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Two Faces of Me

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Before & After ... ya gotta love it! January 15, 2008 - December 15, 2008!

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5/1/09 - Size 8

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June 2013:

I don't take nearly enough time to sit down and update things that should be updated. It has been a tough year and for the first time in a long time I saw my weight begin to fluctuate.

This Duck is not perfect ... and if anyone out there thinks they are ... then P R O V E I T!

With that said, I fell into the same old habits, which resulted in self-pity, and even more weight. Then one afternoon, I took a good hard look at my life and wrote down all the things that were bothering me. Lord knows I did not realized just how stressed out I was.

But, instead of taking the easy road, I decided to fight back! After all, I can only blame myself for my bad habits, right? So, I am back on my journey to lose the 15 pounds I gained, and then the 15 pounds that I didn't lose in the first place.

I am back on track with my food, and I am back on track with my training!

"Training?" You ask? Yes, training. This year I am bound and determined to walk the Marine Corps Marathon ... yes, I said walk it. This old Duck needs to maintain a 14 minute per mile pace ... and, I am already training at that pace and better.

And, no, I am not running ... just walking. Join me, if you like, on my new journey ...


Below was the beginning of a life-long journey that led me to making a decision I swore that I would never have to make -- weight loss surgery (WLS) or die. Yet, that decision has helped to define who I am today ... over three years later. A strong, beautiful, vibrant woman who knows that life is worth living.

WLS was a journey I needed to take to find out just who I am, where I am going, and where I have been.

Had I not taken this journey, who knows if I would still be walking this earth ...I will leave that thought where it is because life is just too short to waste on the could haves. I know that now.

I am still on my journey ... and will be for the rest of my life.


I sat in front of the television last night and saw an episode of "Super Obese." My heart went out to the 500 pound woman who had dieted down to that weight from nearly 800 pounds.

A bit choked up, struggling for the words, and tears in her eyes she said, "I am a person who deserves to be loved, fat or thin."

Powerful words. I sat there crying, knowing just how truthful those words are as I struggle to make sense of the who, what, and why am I obese ...

We, each of us, have our own reasons for coming to Sparks. For me it is and always has been to find my way. I have had a lot of ups and downs along the way, followed paths that I shouldn't have, and now must make life decisions or die.

And, it is here that the final journey begins. I hope some of you will share in that journey.


5/1/08: I had WLS on January 15, 2008 and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. It has been a hard journey forcing me to make the lifestyle changes that I found so hard to do just four months ago. To date since my highest recorded weight on 12/15/07 I have lost 69 pounds and the needle continues to drop slowly but surely.

6/15/08: Wow, what a ride! I have learned so much since my surgery in January. What? You might ask ... well, I will tell you. I have learned to put the knowlege about exercise and food into practice. Funny ... you would think that since you know it, it would come to you automatically ... wrong! You have to work at it every second of every day.

I no longer think about the food I am going to eat for simply tasted and pleasure, I think about what vital nutrients that food will supply my body. Hmmmmm... what a concept.

To date, I have lost 73.5 pounds since my surgery date and a total of 87 pounds since my pre-op date.

07/15/08: UPDATE ... UPDATE ... UPDATE! Whooohoooo. I hit the six-month post-op mark! To date I have lost 97 pounds ... 83.5 post-op and couldn't be happier. I am fighting for every pounds ... but it is a fight I am willing to win. Slowly, but surely I will reach my monthly goals ... or revise them as need be.

For now, I am healthier, happier, and more active than I have been in years.

8/15/08: 7 months post-op/ Can you believe it?107 pounds pre-op and 93.5 post-op! I just returned from two weeks vacation. The first week was spent with my family in Illinois. Everyone said I looked great! Wanted to know my secret ... only few family members know about my surgery.

There was a family reunion ... food, food, and more food. I filled my plate ... I took a bite here and a bite there of the healthier choices and tossed the excess into the garbage. No one was the wiser because I asked who made this and who made that.

Food can be intimidating ... it's why I never liked buffets. Before my surgery, I would have eaten until I was so full and uncomfortable that I would be still hurting from it days later. But, now, I have the control I need through the wonderful tool the surgery has provided, Sparks, and my own new-found self respect.

The second week of vacation was spent driving to Florida with my husband with our bikes hitched to the back of the car. We spent a week at Hollywood Beach in a beachfront condo. We rode the bicycles daily, mile after mile from one end of the broadwalk to the other (over seven miles round trip) ... averaging about 21 miles per day. We walked the beach, we ate healthy (usually making it ourselves), we took our juicer with us and had fresh juice daily, we had fun, and we just relaxed.

I bought a bathing suit ... I bought shorts ... I bought tank tops (bat wings not withstanding) ... and, I actually wore them! Yes, folks, I wore them. It was the first time in 10 - 15 years that I even considered buying a pair of shorts! And, I wore a swimming suit without a long bulky t-shirt over the top of it!

All I can say is "wow!" It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about all that I have missed over the years because I couldn't bear to bare it.

Today, I am back at work reflecting on 2008 to date. I have come so far in so little time, that I know that next month I will be Fit & Fifty! Yes, folks, I turn 50 next month and I am proud to say it!

9/15/08: Eight months post op and I must say "WOW!" What a year of firsts! I took the metro home a few weeks ago, and I didn't overlap into the other passengers seat ... had room to spare! I sat in the passenger seat of my Z4 coupe and was able to not only cross my legs in a small space, but also have seat visible on both sides of my tush. I flew coach class and had room to spare ... no extenders needed! One person said I looked as though I was floating through the hallway at work. The boss called me hot! A janitor called me beautiful. And, people are asking me for my advice on diet and exercise.

These are just a few of the firsts that I have experienced in the past 8 months. But, one of the most ominous is that I am starting to see a beautiful, confident woman emerge from the layers of fat, guilt, and low self-esteem of my past.

I still see a heavy woman at first glance in the mirror, that self-image is slowly changing. I force myself to stand in front of the mirror to see through to the woman I am today.

And, I have to laugh at some of the expressions I get from people I work with when they finally see the before and after pictures ... some are so astonished that they didn't realize until that moment that a butterfly has truly emerged. Others who don't see me on a daily basis, are floored when they see me. And, others will pull me aside, send me email, and/or just come straight out and tell me that I look great ... and, I can finally say thank you without feeling patronized.

Again, all I can say is, "WOW!"

10/15/08: 9 months post-op. Weighed in at 147 and still dropping.

I am amazed ... just amazed at just how well I am doing. Nothing like tooting my own horn! But, if I don't, who will. Hmmmmm ... guess others are as well because I get comments daily about how great I look, how little I have gotten, you've lost enough, are you still losing ... etc., etc.

There have been so many firsts for me since my journey began that I just can't contain them. The biggest is that I swore I would be Fit & Fifty! Well, I reached that goal last month when I celebrated my 50th. The pictures posted will attest to that.

This past weekend, we had a glass of wine and dinner with an old friend of my husband. The guys wife was visiting their grandchild. After he had a few drinks, he boldly said, "I was waiting for you husband to leave us alone for a few minutes to tell you how hot you look, but he won't leave."

My husband just chuckled, later he said that his friend had a lot of nerve hitting on me in front of him, which I turned back at him and said better to be in front of you than behind your back.

Another first was that while down at the cabin, Jim's nephew and his wife came down to their property next door. I walked down to their place, knocked on the door to invite them up for a cookout. They hadn't seen me since I started losing weight. Suzie took a few seconds before she said "Lori?" and let me in.

Later, when they came up for our cookout, her husband admitted that he thought I was a friend of his wife and was waiting for her to introduce me.

Of course we all had a laugh over this.

So, firsts continue ... family and complete strangers look at me in a different way and I have to admit that it is both exciting and a little sad. After all, I am still me ... just because my packaging is a little different doesn't mean I have somehow become a wonderfully witty, engaging woman.

Food for thought ...

11/15 ... Whoah! I stepped on the scale this morning and I got light-headed! Not from lack of food nor water, but from the sheer pleasure that I was only pounds from goal weight! WOW! If you would have asked me if I would ever reach this point, I would have laughed in your face.

But, here it is ... the Duck weighed in at 135! Goal weight is 133.5!

I went shopping on Veteran's day ... and, I went shopping again this weekend. On Veteran's Day, those 10s were in reach ... snug but in reach ... and wearable. I got some great buys and I am no longer standing in the size 12 section!

Weighed in again on Monday ... 132.5 ... WHOOOHOOO! I surpassed my goal weight! Gotta love that!

Now, time to tone and maintain!

12/15 - Maintenance! Yes, maintenance. Not an easy thing learning to balance calories and exercise. I have lost a few more pounds just trying to find the right balance.

Some say don't lose anymore ... I am not trying to. I am just trying to find that healthy balance between the two things that will serve me for the rest of my life.

I am fitting into those size 10s rather easily now. Size 8 could be in the future as I tone the saggy portions of my booty and arms.

Oddly, numbers no longer matter to me. I feel great ... and, I know that I look great (at least with clothes on). And, I can even accept that droops and sags here and there. For the first time in years I am happy just being me.

I didn't realize I was so unhappy. But now it is though a huge weight has been lifted ... guess it was!



What a wonderful year 2008 was. It has come and gone and I have entered the world of "maintenance." At this point in time I am not struggling. How could it be that I no longer fear food, crave exercise, and enjoy life in general? How can it be that I actually feel happy for the first time in years? How can it be that I have found the person who has been hiding all these years?

Hmmmmmm ... I owe it to the choices I was forced to make and the lifestyle choices that I have made my own. Yes, folks, I deserve to be loved ... what's more, I deserve to love myself and be proud of my journey.


It has been an extremely stressful month but I found that having made lifestyle choices to eat healthy, I no longer need to worry so much about stress-eating. Go figure ... for some reason my body just shuts it down before it gets out of control.

Sure, I can't eat nearly as much as I used to at one time because my stomach just won't tolerate a lot of bulk, but there are ways around that, too. I just choose not to go there.

Some would say that I have strong will power... others will say that I have an edge because of my surgery ... but, if that were the case, then why do so many people who have had to resort to surgery (for whatever reason brought them to that point in their lives) regain the weight? Hmmmmmmm food for thought, don't you think?

The plain and simple truth of the matter is that I have found a resolve within myself "not to go back" to that place where I was so unhealthy that the doctor gave me an ultimatum ... "live or die, it's your choice!"

Wow, is that really me? Do I really think that way? Yep!

Lifestyle choices work.

5/1/09 Life is great ... life is amazing and I cannot believe that I am so content with just being me. One of the greatest accomplishments throughout this journey to date is that I am content with who I am. My body and my mind are settling in for a long and healthy life.

There are still those days when my mind plays tricks on me by letting me see a large person in the mirror ... it is those days that I take pause to really look at myself, read my journals and blogs, hash over the pictures I have taken and remember the many wonderful compliments and such I have received. Who would have believed that I would ever see a single-digit size on my dress tag ... certainly not me.

But it is not the dress size that really matters to me ... what matters is that I have found me, again. And older version, but me none-the-less.


What a journey it has been. I have learned so much over the past year and most of it has been about me, my body, and what is best for me. I achieved my lowest weight ... 130.5 pounds and I just wasn't feeling right. Not that I couldn't maintain the weight, I could and did. Yet, I didn't feel strong ... sort of like I would be blown over by a strong gust of wind. So, I decided to embark on yet another facet of this journey. I talked to my doctor ... and a personal trainer. Together we decided to gain a little weight through nutrition and exercise. My new target goal is the one number that has stuck in my head for years ... 144. I started high school at this weight ... and was told I needed to lose weight. I joined the Navy at this weight and was told I was right where I should be. And, over the years, I always wanted to be that weight. So this is where the second part of the journey begins.

8/15/09 ... I achieved 144 ... and feel better than I have in years. I am strong again and loving life! Yes, there is a point where you can weigh too little for your body type and age. My program involved cardio, weight training, and increased my protein, carbs, and added a little more fat to my diet. I've gained the weight I needed and lost inches.

8/31/09 ... still maintaining my new found goal weight and am loving life. Life has been in a turmoil ... I have a stalker ... and have am moving today. Am trying to not give in to the stress that life sometimes throws are way. I moved in with a friend, my husband is down at our cabin, and our new apartment isn't available until mid-October.

9/10/09 .... OH MY GAWD! See my blog dated this date! I stepped on a scale and gained 6 pounds! But, then realized it is not the scale I so lovingly calibrated ... for the first time in years, I was able to curb the fear and accept the pounds as a matter of equipment usage and not failure of yet another diet!

I decided to post this so that people will understand that weight loss is fluid ... our bodies never stay at one weight due to the constant changes we make moment to moment. The real issue is that we strive to maintain maximum health.

I have never been happier!

11/15/09 ... well, I just bought a new scale since I couldn't find the one that was packed and since I have no way of calibrating it I weighed myself on the office scale which added 6 pounds to my weight. With that said, now that I have my strength back, I am going to lose that 6 pounds to bring me to 144 pounds. Note: that I am only doing this with approval from my doctor ...

Join me, won't you, as my journey continues ...

Update 4/2012 ...

Wow ... has it been that long ago since I started this journey.

I have maintained my weight loss with the usual struggles. I am stronger and fitter than I have been in years. Nutrition has become a big deal for me, especially over the past year or so when my iron/hemoglobin levels fell to dangerous levels (less than 7 ... normal for a woman my age is 15). It was a battle, but I have been able to get my levels to acceptable levels (11 ... still low, but acceptable).

I have reestablished my goal of walking ... not running the Marine Corps Marathon later this year and am doing interim races between now and then.

My weight is fairly stable ... and I am excited about life.

Member Since: 8/25/2004

Fitness Minutes: 17,241

My Goals:
No Excuses!

I have had a few ups and downs over the past year due to health and mindless eating. But, I am back on track!

That's not an excuse, I am owning up to my mistakes.

Starting Weight: 280
Current Weight: 157
New Goal Weight: 137

Physical Goal: Run the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30, 2011

My Program:
1. Eat healthy
2. Exercise smart
3. Don't get discourged

Personal Information:
My new target zone is 134 - 140

Other Information:
I am happy to be me!

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