Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This is me. This is who I am.... and that's not a bad thing.

“Looking pretty isn’t about how people see you. It’s about letting people know how you feel about yourself.” – Karen White, “The Sound of Glass”

Me in a favorite outfit

As anyone who has read this blog in the past knows, I lost a lot of weight a couple of years ago – over 100 lbs, as a matter of fact.  From day one of my weight loss, I was determined to change the way I thought about myself – to see myself as a divine child of God, beautifully and perfectly made, regardless of my weight and to see myself as someone who deserves to enjoy good health and a happy life.   

This change didn’t happen overnight – it took months of hard, intense work on my mindset before I even attempted a diet. Let's face it, I was the queen of self-loathing back in the day.
It was that change of mindset that allowed me to maintain my weight loss.  It also allowed me to accomplish things that most 47 year old women wouldn’t dream of attempting - like a 100 mile bike ride in South Texas (completed this February) and going to work for a company where I can encourage and inspire others to reclaim their health.   

I’ve even started volunteering at a local theater to construct costumes – something I would have shied away from when I was heavier and not feeling so good about myself. (I'm even thinking about auditioning for a production - major shock!)

Recently, my new found confidence has manifested in the way I’m dressing.  I’ve gone from wearing jeans, sweatshirts and worn out Birkenstocks to heels and pretty dresses.   I wore pretty outfits in the past for special occasions, but now I’m wearing dresses more often than not, many of them with a vintage 50s or 60s look to them.

I’m also wearing lipstick and have a regular skin care regimen for the first time in my life. This new way of dressing and caring for myself isn’t an attempt to call attention to myself, it’s a way of celebrating Lanza, expressing how I feel about who I am, to explore fashions I always enjoyed but never felt brave enough to wear!

Over the past few years, I’ve encountered some odd comments from well-meaning friends, people who think it’s necessary to warn me against becoming too full of myself or preoccupied with appearances.

The first time I encountered one of these warnings was right after I had slimmed down.  I was wearing a slinky dress and enjoying feeling REALLY pretty for the first time in my life.  An artist friend pulled me aside, said I looked good but to not let my success change me, not to forget that it’s the beauty inside that counts.  I blogged about that comment at the time because it really hurt – it’s as if that friend were saying I was so lacking in character that by improving my appearance on the outside that I'd be less of a person on the inside.

Here I am, giving more of myself to others than I ever have in the past and people feel it’s necessary to warn me against the evils of what ... expressing myself for the first time in my life? 

Just last week I was celebrating on social media the fact that I am starting to get back into my “skinny clothes” and posted a photo of me wearing a favorite skirt.  In the list of comments posted to that photo, once again, a friend wrote “… don’t you know it’s not the outside that makes you beautiful but what’s on the inside?”

Excuse me sister, but I’ve had enough of these comments!  The beauty on the inside is overflowing to what you see on the outside.  I don’t feel it’s necessary to hide my light under a bushel anymore, so stop running me down for wanting to look nice

Part of the problem is our culture.  People are often vilified for being successful; many folks see a successful person and take that as a judgment against their own journey instead of an inspiration and proof that people CAN succeed, in spite of what society says.

We also live in a casual society where it’s acceptable to wear pajama bottoms to shop at the grocery store.  I even used to be that girl in the baggy t-shirts and Tweety Bird pajama pants at Wal-Mart.  Now that I'm not that girl anymore, I'm viewed as an anomaly.

My pretty dresses, high heels and lipstick are not a threat or my trying to call attention to myself.  I'm not saying I’m better than anyone else by the way I chose to clothe myself.  I am just being the best me I can be and having fun with it - celebrating who I am and how far I’ve come in my life.

There's no reason to warn me against the evils of whatever you think I'm in danger of becoming.   I'm just going about the business of being me!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Last Blog Post

Gratuitous Selfie
Something funny has happened!

The wonderful people at Wilson Family Chiropractic have offered me a job!  I'm going to help administer the Ideal Protein Diet at their center!

I've felt the calling recently to be a more active source of inspiration and encouragement to others who are looking to transform their life and feel like Wilson is the place I need to be!

I am so excited about this new opportunity and getting started on this new phase of my life!

This is probably the last post on my weight loss blog, but if you stumbled across this blog in an attempt to learn more about the Ideal Protein Diet or how a 300+ lb., 46 year old woman can reclaim a healthy body, click here to go to the first post on this blog and browse around.  

While my weight has fluctuated over the year since I dropped the initial 120 lbs., I've kept most of the weight from coming back on my body.

I am still a size 12.  I am more active than I've been in years (The 200 mile bike tour I just finished was AWESOME) and the depression, self esteem issues and sense of hopelessness are all a thing of the past.

I want to help other "lost causes" feel this good so in two weeks I will be doing just that as my vocation!

Good luck to you in your own journey!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Come See My New Blog!!

I'm in full-on biker chick mode now... time to stop dieting and live life on two wheels for a while!

My tour of the Natchez Trace and other parts of Mississippi begins Saturday.  I will be posting photos and from the tour while I am on the road at my cycling blog, Spokes and the Spirit:


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week 12, nothing to report... yet

Moving, houseguests, home improvements, and training for the bike tour have interrupted my normal weigh-in schedule! My next weigh in is the coming Monday. The scale at home says I'm doing great... we shall see.... More early next week... I'll be unveiling my new blog, too!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week 10, 35% body fat (down a small percentage), one pound up! ( ALL MUSCLE!!)

A photo my friend Susi took of me after our rainy-day
bike ride on Saturday before work!  I got MUDDY!!
 In exactly one month I'll be leaving on my bike tour!  Only one month to go!!  That means I'm jumping into more intense training so I'll be ready to bike the long miles in Mississippi!!  I can't wait.

I can't explain how much I need - NEED - this trip!  After being a care giver to a very sick husband (who is FINALLY getting back to his old, wonderful self), moving into a new house and dealing with several busy months at work, I am so ready to get away and do something JUST FOR ME!

Throughout most of my life I've checked everyone else's schedules to make sure it was a good time to go, picked a destination close to relatives, or did something someone else wanted to do when I took time off.

In my 20s and early 30s, I never even took the time for vacation, putting my 9 to 5 job above my own needs. I occasionally took a long weekend to go visit a friend in another town or attend a renaissance faire, but I never took a full week off just to go do something fun, away from home - take a "real" vacation.  Even now, I have rarely taken a full week off of work because everyone is so "dependent on me" and I didn't want to inconvenience anyone with my absence. (Trust me, nobody is THAT important in the work place!)

And the funny thing about all this is that throughout my entire life I've dreamt of travelling to other countries!  I even have a passport I've never used!  I always put the needs and wishes of others above my own. Even funnier is that the people in my life (most of them, anyway) didn't put those restrictions on me - I did it to myself!

I am not getting any younger.  What the heck am I waiting for?

Signing up for a bike tour in another state that will keep me away from work for more than a week is completely out of character for me.  Going completely by myself is something new, too.  This trip is a right of passage for me, a symbol of the different way I'm looking at myself.

I am worth the time and expense of a real, honest to God vacation that *I* want to take!

The needs of the people around me are still important.  I still enjoy taking a fun trip with my husband and when he's back to feeling more like himself, we'll be going on adventures together.  But I am going to make darn sure from this day forward that our trips are more fun and less obligated to stopping off and visiting family and friends (unless that's what we want to do!)

But right now, at this moment in my life I need to be on my own.  "Alone time" and "privacy" are two things I don't have much of in my day to day life.  And for the last several months I've been in crisis mode, my life has completely belonged to others.   My husband needed me, and I was happy to be there for him.  I saw caring for him as a very real expression of my love for him, it was an honor to help him and be there for him. 

I also had to deal with a lot of other crazy stuff during that time from people in my life who were trying to help but ended up creating a lot of irritation and stress in the process. (Don't EVER tell someone how they should feel when they're facing a crisis and when someone says "no" when you offer help, don't bully them into changing their answer, they said no for a reason.)

I think the universe knew I would need this "me time" away from everything when I signed up for the bicycle tour a few weeks before my husband's cancer diagnosis.  Throughout the treatments and illness, I kept wondering if I should cancel the trip but something kept me from doing it.  Now that my husband is getting back to normal and able to do things on his own again, I know that there's no better time than now to get away and decompress.  This trip is exactly the balm my soul needs.

As for the weight, I'm still in the 35% body fat range, but it has dropped a few decimal points (I've been rounding the percentage to the closest number).  My weight went up, which tells me all the training I've been doing is building muscle.  Everything is headed in the right direction!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Week 9, 35% body fat, 3 pounds down.

There's not much to report this week.  It was a cold week, so I didn't get much bike training done.

I didn't get to commute to work via bicycle much, either.

My body is craving movement!

So in spite of the 30-something degree temperatures this morning, I biked to work!

Hopefully the weather men were right when they said it will be warmer this afternoon, because I plan on going for a 10 mile ride after work.

I have just a little more than a month to go before I leave on my bicycle tour!!  I can't wait!  I am getting so excited about going on this adventure, I can't even begin to express everything I am feeling.

The deepest feeling I have is gratitude. I am grateful for my improved health, my husband's improved health, a body in motion, and so much more.  It's this gratefulness that keeps me going through these grey winter days.

More next week!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week 8, 35% body fat! No weight loss.

 This has been a wild week!

Let me start with the best news I have to share:  My husband and I met with his radiation encologists yesterday and received the wonderful news that he's 100% cancer free!!  Hooray!

And even though I was due at weigh-in later in the day, after we got the all clear from the doctors we went out for a celebratory lunch, on the San Antonio River Walk and treated ourselves to a margarita each!

In spite of the Mexican Food I ate at lunch and the margarita I drank, my fat ratio is down another full percentage point!!  I believe I am fully capable of reaching 31% by the time I leave for the cycling tour on April 10th.

I have been cycling like crazy!  The weather has warmed up and with the cancer battle behind us, I can now focus on training for the trip.  This past weekend I cycled a total of 52 miles - 22 miles on Saturday and 30 miles on Sunday.

My hair dresser has asked me to "strut my stuff" in an ad campaign he's running for his salon.  I've shown some of the photos that came from my modeling session on some of my previous blogs but the final ad is shown above!  I can't believe how much my life has changed in the past couple of years.

Two years ago:
I weighed close to or over 300 lbs. (I had sworn off scales)

I had horrible problems with my female cycles
I was sedentary, spending hours upon hours in front of the TV
I hid from the world, avoiding social interactions as much as possible
I rarely left the house
I was unhappy, I did not like myself or value who I was

Two years ago I decided to change my mind about who I was and what I was capable of achieving. All I did was open my mind and be receptive to making one simple change in my life.

The simple change I made at that time was that I bought a bike and started cycling the one and a half miles to work instead of driving. I think it was this one simple change that saved my life because after I made myself open to the possibility of being only slightly more active, other little changes started happening.... almost without any serious effort on my part.

In what seemed like no time at all I was using my bike as my main mode of transportation around town, had decided to try Ideal Protein to get rid of my excess weight and one day I woke up and realized I had dropped over 100 pounds and bore no resemblance to the woman I was two years ago, physically or mentally!

All it takes to start a blaze is a spark.  A journey starts with a single step.  If you are unhappy with something in your life, whether it's your size, your health or your job, you don't have to make a grand gesture or huge effort to make that change.  All it takes is an open mind, a willingness  to make a change and then take that first step.  Just make a gentle shift in your behavior or lifestyle (and stick with it).  The rest will fall into place!

You are stronger, more powerful, more capable than you ever imagined!