All Entries For ~indygirl

Just Don't Eat The Whole Cake

A few old college friends and I were at a birthday party, sitting near the birthday cake and talking about our dieting struggles and how hard it is to lose weight. We spoke of how many failed attempts and programs we had under our belts.  We decided it was terribly daunting and only a miracle could save us from our fate of being overweight the rest of our lives.  We griped about how society, work, stress, so many things played into the weight loss equation.  One of my friends' youngest children, who had been listening, came in and sat at the table, listening intently, and then said, ''Just don't eat the whole cake.'' So pure!

That is really the essence of it all. One slice has less calories than two. You can always track it in your plan. No more throwing out the ''day'' because of a treat. ''Just don't eat the whole ___.''  Split it with your friends, your husband, a take-home box.  The truth is, our portions are just too big for most of our activities during the day.  We don't burn off enough calories.
I'm not saying this lightly. Honestly, we can choose to be happy. If things get tough, we have to get tougher.  At 460 pounds, I didn't have it in me to get tough, but I did have it in me to make baby steps.  That was the toughness that I needed at that time.  Through these very baby steps, I lost 200 pounds and gained the ability to walk again.
Posted 5/4/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 95 comments   25,524 views
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How to Stay Encouraged When in Chronic Pain

For those of you who believe there is nothing you can do when you have chronic pain, take it from me: there is hope.
I weighed 460 pounds and with all of my chronic medical issues and disability, I managed to baby step my way through my thus far of journey of 6 years. I’ve lost almost 200 pounds to date.
Lately I feel like I can do nothing. I have some extra medical issues getting in my way and need a few surgeries.  Part of me, the old me, wants to give up in a chocolate oblivion and couch-sitting frenzy. I got up to 460 pounds the last time I caved in and decided that not trying was better than failure.  At that point, I gave away my own rights to run, work, play, and walk on the beach. I literally handed over my freedom with full consent with each bite and every minute I sat sedentary. It seemed easier and freeing at the moment. I mean, what else could I do?
Well, let me tell you! I discovered that baby stepping is powerful. Something is not nothing. Even if you walk around the house with difficulty, you do it in preparation for your next steps in life. The real problem is that we have grown up in an “All or nothing/ No pain, no gain” world.  What about those of us who do have pain and are prone to gaining weight?  Push yourself without pushing yourself down. See a medical profession first and ask them what you CAN do. They can tell you how not to exacerbate your particular issues.  Then, armed with knowledge, go gently into your journey.
Support can be very hard to come by for those of us with chronic pain or disabilities. Still, it can be done-- just see my Spark Page!  I’ve lost almost 200 pounds despite my conditions. Forget those who call you lazy and give you advice like the artichoke and water pill diet.  There is no fast track. There is simply the journey, and I have found it to be one of the most introspective and joyous times of my life. You can educate yourself through SparkPeople and make a real lifestyle change.  Read, try different foods and activities and ignore the haters.
Never hold yourself up to Barbie girl working out next to you, on the TV, or in magazines.  You are unique. Go at your own pace and challenge yourself against your own accomplishments.  NEVER forget to reward yourself with some non-food item.  Things that I like to reward myself with are clothes, jewelry, and manicure/pedicures.  Someday, a massage sounds good.
Find what motivates you. Fill your life with supportive people, even if they are just your online Sparkfriends.  My Sparkfriends mean the world to me. They keep me going when I feel down. Lately I’ve been struggling because I need surgery and I feel like a rolly polly bug. It frustrates me terribly, the fatigue, pain, and just general lethargy.  If it were not for all of you, I would feel so lost. I read things people write to me and smile.  I feel better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping me going. 
Posted 3/30/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 119 comments   20,826 views
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How It Feels to Lose Almost 200 Pounds

I’m knocking on the door of my 200 pound weight loss by just 15 pounds. It has been a long journey- since December 2005. I wouldn’t speed it up or change a thing. I needed that time to make real change and learn to transition to a new lifestyle. A journey is a very individual thing. I found for myself, that losing around ½ to 1 pound a week allowed me to not starve and work on making lasting changes. One pound a week over a year is a 52-pound loss. 
I thought crossing over into the 300’s from the 400’s was exciting.Then I thought nothing could ever beat the feeling of losing 100 pounds. Then I lost 150 pounds, putting me halfway to my weight-loss goal.  I thought nothing would beat crossing into the 200’s, but then I realized that I was 40 pounds away from a 200 pound loss.  I lit a fire under myself to get that weight off.  Now I am excited that a mere 15 pounds stands between me and my 200-pound loss.
Posted 3/16/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 156 comments   16,571 views
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Sometimes When I Look at Myself...

Sometimes When I Look at Myself

 Sometimes when I look at me,
I see this person looking back,
And all that I can think of,
Is everything she lacks.
Her hair is brown and common,
Her eyes a bluish green,
She keeps her smile to herself,
As she doesn’t want it seen.
She’s heavyset and not athletic,
Her body not to her liking,
But actually she’s a butterfly,
Quite beautiful and striking.
Breaking through cocoon walls,
Made her very strong,
She never knew she had it in her,
But she had it all along.
Posted 1/23/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 120 comments   12,524 views
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The First Day I Decided to Live Again

I reach
Through beams of dusty light
Falling to the earth
Through all of their prisms and geometry
Past the wind that dances on my skin...
And I want to know
Am I the only one who sees it?
Here, right now?
In this frozen moment of time?
There is something so mystical about the ordinary.
How could I have missed it yesterday?
The ordinary, that’s the beginning of change. 
Bedridden at 460 pounds, I had become very complacent. After all, there was nothing I could do, I thought.  Getting out of bed and rejoining the world seemed to be an immense journey that would take years and willpower that I just didn’t have.  I got tired and depressed just thinking about trying to get out of my situation.
The day I decided to live was not some miraculous moment in time.  It was a “Why the heck not try this since I’ve tried everything else” kind of moment.  Amazingly enough, the tips from Dr. Oz’s book, YOU on a Diet and SparkPeople taught me to take things slowly and work with my body instead of against it.
I had to learn to take things slowly, work smarter, not harder, and change up my life to include more than food.  This was crucial!  My days consisted of staying in bed eating and doing anything I could from there.  That’s a small world.  The chronic pain didn’t help.  Somehow I had to reach beyond that and find friends and support, which I found on SparkPeople.  This gave me courage to reach out in the real world.
Posted 11/18/2011  11:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 74 comments   12,360 views
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Exercise Will Stop Being a Chore and Start Being Fun--But When?

Last week, I blogged about walking my first 5K, a huge accomplishment for me.
At what point did exercise go from being a chore to something to look forward to for me?
When I quit making myself try to perform at other people’s levels, started challenging myself, began playing with workout fashion and discovered the power of music.
OK, so maybe I don’t always look forward to exercise, but that’s mostly because I hate working out alone.  At home, a workout feels more like a chore, so I pull out the high-powered music that MAKES me move. I throw on some workout clothes that make me feel fit, rather than like a slob.  The sum of those two things usually gets me arm biking in no time.
I love music! I keep a hot playlist just for workouts.  It’s my treat for working out. 
They are my most addictive songs of the moment.  They have to be very upbeat and leave me with a hunger to hear more.  That will keep me working out longer and harder.  If I can’t listen to my playlist, except for during a workout, you can imagine how that turns the tables on a workout.
Posted 11/11/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 49 comments   17,142 views
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If I Can Do a 5K, So Can You

I’m not a 5K kind of girl.  In fact, I use a walker and a wheelchair.  I’m in severe pain most days and not what you would call "sporty."  I do, however like a good challenge.  When I was walking to strengthen my legs, my friend Mccourtt challenged me to walk a 5K.  Well, it was on!  So I set out to walk one.
Cindholm talked to me about pedometers on our first mall walk.  I bought a good one with what I thought was a sturdy bull clip by Omron.  It works very well but does have a tendency to fall off, so I recommend buying the safety strap with clip for it.
I knew I needed help, so my nephew Josh and I would take walks over the summer for training, walker in tow.  He is quite the taskmaster!  I would do anything for him, so when he says he wants to go, I go!  That’s good inspiration.  I would count steps at first--miles were far away.  We rested frequently, as my walker has a seat and I drank a lot of water.
Vettechinhippie helped me train three times a week, walking with my walker through shops and malls.  We did errands, walked all of the aisles of some stores, and took rest breaks frequently.  Eventually my pace got quicker and my legs stronger. Vettechinhippie is a very sweet friend who worked out with me through thick and thin, whether I had a painful day or she had many errands.  We adjusted.
BB_4_ME helped me train in the water and on recumbent machines at the gym to strengthen my muscles.  She is a great source of positive energy.  She is full of ideas and has been through chronic pain herself, so she is familiar with modifying exercise to fit individual needs.
Kind_heart101, my husband, then set up my iPod to do very accurate step, distance, and calorie counting for me.  After seeing how much pain I was being caused by my training, and how tired he got trying to train with me ONE day, he declared I couldn’t do a 5K.  I declared if I did, I got a Tiffany bracelet! 
Posted 11/4/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 112 comments   16,366 views
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In the Water, Weight Doesn't Matter

An amazing thing happens when I get into a pool.  I feel light and giddy. I feel like playing and doing flips.  Silly me! I actually did one, even though it took me eight tries.  Yes, I failed seven times in public, but the feeling of the flip was so exhilarating and playful that it was worth every attempt. 
I love the feeling of the water and how it takes away the drag of gravity and is so renewing and freeing.
I grew up near Lake Michigan and spent a lot of time there swimming and enjoying the beach.  Then I moved to central Indiana, where people think any old puddle is a real lake.  To me, it isn’t a lake if you can see across it.  Still, I take what I can get. Most of the time that means I swim in a pool. 
It is also nice that pools have stairs and less debris for my feet to get tangled in, such as seaweed.  I do miss the great outdoors, the feeling of the lake breeze on my face, and the smooshing of sand between my toes.
Growing up, I just liked swimming.  I never knew what a favor I was doing myself by just having fun in the water.  Water provides resistance, like weights or bands.  It also provides a great cardio work out at the same time by getting your heart pumping and all of your parts moving.  Later in life I discovered water aerobics classes and love them to this day.  They do the same things, but in a more directed approach.
Posted 10/28/2011  3:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 79 comments   13,684 views
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I Lost 150+ Pounds--and I Didn't Give Up

Many of you asked me why I never gave up, how I lost this weight, and why I s
I try to fight the good fight against my ill health with intensity and fire now.  LOL!  No.  Actually I fight against my ill health one choice at a time.  I used to fight with fire and intensity, but I always burned out and gave up, calling myself a failure once again.
It all started very simply with one change at a time.  As I got used to the change, I changed something else.  For example, I made a rule for myself to eat from small plates when they were available.  Then when I got used to that I began ordering small instead of large and sharing meals at restaurants.  1% organic milk became a staple grocery item, and then I added more whole grain products, fiber, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables.  One of my favorite sources of healthy fat became spray canola, olive, or sunflower oil. 
Posted 10/21/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 205 comments   26,450 views
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Could Gratitude Be the Key to Weight Loss?

Did you ever stop to think how "More" centered the world is getting. It's getting pretty selfish. They say in addiction studies that when your brain says "I want more___," that is usually your addict talking. Think about it really. If food were a drug, and some do compare it to one, that would explain why we cannot stop eating MORE until something is gone. Personally, I listen to that voice, the "more" voice. If I hear it, I say "You're the addict! You WANT me to eat more." I then get away from the food as if it is toxic. Eating less becomes easier from that standpoint. I'm not here to argue food addiction with anyone. I'm just telling you a little trick that helps me.
More of everything is available and we seem to want it all.  I love this line from a Sheryl Crow song: "Happiness isn't getting what you want; it's wanting what you've got." 

I think if we were grateful for the blessing we do have in our lives, we would be more fulfilled and less "hungry."  We crave newer and better things and experiences, and there is nothing wrong with that sometimes.  It's when we can't have it and placate our boredom with food that we get in trouble.
Posted 10/14/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 73 comments   16,666 views
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Hey, You! Cheer Up!

A parody, to the tune of Hey, Jude.
Hey you, I know it’s bad,
You’ll have to get strong to make it better,
Remember to always lead with  your heart,
Then you can start to make it better.

Hey you, don't be dismayed,
Your body’s made to go out and move more,
The minute you make sweat come from your skin,
Then you have started to make it better.

And anytime you’re feeling pain,
Hey you refrain,
Don't eat the weight of the world, instead go lighter,
For now you know that it's a Spark,
That lights the dark,
By making his world a little brighter,
Na na na na na
na na na na

Hey you, you’ll never let me down,
You have found Spark, we’re in it together,
Remember to always lead with your heart,
And that Spark can make it better.
Posted 10/7/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Beth Donovan : 74 comments   15,476 views
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How to the Weather Life's Storms

Tea and sympathy, not cake and apathy.
Have you ever had one of those days, weeks, or years, when everything that can go wrong does?  I’m going through that storm now.  I’ve recently lost two pets, a cat and a bunny; a close friend passed on as well. I’ve had hives for three going on four weeks, prednisone shots and pills, both cars of our cars broke down at once… and the list goes on. 
In the old days, I would say “To heck with it! I DESERVE to eat whatever I want!”  While, I still do indulge upon occasion, I plan for it and do sometimes go over.  I’ve found that in the middle of so many uncontrollable things in life, the one thing I CAN control is my program to get healthier.  It’s mine!  Nobody is going to mess with it.
Yes, I DESERVE to be healthier.  Let’s face it. In a whirlwind, you need something to hang onto, and SparkPeople is that for me.  I’m not talking about a website.  I’m talking about you there, reading this.  I’m talking about the community we have. We care for each other. I’m also talking about our common goal of getting in better shape by exercise and eating healthier. 
We all have bad days, but we are bound together by a common cause and a common goal.  We want to be healthier.  We want to believe. 
Posted 9/23/2011  12:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 103 comments   16,427 views
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Imagine Your Cravings Away!

How would you like to cut back your calories with the power of imagery?  Simply imagining the food and the sensations can help, according to a New York Times article.

"In one test 51 people were divided into three groups. One group imagined eating 30 M&M’s; another, three M&M’s; the third, none. When a bowl of M&M’s was then presented to the group, those who had imagined eating the most ate the fewest.

"The researchers chalked up the results to habituation: the manner in which the brain gets used to repeated experiences. In the same way that imagining a coral snake wrapping itself around your ankle might make you sweat, imagining eating food might have physiological effects: it may be releasing dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and satiety."    

Research has proven time and time again that imagery and visualization are strong tools for many purposes.  Athletes, seriously ill patients, and those who have other personal goals have used these methods successfully. 
Posted 9/16/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 48 comments   41,177 views
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Donít Tell Me What I Canít Do!

I love the saying from the television series Lost that character John Locke always repeats, "Don’t tell me what I can’t do!"  I think that’s part of where I got that attitude from.  That saying just clicked with me.  I think it’s because I was told that I wouldn’t and I couldn’t by so many, but then I did! 
What did I do?  I, and believe me this is a miracle, lost 150 pounds and went from bedridden to able to walk a bit, longer with a walker.  The pain is still frightful; however, where there is a will there is a way.  You should always discuss your pain with your doctor.  Even if they are less than receptive, they need to hear your needs.  If at any time you are told "Just lose weight," ask them how to deal with that when you can barely move.  If you’re dismissed as a whiner, find another doctor!  There are medicines, physical therapy, and other tools available to you to help you through the pain so that you can move.  There are even assistive devices, like canes, walkers, shower benches, heavyweight lifestyle websites, among other things to get you up and moving.
Posted 9/6/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 72 comments   13,998 views
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Clever Cardio for Those with Mobility Issues

One of my mantras is: "That which I cannot do now is my aspiration, not my defeat."
If you are have trouble moving or haven’t exercised in awhile, it can be very daunting to take on new cardio moves.  Most cardio moves involve the need to be on your feet, so I’m going to give you a few that don’t.  This is part of the CAN DO SparkPeople attitude I would love to see people embrace.
As most of you know, I was totally bedridden at 460 pounds and have lost 150 pounds.  I had to come up with some cardio moves that did not involve my legs because at that time, I couldn’t use them.  Clever Cardio, let’s call it.  That’s the cardio you come up with when you think out of the box or throw the box out completely.  Remember everything is better with music.
Here are some exercises that worked for me. Always consult with your health-care provider before starting any new workout routine.
Posted 9/2/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 119 comments   40,207 views
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