Thursday, January 27, 2011

Objects in the mirror

I have a problem with the mirror or more specifically what I see when I look in the mirror.  I think my mind has disconnected from my body or at least my eyes from my brain.  You see when I was huge, and I do mean huge, I would look in the mirror and still go ahead and tuck my shirt into my pants and put on a belt.  I thought I looked good.  I never saw what other people saw when they looked at me.  Looking back, I think this protected my feelings but it also allowed me to deny the image staring back at me.  I wonder how much sooner I would have made the commitment to get rid of the weight had I seen what everyone else saw.

I have lost more than 50% of my previous body weight and I continue to have issues with the mirror.  I can't get my head to recognize what my eyes see.  Conversations with my children have gone like this:
     me: "Do you see that woman over there?"
     them: "Yes, Mom"
     me:  "Am I as big as she is?"
     them:  "No Mom!"
     me:  "Are you sure or are you just saying that because that is what
             you think I want to hear?"

Time and time again I would ask the same question of each of them always getting the same answer and yet not quite sure whether or not to believe them.  I look at pictures of me "before" and wonder how I could not have seen in the mirror what stared back at me so clearly in those photos.  Was I protecting myself?

I have new clothes and many new photographs but I still have the same mirror.  I look at myself from every angle, with and without clothes and I see the loose skin but I still don't trust what I see.  Every once in a while I will glance at the store window and catch a reflection of myself and have to take a second look.  For that brief second or two that reflection causes me to do a double take as I realize I am looking at me and I look pretty good!

Today I have decided to start trusting the reflection in the window and am promising to never again ask my children to make a comparison between me and  a random stranger.  Trusting my reflection in the mirror may take a while longer!

The other day a friend told me my waist is now "tiny".  I think I may have to work on my ears next.  :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

I Did A Guest Blog!

I love reading other people's blogs especially when they are about Weight Watchers or weight loss.  A while ago I stumbled upon a great blog called "1972: The retro WW Experiment".  Mimi, the blogger had an original Jean Nidetch (WW founder) cookbook and was inviting her readers to request a recipe, cook it and then blog about it.  You know I couldn't resist.  I emailed her and got my recipe.  Check out her blog to read my post and view what I cooked up.  Oh and be sure to leave your comments!  I am the Incredible Edible post #4!

Check out the Skinny Jeans Project here.

Friday, January 7, 2011


"A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise."  A. A. Milne

I teach Aqua Aerobics at the YMCA every Friday evening at 6 PM.  Tonight there were 17 extraordinary people in my class.  Do you have any idea what makes them extraordinary?  I do!  They are extraordinary because it was Friday night at 6 PM, the end of a very busy week for most and they chose to come to the Y and exercise, for an hour, in an Aqua Aerobics class when most people are doing everything except exercising.  It was a choice they made to do something good for themselves and their fitness.  The 17 people who were in class tonight were all regulars - not one of them was someone who came because of a New Year's resolution.  They came for their own reasons and the amazing thing is they keep coming back, week after week.  While I would love to say it is because I am a great teacher (I try really hard) the simple fact is they are there because they choose to be. 

When I began exercising I was morbidly obese.  Bending over to tie my shoes was a workout and it quickly left me out of breath.  The thought of going to a gym to exercise was terrifying so I had to come up with another option.   I decided the easiest thing for me to do was to walk.  I was not willing to take my huge self outside to walk so we bought a treadmill and put it in the basement.  The first time I got on the treadmill I set the pace at 1.2 mph and keep the level flat.  I walked 20 min (less than 1/2 mile) and thought I was going to die but I was proud.  I got back on the treadmill the next day and the next and the next and before long I was walking faster and longer.  I took my walking and my then 8 year old son, Adam, outside with me to walk.  We were fortunate to live in a community with miles of marked walking trails so we walked the trails.  I remember many afternoons spent walking with Adam while quizzing him on his spelling words or helping him study for a test.  What I didn't know was he grabbed the stop watch and would time me each day encouraging me to go faster, making me beat the previous day's time, and I did.  I was walking 13 minute miles while talking.

My exercise program progressed as my weight decreased.  I can easily walk a 4 mph pace on a treadmill without holding on and with an incline.  I have taught group cycle classes.  I take step/sculpt classes, Zumba classes, and I teach Aqua Aerobics.  Last year I walked 2 half marathons (13.1 miles).  I am fit and I am proud!  I never would have believed I would love to exercise but I do.

I would tell you anyone can do what I have done.  You begin with baby-steps - put on your tennis shoes and walk around the block and when that becomes easy add another block and another; before you know it you will be walking miles.  

If you are someone who has been exercising, I challenge you to do something different.   Stretch you limits, reach for a new goal.  Maybe it is joining a gym, walking or running a 5K, completing a half marathon or maybe even a full marathon.  It is amazing what you can achieve when you try.

I have a shirt that I bought in May the day before I participated in and completed the Flying Pig Half marathon (in the rain) that says:  "The miracle isn't that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the courage to start to begin with."

What are you going to do?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On being resolute

From this moment forward…I stop the blame game and excuses. I am responsible for my life and for where I am today. I cannot blame the people and circumstances in my past, and I refuse to hide behind my past mistakes.

~Lance Wubbels

This quote was from a newsletter I get daily called the Daily Inspiration.  It frequently focuses on leadership and business but today hit the nail on the head when it comes to my holiday eating.  I would have made the quote much simpler.  It would go like this:  "I ate it. I am wearing it. Everyone can see it."  The good news is I have done exactly what the quote says and stopped the excuses and accepted responsibility for where I am right now with my weight.  I own it!  I am now on day 4 of being resolute and doing well.  I have been exercising and enjoying the soreness that come from a body that forgets much too quickly all that I had it doing but soreness means change and that is good.  I have reigned in the mindless eating and am back on track and it really wasn't too hard.  I also had a cookie today and it was good but I only had one and that was enough.  That is progress!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


The beginning of a new year allows us to reflect on our lives over the past twelve months. Ordinary people all over the world resolve to make any number of changes in their lives over the next twelve months and so resolutions are made. defines resolution "as the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action".  Synonyms associated with resolution include determination, perseverance and declaration.  A resolution then is simply the act of making a plan or declaring that you have made a plan to change something in your life but making a plan is not enough.  In order to for your resolution to be successful you also have to be resolute.  Synonyms associated with resolute include determined, strong willed, purposeful, relentless and the one I like the most, brave.  If a resolution requires change then it also requires us to step into unknown territory and that takes bravery.

When I began my weight loss journey with Weight Watchers I was lost.  I weighed 376 pounds and was only 5 feet 6 inches tall.  I identified with a Garfield cartoon which pictured Garfield standing on a scale beneath the caption which read, "I am not over weight.  I am under tall!"  I needed to be eight feet tall.  My New Year's resolution to lose weight began on April 28th, my fortieth birthday, not New Year's day.  I rejoined Weight Watchers with the determination to reach my Lifetime goal.  I told the leader that day I would be there until one of two things happened; either I died or I reached my goal.  I didn't know it would take FIFTEEN years.  I was resolute and I was terrified by the knowledge I needed to lose almost 200 pounds so I decided I would just lose ten pounds.  When I had lost ten pounds I decided to lose another ten and then another ten and another.  Ten pounds at a time was attainable and not so frightening but it also quickly accounted for one hundred pounds.  Over the next fourteen years I was able to lose another 96.4 pounds bringing my total weight loss to 196.4 pounds and my goal weight.  I was now a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers.  I believed that after the lengthy battle to get that amount of weight off I  knew how to eat and maintain my loss but then Christmas came.  Today I am 10 pounds above my goal with a weigh-in in 6 days.  I am responsible for my gain.  I ate irresponsibly and without attention to what or why I was eating.  I knew better.  Today I have a new resolution, a plan, and I will be resolute, determined, and purposeful.  I will follow the Points Plus plan this week, exercise 6 or 7 days  and I will bravely walk into my meeting on Saturday morning, stand on the scale and face the numbers whatever they may be, knowing that it was my decision to eat the foods that caused me to gain weight but also with the knowledge that I have the guts and determination to say good bye to those pounds yet again. 

This morning I reread the letter I wrote to the weight I lost to remind myself what I gained by losing more than half of myself.  I am re-posting it here as a reminder and perhaps as encouragement to anyone else who is lost.

To the weight I have lost:

You are gone, good riddance!  I lugged you around way too long overwhelmed with the enormity of you. You no longer have any control or power over me.  I gave you way too much of my time and my life.  I hate you!  You stole years from me that I can never replace and filled me with frustration and sadness.  You made me feel ugly and stupid and inadequate.  You made me ashamed of myself.  You cheated me out of play time with my children as they ran through the sprinkler in the front yard and begged me to join them, when they climbed trees and when they built “forts” out of discarded furniture boxes which were far too small for me to get into.  You embarrassed me when we went to amusement parks and I was too large to fit into the seats of the rides.  I hate you!   You made me hide in public places.  You kept me silent when I wanted to participate in a group for fear of drawing attention to myself.  You cheated me out of the joy of a plane trip with my husband and instead filled me with dread as I wondered if the seat belt was going to fit around me or if I was going to have to ask for an extender.  I hate you!  You made me embarrassed to laugh and dance and enjoy myself for fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.  You made me a shadow in my own life. 

 Those days are over.

I have reclaimed my power over you and I will never see you again.   I am now less than half of what we were together.  Today I am saying good riddance to the half of me that once was you, forever.  I will not waste a minute mourning your loss nor will anyone else who has carried the burden of you.  You are dead and gone.  If I look back at you it will only be to see how far I have come.  I will be reminded of how strong and powerful I am.  I will walk another half marathon and I will improve my time.  I will fly to exotic locations with my husband.  I will look forward to someday playing with my grandchildren and teaching them how to climb trees and build forts from refrigerator boxes, and I will be in the fort with them playing and telling them about their mom or dad.  I will continue to put on my bathing suit and teach water aerobics in front of strangers who are now part of my family and I will not give a second thought to my flabby arms or sagging thighs- remnants left by you.  Instead I will rejoice that I have arms and legs that work and let them show as a prize won after a battle which lasted way too long.  I will continue to encourage others to get rid of you forever and I will support them when they come up short and try again and again and again until they too are rid of you and I will dance.  Oh, how I will dance!!  You see in the process of losing you I found me.  I will never again be a shadow in my life.  I will hold my head up and look to the future with anticipation and joy because now I know without any doubt that I was, and will continue to be worth the effort.

Before 376 pounds.  After 180 pounds!  Lost 196 pounds without surgery or drugs.