Monday, November 25, 2013

The waiting room



Googly eyes on the chemotherapy waiting room
sign. Someone added a touch of whimsy
to a fairly bleak, uncomfortable room
 
Wow! The past several weeks have flown by!  I meant to post here more often, but life got in the way and I've been consumed with life events.  I'm back... and will be back to talking about weight and diet in the very near future.

But for now, I am going to write about waiting rooms.

When you or someone you love is receiving regular treatments, like radiation or chemotherapy, you run into the same folks over and over again in the waiting rooms, and you form a bond with many.

It's hard to start a pity party in these places, because all you have to do is look to the left or right of where you're sitting to see someone who is walking a rougher path than your own.

Everyone has a different way of dealing with cancer.  My husband never doubted he was going to beat the cancer, even when he was feeling his most miserable and the radiation had burned his throat to the point he couldn't eat (or even yawn) without incredible pain. He never took his eyes off the end result: a cancer-free body!  While we haven't received a clean bill of health from his oncologists, I did watch the lump on his neck slowly shrink and eventually disappear completely during his treatments.  My husband's strength and attitude constantly had me in awe.

While the waiting room for the radiation treatments was a fairly pleasant place, one of the grimest, most uncomfortable places in the world is the Chemotherapy Waiting Room at Audie Murphy Hospital - and it's the place where I've spent the most time over the past several weeks.  The room is decorated in stark white and bleak grey.  There is a small TV with a bad speaker that's usually tuned into soap operas or reality courtroom TV shows.  The few works of art on the wall are patriotic, but the subject matter is fallen heroes.  The chairs are stiff and hard and the room is always bone-chilling cold.  But it was in this grim, cold place that I met one of the most inspiring people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

Her name was Kathy.  When I first saw her, she was completely bald from chemotherapy and had tied a big, colorful bow around her head.  She was using a wheeled walker to keep herself steady, decorated with twinkling Christmas lights, and she was wearing colorful novelty pajamas to her appointment.  Her chemotherapy appointment was more than just a medical procedure, it was an event.

I saw Kathy several times during the course of my husband's treatment and as I got to know her I learned that she had an extremely rare form of cancer that attacks the lining of the blood vessels and this wasn't her first time to battle cancer.  Seventeen years ago she had been given two years to live and no hope for a cure ... and she proved the doctors wrong by surviving and beating the earlier cancer.  This time around, she was pretty open that she was a "terminal cancer patient" but her diagnosis did very little to keep her down.

Each week she would enter the waiting room with her walker adorned with colorful lights, decorated according to season or holiday.  On her head would be a colorful headband or funny hat, accessorized with sparkly costume jewelry, and she would change into a fun pair of novelty pajamas before her treatment would begin.  Many times it was obvious that she felt tired and weak, but as her treatment progressed she started to look healthier than the rest of us - I believe she may actually beat a second terminal diagnosis.  Her huge, fun-loving spirit is so much bigger than the cancer!  I couldn't help but smile when she entered the room - she was a one-woman celebration of life in an extremely grim place!

She might have received a terminal diagnosis, but the illness is not keeping her from living life and being an inspiration and source of hope to others.

I encountered so many strong, inspiring people over the past several weeks: A woman with throat cancer who couldn't eat herself, but baked weekly treats for the doctors, nurses and fellow patients;  another woman who was violently ill from the chemo but drove herself to culinary school every day, determined to become a chef; and a man with disfiguring cancer who made a point of greeting each person in the waiting room cheerfully every morning and took time to ask others how they were feeling (I even saw him dance).

There were those who complained or were frightened, too.... but for the most part the people in these waiting rooms had a resolve to get through the treatments and get on with their lives.


If nothing else, this experience has strengthened my beliefs about the human spirit and how important attitude is at all times and in all situations.  Yesterday cannot be relived and tomorrow is promised to no-one.  All we have is now.  And we have a choice on how we pass through this moment in time.  Do we make the most of an imperfect situation, decorate our walkers with twinkling lights, or do we let an imperfect situation get the better of us and moan about our fate?  Which path do you think leads to healing?

And for those who are wondering, I have put on a few pounds but have remained in my size 12s.  In a few weeks I'll get back on Ideal Protein and my bike and maybe one day soon I'll find out what the final three phases of the diet are like!








Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stepping off the scale for a while....


My Wonderful Husband.
Photo by Coyne & Vicki Gibson

As I've mentioned in past blogs, my husband recently received a cancer diagnosis and it's thrown our lives into a whirlwind.  Both chemotherapy and radiation treatments started this week.  Every day for the next seven weeks, my husband has to be shuttled 60 miles to San Antonio for these treatments.
Thankfully, I have family and friends willing to help with the transportation, which allows me to maintain a fairly regular work schedule.

Even with all the help, I have a lot on my plate right now and it's time to shift my focus for the next several weeks from my own health, to my husband's well-being and getting him through this. 

I am in awe of my husband's attitude and strength these last two months.  We both feel there will be rough days ahead but we'll emerge on the end of all of this with a cancer-free diagnosis. 

I've been doing a TON of reading about cancer-fighting foods, how to feed someone on a feeding tube, what foods keep you strong while on chemotherapy, etc.  The best resources I've found so far are "The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen" by Rebecca Katz and "Crazy-Sexy Kitchen" by Kris Carr.

I am very thankful that I started on Ideal Protein when I did (all things happen for a reason).  Not only am I stronger and more capable to face the challenges ahead than I would have been in "my old shape,"  I have also learned a lot about the damage sugar and processed foods do to our bodies, and have fallen in love with fresh veggies! (Believe it or not, cancer thrives when there's a lot of sugar in your diet and there are a lot of cancer-fighting fruits and veggies out there!) What I've learned about eating healthy will be the best resource in my arsenal while we're fighting this disease. 

During this time I'll check into this blog and let you know how I am doing.  I plan to keep eating within the Ideal Protein guidelines, as much as I can, but I'm not going to sweat it too much.  When my schedule gets to where I can manage some kind of regularity, I'll get back on the scale, return to Phase I to FINALLY get to goal and start posting weekly again.

I'll also see this as a true test of how I am going to function - diet-wise - in the real world.  My stress level is at an all time high and my emotions are all over the place but so far, I've been doing a fair job of maintaining my shape and eating more healthy stuff than bad.  (I could do better, but am not going to beat up on myself right now.)

Thank you so much for hanging with me while I've been on this journey.  I've come so far and have overcome so much!   While I am on this brief hiatus, I'm wishing you tons of success in your own journey!

God bless,
Lanza

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 66, No Weigh In



Here I am on the runway, modeling casual wear!
 My much-anticipated modeling debut went off without a hitch!  Not only did I get a standing ovation, but the folks from Wilson Chiropractic, where I weigh in every week, presented me with a dozen long-stemmed yellow roses.  It was an overwhelming, but fun experience.
Every woman should have moments in her life where she feels like a fairytale princess.  I had one of those moments during the style show.  I stepped off the runway feeling empowered and ready to shed the last few pounds of fat I have yet to drop.

It has been a rough week.  On Monday and Wednesday, I had to travel 60 miles away with my husband for assorted procedures and doctors appointments.  The style show was on Tuesday.  Tonight, Friday, is a fund-raising dinner for the art center where I work.

What I looked like before the diet.


There hasn't been much downtime lately, and yes, I'm exhausted.... but I can't help but wonder what shape I'd be in emotionally and physically if I hadn't dropped all that weight over the past year.

I'm taking things one day at a time, going easy on myself and focusing on keeping life as simple as possible.  I am also focusing on blessings and important things, like the love I feel for the people around me. 

I have less tolerance for negativity than I've had in the past.  I have a job that keeps me in the public eye and I deal with a lot of different types of people in the course of a day. I'm embracing the positive, upbeat people around me and basking in their glow and reminding myself how their presence in my life makes me feel.

There was a time when the complaints came easily out of my mouth and I found very little to celebrate in life.  I didn't have many friends back then.

Now, with everything that's going on in my life, I am aware, more than ever, how exhausting and irritating negative people are to be around.  I find myself avoiding the people in my life who have nothing nice to say, because I don't have the emotional reserves to be around them.

Over a year ago, I made the decision to be a source of love and encouragement to those around me.  I became aware that my negativity, depression and pessimism were manifestations of being too self-involved and were running people out of my life in droves.  Honestly, who (besides me) is going to be interested in my everyday gripes?
Once I directed my focus outside of myself and started connecting to others in a positive way, my life changed.... it not only made the success in weight loss possible, but it made many other wonderful things happen, too!  I have more friends than ever, I am more successful in my job, and even my bank account is in better shape!

If all you think about is yourself and how you're feeling, your world is a very small place.  Once you start opening yourself to the world around you, and approach it with love, your world expands, miracles occur, you see the beauty in ordinary things. 

And it's my positive attitude and my willingness to find blessings in the midst of chaos that will carry me through the battle my husband and I are facing.

So here's my challenge for you.  When you find yourself complaining about something - be it the diet you're on, your mother-in-law or the weather - STOP IT!  Stop yourself mid-complaint and acknowledge something to be grateful for.  I dare you. 






Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 65, 168 lbs.

In the midst of chaos, I've been able to maintain.  The number above may be higher than the last one I recorded, but it's only a few fractions of a pound that I'm up (I round up the decimals on the scale).  Considering the fact that I've been taking my husband to more doctor appointments than I'd care to count and that I'm not always around diet-friendly food, I think I'm doing pretty well.

The style show in which I'll be modeling will be next Tuesday. (Imagine!  Me!  A Model!!) After that I can decide if this is where I want to stay with my weight or if I want to reduce further.  In all honesty, I don't think I'm "there" yet.  I LOVE being a size 12 and love the cute clothes in my closet, which is why I think I've held fast at this size for several months, even when I've been trying to lose.  However, my fat ratio is too close to "borderline" for comfort.

I'm going on longer bike rides on the weekends, with an average moving speed around 15 mph (top speed is 27 mph and climbing), so I don't think it will be long before I see a fat ratio that makes me happy.  Considering what I was able to do a little over a year ago, this is an outright miracle.

I feel so good.  I feel powerful, strong and kind of cute!  A little over a year ago I was depressed, crippled and feeling ugly.  I have come so far - lightyears - from who I used to be.  I need to keep that in mind when life starts getting rough. 

I need to remember what got me here.  The most powerful tools I've had in my arsenal are my willingness to change, an open mind and a positive attitude.  I didn't get here by whining about being on a diet. I didn't get here by complaining about the foods I had to eat or the fact that my lifestyle had to change.  I got here by loving myself enough to change the way I look at myself.  I got here by loving myself enough to change bad habits that were slowly killing me.

I need to remember that I can do anything - survive any circumstance - because I am a strong, beautiful child of God.  And so are you.

I overheard someone talk about deprivation recently. Deprivation isn't a diet.  A diet is just a tool, something you choose to do.  I'll tell you what deprivation is.

Deprivation is not being able to walk because you are too fat for your own knees.
Deprivation is hiding from the world because you hate the way you look.
Deprivation is spending your life wishing you looked or felt differently.
Deprivation is wasting your life in front of a television or computer screen because you are too weak/sick to engage with other living creatures.
Deprivation is being excluded from activities because people think you are too fat to join in.
Deprivation is the embarrassment you feel when you see someone who knew you "back when" and you're now a size 26.

DEPRIVATION WAS THE 16 FREAKING YEARS I LOST WHILE I WAS LIVING IN AN OBESE BODY!!

These are all things that deprived ME of living a happy, healthy life.

You are worth so much more than a life of deprivation.  You are worth this effort.  Getting healthy is a gift you're giving yourself, it is not a punishment. This diet is only a short season in the grand scheme of your life.  YOU CAN DO THIS!  Believe me, when you get to where I am standing right now, you will know that what I am speaking is the truth.

Don't torpedo your efforts before you even get started by complaining and making you and those around you miserable.  You have a choice.  You can get off the diet and embrace the size you are now.  You can find a diet or health routine that fits into your lifestyle better than the one you've chosen.  OR you can put on your big girl panties, stop grumbling and get on with it.

The power is completely and totally yours.



Saturday, August 31, 2013

My Most Hated TV Commercial - and some thanks.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately.  Between 3 and 4 each morning I wake up, stumble out of bed so I don't wake the sleeping husband or dog, and head to my trusty recliner in the living room.

I pop on the TV, usually to some true-life crime show (I seem to sleep better with those on the TV) and am subjected to this one annoying commercial OVER and OVER again.

The commercial is for a diet pill.  Along with this horrible sci-fi background music that repeats the same three tones over and over again, this pill promises that just by taking this pill you will reduce your body fat.  Never mind the small print that says "Results may vary. Diet and exercise are recomended." This miracle pill will cure obesity all by itself.

Then a screechy-voiced woman gives her testimonial, exclaiming at the end "You just can't do it by yourself!  You just can't!"  

Oh really?

This commercial annoys me on so many levels. The music, the whiney testimonials, the unrealistic promises of magically shrinking fat mass.

Yes, you can do it by yourself!  It takes work, a positive attitude and a willingness to change your life, but you can do it a lot more effectively - and permanently - than some crazy diet pill.

There are so many people out there, refusing to believe how powerful and capable they are to win the battle of the bulge, that they'll jump at the latest magic weight loss cure offered on late night TV.  (I also notice that the ladies giving the testimonials on this commercial don't present any "before" pictures.)

I have two brothers who have also lost a lot of weight this year.  I was talking to one brother last night about the discussions we have when someone notices our improved health and asks what we did to lose the weight.

I went on a strict diet and my brother started jogging and working out at the gym.  Nobody wants to hear those answers.  They want a way AROUND the diet and exercise to get to a slimmer physique.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  There is no magic weight loss fairy.  You have to put on your big girl panties (or big boy pants), take responsibility for your own life and do something yourself.  And if that's not the message you're willing to hear, then stop asking people how they lost all their weight!  And when you go on the diet, stop whining about it and just get on with the task at hand.

You can do it yourself!  You can!

You CAN eat right.  You CAN exercise!  You CAN beat the struggles of a lifetime.  Sure, you may struggle along the way (I have) and there may be set-backs (I've had a lot of 'em).  But let me tell you, YOU are worth the effort.  Start small, change just one habit - just be willing to change the way you look at yourself, your capabilities and the world around you and get started on your own journey.

And be thankful for the miracles around you and give thanks frequently.  Gratitude and focusing on the positives in your life goes a long way in keeping you going.  Be grateful for the sun above if there's nothing else to celebrate, but keep that joy in your heart and more miracles will fall into your life.

In the midst of a horrendous week, I had an unexpected, anonymous gift come into my life. Someone beat me to the bicycle shop and paid for part of my new bike.  I am so touched by the unexpected gift and expression of love.  My guess is the gift came from someone who reads this blog.  So let me take this opportunity to say "Thank you, so much!!"  I am so blessed by the people I am fortunate to know.  I will pay the gift forward one day!   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 63, 167 lbs.



Trek Lexa LS - The one bright spot in my life right now.
A bike I recently ordered - I'll be riding on it and training
for the Mississippi tour in April. It's a serious road bike,
but the paint job is girly enough to keep me happy!
 Okay, the weight is back down, the fat ratio is back where it should be AND I've gained another pound in my lean mass! 

This week, I took my frustrations and worries to the pavement.  I hopped onto my bike and pedaled my heart out.... a much more constructive approach than taking my worries to the pantry!

With my husband's cancer diagnosis and all the associated doctor appointments, life has become more uncertain than normal. We never do know exactly what's going to happen tomorrow, do we? 

What we are facing is six to eight weeks of daily (M-F) radiation therapy, paired with chemo treatments - it's all overwhelming and crazy.  I'm going to be pulled in several different directions and it's become so clear to me how important it is for me to stay healthy and strong while my husband goes through treatment and recovers.  There are going to be days ahead where he's going to depend on me like he never has before. 

I've had my pity party, my bump in the road. Now it's time for me to be the strong woman I know I am and keep it together.  Someone sent me a quote recently that said, "Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living."  So I'm back up and fighting.

I'm also trying to maintain a positive outlook and have not cancelled the bike tour of Mississippi in next April.  I still plan to train regularly and if all goes well, my husband will be finished with his course of radiation several months before the tour begins.  If things don't work out that way, I'll get creative. I am also still planning to model in the charity style show on September 17.

So that's where I am right now.  Scared, unsure of the future and worried ... but willing to stand strong and face the challenges ahead, whatever they are.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Week 62, No Weigh-In

My husband had a diagnostic procedure with biopsies on Monday so I wasn't able to make weigh-in this week.  The procedure has left him in a lot of pain and I've been focusing on him, so it has been difficult to get online and post.

I am not caving into self-indulgent binges as much as I was earlier and I've been making time to take a little bike ride every once in a while, pedaling especially hard on my way to and from work, and I'm starting to see the number on the scale get smaller again.

I've been thinking a lot about old habits and past issues.  The old habits I used to lean on when life got rough were what put a 300+ lb. number on the scale.  The old hurts and issues are a thing of the past.  They're only able to hurt me now if I dredge them up and make them a part of my world today.

The past is the past.  It's part of my history.  It's part of who I used to be.  Running to the pantry for a big old fix of carbs is also part of my past.  

The biggest, most valuable gift I can give myself is a better way of eating.  To live a healthy, vibrant, happy life.

Eating until I was too stuffed or drinking until I was too numb to feel anything didn't solve any of my issues before.  It didn't make me happier, more fulfilled or stable.  It won't make my husband's cancer go away, but it will cause him to worry about me. Eating to excess is a stupid, self-centered way to deal with my problems ... and I know this!

And something else happened during this last backslide: My right knee started hurting again.  I am not sure if this is some kind of sub-conscious warning from my psyche about how I used to feel 124 lbs. ago or if I've somehow injured myself and wasn't aware of it.

All I know is that for the first time in over a year my knee is making me limp ... and I don't like it!!

So whether it's an injury or something else, I am taking it as a reminder of how far I've come and how important it is to take care of myself.  This is the only body I have, it's a wonderful gift from God, and it's worth treasuring.

I have a lot to learn about myself in the coming months.  Both my husband and I are being challenged and are facing a lot of fears and uncertainty about the future. So far, I've already learned a few things about myself:  I've learned that I'm a lot stronger and more patient than I ever thought I was and I've also learned that watching my husband and how strong he has been through all of this has deepened my love and respect for him (and I didn't think it was possible to love that man any more than I already did!)

More lessons are coming and I'd rather face them with a strong mind and body.  This falling apart and caving into the past is for the birds! 

 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 61, 169 lbs.


Llamas and a donkey hanging out by a creek.  One
of the fun things I saw from my bike this week.
I am not proud of myself right now.  Last week I talked about not treating my worries with food.  Well, that's exactly what I've been doing.

We've received the official diagnosis and I can talk openly about it.  My husband has been diagnosed with cancer.  My wonderful, supportive, loving husband - my rock -
 has cancer.  It's the last thing you ever want to hear about someone you love.

Then I started eating everything I could get my hands on, reaching out in the wrong place for comfort - eating my sadness, anger and fear instead of processing those emotions in a healthy way. A moment of clarity came when my husband in a hinting, round-about way (he has a gentle way of putting things when he's worried) let me know that he is proud of what I've been able to do in the past year and doesn't want me to fall apart or put my weight back on because of him.

So it's time to get my act together.  It's not going to  do my husband any good if he's worried about me while he's busy healing.

My husband has excellent doctors and while we don't have the full picture of what his treatment is going to be like or whether the cancer will be easy or difficult to treat, I know he's in good hands.  So today, instead of hanging on to my emotions and stuffing them down with food, I am going to hand them over to God.

As my friend Sharon said to me recently, "You're the new and improved Lanza and you've worked damn hard..so keep on those rails sister. You are going to need to be as fit as you can possibly be to face what is ahead. You have all the tools and you are stronger now and you've made a promise to yourself to be good to yourself and to never go back to that unhappy, hurting person you were a year ago."  Thank you, Sharon, I needed that!

I need to be the best me possible right now.  This issue isn't about me, so I need to stop indulging in crazy behaviors and really BE THERE for the most important person in my life.  He needs and deserves a strong, healthy wife by his side to face the road ahead.

So instead of moping at home on Monday, I hopped on my bike and rode for 15 miles.  I have to say the bike ride did a lot more to lift my spirits than the excess peanut butter ever did.  I knew when I went to weigh-in later that day that the readings weren't going to be good.  Both my weight and fat ratio have climbed to a higher number and it's going to take some time to get back to where I was.  But you know what?  The work is worth it and I'm worth the effort.

This episode is not a set-back.  It's an opportunity to learn about myself and prove to myself how strong I really am.  I'm going to make sure to take time for myself, to move my body and treat myself with respect - it's one of the ways I can help ease the burden and worries the man of my heart is carrying around.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Week 60, 165 lbs.

The weight and fat are both up, due to two factors.  One issue is the pending arrival of my monthly visitor, which always shows an increase in my fat ratio.  The other was a couple of celebratory margaritas with my husband on his birthday, two days before weigh-in.  I had cake, too!

The margaritas were the first hard alcohol I've had in ages and I realized something about my body chemistry: Even though I didn't get drunk or over-indulge, the hard stuff slows me down, way down! 

The morning after the birthday party I decided to hop on my bike and go for a long ride and work off some of the previous day's excess.  I was hoping for a ride like last weeks, a long ramble in the country with some challenging hills.  The earlier ride was a lot of fun and I amazed myself by flying on two wheels, going about 17 mph along one of the local highways.

This past week's long weekend ride was torturous.  I couldn't get above 10 mph.  I couldn't climb hills the way I had earlier... each hill was long and agonizing, instead of an empowering challenge.  My body was running on sub-standard fuel.... and I was extremely aware of it.

Instead of going the 17-20 miles I was planning to go, I came home after the longest 12 miles I've ever ridden.  Not fun.

I've been anxious to get back on the bike but haven't had much time.  A close family member is facing some scary medical stuff and there hasn't been much time for exercising this week.

In the past when I've been worried or hurting over an issue, I went to food and drink to either numb what I was feeling or as a source of comfort.  The challenge right now is finding a healthier way to deal with emotions and worries.  When I find myself vegetating or going to the cupboard for a snack when I'm not hungry I need to do what I did in the early weeks of dieting.  I need to find something to keep my hands busy: Vacuum the bedroom, work on a hobby, weed a patch of the garden - anything but non-constructive wallowing in worry with a snack in my hand.


My family member is having a procedure done on my regular weigh-in day.  I may not have a weigh-in next week, but I will stop sometime during the week to post some kind of update.

  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Week 59, 164 lbs.


Me then and me now!  I seem to have a thing for necklaces
with metal circles in them!! 
Yep, I'm up a pound, but here's the funny thing:  I gained a pound in LEAN mass!  My fat ratio went way, way down this week!

I'm building muscle, baby!!

This is why I say time and again, it's important to find an Ideal Protein center that measures fat and lean mass ratios, along with the body weight.

It has been a week of challenges and a week of realizations.

Now that I'm on Phase II of Ideal Protein, I have a bit more freedom to do some more exercising.  So I celebrated the transition by hopping onto my bike and going for a ride down a country road ... and kept going ... and going.... until I realized I was starting to get tired and should head back.  I ended up doing a 22 mile bike ride!! (I haven't done more than 10 miles in the past.) 

The last five miles were torture (I overdid it) but I couldn't help but be incredibly proud of myself.  I took hills like a champ AND I know I don't have a ton of training to do for the bike tour of Mississippi I signed up for.

The tour takes place in April and will be six days of cycling with a bunch of women ranging in age from their 30s to 70s.  The daily bike treks will range from 30-50 miles and I figure if I can do 22 miles in a couple of hours now, if I continue training I'll be more than up to the challenge when it comes time to leave for the tour in April!

I also met a local bicycle trainer who has agreed to serve as my bicycle guru.  She's given me a lot of great advice on what kind of bike to look for (because my current commuter bike is too heavy to take on a long cycling tour) and information on cycling groups in the area I can join so that I will learn the dynamics of biking with a group!  Fun!!

A year ago I was riding my bike to work regularly, but a 22 mile bike ride, let alone a six day biking tour, would have been something I only dreamt about, not a reality.  I can't believe how much my life has changed in such a short time.

Unfortunately, an old, ugly habit resurfaced one evening this week and it took me a while to figure out what was going on in my head.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was bulemic during my teen years.  Back then I would binge on food to the point that I was in pain, and then abuse laxatives in an attempt to keep from gaining weight after eating all that food.

One night this week I didn't just eat a bunch of junk.  I ate lots and lots of food in a short amount of time.  I ate to the point that my stomach hurt so much I felt like someone punched me. Afterwards I felt sick and couldn't move.  I just curled up in a ball and slept it off. (I had a food hangover the next day, too!) 

I haven't done something this self-destructive in a long, long time.  That kind of eating isn't sane.  It's actually a form of violence, directed towards myself.  If someone else had abused me that way I'd be furious and ready to fight!

Instead of wrapping myself in shame, feeling defeated and hopeless, or ignoring the issue, I stepped outside of myself and tried to figure out what caused me to fall into this behavior again.

On Sunday I wore one of the cutest dresses I ever wore to church.  I LOVE - LOVE - this dress!  I found it at a local thrift store (I do a lot of thrift shopping now that my size changes so rapidly.) The dress has a fitted bodice and flared skirt, which flatters and emphasizes my new hourglass figure perfectly.  The dress is white with bright pink, orange and green polkadots, so it's a happy dress!  I was working the church's welcome desk this weekend, so everyone who knew me had to stop and tell me how good/pretty/skinny I looked and one little old lady, who I had never seen before said, "Well, don't you look beautiful?"

After church I went to the grocery store, where I saw more people who had even MORE nice things to say to me. One older gentleman, a stranger, started flirting with me!! 

I have never, EVER been the center of attention like that!  And while it felt good and empowering to hear from others that I am an attractive woman, the old inner voice that had me hating myself back in the day and growing fatter with each year made an attempt to resurface and establish dominance once again. 


Because issues in my personal and professional world have me worried and running in ragged circles, I let down my guard and got too tired. I was easy prey for that old way of thinking to resurface and tell me that I don't deserve to feel this good about myself.

I didn't beat myself up over this crazy behavior.  I recognized it as crazy behavior and put it back in the past, where it belongs.  After a lot of introspection I decided I needed to show myself some extra loving kindness and treated myself to a long hot, bath with lots of bubbles (because that's one of my favorite things in the whole world).  A couple of days later I treated myself to a bike ride with two new friends in an area of town I hadn't explored before.

In the end, the binge from hell didn't set me back.  I didn't lose ground and I didn't add fat to my body.  I also gained some valuable insight from the experience:  These old behaviors and ways of thinking may resurface from time to time but they don't have to define who I am or defeat me.


I am so much more than a moment of weakness or an old habit.  I've come too far and accomplished too much to turn back to the old ways now! 

I deserve to look and feel this good!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weigh-In Delay

Check back with me on Thursday! Due to a crazy work schedule, I had to bump my weigh-in to tomorrow evening. Lots of fun stuff to report!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 58, 163 lbs.


A really awful photo of one of the bikes I looked as
transportation I'll be using during my upcoming bike tour.
I'm still undecided.
I went into the past week thinking I was going onto the athletic protocol for Ideal Protein, was told later NOT to go onto the athletic protocol and ended up on Phase II! 

I went into my weigh-in this week frustrated.  The more I thought about it, the more I didn't understand why I was still on Phase I if I wanted to stay at the weight I'm currently at until after the style show in September ...  or why I was still on Phase I if I'm training for a 34 - 54 mile-a-day bike tour in April and can't do any heavy-duty exercising while on Phase I, especially if the athletic protocol isn't what I should be doing.

After talking to my coaches this week, we've decided I should transition into Phase II andPhase III and then onto maintenance.  I may return to Phase I in September if I decide to start reducing again.   I haven't given up on having my fat ratio at 25-27%.  (right now it's at 29-30, depending on time of the month.)

I have the "maintaining" down really well!  I've been a size 12 figure for months!! I got to thinking about it and realized that when I started this diet, I went into it thinking that I'd be happy if I got to a size 12, because I looked back at photos of myself in that size jeans when I was a lot younger and felt I looked healthy!  My subconscious brain heard me say this to myself and has worked hard to keep me in the current size! 

Over the next few months - between now and the upcoming style show - I'm going to be taking a good, hard look at myself and decide whether I really do want to stay here and if this is the size I'm meant to be.   I think this brief break from Phase I will also give the skin on certain parts of my body some time to shrink up and adjust to my smaller frame.

I had a funny experience this week.  Our town has a local bike shop and I've been in there twice in the past.  Both times the staff was extremely rude and dismissive towards me. At the time I thought they took a look at my close to 300 lb. frame and decided I wasn't really a cyclist and not worth their time.  Back then I swore I would never step foot in their shop again. After discovering that my current commuter bicycle was inappropriate transportation for the upcoming bike tour, I decided to give the bike shop another chance and see what they had that would work.

I was dreading dealing with the people at the bike shop but this time around the staff was a lot friendlier.  I don't know if it was because A. I came to their shop on a bike so they knew I was actually a cyclist, B. I was skinnier and looked more like a "real" cyclist, C. I was shopping for a bike instead of componets, so they were going to make money from me, D. I feel better and more confident than I did on my first visits and I'm nicer to deal with or E.  All of the above.  My guess is E.

I've noticed that people treat me differently than they used to.  I see the biggest change in the way I am treated amongst the ministerial staff at my church.  In the past I was invisible and unacknowledged, even when I was volunteering at the welcome desk for them.  Today I get eye contact and a smile from them and even an occasional "hello" on Sunday mornings.

The old me would look at this change and think immediately that it had to do with my smaller size, but after looking at the bigger picture I think it's more than that.  I think it has more to do with my change in attitude.

I think people respond to me in a more positive way now because I am a more pleasant person to be around.  I like me.  I respect myself.  If someone is a jerk to me for no reason, I take it less personally because I realize their behavior is their issue, not mine.  I'm less reactive.  I'm happy.

I am working hard to be a source of love and encouragement to others, instead of a needy, whining mess, and I think the world around me has responded to that effort.  It's not about my size.  It's about the soul that inhabits my body.... I've shrugged off a lot of the neuroses and hang-ups that led me to build a protective wall of fat around my body. I don't fear the world around me - I am letting my soul shine and I refuse to let fear get in the way of my life's purpose.

There are those who judge others based on appearance, but for the most part, people respond positively to people that make them feel good.  Nobody likes being around a downer for any length of time.

There are unhappy, neurotic skinny people out there - and they're just as miserable as unhappy, neurotic fat people.  One of the most abusive, nasty people I ever worked with had a flat tummy and a tall, beautiful body.  In spite of her physical beauty, she had plenty of conflict and disappontment in her life. She brought it all on herself. She would walk into a room and people immediately put up their defenses, ready for battle.... even people who didn't know her would sense her anger before she opened her mouth.  I even once witnessed her expressing anger at her infant daughter for falling asleep at the wrong time.  What sensible adult gets angry at a baby for doing what comes natural? 

When you decide to let go of your anger, your hurt, all those reasons you grab onto to justify that wall of fat you keep between you and the world around you and connect to the love you are meant to be, the world around you becomes an easier place to live in. 

"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." -Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

If you believe that the world is filled with unkind people, just waiting to hurt, anger or disappoint you, then it will live up to your expectations.  If you keep an open heart and mind and allow love to flow through you, then the love will flow back to you. 

Stay open to the miraculous world around you, savor the beauty of our planet and appreciate the people in your life because that's the life God meant us to lead.  (And remember, it is possible to allow the difficult people to move through your life without leaving a mark.)





Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week 57, 164 lbs.




A photo taken from my bike this weekend!
I love living in the Texas Hill Country!
 My weight is hanging in there, but some things are changing.  My lean mass decreased while my fat mass increased (it's still in the "acceptable" level, thank God)!

What does this mean?  It means I am doing something to cause my body to consume lean mass for energy to keep my body in motion instead of consuming my fat stores.  Not good.

On top of the commuting to work and back via bicycle, I have started taking the bike on longer rides around the Texas Hill Country on the weekends.  On Saturday I rode a leisurely 5 miles and then on Sunday I decided to push my limits and go for a strenuous 10 mile ride.

Why the heck did I do this, you ask?  For a couple of reasons.

1. While my neice was here I ate a lot of things that weren't on my diet. I figured I could work off the added calories with a brisk ride after my neice left my house.

2.  I want to start training for a cross-country bicycle tour that's coming up in April and need to build up my endurance.  (The three miles a day I've been doing daily to and from work just won't cut it.)

I waited until after my neice left my house to get the exercise in, not taking into account that we had gone swimming and biking while she was visiting and I was very active during the week.  I went back onto the strict Ideal Protein Phase I protocol on Saturday, so I caused my body to go on starvation mode this weekend and it started consuming lean mass.  Doh!

So I sat down and talked to my coach (Hi Caroline!) yesterday and when I told her I wanted to exercise more - a lot more - in order to prepare for the upcoming bicycle tour, she put me on the athletic phase I protocol instead of the basic phase I and we're going to see what happens.  I didn't even know there was such a thing as an athletic protocol for this diet!!  Apparently, folks training for triathlons and such are also on Ideal Protein!

Part of me thinks it's time to leave Phase I and work on maintaining the current weight, at least until after the style show in September.  Another part of me (and the IP coaches) think I need to stay on Phase I for a while longer and get my fat ratio firmly in the middle of the "acceptable" range.... another small part of me is worried about what's going to happen when I am off this diet and that brings me to a book I stumbled across last night. 


I was cruising Audible for a new "read" and found Marianne Williamson's "A Course in Weight Loss."  I have read other titles by Williamson.  She's a student of the Course in Miracles and I've learned a lot of wonderful stuff from her.  If you're struggling with self-image issues, she's the person to read.

Even though I've dropped all this weight and have changed my life and the way I look at myself, I still struggle with binge eating from time to time and it's a battle I've fought since I was 12 years old.

I don't want that binge behavior to take over my life once I'm back in the real world, so it's time to take a good, hard look at the part of me that binges and figure out just what's behind it all ...  and knock it out of my life once and for all.

I've only listened to the first chapter so far, but MAN it is powerful stuff!  If you're like me and have an issue with binges or eating to excess, I highly encourage you to find this book and read it (or listen to it like I'm doing)!

I have a feeling that some of my upcoming blogs will be about what I've learned about myself from this wise, loving book. 


Have a beautiful week!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

No Weigh-In This Week!

My bike at the local produce market.  Another miracle: biking
instead of driving when I go grocery or veggie shopping!
Art Camp started at the center this week and my eight year old niece has come for a visit, so I wasn't able to get into Wilson Chiropractic to weigh in.  But that doesn't mean I don't have stuff to report.

Miracles keep happening.  These miracles might not seem like much to someone else, but each time they happen I have to pause, smile to myself and give thanks at how far I've come and how much I've changed.

For example: This weekend my mom and I had a lot of fun shopping in a ladies' boutique in Fredericksburg, Texas.  This might not be a big deal to many folks, but to me, it's amazing that the two of us can go clothes shopping together and have a good time.  We laughed, we tried on tons of clothes, we enjoyed each other's company and there wasn't an unpleasant moment.

Some people may ask, what's the big deal?  Where's the miracle in that?  Well, let me tell you! From the time I was in upper elementary I HATED clothes shopping.  I was full of self-hate, even back then.  I hated my body.  I thought I was ugly and fat.  I wanted to look like the popular girls in school and never quite measured up.  Pair that with my mom's firm idea of what her little girl should wear to school, which never agreed with what *I* wanted to wear (girly clothes versus borderline goth/early grunge look) and you had a recipe for disaster.

Most shopping trips would end with me huddled on the floor of a dressing room in hysterical tears, with my mom frustrated and exhausted.   

Even as an adult, I never enjoyed clothes shopping.  I called myself a "low-maintenance" woman and wore over-sized sweatshirts and sloppy clothes.  Shoes, purses, belts and accessories did not exist in my closet.  I just never invested in my appearance.  My professional wardrobe was a horror. My mom, who loves to shop and can spot a shoe sale like she has built-in radar, would often invite me to go shopping with her and I know I zapped the joy of shopping out of the experience.   She just couldn't get me to "play" with her and have fun shopping.

As I grew to care about and appreciate myself - love myself for who I am, no matter what -  the shopping experience changed. I think the shift happened even before I had lost a lot of weight.  All of a sudden I started buying brighter colored clothes. I started to tuck in my shirt tails and wearing belts! (SHOCKING!!) 

Since the shift in my mind-set I've been shopping with my mom a few times, and the experiences have been a lot more pleasant than the shopping trips of yore, but last weekend was a blast!  We tried on piles of clothes, explored every inch of the shop and just enjoyed each other's company, joking and laughing like life-long friends.  It was a magical-fun day.


But that's not the only miracle!  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was asked to model in a fashion show for a local charity.  The charity has a HUGE thift shop and acres of really nice clothes. I am supposed to model selected items from the thrift store on a big run-way while benefactors and supporters of the charity look on.  Imagine me, the girl who used to hide from her friends and wear dark clothing in hopes of disappearing into the scenery, as a model!  My life REALLY HAS changed!

The fashion show is in mid-September and I went to the thrift store this week to go through the items volunteers set aside for the fashion show.  I was to choose a casual and a formal outfit.  The casual outfit was easy.  I found a pair of jeans in a size and brand I knew looked good on me and paired it with a cute, artsy top.  The formal outfit was a bit of a challenge, but I eventually found a slinky black number that I'll be wearing.  (Me! In a slinky dress!!)  All I need to do is find some accessories to go with the dress and a belt for the jeans and I'll be ready to go!

Here's the miracle: Not once but twice I went clothes shopping and had a blast!

Here's the challenge that comes with the miracle: I have to stay the same size until September!  The volunteer who helped me select my outfits told me that I can change my mind about what I'm wearing over the next couple of weeks, but that I'm eventually going to have make a firm selection so they can write up the outfit descriptions for the event.  The slinky dress would still work if I dropped another size, but size 12s are already hanging off me and I'm not sure those jeans would look very good if I lost more inches.

So when I get to Wilson Chiropractic next week I need to have another talk with my coach and see what she suggests.  My next few weeks of posts may or may not be about maintaining instead of reducing my size.  We'll see what happens.  I'm thinking of switching my posts headers from announcing my weight to announcing my fat ratio.

Another miracle:  I opened my home to my eight year old niece for a full week! Not only have I been having fun playing with her, but we biked to work together this morning.  (She's attending art camp.)  In the past she would have stayed with my mom and might have stayed a single night under my roof.  She was five or six the last time she stayed at my house and I didn't have much energy for her.  She was bored!  Last night, I think I outlasted her in the energy department!  I'm a much better aunt than I ever was.  Today, after work we're going to play in a water feature at a local park!

Have a wonderful, miracle-filled week!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 55, 164 lbs.

Well, darn.  My body fat ratio and weight stayed put!

I think the dinner out with family at a Chinese restaurant the night before weigh-in stalled my progress. I tried to stay as true to the diet as possible but ate a portion of fried rice without even thinking about it.  At least I didn't lose any ground!

So I'm staying on Phase I this week.  I told my coach that I'd like to get off Phase I but she advised me to stay the course for a couple more weeks to bring down the body fat a bit more.  Her experience is that most dieters gain a few pounds when they graduate to Phase II and beyond and she'd like to see my fat ratio at a smaller number before I move on.

Deep inside, I know she's right so I am going to take her advise. However, I have to admit to being disappointed with her wise counsel. I am anxious to start a more vigorous exercise routine, take longer bike rides, and get on with life.  Patience is a virtue that has never come easy for me.

So for now, I am viewing this chapter in my life as a growth experience.  In looking at earlier posts on this blog, I have to laugh.  Every time I've said that I've been close to some kind of goal or felt that the end of the diet was in the near future, I've encountered a set-back.  There's a lesson in there, somewhere.

Everything happens when it is supposed to happen and very seldom does it happen on MY time schedule.  :)  Time to channel my inner Zen and let things unfold the way they're supposed to ... and learn a bit about patience.

Deep breaths..... deep, patient breaths.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 54, 164 lbs (29% body fat!)

Hallelujah!!  My body fat percentage is in the 20s!! 

Yesterday, at weigh-in, my coach and I talked about FINALLY ending Phase I and transitioning into Phase II (which only lasts two weeks).

I wanted to get my body fat ratio down to about 27-25% and I'm close to being there.  I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and feel pretty happy with the size I'm at now and the cute clothes I have hanging in the closet.

I also would like to do some more intensive bike riding and exercising and can't do that while I am in this super-restrictive phase of Ideal Protein.  So after talking it over with my diet coach, I've decided that if my body fat shows a significant drop next week, I am moving to Phase II and will start moving the body more!!

As I exercise more, my body fat ratio should continue to shrink .... we'll see what happens!

I'm so excited I can barely stand it!!!

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week 53, 164 lbs.

A picture taken of me at this weekend's
reception in my new summer dress.
That "glow" is from sweating like a
racehorse under the track lights!
The past week was grueling. The air conditioning at the art center died a dramatic death - so dramatic that fire engines came to the rescue!

All of the art and people in the center were fine.  The thick, noxious smoke in the basement was due to a freon leak and didn't spread to the galleries upstairs.

Unfortunately, the HVAC system at the center is proving to be difficult to fix and as a result I've been working in an office with little ventilation and summer temperatures climbing outside.  My office gets so warm during the day - or should I say blazing hot - climbing close to 90 degrees in the afternoon!

We ended the week with artists' reception - the lack of air conditioning, blazing track lights and press of bodies made for a sticky, humid event!  Somehow I made it through the reception without melting.

I keep thinking about how I would have fared this week if I hadn't dropped the 124 lbs. over the past year.  Last year, any temp. above 75 degrees had me complaining about the heat and sweating.  This year I am more tolerant of the climbing temps.  75 feels cool and I don't get REALLY uncomfortable until things climb to the upper 80s (even then, I can tolerate the heat with strategically-placed box fans to keep the air moving.)

As I swelter in my office, I am so thankful that I took charge of my out-of-control weight and did something about it.  While the heat is oppressive and makes a long day at work a lot longer, I can only imagine how much more I'd be suffering with 124 extra pounds to carry around!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week 52, 167!

Well, it's official!  This week is my one year anniversary on the Ideal Protein program.

In spite of the family reunion and a stay at my mother-in-law's house that involved lots of "illegal" foods and very few leafy green veggies, my fat ratio dropped significantly during vacation. (Avoiding carbs and taking a lot of vigorous walks during the family visits helped me maintain my weight and get rid of some fat!)

Over the past year I've dropped 121 lbs.,  86 of those pounds were solid fat!  My fat ratio has dropped from 48% (at risk) to 30% (acceptable).  My jeans size has dropped from a tight 24W to a loose size 12!

I had my measurements taken yesterday at weigh-in and found out that I have lost a total of 100.75 inches from my body.  My waist has shrunk from 48 to 32 inches!  My thighs went from 38 to 22 inches!  (This is a weird observation, but my waist is now smaller than my thighs were when I started Ideal Protein!)

As the summer temperatures climb I notice that I have a new-found tolerance for heat.  In the past if the temps went above 78, I was sweaty, out of breath and irritable.  This weekend I worked comfortably and happily in the garden with temps approaching 90!  My female cycle, which was seriously out of whack, has regulated and my knees operate without pain!  I feel and look younger than I have in years.  (One of the cousins at the reunion said I look like a teenager and a close family friend told me that I look better than I did when I was a teen!  How about that?)

It has been an amazing year of self discovery and triumphs! I still stare at recent photos of myself because I can't believe that's me in the photo!! 

The body goes through some crazy changes when it drops a lot of weight and even though I've addressed some of those changes in earlier blogs, I am going to mention two of them here because I've been getting a lot of questions about them lately.

Hair:  During the first few months of this diet I was finding an alarming amount of hair in my hairbrush and shower drain.  It seemed like my hair was coming out in clumps and I started to freak out about it a bit.  My hair was thinning out at an amazing rate.

If this happens to you, don't freak like I did.  The hair will come back (and in my case a lot healthier looking and less grey than before.)  The initial hair loss has to do with hormone levels and your changing size.  Once your hormone levels balance out to suit your new size, you'll stop losing hair and it will grow back.

Skin:  As you drop sizes there will be some bagging, but it does improve over time.  During the first few months I was alarmed by the way my face looked when I bent over the makeup mirror in the mornings.  The skin on my upper arms was really loose, too!   I find that the bagging seems to go in cycles.  My weight will shift and all of a sudden things start hanging loose, then over time the bagging will shrink up, or it has in my case.

I think it all depends on the elasticity of your skin.  My stomach, thighs, upper arms and neck have all had me worried at one point or another.  The skin on my neck and arms have firmed up a lot and are still improving.  My stomach and thighs are pretty baggy right now, but I think both areas will improve.  I've been doing a lot of reading and more than one source says that my skin will continue to adjust to my new size for as long as a year after I am done dieting.  I'm hoping that the bagging on my stomach and thighs (the biggest parts of my body back when I was obese) will eventually shrink up or improve.  We'll see.  Oh, and surprisingly, my breasts didn't deflate or flatten while I they were getting smaller!

Two things that I think helped me keep from getting too baggy was my fluid intake (I drink a ton of water during the day) and moderate exercise.  The gentle bike rides to and from work, occasional walks and gardening have kept the body moving.  Because phase one of Ideal Protein is so restrictive, you are discouraged from doing any strenuous exercise (activities that get you breathing heavy) so I haven't been doing aerobics or marathons, but a good bike ride or brisk walk keeps me flexible, works the muscles and probably encourages my skin to stay springy.

I have never been one who enjoyed exercising in the past (I was a confirmed couch potato), but I am finding that my body craves movement now that I am doing it regularly the way it used to crave chocolate!  Weird, huh?  I actually had bike withdrawls during vacation!!

I wish you tons of success in your own journey and wish I could spread the joy in my own heart to yours .... everyone should feel this good!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Almost a year!


A trail in Arkansas I hiked on while on vacation last week.  The last time I visited
this trail, I was on a four wheeler and that exhausted me!  This time, I traveled
using girl power and if it hadn't started storming, I would have gone for miles!
In ten days, on June 14, I will have been on Ideal Protein for a full year!

When I started this program I thought I'd be off the diet by now and I would have been if it hadn't been for some boundary-pushing and deviations during my journey.

While it is taking me longer than I anticipated to reach my goal, I can't complain.  I feel so good and life has changed (I HAVE CHANGED!) so much for the better, that I really don't have anything to gripe about. I appreciate, so much, how far I've come.  I take responsibility for the times I got in my own way and realize that there's no right or wrong in the process. It's my journey, my own path to take and I'm responsible for the progress I make.

This past week I visited my mother-in-law in Marshall, Texas and then stepped over the Texas-Arkansas border for a family reunion. It was wonderful to see everyone and yes, lots of people commented on the way I looked.  I have been heavy for so many years that some folks didn't even recognize me at first, including the cousin who made fat jokes at my expense year after year.  My cousin has grown ancient since the last time I saw him and the years have robbed him of so much that I don't think he even knew who I was (and I didn't clue him in).  For the first time in my life I was able to look at him with empathy in my heart and realize that the nasty comments he made towards me, and so many other relatives, were just the way he related to people. He never knew how to talk to others in a loving, caring way.  How sad to live to be so old and never learn how to relate to family in a way that doesn't hurt or piss them off ... and to have old age rob you of the opportunity to make amends or find a new way to relate to the world!

Another cousin told me I looked like a movie star, which made my day!

The biggest change in the family reunion experience is how open I allowed myself to be.  In the past I kept a low profile and stayed in the background or hung out with the relatives I already enjoyed close relationships with and didn't go out of my way to get to know others very well.  I stuck to the folks I was comfortable with and kept myself to myself. 

This time around, I won't say I traveled outside of my comfort zone, because there was never a time when I was uncomfortable.  I just hung out and talked to whoever happened to be in front of me.  As a result, I was able to talk genealogy with a cousin from a younger generation that I didn't know very well and had a blast getting to know her.  She also taught me a crazy card game that was a lot of fun!  I also took a long walk with a favorite cousin I hadn't seen in a couple of years and had a chance to catch up with her (A long walk would have been unheard of in the past.)

Below on the left is a picture of what I looked like the last time most of my relatives at the reunion saw me.  The picture on the right was taken of me a couple of weeks ago while I was at the Scarborough Renaissance Faire.  The photo on the right blows me away - I can't believe that's ME!  (Thanks to Paul at Photography on the Run for taking such an awesome photo!)

Changing your life isn't hard.  It's changing your mind about what you're capable of achieving that's hard. If I hadn't had the faith in myself and faith in the One who walks beside me every day of my life, I don't think I would have gotten very far. Once you get your mind in the right place you can work miracles! 

Spending the past year of my life on a diet has been one of the most powerful, empowering experiences of my life.  It has been a year of learning about myself, getting to know who I really am and iI have had so much fun along the way! I wouldn't trade this past year for anything!  It has ALL been worth my time - because *I* am worth the effort and the time it took to get me here.  So are you!

Due to my vacation schedule, my next weigh in will be on Monday.  I will write more then!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'm on vacation!!

There will be no weigh-in this week!  I'm currently on a roadtrip to visit inlaws and attend a family reunion.  Wait until those folks get a load of me!  When a lot of them saw me last, I weighed more than 300 lbs!!

I guess the cousin who always makes fat jokes about me is going to have to find something else to laugh about!!  

Have a blessed, successful week!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Week 50, 167 lbs.

Me and my husband enjoying a cool drink during a hot day at faire.
Downloaded from www.pygmypony.net
I worked really hard this week, kept my focus, and in spite of a weekend at a renaissance festival that didn't offer much in the way of diet-friendly foods, I still made some awesome progress.  While my weight only dropped a pound I lost a whole TWO percentage points on my fat ratio!! (That's the biggest drop in my body fat so far!!)

HOORAY!!

I've had some people say some really weird things to me recently about my weight, and one particular comment is really bugging me.   At an event at work a couple of weeks ago I was wearing a sleek, form-fitting dress that I felt I looked really good in.  I received a lot of compliments and encouragement from the people who attended the event.  A fairly close friend of mine pulled me aside, hugged me and told me I looked great but then said, "you were always beautiful to me because of who you are on the inside.  Don't let your new shape go to your head or change who you are inside."

She elaborated a bit, making it clear she thought that my change in shape could make me stuck up, vain, unkind or something along those lines.  It was if she was saying skinny people are not as nice as people who are overweight.

I've definitely changed on the inside - but that happened before I even started the diet!  Liking myself and having respect for who I am is what gave me the confidence and belief to lose all this weight.  And to be honest, accomplishing this drop in weight has made me even more confident in my abilities and proud of myself.  I don't think any of that is a bad thing!

Two years ago I hid from the world.  I never stuck up for myself and allowed people to dump on me.  I was watching life pass me by instead of living it.  The conversations I had with myself were never nice.  I was an unhappy bump on the couch and I don't want to go back to that way of living or feeling. 

Because I am able to love myself and appreciate who I am, it has made me more loving and accepting towards others. Each day is a new miracle instead of something to just get through.  I mean, look at me in the photo above ... I NEVER used to smile like that .... ever!!

So yes, I have changed on the inside.... but I don't think the changes are anything my friends need to worry about.  It's the changes on the inside that made the changes on the outside possible!

And I do admit that I am staring at myself in the mirror a lot these days, but it's not because of vanity.  I am still amazed to realize that's ME in the mirror - the shock will eventually wear off.

Have a blessed week!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Living well.....

...really is the best revenge!  And if you're really living well, revenge isn't so important and you see those who've "wronged" you in a differnt light!  This past weekend I went to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas.  I used to attend this festival every year when I was younger - you might have even called me a fixture back in the day.

My new costume!
After getting married and landing a job that required me to work on Saturdays, I wasn't able to attend renaissance festivals the way I used to.  Last weekend was my first time back in seven or eight years.  It was wonderful reconnecting with friends, taking in the sights and smells, watching favorite performers and just having a good time.

I blogged a few weeks ago about a former friend of mine, who is on cast at this faire.  She was the last in a long line of Diva (with a capital D) friends who "allowed" me to be their friend because my round shape and awkwardness made them feel better about themselves.

Not only did this friend put me down on a regular basis, mostly about the shape of my body and the way it fit into clothes (never mind that she outweighed me by at least 50 lbs.), she also said and did a lot of things to create unwelcome drama into my life.  She pitted friends against each other, threw fits when things didn't go her way, etc.  When I told her I'd had enough and hoped we could find a way to have a healthier relationship, she shut me out of her life completely and told everyone who would listen that I was a viscious back-stabber.  It hurt for a while and the hurt gave way to anger and then eventually I realized how happier I was without her soul-sucking energy in my life.

Our paths crossed this weekend.  I called out a hello to her and she looked at me and my husband and asked "Do I know you people?"  I grinned and said, "Yeah, you know me."  After a couple of short moments studying my face her own face registered shock and then she glanced down at my super tiny waist and even more shock crossed her face.   She kept looking at my waist like she was trying to figure out where I was hiding the rest of me - like I was pulling a clever trick to hide my fat.

She made a couple of her trademark passive-aggressive statements but was mostly friendly.  I think the element of surprise and the presence of witnesses forced her to be more civil than she would have been otherwise.

I realized several things about myself while talking to this former friend:  While she has remained firmly in her miserable state of mind, I have moved on.  It really wasn't a moment of revenge, it was a realization that I am a lot stronger emotionally than I used to be and she can't hurt me anymore. The fact that she smears my name whenever she gets a chance doesn't matter anymore, either.  In many ways, I have a lot of empathy and pity for her and know she's doing the best she can to walk her path with the tools life gave her.  I wish her well and I wish her healing.... but that doesn't mean we're going to be pals again.

I am so thankful that I no longer attract Diva friends into my life!  I don't think it's the weight loss that made the difference, though.  I think it's the hard work I put into changing my mind about myself and who I am that made me able to "face the dragon" this weekend with a smile on my face. I've grown up a lot in the last few years!

An old costume photo of me.
Other wonderful things from this weekend:  For the first time in my life I feel like I look good - no, make that fantastic - in my renaissance garb.  In the past I'd get a new costume and feel good about it until I saw the photos from the weekend.  The mental image of how I looked never meshed with reality.  One of the first things I did when I went through the front gate was made a beeline for my favorite clothing booths and bought a new outfit. When I saw the pictures from this weekend I had to smile - my waist REALLY IS that small!

My knees and feet made it though two days of exploring the large faire without pain and I had plenty of energy to put up with the 95 degree days in full costume!

My head is small enough to wear my grandmother's straw hat.  The hat is about 100 years old and my husband thought I was crazy for wearing it. But it's in like-new condition and should be worn!  My head has always been too big for that hat and apparently I've lost a few hat sizes along with the dress sizes!  My grandmother was someone who always loved me, unconditionally and I felt like I had her with me at the faire.  The hat was also the perfect touch to finish the look I was going for with the new costume.

I think I was able to inspire someone else, someone I didn't have a chance to meet, to try the diet.  When I told the man who sold me my super cool new leather belt about all the weight I lost and that I needed to put several notches in the belt because I have several more lbs. to go, he started to ask me about what I did to drop 120 lbs and took my information and blog address.  His wife, who is close to my age, is currently in a weight struggle and is asking a lot of the same questions I asked when I decided to get healthy. 

The most powerful experience from this diet is that I've been able to give hope to people who might have otherwise given up.  I'm paying the inspiration I've drawn from others forward and it makes me a very happy soul.

Anyway, my weigh-in will be on Wednesday!   More soon!