JCORYCMA   13,602
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A Picture is Worth...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Let me state for the record:

I HATE photographs of myself.

Both of my two childhood photos (I was the fourth of four kids) show a skinny girl with frizzy red hair, freckles, and buck teeth. UGH!
I could tolerate my wedding photos because there is some truth to the karma that surrounds a happy bride and besides by then I'd had orthodontia and learned how to use a blow dryer! Not to mention I weighed 105 lbs...

Next came motherhood with all THOSE photo ops. I did my best to hide behind the kids but at a weight that just kept climbing, that was hard to do. I never allowed photos of me standing up but that really didn't matter since most photos were taken at family celebrations and I was always photographed sitting at a table stuffing my face.

Even though I have always paid attention to my grooming - wearing make-up everyday and dressing nicely in clothes that fit but were never sloppy, I still looked heavy and much older than I was.

By the time my kids were getting married I dreaded the requisite photos. No expensive silky, satiny dress could improve upon helmet hair, big glasses, and 78 lbs too much weight on my little frame. Not even the beautiful bride could detract from how awful I felt that I looked, I thought. How egotistical!!

My husband on the other hand looks dashing in every photo ever taken of him. He's never had to particularly watch his weight. His hair is never turning gray. His eyes twinkle behind his glasses. His smile lights up his face. AND -- he just doesn't give a hoot!!
In my mind THAT only reduces his credibility when he looks at photos of me and says "You look beautiful as always"!
His theory is "It is what it is" and can't for the life of him understand why I get so filled with dread when anyone pulls out a camera and says "Smile"!

That phrase just makes me want to reply "Bend over" in that same cheery voice...

Someone at work snapped my picture standing next to the 33 year old doctor I worked for and I looked like I could be his mother even though I was only 39!! I have more chins in that picture than a Chinese phonebook! I cried when I saw it and yet it would be another 10 years before I lost any weight.

In the year 2006, at the funeral for my 25 year old son, I looked at the board of photos that we displayed at his visitation and I had an awakening. Those pictures were basically all that I had left of my son. Would I look at them and start pointing out that HE had put on weight, or had a little acne, or should have combed his hair?


Two months after he passed away I resolved to lose weight and get healthy. The "life is short saying" had new meaning to me and I didn't want to spend what was left of mine with no energy, on a bunch of medications, out of shape, wearing tents that stretched, even if Lane Byrant did their best to make them look modern.

So I found Sparkpeople and lost 78 pounds.

Did I automatically bury the hatchet with the camera? Sigh! Not entirely, but I did learn to tolerate it.

In fact last year around this time I saw a Groupon on line for "Boudior" photos from a local photographer. Ah hah! Every year I struggle with what to get the man for Christmas who professes that he already has everything that he needs. So After checking out her credentials and discovering that she is legit and this line is only a side gig for her, I booked my session. I browsed her website for outfit ideas and found the photos totally tasteful and classy. I also had a total ball pouring through the Victoria's Secret catalog for wispy, silky, coverings that I ordered for the occasion.

I started to tell the photographer all the flaws that I didn't want in the pictures and she shoved a glass of nice white wine in my hand and told me to RELAX. She basically "taught" me how to pose to highlight what I wanted and distract from what I didn't want to see. I changed outfits throughout the session in a flurry of giggles as I went from my work scrubs (the naughty nurse) to the WSOP hat (my hobby). Afterwards as I was looking through her promo photos I saw several heavier women looking so confident and sexy that I had to admit that sexy isn't a size.

Between her talent behind the camera and the wine, I, too, felt confident. I ended up having a very nice book made for my husband. The cover photo is just enough boudiorish to warn the kids when they encounter it after we pass on not to venture in if the sight of their mother's dťcolletage is going to require a trip to the river Jordan afterwards to wash their eyes.
I even selected a nice photo to frame and put up in our bedroom as well as one for my husband's desk at work. That's the one I use as a profile picture.
I have another one that I told the kids to crop out the cleavage and use as my obituary picture.

So has all this taught me how to appreciate having my picture taken? Yeah, but I'm still not a huge fan of myself in un-retouched photos. I hadn't realized just how much old habits die hard though, until I visited my sister in Virginia this fall. After I lost my weight, it inspired her and SHE joined Sparkpeople and lost 78 lbs. too! We are the best of friends and I was having a great visit with her. We were just lounging in her family room watching television in our jammies when around the corner comes her husband brandishing a camera! "Smile"! -- CLICK

We looked at the photo still on his camera and started protesting -- "I don't have make-up on", "My chins look awful", "My hair is stringy" "Mines thin" ---

"We look" "We look" "We look" --

He cut right through the chatter. "You look HAPPY"!!

You know what? He is right. And that, my friends, is what REALLY counts.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VIBRANTVIC 10/31/2013 9:18AM

    Just started coming back again and so delighted to see you are still on and active and as witty and charming as ever. Always loved your blogs!!

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DENRNAJ 10/30/2013 4:28AM

    What a blessing you are! emoticon

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WISLNDR 10/29/2013 5:43AM

    My mom was camera-phobic and now that she's gone, we have no photos of her. I have taken this lesson along with me and I try not to run and hide when there's a camera around (I just don't have to look at the photos! emoticon )

This summer we had family photos taken while there were four generations of us present; I was showing the photos to coworkers and someone told me I was very photogenic. What an amazing comment for me; I had never heard that before!

Thank you for a great blog (and a great reminder as we head toward holiday times.) You DO look happy!!

emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/29/2013 5:45:37 AM

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BESTSUSIEYET 10/28/2013 10:09PM

    Hooray! I know the camera phobia all too well ... and have mostly overcome it. I am intrigued by the special photos you had taken. That would be a fun step to take for my honey ... Thanks for always inspiring me, Lovely Lady!!

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CARRAND 10/28/2013 9:20PM

    We look happy because we are happy! You are greatest sister, ever.

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JCORYCMA 10/28/2013 8:13PM

    Thanks to all who take the time to read this blog! If you head to my Spark page you can see that work photo that I now use as my "before" photo. emoticon

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DDOORN 10/28/2013 8:10PM

    What an accomplishment to PUSH through the whole picture deal! Even after losing the weight most people struggle so lining their self image up with the new, improved reality.

Congrats to you! I know DH will be thrilled. Great moment captured with your sister too!

It's such a treat to hear from you! Thx for stopping by and sharing yet MORE inspiration with your SparkFamily!


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Exercise is another word for being good to yourself

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It's been a long time since I've blogged on SparkPeople, but trust me, it hasn't been a long time since I've Sparked. Some days I feel like keeping my weight off is a second job. Watching every bite that I put in my mouth, tracking my food on SP, going down to the Y after work each night and on Saturdays to get in the exercise.,,,

BUT - sometimes I think that the payoff is worth more than the money I earn at my real job.

Being thin doesn't guarantee that you'll never have health concerns as evidenced by my history over the last four years. I was plagued with sinus and upper respiratory infections. Severe allergic reactions to antibiotics. Perpetual GI distress. Severe fatigue. Hip and leg pain that just never let up.

YET - I kept watching every bite that I put in my mouth, tracking my food on SP, going down to the Y after work each night and on Saturdays to get in the exercise...

I saw the ENT and had sinus surgery. CHECK
I saw the GI doctor and found out that I have celiac disease and am now healed on a gluten free diet. CHECK
I saw the physical medicine doctor and found that I have bulging disks in my back and had an epidural injection and hours of physical therapy. CHECK

AND - I kept watching every bite that I put in my mouth, tracking my food on SP, going down to the Y after work each night and on Saturdays to get in the exercise...

Doctor after doctor told me that those were the smartest things that I could do for myself. Recovery time was cut in half. I wasn't at risk for all the complications that accompany obesity like hypertension and diabetes that make you a poor anesthesia risk. They praised me for being thin like I'd been that way all my life.

SO - I had to tell them about my weight loss story and the wonderful power of sparking with others who are struggling down the same path....

One asked me to sum up in one sentence why I lost weight, what made me stay the course and get to goal.

I REPLIED - Because I love myself...

Next time you climb on the bike, treadmill, elliptical, or cut that baked potato in half and wrap up the rest, tell yourself:

THAT'S -- why I watch every bite that I put in my mouth, track my food on SP, exercise every day...

Happy Sparking!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOWCARBRENEE 10/14/2013 7:28AM

    So agree!

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SUSIEMT 9/20/2013 11:58PM

    What a wonderful blog! I so agree!

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GRANDMABABA 9/17/2013 11:58AM

    Continued great success to you!

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DEBSZOO74 9/17/2013 12:49AM

    Great blog! emoticon

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LESLIESENIOR 9/15/2013 9:49PM

Self love is vital. We women forget to treat ourselves like we treat our best friends.
Thank you for your beautiful reminder!!!

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_CYNDY55_ 9/15/2013 4:57PM

emoticon emoticon Blog!

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SUNSHINE20113 9/15/2013 1:44PM

    Great blog! Thank you for sharing!!

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PROUD-GRANDMA 9/14/2013 11:38PM


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-SHOREIDO- 9/14/2013 9:50AM

    Great blog!! Thanks for sharing and loving yourself.

One less person to worry about! emoticon


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ROCKLAND2010 9/14/2013 8:33AM

    emoticon Thank you for sharing!

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CARRAND 9/13/2013 8:57PM

    Wonderful blog! You are so right - loving yourself enough to make the effort is what it's all about.

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FELINA 9/13/2013 10:12AM

    Thank you for a wonderful blog ! What a great reminder to keep doing this for ourselves first and foremost. Fantastic attitude and motivation !

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CELIAMINER 9/13/2013 9:20AM

    Very inspirational! You lost the weight for YOU, not for anyone else!

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NUOVAELLE 9/13/2013 1:39AM

    Great message! Congratulations on having changed your life and thank you for spreading the spark!

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JSTETSER 9/12/2013 9:17PM

    So true! Thanks for the post.

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WATERMELLEN 9/12/2013 9:02PM

    What a brilliant blog -- we all have to love ourselves enough to do the hard work you've done and keep on doing.

And yup: keeping the weight off is my "second job" too, and harder than my main job, and more satisfying in terms of the payoff also!!

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    That is an awesome answer! Love yourself enough to put you first! Way to go!

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MEXGAL1 9/12/2013 7:41PM

    Amen sister!

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MOMMY445 9/12/2013 7:21PM

    i fully agree! have a fabulous day!

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/12/2013 6:42PM

    Absolutely the reason to keep up the habits... because you're worth loving! And you're stepping up to the plate and loving yourself every time you exercise your choice to eat right, get your sleep or follow medical advice. Well stated and well lived!

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_LINDA 9/12/2013 5:55PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
That is fantastic you persevered over such serious health issues and came out on top! One of the first things I learned on Spark People is if you don't love yourself you will never lose the weight because you won't feel the effort is worth it, Way to hammer home the message!
Keep on being your amazing self!

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DELLMEL 9/12/2013 5:35PM

  I try to keep exercising and cutting back on my food so that I can feel better. I love me and I am going to do what's right for me. Thanks.

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KELLIEBEAN 9/12/2013 4:37PM

    I'm so glad you are doing so well and checked all these things off of your list. When you love yourself, anything is possible!


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VTRICIA 9/12/2013 4:03PM

    What a marvelous blog! I am really glad you took the time to write this down and share it. And that's great to hear that they recognized your healthiness without knowing you had lost a lot of weight!

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MOBYCARP 9/12/2013 3:43PM

    "Because I love myself."

That's a good sound bite. It's better than the sound bites I've used. It can play into ethics, because "love your neighbor as yourself" isn't much good if you don't love yourself.

Thank you for this blog.

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SLENDERELLA61 9/12/2013 3:26PM

    You brought tears to my eyes! I never thought of it that way, but my heart said yes. I did it and I do it because I love myself.

Congrats on all your success. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. Great blog! -Marsha

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/12/2013 3:18PM

    What a great blog, I really enjoyed reading it. Woo hoo, you sure ARE taking care of yourself

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PEZMOM1 9/12/2013 2:52PM


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DSJB9999 9/12/2013 2:46PM


emoticon for sharing

You are inspirational, I agree 100% with your plans and activities.

emoticon Be emoticon emoticon

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KIMBERLY_Y 9/12/2013 2:01PM

    So true!!! Congratulations! You have an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 8/23/2013 8:27AM

    Missed your blogs. This is a wonderful mantra...."because I love myself"

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PMRUNNER 8/23/2013 6:17AM

    Affirmation is a much stronger and longer lasting motivator than guilt! Sounds like you have made great progress and have a great attitude too. Keep up the spark!

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WISLNDR 8/23/2013 6:12AM

    Such good news!!

The other day I was feeling extremely stressed by on overly busy schedule and decided to ride my bike to one of my stops. All I had to do was sit on the bike and I felt my whole body go AHHHHHHHHHHH. (Imagine how awesome it was once I actually started riding!!)

Thanks for posting this and getting us all caught up on the good things that are happening in your life!!

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DDOORN 8/22/2013 10:27PM

    How wonderful to hear from you Joanne!

Even MORE wonderful to hear how well you are doing!

Been there with the bulging discs...PT worked wonders, I still do those pelvic tilts for preventative purposes.

VERY cool to hear again from you...! Made my day!


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BESTSUSIEYET 8/22/2013 9:25PM

    Ah, Joanne -- so good to hear you are doing so well! I love this post!! Thanks for the reminder that a healthy lifestyle can minimize the problems that are NOT related to unhealthy choices. Many things are out of our control ... but that doesn't mean EVERYTHING is out of our control! Keep up the good work -- and keep challenging us to ACT like we love and appreciate our bodies! emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 8/22/2013 8:24PM

    Absolutely agree 100%.

And I'm kind of embarassed to admit how long it has taken me to grasp this!

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NVR2LATE2BFIT 8/22/2013 8:21PM

  Good for you!!!! I was very inspired by what you wrote. I am a fitness instructor at Anytime Fitness and I am constantly trying to motivate members to do exactly what you wrote about! I am very proud of you!!!!

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Want a real eye opener?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Try cleaning up your favorites list in your nutrition tracker!

The other day I did a long overdue chore Ė I went through my nutrition tracker and weeded out all those foods that I am no longer eating or plan to eat. Many of them came from restaurant selections. Some were items that I imported because I ate them once but donít plan to repeat them. Most of them came from various processed foods that I have eaten despite labels that read like a chemistry index and most often contained the word ďartificialĒ. I have resolved to avoid them anymore if at all possible. Some items werenít so bad, but contained gluten which until I find out for sure that Iím NOT gluten intolerant, Iím not going to eat.

For curiosity sake, I decided to use a calculator and keep track just exactly what I was eliminating -- not only from my tracker, but from my diet as well. What an eye opener!
Here are the numbers:

750+ grams of fat (mostly unsaturated)
950+ grams of sugars (simple carbs were culprits)
50,000+ MG OF SODIUM!

Total items eliminated: 54

I feel lighter alreadyÖ..


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RONDINA 7/3/2012 11:35PM

  Thanks for such a good idea. I just started tracking my food, but that is a great idea. I have been eliminating foods I love, and trying to turn to healthier ones.

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COOKWITHME65 6/28/2011 7:28AM

    I should go thru mine to. Good for you for eliminating all that junk!

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STARSHINE67 6/28/2011 2:13AM

    Great idea!! Thanks for sharing.

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WATERMELLEN 6/23/2011 8:03PM

    Great idea: gonna do this soon also!!

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    Thanks for the tip!

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BARBEQUESUE 6/22/2011 10:34AM

    Good for you...yes that was an eye opener.

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REBELBLITZ 6/22/2011 9:12AM

    Now that is downsizing! Good for you! Cheryl

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TWNOMWE 6/22/2011 7:58AM

    That is a great idea. emoticon.
I should try it. emoticon

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CARRAND 6/20/2011 8:13PM

    I've done the same thing, although I'm not quite ready to delete the Dove Chocolates. It's amazing the amount of sodium in restaurant food and processed food. Fresh and home made is better! By the way, we are still eating and enjoying the home made salsa you left us.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 6/20/2011 9:58AM


I sort of abandoned the SP tracker when I switched to the one on my iPod. Whenever I happen to go on there I'm really surprised by what I find. Some of the things I used to think were "healthy" back when I started losing weight. Wow.

(And they in fact WERE healthy, compared to some alternatives!)

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DDOORN 6/20/2011 9:51AM

    Downsizing in ALL sorts of ways...YES! :-)


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WISLNDR 6/20/2011 8:34AM

    Well, there's a project I should probably consider doing soon! There's a lot of things out there that I wouldn't even consider anymore and I'll bet that might speed up the food tracker!


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SPARKCHANTAL 6/20/2011 3:50AM

    crazy! bet this technique applies to other aspects of life, too.

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LADYFOLDER 6/20/2011 12:55AM

    Way to go, Joanne!

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/20/2011 12:16AM

    Your headache must have gotten better ... That's good! Hooray for you cleaning up your food tracker! Imagine it will speed things up when you track! I'm so glad your new plan is making such a difference for you! Keep up the good work!

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JIMDAB 6/19/2011 11:58PM


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KMIRANDA2000 6/19/2011 10:11PM

    If only it were that easy.

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No More Cravings...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Stardate: Week II
Well folks itís been two full weeks since I started my own eight weeks to optimum health. Itís mostly patterned after the Andrew Weil, MDís book entitled ď8 Weeks to Optimum HealthĒ. I say mostly because he doesnít necessarily advocate going gluten free. In his book ďNatural Healing, Natural HealthĒ he suggests that if you fit the symptom profile of a gluten intolerant person, you should try it and see how you feel. Because I have several first degree relatives that are, I decided to give it a try when I was visiting my sister during week I. Iíve had a long history of irritable bowel, but as Iíve blogged about before, I attributed gas and bloating to compulsive eating. Iíve long had environmental allergies and sinus issues. Menopause disorders. Joint and muscle pain. Mild anxiety. Cravings. Compulsive eating. Fatigue, lack of energy.
Anything else?
Nah, that about covers itÖ
My sister said YES, YES, YES to about everything on my list, so Iím giving it a try. No wheat, rye, or barley. No other grains that have been processed in a factory that processes wheat, rye, or barley. No modified food starch, certain gums used as preservatives and so on.

Along with weaning off caffeine Ė Iím down to one cup of ďreal coffeeĒ in the morning and when it runs out, Iím done. Water, de-caf tea or coffee, and very occasional orange juice or low sodium tomato juice for me. I gave up soda pop a year ago.
I pretty much entirely gave up processed foods full of preservatives. My sodium levels have finally gone under the food trackerís recommended limit. Iím not eating or drinking artificial sweeteners. Really very minimal artificial anything.
Iím exercising 6 days a week Ė either on the treadmill, bike, or walking outdoors. Iím doing yoga type stretches at least 4 times a week. Next week work in the strength training.
Iím paying attention to my breathing each day for at least 5 minutes taking nice deep breaths in through the nose and giving nice long exhales through the mouth.
Iím standing straighter without locking my knees. Iím making my quads work when I sit instead of flopping back into chairs.
Iím heading to bed earlier.
I have fresh flowers on my dining room table.
Iím trying to spend at least 15 minutes daily sitting relaxed and thinking about my blessings.
Iím taking a vitamin B complex, 1000 mg fish oil caps, Calcium & vitamin D tablet with minerals, Vitamin C, and another vitamin D. Staggered throughout the day with meals.
Iím off my daily antihistamine and nasal steroid Ė using the netti pot when needed. Iím off Prilosec Ė the heartburn is gone. Iím weaning off the estrogen therapy. I've lost 5 lbs from eating lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, and small portions of chicken or fish. I am eating gluten free bread and gf cereal with flax. Occasional treats of SMALL amounts of real sugar stuff like a Dove dark chocolate.
In short: I feel AMAZING. I havenít had this much energy in years.
With everything Iíve done at once, it might be hard to pinpoint exactly what has helped the most especially when it comes to the gluten and I will need a doctorís advice to help me determine if I am TRULY intolerant vs. a wheat allergy vs. placebo effect from just eating healthier. It can be essential to know, but right now I have no desire to go back to eating gluten. I feel that good. Good enough to never have a cold beer on a hot day again. Good enough to never again indulge in pizza at our favorite pizza joint. Only homemade or Godfatherís gluten free for me.

The defining moment? The hubby and I live by a Marble Slab and I love their frozen yogurt so I suggested that we go tonight after supper. I was prepared to eat a jr. size of the real ice cream if the yogurt had gluten in it, but when she said BOTH the yogurt and the ice cream had gluten in it I didnít hesitate Ė I told her no thanks, none for me.
My DH is so impressed; he has agreed to start doing what I do Ė right down to the gluten free.
The most amazing part: ABSOLUTELY NO MORE CRAVING.
What can I say? I pray that I can make this a lifetime deal. So far I feel like why wouldnít I????

Live long and prosperÖ


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHY4ME 8/26/2012 7:46PM

    I know it is amazing isnt it. I have done total gf for 2 months and felt great. Sadly the diet doesnt help nerve damage pain ( I have neuropathy and sciatica) but did help my arthritis. I haven't gone off dairy though maybe I should.
DR put me on prednisone for 10 days and I was eating more as he said it would but still healhty for a few days then oh oh now back to junk. But reading about the ice cream.... I bought the snack size yesterday as it was on for 1$ ( when do we learn no matter the price it isn't a good deal if it isn't good food! LOL) and have eaten it and wonder if that is why my knees are just so sore. doesn'st feel arthritic just hurt esp on stairs. HMMM
YOu memtioned a dr finding out of you are Gluten sensitive. you have to be on a full diet of wheat etc to find out if you have gone gf it wont test properly. Some know they are so refuse to go back to eating like that to find out. Me I could care less, I know I feel better so will eat that way.
Tomorrow is my re start day , finished the prednisone dose friday. I will get back to feeling good. still on a lot of meds but also chiro so hoping something soon works.
Enjoy your healthy lifestyle!

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SUSIEMT 8/26/2011 5:50PM

    Wow! I am impressed! I think this is something I may need to read more about. Congrats!

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HIGHWAY91 7/7/2011 4:15PM

    Terrific! So glad you are feeling good. Reminds me of the pay-off of making changes that are initially difficult!

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PASTORJO 6/30/2011 9:17AM

    wow! I don't have digestive problems but know many who do...may suggest they try to eliminate gluten.

I've been eating healthier and tracking - and noticing an increase in energy level and decreases in cravings. The higher energy levels help me move, so I exercise, which also increases my energy level and mood. Amazing how we can cycle up instead of spiraling down.

I'm w/the comment above - I am a coffee addict; down to 1, maybe 2 cups a day, almost no pop unless I'm eating on the road and do drive through, rarely tea, lots of water. But drinking coffee is a Lutheran sacrament! emoticon

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JIBBIE49 6/22/2011 1:41AM

    I'm reading "CLEAN" by Alex Junger, M.D. on how to detox my body as I want to make sure not to REGAIN the weight as I release the rest of it. He points out that ALL processed foods have chemicals in them to preserve them and as a result they KILL the bacteria in our gut and cause us problems with digestion. He got IBS when he came to America to go to college L& medical school as he'd lived in South America growing up. His book is really an eye opener to me.

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CARRAND 6/13/2011 2:07PM

    Gluten sneaks into a lot of things, doesn't it? I find real ice cream from Hagen Daazs is generally OK. I always read the labels. Eating healthy does make me feel better, and that helps me stick with it. Keep us all posted on how things go.

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DDOORN 6/13/2011 1:16PM

    While we all have some of the same universal basic relations with food and body chemistry I never cease to be AMAZED over the individual variations in what people find works BEST for their own unique body!

Kudos to finding your "secret formula!" :-)


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HAPPYSOUL91 6/13/2011 12:20PM

    Wow, this is working so well for you, congratulations and keeping on with the program

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DENRNAJ 6/13/2011 6:33AM

    Wonderful- I am so glad that you are feeling this way! I say whatever works and it sounds like you've found it for you!
Spark On!

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/13/2011 1:07AM

    Rejoicing with you!

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JIMDAB 6/13/2011 12:29AM

    my gosh!

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WISLNDR 6/12/2011 10:18PM

    I like reading this!! I'm checking things off the list in much the same way you are and I'm feeling better than I have in a long time!

Still working on that caffeine though . . . . . coffee is my proof of a higher being!! emoticon

Glad to see things are going your way!!

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Letter to self

Monday, June 06, 2011

In my last blog I mentioned that I had gotten two books by Andrew Weil, MD:
ďNatural Health, Natural MedicineĒ and ď8 Weeks to Optimum HealthĒ
They are both excellent books and I highly recommend them. His approach to good health is based on sound principles that would make total sense to our ancestors: moderate daily exercise, a diet comprised mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, limited protein especially from animal sources and to eliminate processed, artificial ingredients as much as possible. Drink lots of clean water. Eliminate caffeine, soda pop, and unhealthy fats. Limit or eliminate alcohol. Take time daily to breathe deep and RELAX. Appreciate your surroundings. Get adequate rest. Sounds elementary, doesnít it? Not to a busy caffeine fueled woman who hits the floor at 5:45 am, work at 7:30 am, the Y at 5:30 pm, who finds herself laying a supper of mostly meat and processed foods on the table for her husband and her at 7 pm. Iíve been known to be folding laundry at 11 pm.

Last week I took a WONDERFUL vacation to visit my sister and her husband across the country in Virginia. She lost 70 lbs last year with the help of SP. Despite the miles that separate us we have always been close. She encouraged me to try eating her gluten free diet (she is gluten intolerant) with her, so all week we had healthy, fresh produce, lean protein mostly from fish and beans, and just enough sugar to make us feel decadent. Plenty of ďskinny ď de-caf lattes. We went to her gym daily and exercised. I took a drop in gentle yoga class with her and she thoughtfully arranged a ďtrainingĒ session for me with her trainer/yoga instructor. I left her home feeling so energized. Her lifestyle all melded perfectly with Dr. Weilís books. Sigh! Good-byes are hard...

Donít get me wrong Ė Iím glad to be home. I missed my DH. I missed my cats. I even missed my job (the patients mostly). But I feel motivated to continue with my new plan. I discovered that it isnít enough just to be thin because Iíve been at or near my goal for almost 5 years now. Mostly, I want to be healthy and feel full of energy. Not full of aches and pains and stress. I realized that when I spent more time in the pharmacy aisle getting ready for my trip than I did in the grooming aisle that I needed to take some proactive steps to tune my immune system and get away from masking symptoms with pills to combat heartburn, joint pains, sinus troubles.
It will not be easy. Old habits die hard as they say. I have definite perfectionist tendencies and have been known to throw in the towel if I slip up and mar my ďstreakĒ. So with that in mind, I began my journey by writing myself a letter:

Dear Joanne,
Like all things that matter, this will not be easy at times and sometimes you WILL fail. Thatís Ok. Remember to cut yourself some slack. Please take stock of your life and not make this journey just about weight, but about whatís healthy for you. Donít use other people as excuses to veer off your path; ignoring what you know is the best for yourself. Itís Ok to be a little self-centered, especially while you are trying to establish new habits. Yet at the same time, donít lose sight of trying to be a better person, friend, and mate. Get your ďhouseĒ in order but donít make it more of a struggle than it needs to be. RELAX! There is no time-line. It is not about a finish. Itís about feeling Ė healthy, balanced, happy, and serene. There is room for gentle drive and focus, but only as a means to enhance your journey. Listen not only to your physical body, but to that little voice inside that says: I love youÖ
(written while sipping a cup of decaffeinated copy and listening to quiet, gentle music)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 6/7/2011 8:43PM

    Yes, we had a wonderful week together. It just seemed easier (and so much fun) to do healthy things when I had a fitness partner. (Being off work didn't hurt, either!)

I did yoga again on Sunday and Monday, and did strength training Sunday and Tuesday. I'm hoping to stick with those habits for life.

I saw Julie at the gym and she said you were delightful! I had to agree.

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LAUREL220 6/7/2011 10:48AM

    I loved reading your blog! Thank you!!

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HAPPYSOUL91 6/7/2011 10:02AM

    Excellent blog and it couldn't have come at a better time for me

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JIMDAB 6/7/2011 9:04AM

    Another thought-provoking blog. Another step forward. Thanks for sharing.

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DDOORN 6/7/2011 8:47AM

    How wonderful it is that you continue to seek ways of improving your lifestyle yet even MORE than you already have! Whew...just don't know how you manage those early morning workouts...! I used my treadmill around 6 a.m. for a while, but couldn't keep that up...as much as I like getting the workout done and out of the way early on.

Weil's approach sounds like it has much in common with Michael Pollan and his "food rules." Keeping it simple with lots of common sense!

"Healthy, balanced, happy and serene" just about sums it up for most of us!

Spark On! :-)


Comment edited on: 6/7/2011 8:48:16 AM

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/6/2011 11:49PM

    Dear Joanne, you are growing in wisdom & strength, and I trust this new journey will move you forward in new ways! Good for you! Just treating symptoms is far less desirable than clearing up the causes! keep doing all you can to be the best you can be!

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