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Timelines Keep Things in Perspective

Sunday, December 30, 2007

When we see ourselves everyday, we really don't get the full visual impact of what our weight loss or gain actually looks like. That's why it's so easy to ignore when we are gaining it, until one day we wake up and truly don't recognize ourselves. It's also why we may not think we're making progress, when we really are.

When I posted those pictures earlier of the dresses, I also found a few more in my library that really put things into perspective for me as far as weight gain/loss and my overall health for the last few years. There aren't a whole lot to choose from, and with good reason. I'm usually the one behind the camera. It was a rare thing when I actually wanted to pose for a picture.

I've put together a short timeline so you can see what I'm talking about.

In the first picture, the beginning of May 2004 I weighed 235. I didn't crop the others out of this one because Lynn wants a Jerry Springer story, and this is it. I'll put that at the end. Sorry the picture is dark, but it was taken at night when we were camping. I'm the one at the top left.

The next one is Memorial Day weekend 2004. Less than one month later, I weighed 220. I had been experiencing some nerve problems (physical ones, not mental. severe pain) for over a year and the doctors could find no explanation. Now my body had decided to play more tricks on me and started shedding weight. This is the very beginning of that process. I had been going to the doctor weekly up to this point and this picture represents a 15 # loss in one week

The next one is my sister's wedding in June 2004, just 4 weeks later. I weighed 140. I felt like crap, in addition to the pain. I was not dieting or exercising, I was just melting with no explanation. This spawned a whole new battery of tests and treatment trials, for which they had no idea what they were treating me for. Finally, I started eating all kinds of junk, just to see if I COULD gain weight. Fast food, snack food, you name it. It took me until Halloween to even gain 5#, and I got an earful from my doctor for even doing that. Not gaining the weight, just the way I was going about it.

In February 2005, I read a magazine article that shed some light on things and showed it to my doctor. He took a blood sample and had it tested for antibodies for wheat. That was all it took. I then had a biopsy done on my intestine that confirmed that I had Celiac Disease which is an intolerance of gluten (wheat). Real simple cure. Don't eat it. And it almost killed me just figuring that out.

Well a gluten free diet comes with it's own challenges as far as proper nutrition is concerned (which I didn't pay any attention to) and that brings us to our next picture. October 2005, I weigh in again at 180. Oh, and I need to mention that I also had a heart attack ON my birthday in July 2005. The body is an amazing thing and can handle a lot, but the speed with which I lost and then gained weight was something that it just could not handle. That is why it is so important to lose weight in a healthy manner, with proper diet, nutrition and exercise.

The next, but not yet final picture in this timeline is June 2007. I'm up to 195, almost where I was before I started losing, and although really disgusted with it, not motivated enough to do anything about it. That came in Septemebr 2007, when I joined Spark, and met all of you lovely people.

The next picture will come from today's shopping trip, and previous blog entry. I'm unofficially at 157, and feel better than I have in 5 years, and healthier than I have been in 15.

Okay, now for the light stuff. The reason I didn't crop the other people out of the first picture is for Lynn, team leader of 80's Music Lovers (80's music lovers rock!). She wanted a Jerry Springer story, so here it is.

That is me in the upper left and the three studs with me are as follows: In the yellow, my husband, (to whom I am technically still married, even though we've been separated for 16 years now), in the white, my boyfriend (when this picture was taken we were together for 10 years, but as of last year no longer, still friends though), and my other boyfriend (we were a couple back in the 80's after high school, and we never actually broke up, just kind of drifted and went our separate ways).

It's always been a big joke between us. As you can see, we are camping together and we're all good friends. I don't want to hear any jokes about the banjo playing in the next campsite over either. John (the other boyfriend) talks about how some people have a fear of commitment, but I have a fear of un-commitment. I just say that when someone becomes my friend, they are my friend for life.

What? Not Springer-esque enough for you? Here's some more info. When my husband and I split up, he first was my sister's roommate for a short time (just a roommate) and then my brother's roommate until a year ago, when he bought his own house. That corresponded closely with when I asked my boyfriend to move out, and can you guess where he's living? I'll give you three guesses and the first two don't count. And leave my brother in law and step father out of it!


We actually did have 80's music on in the background, because we always do, and the husband and the other boyfriend are both from the 80's, and even though I wasn't working out but I was out(side), just in case this pic counts...

"This is me (not) workin’ out and rockin’ to the 80s in honor of my 80s Music Lovers teammates during Week 4 of December!!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRUMPYGRAMS 1/8/2008 1:03AM

    Wow Tracy!! You told me you had been sick, & couldn't eat wheat, but I had NO idea it was to this extent! I had not read this blog before we met. You are lucky to even be here, girl. Thank God you are though! I'm so glad you are now healthy, & doing so well. Keep it up--I know you will!!!

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    Sweet! Thanks for the Springer story! LOL Your Celiac story is quite frightening and I'm glad you were able to figure it out and get a handle on it! One of my neighbors (and good friend) has the same problem and it's not pretty! Kudos to you for working through it - and OF COURSE the picture counts! Now I'm headed to check out the LBD blog!

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TCEDEROTH 12/30/2007 12:40PM

    Nah, it's probably more a case of them being afraid to get on my bad side. ;)

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CIAMOM 12/30/2007 11:33AM

    Okay, I don't know if the pic counts or not (I have a hunch it will), but my goodness, it should! ;) And wow, the things your body went through all because of gluten!! I'm so glad you discovered the problem, Tracy!!!! Oh, and all 3 of your men look pretty darn cute - it speaks volumes about you that you all remain such good friends! As well as you having a fear of uncommitment, I'm sure you're a person that others don't want to let go of! :)

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The polls are open

Saturday, December 29, 2007

For anyone stumbling across this blog and you don't know what I'm talking about, it's chatted about on the 80's Music Lovers team message board "Miscellaneous Chats and Shout Outs", back on Dec. 19th.

Well the kids and I went shopping today for THE DRESS. We brought along a camera and let me tell you, that was a fantastic idea. Even when you see yourself in a mirror, you don't really get the full effect until you see the pictures. It made all the difference in the world when narrowing down the choices to the nine I've posted. I recommend it for anyone, even if you're not going to take a vote.

The camera helped in other ways too. It enabled me to really see the spots that I need to do more intense work on as far as toning up is concerned, such as my neck and chin area and my upper back and arms. The belly is always going to be a problem area due to health issues, but that is not nearly as bad as it used to be, and I have confidence in myself that all of those areas will be tightened up come the end of January.

As for the dress, I want something classy and understated. I'm not a flashy dresser, and the simpler the better for me. I liked most of the dresses I've submitted for voting. We are our own worst critics though, and some I liked from the front, but not the back and sides, some from the side or back, but not the front, etc. With some, a different color made a difference.

I brought along stockings and heels because I thought the perspective would be ruined with socks and tennis shoes. Those are not the shoes I will be wearing, so don't include them in your judging. Obviously too, the hair will not be a mess from multiple changes and there will be makeup applied. Also something to note. Some of the dresses looked better in a larger size, and I did try them, we just didn't take pictures because it would get too confusing when looking at them later. Duh! it never occurred to us to just erase the ones that were no good, but I guess when shopping with teenagers, the tendency to not use all of your common sense rubs off.

So now we'll see what my fellow Sparksters have to say about it. The pictures are all in my photo gallery. Please take a look, and then come back here to cast your vote.

Just a note...I did actually end up purchasing two of the dresses. I'm not telling which ones, let's see if you can figure it out. I'll post that game on Lynn's Fun n Games thread later, when hers is done. I will be keeping those two dresses no matter what, but the decision for the dress to wear that night is still up in the air. As I said before, it's very important that I have the perfect dress, so if you don't think any of them are "IT" for my purpose, please don't be afraid to say so. I still have plenty of time to shop. Of course I could probably go in a burlap sack. I think my mere presence is what will have the effect, but a little extra firepower never hurts.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Alrighty, my vote is in! I ALWAYS lean towards black, so I didn't even look at the other colors, mostly because you said you wanted something "classy and understated". Red will never be understated, especially for a wedding, and you just can't get any classier than black...white is also very classy, but I know how you midwesterners are about wearing white after Labor Day! LOL Seriously, though, black is way hotttttt!! So, my first and only choice is Black D. I love the way the back has a diagonal cut at the shoulders cuz it's young, hip and slimming! The others are great, too, and Black C is a close second...but I really like the cut on D! I can't wait to play the game in the Fun 'N Games thread! Guess I'll go post the results right now, even though I haven't posted my blog...hate to keep y'all waiting! LOL

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CIAMOM 12/30/2007 11:26AM

    Tami's first choice (B) is my 2nd choice, btw. It's a very close runner-up!

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DETERMINED_ME 12/30/2007 11:16AM

    Oops, I made a mistake...It's B the blue one not C. Sorry 'bout that.

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TCEDEROTH 12/30/2007 12:25AM

    For the record, June's first choice was D black. I tried to send her a spark mail and accidentally clicked on the delete comment button instead of the one to take me to her SparkPage. I suppose I should get to work on my address book, huh? Sorry June.

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GRUMPYGRAMS 12/29/2007 10:41PM

    Ok Tracy--my second choice is "A-black". I had to go back & look at the pics!

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CIAMOM 12/29/2007 10:34PM

    Okay, my hubby likes "Choice D Blue" and I like "Choice D Black". Looking good, Tracy! Knock 'em dead!! ;)

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DETERMINED_ME 12/29/2007 10:03PM

    I like C the blue one. Very nice.

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Camp Cederoth in full swing and LBD's

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I ended up not having to work tonight, or tomorrow night either. Good thing/bad thing. It's nice to have the entire weekend off. At least they let me know that it was dead before I went in. I was in the city anyway at my friend's house between the two jobs, but if I had come all the way in from home, I would have been royally PO'd. It would have been nice to make some money after Christmas shopping, (tuition will be due again soon) but it will be nice to sleep late AND wake up in my own bed. I almost never get to do that anymore.

I came home tonight, and of course my son wasn't expecting me, and of course the house was filled with teenagers. Not such a bad thing. His friends are all pretty cool and they don't get loud and wild or anything. It's just that I've gotten used to being by myself, and they ARE teenagers after all. Up until tonight, I'd almost forgotten how it was. With Christmas so near, they had family obligations, jobs, shopping etc. to do and they weren't all over here at once. Now that all of that is over with, they were all here at the same time. I spent the first 15 minutes walking around picking things up. Empty glasses and plates, coats, etc. Do they come here just to eat? And why do they hang the coats on the floor when there is a perfectly good coat rack in the hall?

I really don't understand what the attraction is here. Every single one of these kids lives in a giant home. I live in a condo, yet this is where they choose to congregate. This is precisely why it was a conscious decision to only have one child. Each child makes friends, and then those friends become your children as well in a way. Granted, they do eventually go home...sometimes. Two of them even have keys, and I've come home to find them waiting for ME, not my son.

But they all are really like my own kids. They come to see me even when my son isn't home. Usually they come by to talk about things with an adult that they aren't comfortable talking to their parents or even their peers about. I'm pretty non-judgemental and I don't snitch on them. I'm glad that they trust me enough to confide in me. And believe me, those conversations have been all over the place. And it's been like this since he was in 6th grade.

Anyway, the majority of them have been away at school, and this is the first they have seen me since I've lost so much weight. They all told me how great I looked (which felt nice) and the word "hot" was even used (which felt great), which brought up the subject of the Little Black Dress.

So tomorrow, 6 of his friends (4 girls and 2 boys who say they wouldn't miss it for the world) and I, are going to converge on the mall for starters, in search of the perfect LBD for my purposes. (I clued them in.) We will bring a camera, and rest assured teammates, you will get to vote before the final decision is made. The kids are great, but really, I've seen their prom dresses and their homecoming dresses, and hell, the way they run around on a regular basis. I need more clothing on than that! The wedding is in January, Brrrrrr!

Should I let you all vote on the eye-candy as well?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRUMPYGRAMS 12/29/2007 10:33PM

    Tracy--I'm glad you're a friend to all the kids. They soooo need people to confide in that won't judge them, but will give them sound advice! I hope they all give you, at least, a card for Mother's Day!! LOL!!

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DETERMINED_ME 12/29/2007 1:45PM

    Oh shopping with a bunch of teenagers, sounds like fun. Well, at least buying the new dress sounds like fun. Can't wait to see them.

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CIAMOM 12/29/2007 11:48AM

    Tracy, that's very cool that you're the mom the other kids feel comfortable hanging out with and talking to! I hope I can be that kind of mom! Have fun shopping for that dress - you're going to blow them away at that wedding! Oh, and I would love to vote on it! :)

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HEALTHIERLYNN 12/29/2007 1:42AM

    Oooh, sweet! I'll definitely be voting and I can't wait to see the choices! I'm crossing my fingers that I'll have iNet service in Brianhead, but if not, I'll check them out when I get back next week! Have fun tomorrow - sounds like a blast!

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Obligations and Resolutions

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas is over for me and I am so glad. I don't begrudge anyone their Merry Christmas, in fact, it usually makes things better for me when everyone else is happy, but it's never been a good time for me. I used to get past things and into the spirit once I started shopping, but that time really never came this year. It was difficult to find the time, so I ended up forcing myself to do it last minute, and as a result, the gifts I purchased were either uninspired, or gift cards or cash, (those that even got a gift at all, that is), and the entire experience was unenjoyable.

This year particularly, Christmas seems to have become more a time of obligations than anything else, and I know that's my own fault. Sitting here thinking about why I'm The Grinch and Scrooge all wrapped into one this year has led to some introspective thought that is really long overdue. Christmas is the one time of year that it gets difficult to avoid doing things that may not be the best thing for you, simply because it's what someone else needs, or you don't want to hurt someone's feelings, or there is some other "obligation" requiring your performance. And you can't hide.

I am normally a very giving person. I give of myself, of my time, my help, my money and anything else that I have. All anybody ever has to do is ask. Sometimes, they don't even have to ask. I've always been this way, and I never minded. I take care of things. It's what I do, and I enjoy it. I do get taken advantage of at times, and even that is OK. I just don't let myself get put into that position again and move on.

That is where part of my problem comes in. Not letting myself be put into that position, and saying no, aren't exactly the same thing, are they? My New Year's resolution last year was to make it a "ME" year. Do more for me and less for others. Well, I did accomplish that I guess, but I did it by not putting myself into a position where I would be asked, which did absolutely nothing to help me. In fact, just the opposite.

I've had a tendency this past year to avoid people and activities that might put me into a position where I would be called upon for something. I did this by keeping myself very busy (or telling myself I was) so that I wasn't available. As a result, I don't really feel like this year has meant anything to me, or that I've really accomplished anything. I'm sure I've missed out on meeting a lot of people that could have become important in my life. I've missed opportunities to enrich myself and my life with new experiences. I've closed myself off from all but a few people, and I've not been really living, just existing. I've not done things that would have been fun. I can't recall a single time this past year that I have really enjoyed myself and had a good time. Where I smiled for no reason simply because I couldn't help it and it felt good. And to be honest, I'm burning out.

I'm not the type to regret my choices though. If I don't feel right about the choices I've made, or they don't turn out the way I'd hoped, I look for what was good about the choice. There's usually something that turned out right. Then I find the lesson and move to the next. In some respects, it may have been a good thing to cut myself off. The prior year was one of a lot of major changes in my life. The year of "Change" was a prelude to the "Me" resolution. Keeping myself so busy and/or secluded this year very likely prevented me from going wild (which I had the tendency to do in a former life) and totally reckless. Which does sound like fun, but the aftermath is really ugly.

So this past "Me" year was somewhat successful. I did more for me and less for others. I took care of me. Mostly me, anyway. At the very least, I stayed safe, and I also have lost 36 lbs, and am getting healthier by the week.

The lesson? I need to find a balance so that I do not go against my giving nature, but still be true to myself, and I have to learn to say no. Not "I can't, I'm working" or "I'm sorry, I'm already doing something", but instead, "I really don't want to, I'd rather______" or "I'm just not up for it".

No. Two letters, one consonant, one vowel. If I can do M & E, then I can manage N & O.

Bring it on 2008!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CIAMOM 12/26/2007 4:12PM

    I think you have a really healthy attitude toward 2008 - it's all about moderation, isn't it? Not just with food and fitness, but everything, really! It sounds like you'll feel happier if you allow yourself to be more involved with others WHILE you're taking good care of you!! :)

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HEALTHIERLYNN 12/25/2007 11:43PM

    Sounds like you know you need some balance, Tracy, and just knowing it is the first step towards getting there! We've all heard that you can't take care of others if you aren't taking care of yourself...your YOU year has been a quest towards better health, which in the long run will be better for you, yet better for others as well. That's a great accomplishment, Tracy! Merry Christmas!

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Don't read this if you're hungry

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last chance to close this blog right now. You've been warned.

Friday was our office Christmas lunch and the three of us went to an Italian restaurant. This was a traditional type of place and low-fat did not seem to be on their menu, but I couldn't really tell because I can't understand Italian (other than Spaghetti, Mostaciolli, etc. and I didn't see any of that). :) The names of the dishes were in Italian of course, and the descriptions were in English, but it was still difficult to choose anything because everything had sauces, sauces and more sauces.

I did my best at remembering what was in everything and tried to log it into my food tracker and just hope for the best. I am still paying for the meal dearly, even if I somehow managed to stay within calorie range. I'm not supposed to have wheat and of course there was the bread on the table. And of course I had to have a slice, and naturally the olive oil and parmesan cheese for dipping are a must have. And then I had to have another slice, but that was IT! Bad news all around.

We ordered two appetizers, one was Tenderloin tips and portobello mushrooms (in some kind of wine sauce, I had one bite of each) and one was these giant sauteed shrimp and some kind of eggplant something or other which had a tomato cream sauce. I had one shrimp and the eggplant was to die for so I had two bites. Any of this stuff doesn't sound too bad by itself, especially in the small quantities I ate. It's the sauces that have me worried (as well as whatever else was in the eggplant something or other), but I figured in a couple hundred extra calories to allow for them. I couldn't order it without the sauce because we were all sharing.

I did order my salad without dressing though. Arugula. I hate Arugula, and no dressing is even worse. I ate it though. It helped fill me up.

I ordered the lasagna for my entree because at least I could figure on it just being a tomato sauce, not something with cream or cheese (in the sauce) and I figured I didn't have to eat the noodles, and I'd bring the leftovers to my friend for his dinner since there was no way I was cooking that night. I'm not a fan of lasagna, and I know with the cheese it doesn't seem like the best possible choice, but trust me my friends, you didn't see this menu.

The lasagna was delivered, the whole 6" x 4" square by 4" deep hunk of calories. It was stuffed with italian sausage, prosciutto, ricotta, mozzarella, and topped with more mozzarella and parmesan. I cut off about 1" from the 4" end, removed the noodles and ate the rest (of the 1" piece, not the 5" piece). And I'm not your typical female. I used to be a construction superintendant, so I know how big 6" is.

I was actually quite full. The boss insisted on ordering a couple of desserts for us to all share as well. He wanted Tiramisu and told me to pick the other one. I tried to say I wouldn't eat any, so let Johnny pick, but Johnny picked the appetizer, so I had to pick the dessert. I don't like Tiramisu, but I figured I'd better pick something as light as possible and without chocolate just in case. I chose an apple torte which came with ice cream. I had one bite of the torte, one bite of the ice cream, and all of the strawberry slices (1 whole strawberry's worth) that were garnishing the plate with the Tiramisu. Noone else wanted them and I couldn't let all of that good fruit go to waste. It wasn't my fault they were drizzled with chocolate syrup and sprinkled with cocoa powder.

So, when I put everything into my food tracker, that ONE MEAL comes up to 1246 calories. And I only had a bite of everything! (the lasagna filling was maybe 6 bites). I overestimated quantities on a lot of it just to be safe. I had eaten a large banana for breakfast which comes in at 125 cals. for a total of 1371 for the day. Yes, the whole day. I couldn't have eaten another bite even if I wanted to. Still within my SP calorie range, but out of my range for challenge points (80's music lovers rock!) again. Damn banana.

The calories aren't the worst part. The worst part is the balance. The calorie distribution was 11.7% protein, 30.2% carbs, and a whopping 58.1% fat. Yikes!

Today I still couldn't eat much, but forced myself to have some oatmeal and a yogurt for breakfast, which was really at lunchtime when I woke up, and then had a sandwich for lunch at around 5. No dinner for me, and now with the lateness of the hour (3 am) I am getting hungry but I can't eat before I go to sleep or I have funky weird nightmares, so I'll have a half slice of cheese to stop the grumblies and head off to bed. Very low calorie intake today. Not good as I really can't afford for the metabolism to slow down after yesterday's meal, but it can't be helped now. Hopefully a longer than usual workout tomorrow will help.

Oh, and we're having company for Christmas Day now, so I guess Sparky's getting eaten after all. At least I can control that meal. He's helped me lose a little weight, I'm not going to let him (or his little side dish friends) put any back on. I'll be sorry to lose my "workout buddy" though.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CIAMOM 12/23/2007 5:31PM

    It can be such a challenge eating out, Tracy! Sounds like you did the best you could with what you had to choose from! Hope Sparky's tasty - enjoy your Christmas!!

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HEALTHIERLYNN 12/23/2007 12:10PM

    Poooooor Sparky! LOL Sounds like a great meal, Tracy and you worked your choices and your portion control well! Way to go!!

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