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'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm starting this record with the first pictures ever that, once taken 6 months ago (July/September 2011), have continued to sit heavy on my heart, and which haunt the corners of my mind and pride... it doesn't help that my health at the point depicted is also at an all-time low.

However, the February 5, 2012 update pictures were harder to take and to post... I came up with all sorts of reasons to avoid it (wrong TOM - retaining water, need a haircut, allergies acting up - dark circles, no time right now - like there is ever really any time).

The truth is I worried that, though how I feel has vastly improved, there wouldn't be any discernable difference in the pictures... mostly because while I've lost 40 lbs. NOBODY in my 3D life seems to have noticed... at least they're not commenting (DH and MIL excepted). Conversely, my DH has lost 15 pounds and EVERYONE keeps ooing and ahing over his weight loss... I spend more time than I'd like managing my feelings about this... and I've been starting to think there really wasn't any visible change.

'Reasons' be d@mned, pushing past my anxieties about it and doing my pictures became important for my own well-being, and for maintaining my enthusiasm and motivation. In the end, I'm not disappointed.

Despite my anxieties, I'm also excited... this is the first time in four years I'm actually updating as per my commitment to do so. I feel a little taller for it... now if only THAT would show in the pictures, LOL!

So, without further ado, here's the beginning:

July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
This picture is the moment I fully realized I was slowly dying, and I knew that my dying would be slow, painful, and a burden on my daughter. Every night I went to sleep (if/when sleep was even possible) wondering if I would wake up in the morning... my blood pressure was uncontrolled with a tendecy to spike erratically - my cholesterol numbers were insane - I had a debilitating headache all day, every day - I couldn't manage the simple maintenance of daily life - I hurt everywhere - I was beyond exhausted - I wore my hair in an unattractive pony tail because I couldn't hold my arms up long enough to do anything else - and I felt helpless to change any of it because everything I tried just made things worse.

July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
My jeans look pretty much painted on, and my t-shirt doesn't 'hang' on me as it's supposed to (READ: at all).

Update: February 5, 2012
My jeans are hanging loose, and sort of falling off.

Update: February 5, 2012
My shirt is loose and hangs straight.

July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
Note the strain on the side seams, and the buckling at the knee... these jeans stick to my body *everywhere*. You can also see how my belly pushes out further than my bust.

Update: February 5, 2012
Note the bagging under my butt, and that my bust now is edging forward from my belly.

Update: February 5, 2012
Though I have a long way to go, my clothes are now clinging in the 'right' places.

September 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's First Day of School
I felt elephantine and ungainly. My clothes grabbed at me every time I moved.

Update: February 5, 2012
The pants are now miraculously 3 inches longer and I can't feel any of these clothes actually touching my body.

Incidentally, the above pictures represent the first time I looked at photos of myself and acknowledged, "This has gone too far... you are truly BIG." I felt deeply, deeply sad for this woman (I no longer felt like 'me')... I no longer felt attractive in any way (though still not self-loathing as so many do... just not vibrant)... VERY different than how I felt here:

I have a confession...

...but things are NOW changing! :)

Me... June 4, 2012!
The circles under my eyes are still too dark, and my goitre is still too obvious, but I'm moving in the right direction. Don't you think?

...and now my original and 'back to the future' BEFORE picutures:

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012
At first I didn't think I could see any difference between these two pictures, but I now can see that my neck is emerging... my shoulders seem to have 'dropped' and my neck is narrower than my head.

So here I finally am, everybody. Nice to meet you! LOL!

I know, I KNOW... it's taken me quite a while to do this (17 months to initially post pictures and 4 years to make progress)... pictures are an issue for me... taking them... having them taken. I am an 'in the moment' kind of gal. I store the moments and events of my life in my heart and soul with pictures painted in words of my choosing... the colours, depth, form and richness are derivative of how the experience shapes my thoughts and my feelings. I'm not even good at remembering to take pictures of people and happenings that are important to me (and I have a 7-year-old). It's not that I don't understand how important this sort of 'marking of time' is... even helpful in so many ways, it just isn't my first impulse. I find it annoying and distracting to my enjoyment of the moment, and often when I have made a point of taking pictures, I have trouble really remembering the event... I don't internalize a sense of having actually been there. All I have are the pictures in my hand... often insipid documentation... 'proof'... but of what, really... and I have trouble claiming the experience as my own.

Even here at SparkPeople I find pictures distracting at times. I am much more interested in considering of what people have taken pictures, and why, than I am in the pictures themselves. Now, if a picture makes me feel something or think beyond my own experience, that is a different matter entirely... and there are people here who use a camera lens the way I use words, and for those pictures I am deeply grateful... which brings me to this day.

For some time I have been in awe of many of my Spark friends, and their progress pictures. Experiencing these testimonies to courage, to enthusiasm, to hope and determination has been an evolutionary process for me. I initially viewed the pictures with a certain degree of anxiety... I couldn't imagine myself doing likewise. And if I'm being really honest here, I think at some level it's taken me all this time to be certain of my commitment to the process of eliminating fat. I didn't want anything up here mocking me should I not succeed. Now I am certain of my success (because I now know how I define success for myself), and over time... as I've rejoiced and celebrated with them my friends' transformations... I've become truly excited. I got to a day when it suddenly occurred to me to ask the question, "if I could feel this motivated and inspired by the pictures of others, how might I feel witnessing my own transformation in the same fashion?"

The truth is that I don't 'see' myself. I look at a picture of myself and I don't really know who that woman is... there is some sort of disconnect between how I look to myself in pictures, and how I feel... and it has nothing to do with my weight because I've always felt like this, no matter what my size or age... though the discrepancy seems to be lessening with years passing... almost as if my life is a very long journey to myself... yet I have discovered within myself a passionate connection to the documentation of change and transformation (which is probably why I at least take more than occasional pictures of my daughter). I delight in transformation!!! I revel... I wallow! I will come across someone's before/after pictures and will dance with excitement as I go off to do something good for myself. Transformation pictures create momentum and synergy... finally enough so, that I am ready to put up pictures of my own... and to move beyond them. I am at peace with this body... and looking forward to my own continued changes and 'becoming'.

Yet there is more to the story. I read something this week that resonated deeply within me. "Whenever a part of our reality changes we grieve." In a moment I realized just how complex this process is and that, even in rejoicing, there can be grief... and I realized that I feel some of that. Part of what has made it difficult for me to move forward at times, is that I am not unhappy where/as I am. Unlike many people at Spark, I feel no need to run away from myself as I am. I don't dislike my body as it is right now. This version of my body is more womanly... my breasts feel heavy and substantial, and they nursed my daughter by adoption (yes, you read that right)... though I can't bear children, my belly allows me feel what that could be like (I know... WEIRD). I understand how comforting it can be to nestle into a soft pillowy body, and I like that my husband and daughter can experience that with me... they like it, too. As I achieve my fitness goals, my breasts and belly will disappear. My husband, even now, wonders aloud at how much he might miss my hips... he's never known me slender (I've promised him they are still my most prominent feature). I wonder if my darling girl will like to cuddle just as much... will we still snuggle seamlessly, or will we both be a mass of angles fighting for a place to rest?

And this body still serves me so very well in so many ways... what if, because I am no longer the person I was when I was slender, the transformation leaves me with a hollow sense of achievement? My slender self NEVER wore a bathing suit because I really believed 'she' was 'fat', and I certainly would not have posted these pictures... IN A BATHING SUIT. My slender self never felt entirely visible, while at the same time I was excruciatingly self-aware. My goal weight body is very 'girlish'. I didn't always feel that I was given the respect I deserved just because of that. I felt as though I had to fight to claim space in the world. Worse yet, what if - like my body - my psyche fights to revert as well... as it has, to a degree, the times the weight has melted away of its own accord?

In this version of my body, I have experienced a sense of authority I'd never had before. I've had the courage to do things I couldn't seem to manage before... I married... I've become a mother... I stand up for myself... I am less self-conscious and I have a healthy degree of self-awareness... I am more adventurous... I laugh from my belly more... and with the transformation will come grief of another sort. I'm 20+ years older than when I was last slender. I doubt my body will appear as it did then. What do I do with that? And, I honestly don't find 'thin' for its own sake all that attractive... which is why I'm aiming for strong, and as muscular as I can manage... THIS I have not yet ever been. But how do I negotiate the rolling tides of my emotions? Some days I find it quite challenging. As it is, I've been here for 78+ months, and with one thing and another, visually I'm only now moving away from where I started. I hate that, and celebrate it all at the same time... at least I didn't mistakenly miss the opportunity to chronicle the 'beginning'... even though I feel (acutely at times) the pressure of 'I should have accomplished more'. Right now, I'm coping with this by already anticipating the updates in three months time.

I guess what I'm really trying to say here to myself, and to everyone who honours me by reading, that even good things/changes can have a sense of loss about them. Have goals and expectations, but don't expect to feel good about every aspect of every change that is overall desirable. It's not realistic, nor is the physical transformation most important in this process. Don't let the process of physical transformation seduce you away from whatever truly defines who you are, and don't let the less than positive feelings throw you off. Honour them, too. It's not fair to yourself to sell short all you have been in the body you are growing away from.

So, as you look at my pictures, please see more than the fat I am choosing to eliminate. Please see the strength this body already has. See the graciousness it represents. See the joy, love and courage it already expresses. See these things in yourself, too. This way, together, we can honour the steps that brought us here and celebrate the journey forward... as we then find the freedom to discover what it is we are running toward.

"I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model's. For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived." CINDY OLSEN, co-owner of The Body Objective

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012
I am once again approximately the size I was when I bought this bathing suit... four years ago. I've now effectively erased 4 years!

"The body is like an earth. It is a land unto itself. It is vulnerable to overbuilding, being carved into parcels, cut off, over-mined and shorn of its power as any landscape."

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012
The differences here can't be seen in the pictures very well, but there is definition developing between just below my bust to the top of my hipbones. Also, now the bathing suit top covers substantially more of me.

"The breast in all its shapes has the function of feeling and feeding. Does it feel? Does it feed? It is a good breast."

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012
This picture makes me feel the best... my bottoms are no longer painted on, my top sits over the waistband of my shorts as it should, and the legs fit like the shorts that they are. I actually can't believe these are the same bathing suit bottoms in both pictures!

"The hips, they are wide for a reason: inside them is a satiny cradle for a new life. A woman’s hips are the outriggers for the body above and below; they are portals, they are a lush cushion, the handholds for love, a place for children to hide behind."

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012

"The legs, they are meant to take us, sometimes to propel us; they are pulleys that help us to lift, they are the anillo, the ring for encircling a lover. They cannot be too this or too that. They are what they are."

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012
I don't see much difference in my arms, but I'm smaller across my back.

Update: February 5, 2012
The view I forgot to take the first time... my side view... I'm looking forward to seeing this change next picture day.

"There is no 'supposed to be' in bodies. The question is not size or shape or age, or even having two of everything, for some do not. The wild issue is, does this body feel, does it have a connection to pleasure, to heart, to soul, to the wild? Does it have happiness, joy? Can it, in its own way, move, dance, jiggle, sway and thrust? Nothing else matters."

(May 31, 2009)December, 2011

Update: February 5, 2012
This particular view hasn't changed nearly as much as I would like, but I expect greater things as time goes on.

The picture just above is the truest measure of why I am here. I'm not strong... I'm not flexible... and I'm not balanced... it took everything I had to stand still in this pose until my husband took the picture. It is obvious that my weight keeps me from physically living the joy and exuberance I feel inside.

(Marilyn Monroe)

When I first saw the above picture I did a double take... I didn't even reconize it as Marilyn Monroe - all I saw was JOY and VITALITY... it so perfectly matched how I feel inside and how I want to live. This is what I am aiming for... strong, flexible, balanced. Once I'm living my health and fitness goals to the full, this will be me... with *slightly* shorter legs... and maybe a tankini (I've been searching out vintage inspired suits... I love the narrow band around the legs on the suit above)! LOL!

NEW 'Before' pictures: I had my husband take these because I wanted to see more of the true shape of my limbs... I chose my bathing suit to 'conceal'... however, in looking at these pictures (the bathing suit views vs. the views below in a support tank and undies) I actually think that the more I tried to hide my size, the bigger I made myself look... something to ponder as I continue forward. What do you think?

February 5, 2012
I bought the tank in April, 2008 after my intial Spark success of a 20 pound loss. It fits me now just as it did then... THAT feels good!

February 5, 2012
This picture is difficult for me... it highlights just how crooked my body is, and everything that frustrates me about my physical self. I'm looking forward to seeing how my feelings may change as the process moves forward.

February 5, 2012
"My butt is big
and round like the letter C...
and ten thousand lunges
have made it rounder
but not smaller
and that's just fine....
...and those who might scorn it
are invited to kiss it."

here is what I have...
i have
big thighs
lil tits
so much love

May 23, 2009 - The Divine Miss O & her mom, Ramona

September 2011 - The Divine Miss O

"I WILL respond to my body, my relationships and my life with an attitude of simplicity and with gratitude for the abundance they already contain - remembering that they are sufficient unto themselves. I WILL hold on to TODAY as though it is a precious jewel and live, moment by moment, savouring and incorporating the riches, value and learning each has to offer me. I WILL speak with my own authentic voice, and that voice will resonate in my choices, in my actions, in my relationships, and in the fruits of my effort. I WILL live my life as though I cannot fail; a life defined by consistency of effort; a life shaped by my passions and inspirations. I WILL be the hero of my own life and, by my example, that of my daughter's life." _RAMONA

What I will look like at 'goal BMI' (plus 20 years, LOL!):

_RAMONA, 30 years old (size 9).... Proud Godmother at my nephew's Baptism... I can clearly remember how I feel in that suit... my first very expensive, classic cut, power suit a la 'The Good Wife'... I WILL wear one like it again (I don't think current fashion trends would forgive the cut of the blazer, LOL!) I can't believe that not all that long before this picture was taken, at the very same size, I believed myself to be 'fat' (and I was told I was)... that somehow I still needed to apologise for my body, and for the space I took up in the world.

_RAMONA, 30 years old (size 9).... This picture represents a time in my life when I felt fully empowered, STRONG, and well for the first time. It lasted about 4 years. The sweartshirt I'm wearing depicts a wolf... and I bought it because of the book I quote in the piece above. I haven't worn the earings I have on in the picture (they dangle and brush my shoulders)... which I still love... because they would no longer hang straight or dangle, and they would draw attention to my triple chin. I look forward to wearing them again!

(posted February 2012)

Pants comparison: the black pants are the dress slacks I am currently wearing. They are very forgiving... they stretch... but not so much that I was able to wear them this past summer (July - september 2011 - I couldn't do them up)... yet I wore them comfortably at Christmas (2011), though I was glad for the stretch. Now (February 2012), the waist is getting loose, and they are skimming freely over my butt and thighs... no stretch required. The red ones are lounge pants, and from the late 80's... generous in the hips and thighs (just like me, regardless of my weight or size) and tapering in the legs.... though not at all forgiving. These red pants were part of my wardrobe at age 30. What strikes me most about the two pair of pants is that there really isn't that much difference between the amount of fabric in a size 18 and of that in a size 7/9... but the difference in the body they will clothe is a transformation. Interesting to note: right now my thighs are the size my waist will be at goal weight/BMI. That little factoid fascinates me on so many levels.

(posted February 2012)

My new little almost black dress! For the last four years I've been daring to build a goal wardrobe. I know you're not 'supposed' to this, but to me it makes sense at this point, and I find it highly motivating.... Remember my ticker? I am most motivated by possibilities and the striving. I also haven't bought the clothes in what should be my goal weight size, but a bit bigger (a size I believe I can get to)... just in case I need some encouragement to keep going. If I'm in the mood, I puruse the sale racks and I've picked a few pieces I really LOVE for no more than $10 a piece (that's my rule)... one of the things that HAS always bugged me about my heavier weight is that it costs A LOT more to dress fashionably. It's always the 'tiny' sizes on the sale racks. My purchases represent my commitment to this jouney. The dress above is a Costco dress... wool... the right shape, and I can't wait to wear it next Fall (or sooner)! I also have a vintage-detailed green suede leather jacket, just the right proportion for my short-waisted frame; a couple of paisley soft cotton shirts that match the jacket (they'll look amazing with some great jeans); a flirty houndstooth skirt; a pair of firetruck red denim walking shorts; and a crisp white cotton blouse. Like the pants above, I love pulling these pieces out, admiring them, and laying them over whatever I am now wearing. It's great watching the pieces below 'shrink' underneath the clothes I'm aiming to wear. The success is tangible and I am so close to victory I can TOUCH it. When I get to my goal I don't want to wear my *old* clothes. I want to wear new pieces that reflect my transformation!

"The body you are given will be yours for the duration of your time here on earth. Love it or hate it or reject it, it is the only one you will receive in this lifetime. It will be with you from the moment you draw your first breath to the last beat of your heart. Since there is a no-refund, no-exchange policy on this body of yours, it is essential that you learn to transform your body from a mere vessel into a beloved partner and lifelong ally , the relationship between you and your body is the most fundamental and important relationship of your lifetime. It is the blueprint from which all your other relationships are built." CHERIE CARTER-SCOTT, PH.D

All quotations, unless otherwise noted, excerpted from:
'Women Who Run With the Wolves'
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

Please, visit ONEAGLESWINGS blog and read:
'dismantling unhealthy bodily perfectionism'

"Goals are great. They are energizing. But I must always evaluate them in light of what's most important in the light of eternity.... Keeping my physical aspirations in line with spiritual growth is key.... Along with loving myself through taking care of my physical body, am I challenging my spiritual growth as well by focusing on developing a richer quality of relating and loving others - encouraging others and adding value to others lives? When I'm on my deathbed, my peace of mind and heart won't be found in how "chiselled" I was able to make my body look... it will be found in a life lived with RELATIONSHIPS at the forefront - with my Lord, myself, and others - that will allow me to rest in the peace and contentment of a life lived well." ONEAGLESWINGS

Also, visit JODY22002's blog and read:
'What I miss from 140lbs ago'

"Who I am now is who I was before and who I was then, is who I still am. I find myself sometimes thinking of my former self as a separate person and the "new" me as a better person and that's not the truth.... [and] I sometimes read blogs where people say...."I don't even remember who I was when I was that girl(referring to their former, larger selves)." Like that's a good thing. Like that person didn't matter. It isn't and she did. She mattered then and she matters now. Who she was is who you still are. Being skinny doesn't make you a different or a better person because grass isn't greener on the other side.... I don't ever want to forget where I came from, or that I wasn't less because I was bigger. I am more because I walked that journey."

And, visit VEGGIE_GIRL28's blog and read:
'Perfection: My Opinion'

"Love yourself! You are HUMAN and you are PERFECT and those two attributes are one and the same! SPARK ON you beautiful, perfect human!"

Coach Nicole
The Secret to Loving Your Body Isn't Losing Weight

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED: February, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

Leaving NORMAL

NOW... go take some pictures of your own!!!!!

The exercise is transforming... I couldn't help but see things I liked about my body in the midst of the things I want to change.... and if you can't see good, you know where you have to start. Begin by learning to love yourself.

Oh... and get a photographer who loves you to take your pictures... regardless of what the camera says, the loving words and compliments can work miracles... the boost I got from the look in my husband's eyes as he snapped away was more than I could ever hope to get from progress pictures!

Seriously... GO!!! Take some pictures!!!

Most recent UPDATE: August 6, 2016!
No more Mrs. Doubtfire... or Picture UPDATE at nearly 100 lbs. ELIMINATED!

Sneak Peek:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Amazing transformation! You ROCK!
    255 days ago
  • GABY1948
    1299 days ago
    good job..... all that hard work is paying off! emoticon
    1479 days ago
    Simply wonderful! As you know, I believe in Before and After photos. When I took mine in June 2014 it was the first time I had really looked at myself the way I was. I had always preferred to be in denial, as you wrote. But once I posted those photos, it empowered me.

    I look forward to getting to know more about you; you are an inspiration!
    2031 days ago
    I love the idea of buying a few, just a few, goal clothes. I am a thrift store shopper so I could spend about $25 and have a few things to look forward to wearing.

    I love the dress that you got from Costco. Too bad I am almost 5'9 and my goal size is a size 12, because we could share it!
    2040 days ago
    2040 days ago
    Wow! Made me think, made me smile, made me squirm a bit. Profound and funny.
    2057 days ago
    Truly amazing.. emoticon
    2183 days ago

    This was emoticon !!!!! Thank you!
    2205 days ago
    2224 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4274730
    Awesome progress! Where's the September 2013 update :) ?
    2241 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4876431
    Fantastic progress! Keep working! I love all the visuals you use:)

    2427 days ago
  • _JULEE_
    You're looking great!

    2576 days ago
  • DALID414
    I see!!
    2658 days ago
    I loved this!! I too finally just this evening, posted a before picture. It was so scary. So emotional. I later cried even.

    And there just arent that many pictures of me around, almost non-existent, which is the way that I had wanted it, and I want to start changing that!!

    Thank you for sharing!
    2658 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3604344
    Ramona: This blog is awesome. Wow, you are such a beautiful person--inner and outer. Your talent and wisdom is both refreshing and inspirational. I think you are being more beautiful with blog.

    I an so very happy for you. You are someone I definitely admire and respect. Thank you for allowing me to see your progress. I am rejoice with you.
    2658 days ago
  • ERIN1957
    What an awesome blog and the credited information here! Thank you this will help me so much!
    2714 days ago
  • no profile photo CD12459382
    This entry is like a big adventure to read. So what a huge adventure it must be for YOU to live it! My compliments.
    2749 days ago
    Wow! Your words light up the room in so many dark area's of my life. Thank you for each word and picture. You a look AMAZING!! emoticon
    2807 days ago
    Hi Ramona!
    It is wonderful to see your transformation pictures in progress. I can see a tremendous difference in a lot of your photos. How exciting for you!


    I join in your anticipation of more changes to come!

    It is interesting to me that you mention your thigh girth now as compared to your goal waist. I realized that in myself as well. When I married, I had a 25" waist. My upper thigh is a little bit bigger than that now.

    But I am making changes already. It is exciting to experience those changes again.

    I wish us both well in this journey.


    2862 days ago
    I'm not sure how I was led to this blog, but I am so glad that I had the chance to read every word of it - and "meet" a truly beautiful and loving woman! I am adding you as a friend, because I certainly want to see you again (personally and on my friend feed)

    You made one comment in this wonderful blog about how the things on the sale racks are always small - sure, they are. If you're shopping at a resale store, they're the things so many people have outgrown. If you're buying new, they're the ones no one could get into, so at sale time, they're still there.

    You're beautiful, wonderful, and an incredibly talented writer! May God bless your continued success on this journey we all share! Happy Easter. emoticon
    2884 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3604344
    Wow, you are a wonderful healthy role model for your gorgeous daughter. The time, thought and prayer that you have put into all your blogs...all I can say is thank you for blessing us with them. emoticon emoticon
    2925 days ago
    Thank you!
    I love your inspiration and seeing your transformation. I just found you and wonder if you'd like to join me and watch my tranformation, too?
    2926 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4042155
    What a great inspiration you are!

    Your writing has so much "picture" and "texture". I can "see" the colors and "feel" the joy!

    2931 days ago
    I absolutely love each of these images. They capture more than just the changes in your body; they also capture they changes in your thoughts and your feelings about your body.

    You are a beautiful woman on the inside, and sometimes the journey to finding self-acceptance takes many, many years. But, once that is achieved, many other obstacles in our lives tend to pass by the wayside.

    In the future, I believe that your new-found courage will lead you to continuing and more marked progress on your journey to good health and personal happiness, and I very much look forward to taking steps beside you as you walk forward into this brave new future of yours.
    2933 days ago
    YOU ROCK! Spark on, my dear, you ARE an INSPIRATION!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2936 days ago
    2937 days ago
  • TINATC26
    Don't know how I missed this blog, you are doing so fab my friend.. Keep up the great work! Love you!
    2938 days ago
    THIS was GREAT! Thank you for sharing it! What a FANTASTIC idea! You really do ROCK! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2940 days ago
  • TAMI1691
    You are beautiful.
    2941 days ago
  • BEACHBUM2002
    Blessings and grace as you press on toward the goal of health that is before you. You are stronger than even you realize.

    2942 days ago
    Thank you for your openness! You and your daughter are beautiful!

    I appreciate the time you've taken to inspire us all! I am so proud of you!
    2942 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11147891
    Way to go!!!!
    2942 days ago
    Great job!!
    2942 days ago
    What a great blog with the updates! You have come so far in so many ways. Your positive attitude is amazing and the way you describe things in detail is perfect! Keep up the fantastic work as your results are physical, emotional and mental and were very energizing for me to have read! This is a fabulous way to look at life, thank you for sharing it with me.
    2942 days ago
    Incredible blog Ramona! emoticon
    2942 days ago
    Great Blog!!!!... you are beautiful, I love your spirit... I am still working on embracing all that I am. Since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have had to re-define "ME"... I am still in the process of doing that!

    Thank you so much for sharing... emoticon ... whatever that may be! emoticon
    2946 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/3/2012 12:30:51 AM
    You have been busy. I LOVE this blog. I LOVE that you made these comparisons put these pictures out there. I agree that it matters most how you "are" not how you look.

    I too, have photos of myself that I love to look at now. They are from the summer of 1989. I was 27, and the thinnest I had been in my life. I was in Disney with a girlfriend. I was 27 and looked "hot" long blond hair, 5'4 115 lbs. ... I was also miserable... in Disney, how is that possible you may ask? Because I had been engaged to be married that June and the wedding was called off one week before. My choice but not my desire. I was back at my parents' on their sofa and so heartbroken.

    There are SO many things that go into being healthy. Thank you so much for reminding me of that!
    LOVE THIS, Love you!

    2946 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/2/2012 11:39:37 PM
  • no profile photo CD8752472
    You are beautiful Ramona! I like the way you describe yourself. You are kind, even to yourself, and that matters so much!
    2974 days ago
    Nice to meet you!
    Although, I will always know you ('see' you) as the woman kicking up her leg so high in joy and exuberance more than this woman with the red top.

    Good for you for posting some 'befores'. They are a tremendous record of where we start, and where we're going. A wonderful reminder for us sometimes of our progress.

    I loved your commentary about your different parts. My good friend who is tackling breast cancer (and pinning it to the mat, I might add), and I have wonderful and long discussions about body image and body parts, and what makes us who we are. We are not breasts, we are not underarms, we are not stomachs, we are not bits and pieces, we are whole - no matter how 'broken' or 'in progress' the shell may be.

    Thank you for your honesty and your truth.

    3274 days ago
    Thank you.
    3452 days ago
    There you are!!!! Lovely!
    3675 days ago
  • TOBEA12
    Incredibly inspiring! Thank you for putting in words so many things that I was feeling but didn't know how to express emoticon
    3844 days ago
    Thank you for a very inspiring blog... I think it takes courage and intergrity to put these thoughts into words. I struggle with body image issues and find your words profound.
    3879 days ago
    You inspire me that you said it all how I feel. I don't feel fat but I am. emoticon
    3879 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    What a fabulous blog! Your expression of joy in yourself, your accomplishments, and your body are a gift.

    I have been guilty of despising the body I've overbuilt and I have been trying to change that with a new mantra, "What a good little body! It's kept me going even when I have let it down."

    Not so elegant as yours but it keeps me going. I look forward to the rest of your blogs.

    3879 days ago
    I'm so glad you linked to this blog otherwise I would have missed it, beautiful Ramona! Thank you for being YOU and don't ever stop writing! I'm with you on the journey to a healthy, strong, flexible body.
    3879 days ago
    What an artistic and inspiring writer you are! It was refreshing to read something that truly emphasized the truly important things in life.
    3879 days ago
    My wonderful friend Ramona,
    All I can say is I loved this post. That, and that I can attest to the fact that it's A LOT healthier (and easier, in some ways) to battle the voices from *outside* that are calling you a (insert-condescending term here) girl than to battle the ones that come from within. Right on for choosing not to voice them within you. I am so inspired.
    3881 days ago
  • MS-CEE
    Hi, darling. It's so nice to "see" you! It's truly an honor .. really!

    3881 days ago
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