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Vive le sacrifice

Friday, August 22, 2008

I ran into an old acquaintance last night. I hadn't seen him in over 15 years.
We were sitting at the bar in a downtown diner; myself and my companion, and the Frenchman. Although we were sitting only a stool away, I didn't know him from a total stranger.
The Frenchman made a phone call from the bar phone at the end of the bar. This placed him more directly in my view, and he looked familiar. Although his voice was barely audible in the noisy bar, he spoke loudly enough for me to hear the accent. Then, I knew.
The Frenchman has lived most of his life in the United States, but still speaks with a pronounced French inflection. When he returned to his seat, I reached out my hand and spoke to him. I reminded him who I was, and asked after his long time girlfriend. Recognition came to his face, and we spent the next hour catching up while watching Olympic coverage on TV. I introduced him to my friend and the three of us had a great time.
As we verbally strolled down memory lane, tossing around names and places from the past, the Frenchman stroked a hand over his head and lamented the thinner, greyer hair and the softer, spongier flesh of his ageing body. "Eeeet happons tue everywan", he laughed, "excaipt for yue!" He gestured toward me with both hands.
I was definitely on the spot, and immediately both men were nodding and slapping each other while critiquing and complementing my physique. Okay, he's FRENCH, after all. At least that's what I was telling myself.
The Frenchman asked my companion (whom he'd already ascertained was not my husband) if we were lovers, adding that he himself "shood only be sue luckeee!" The male bonding continued. My companion beamed that I'd "never looked better".
I sat stewing in a cauldron of flattery and embarrassment for several minutes, when the Frenchman asked me, in a serious tone, if I had spent the last decade working out, and made a biceps gesture. Before I could answer, he said "so yew have obveeoosly been making zee... you know, zee SACRIFICE", then he pantomimed pumping iron.
I nodded. Yes, le sacrifice. Le sweat. Le early morning commitment.
I'd never thought about it that way.

This morning, the word echoed in my mind as I set on on my daily 5k, as dawn barely blushed the sky. This is what I require. This is what it takes. This is what I must do.
This is my "sacrifice".

Except, it isn't. It's a just habit. A routine. It's clockwork.
I'd already decided several days ago (when volunteering to ride a bicycle 250 miles for charity) that I had reached a point where I wanted to- NEEDED to- take my fitness to the next level. And to do THAT, would probably require a SACRIFICE.

Looks like I ran into the Frenchman at exactly the right time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRECECOOKS 8/24/2008 2:20PM

    So excellently well articulated, as usual.

When it becomes habit for all of us, we will be winners like you!!

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SECRETFUN 8/22/2008 8:52PM

  Sometimes we find what we need just at the right time for affirmation.

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BLAZINGSWORD 8/22/2008 5:42PM

    Great job! That is such a great reward in itself! Way to go girl!
emoticon The Frenchman! (I know it's a policeman, but heck, just pretend; after all he has a mustache and a hat to cover up his thinning grey hair!)

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PHEBESS 8/22/2008 3:51PM

    Eet is because you are magnifique!!!!!!!!!

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LUCUBRATRIX 8/22/2008 2:15PM

    LOL!!! This entire entry is hilarious. I am literally giggling. I will definitely try to keep this in mind while marathon training.

And WAY TO GO with the 250 mile bike ride for charity - that is FANTASTIC!!

I am getting up tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 6 am to train. That is totally Ze Sacrifice!

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Beautiful Bones

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

As my body gradually changes, I'm transfixed and amazed by the new me emerging. I'm constantly touching my arms, my hips, my abdomen, my legs; exploring the structure that had been hidden for so long. I'm like an infant discovering her own toes, or learning to blow spit bubbles, or turning a somersault.
I'm fascinated by my knee bones. My knees have lain buried under mounds of soft, billowy fat for most of my life; now, I feel hard angles and depressions. My hip bones are another source of fascination: as walk along with my pants slipping lower, I find myself pounding my fist against my pelvic bone, still dumbfounded that nothing bounces or shakes under the pummeling. In the mirror, I see shoulderblades that are no longer padded into obscurity. When I lie down at night, my stomach falls hollowly, sinking between my pelvis and my ribcage, and I run my hands over my sternum in abject awe.
Who knew that my FEET would get smaller? I've long since moved my wedding band to my thumb to keep it from falling off, but the shoe size thing is by far the most amazing. Not that they're any narrower (darn it), but my feet are fully a half-size SHORTER than they were before. That FLOORS me. And I have to mention that I'm also very fascinated my the fact that I can now see bones on the tops of my feet. Yes, they were pudgy too. And I suppose that losing 130 pounds must have relieved so much pressure off my arches, that they have snapped back, lifted up, and made my feet shorter... with a higher arch. Can you even believe that??!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

7REBACCA7 8/18/2008 12:46PM

about 10 years ago i weighed 227 lbs I lost 50lbs and very thrilled wanted to wear a size 14 went right past a 14 years later down to a size 6 my whole style changed at a 14 thrilled to pieces
use to try to hide under clothes and continued to wear cami's sweaters and suit jackets as shown on your shopping pictures.
I regained I was size 26 am now a 14 again and love clothes like you all do Rebacca 7 emoticon

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NOTBLUSHING 8/14/2008 10:22PM

    PHEBESS: No....

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PHEBESS 8/14/2008 6:57PM

    Do you find that it now hurts to lie on your side with your legs-knees together???? Isnīt that the weirdest thing?

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MINIMOE1 8/13/2008 3:42PM

    Eek, your bones are showing! (lol) Enjoy discovering the new you.

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BLAZINGSWORD 8/13/2008 10:43AM

    I can believe it too! That is so awesome! And you will never be the same again! You are a totally new and different person not only on the inside now but also on the outside! Hurrah for you! emoticon emoticon

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SMURFETTE0725 8/13/2008 10:19AM

    This should be published. Beautifully written.

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SECRETFUN 8/12/2008 10:45PM

  I can believe it.

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In honor of finally breaking the 200lb mark...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In celebration of achieving a huge fitness milestone (finally under 200 lbs), I went shopping yesterday.
I resisted the urge to head to my usual places- TJ Maxx and Marshalls- and went to an upscale new shopping mall.
I am just awestruck by the choices available to women who do NOT wear "plus" sizes. I found clothes that fit, I mean really fit, in every store I entered. Maybe some of you can relate to how amazing that is.
I visited trendy stores like Anthropologie, Cache, and Arden B, and enjoyed the smiles and attentive service of the store employees (another amazing experience... seldom realized by obese shoppers). I tried on Prada shoes at Saks (amazingly comfortable, but the price tag snapped me back to reality). I was almost overwhelmed by simply... shopping.
In the end, I chose several body-conscious pieces to take me into fall. EVERYTHING has a hint of spandex to hold the shape and skim my new curves.
By far, the most amazing thing was finding pants that FIT. Not just pants that I had to settle for because nothing else would even go around me, but pants that really, truly fit, right off the rack. Like they were made for me.
Like a glove.
No sagging crotch, no gapping back, paper-sack waist. They FIT.
And the best news? Size 12 people. EFF'ING SIZE 12!
Here's the pants- the image does NOT do them justice at all. They are very long and actually need to be hemmed, and (in the words of my husband) "sexy as hell". More than I wanted to spend, but I'm so thrilled by finding pants that fit, you'll have to peel me off the ceiling right now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENTHEYO 8/12/2008 1:22PM

    Hi. I have been reading your blog for about a year now, but never commented before. You are truly an inspiration. Your blogs are funny, informative and realistic. I just wanted to thank you for taking time to tell us about your experience, and to congratulate you on your success. Keep up the great work. Wish you the best.

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SHAR5271 8/7/2008 10:16PM

    That is awesome!!! Congratulations on breaking 200!! That is a HUGE milestone. I am truly inspired. That must have been such a great shopping trip. I can't wait until I am there! Best wishes on your continued success.


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QUIZSHOW 8/7/2008 5:43PM

    Screaming and cheering out loud for you!!!! Seriously.

And I had a little of the same feeling when I had to leave my favorite plus size stores empty handed because everything was too big. The possibilities are endless!! And sexy, good fitting pants are worth the price tag.

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MOVETHESCALE 8/7/2008 2:32PM

    Amazing and Wonderful day you had. Congrats on all you have done to improve your body, mind and spirit. Thanks for sharing such a positive moment with all of us. It gives hope that one day I to will get there.
emoticonno more baggy pants!

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SECRETFUN 8/7/2008 10:00AM

  I am glad you went to the nice stores and had a great time! It is exciting. Time for a new pic......

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PHEBESS 8/6/2008 9:22PM

    (quietly screaming and cheering for you)

MAZEL TOV!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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NOTBLUSHING 8/6/2008 8:39PM

    Seriously folks, these pants look SOOOOOO much sexier on me than on this model. Hands down.

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CHRISNDOBES 8/6/2008 3:40PM

    Congratulations to you! I can remember the first time I got in a size that wasn't in the "bigger" department. What a thrill it is :-) Nice choice of pants too. I like that style.

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TRECECOOKS 8/6/2008 3:31PM

    Congratulations on moving into Onederland!! Your results truly are "not typical" - hooray for you!! And the pants ARE fabulous!! I can just imagine how wonderful you must feel wearing them!! Now, do the right thing, and get them hemmed before you ruin the back of the pant leg!

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MINIMOE1 8/6/2008 2:11PM

    What amazing, awesome, wonderful, stupendous, super way to celebrate breaking the 200 mark more fat pants for you! Your progress is truly inspiring.

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BLAZINGSWORD 8/6/2008 12:44PM

    That is so awesome! And the fact that your hubby thinks they are sexy is great! Woo Hoo! emoticon

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Ten Things To Know

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Every so often, a sparkmember creates a poll asking people to list advice they feel is crucial to their success, and share it with newcomers and other members. Here are my lastest thoughts.

1. DON'T QUIT- stay the course when the going gets tough. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
2. EAT WITHIN RANGE- you absolutely MUST get your eating under control. Track it every day.
3. DO THE EXERCISE- seek to earn the MAXIMUM sparkpoints possible by doing all the exercise SP suggests, everyday.
4. COUNT VEGETABLES, NOT WATER- you should be eating 5 servings a day, minimum. Load up! You'll stay fuller and eat fewer calories.
5. TRACK YOUR FIBER- If you aren't eating enough vegetables, and you aren't eating whole grains, chances are you aren't getting the 25 grams a day most people need. Pay attention to this number.
6. TURN YOUR BACK ON THE PAST- Starting RIGHT NOW, you are no longer obese. That person is GONE. You are a FIT, HEALTHY person; so start acting like one, and start acting like you LOVE it. You are 100%, TOTALLY in charge of your fitness. Nobody can give you motivation, or rob you of it. Nobody can do this for you, and nobody can STOP you from achieving your goal. You are going to be fit, regardless of what anyone else thinks, says, or does; you don't need approval, and you don't need support. It's GOING to happen, no matter what.
7. SELF PITY IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE- The only reason you do it is because you REFUSE to believe in yourself... how would that possibly benefit you??? Talking about all the sacrifices you have to make keeps your mind stuck in the past and encourages you to feel sorry for yourself. Instead of looking at things you HAVE to do to lose weight, think about things you will GET to do because you are no longer obese.
8. TEMPTATIONS and CRAVINGS are a MENTAL STATE- Temptations and cravings are a fact of life... we all have to learn to deal. Giving in to every treat that comes your way ensures failure. More temptations show up every day. Those treats will still be around tomorrow, next week, and next year. This is not your LAST opportunity to eat it (whatever it is). Never plan days to "cheat". You are not on a diet, and you aren't depriving yourself of anything; you are CHOOSING health and fitness. Instead, allow yourself special occasion meals with family and friends. If you ignore cravings, they WILL pass; you don't have to act on them to get them to go away.
9. BE POSITIVE- Don't complain about how difficult it is to eat right and exercise. You should be constantly BRAGGING to yourself about how you overcame the behaviors that kept you a prisoner to obesity, instead of embracing them over and over by insisting that you miss certain foods, miss sitting around, miss pigging out, and hate exercise. If you miss these behaviors, that could only mean you love being obese. The old you is GONE, and EVERY DAY is joyous because of that! Exercise is a BLESSING... the ability to simply WALK is a GIFT that should never be taken for granted.
10. HAVE A GOAL- You can't hit a target you don't have. Have a goal, a plan of action, and a time frame; and BELIEVE in your ability to SET and ACHIEVE it. If you don't have a wedding date, are you really planning on getting married? A goal without a deadline is merely a WISH. If you miss your deadline, set a new one right away.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEARLJGURL 8/1/2008 3:37PM

    GREAT Blog....THANK you for sharing insights into your success!

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SEESALLYRUN 7/31/2008 10:00PM

    Thank You. Thank You. I needed this post.

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TRECECOOKS 7/26/2008 2:59PM

    You've hit the nail squarely on the head once again. Thanks.

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FEELING_IT 7/21/2008 11:29AM

    Excellent advice, some of which I really need to hear right now! Thanks!

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KERRIGIRL 7/20/2008 8:08PM

    As always...well put!

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SECRETFUN 7/20/2008 6:14PM

  I agree with everything. Very well said.

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PHEBESS 7/20/2008 6:10PM

    As always, Janine, you cut to the chase! Absolutely right!

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JERI1952 7/20/2008 10:41AM

    Everything you have written here is exactly on the mark. I will never understand why people give themselves permission to stop eating healthy when they go on vacations, etc. I actually take some of the foods I eat if we are going on a trip. Nothing too dramatic, oatmeal, microwave popcorn, cinnamon, etc. No big production, just pop them in my suitcase. You don't think I would like a big stack of pancakes, sure, but I like where I am at in my life better. If I eat dessert, it's because I wanted it and I knew where I was in my caloric intake. The only other thing I might have added was journalize what you eat. I do and it is a part of my life now. If that's what I have to do for the rest of my life, no big deal. I brush my teeth everyday and I don't moan and groan about that. My journal is like my mini diary, I write in the calories I burn exercising and anything else I find that is helpful in my journey to be the best that I can be.

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"HELP!" revisited

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

This must be the #1 post/question on the sparkpeople message boards.
Okay, here's my advice: Have a plan, and stick with it.
The fact is, that no one can do this for you. It doesn't just happen because you wish it, it happens because you have a GOAL, and a plan of how to get there, and a time frame to propel you forward without delays.
Your plan is like a road map, of how to get from where you are, to where you're going.
For example, if you are in New York, and you have a goal of going to Miami, your plan would be to keep going south until you arrive.
However, if you exit the freeway and head west, you can't expect the same end result, and you know WHY.
Obviously, if you don't stick to your plan, you won't ever achieve your goal.
Therefore, the single most important advice, for anyone trying to lose weight and get fit, is to STICK TO THE PROGRAM. If you don't, you'll get lost along the way, and the delays can only be fixed by YOU.


To hell with "baby steps".

Stop living like an obese person, and start living it as a fit, healthy, and active person immediately. Focus on that idea at all times, every day. Pour over every detail about how and when you will arrive at your goal.
When you change EVERYTHING, everything changes.


I've made a career decision. I decided I'm going to learn how to climb trees.
It didn't take much investigating to see that that's where the jobs are in arboriculture.
In the past, I was of the opinion that I would never be a tree climber, because there's no such thing as a middle-aged, obese, female tree climber.
Well, ONE of those things has changed... and there are indeed middle-aged, female, tree climbers out there.

Obesity held me back in so many ways. It seems miraculous, and surreal, that I've now achieved a level of fitness that makes me feel confident that I'm up for this physical challenge.

I've found climbing, rigging, and chainsaw safety classes this fall, and I'm going for it.

And that's not all- we've also discussed, more than once, the possibility of us relocating. I've known for some time that my husband would like to live somewhere else. He's not a city guy, he wants a yard and a driveway.
I want a degree.
The schools offering horticulture and forestry degrees are not exactly close by, we'd have to move.
Now we both have a motive.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEB0413 7/19/2008 9:21PM

    A yard and a driveway sound good - - along with a few trees to practice on !!

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SECRETFUN 7/16/2008 8:12PM


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LUCUBRATRIX 7/16/2008 3:34PM

    Tree climbing sounds like SO much fun.

You are so right that it's absolutely necessary to fling yourself wholeheartedly into life makeovers if you want things to change... not just weight wise, but in terms of careers and where you'd like to live. Best of luck to you and your husband in your journey!!!

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PHEBESS 7/16/2008 1:48PM

    I KNOW you are going to love tree climbing - with or without the chainsaw!

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