…on Falling Down & Failure

On August 6, 2013 I wrote about my struggle with my body, with finding the focus to lose weight, with finding the strength to not yell at my kids because the scale was too high that morning, because my jeans were too tight, because I felt like such a failure because of both these points.

On August 8th, I wrote that I finally did it, that I found the inner strength to get eating healthy again, to get exercising again, to take care of me again. I find the strength by going one moment, one bite at a time. I felt like such a success because I got over my personal hurdle that had been nagging me for a while.

On October 5th, I wrote about how on August 18, 2013 I headed out of my parent’s house to take #4 for a drive to help him fall asleep and that I left the house with such determination and gusto that I forgot to look where I was going and fell down a stair. You know how kids sit with their feet underneath their bums? You know how they gently get into that position? And how they weigh what, 40 pounds? That was effectively my final position…but I took all my weight, plus my son’s, and didn’t gracefully get into that position, but dropped into it.

What I didn’t write, however, was that my fall was a lot worse than I thought. In fact, it has made the last three months excruciatingly difficult.

Even though my foot seemed okay the day after my fall, and the days after, it wasn’t. The following weekend I almost ended up in the Emergency Room I was in so much pain. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit. All I wanted to do was cry and scream. Finally, I went to the doctor and got an X-ray. Diagnosis? No break, just a really bad sprain and a damaged but not torn nerve. Action plan? Wear a walking air cast for 2-4 weeks and do absolutely no exercise.

Yes, two weeks after I finally got back into the eat healthy and exercise groove that I had so desperately worked to achieve, two weeks after I had finally found the determination to try again, to not keep feeling like a failure about all my weight gain and lack of desire to exercise, I was told I couldn’t exercise. It turned out that it wasn’t just 2-4 weeks I couldn’t exercise though, because my pain worsened. My toes got blue some days, were frigid to touch others and I’d wake up at nightcrying because of the pain. So we added 2-4 more weeks of the air cast and no exercise and in response, I added even more weight because in not exercising, in not doing what I love to do, in not doing what I so desperately wanted to do, and in not being able to easily care for more kids, I became sad and angry. So I ate to feel better.

I totally adopted the mentality of, “Well, if I can’t get better, if I can’t get back into my groove, I might as well just eat, right? And if I can’t get out and talk walks in the fall, kick up the leaves, and smell in the fresh air for hours on end like I love to do and look forward to do then, well screw it, I’ll just eat some more and let my self-pity party grow!”

And grow it did.

Yes, my morale and weight got worse by the day, as did my foot. I had been allowed to start walking a little without the air cast and immediately started feeling bone rubbing against bone. After 2 months in an air cast, and no exercise at all, an MRI confirmed that I had a small fracture as well and that I needed a firm cast for 4-6 weeks. 4-6 weeks of my mom moving in and having to help care for me and my 4 boys around the clock. 4-6 weeks of being completely dependent on someone else to drive me everywhere for did I forget to mention this was my RIGHT foot?! And 4 – 6 weeks more weeks of no exercising, of carrying around all sorts of pent up and growing stress that has no way to get out, of carrying around all sorts of ugly self feelings.

For the last two and half months, I start every day hobbling to the bathroom and then looking in the mirror only to see new rolls of fat, new lines of ugly, new feelings of failure…failure that even though I couldn’t exercise, that didn’t mean I couldn’t eat healthy. Feelings of failure that even though I couldn’t walk, I could still choose to sit outside and enjoy fall, my favorite season. Feelings of failure that even though I actively felt gratitude that my situation could be worse, that even though I had started to accept my injury and the fact that weight gain was slightly inevitable because I wasn’t moving at all, that I still looked in the mirror and thought, “Darnit. Just get it together and embrace the situation and stop feeling angry at the situation and yourself!”

But last week after my first cast came off and I got a fresh new one, I decided that I didn’t have to spend the next two weeks miserable. That I could stop it NOW. That I would stop it NOW. That I would change my attitude NOW. I decided last week that I would try to find a solution to my predicament, that I would try to find the inner strength to start lifting weights, doing push ups on my knees, to doing sit-ups, to eating healthy.

What motivated me? My kids.

My mood has deteriorated over the last two and a half months. I snap more. A lot more. And I don’t like it at all. I have a broken foot already from falling; I refuse to have a broken heart because I fell down the slippery slope of getting into my old yelling habits.

I no longer wanted my cast to push me to snap from frustration. So I wrote myself a BIG reminder to keep it together. After this, my boys colored all around it. My beautiful cast ever!

I no longer wanted my cast to push me to snap from frustration. So I wrote myself a BIG reminder to keep it together. After this, my boys colored all around it. My beautiful cast ever!

Snapping a lot is my first signal that I need to re-group and re-group I have. I learned on my Orange Rhino Challenge journey that I need exercise to relieve stress, to be in a good place to yell less and love more. And that I need to eat healthy because when I eat junk, I feel like junk and act like an absolute B…. and that is definitely not a loving more type of place to be.

I currently physically push myself around on a scooter and crutches as I emotionally push myself to exercise daily and eat better so that yelling won’t become a daily thing in our house again. And I push myself daily to keep on being as positive as I can, as grateful as I can, and to hold on to as much perspective as I can that things really could be worse because I know that these three mentalities keep me calm and less likely to get all worked up and want to yell.

And so I have done all the above, and the snapping hasn’t reduced, and I haven’t felt like a failure anymore. Scratch that. I didn’t feel like a failure anymore until this morning.

Until this morning when I got on the stupid scale (that might just finally be thrown out) and it told me all my hard work wasn’t paying off. I wanted to quit my efforts, go eat a bagel with cream cheese AND butter and eat another one for lunch and then scream at my son for doing um, um, nothing. But I didn’t. Because of all the craziness in my life right now that is uncertain: when will the cast come off, when will I walk again, when will I drive again, when will I not need my mom living with me to take care of my kids with me, when, when, when?, there are three certain truths that I miraculously remembered this morning:

  1. I might not lose the weight as fast as I want since I am injured, but I certainly won’t lose any if I quit; quitting would achieve nothing but more feelings of failure.
  2. Exercising and eating healthy isn’t just about weight management, it’s about yelling-less management and that is the more important result than what the scale says!
  3. “For this thing we call “failure”, it’s not the falling down, it’s the staying down.” ~ Mark Pickford

Ah, yes. If I quit I don’t know what could have been. Ah yes, I need to focus on the really important goal, what matters most to me. And ah yes, I am not a failure because I keep on getting back up and trying again. These three truths kept me on my healthy, positive groove today; they kept me from giving up. And you know what, every day on my Orange Rhino journey when I don’t think I can keep it together for another second, when I feel I am failing or not doing “good enough,” these truths help me yell less and love more. They are powerful truths to say the least and I am so happy that my journey to not yell helped me to fall upon them.

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36 thoughts on “…on Falling Down & Failure

  1. I am currently in a cast on my right foot. We are on week 3 1/2 of what will hopefully only be 6 weeks. I, too, have four boys – ages 8, 6, 4 & 2. I am going crazy right now with the lack of independence that I am accustomed to as a stay-at-home mom with a husband that travels. I do what I need daily and ask for very little help. This has been a trying experience, but it was good to go back and read this to see I’m not alone.

  2. I came across your blog on Pinterest a few months back. I have been reading your blog off and on for the past few months. I am trying to not yell at my beautiful 3 year old little girl. I always tell myself that when I’m yelling I’m not spanking or resorting to some other cruel form of punishment but your blog has made me realize that yelling is just as harmful – to both my little girl and to me. I understand the frustration of a broken foot or in your case a severely injured foot. When I was in college I broke every single bone in my foot just walking down a hill. Go figure. It was awful. I was told not to walk on it for 3 months and then when I went home from school I saw a doctor who told me I could have walked on it from day 1. Ahh, the horror and the frustration. I want to let you know that the weight thing… it gets easier. I started going to Weight Watchers when I was engaged. I had put on the pounds when I met my fiancé (the true sign that I was happy… right…) and I wanted to lose the weight before my wedding. I lost almost 20lbs and I felt great. Then I got married and moved and stopped going to meetings… For me, my Weight Watcher meetings are my AA. Without them I fall off the wagon. I don’t weigh and measure, I don’t track my food, I don’t pay attention to what I’m putting in my body, I don’t get my exercise and I unfortunately gain weight. I had a rough week last week. This week, I’m back on track. Find someone local to keep you accountable. If you are going to do it on your own, more power to you! I know lots of people who can. I can not and I know a lot of people who can’t. Stay strong. Get back into the habit. It gets easier. And you know what, even if the scale doesn’t show the success you are making, sometimes just your attitude alone can make a huge difference. You’re in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless!

  3. My heart goes out to you, dear Orange Rhino.

    I just discovered you totally by chance tonight by googling, “My five year old yells at me..” (while my five year old yelled at me) and feeling instantly in awe and intrigued by your year long challenge of not yelling. Later when she stopped yelling, I had a chance to read your blog and I couldn’t stop.

    As a mom of two young kids, I struggle with yelling, snapping (love your oopise and hard snap definitions! so right on), screaming, etc. and that has been shocking to me, because I never thought I’d be that kind of mom, yet – well, yet I can be. I go through cycles where I am often that mom and it breaks my heart. I have to say I felt comforted by your words and some of the comments knowing that I’m not the only mom who is devastated by my own behaviors, and who wants, needs to change.

    Reading your blog gave me hope that I could get help, that I could change. I am gearing up in my brain right now to print out your cards for my daughter (the yeller, I wonder where she gets that from?!) and I’m even considering orange nail polish – and then I read your most recent post and my heart truly goes out to you.

    Yet I feel pretty confident that you’ll be okay in time – despite not knowing you at all! – because your strength comes out so honestly and fiercely in this blog. You say you’re “not a writer” but I’d beg to differ. You are a very good writer and you’re super funny. But most important of all, you’re HONEST and that is NOT easy to do/be especially online when you’re at the mercy of the general public. You will be okay because you are honest with yourself, with your readers, with your family. You are seeking help and you are aware of your triggers, just as you are aware of what lifts you up. Like great quotes from Mary Pickford and positive thinking.

    My thoughts are with you and I hope that despite whatever the scale says, whatever your eyes see, your heart knows the beauty you possess, inside and out.

  4. Thank you so much. I see the past months have been so hard. I’m sorry. I’m glad to see your kids remind you of what is important.
    I did most of the last orange rhino challenge with all of you but recent months have had me at my worst. Last night I had an epiphany and with my middle child I have vowed to work on “loving more, yelling less.”
    I am scared poop less of failing, especially now that she knows and I am accountable, but I think as much as accountability can stink, it is the best motivator at times.
    So good luck with your renewed sense of change and wish me luck, too!!

  5. Thank you so much for your blog. I desperately need to take the OR challenge. Im a mother of two boys, 5 and 7 and you inspire me to change my ways! And your posts about weight loss and depression are speaking my language. I made some changes in Feb of this year with clean eating and the help of some natural supplements and I haven’t felt this good in fifteen years. No more depression, PMS, migraines, no more back pain, lost a ton of weight and I have the energy I had when I was 25. (I’m 47). I’m passionate about helping people get their lives back. You can email me any time at susiebrewer@bellsouth.net. I would love to help. In the meantime, I’m praying for healing and peace. Hang in there!

  6. Here is a quote from the Everyday Paleo blog that is helping me try to reframe how I think about my body. I think it helps whether you are doing paleo or not:
    “My body is nothing short of a miraculous, amazing example of biology at its finest” you might say. “It’s true, I haven’t been very good to my body lately, but it has adapted and changed and rolled with the punches like nothing man-made ever could, and it did it all to keep me alive and kicking. Physiological processes have molded themselves as best they could to the inputs I have given them. The fat that draws my eye in this moment is evidence of what my body is capable of doing to survive instead of throwing in the towel. What I see before me now is crystal clear proof that the physical me is made of pure, unadulterated awesome. Now it’s time for the psychological me to acknowledge that I am still in possession of a working human body, and I can’t fathom anything more wonderful. All of this is true because my body never betrayed me by giving up when things were less than great. My body is not my enemy, it is my hero. It does not deserve my disdain, it deserves my love and respect in every moment from here to the grave.”

    Good luck!

  7. So sorry about your ankle! I love your site! So much great information, as I also struggle with controlling my anger with my children. I’m also struggling with losing some weight. However, in August I was introduced to Plexus Slim- an all natural product, and I feel great, losing weight, and the inches are falling off! You just drink the “pink drink” in the morning- which is a lot like Crystal Light- just add the packet to some water, and drink a lot of water throughout the day. Totally curbs cravings, and decreases your appetite. This was originally made for diabetics, and they realized that they were losing weight. Let me know if you would like any information on how to get it 🙂

  8. I can relate a little, after my 3 kids (9,6,2) a little over 2 years ago, I lost 88pounds..on my own by healthier habits and a new found love for running(it took time to love) this past summer I had been running up to 5-6 days a week, then in August I HAD to stop, due to a cyst on the top of foot. So I threw myself a pity party, here I am now, 15lbs heavier since sept.:-/ mad at myself, my foot, at other random people for being able to run. Well my surgery was yesterday, I am looking at a minimum of 8 week recovery:-( I can’t let it get me down, I believe it will be better when fully recovered, only for me to get back to running..stronger and faster than before:-) in the mean time I had a fitness instructor send me a list of exercises I could do…pretty much without my foot! I know I may have some stuggles in the next 8+ weeks, but I cannot let it get to me, I worked hard to get that weight off…and I know I can do it, I also know it takes time…..time to rest, time to heal, time to think! Good Luck to you, you are not alone!

  9. I can absolutely feel your pain emotionally and physically…. Two years ago I was working out, getting healthier and fell and broke my arm tripping over our puppy. While it wasn’t my leg, I still fell of the “workout wagon” . Sometimes it seems like these setbacks happen when things are going well. It is as if we are constantly being tested! I know you are going draw strength from this setback. Keep thinking positive and know that you are going to come out even stronger than you already are!!

  10. Every day is a learning opportunity, if we allow it to be…your are very inciteful…healthy eating, exercise and weight are an issue with many of us…give yourself a pat on the back for finding alternatives…hang in there…

  11. I just found your website and I am so glad I did! I am working on a lot of stuff you are. But instead of working on the inside first I worked on the outside. I have these great products from AdvoCare that helped me lose 8lbs and 7 inches (4 inches just in my hips) in 24 days. While I continue to work on the outside, the inside is more important. I am stressed at home and stressed at work. I never get a break from stress. In order to feel good about the outside I have to fix the inside. Hopefully by the end of the year I will be working on the inside a little bit more. Thank you for your posts and email me if you want to learn more about jump starting your weight loss journey with the AdvoCare 24 day challenge!

  12. remember to love yourself, be easy on you! Every time you have a negative thought about yourself STOP & think: You are LOVED, YOU are Cherished & there is NO one on earth like YOU!!!

  13. Your words are very uplifting and inspirational! You put on the page (such as it is) in such an eloquent manner what I’m feeling in my life.

  14. I have struggled so many times with similiar scenerios. I was freaking and feeling that familiar depression spirit just reading what you have went through!!! I so get how you feel! Thanks so much for sharing. The points you stated to focus on are so true and so helpful and encouraging! I have developed a relationship with the Lord so when I spend time with Him I feel so much better. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading another blog from you!

  15. Thank you so much for posting this. Last summer I was on the health wagon for months, avoiding trigger foods and exercising, feeling great. My body must have been happy because we got pregnant after a year or so of casual trying. Unfortunately it was a chemical pregnancy with a delayed passing of tissue, so I didn’t find out until around 10 weeks that there was just no baby there. I gave myself the go ahead to eat whatever I wanted. As time went on my diet got worse and worse and my motivation to exercise was nil. My relationship with my daughter and her formative eating habits were suffering greatly. So here I am now, a week into health and I am doing much better. I appreciate your story and just know that you’re not alone in your struggle. And my advice for you lady, is, take your own advice! Much love

  16. Don’t give up! It’s easy too I know. I wanted to get back to pre last 3rd baby weight and just can’t! Two hurricanes And a move to Europe later and I am still over weight and unhappy but trying my damned hardest not to shout at my kids!!!
    Since moving to Europe there isn’t any more crap food! No more Costco and snacks unlimited! So since I don’t buy them I don’t eat them! But after the hurricanes and damaging my shoulder and neck from rescuing our furniture I have stopped all gym work and feel ready to throttle every thing in sight! The Europeans are all about wellness and massage and inner body healthy so I have gone that route and getting my blockages unblocked!! Meaning this woman is massaging various parts of my neck and shoulder and releasing the stress that is causing the pain! And it’s working! Try smoothies or juices and do upper body work or crafts with the kids that don’t require u to walk about! Forget the body and the food and do something fun! The leg thing will be over soon and something else might happen, it’s dealing with it now the right way will set u up for longer down the road. Another test but u need to go through it calmly and let the body heal! Yoga for the brain and the body will heal! Best of luck!!!!!

  17. You’re amazing. I really want to wish you the very best for your recovery as you face each day one at a time. Be gentle with yourself. You’re so definitely worth it.

  18. Thank you for reading my mind tonight! I’ve had a hurt foot for the past 2 months too and I’m just so tired of not being able to walk without pain. I’ve had a horrible time with my mood and coping skills, and you can see it in all of my kids and how we are talking to each other. I want this to be over, but I think it’s time I pick myself up and find a better outlook again, instead of waiting until the pain is gone.

  19. Hi OR, I feel compelled to write because I am so moved by what you wrote. My mom tripped and fell 4 weeks ago. She twisted her right ankle – and broke it – and landed HARD on her left knee and – yep – broke it. She had surgery on her knee and was non-weight bearing on her ankle. As my daughter said, it’s like Grammy had 2 broken legs. She went to a nursing home because she needed so much care, and I visited her every day and brought either lunch or dinner or just a Starbucks. I tried to anticipate anything she’d need to keep her spirits up. In the meantime, I put pretty much my whole life on hold. I had already been really blue from having to put our beautiful dog down a few months ago and the stress of this just knocked me over. I kept a brave face for her, tried not to yell at the kids, worked just enough to not get fired (pretty much) and my poor husband had the shell of me leftover. And I have been numbing with food. I realized this morning when I, too, got on that damn scale, that I’ve gained more than 5 pounds since she fell – and I was already more than 10-plus pounds heavier than I’d like to be.

    But you know, OR, I just know that next year at this time, I’ll look back on this awful year and be grateful and impressed that I made it through. I’ll eventually lose some of this weight – maybe not all – but enough that I feel better. My BFF said to me – you did what you needed to do to be a good daughter and that’s what really matters (wonderful BFF, by the way). I went through a rough time 5 years ago when I had serious reconstructive surgery on my right foot and was in a cast for 8 weeks. I see pictures of myself from that Christmastime and I look heavy and my eyes are sad, but I’m putting on a brave face and smiling. That’s how I feel now. That’s okay. Because I found strength to get back on track then, now I know I can do it again.

    I know this is a reallllly long comment, but I hope it helps you to think that – right now, you are getting through each day, bring the best mom, wife and daughter you can. Once you’ve healed, you can start focusing on your other goals – losing weight being one of them – but for now, be gentle with yourself. You’ve been through a lot. And things will get better. For me, too. 🙂

  20. This post is so surreal because it could be me, except replace foot injury with my Mum getting terminal cancer and dying all within a 3 month time frame. This week I have finally started to get my eating and exercising started again after having an emotional eating pity party for two months. It is spooky how much this post is me. Thank you. It helps a great deal.

  21. Whenever I hear someone fractured a bone in their foot, I can’t help but think of my own mom’s tragic story. She slipped on an icy sidewalk one winter and the same thing happened…a bone was fractured in her foot but went undiagnosed for awhile. It gave her a lot of pain. My grandma, her mom, moved in for a bit to help us, too. But suddenly and unexpectedly, my mom died of a blood clot from that break. She was only 48. I now count it as a blessing that her mom got to spend a week with her before she was gone.
    I take breaks much more seriously than I ever would have before. Take care and I wish you a speedy recovery!

    • Please take heed to Susan’s story of her mother. I was in a very similar situation 2 years ago. The excruciating pain in my calf encouraged me to head to the hospital. Luckily I did. I had two large clots in my leg. Doctor said it was a life safer coming in.

  22. WOW! I almost feel like I could have written this. I am a weight watchers lifetime member. I was a leader even, until I had my daughter in 2010. I gained 65 pounds while pregnant and have only lost 40 of those ugly pounds. Every day I beat myself up for where I let myself get to, for the fact that it’s 3 years later and I’m still not back to my goal weight.
    In the beginning of October I went to pick up my daughter and give her a hug and I threw out my back. It was bad – I was laid up for 5 days and it still hurts at times. My husband who knows I love to exercise but haven’t done it since my daughter was born (no time for me of course) said “this is the universe telling you to exercise”. I agreed and when I got the ok from the doctor I planned to start walking on our treadmill (yes, we even have a very nice treadmill). The day I got the ok I dropped a 2 quart pyrex container full of frozen casserole from the top of the fridge onto my foot. Not broken they told me – just a bad bone bruise and possibly also sprained, and after two and a half weeks still not much better. I am crabby, frustrated, upset, crying, etc. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to wear a real shoe again. And if I’ll be able to go for walks.
    I, too, started eating to console myself and gained 5 pounds in a little over a week. Just this week I got my head out of my butt and said enough! I can eat healthy and that will help everything else….
    So I feel your pain, I can totally relate and it’s nice to know that I am not alone in how I’m feeling and reacting. Thank you!

  23. I have not really paid much attention to your page but liked it a while back. And now I know why. This post is ME. Well minus the foot injury but thank you for posting this. It makes me feel better and less of a failure to know others are struggling with the same things. Today ironically was my first day with a positive attitude and finding grace and strength through prayer! Continuous throughout the day prayer and reminding myself my kids are a gift and so is my husband. I kept my head up and ate healthy. Day 3 of eating clean and it feels like eternity but will get easier as we go. Thank you again!!

  24. You motivate me every time I read your posts. It made me so sad to think of you feeling so b and being so down on yourself. We put so much pressure on ourselves to get everything right. I know that weight is a health concern and I’m right there with you on the frustration and habitual stress eating but please, please, cut yourself a little slack! You seriously hurt yourself, ignore the scale for at least a month while you heal and embrace the body you have now. When you’re feeling better and are able, continue working on the body you want. You inspire me so much and you help so many – be kind to yourself!!!!

  25. Thanks for your heartfelt honesty. I feel for you…exercise is my realease. And having to be dependent on your Mom and others has to be really hard. I wish you a speedy recovery

  26. I can really relate to this. 🙁 it has been a rough ugly week here. I don’t get any money or anything for saying this -I am no way affiliated with this company… but I wanted to tell you to check out TTAPP it is a nuerokonetic workout and I lost over 11 inches off waist/hips/bust/legs/arms in my first week. It is 15 minutes or 45 minutes depending on what you choose (I chose 15 minutes) she also has a cool mindset of eating that is refreshing eat Tod made _______ number of days a week (4?) And allow yourself a couple ot “man made days”. She has a book on kindle (and several Dvds) I started in May and have lost 4…5…dress sizes (went from 12/14 to size 7/8. Anyway I have found the 15minute work out every other day helps stabilize my moods and I feel so strong. You can you tube TTAPP to get a peek. I bought it looked so dated and hoakey and put off investing in more research -I read the book and there is a lot if science and great info in there…your library might have it “Fit and Fabulous in 15 minutes” it is …well I love it. I feel compelled to share with anyone who mentions a desire to lose weight. It feels so good.

  27. I wish I could say something to encourage you as much as this post has encouraged me. All I can say is I’m with you – with all of it. Yelling again and feeling like, what happened to my Orange Rhino stuff? Getting on the scale the last three weeks and no change. It doesn’t make sense except it does make me even angrier and in response I yell more! Argh. But I am back to taking it one day at a time. I too am doing weight watchers and there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to why I lose 2 and 1/2 pounds one week and gain a pound and 1/2 the next! So I understand your frustration and I can only offer this quote from one of my favorite movies, Kung Fu Panda – “Yesterday is history, tomorrow’s a mystery but today is a gift that is why it is called the present.” I try to remind myself of this every day to not waste it away being annoyed or upset or beating myself up either. I tell my son every new day is a clean slate. Whatever happened yesterday is over and today is a chance to try again to do things better. And I try to give myself the same advice. You have done so much for THOUSANDS of people – impacted peoples lives – and that is a great success! So maybe you may fall one day or another, we love and appreciate you anyway because you are REAL and not because you are perfect.

  28. I will be praying for you. You inspire me to do better and to keep my pledge. If you can handle it anyone can. It’s a struggle everyday and we have to support each other. But keep your head up sweetie you WILL do this!

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