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Fuel Your Better: Vega Sport Protein Bar ReviewMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 5:29 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Totally agree–and I would add to this that it is scary how certain types of weight affect our psyche–drug-induced weight is maybe one of the most uncomfortable things possible–you feel it in your whole body. Plus, as you pointed out, clothes serve as an every-second-of-the-day reminder of what we are already feeling without them on! But I also think that when you are dealing with drug-weight, your body KNOWS something is wrong, and is trying to tell you by making you feel uncomfortable. SOOOO helpful, thanks body!

      June 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm
  • Reply Sara @ Lake Shore Runner

    Susie you are soooo strong not only physically but mentally also. You are a true inspiration of being happy in one’s body. I feel like I struggle with this off and on – what girl doesn’t? But it is always great to get a reminder from peers that in order to be happy you need to be happy with yourself. Thanks for reminding me of this!

    June 24, 2014 at 5:30 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I’m glad that it served as a positive reminder for you–I know just as much as the next person that you can be told something time and time again, but it is when it comes from inside that it means the most–and that you sometimes have to say, “Head, get in the right place!” That is when you are fighting for yourself, and that is the best fight of all.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm
  • Reply Katie @glutes and ladders

    Thank you so much for writing this. My weight has fluctuated up and down over the years and it’s scary how even five pounds (on my 6’1″) can make me feel like I’ve just gotten huge. We’ll constantly have to work to get our bodies to be where we want them (and keep them that way) but it’s important to remember to love ourselves along the way. I’m glad to hear you’re getting where you want to be.

    June 24, 2014 at 6:55 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you, and I think that you are right that we have to constantly work on ourselves, but we while doing so, we have to remember to do it from a place of love, not criticism or disingenuousness. And that a rest day is always appreciated, for the mind and the body!

      June 25, 2014 at 12:13 pm
  • Reply Ursula

    I love this Susie and thanks for sharing. I’ve never had a chronic illness that’s had my body weight fluctuate but I had a friend with lupus who ballooned and it played such ticks on her mind and self esteem. It takes a strong woman to manage a chronic illness and to do it in such a healthy way.

    I love that feeling of being happy with you body and thinking “damn I look good”. I think that’s a great thing and we need more moments like that! You really do look fab and I love how excited you are about your health. Such an inspiration xxx
    Ursula recently posted…DIY: Hand painted CoastersMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 7:41 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you my dear. Lupus is very similar to my disease, so I understand well what she is dealing with. That is the thing about chronic conditions–you forget/lose track of what reality is. And when you do reach “healthy,” you don’t trust it–you always expect a trick or change or the floor to be ripped out from under you. I think that is what I have struggled the most with over the years–that I don’t have to trust my body, but I don’t have to be scared of it either.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:11 pm
  • Reply Olena @ candies & crunches

    I really really enjoyed reading this! It’s so nice to be able to know your story and I am super happy for where you are today. And just for notes, you’re stunning, and don’t ever question that! xoxo
    Olena @ candies & crunches recently posted…Got Shin Splits? Have You Tried These Foot Stretches?My Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 7:55 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! And I would say the same to you! It is amazing what happens when you allow yourself to be vulnerable…to yourself. I think that is truly the trick to growing.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm
  • Reply Bets

    Oh Susie – what a smart woman you’ve grown up to be! I’m glad I wandered over to your blog today – your story is inspiring. I had no idea about the health issues you’ve dealt with! It makes me happy to see you so happy. As one who has struggled with weight since adolescence, I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever be at peace with my body. You give me hope!

    June 24, 2014 at 8:49 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you! This means so much. There comes a time when you have to accept the truths of your body–it doesn’t mean that you have to be ok with it, per se, but it means that you have to know that struggle is part of it. I know that my body doesn’t always like to play nice, but that there are things that I can do to appease it, so, pre-emptive strike, as it were! I so hope that you get there. If anything, find something about yourself that makes you happy, and write it down. You will learn that there is so much greatness there, and you will find that you are less apt to fight what you see as weakness.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Thanks for sharing this. I have definitely had negative feelings about my body at different times in my life. What has helped me most is shifting my focus. Not thinking so much about how my body looks but on what it can do.
    Sarah recently posted…Automatic PRs!My Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 10:39 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      So well said. We all have to remember “this too shall pass” sometimes–we have to learn to recognize what is a fleeting change (like bloat) and what is a permanent change (like added pounds, for better or worse), and then decide how we feel about it.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm
  • Reply Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    You KNOW you look fab! And it’s totally okay to check yourself out once in a while πŸ™‚

    Right now I’m at the higher end of my weight spectrum (143 and I’m the same height as you) but instead of feeling awful and down on myself as I have in the past, I’m rolling with it.
    Training put a LOT of stress on my body, so now I’m giving it a break and letting it do what it needs to do.

    Totally unrelated, but something I always see as an interesting observation…..with my body type, if I were to weigh 117, or 125, I’d look VERY unhealthy. Different body types, yo πŸ™‚
    Ange @ Cowgirl Runs recently posted…FlexibleMy Profile

    June 24, 2014 at 11:07 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank my dear, it is all for you πŸ˜‰ and SUCH a good point–on the body type. I used to think I was thick set, but then I grew into my stature, and then I lost the baby fat and steroid weight–I am actually rather petite framed. Your personal frame and how you carry weight make the biggest difference. SUCH a crucial point.

      June 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm
  • Reply Thank You, A New Recipe, and Working Girl #WIAW | Suzlyfe

    […] but you also know that I am sincere when I say it, thank you all for your support and response from yesterday’s post. I didn’t plan to write it, I just sat down and started and went from the beginning to the […]

    June 25, 2014 at 5:46 am
  • Reply Courtney @RunningforCupcakes

    Thank you for sharing this story. People are so quick to judge and to not wait for the whole story. You look so strong and beautiful and it’s even more of a reward that you worked for it! I have people tell me all the time that I look skinny and I cringe at that word. I don’t want to be skinny I want to be fit and strong!
    Courtney @RunningforCupcakes recently posted…MIMM: Moving is hard workMy Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 8:27 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      UGH I HATE it when people tell me I look skinny. What they are implying is “too skinny” or “weak.” People (yes, random people!) ask me if I eat meat? First of all, who says that? Second of all, YES I DO. And when people say, “well, I wish I had YOUR body, I obviously don’t hahahahaha,” I generally politely (and gently) remark that no they don’t–I have a chronic illness, but if I am looking healthy, thank you, I work very hard for it. Or if I’m tired I just tell them I run marathons. It’s a cop out and a stupid excuse, but I can’t school everyone.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:57 am
      • Reply Suslyfe's mommy, Clare

        Someone told me I looked tired the other day……and I replied that my daughter did marathons!
        That seemed to satisfy them!

        June 26, 2014 at 5:53 pm
  • Reply Michael Anderson

    What. an. amazing. story. And all of it is just so scary and inspiring and full of #allthetruth. And being late as I start catching up means seeing all the awesome comments, especially from your mom, who as usual totally rocks.

    I was having a body image chat with my boys the other day – one wants to gain a few pounds, the other wants to lose a few, but both are at ‘normal’ weight … and I am at the ‘low end of normal’. But the thing is we each have very different bodies – my older son is built the biggest, my youngest son is a total skinny-jean type, and I am … well, I guess ‘average build’.

    But I will always have my ‘extra skin’ from being so heavy … and as my kids noted that can show up making it look like I have a little belly – and they were commenting how it is weird because I am so muscular and in my running (fitted) shirts they see my abs, then wham looks like a little gut. And … well, that is my nemesis.

    But I DO also know I look amazing – I am pushing 50, out there killing runs, eating like a pro, feeling great, in the best shape of my life. And it shows – I honestly feel I look younger in almost every way (cough hair cough) than I did 15 years ago.

    So yeah, we are never perfect, but we all deserve to celebrate how awesome we are!
    Michael Anderson recently posted…Just stop it. And start THIS.My Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 9:32 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      AMEN. To all–my mom rocks, you rock, you look amazing, and we all come in different shapes in sizes–weights look different for all. But there comes a time when we have to be comfortable enough to be a little OH HHEEEEYYYY when we look in the mirror, and to sometimes not quite like what we see so much, but to accept it and work towards what we want. It is the obsession that is unhealthy, and that comes from places of unhappiness. There is nothing wrong with being happy with yourself–you should be!–and you should always be able to look at yourself in the mirror (mentally and physically) and like what you see. And to be critical–constructively, not destructively.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:51 am
  • Reply Carmy

    Thanks for sharing this! Your pirate selfie is adorable!
    Carmy recently posted…WIAW! #2!!!My Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 9:46 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Haha, glad you liked it!

      June 25, 2014 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Tina Muri

    This was a great read Suzy, and so brave of you to post the inner workings of your mind and your fluctuations. I think it is impossible not to be concerned with it at all, but i am so glad you have found peace with your body and you are happy. I really let myself eat whatever i wanted over these last few weeks, and although I can see it on my body, it is good to reflect and see that I enjoyed what I ate on vacation, and now it is back to looking after myself to get the right nutrients in. Thanks for sharing your story, it was very…you, but I enjoyed your honesty πŸ™‚
    Tina Muri recently posted…Saucony 500 Mile ChallengeMy Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 9:56 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Thank you for the support (PS WE/I HAVE MISSED YOU!!!). It was a risk to post this, but one that I am willing to take, and publicly (on this sort of scale) for the first time. I needed to be at a place where I felt right and legitimate in talking about these things, but I also think that it is an important part of my story. My body image issues do not come from self harm or loathing, not really– but I think that most people assume that when they see a smaller person.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:47 am
  • Reply Suslyfe's mommy, Clare

    I am NOT where I want to be right now. I was 6 weeks ago, and now I am not……
    so I can beat myself up…..which I will do regardless…..
    and/or I can admit (out loud) that I have an injury that has triggered a big arthritis flare. That is frying for me, and although not sofa bound, I can’t walk long distances, or, at this point, even ride a horse.
    I do not want to take the meds that will fight the flare cause they make me gain weight–steroids will do that every time.
    I am losing the great muscle tone that I had going……and that is irritating.
    However, this is my body and my reality at the moment, so…….
    I’ll just get ready to “get back in shape and get my shape back” once I can start again.
    I’m looking a course of prednisone start in the eye and telling it—-“I have a goal, you are in the way, but in a “needed way.”
    That gives me a forward direction to look in.

    June 25, 2014 at 10:39 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Precisely. You and I, we have always had to deal with body issues, image-wise/mentally and physically. The best you can do is know that the risks are there, but keep your eye where you want to be going–what you are looking forward to. Deal with the day to day, but keep your head up.

      June 25, 2014 at 11:45 am
      • Reply Suslyfe's mommy, Clare

        Having now seen the spinal doctor yesterday, I wanted to recall your “diagnosis” posts.
        I/we now have a diagnosis for my back issues. Just having an actual diagnosis is so uplifting–we can now have a plan and a way to move forward! That is exciting.
        This is chronic and there is no cure (I’ve heard that before) but now that we know WHAT it is, we can develop a management plan. I don’t mind having this, but I wanted to know what it wasn’t…….and it not, thankfully.
        So on to some epidural steroid injections and then back to working out!

        June 28, 2014 at 6:05 pm
  • Reply Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    Preach, girl! You know I love this! And I especially love what you said about needing your mind to be in the right place… because that’s basically what it all comes down to in the end. I wasn’t happy with my body even when I was at my lowest weight because my thoughts and self-perception were just all sorts of warped. But now that I got that all sorted out (for the most part), I feel more confident than I ever have. Now I just need to find me a ridiculous outfit to rock — suggestions? πŸ˜‰
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. why i won’t be working for a bikini body this summer.My Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 1:23 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      Isn’t amazing how backwards the mind-body connection can be? But, like weight, once it gets itself figured out, it is the best feeling.
      And just come shop my closet. I gotcha covered.

      June 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm
  • Reply Jenni @ Fitzala

    Love this post!

    Body image can have such a huge impact on how you feel about yourself and it’s a tough thing to not let it define you. At the same rate, not being comfortable in your skin and how you look is a valid feeling. I admire people who have such confidence and absolutely no cares about how they look. I so wish I had that!

    I’ve gone through some rough times like this with weight fluctuation and ugh, it’s the WORST. You look amazing now and I think that these experiences are really invaluable. They’ve taught you how to take care and love your body. Should any more weight fluctuations arise, I’m sure that you would handle it differently than you have in the past.

    Love the Beastie Boys reference. Love it.
    Jenni @ Fitzala recently posted…Health & Fitness of a Trainer #18My Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 5:01 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think it is both a gift and a curse to just feel like you are rocking it all the time–that is like saying I am who I am and I don’t care what the world thinks–great because you are accepting who you are, but dangerous because you might unintentionally hurt someone or yourself if you never go through that period of being self critical. And those are the periods that, as you so perfectly pointed out, are invaluable because they give us the fight, and the education, to take care of ourselves.

      June 26, 2014 at 1:14 pm
  • Reply Irene

    Thanks for sharing your story, you look great! I struggled with my weight in the past, I had knee surgery and put on quite a few pounds while recovering from that. I lost some weight and gained back some of what I lost, and I am now trying to find a better balance between not being too obsessed with my weight and not putting all the weight back on again. It’s a struggle to find that balance!
    Irene recently posted…I’m Training!My Profile

    June 25, 2014 at 11:47 pm
    • Reply suzlyfe

      I think that injury or any period that takes you out of your element–surgery, injury, work schedules–can be the most infuriating, and almost debilitating, because you start to question everything about yourself. You start to try to micromanage things that you would know, in your right mind, are unmanageable. But that’s just the thing, you aren’t in your right mind!

      June 26, 2014 at 1:16 pm
  • Reply Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill

    I know exactly what you are saying/feeling about taking care of yourself leading to comfort with our bodies! I haven’t talked about it on my blog at all, but part if how I know my training is going well is how I feel and look! It’s a great feeling and while I know there will be hard times again, I think I am building the tools I need to stay at a place where I feel good about my body!
    Laura @ the gluten-free treadmill recently posted…Overreaching is not overtrainingMy Profile

    June 26, 2014 at 10:31 am
    • Reply suzlyfe

      It has taken me a while–on and off for years, in fact. I know that I feel my best when I am seeing the hidden capabilities of my body. And then I think you are hitting the nail on the head–when you find that groove with your body–it and your brain fall into sync and the one reinforces the other. I don’t think that I am even that obsessed with my outward appearance, it has always been about how I feel–when I was bloated with steroid weight, I was miserable because I felt so gross, even if I wasn’t all that “fat.”

      June 26, 2014 at 1:19 pm
  • Reply Five times the Friday Favorites and #FlatsFriday 3! | Suzlyfe

    […] Take a Self Love Selfie. Shameless plug, I know. But it was a proud moment for me, realizing that I really felt like I was […]

    June 27, 2014 at 5:31 am
  • Reply 6 Months, 3 Months, Right Now: Heart Opener Giveaway - Suzlyfe

    […] Heart openers in yoga class. Yesterday, in honor of September 11, Elyse (who is one of my favorite teachers ever) offered up the intention of opening our hearts and just loving ourselves. It wasn’t my best class, and it actually really tested me–I even outright fell over for the first time in a long while, and from a pose that I nail on a regular basis. My hips were tight, my hip flexors were giving me the middle finger, but regardless, I didn’t leave frustrated. I left loving myself. Intention, process, outcome. Self Love Selfie. […]

    October 27, 2014 at 2:34 pm
  • Reply Thank You, A New Recipe, and Working Girl #WIAW - Suzlyfe

    […] but you also know that I am sincere when I say it, thank you all for your support and response from yesterday’s post. I didn’t plan to write it, I just sat down and started and went from the beginning to the […]

    October 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply Marathon Weight Gain and Why It's a Good Thing - Suzlyfe

    […] Self-Love Selfie […]

    October 28, 2014 at 8:23 am
  • Reply #whatslovely YOU | Fitzala

    […] Self-Love Selfie […]

    February 9, 2015 at 7:09 am
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