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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SORE. That's what I am.

I pushed through a semi-difficult workout on Monday and then hammered myself through a tough Zumba class last night. And, according to Hubs, all I've been able to say for 2 days is, "OMG! I'm SO sore!"

Now, let me say this - it's good sore. Those of you in the know know exactly what I mean.

It's sore from working out well.
It's sore from challenging my muscles to give just a little more.
It's sore from muscle tearing...I never thought I'd hope for tearing.
It's sore from the process of building a new leaner, stronger model of this here body of mine.

I'm not mad about it. Not at all. In fact, there's a slight smirk on my face when I tell you now that I am SORE!

I've been away way too long and had forgotten what this felt like. For a while, I wasn't getting to sore. My muscles were adjusting to my routine and I was having to find new and different ways to challenge them. But now that I've been away from the gym, from crunches and ST, from elliptical machines and Zumba - the result is soreness. But I'm good with that.

My plan for the week, remember, is:
emoticon Monday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
emoticon Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Thursday - Line Dancing/Zumba
Friday - 45 minutes Cardio / 45 minutes ST
Saturday - 60 minutes cardio, minimum

2 little emoticon stickers and I'm a happy girl.

This morning I packed my bag for the gym without thinking, like I always do...but I actually said out loud, "I don't know if I'll be working out tonight because I'm so sore."

It took me exactly 2 minutes to tell myself how ridiculous I was for thinking that. Right now it's all about the streak. I need to build upon those two days. I need to, just once, complete the plan I set out for myself. Even if it's something very low impact like yoga. And even if I need to split up the 30 minutes into 2 x 15 minute sets of cardio and ST, it still counts. Even if I do a somewhat light walk around the indoor track or on the treadmill for 30 minutes, it still counts. Even if I have to do 3 x 10 minute STILL counts.

Tonight is not about killing myself.
Tonight is not about beating myself up.
Tonight is not about being that mean Jillian Michaels version of me.

Tonight is all about the streak.
And I mean that both ways. It's about feeling good naked - my reason for continuing to follow the plan, and about keeping the drive alive - and my need to just do it, even if I have to back off and just focus on time instead of intensity.

Tonight is all about the emoticon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATREAT4ME 1/29/2011 3:51PM

    Woohoo! Go for it because you can do it. Streak away!

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MAIA2011 1/26/2011 8:55PM



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RUSSELLORAMA 1/26/2011 8:06PM

    Streaking rocks! I'm so proud of you!

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GOGOSHIRE 1/26/2011 7:25PM


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RAVENSONG37 1/26/2011 4:20PM

    I love you Es! Thanks for being you.

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MAGSA10 1/26/2011 3:24PM

    emoticonGood for you, keep those check marks coming. Sore is as sore does that's what I say. Stay strong and keep on Sparking.

Maggie j. emoticon

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BRIAEL 1/26/2011 1:35PM

    Sore is a good reason to keep going. I use it as my primary motivation. :)

Glad you're on a streak ... enjoy it!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 1/26/2011 1:07PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MEGSFITNESS 1/26/2011 1:07PM

    You and me both, Lady! Love that streak and that positive attitude :)

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RIGBY31 1/26/2011 12:45PM

    I love that you're even telling your gym bag how sore you are!
And feeling the sore = feeling alive.

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MICHELLESMILES_ 1/26/2011 12:07PM

    emoticon emoticon

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XTMONT 1/26/2011 11:52AM

    Keep up the streak! And remember, the best way to work out that soreness is MORE EXERCISE!

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TKPHOTOGIRL 1/26/2011 11:24AM

  I tell myself that if I'm sore then more exercise = temporary relief from being sore cos my muscles will warm up. That's usually enough to get me started - even if I do curse myself the next day when I'm sore again! The nice thing is that feeling sore is also a good reminder to watch what I'm eating - feeling that the muscles are working makes me more determined.

Keep streaking!!!

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GOZEKIGRL 1/26/2011 11:24AM

    i LOVE good sore! way to go! keep up the good work!

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CALLIKIA 1/26/2011 11:17AM

    Ha! If I walk around in my bra and underwear, my kids still term that as me being "naked" and run away. *snort*

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KATIE2POINT0 1/26/2011 11:13AM

    I pushed myself through the soreness last week and I actually felt a lot better the next day. If you put stress on your body it will adjust. Good work keeping yourself going with your plan... its not easy but you're doing it anyway. You'll be streaking around the house for fun in no time... you know, just make sure its only the hubs who is still up ;)

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SARAWALKS 1/26/2011 11:11AM

    Streak on! emoticon

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DDHEART 1/26/2011 11:07AM

    ROFL!!! Go you streaker you!!! emoticon

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

...this is the word I'm echoing in my head this week. Planning I can do. Even in my darkest moments, I can plan up a storm. I have grand schemes and ideas and dreams, and I can sit down for hours and write out just HOW I plan to get from point A to point B. The problem, at least lately, has been follow-through.

In my blog yesterday, I set this plan:

Workout Plan for the week of January 24th-29th
Monday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Thursday - Line Dancing/Zumba
Friday - 45 minutes Cardio / 45 minutes ST
Saturday - 60 minutes cardio, minimum

I can now proudly report that I have earned my first emoticon for the week!

Last night, at around 4pm or so, the usual "how to get out of going to the gym" excuses started in my head. I heard them, but I refused to listen. I was going. Period. And apparently, simply turning the voice on mute did me well. After work I drove to my gym, I swiped my card without thinking I had to for the insurance program, and I retreated to the locker room to put on my power gear.

emoticon FYI - Power Gear = Workout Clothes

The gym was crowded, yet that didn't stop me. I looked around -- treadmills all taken, my two favorite ellipticals in use, my backup elliptical occupied, and the rowing machine was in full row. No worries. I filled my water bottle and walked to the first open machine I could find. It worked out it was an elliptical machine, one of the models I generally shy away from because they tend to get noisy. I didn't care. I put on my headphones, set my music to simply shuffle, started with Apocolyptica's version of Unforgiven and set the machine to the cross training function with the big hill in the middle. Time set: 30 minutes.

For the first time in a long time, I was quickly powering through my workout. I didn't really notice the time until about 20 minutes in...or, what I mean is, I didn't check to see "how much longer?" until about 20 minutes in (lately it's been about 2 minutes in and I want to go home!). I powered through and ended up with a 30 minute workout and 5 minute cool down that I could be proud of.

35 Minutes
Cross Training 2
2.19 Miles
4277 Steps
Average Pace of about 135
427.9 calories burned

I walked around the track a few times to get my legs back under me, and then stretched and checked the time before I started strength training. 30 minutes is what I promised myself. I started on the cable machine with lat and tricep work and when I got bored with that I moved on to another part of the gym. I did squats with one of those exercise balls behind me. 2 sets of 15. I did 16 walking lunges (on each leg) with the 6 pound medicine ball in my hands. And then I got bored again. I carried the 6 pound medicine ball to the ab reclining bench. I tried not to stress that I could only do 2 sets of 20 crunches and a set of 20 twist crunches before I was beat...I guess it really has been a while (I used to do 150 crunches a night)! Instead of beating myself up, I moved on. I did 2 sets of 15 modified pushups and tried not to harp on the fact that I had once been up to 10 regular because modified were getting too easy...I'll get back there again.

I checked the clock. Crap! Only 15 minutes? I was sure it had been more than that! Okay...what now? I went down stairs and got on the leg press machine. 2 sets of 15 with a 35 pound weight on each side. Calf raises too, three different ways, 15 each set. Then shoulder presses with the dumbells followed by bicep curls.

Dang! Still 5 minutes left. I moved on again...back extension machine - three sets. 130-160-180 increasing weight. And while that last bit really did take up my time, I decided I wasn't QUITE done yet. I promised to work my hip. I promised myself that I would do it in the hopes of getting back to running. 1-2 weeks of hip strength training, I told myself, and I could try to run again. I saw the I RUN BondiBand on my head in the mirror and resolved to get in some hip training. I went to the hip machine that would work the specific muscle I knew needed work and did 3 more sets - increasing the weight from 60-70-80.

A long stretch later and I realized that I had not only followed-through with what I had set out to do, I'd done just a little bit extra.

Total tally for last night: 35 minutes Cardio, 35 minutes ST

And while it may seem silly to be so happy about one night, I have to keep reminding myself that each step is important. As I look at the JLo boxing picture on my desktop at work, and as I look at my new page background, I'm reminded that it's not about boob size and what other people think about how I look - it's all about how I want to feel. Sure, I'd love to have JLo's butt and Tara Wood's (the girl in the new background) shoulders, but what I love about these pictures is the feeling of strength that comes through them. The determination in their eyes. The confidence that shines through Tara's eyes. The power behind those gloves, even. I want to feel like Wonder Woman more than I want to look like her, if that makes sense.

So each time I do a leg press or get on the elliptical machine, I'm trying more and more to forget the body I have and the body I used to have...I'm focusing on the body I'm building. And, the truth is, I have no idea what that body will look like...but I have a sort of notion of how it will feel - strong, powerful, and ready for anything.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ATREAT4ME 1/29/2011 3:47PM

    l completely understand about working on how you want your body to feel. That is the goal for me too!

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KITHKINCAID 1/26/2011 2:29PM

    They call it "body building" for a reason! Way to go for getting back to it :)

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RIGBY31 1/25/2011 11:40PM

    "... focussing on the body I'm building". That is a mighty powerful, positive statement. And whew! I'm exhausted after your blog.

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    ahhhh yes.. the body you're building!! great blog!

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RAVENSONG37 1/25/2011 5:22PM

    Have a great time tonight babe!!

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CHICAT63 1/25/2011 4:34PM

    emoticon emoticon Woohoo. You are going for it, have fun at Zumba tonight !

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/25/2011 4:04PM

    It is certainly not silly to be happy about that!!

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MEGSFITNESS 1/25/2011 3:57PM

    The last two paragraphs were MOST inspirational :) I'm going to contemplate that idea today/tonight..

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MAGSA10 1/25/2011 2:33PM

    emoticonyou got Monday down and I am hoping that Tuesday will be a high note for you.

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1BIGDREAM 1/25/2011 12:01PM

    LOVE IT! Work it!

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MAIA2011 1/25/2011 11:54AM

    This is why you rock!


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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 1/25/2011 11:22AM


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TEACHDIANN78 1/25/2011 10:32AM

    That's awesome! It's not silly to celebrate one night...I celebrate each and every workout I do! Keep it up!

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_SHARKBAIT_ 1/25/2011 10:29AM


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HALLORAN84 1/25/2011 10:19AM

    LOVE this blog :)
You are on the right track and you are going after it! You will have the strong body that you want because you are willing to work for it emoticon
Have fun at Zumba tonight!

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HEALTH-E-CLARE 1/25/2011 9:54AM

    Be proud, that was an awesome workout. Routines and streaks have to start somewhere, and that's a pretty amazing day to start with.

Best of luck with this week, you have a great plan of attack!

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MAGPIE17 1/25/2011 9:47AM

    "I want to feel like Wonder Woman more than I want to look like her, if that makes sense."

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GOGOSHIRE 1/25/2011 9:33AM

    I love reading your weekly plans because they always make me feel like a slug since yours are so exciting with lots of variation, and it gets me off my ass to make my own week more exciting, too.


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SARAWALKS 1/25/2011 9:31AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DETERMINED_SOUL 1/25/2011 9:30AM

    That is emoticon

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KATIE2POINT0 1/25/2011 9:29AM

    YAY! Good for you Esther! Nothing feels better than a workout you can be proud of. I have the same follow-though problems. This morning my alarm went off and my first thought was 'absolutely not' then I remembered on someone's spark page it says "yesterday you said tomorrow" and I got up... I was cranky but I did it. So good for you. Gold star!!

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Monday, January 24, 2011

In 20 Wise Quotes from the Dalai Lama, I found this gem:

"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, thatís our real disaster."

I had a bit of a meltdown yesterday evening. Now, I'm not exactly one to promote meltdowns, not really, but sometimes a meltdown for me is a breaking point - a sort of mile-marker for the turnaround in my thinking. This meltdown seems to have been just that. To help you understand, I guess it's best to go back to the events of this weekend and let you know what led up to the turning point (or, at least, what I hope is the turning point).

I awoke Saturday morning at 8:30am. After a quick shower, the whole family headed down to the elementary school for my oldest son's basketball game. Logan, 11, is new to basketball. This is only his second game in his first year in the sport. It took him a while to figure out what he wanted, what he enjoyed and he had several false starts along the way. He played football one summer...and hated every minute of it. He ran away from the ball when it was thrown to him, and he didn't like running back and forth on the field. Last year he played spring baseball, and while he did seem to enjoy the game, he just wasn't very good at it. I think he may have hit the ball one time in a game all season...and I think he was immediately tagged out at first. Still, he tried all year, and we encouraged him to practice in order to get better. This year, Logan decided that basketball was his new sport. I have to admit, his father and I were both skeptical, but since his own tiny elementary school has it's own little mini-league, we decided to go ahead and sign him up. At least it didn't cost us anything.

Last week, while watching him in his first game, I noticed something about my son. My shy, I-don't-want-attention driven son was a bit of a showboat on the court. I don't mean that he was hyping up the crowd, I just mean that the second he was put into the game he was in defensive stance against any player on the other team that had the ball. The same son who walks (and actually does everything) slower than anyone I know, was one of the first players up and down the court. He blocked shots and passed the ball and seemed to be the start of a game changer for his team. His team was down 20-2 in the first half, but came back when Logan was put in to make something like a 26-18 final score.

During the game, I heard myself say something that even sounded weird to me. I turned to Ethan, Logan's brother, and said, "I didn't know your brother knew how to play basketball!" Ethan smiled and nodded. He's watched his brother at several practices, and I guess he had the inside scoop on things. All last week the coach of Logan's team promised to work on his offensive skills (shooting) and, sure enough, in Saturday's game, Logan made two baskets...and he was in the game a lot longer this game than he was in the last. Maybe he shocked the coach a little as well. While his team still lost, Logan felt proud of his two shots and proud of his overall performance. Still, he nodded and smiled when I said, "You made 2 baskets?!" but didn't further discuss any details of the game. (Unfortunately, his father and I missed both shots as we were roped into concession duty out front. *sigh*)

After the game, my friend Anne Marie and I ate lunch with the boys and then took off to Columbus to visit a friend. The whole way there we talked about all the things we wanted to do this year - rock climbing, rafting, tennis. We talked about our boxing lesson coming up this weekend and talked about how we hope to challenge ourselves this year to really find what we love and hate. I remember saying to her, "Let's do it all! We might hate some of it, but we might find some things we love too!"

The wine party that night was both fun and challenging for me. My friend, Hillary, had invited a bunch of old high school classmates. Most of those who came were people I may have graduated with, but didn't really form close bonds with in high school. I was never in the popular group. I knew a lot of people, but I wouldn't have ever called us "friends" per se. I was worried and felt those high school insecurities pop back up into my head.

We had a total of something like 10 girls that night. I knew I had AM, Hillary, and a good friend, Joanna, to cling to, but I also really wanted to get to know these high school girls as adults now. We talked about what we were doing now, our spouses and children, where we lived, where the road had taken us. And through all of that, I kept feeling the, "I'm the saddest excuse for a person here" monster talking to me in my head.

I promise I tried to ignore it, but I kept hearing it tell me how I had wasted my senior year, how I had withdrawn and had little to no high school experiences because I was busy being pregnant and trying to figure out what my life was about to become. I remember it telling me that I still had a sorry excuse for a job, even though I'm currently (impatiently) waiting on a promotion to go through here at work. I remember it telling me way too many times, "You are still the fattest person in the room." And, as I told my husband last night, in my mind, fat = ugly, so I automatically assumed that I was also the ugliest person in the room (although my husband strongly disagreed with me on that one).

I tried not to let the voice influence me. I hated every picture, but pretended I didn't care. I danced in the living room with Hillary's 7 year old while she was playing Just Dance 2, and there was a certain freedom in doing what I wanted and not caring what the people around me thought. (Turns out they thought it was hilarious and wanted to take pictures...more pictures for me to secretly hate.)

Also that night, this comment was made: "Man, Esther! Your boobs look HUGE in this picture." That one would stick with me...

The next day, AM and I went shopping. I found a bunch of clothes - XL and XXL shirts from Old Navy and the Gap that I could never imagine trying on, let alone buying, just last year. And that should have been enough to lift my spirit...but, of course, it wasn't. It was a solitary purchase that broke my heart -- a size 42DDD bra. Yep, you saw that right -- THREE Ds.

You see, this new body of mine has some downsizing that needs to be done. I started at a 52DD years ago. Slowly but surely, that band size has begun to shrink. I've gone from 46-42 since April alone. But what I hadn't expected was that, while the band size was decreasing, the actual boobs were not. And when the around size of the band shrinks, but the around size of the boobs don't, you actually INCREASE a cup size. The difference between the band size and the boob size actually GROWS. So I went from a 52DD to a 42DDD, and it killed me to buy that bra (although it was adorable...and on sale from like 40 bucks to 19.99).

Of course, the hubs thinks it's awesome and has nothing negative to say. But something in my head keeps mocking me. "You get smaller AND get bigger at the same time! HAHAHA!" It's quite annoying. Other mocking tones came too. My hair needs cut looks horrible. My muscle has melted away after weeks of disuse. This one was strange for me -- my hair is no longer red, something I once both hated and secretly had pride in. Oh, and that's not even considering the comment from my husband of, "So who is the strawberry blonde girl in the pictures?" *sigh* This one comment automatically set off a, "Your husband doesn't think you're pretty" tirade which lasted most of the drive home.

I got home last night around 6pm or so. I was tired and hungry since I hadn't eaten since about 11am. I grabbed the boys and headed out for Chinese. But I couldn't eat much. I was too upset. Hubs was worried. He said he hadn't seen me this way in a long time and he was seriously concerned. "I'm just a mess," I told him. I didn't want him to worry, but I needed to work through it all in my head. I needed to quiet the monster. I had my meltdown and then went to bed after setting out my gym clothes for the next day, resolved to get back at the one thing I knew made me feel like I was worth something.

'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.'
My tragedy was in my own was the loss, or rather the suppression, of hope. I thought I was done for - that I had done all I could and would never be anything. My (horrible) father once told me I would never amount to anything and no one would ever love me, and in my darkest hour, that comment becomes my mantra...and that was my tragedy. Last night as my husband kissed me goodnight, he said, "I'm glad you're home. I missed you." And my reply was simply, "I've been missing me too."

That was the problem. I had lost myself again...and I needed to find myself. As I drifted off to sleep, I recounted the conversations I had had with AM about our "Year of Adventures" and reminded myself how long it took Logan to find something he was good at...and I decided that I was done missing myself.

Now, I can't say that I'm going to do everything right from here on out. That would be silly and stupid to think. I can't even promise I'm going to make the most amazing quick comeback ever. But I've made the following promises to myself:

* Do what you love.
* Do what you do.
* Go to the gym every day, even if you just walk in and walk back out, just get in the habit of going again.
* Go back to Zumba. You love it, and you have to do what you love.
* Make a plan and follow it, even when you don't want to.
* Forgive yourself.

That last one is going to be hard. I tend to harp on what I've done wrong. But, like many of my friends who are starting over yet again, I think I've come to the conclusion that I'm doing the same. How fitting, considering when I started in April, it was following a weekend trip to my friend Hillary's house, in which we experienced a wine tasting. (Maybe wine has medicinal mental properties none of us have ever thought about!! *lol*)

Workout Plan for the week of January 24th-29th
Monday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Tuesday - Zumba
Wednesday - 30 minutes Cardio / 30 minutes ST
Thursday - Line Dancing/Zumba
Friday - 45 minutes Cardio / 45 minutes ST
Saturday - 60 minutes cardio, minimum

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KITHKINCAID 1/26/2011 8:03PM

    Hey Esther - I don't want to overstep my boundaries here, but have you ever considered talking to a pro about how you're feeling? Just sometimes, some of the things that you say in your blogs about things that your father said to you, or things that you say to yourself make me feel like you'd really benefit from an outside person to validate and bounce these ideas off of. Because they are SO important and you are SO allowed to feel all of that. You fight so hard to "get back with it" and stop yourself from feeling upset, and I just know from experience that sometimes what you really need is to BE upset and have that breakdown and be angry at everyone (or specific people) for a while. If you ever want to chat about it, I'm here for you. I just think it might help you get over this hump if you were able to frame these feelings in a different way. I'm behind you 100 percent. I see a lot of myself in you and I want for you to succeed as much as you do - and I know you can and will because you are truly amazing and you're one of the smartest, most insightful people I have come across in a long time.

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MAIA2011 1/25/2011 11:52AM

    I might be overstepping here but I get super in my head like that, too, and the wine helps me R-E-L-A-X. Too much causes other problems. I am glad that your plan is to get back to exercising. When I get out of the habit I am even more sad to see muscle loss than weight gain.

I'm so glad that Logan is kicking butt at basketball! That's a game changer!


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EUPHRATES 1/25/2011 3:10AM

    This made me cry. *hugs* I LOVE the idea of a "year of adventure" - that's an inspiring thought.

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RAVENSONG37 1/25/2011 12:40AM

    I understand what you are saying in so many ways. One thing about the boobs - the reduction in band size is you melting your back fat. (One bra fitter once told me this!) Maybe you are one of those skinny chicks with huge boobies, if that's the case, that's how the creator made ya! As I have lost weight my boobs have never shrunk...and while they looked small when I was bigger, they look pretty big on a size 8 frame. It's always kinda messed with me because I don't see below the boobs...and it makes me feel larger than I am because bam - boobs. Just know that with everything, your body will continue to change as you put good stuff in you and move you around. You can do anything and I love you and think you are beautiful inside and out.

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MAGSA10 1/24/2011 6:52PM

    I am so glad that I have subscribed to your blog posting. They make me feel human and like I am not the only one out there dealing with some of the same mental workings.

emoticonon your future physical activities and hope that some of them workout for you.

Have a great Tuesday and stay strong and keep on Sparking.

Maggie j. emoticon

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 1/24/2011 4:24PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BRIAEL 1/24/2011 3:48PM

    I look at meltdowns in a similar way - as a means of growing stronger. Each experience, be it negative or positive, gives us knowledge; and knowledge is power in the battle to be who we want or intend to be.

I think you're doing a great job of learning who you are now, and who you want to become. Just keep allowing yourself to grow from the meltdowns and you'll become an awesome version of yourself that you didn't know existed. :)

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1BIGDREAM 1/24/2011 3:35PM

    I know that you have been going through a hard time, but I'm really proud of you. I can't wait for you to find you again!

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MAGPIE17 1/24/2011 2:47PM

    Those are great promises, hon. And FYI - when I lost weight, I went down a band size and up a cup size too. It can be frustrating, but my bf thinks is awesome that my boobs weren't lost with my weight ;). They'll shrink eventually, but don't let it get to you that they aren't yet. Think about it - would you be happier if you were losing the weight in your boobs instead of your waist? Your hips?

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RIGBY31 1/24/2011 2:46PM

    Crud, I hate those "reunion" type situations where the "wonderful who you are now" doesn't exist because the "nobody" you were has taken over. Of course you're not the same person from years ago (thank goodness!). You have grown immensely (and as you pointed out, shrunken somewhat, too!). The meltdown is over, served its purpose. Now onward to your new adventures and greatness. (ps.. Logan is awesome by finding himself, just like his mama!).

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TIGERJANE 1/24/2011 1:35PM

    I like how you're able to so eloquently write out the thoughts in your head, and lead us through your thought processes . We all have a negative tape that we need to turn down the volume on. You've got a solid plan in place to get you toward your goals, and following that is going to make you feel self-pride again. Cause we all know you're a determined, hard-working person who doesn't let circumstances stand in her way when she's made up her mind! We'll all be rooting for you :)

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/24/2011 12:26PM

    All that internal noise really gets in the way sometimes, but I know you have to figure out why and where it's coming from. I think your plan is a good one, and you know that if you do fall, you will forgive yourself and get right back up again.

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ERIN1128 1/24/2011 12:22PM

    Keep plugging, babe - you know you're on a good road, and I know you have the strength to stay on it! Hugs.

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XTMONT 1/24/2011 12:20PM

    We push ourselves so hard every day and don't recognize that the hardest thing we do isn't physical: Forgive yourself and move on! You can do it!

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SARAWALKS 1/24/2011 12:12PM

    I am so excited about the new things you're going to do this year! AND about Logan, the natural at basketball! We are all a natural at something & sometimes it takes a while to find out what...but when we discover it, nothing's going to stop us!

so what's a little meltdown? Just part of the process. You go girl!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SEEHOLZ 1/24/2011 12:01PM

    That's right- funny blog topic, as I have very similar thoughts sometimes about having missed my "potential" as I call it. What have I done with my life after all? And forgiving yourself- that's very, very difficult for myself, because oftentimes I feel if I go easy on myself, I give myself permission to lower my standards and that would be a negative. But, the more you do it- the better you get at it. So just keep trying to stick to the plan and the plan will start sticking to you. Usually a real tranformation is suddle to me- one day I wake up and notice that all those improvements, attempts and restarts are actually making a difference and changing me for the better.

You ARE beautiful!!! Embrace it!

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RUNNER12COM 1/24/2011 11:53AM

    Oh, my friend. All those old negative tapes playing in your head, no wonder you can't hear the sound of how awesome you truly are.

Follow your plan. And forgive yourself when it goes a little sideways, as things like that always do.

And love yourself no matter what. Because at the end of the day, you are a person worthy of love and of being loved.


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Conversations With Myself

Friday, January 21, 2011

emoticon Nobody understands.

emoticon Actually, at least 90% of them understand better than you think.

emoticon But most of that 90% don't understand what it's like to be THIS overweight.

emoticon You know better. First of all, there is a large portion that DOES understand what it's like to have more than 60-80-or even 100 pounds to lose. Second of all, who do you think you are?

emoticon I'm me. And nobody understands me.

emoticon What do you think makes you so special? How is your journey so much different than theirs? Why is your story more unique? Don't you have respect for the struggles they have face, especially when so many of those struggles are the same or, at least, similar.

emoticon Well, it's just... I'm not saying I'm special or anything... but I do have a certain unique set of circumstances. I mean, how many of them started out at over 400 pounds?

emoticon Quite a few of them actually.

emoticon Yeah, well all of them are skinnier than me now...and it was easier for them than it was for me.

emoticon Oh, now I know you must be joking. That's ridiculous!

emoticon But I have so much on my plate right now. Two jobs, looking for a new job, a better one, plus the husband and the two kids and the friend's wedding coming up and...

emoticon And tell me, what did you do yesterday?

emoticon I worked both jobs and I had to drive home in the horrible snow, nearly sliding off the road several times.

emoticon *rolls eyes* You slid twice, MAYBE 3 times, and you were never in danger of going off the road. And, besides, what did you DO at those jobs.

emoticon I wrote my article really quickly last night! *proud*

emoticon Okay, I'll give you that. You worked efficiently at your second job. And the first?

emoticon Well there was that big fiasco with the co-worker. I had to do her job as well as mine!

emoticon And exactly how log did it take you to do both jobs?

emoticon *hangs head* About 2 hours total.

emoticon Out of 8? Two hours, out of that correct?

emoticon Uhm...yes.

emoticon And, tell there ANYTHING you could have done with those other 6 hours to better yourself? A workout perhaps? Maybe a few plans for next week? Menu planning? Anything?

emoticon Well, I did take care of my student loan stuff.... Oooh! And I went to the grocery store to buy new lettuce when I realized mine was bad. I could have gone to Wendy's for a cheeseburger like I wanted.

emoticon That's right, and that was great choice. But, speaking of that, what else did you buy at the store?

emoticon Wheat bread...

emoticon And...?

emoticon A single serving Skinny Cow ice cream.

emoticon And...?

emoticon *sigh* Okay! FINE! I bought a thing of chicken salad and proceeded to eat more than half of it, making 2 sandwiches when I should've only had one, and a chocolate bar, which I ate not long after, even though I already had salad and ice cream and 2 chicken salad sandwiches... THERE! Are you happy?

emoticon The question is...are you?

emoticon *a tear rolls down her cheek* No. I'm not. I could have done better.

emoticon And the time constraints of work and family...?

emoticon I could have done a workout at my desk, or walked around the building on breaks, or done some ST - crunches, squats, push-ups. I could have put on the Kinect when I got home and had fun with Hubs with that game. I had opportunities. I could have done better.

emoticon And what did you do instead, when you got home?

emoticon I stayed up too late watching TV and eating 3 bowls of chili with cheese and crackers in it... *breaks down sobbing* I'M SO SORRY!!! I CAN CHANGE, I SWEAR!

emoticon You and I both know you can change. You did. You were on it for so long and lost 85 pounds. And then...well, what happened?

emoticon Things got crazy stressful and everything started piling up and it wasn't exciting or easy anymore.

emoticon But was it always exciting and easy?

emoticon No...but I don't know that I ever remember it being this hard.

emoticon *confused* What do you mean? How could it have gotten more difficult? That doesn't make sense.

emoticon Actually, it does... sit down and let me tell you about it... the beginning, it was new.
I kept going because I knew hard would fade away and because I could get away with doing so little and getting a lot of return from it.

...and then the races started...and it was good.
I struggled through each one, each time learning a lesson about myself. I went from barely walking, to half-running a 5k. I raced with friends and family and really enjoyed the praise that came for doing what I was doing even though I was still so big.

...and then winter came. The dark, cold days of winter.
Things got crazy. Holidays, work, felt like a lot. For a while I did well, because I knew that getting through the challenges would teach me something...because I knew I had an 85 pound loss behind me.

But then...then things changed. I let myself have a bite of this and a bite of that...and I remembered what I had been missing. And I took time off when my hip went out...and being lazy felt so good too. I remembered what it was like to have time to just decompress and not think. I remembered what it was like to crumble onto the couch and not move.

So, remembering, it's been much more difficult to forget again and move back into what I was doing, into what was successful. Plus, I'm still getting compliments, even though I'm not doing anything. I can ride that out for a few more weeks without anyone really realizing I've stopped being a goody-two-shoes.

emoticon Can I ask you a question?

emoticon Sure! Fire away. *confident*

emoticon Do you remember anything else? I mean, have you been remembering anything else?

emoticon ....I don't know what you're talking about...

emoticon Are you sure? Anything that wasn't such a wonderful memory.

emoticon No. *looks away*

emoticon I don't believe you.

emoticon *sigh*

emoticon *stares, patiently waiting*

emoticon *frustrated* FINE! It's been a little harder to breathe lately...but that could just be the weather change...

emoticon Sure. Of course. Anything else?

emoticon *crosses arms* Stamina.

emoticon I'm sorry?

emoticon My stamina. It feels like it's gone. I don't even know if I could walk a 5k anymore. And my strength is gone too. I'm weak. And tired. And sick all the time.

emoticon Are you sure?

emoticon Sure about what? Look, I confessed, alright! I said it. I'm a sad, pathetic, weak, fat person again. Do you have to rub my nose in it?

emoticon I think you're mistaken.

emoticon About what? What the hell are you talking about. I told you what you wanted. I told you that I'm back to being flabby and fat and disgusting and lazy again. I told you everything and now you keep pestering me about something or other and I don't understand. Do you want me to tell you I also feel completely unattractive again? Or how about that I feel like the fattest person in the gym again...and a fraud. Yep, that too. I feel like a fraud, a phony, a fake. And I feel nobody here or anywhere cares what I do anymore and they're all just waiting for me to fail. It's been too long. I've had too much success. It was a good run, and I wish I could've gone further, but I can't run anymore - pun intended. *forces a laugh* Can you just go away now? *pouts*

emoticon You're wrong.

emoticon About what?

emoticon All of it. Listen. Listen carefully.

You think you've failed the past two months. You've seen no progress since November, you think. You think you've lost all of your strength and stamina in those 2 months and now it will take you another 6 months to get back tower you are. I can hear that fear in your voice, and the belief that you don't have enough strength left for that.

First of all, you do. You have enough strength for an entire lifetime. Giving up is not an option because every day spent not living is a day spent dying.

Second of all, you're lying to yourself. In November you had great successes. If I remember correctly, it was the first time you were able to zip up those 24s, no matter how uncomfortable they were. You've been to the gym countless time in those two months. You rocked challenges and saw yourself shrinking...and everyone around you noticed.

The last time you were at the gym? Tuesday. That was 2 days ago. And the week before that you spent in Vegas walking mile after mile. Oh, and about that 5k you don't think you can walk anymore? I have to tell you -- you just did. Remember the 3.8 miles at the Grand Canyon? That was more than a 5k. And YOU did that. Even when it was hard because of ice and snow on the path. Even when Andrea was bugging you. Even when you couldn't breathe because of the change in elevation and the crisp winter did that. You found your footing and you completed that walk and you didn't really feel all that sore after stretching when you came back. And you followed it with more days of walking all day and night! You didn't even take a rest day.

emoticon Well, I guess you're right about that...used to be that rest days were necessary after a 5k. But...I rested a lot when I came back.

emoticon You sure did. 4 days of blissful nothing that you completely earned with a week of walking, a 5k, jet lag, a sinus and ear infection that have yet to surrender completely. Your body made you sleep because it needed to repair. And, in all honesty, I don't think it's anywhere near 100% again...not yet.

emoticon But what if it never gets there? And....well, what if I never get to run again?

emoticon If it does turn out that you cannot run for fear of serious injury, you will deal with that. Just as persons who have lost mobility from a freak car accident learn to cope, you will cope with whatever medical issues you have. BUT there's no saying that you can't run just need to train again. And you know that for you that looks different than it does for most people starting out.

emoticon Yeah...I hate that.

emoticon Hate what? Being different?

emoticon *pouts* Yeah.

emoticon Okay, that's too silly for me to even address considering we are ALL different. ...moving on... Your training regimen includes at least 1-2 full weeks of strength training in your hip. You thought when you started running that the running would do the job to get your hip into shape, but you were wrong. There's nothing wrong with being wrong. We learned a valuable lesson. You need strength training in order to run.

emoticon *growls* I HATE that I have to do more work to achieve the same goal!! It's not fair!!

emoticon Get over it. Those people with mobility issues from a freak accident? They've had the option of even training in ANY way stolen from them. You get over it right now and count your blessings.

emoticon *crosses arm* Fine.'re right.

emoticon So, getting back to train. You train hard. You work that hip in any strength training moves you can find for those hip muscles. And in a week or two, you take a tiny jog to test the hip. If it feels good, you start back slowly...once a week. When that feels alright, you can go back to 2-3 times a week. And after that you can chose to either go back to C25k or find/create a different program that works for you. Strength training, though, must stay in place the ENTIRE time you're working on your running. We know that now. Hopefully that will keep the knee strong and you won't run into the same problem -- pun intended. *chuckles* So, what do you think?

emoticon I don't even know where we were going with this conversation...

emoticon Going? Why do we have to always be going somewhere? This conversation was a chance for you to sit within yourself and figuring out what the demons are that you've been fighting. It's a chance to confront your fears head on and a chance to realize that you aren't as bad off as you've been telling yourself you are. It's also a chance for you to understand -- if you continue to ignore the problem, it doesn't go gets worse. You will gain weight eventually with that kind of eating and "i just don't care" attitude. And eventually you will lose your strength and stamina and all the ability you've gained.

These conversation with yourself are important because - who else can tell when you're lying better than you can? Who else is better at remembering than you!

emoticon But...what do I do with all this information?

emoticon *sighs* *smiles* Isn't it obvious?

emoticon *shrugs* *looks around* *shrugs again*

emoticon Get back on the horse. Stop lying to yourself and get your head back in the game. All is not lost. You need a heavy dose of great, healthy food - a splash of gym-time and exercise - a nice, big helping of strength training - a 'try-it-again' serving of the run - and a good quantity of sleep and rest in between.

emoticon Sounds good, actually. But I'm not sure I'm ready for all of it yet.

emoticon That's fine. Start with one thing. Or wait and start when you're ready. But know that the longer you wait, the harder it is to come back. Make it easier on yourself by trying just 1 of those things tonight...even if it is extra sleep.

emoticon I think I can do that. I'll try.

emoticon Just so you know...even trying burns calories....but doing burns more.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 1/22/2011 7:57PM

    You are doing just what Judith Beck, PhD's teaches in her wonderful book "The BECK Diet Solution." I got it at the library. It isn't a "diet" but how to change your THINKING and live like a THIN person. She's a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She says until we learn to answer back to those negative thoughts in our heads, we will continue to give into them. We have a Spark Team here for support. emoticon This is really about taking care of our health.

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MARTELLA3 1/22/2011 4:49PM

    Black and white thinking will get us every time. Good for you for taking the time to shed light on your "assumptions."

This is the first winter that I have been committed about weight loss and fitness. It definitely takes more mental energy this time of year.

Fear not, Spring has got to arrive eventually.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEBBIEANNE1124 1/22/2011 2:51PM

One of the best motivating blogs ever. You did great. thanks for sharing!

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ABB698 1/22/2011 2:43PM

    Loved it! Success will be yours again, no doubt! emoticon

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MAGSA10 1/22/2011 1:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonblog, you have hit every thing that I think most of us feel or have felt at one time or another. You have made me stop and take an honest look at myself and how I feel. Have a great weekend and stay strong and keep on Sparking.

Maggie j. emoticon

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BLUESKY104 1/22/2011 1:26PM

    emoticon Blog -- Failure does not occur unless you give up -- it is good to see that you are not even close to that emoticon emoticon for facing that demon within and conquering it -- Keep the forward momentum going emoticon emoticon

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LIFE-FAITH 1/22/2011 12:54PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 1/22/2011 12:14PM


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SPARKLINGHOPE 1/22/2011 11:37AM


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GOGOSHIRE 1/22/2011 10:41AM

    Great blog as usual, Esther. I enjoyed seeing what's going on in your mind and how your positive spirit triumphed!

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ATREAT4ME 1/22/2011 10:22AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a great privilege to read that conversation. You said things to yourself that have been tip-toeing around in my own mind but I haven't really acknowledged. In my mind, it all sounds whinny and wimpy and wussy. Reading these similar thoughts in your blog, however, entertains, enlightens, and enthuses me for my own journey. A huge THANK YOU!

I want to take better stock of my own progress this weekend and then determine how to rev up my journey again. I've given myself a start date of Monday, Jan. 24. But, I think a frank assessment of progress to date will produce insights that will strengthen my resolve.

Thank you for showing me how to do this, for being the example I needed for this very long journey, and for treating yourself with the love you deserve. I, most of all, appreciate that because I'm beginning to think to that I'm too harsh my Darlin' Cheryl. I just don't know any better, but you are teaching me and I appreciate that so much!

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COOLMAMA11 1/22/2011 9:31AM

    I loved this blog, and could really one said this journey would be an easy one..Keep on Keeping on!

Hugs Elaine emoticon

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GOING2LOSENOW 1/22/2011 9:09AM


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DETERMINED_SOUL 1/22/2011 8:57AM

    emoticonblog! Reading it, I kept thinking...this sounds an awful lot like me. I have had similar conversations and know what...I think they really help. I have always felt, since beginning this journey, that reflection is extremely helpful. You are well on your way emoticon

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FITMARY 1/22/2011 7:32AM

    Great blog! I love the way you convinced that devil in the end!

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NUMD97 1/21/2011 11:08PM

    Very nicely done. Thank you. This applies to a lot of things, not just weight. And I, frankly, needed to revisit a lot of what you said here.

Wonderfully written, and greatly appreciated,


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ICANTODAY 1/21/2011 10:40PM

    Love this blog!

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HARMONYBLUE 1/21/2011 9:33PM

    Oh the ways we beat ourselves up and pep ourselves up over and over again. This journey is very much like quitting smoking (Never quit quitting). In this case, we must never quit trying. And trying will lead to doing.

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TIGERJANE 1/21/2011 7:14PM

    omg I loved this! Thanks for letting us in on your journey! Your blogs are some of the most well-written, interesting, insightful ones on this site, with a wicked sense of humor to boot!

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RIGBY31 1/21/2011 5:51PM

    I feel like a fly on the wall of your brain (oh wait, that didn't come out right!). You have a firm grip and a gentle nudge approach. Truly said: *it's not always exciting and easy*.

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    What an awesome conversation with yourself! It's amazing what amount of insight we can gain if we just change the way we look at things! I am definitely going to take your format and try it out, I think I may learn a thing or two.

Thanks for sharing!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 1/21/2011 5:00PM

    emoticon You are amazing and you will get where you want to be. emoticon

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KITHKINCAID 1/21/2011 4:37PM

    I just wrote a blog about Obligations. I think maybe you might be in a similar place too. The things that you HAVE to do get you down about the things that you WANT to do - and you honestly have to remind yourself that you do actually, WANT to do them. I find thinking about it that way helps a bit. You're carrying around a lot of stresses that DO put you in a special circumstance - I'm amazed that you get done as much as you do on yourself because with all the other peripheral stuff, I'd want to sit on my couch and eat chili too. I think you're doing great.

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MAGPIE17 1/21/2011 3:07PM

    While I loved this whole conversation, this was my favourite part: " Just so you know...even trying burns calories....but doing burns more." That might be going on my fridge!

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SARAWALKS 1/21/2011 1:59PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Vegas Pics - Part II

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monday - Mid-Strip Walking Tour and Rio/Palms

Beetles Revolution at the Mirage. We just took funny pictures. :)

See! I told you I was on the ball in Vegas...I just didn't say what ball.

Some random guy walked by and handed me this stick of incense. "Here," he said. "This is for you." Uhm...okay. Maybe he thought I smelled. *shrug* (See pic of shrug)

Andrea and I at the VooDoo Lounge - a GREAT view of the strip!

The Rio buffet dessert choices. I had a tiny bite of each thing, but only ate the cannoli and the gelato. If it wasn't worth eating, I wasn't eating it.

Astroturf across the street from The Palms. The only grass we saw in Vegas. ;)

Tuesday - Grand Canyon Trip

Vegas sunrise outside the hotel.

FAAAAREEEZING at the Hoover Dam.

That white line marks where the water level of the Colorado River SHOULD be. Can you say drought?

So, I'm going to tell you a's REALLY difficult to get a picture of yourself at the Grand Canyon without it looking fake. Serious. I promise I was there! PROMISE!

LOOONG way down!

Ooh, this one's better because you can see crazy naked guy on the outlook behind me! *lol*

At the turnaround at mile 1.9 on the South Rim after a potty break. Had to put down my hair to protect my ear. It was COOOLD!

Hellooooo out there?!?!

Wednesday - South Side tour and the Nightlife

Lions at MGM (there were 3). For some reason, the trainers seemed totally bored being in a glass enclosure with three lions... I mean, I know they do it every day, but come on! It's not like paper pushing! You're PLAYING with LIONS!

Lunch at House of Blues...and my face looks BLOATED! UGH! That long bus ride the day before did a number on me!

Bar 1 - Rockhouse (about 9:30pm, still not hopping)

All dressed up with places to go...

THE reason we started here -- girls on tire swings!! WOOT!

Bar 2 - Carnavale outside Harrah's. With "show" bartenders of sorts and a DJ instead of a band or singer. Pretty fun, I danced a good bit...but we had to go in to pee and that's where we found...

Bar 3 - Dueling Pianos inside Harrah's Casino. FUN! It's where we spent the majority of our time and ended up leaving when the piano players were done for the night.

YAY! Fun!

And, that, my dears, is me inside Bar 4 - a tiny little side bar inside Paris Casino. There were like 3 people there other than us. It's where we met up with Frankie and his creepy older brother who tried to pimp out his brother (even though he KNEW I was married and kept saying NO!). Frankie wasn't as persistent and was actually alright, but his brother would just NOT STOP! UGH!

Thursday - Third and Fifth Wheel Day at Aria and Mandalay

Don't think for a second that dieting in Vegas is going to be easy. Not only does the chocolate fountain place in the Bellagio display beautiful cakes, and then the cupcake shop in Monte Carlo, but even Aria has a bakery with tons of delicious goodies. Other than the cupcakes, tho, and the dessert at the buffet, we were GOOD girls!

You should go see the fountain and the HUGE waterwall outside Aria, though. It's beautiful!

Friday - I'm Comin' HOME!

Leaving Las Vegas

And, for the record, the seat belts in a Boeing 757 DO fit me, and I have to tighten the strap. It's those tiny turboprops with their tiny belts that I need to lose a few more inches for. :P

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOOKY-LOU 1/27/2011 10:43AM

    Just added dueling pianos at Harrahs to my to do list!

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DAWNWINS 1/25/2011 5:56AM

    I love Carnavale and Vegas!

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BAYBELIEVER 1/23/2011 11:46PM

    Awesome pics! Awesome time!

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JIBBIE49 1/22/2011 7:59PM

    I know you will release those pounds so you never have to worry about those seatbelts ever again.

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RUNNINGNP2B 1/21/2011 8:02AM

    I love love love love these pics of you and your friend! Girl, you were too hot for Vegas. After seeing these and reading your stories, I want to go!

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FITMARY 1/21/2011 7:43AM

    Vegas is so fun, and it looks like you guys had a great time with minimal damage to the waistline. Good job!

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THOMS1 1/20/2011 5:13PM

    Looks like you had a great time! emoticon

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WOODY113 1/20/2011 4:44PM

    Great pics, and you look AWESOME!!

My husband and I stayed at the Rio when we went to Vegas. LOVED the VooDoo lounge and Lake Meade/Hoover Dam.

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CALLIKIA 1/20/2011 4:39PM

    He thought he was HIlarious when he stripped to his skivvies for the picture. Other than boxers, yes...dude was naked. And it was FREEZING up there!

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KARLYNCANDOIT 1/20/2011 4:37PM

    You did great!! And had a fabulous time!! Was dude really naked??

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SWELL10 1/20/2011 4:30PM

    Beautiful pics and beautiful you!!!

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SWELL10 1/20/2011 4:30PM

    Beautiful pics and beautiful you!!!

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SWELL10 1/20/2011 4:29PM

    Beautiful pics and beautiful you!!!

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SWELL10 1/20/2011 4:29PM

    Beautiful pics and beautiful you!!!

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SWELL10 1/20/2011 4:29PM

    Beautiful pics and beautiful you!!!

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SWELL10 1/20/2011 4:29PM

    Beautiful pics and beautiful you!!!

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SARAWALKS 1/20/2011 4:26PM

    Wow. So great to see the canyon again! Fun photos of you and you look fabulous!
emoticon emoticon

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1BIGDREAM 1/20/2011 4:22PM

    So fun!

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    I love these pictures - and you look beautiful!

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KITHKINCAID 1/20/2011 3:50PM

    Love the Canyon, Love Vegas, Love YOU in all these pics. You are so gorgeous Esther - you really have done so well with your progress. Totally noticeable! Woot woot!

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RIGBY31 1/20/2011 3:48PM

    Vegas Baby! You did it proud (and the Grand Canyon pics with snow were beautiful!).

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MAIA2011 1/20/2011 3:21PM

    You are beautiful and inspiring and I especially appreciate the crazy naked guy pic.

I'm glad you had so much fun in Vegas and looked hot doing it!


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ATREAT4ME 1/20/2011 2:34PM

    Looks like you had a lot of fun. I loved the pics of the GC!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 1/20/2011 2:31PM

    Great pics. Everything looks so fun. Loved the snowy canyon pictures.

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RUSSELLORAMA 1/20/2011 2:28PM

    You go, hottie! What an awesome trip.

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MICHELLESMILES_ 1/20/2011 2:24PM

    Love the pics !

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KATIE2POINT0 1/20/2011 2:02PM

    okay, all pics very good... all dressed up with places to go... HOT. You may not have heard it but I totally said "HOT" in my high pitched, drawn out voice... so really it meant super hot.

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CLYNN8810 1/20/2011 2:01PM

    Looks like you had a wonderful time!!!! I can't wait to finally make it out there some day!!!


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GRETCHYM 1/20/2011 1:46PM

    Looks like you had a great time --- And I LOVE that there was a crazy naked guy at the Grand Canyon. Hilarious!!

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AMBERNICHOLE3 1/20/2011 1:39PM

    Carnival court at Harrahs is fun, we love to go!

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