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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #22

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #22

Days Remaining: 70

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#22 - Wear a Belt

O.K. This one is not happening. I just plain don't like belts. So how about this . . . how about I agree to wear a belt if I ever buy anything that has a belt. It's just a personal preference. Would I like belts if I were thinner? Maybe. Maybe not.

But I will share the reasoning behind the suggestion. They are suggesting that we wear a belt because it allows us to know what size we truly are. "When you wear a belt, you give yourself the chance to distinguish between your ideas about how big you are and your actual body size."

It is also suggested that wearing a belt when you binge serves as a warning. I will say that I understand the concept. But the "me" that is me says no to the belt. Maybe someday. But right now, there isn't a belt around that I would exchange for cash.

O.K. A compromise. I'll tie the drawstring on my Big Dog Sweats. But I won't make it a habit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 7:11PM

    LOL, You are sooooooo on the money. My sweet hubby, who is on a health conscious "kick" after that stroke is gauging his weight lose with his belt. I'm about to see how well it fits around his "darling" neck. He of on his "cold turkey" (his words for all or nothing) weight lose journey. Blazing a heck of a path really quick. He unlike myself is not eating stress, worry or fear. Anyway...if you hear on the news that a "crazed" wife in Texas found out her belt fit her hubby's neck a little too tight, you'll know it was me. Are you sure money can't buy you into one of those cool "bling" belts?

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JULIE_MAE 11/14/2009 11:59AM

    emoticon....Now I know why I wear lose fitting clothes (flowing dresses / elastic waist pants that stretch ) when going out for dinner.

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JOYCEFROMPA 11/13/2009 4:23PM

    Me too i wear drawstring pants all the time!! I used to wear a belt all the time when I was at my goal weight and loved to tuck a pretty shirt into my jeans or dress pants- I can't wait to get back there!!

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TALLTABBY 11/13/2009 3:34PM

  I agree too! Belts just are not for me. But I thought that was just me.

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NESSAGIRL67 11/11/2009 7:25PM

    I totally agree! I don't wear belts either. If I have a belt on the outfit I may consider wearing it.

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SPIRITSEEKER2 11/11/2009 7:19PM


loved it !!! I do not wear a belt either.. now it might be something to think about?It would have to be a biggon.. and cheapo.. LOL

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #21

Saturday, November 07, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #21

Days Remaining: 74

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#21 - Remember that There Is No Right Way, Right Path, Right Answer, Right Food

Holy cow . . . only 74 days left in my challenge and I'm just over that half way mark of the journey, yet not half way through the book! Step it up Girlie603!

O.K. Let's tackle this one, because it's a good one. There is no right way, right path, right answer, right food. What works today, might not work a year from now.

This one truly scares me. Things are working for me right now. But I think we all know it's true. I lost over 80 pounds with Weight Watchers about 21 years ago. I lost about 50 pounds with Weight Watchers about 10 years ago. However, Weight Watchers has not worked for me since. In fact, very little has worked for me since, and I've done nothing but gain in between the weight loss journeys of my life. When I started with Spark, I was at my heaviest weight ever. My thyroid meds had caused a 50 pound gain. I will admit - it terrifies me to think that something that has worked for me (Spark) could suddenly stop working. I've lost 38 pounds as of today, and it hasn't even been four months. I am so proud of where I've come.

According to the author, "It's important to honor all the paths you've taken, the cures you've tried, the efforts you've made, and to let go of them when they stop assisting your growth." So we have to stay current, and she suggests that we always ask ourselves five questions about the people and the food we associate with, as well as the work we do and how we give and receive love and money.

1) Does it lead you toward a fuller life or does it confine you?
2) Does it bring you closer to your heart or does it take you farther away?
3) Does it open you or does it close you?
4) Does it allow you to trust yourself further or does it make you frightened of yourself?
5) Does it enlarge your life or does it make your life smaller?

When I think about Spark People, I think it has truly opened up so much for me. I am definitely leading a fuller life than I was back in July. I feel like I am closer than ever to my own heart. I've been open with so many more people about this journey. I trust myself more than ever. And my life, which seemed to exist in a tiny bubble four months ago, feels like it is a huge sphere.

But still, for me, there is that fear that it could all end. It's important to assess those questions above on a regular basis and adjust as need be. As scary as it is, "Paths are not meant to be followed forever. They are meant to take you from one place to the next. "

It is so true, and yet so scary. But as one who doesn't travel often, think about the prospect of traveling alone. You have to get to the airport, get through security, find the right gate, get on the plane, take off, land, change planes, find transportation once you reach your destination, get checked into your hotel, familiarize yourself with your surroundings and then find your way around town in a location you've never been before.

But then that same journey, traveled with friends or family, is not nearly as frightening. You have people to talk with and help you to find your way.

I'll take my Spark friends every day. My path may have to change to reach my goals, but I hope we are all still together to share in the journey!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 7:02PM

    Hi Girlie,
Looking forward to getting caught up with you. One blog at a time.

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SPIRITSEEKER2 11/11/2009 1:32PM

    congrads on the weight loss. My thyroid and diabetes with stress has caused a 100 lb gain.. I like you blog.. keep up the good work.

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BABETTE110 11/8/2009 12:37PM

    I just discovered your blog and your progression with commentary on a book. I started with the first blog and have read through them all in sequence this morning. I have not read any of the comments people posted along the way, but I am sure my comments will echo what other have already said.

Thank you for having the courage to start and maintain this blog. You have openly shared such personal things about you and your life, and your sharing has been eye-opening for me. I could identify with much of what you have said, but more importantly, your sharing has made me think - again- about why I am so reluctant to share myself. Why do I not trust others to understand and to be supportive? Why do I assume people will think the worst of me?
You included a quote in one of your blogs:
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ~E.E. Cummings

I don't think I have yet, after over half a century, been able to become who I really am. I sometimes wonder if I even know who I really am. I do think that joining Spark has been helping me to find that out, because, after all, this is really about becoming healthier, and that is so much more that just losing weight.

Thank again for sharing this blog. I look forward to your next installment.


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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #20

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #20

Days Remaining: 78

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#20 - Eat Enough Fat

Thank you to everyone who has offered encouragement. Everyone had great words of wisdom for me, and it helped tremendously. It was like a reality check, and while it seems minimal in comparison to what other people go through, I realize that we all have to reach out to each other for help whenever possible.

There are two things going on in my life right now that echo and reinforce this. First, my oldest brother became very ill in the last few weeks and reached out to no one. He has always been a little distant, but at the age of 50, he lost hope and was literally waiting to die. He gave up and didn't think that any of his family members cared. It is heartbreaking when you think about it. He's a single guy who we don't hear from often because he lives out of state. When I couldn't reach him and his phone appeared to have been disconnected, we all began to think the worst. Thankfully there was an absolute angel of a woman, a stranger to us who had worked with him in the past. After talking with her, she reached out to him in our absence and forced him to get help.

At the very same time, my daughter rescued a little tiny dog from an abusive situation on her college campus. As I awaited news about my brother, I took the little dog in to foster until we can find a home. Her spirit is clearly broken, and it mirrors the situation with my brother. It makes you realize that people you love need to know you love them. And people who don't have anyone, like the little dog, need people to step up to the plate for them.

So I thank you all for the words of encouragement, because I feel so much stronger these last few days.

And now it is time to tackle #20.

I think it was in the late 80's and early 90's when the "fat free" craze started. Everyone was on fat free diets because it was said, "Fat makes you fat."

I think since that time, we've woken up a bit. Fat is responsible for satiety, which explains why any time I tried that fat free diet, I was STARVING. I was constantly hungry and constantly thinking about food. It was a short time later that I realized that most things labeled "fat free" were loaded with sugar. Maybe that's when the carbohydrate craze came later.

Regardless, I've found in the last three months that balance is everything. Fat isn't what makes you fat. However, too much fat will make you fat. Too much of anything is going to make us fat. Most people who are eating fat free foods end up eating more calories. In my quest to eat balanced, I have found that provided I stick with my calories and try to stick with my goal for fat, I seem to do just fine. As I lose weight, I may need to tweak that a bit, but a healthy amount of fat is what keeps me from wanting to graze all day. And I do mean . . . all day!

And the only other comment I'll make about "fat free" products. Have you seen the way fat free cheese clings to your casserole dish? In the time it takes me to get that darn fat free cheese cleaned off the dish, the plates, the silverware, and anything else that it melted onto (including the kitchen sink), I could have a full workout and burn the fat from light or regular cheese.

I'll take my cheese in limited quantities with the fat! Don't mess with my cheese!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PFLEEG 11/4/2009 5:41PM

    What incredible life lessons! Hope your brother is doing better and the pup is learning to give back as only dogs can do. Maybe the pup was sent for your brother?

I agree about eating enough fat, but we also should make sure we're eating the right kinds of fat. Natural, plant or fish based seem to be the healthiest for us. I've gone to having balsamic vinegar and flaxseed oil as a dressing for my salads. The flaxseed oil is heart healthy and has a slightly nutty flavor. Delish! And, I 100% agree with eating real cheese in moderation over the fat free substitutes! Some things are just not meant to be altered.

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MYMAWSCRAPS 11/4/2009 1:40AM

    Hey, Sweet Friend,
Laughing Cow cheese is my new fav. Love the garlic and herb.
Besides that...isn't it scary when your cheese looks like recycled plastic?
Big brothers? Mine is having issues too, I'll keep them both in my prayers...maybe your brother will gain some of your strength and feel better soon.

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SPIRITSEEKER2 11/3/2009 5:50PM

    Hi, I hope your brother will be ok, and that was great of you to take in the little dog..
as for the fat- yes fat free tastes awful and is higher in carbs.. can't win.. I eat reg food in moderation..
Thanks for your blog it is very interesting

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TALLTABBY 11/3/2009 5:22PM

  I am glad to hear that you where able to get intouch with your brother.
Also it sounds like you may have found a new friend in that puppy. You never know how much a puppy can change things.
As far as fat free things go, I completely agree. I have found that I am much better off with the reduced fat versions.

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LITTLEBILLY1 11/3/2009 2:14PM

  Very good BLOG. Keep up the good work, etc.


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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #19

Sunday, November 01, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #19

Days Remaining: 80

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#19 - Remember that Thin People Have Cellulite, Get Old, and Die

I have not posted in days, and it is really taking a toll on me. My success has been measured by how active I've been on the site, how much I encourage others and share in their successes or in providing encouragement. Yet lately, I am the one that feels like I need that encouragement. I've been letting things slide, and while I haven't gained, I don't feel the same sense of accomplishment. The last thing I want is to go back to my old ways.

Before I take on #19, I want to reaffirm today that I need to get back on track. I am committed to this journey, and I'm going to work in the coming days to brighten my spark! So let's go . . . bring it on!

Now, let's think a moment about when we've had our fattest thoughts, and when we've hung around people who never gain weight. I've had friends who have had to force themselves to eat because they can't keep weight on, and I know that it's a struggle for them. Yet in my mind, I think it is a struggle that I would rather have over the one that I'm burdened with every single day. But it's important to remember that just because they're not struggling with weight gain, they have their own set of problems to contend with. It's not all sunshine and roses for them either. It's interesting that as I write this one, there is a crisis going on in the personal life of one of those very people I've envied.

My oldest brother, who could eat a half gallon of ice cream and never gain an ounce . . . who had the metabolism in our family that could burn calories in masses, is struggling with something that I haven't quite gotten my arms around as yet. We don't talk often because he has distanced himself from his family over the years. After not being able to reach him for weeks and learning yesterday that his cell phone is not in service, andnot knowing who is friends were or who could help us (he lives out of state), we had to turn to a former employer to help us get information on him. He hasn't worked. He hasn't paid his bills, and he's had no contact with anyone in weeks. We have no way to reach him and have to rely on others to help us reach out to him. While we still don't know what's going on with him, we hope to hear some news later today or tomorrow.

It's important to remember that no matter anyone's size, everyone has to work hard to achieve their goals, and while we may think things are great from where we sit, everyone has struggles.

Now, I haven't reached my goals yet. I'm still at that first 10% and have a long way to go. But it's important to remember that we think once we reach our goals, life is going to be grand! Like the heavens will open, there will be rainbows, and everything is going to sparkle. We have to be realistic and know that is not the case. From where I am at right now after losing my first 35, has it changed the way I feel about my self-worth? Well, yes it did. Yet as I've struggled the last few weeks, I've really noticed a change in how I feel about myself. I'm disappointed. I'm discouraged. I'm a little angry with myself.

I've felt so much more confident and better about myself, not just for losing the weight, but for feeling more in control and in charge of myself. For taking care of myself. For being responsible. I want to continue feeling that way. So I need to prioritize and figure out how to get that back. And I need to break it down further by saying, what can I do this week? What can I do tomorrow? What can I do right now?

Right now I can put this post out and reach out to folks to say, I need encouragement. Right now I can make a promise to myself that I will treat myself with kindness and respect. Tomorrow I can drink my water, I can continue my journey, I can give myself a new challenge, and I can start working out again. And this week, I can offer more encouragement to others, and hopefully have a better week than I've had in the last several. Not better in that I lose weight, but better in that I regain my Spark.

So come one everyone. Let's play a little game of tennis here. I just served the ball. Hit it back to me over the net and let's get our volley going. Anyone who posts a message on my blog, I will drop you a note of encouragement on your page!

Here's to our success!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 11/4/2009 1:29AM

    There you are again...Sparking along...pumping us up, spilling your guts and sharing parts of yourself (that so many people stuff away), and taking this journey one step at time (with a whole list of friends). My Goodness... change that status to a frown so...we can get on here and help you get it turned upside down. You inspire some light in me with every Julie/Julia Blog, with each insightful thought, you write, I am challenged to look at my life, at my health, my family, what changes are for me, what changes are for someone elsa? You inspire me to make changes and think about personal stuff that, I tend to just look away from. You have had so much success in such a short time...Congratulations!!I think you are beautiful inside and outside. I think I need you to be my spark sister.

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MINXXA 11/2/2009 1:23PM

  Ah, you gotta love perfectionism! I think we all get that way... we get into the zone for a while and then life happens, or we stall a little, or things aren't happening as quick as they once were and all of a sudden we're not so happy about it.

I do think it's good to remind ourselves that this is a journey that may take a while.. these changes are helping us, whether we can see them immediately or not. I think coming here and asking for help is the best idea!

I went out with two girlfriends on Friday for happy hour and one of them was at a crossroads where she was feeling very conflicted about some pretty serious life choices. We gave her our opinion, but also were there to tell her she's smart, she's strong, she's beautiful and she will make a good decision. And if she decides it wasn't the right one, she can change direction!

I like to think good, supportive friends are like a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers... we go to them when we need to feel warm, safe, comfortable and loved!

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INKAGOAL2012 11/1/2009 4:36PM

    It is really hard to stay positive on this journey. The spark grows and wanes for a lot of people. You have made great progress! It is the start of a new month and a great time for a fresh new approach.

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TALLTABBY 11/1/2009 3:51PM

  I am sorry that you have been struggling. I know I have had some hard days lately too. We all have bad days. Try revamping your workout schedule, it may give you a second wind.

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MARLIZG 11/1/2009 2:43PM

    my imput is-you decide to cheat at the supermarket when you BUY the wrong choice. ...if you don't buy it you can't eat...And u r NOT really buying it for your husband or kids.

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Quarterly Report of Me!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My Spark journey is just over the three month mark, and I decided it was a good time to evaluate my progress. Keeping in mind that it is not just about the numbers, I think it is necessary for me to really look at where I was in July, and where I am now.

So let me first get the numbers out of the way. Numbers are tough. In the past they have broken me. If I gained even one pound, I was a quitter. But not so much anymore. Here is what I've found about the numbers. The key numbers are 10 - 34 - 60.

First, I've lost more than 10% of my starting body weight, and while my goal to lose 135 pounds will probably change to a higher number down the road (I've got a number in my head that is in the range of 160 to 180), I have still lost over 10% of my starting weight and no one can take that away (except me).

Second, I've lost 34 pounds in three months. That's an average of more than 10 pounds per month.

Third, I can walk more than 60 seconds without my back hurting.

Numbers aside, let's look at my goals.

1) I'm losing weight.
2) I feel better and have more confidence.
3) I'm wearing a smaller size.
4) I feel happier when I look in a mirror (granted I have a long way to go)
5) I feel better physically and am more optimistic about the future.
6) I have been less self-critical.

I still have some goals to tackle . . . need to check-in with my doctor at some point and see how my cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. are doing. But it has to be better with a 10% loss, and I have to think that I am heading in a direction to get off medication down the road. I still have some personal issues to deal with (I keep digging them up, which is great). I still have that bathing suit waiting in the wings.

And finally, let me report on what I've learned and the success that I have enjoyed.

1) I do not diet any longer, and this has truly been the largest piece of my diet puzzle. Something so simple has made a world of difference in my life.
2) I will be successful, provided I log my food daily and stay on track.
3) I can eat anything I want . . . and I can eat things that are really good (I mean really, really good) as long as I am able to make my next meal count. In other words, I no longer blow the day . . . the week . . . the month. It is one meal or snack and then back to business as usual.
4) In three months time, I've never felt guilty about anything I ate. I've not binged and felt sick. I've eaten whatever I wanted, tracked it, and moved forward. What this has done to my mental health is beyond measurement.
5) When I log my weight into Spark . . . when I hit a new number . . . it goes into the site. It is my success to hit that number and record it. But then a day or two later if I gain that pound back, I don't move the number up. Rather, I strive to get that number back. It was my number. I owned it. It is a mere fluctuation. This tactic has made a world of difference in my not falling off the wagon.
6) I have tried to inspire others in the hopes of keeping my Spark alive. How does a woman who needs to lose over 100 pounds inspire others (I wondered). By inspiring herself first and asking others to join, lead, follow.

ďA snowflake is one of God's most fragile creations, but look what they can do when they stick together! ~Author Unknown

Yes, I have so much to work on. I continue to blog my way through my "When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair" book (by Geneen Roth) which has really been an eye opener for me. In fact, I have no doubt that when I finish the assignment, I will move on to a second book. It keeps me honest about myself. It "cultivates curiosity". It connects me with others who identify with me at so many levels. I have learned so much that it cannot end.

All of that said, I think it has been a successful three months. However, in the last couple of weeks I have noticed that I "Spark" a little less on the site. My exercise has dropped off a bit (I've been so busy), and I've been a little less motivated. I'm still doing well with sticking to my calories, but it is a bit of a wake up call for me. I need to rock and roll a little more. I just need to be honest with myself.

So that's the "Quarterly Report of Me" . . . I think I can wrap it up in a couple of words. Fortitude. Power. Success.

I'm excited for the future. And just to keep it all in perspective, one last quote.

"There is no point at which you can say, "Well, I'm successful now. I might as well take a nap." ~Carrie Fisher

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TALLTABBY 10/27/2009 9:33PM

  Sounds like a successfully quarter to me! You are doing such a great job. You have even brought up some subjects that I had not thought too much about. You have alot to be proud of!

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MYMAWSCRAPS 10/26/2009 5:18PM

    Hi Girlie,

Congrats on all your progress and opened doors. emoticon,
Not stepping on the scales right now, not feeling too successful at the moment. emoticon You, however have brought me inspiration with each blog you've written in the last quarter. emoticon Oh, BTW I never noticed that you were a woman needing to loose 100 lbs. I only noticed that you are bright, funny and "sparkly". emoticon Thanks Again for your encouraging words. Best of luck on your journey.
Caroline emoticon

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JYANTKILR 10/25/2009 9:15AM


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SPIRITSEEKER2 10/24/2009 8:06PM


Yes, carry on.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRACEISENUF 10/24/2009 1:50PM

    This was a wonderful blog to inspired me to keep pressing forward! Way to go, you have accomplished SO much. Hugs

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JULIE_MAE 10/24/2009 1:45PM

    emoticon...... Love your "Quarterly Report of Me" I have been a member for a little over a month and a half. Only 10 1/2 pounds down. You give me hope. Looking forward to making "My Quarterly Report."

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