Friday, April 13, 2012
I was talking with a friend over the weekend who has also lost a lot of weight. She said that when she visited her in-laws house she went into the study and saw framed photos of her and her husband on the mantle. These frames held pictures of a woman she no longer knew. She said she was going to go in when they were out of town and take all the pictures out and replace them with new photos. She wondered how she had let herself “go” and get so big. I've wondered that too, it's like when it's happening you don't *see* yourself clearly.
I get it. I do understand that feeling of wanting to destroy pictures. And what she said got me thinking, and prompted me to look at my own shelf.
I saw a larger me, yes. But I also saw a life that was being lived DESPITE those extra layers of fat that surrounded me. Despite the pain that I was in. I think it takes a certain spirit to not only live through this, but to go out, set goals and accomplish them despite the “largeness” and the world being as critical as it is and un-accepting of that.
Here's what I found on my shelf:
This first photo is me when I was maybe in 5th grade, giving my sister Kara a piggy back ride. Holding her felt important to me.
A picture of me with my best friend Cheri, who has accepted me at every size - we've been friends for 25 years now, she always knows how to make me laugh.
A picture from my wedding day. Even though I had to get my dress made by a dressmaker as the style I wanted wasn’t in my size, I was beautiful and happy.
A picture of me in England. I went with a group of 11 strangers. This was out of my comfort zone. I got a scholarship to attend, and I knew that this trip would change me and it did. This was where I discovered my faith that I thought was long gone.
Me graduating with my Bachelor of Arts degree from DePaul University. I earned that degree working full-time and going to school full-time. I left my home when I was younger and only 18 yrs. Old. I had to work hard for everything I’ve gotten and this was no different.
My new role as a mother. Looking into her eyes was endless and holding her I felt I was holding the world.
My sister Missy’s wedding day (I’m on the far right). I was so happy for her and her new life ahead.
My nephew Tony’s first birthday party. Playing with the kids makes me feel like a kid again.
These pictures show a story. It isn’t a sad story, but a story of a life lived.
I think about my husband and what his experience with me has been, looking at myself through the picture frames has made me try to see myself through his eyes. Although I had always struggled with my weight, at the time I met him I was coming off of my anorexic phase and I was a size 8. Through our dating I grew, and when we got married I was a curvy size 16 and weighed over 200 lbs. He still loved me.
After we got married is when I really packed the pounds on. I went from a curvy 16 to a very unflattering size 26. All in a year’s time.
Why do I tell you this? Because I used to think that my husband was a saint for staying with me through this journey but looking back at my pictures on the shelf, I see a woman who despite the odds has soared. Had I not lost the 100+ lbs. that I have so far, would it make me a different person? Not in the ways that count. See, my husband stayed with me for who I am, for that spirit inside, that is who he fell in love with, not the outside wrapper. And my friend I told you earlier about is an amazing person too, and her weight, even when she was bigger, did not define her.
And so this blog isn’t about “Yaay me, I am so great.”. It’s just my observations of what I found on that shelf. But really, this blog is about YOU. How many times have you felt “less than” because of your size, or any restrictions it may give you? How many times have people maybe pointed at you, or laughed behind your back? And you know what? You are living despite that. You are making goals, working toward goals and becoming new people – not destroying that old part of you, but enhancing it and embellishing it. Letting that spirit SHOW . Because you are all great spirits as well. We all have the power inside of us to reach outside of our comfort zones, to sign up for that 5k, to train for that marathon, to go to a new country. Being on this journey helps us see ourselves through new eyes.
I would have never thought at the beginning of this journey that the very classes I was taking to start incorporating working out into my life that I would one day teach. But I am studying to be certified at the end of the month to teach Walk Live classes through Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home program.
This morning my 5 yr. old daughter looked at me as I’m practicing for the movement exam, and asked me why am I going to teach classes? She went on to say “You’re just a mom.”
That gave me a laugh, "JUST a mom" (is that all? LOL.) (It's funny how we are viewed by our children). But I told her that I want to help other people change their lives like I have. I've been given a huge second chance. And I'm not wasting one minute of it. I want to just ooze inspiration everywhere I go! And maybe this will plant a bit of inspiration in my two daughters to go for their dreams, too.
I just wanted to simply say that wherever you are, right NOW, it is enough. You are amazing, just as you are. Will you be even greater someday? I have no doubt about it. Whatever you wish for and dream for, it can happen.
We all have those old pictures on the shelf we'd rather never see again. But I ask you to perhaps embrace the person you are, once were, and who you will be.
And remember, just like Dorothy – you have had the power all along.
Monday, April 02, 2012
I wasn't going to blog about March, because, as I said in my status update, "March was a wash." Well, actually...not really.
I did some great things in March. And the fact that instead of losing 5.5 lbs., which was my goal, I gained 1 lb. Well. So what? I'm really sick of my negative attitude about this plateau/rollercoaster/ride that I am on. I am going to celebrate my accomplishments anyway.
I rocked March. I actually actually lost 4.5 lbs. in March -- I just gained those before losing them. I was at 199 at one point in March. I'm 194.5 now. That's why looking at the number at the beginning of the month and the end is sometimes not accurate.
And if the scale doesn't reflect my awesomeness in March further, well, it will. Hopefully in April, but if not, I'm going to keep on doing what I am doing. For me I do have to be perfect or I gain weight. I can point out the 5 days that I went over calories in March and I wouldn't take away any of them. A 13 year wedding anniversary for me and my husband. A bridal shower. A birthday celebration. A wedding anniversary celebration for my parents of 43 years. And a vacation day off of work with my kids where we laid around and watched movies most of the day and ate popcorn because it was raining outside. No, I wouldn't take any of those away.
And the fact that 95% of the time I am doing what I "should" be, I know that the scale will eventually move downward. I'm too close to goal to give up or even think such ridiculous thoughts.
I'm going to just keep putting one foot in front of the others, and step out in faith and know that eventually I will be rewarded.
MARCH REPORT CARD
Start weight: 193.5
Goal weight: 188
End weight: 194.5
Weight lost: (Goal 5.5 lbs.) - Gained1 lb.
Total weight lost this year: 8.5 lbs.
Goal weight progress: 16.5 more lbs. to go to reach goal weight!
Total weight lost: 103.5
I reached 1,338 fitness minutes in March. My goal was 1,000.
I ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in 56:16. My goal was to beat last year's time by a minute. I beat it by over 5.
I was finally able to do a reverse plank – before I couldn't lift my butt off the ground.
Weight goal: To lose 5 lbs. this month.
To start training for a longer distance.
To incorporate yoga back into my routine.
GOAL: Burn 2200 cals. per week:
Monday Walk (150)
Tuesday Run (525)
Wednesday Walk & kickboxing (200)
Thursday Run (525)
Friday Long walk & kickboxing (300)
Saturday Long Run (630 - 700)
Sunday walking and yoga: (125)
Total: 2455 - 2625
1400 - 1750 calories
10 glasses of water per day.
Only 2 cups of coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
NO dairy – going cold turkey. (working on this!)
Get all of my freggies in.
Popcorn – break out the air popper and make it truly healthy. Then I can have 2 bowls.
Wine – only 1 – 2 glasses on special occasions. No more casual drinking.
Track all of my food into the fitness tracker and check my stats nightly to see where I need to tweak anything.
Friday, March 30, 2012
This is my favorite race. Over 34,000 runners participated in the 33rd annual Shamrock Shuffle, the traditional kick-off to the running season in Chicago.
This race and I have a long history together. My family has been participating in this race for the last several years. They used to offer a walking option for a 5k distance, but they don't anymore.
2007 - I walked it with my husband, daughter, dad, and two sisters. Jim had Lucy in tow (look how small she is!) (I am the second from the right)
2 years ago I caught the running bug while walking the Shuffle with my dad and feeling the urge to run. That same year I crossed the finish line with my dad, dead last.
2010 - Me, my dad and my sister Kris
Last year was my year for redemption. I ran the entire thing. That was my goal. My goal this year was to simply beat last year's time by one minute.
I not only beat my last year's time by one minute, I beat it by over FIVE minutes.
I was ecstatic!
And what's even better to me than time is the way I felt - both before, during and after the race.
Last year I was scared. I ran it alone and standing waiting to run in a crowd of 40,000 can be intimidating. During the race last year I was dying and afterward I was so tired that in every picture my smile is the same (strained).
This year I had FUN. I wasn't nervous at all and I actually wore a cute running skirt and compression socks. As I was running through the streets of Chicago I was loving it. Afterward I felt energized, and I felt like I could have run MORE. (Half marathon, do you hear me calling your name?)
My husband and daughters came to cheer me on - they saw me at Mile 2 and then caught up with me at Mile 4 and my husband actually ran along the sidewalk for a bit as I was running, it was so cool! A traveling cheering section!
My favorite signs I saw along the way?
"DO EPIC THINGS"
"I thought this was a pub crawl." - t-shirt
I didn't bring my camera, so these pictures from the local paper will have to do.
But I did purchase my finisher photo as I knew I would have no pictures of my own.
The start of the race, courtesy Chicago Tribune.
Under the first bridge! Photo Chicago Tribune.
Running through the streets. Chicago Tribune.
Plenty of bananas afterward. Chicago Tribune.
Proof of me crossing the finish line (MarathonFoto)
Monday, March 19, 2012
I am not happy. For a person who is usually cheerful, I am downright depressed right now.
It isn't fair. It just isn't fair that when I have a bad week I regain weeks worth of work.
I am sick of having to be perfect all the time.
I just want off of this ride.
A few weeks ago I was down to my lowest weight in the past 10 yrs., 193.5. I vowed I wouldn't go back up above 195. At my Saturday weigh-in I was 198.5. Today, because I have a sick sense of humor, I got on the scale again and I was 199.5. To say I am disappointed is an understatement.
Last week a lot of things happened to get me to where I am today. I can whine all I want, say it's not fair, etc., but looking at the facts they look something like this:
I wasn't feeling well last week. Low energy, head cold. This beautiful Chicago weather does have a down side.
I only worked out one day last week.
I got my period.
I had three family events, where despite my best efforts to make good choices, I still over indulged, bringing my total calorie count up to over 2,000 for the day, and in some cases 2,500.
I decided that the chocolate-covered sunflower seeds my husband brought home from the store were "healthy" and took a handful, or two, or three, out regularly.
I incorporated dairy into my diet again.
I indulged in wine and margaritas.
I ate too much popcorn.
I was lazy.
Are these excuses? No. Just the simple reality of it. So when I find I want to whine "It's not fair", I had an especially bad week overall, it wasn't just one small thing, my body could have handled that. It was a series of unfortunate events that brought on my weight gain. 3 lbs. this week, 2 lbs. last week and that extra pound or two from too much salt.
But you know what?
I am tired.
Here's what a typical roller coaster looks like:
And here's what my weight loss graph looks like:
A little too similar lately if you ask me. Up, down, up, down. And I'm just DONE with it all.
I'm changing this ride NOW.
Because I no longer like the mood swings associated with the up and down of the scale, and of my diet.
Because I am not afraid of being under 190.
Because I wanted to be at goal weight by May 19th for my sister's wedding.
Because I have more important things to accomplish in life rather than tackling the beast of a scale.
Because I want to get on with my life.
Because I have an 8k to train for coming up in less than a week!
Because, in the words of Stewart Smally from SNL, I am good enough....I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me :)
So, what am I gonna do about it now that my whining and crying is over with?
I'm going to start by going out at lunch and buying myself some new running kicks. It's time, and my knees are starting to feel it.
I'm going to run tonight.
Tomorrow I am going to walk.
Then I'm going to box.
Then I'm going to run again.
Then I will walk (again).
Then I will lift some heavy weights.
Then I will rest.
Then I will run my 8k.
And I will repeat the following week, perhaps not in that order, but a few things are certain:
I will run 3x per week.
I will box 1x per week.
I will walk 6 days a week.
I will rest one.
And I will eat 90% clean, whole foods. I will stop eating the junk hubby brings home - last night it was chocolate peanut clusters - Why you ask?? Because they were "cheap and on sale". I'm sorry, but I'm worth more than $1.99 of chocolate covered peanuts.
And until that scale budges, NO popcorn, NO wine, NO margaritas.
Enough is enough.
I'm aiming for a 4 lb. loss this week. If I could put on 3 this week, I can sure try to take it off, and then some.
And the thing about roller coasters?
eventually, have to come
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
I’m talking about cleaning out the clutter in our lives, and I don’t mean paperwork, or house chores or cleaning. Well, maybe I do.
I’ve had day long meetings all week that I am the organizer for – the behind the scenes lady. I have to make sure the people have coffee, breakfast, snacks, lunch, water, more water, and refresh it all.
This morning one of the guys tried making coffee himself before I got in and he made a mess of it. The coffee overflowed into the drawer beneath it, into the cabinet below that, underneath the water cooler, under the coffeemaker, under the microwave, in all the cracks and crevices it could find.
As I was cleaning up the mess he stopped in to say he was sorry again, I told him no problem, it had happened before and he wasn’t the first. He said “I tried to clean up the best I could, this may actually be a good thing, there was tons of junk in the drawer and food particles, etc., that hadn’t been cleaned.”
And then it hit me.
That mess, that junk, while annoying and took time out of my day to clean, was ESSENTIAL. Without the mess I wouldn't have had to clean up. Without having to clean up I wouldn't be looking under every little thing to be sure the coffee wouldn't stain the drawer or counter. The mess made me lift up things I wouldn't have before. Made me take a closer look and examine.
When bad things happen to us, and we need to clean up our messes, that is shaping us.
Everything shapes us.
When we have to clean up a mess we discover all the things that need changing. That dust in the corner, the old socks under the bed. Metaphorically there are things inside us that need to change too.
I recently got into a fight with a family member and it was a bad one. I usually avoid conflict like the plague, but this time I tried to do something different – I called her out on something and I acted in anger. I was hoping to prevent the emotions building inside of me and becoming a bigger mess, but I can tell you that this new method didn’t work either. It didn't produce a good reaction, or resolution. (Next time, calm down first, and then address the situation). We got into a big fight and before I knew it I was yelling. Very unlike me. But it made me realize that I don’t handle conflict well and that that needs to CHANGE. Yes, I have every right to speak up, but not the way I did. Next time I need to handle conflict in my life I know I will do a better job. Life is all a dress rehearsal, didn't Shakespeare say that? The world is the stage. I am practicing with every action I make.
Same with this weight loss journey. If we go to a dinner party, or out to lunch and make bad choices, well those choices shape us too. When we see the outcome reflected on the scale, we CHANGE.
We all have frenemies. I’ve encountered some that make me feel bad that I am not up to their level of fitness, or always try to show me how great they are. And I’m happy for these people. But I will not let their comments meant to lift them up and me down shadow anything I am doing. Like the dust mites in the corner, some of these people I am going to have in my life less (or ignore them). I don’t need the comments/jabs meant to make someone else feel better, and for me to feel less. I am not a person who compares me to anyone. So when a friend compares her journey to mine, or another how far she can run vs. me, or perhaps someone saying how much faster they are. All of that just doesn’t matter. Plain and simple. We are each on our own journeys and we can lift each other up and be cheerleaders for each other, or we can try to bring someone down in order to lift ourselves higher. I choose to be a cheerleader. I always did want to wear that cute skirt and pigtails.
We all have drama. We have those friends, family members or kids who just loooove the drama. I have a sign in my daughter’s room that says “Save the Drama for your Mama”. I thought it was funny when I purchased it as she was growing inside of me. Now as she is living into that I question…hmmm.why did I buy this? And why SHOULD drama be saved for the mama? I know why. Because mamas are STRONG and they GROW as a result of the drama. We get more patient and learn to handle more of it.
We all could use more money. I don’t know anyone who is 100% comfortable with their financial situation and can just do whatever they please. Even the ones who have it all, all the money they need, they want more. We all strive for MORE. We want it all, don’t we? I challenge you to be comfortable where you are at, with what you have. (Note: Take my own advice). I think a natural result will be that we lead simpler lives. And there’s not that stress of where is the money coming from.
Patsy Clairmont, from Women of Faith, recently said something similar to this concept. Instead of calling it “De-Cluttering”, or “Cleaning”, she simply calls it Pruning.
Patsy tells a story about how several years ago; her husband bought one of those huge riding lawn mowers. He was so excited about his new “toy”. When he got ready to mow the lawn, he was so excited that he shifted into high gear and ended up going through her beloved flower garden.
Her garden being ruined wasn’t what her husband intended, obviously, not the best case scenario. After her husband lifted the mower off the flowers she describes what the aftermath looked like: “my hydrangea bush looked like a handful of pickup sticks, my roses were potpourri, and my butterfly bush was not fit for a gnat.”
She went on to say that despite the damage done to her garden that the following year those same bushes came back “with gusto”. They had gorgeous blossoms. And the following year they were even better. Then she says that: “It’s really a reminder that what others do accidentally or spitefully can be used to cause us to flourish. “
While none of us want the conflict, the strife, this hard job of losing weight, family issues, financial troubles, all of these things SHAPE us. They help us to become better people. Become who we are. Discover our purpose.
As Patsy says, we were BORN to GROW. And for those fellow Christians, as we grow we become more like Christ in His own image, he is inside of us all.
And each obstacle that comes our way is just an opportunity for GROWTH.
My challenge to you is to look at your life and at those things that you would rather change. Can you see how they perhaps are a blessing in disguise? Does looking at them this way help you to embrace them more fully?
So take out those dust rags, sponges and mops. Clean out under your bed, in the corners of your soul. And you might just be surprised at what you see.
Artwork by Kelly Rae Roberts "Everything Shapes Us"
(which I have on my office wall)
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