Friday, December 30, 2011
Most of us are taking the time to reflect on 2011. We take time to look at our successes and our failures. How we react to these reflections can be as different as all the colors in the spectrum. What will we do with these findings? Will we quit? Will we beat ourselves up? Or will we take what we've learned and move forward in a positive manner?
I began 2011 on the scale at 306. When I stepped on the scale this morning I weighed in at 385. Maybe some miracle will occur between now & Sunday morning and a couple of pounds will dissolve away for my "official" Jan 1st weigh in, but the picture is still the same. I've gained significant weight in 2011.
Did I fail? NO. Did I fall? In some ways I did and in others I did not. Let me take the time to share my journey & my reasoning with you.
Before I begin with 2011, let me share with you my "history" as an over weight adult. I have lost & FOUND over 100 pounds a few times as an adult. The first time that I did it, I lost from 325 to 185 in 8 months by over exercising and throwing up a LOT. I ended up sick & barely able to talk. I gained all that weight back and MORE. The second time that I did it, I lost from 375 to 250 in about 2 years by working a strict 12-step program & weighing & measuring my food. I moved away from my support group, stopped weighing & measuring my foods. I gained all that weight back and MORE. There were other times here & there in between those two LARGE weight loss periods where I would lose almost 100 pounds and ALWAYS gain back all the weight and MORE. In 2009, because of a health scare & turning 50, I started on a major weight loss journey again. Part of the journey included finding Spark People and the awesome support offered here. I went from 450 to 300 pounds in little more than 2 years.
THEN IT HAPPENED. I hit a horrible plateau. From Feb-Aug 2011 I fought hard & long to get off the plateau. I exercised my hind end off. I kept tracking my foods and drinking enough water to keep a camel happy in the desert. To what avail? NOTHING. Nada. NO WEIGHT LOSS.
When you have lost 150 pounds and still weigh 300 pounds it's difficult. Others have written about this very thing. You still feel like a fat cow. You still get looks & hear sneers from strangers. You're still FAT. You are usually the fattest or FEEL LIKE the fattest person in the room. Being on a plateau for 7 months while working as hard as you can to beat it is more discouraging than I can express to you. It begins to feel as if things will NEVER change and that you are doomed to fail. What's the point of exercising all the time, eating all the right stuff, doing all the right things if you are going to stay FAT. What is the point?
Add to those self-defeating feelings a less than optimal life. Financial problems. Emotional Problems. Struggles. My husband lost his job. My son, wife & 2 children living with us in a very small house. My DIL got a job for a couple months and then lost it right at Thanksgiving. Struggling to keep food on the table, diapers on the baby and gas in the car. All of this and more just became too much. DEPRESSION set in and set in hard. I stopped tracking my food. I ate what I felt like. I gave up in many respects. The two positive forces in my corner were finding a home church family AND a job that is a blessing beyond & above all my wildest dreams. Prayer and exercise have kept me from gaining all the weight back and MORE. The cycle appears to be broken.
Yes, I gained back almost 80 pounds. However, I lost 150 so "and MORE" has been put out to pasture. I never stopped Sparking. I never stopped exercising and I started praying with all my might.
The exercise helped and hurt me. That may sound funny but I'll tell you why. When you exercise an average of 3 hours per day, often 4 hours, you can gain weight & not "show it". I am still wearing the same size clothes today (including bathing suits) that I was wearing 80 pounds ago. I FEEL heavier, but I don't look that much heavier. You can tell I've put on some weight but you would NEVER have guessed 80 pounds had I not told you. When I finally got honest with myself and got on the scale I admit that I was SHOCKED at the number because I expected to see that I had gained 30 pounds.. NOT 80.
How can we work so darn hard, doing all the right things, and lose 1 pound in 6 months and then gain 80 in less time than that? Unfair? You bet it is. But it just is. It's done. I'm sorry. I'm moving on.
Prayer proved to be the answer in the form of 3 awesome "Spark Sisters" who are helping me to save myself while we are helping save one another. Each of us have similar stories. We've been Spark members around the same amount of time. We all weighed a LOT when we first came to Spark. We all lost a LOT of weight in a fairly short period of time. We all hit the dreaded Plateau... and we all got discouraged. We let ourselves down. The BLESSING is that NONE of us "gained all the weight and MORE" this time. The BLESSING is that we somehow were directed to one another.. at the same time...with the same struggles. We have formed a support group and an alliance that I believe is going to save our lives. We have and ARE turning things around. We ARE going to be successful.
2012 is going to be our year to prove that the cycle of insanity is broken and that we are NEVER going back to where we were when we first started. I can hear "we shall over come" in my mind right now! LOL These 3 ladies & I are going to love & support one another & never let go. I feel it to my bones. I have never felt so safe and confident. I feel more hopeful today than I have in MONTHS.
I've learned some valuable lessons that I want to share here.
1. Use the Spark Food Tracker. Be honest on it. No one else has to see it. Track EVERYTHING
2. Drink plenty of water. It's not just a gimmick!
3. Exercise. Be sure to mix it up. Be sure to do both cardio & strength workouts
4. Do NOT overextend yourself in Spark People. YOU CAN TRY TO DO TOO MUCH. Remember that we want to help one another but that YOU ARE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. You must take care of YOU first. Don't join too many groups or try to contact too many friends... TAKE CARE
5. Do NOT overextend yourself in REAL LIFE. You can NOT be all things to all people. TOUGH LOVE is something that needs to be learned and should be practiced. My world is about to change because I am learning this. Learn to say NO to other people and YES to taking care of YOU! BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
6. Don't let SHAME keep you from being honest, picking yourself up and moving forward. We are not terminally unique. Each of us has had falls. We are not failures if we pick ourselves up and move forward. SPARK ON!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. You may or may not be surprised. You may or may not be disappointed. However, this is coming from my heart and is as honest as I can be. 2012 is going to be different. I have left most of the Spark Teams that I was on. I am going to do as well as I can for the few that I have remained a part of. If I find that I can not succeed in taking care of DAWN while participating in certain teams, I will have no choice but to leave them. I AM WORTH giving 100% to. I am GOING to do just that.
To my precious SERIOUS SISTERS... Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I commit to being there for you and I thank you for your commitment to being there for me.
To my cherished Spark Friends... Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for supporting and loving me in spite of myself. I commit to giving as much as I can and to sharing the journey with you. I commit to MORE BLOGS, MORE HONESTY, and MORE SUCCESS. Together we can fight the good fight and win this battle to get healthy & fit.
Bright blessings to you all. Love, DAWN
Thursday, November 03, 2011
Today the brakes went out in my van. Oh, they were grinding earlier in the week & I knew that they needed to be replaced but today.... there were NO brakes! Very scary to have to drive slowly & carefully to work, then dentist, then to the repair shop. By the time that I got to the repair shop I was feeling tense & stressed. I brought the van to a slow but rolling stop at the shop and breathed a sigh of relief. They spent over 6 hours working on the van while I sat in their waiting room and in the end it was still not fixed due to serious complications and one of the mechanics' fiancee drove me home. I won't be able to get the van until sometime late tomorrow.
I am grateful!
Why? Because, despite the fact that the brakes went out and it's going to cost me more money than expected due to the complications: 1. I didn't have an accident. 2. I got the van to the shop safely. 3. I have been able to make arrangements with various people for rides to & from work for Becca (DIL), Paul (DH) and myself tomorrow. 4. The Granddaughters' dad is off work tomorrow so I don't have to pick them up from the bus stop. 5. I actually have money in the bank to be able to pay for the repair work. 6. The mechanics were very nice & helpful and when something got damaged by their machine they agreed that they will not charge me extra for the repairs.
I am also grateful that I got to have a long talk with the mechanic about the van and all the money that I have poured into it this year. I was feeling a bit down about the fact that I have spent more money on the van than I paid for it originally AND more than the blue book value on it now. He made a very positive & valuable point to me. He said that I have repaired the two main problems that vans like mine have and that the money that I am spending now is just to take care of things that will always go wrong, minor things. This is a vehicle that I bought from the original owner, whom I know and trust, and now have been taking care of myself. I know the history of this vehicle and he says that if I keep up with it, it will last me a long time. WOW! This really put my mind at ease during a difficult & stressful event that in the past would have derailed my eating easily. Instead of rushing next door to the fast food joint while waiting... I sat in the waiting room and read my book. I AM GRATEFUL!!!!
I am also grateful that I got back to work at the Y today and was able to get in some good exercise. I woke up very sore this morning (results of yesterday's fall) and it felt really GREAT to be able to workout and stretch those muscles. I have a lot more bruises today than yesterday and was more sore in places that I didn't realize I had hurt yesterday. I am grateful that I have a job that allows me to take care of ME and work out the kinks. I'm also grateful to the ladies in my water aerobic classes that shared good wish with me and told me that they had been praying for me. I feel very blessed that I didn't break anything yesterday when I fell and that I am able to function in my job and my day to day life.
Today is just another example of putting positive thinking into action and remembering to count my blessings and make my gratitude list. I am grateful that I am focused on this right now because it is definitely helping me to stay away from emotional/compulsive overeating and on track. I am so grateful!
Bright blessings to you all. Thank you for being here for me. Love, Dawn
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
Today I fell. It was a hard fall. I tripped over the dog's chain & landed hard on my knee, the one that I fell on several years ago & crushed. I landed not only on my knee, but on top of some of the grandchildrens' bikes so hard that I knocked the bike handle bars through the front screen & window. SIGH. My ankle is scraped up & bloody. My thigh is bruised badly. My right elbow & shoulder are sore. What a way to start the day.
I am grateful!
Why? Because when I fell, in 2007 I was hurt MUCH worse. I weighed over 100 pounds more. If I had not found Spark People and lost weight, this morning's fall would have done much more damage than it did. I am very very grateful.
This month, the Alternate Challenge in the 50 Pound Challenge team asks us to write a blog about our gratitudes. I have so many. I would never have the time or the space to write about all the things that I am grateful for. However, I would like to list some of them. I would also challenge you to take tiMme to do the same. FOcusing on the things that bless our lives and make us grateful helps to elevate our Positive Mental Attitudes. Staying positive helps keeps us happy & motivated.
My greatest gratitude is based on my family. I am blessed to have 2 wonderful sons. Wonderful because of the love that we share. Our lives have been chaotic at best. We have never had a lot of money or "things" but we have had a LOT of love. They bless my life daily. I am blessed to have 9 beautiful grandchildren. Five of them are in my life daily and my heart swells everytime that I think of them. There are 4 others in Tidewater that unfortunately I don't get to see very often. In fact, it's been years since I've seen them but they are in my heart daily. In the past I have not been able to give much to them. I have let the fact that there is no money stop me from staying in better contact with them. I have learned, recently, that I need to share my LOVE with them MORE than I need to give them "stuff". I hope to find a way to reach out to them in love and to get to know them better. I am grateful that there are avenues for me to use to do that through the internet & the mail. I am grateful for my grandchildren's parents & step-parents. My grandchildren are the light of my world. I am so grateful for them, words cannot express my true love for them. I have lost my brother but still love him more than I can ever express. He is in my heart always. I am grateful for the life & love that we shared while he was alive. I am grateful for my sister. She lives far away & we rarely talk, but I love her and am grateful that we are able to reach out to one another and are building a better relationship now that we are older. I am grateful for my husband. He is a hardworking, honest and extremely patient man. I love that we never argue. I am blessed to have him in my life.
My second greatest gratitude is my job. I am blessed to be working at the YMCA where I teach both water aerobics and swimming lessons. Most of you already know about my job. For those of you who are just getting to know me, believe this...I LOVE MY JOB! Where else could some one work not only with people that they enjoy working FOR but working WITH people that have become pieces of my heart? The students in my water aerobic classes are precious to me beyond words. I love them. I enjoy teaching the little children swim lessons, but this last session, I have been blessed to begin teaching Adult swim lessons. I AM SO BLESSED! Teaching these very special ladies has blessed my heart and my life beyond measure. Watching them progress, little by little, has touched me.. made me cry with joy.. made me proud beyond words. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that I would one day have a job that would give me EVERYTHING that I ever needed. It helps me financially, and that is a necessary evil. It helps me physically by helping me get fit & healthy... I get to exercise DAILY! It has helped me emotionally by bringing me friends.. NO FAMILY OF CHOICE.. to love and cherish. I am grateful!
My next big gratitude is for my friends. I am not always a good friend to others. I stay too busy. It seems that I am running all the time. I have become a human-doing for the most part. However, I have been blessed with some very special people in my life who I call my friends. I am grateful to them for being patient with me and for loving me in spite of myself. To all of those who have been my friends through out the years... THANK YOU. To those of you who have become my friends recently... bear with me and KNOW that I am committed to trying harder to be a better friend. I am learning that respect and gratitude are vital to good friendships. I will do my best to reach out more and share more of MYSELF with you. I love you all. Thank you for being a part of my life.
The list could go on and on but these three GRATITUDES are the greatest in my world.
Finally, I am grateful beyond words for Spark People. I have found motivation, support, guidance, friendship, information, and so much more here. The teams that I am on have become vital to my day to day life. The friends that I have made here, despite never having met "in real life" are important to me and I love YOU. My weight loss has been stalled for a long time now but I accept that I am the fault. I have allowed stress to derail my efforts and am committed to making some serious changes. I am grateful for the articles that I read and the information that I get through Spark People. I am grateful for the blogs that I read and the stories that you share. I am grateful for everything that is Spark People and the PEOPLE of spark! Thank you for all that you give to me and to this site. Thank you for sharing your journeys here. We ALL need one another.
Bright blessings to you all. I am so grateful. I love you. Dawn
Thursday, September 01, 2011
September is normally BACK TO SCHOOL month.... truthfully, my grandchildren all went back to school in mid or late August, but I always went back to school just after Labor Day. We looked forward to the end of the school year because we wanted to enjoy the FUN of summer... then by the end of summer.. we looked forward to Labor day for the big family cookouts followed by BACK TO SCHOOL. Despite my advanced years and having long since stopped going to school, I always feel nostalgic about getting back to the old grindstone and furthering my education.
THIS MIND SET has sparked the idea for my 50 Pound Challenge Team's September Alternate Challenge. It's my idea that we get back to basics...Using our Food & Water Trackers daily, Using our Fitness/Exercise Trackers daily... and then BLOGGING 1 time per week about how we are "furthering our educations" through Spark. I am hoping that folks will use their imaginations and share their experience, strength & hope with all of us. We can learn by reading one another's blogs. We can learn by reading articles here on the SparkPeople website. We can learn be reading the posts of our team members. Remember...it never hurts to try new things, experience new foods & fitness techniques, ask questions, share ideas. OPEN YOUR MIND and expand your program. We're NEVER TO OLD to learn!!!!
August was a very VERY busy month for me. It was stressful & difficult but it was also BLESSED. Paul is still unemployed but has been job hunting daily. He did get approved for unemployment benefits AND he has a job interview on Saturday morning for a full-time position. (Please keep him in your prayers) We were blessed because his boss at AutoZone DID give him an extra day per week so he has been working part-time 2 days a week instead of 1 and that has helped. Becca, my DIL, is still working full-time at her new job and is liking it. She's been up and ready every day and despite the fact that I've been having to get up really early to drive her to work (before 6am daily) it has been a real blessing that she has been working all month AND helping with the bills. The YMCA Child Watch program has just started back up and those hours will help replace the summer outdoor pool hours that I will be losing this week. This is a BIG blessing because every hour counts and I am so blessed to have a job that I LOVE so dearly. The Y has truly saved my life on so many levels. Michael, my son, is not working but has been being "MR MOM" and helping around the house. I have been babysitting Aurora (the youngest granddaughter) daily when I get done working at the Y and that has been a blessing too. She is keeping me young and shows me more spontaneous love than I have ever received. She has definitely got my heart with both hands! The other grandchildren are all back in school & we are back to our routines of meeting the bus, doing homework, playing at the pool and just having fun being together. Despite the stress of all the running around sometimes.... my grandchildren are absolutely the greatest blessing in my life. Savannah, the eldest... was baptised last Sunday... Aurora, the youngest... was dedicated last Sunday... all of my "Martinsville" family was in church at the same time & THAT was amazing.. and followed on the footsteps of a week that included an earthquake AND a hurricane in VA. Speaking of the Hurricane.... I have a son, 5 grandchildren, and my best friend & her family all living in Tidewater VA which was very hard hit by the hurricane. ANOTHER BLESSING is that everyone seems to be safe & sound with little damage that I have heard about. I haven't heard from a couple of them, but I am believing that no news is good news.
It's September 1st. August is behind us. Summer is all but gone. Have I lost weight? NO. Have I worked out daily? YES. Have I tracked my food & fitness? YES. Have I drank my water & plenty of it? YES. Have I Sparked to the best of my ability? YES. AM I HAPPY????? YES YES YES AM I BLESSED? YES YES YES!
My PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) is soaring! I am counting my blessings. I am focusing on doing BETTER and trying harder and letting go of my worries and stress. Thank you for being here for me my friends. WITHOUT YOU... my life would be "less". YOU... my family of choice.. are DEFINITELY counted among my greatest blessings! I LOVE YOU ALL!
Bright blessings to you all, Dawn
Monday, August 01, 2011
July was a rough month for me. I spent most of the month overstressed, overtired, run ragged, depressed and frustrated. TOO MUCH DOING & not enough "being". I used to have a therapist who would remind me that I needed to spend more time as a Human BEing and less of a human DOing. I've spoken before about my feelings that if I keep moving "they can't get me"... whomever they may be.
The worst of July was the HEAT combined with the fact that I spent 5-nights a week sleeping in the van in Stuart where my DH was working. It was really dragging me down. I was hurting all the time & it was getting worse. I was having to use my cane all the time again. Much prayer was lifted up that I would not have to continue to make that long drive & sleep in that van.....
Be careful what you pray for..... Thursday my DH lost his job. On the bright side.. I no longer have to make that long drive & I don't have to sleep in the van anymore! That is DEFINITELY prayers being answered. The fact that I now have to figure out how to support a family of 6 on less than $800 per month adds to stress... but after only 3 days of sleeping in my own bed, I am already hurting less & able to leave the cane alone more and more.
The positives in my life for July....
I had 4 grandchildren celebrate birthdays! Mallory, Lilianna, McKayla & Aurora. That's something to be grateful for!
My friend Ruth, who also celebrated a birthday in July, came out of the coma that she was in & while she is suffering from pretty extensive brain damage, she is doing much better than was expected. More answers to prayer. I got to visit her on Saturday at an assisted living facility where she is now staying. We had a wonderful visit & she DID recognize me while I was there so that was special. I made her a photo album through the 25 years of our friendship & she & I spent a long time going over and over the pictures... sometimes she'd recognize folks and sometimes not. I hope that it will help her. I am so grateful that she is doing as well as she is. It is a GREAT blessing to remember July for.
I didn't lose any weight in July but I didn't GAIN any weight in July. Another blessing considering all the birthday parties & the stress I have been under.
MY THOUGHTS ABOUT AUGUST.....
1. It's still hot so I am concentrating on drinking plenty of plain clear water!
2. Fruits & veggies are plentiful so I am enjoying them to the fullest!
3. The outdoor pool is still open so I am spending as much time there as I can enjoying the fun & fitness I find there.
4. I am saving gas by not having to drive to Stuart!
5. I have the opportunity to get better & MORE sleep. I am going to TAKE THAT OPPORTUNITY & try to let this old body do some healing.
6. I have put my foot down & told all the ADULTS in my house that they need to get JOBS! I am going to keep that foot down.... or perhaps I should put on a boot and apply it to some bottoms!
7. I am remembering to be grateful for all the many blessings that I have... a great job, family & friends that love & support me, grandchildren who are all healthy, a house to live in, a vehicle that is drivable... life is GOOD!
8. August is going to be the month that I break this plateau. I AM DETERMINED!
Bright blessings to you all. I'm committing to posting MORE blogs and to doing more Sparking. Let's ROCK August! Love, Dawn
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