Friday, October 31, 2008

As promised.... my Halloween obsession

I love decorating for Halloween.... on my previous blogsite, I promised pics.... since this is the new and (hopefully) improved site, I am posting them here!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Tonight is the night
When dead leaves fly
Like witches on switches
Across the sky,
When elf and sprite
Flit through the night
On a moony sheen.
Tonight is the night
When leaves make a sound
Like a gnome in his home
Under the ground,
When spooks and trolls
Creep out of holes
Mossy and green.
Tonight is the night
When pumpkins stare
Through sheaves and leaves
When ghouls and ghost
And goblin host
Dance round their queen.
It's Halloween.

Picture Perfect

So, a couple of weeks ago I took some family portraits for my neighbors/friends. We had a great time and everyone was pleased with the results.Yesterday, my friend calls to inform me that when attempting to pick up her pictures from the photocenter she was advised that she would need to provide the photographers release before they could give them to her. She explained “no really, it’s just my neighbor” but there was no budging…. Eventually, when the sales person started to get a line of customers, she finally gave in.I found this hysterical at first, then it moved into this whole feeling of pride…. my work? really? I love photography, and now that I have a stranger thinking that I’m a professional…. maybe I should take a deeper look. Hmmmm…. project analyst? PHOTOGRAPHER!!! Oh Yeah!

WHOA! The Party!

The Party!!
So, my son is born at the beginning of October but every year it is my mission to get him to “hold off” on the party so that he can have a Halloween Bday….. every once in awhile, it works! Honestly, I don’t know if I should make him suffer through my Halloween fanaticism, but I do. I guess I can admit here, with all of you, that it’s really for me….. not for him. However, all of those birthday presents weren’t too rough on him. Ok, so decorating! SO MUCH FUN!!!! This year, my lovely husband built my cemetary fence with some old wood pallets…. adorable! Ok I mean, spooooky ; . It was the best place to hold in all of the wonderful homemade gravestones. Some are true epitaphs (”I told you I was sick”, “Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and no place to go”) and some are just fun (”Here I lay, rotting away. I never did learn what not to say…. so when I told her she was getting fat, she caved in my head with a baseball bat”). I will load pics as soon as I get them uploaded and I hope you enjoy it as much as I. We have tons of yard and inside decorations, that make the house ever so creepy and each year, the collection grows. Playing traditional Halloween games, and having tons of homemade treats for the kiddo’s is just the greatest and to see the excitement in their faces made my night. We played a Halloween “telephone” game which was hysterical as the kids could not keep the lines straight at all; we told scary stories, had a candy corn toss, did a mummy wrap, played trick or treat (they picked a “trick” or a “treat” card out of the pumpkin and bobbed for apples. The kids really enjoyed playing all of the games and could have kept playing all evening…. I made a ton of treats; mummy dogs, chocolate spiders, web dip and chips, chocolate covered mummies, taco tarts, rice krispy treats, miscellaneous white and dark chocolate suckers, graveyard cake and ice scream (with potion bottles filled with various mix ins). I enjoyed making everything, and I can see how much I’ve changed in the last year because I didn’t once want to eat anything “off plan”. I enjoyed making everything, and sharing it….. I didn’t need to eat it! It was a wonderful night and I look forward to doing it again next year! Wish me luck !

Freedom # 4, Amusement Parks

Amusement Parks I love roller coasters! The older the better; give me a rickety wooden roller coaster over the new shiny ones any day. There’s something about the nostalgia of them that makes me smile. I couldn’t remember the last time I actually squeezed into one of those seats. Just the idea of standing in line waiting to possibly not fit, just gave me the chills. I couldn’t put myself through that, I had decided…. so I didn’t go. Just too humiliating. So, now at 120lbs lighter…. the opportunity presented itself. A trip with our friends and kids to Elitch Gardens for the day. I was thrilled, I couldn’t wait! My friend and I headed straight for that beauty; the only wooden coaster in the park. I saw the seats, and they were small…. I questioned my decision, but moved forward. I closed my eyes, and sat down. Perfect fit! No problem at all…. How exciting! My friend, Melanie knew this was on my “freedom list” so was (I believe) as excited as I, and off we went…. laughing hysterically the whole time; it was the kind of laugh that makes your face hurt. It was amazing, magical, and thrilling. We had a blast. I was and am no longer held back by fear or weight. I am living.

Freedom # 3, Airplane Seats

Airplane Seats
I love to travel. We live in between our families; we are in Colorado. My family is in California and my husband’s family is in Ohio. Travel is the only way to see them. I don’t like wasting time driving when I can be spending time with my family and friends, so I prefer flying. I’ve been flying since I was an infant. I’m not scared of airplanes. I’m scared of airplane SEATS! So, it starts immediately. Strategically sitting my son in between us, so that their is plenty of room (poor kid), or sitting him in between me and the stranger as to give the stranger enough room; getting an aisle seat or window seat so I can push out and not into the other persons space; going onto to determine which seats on the airplane are the biggest…. it’s a mess. It’s just ridiculous. Then, getting on the plane! The whole time, getting the looks. The “please don’t let her be sitting next to me” looks. I feel bad too, believe me! I don’t want to spill into their seats! I don’t want to make their travel uncomfortable. So, then we sit. And of course, the seatbelt doesn’t fit. My husband is so sweet…. he will quietly ask the attendant for a seatbelt extender for me and they are usually pretty kind about it. But again, sometimes you can just see the annoyance in their eyes. I’ve had them pass the extender to me over the seats after they have down the “emergency procedures” before… that’s always lovely. No embarrassment there, when the whole cabin is watching. And heaven forbid I had to use the bathroom…. squeezing in there is difficult enough at a normal weight, let alone being morbidly obese…. So, my question as I’m in there trying to maneuver around is this…. How exactly does one join the “mile high club” when you can barely do what it is actually made for??? Huh? Ha-ha! Anyway, we went to Virginia in July. I happily plopped down in my seat, put the armrests down with ease, and buckled my seatbelt…. free of extenders…. not spilling into my son’s seat (or anyone else for that matter) and enjoyed my flight. And no, joining the mile high club is not on my list of freedoms!

Freedom # 2, Riding a Bike with my Son

Riding a bike with my son When I left California and moved to Ohio at 20 years old, my friends loaned me one of their 10 speeds. I rode it to work daily, and it was a life saver. I rode bikes on and off for a few years, but eventually I just became too large. I think I even can recall riding a bike before I got pregnant (at 29) but after that…. no. So, this butt has definitely NOT been on a bike in 8 years. I wanted to ride a bike with my son. I wanted to be next to him, enjoying the day, riding in the sun. There was a bike I required also….. a beach cruiser. Big, comfy seat…. old school. Like I grew up riding in California. This was the bike I had to have. So, back in May we found one at a garage sale. Big and comfy, my style…. nothing new about it! My son and I are riding in style, enjoying our days and laughing. What a great freedom. My son, and my new bike. Picture of the Beach Cruiser

Freedom # 1, The Wedding Ring

When I was Seven, my sister and I interrupted my Mom while she was trying to use the bathroom. We were arguing (which we were great at by the way), and this argument could not wait (most of them couldn’t). The door burst open, and we insisted on knowing….. WHO GET’S WHICH WEDDING RING WHEN YOU DIE?!?! Ok, I promise. I’m not rude. Where this came from, I have no idea. My sister is not rude. We didn’t want her to die…. But, it does sound horrible…. I know. I’ve apologized for the way it came out several times. I don’t think it was meant to come out the way it did, but I can’t edit the story…. it’s the truth. Back to the ring(s)…… She had two; one that my Dad gave my Mom when they got engaged (when love was innocent; my Dad was going into the Navy, my Mom thought this was what love was all about, and they had their whole life ahead of them). The other was the one that my parents got in Hawaii and it had her name written in Hawaiian on it. Moving on…. so my poor Mom, sitting on the toilet and being attacked by her two little girls arguing about which wedding ring they are going to get then asks us….. “Ok? Well, which one do you want Denise”? And I say….. “I want the silver one” (I didn’t know white gold from silver) and she then asks my sister which ring she wants. Can you guess? She wants the gold ring. Wow. And we were arguing; are you getting this? So, she says…. “Alright. Then it’s settled. Denise get’s the silver, and Shelly, you get the gold. Resolved? Now can I finish”? So, as you all must be thinking now if I have the ring…. she must be gone. Thankfully no. The life with Dad is dead, but she is completely and totally alive and with us….. When I got engaged to my husband, my Mom gave me the ring. That ring means the world to me. As I said earlier, it symbolized what life was like in the beginning. And it’s my connection to my Mom (and to my Dad) even if they aren’t together. But, I got too big to wear that ring. And I lost that freedom when I became obese. I lost that connection. When I started my list of things I wanted back; my freedoms…. it was the first thing on my list. I talk about priorities in weight loss in my first blog and this was a priority for me. I wanted my ring back. So, when someone offered me a piece of cake, or if I was feeling weak… I would look at my list and think to myself…. Do I want a piece of cake? Or do I want to wear my wedding ring again. My choice was clear. My ring is now falling off and I need to get it resized. I knew the day I started my freedom list, my life had changed. When values are clear, decisions are easy. I will continue to add my freedoms to my blog. They are my a roadmap to my success. I wish that success to you… because you are worth it. Because I hope you LIVE every day of your life. Sending much love.

Dreams of Nutty Bars

The Dream!
It only happens every once in awhile but when it does…. oh man…. hold on! I have these crazy food dreams! They could be quite yummy, if I could get past the obsessive food addiction part and just enjoy a bite.I’ve had dreams of eating ice cream, peanut butter, cookies, and my favorite…. nutty bars. In my dreams, I start off innocently enough (as I used to) with just a little taste. I can feel it, smell it and taste it. The next thing I know I have devoured the whole carton, jar, or box. Then, all I can think about (in my dream) is how bad I feel. The guilt sets in. How could I have done that after all the great work I’ve done? Why? Was it worth it? Couldn’t I have stopped at just one bite? And if not, why? Geez….. It becomes a dreaming anxiety attack! I’m analyzing my every step up to, during and after my slip. I awake like this…. I open my eyes and start immediately thinking about how I could have done something like that. Again, repeating the same analysis as above. Then I realize!!!! Wait? Did I just really eat all of….? Yes? NO!!!!! NO, I didn’t! It was a dream… right? I look around…. check my surroundings. Ok, I’m in my room. Let’s think this through…. Oh my gosh! It was a dream! WHOA! It was a dream!!!! If only I can enjoy just that first bite and walk away. I’m working on that! If I can master this dream food thing, I may have this all figured out! And I’ll be able to have my off plan enjoyment calorie free and literally…. in my dreams!!!! Wish me luck.

Food for Fuel

Ah Ha
So, the old me wouldn’t eat during the day usually. I would definitely not eat breakfast. I would usually skip lunch and by the time I got home, I was so hungry. A quick hello to the kid and the husband as I headed directly to the kitchen cabinet was my daily ritual. Whatever was there, was mine. I would be halfway through whatever I was eating before I even bothered to take a breath, let alone really taste it. And it was never good choices. Potato Chips, candy bars, ice cream…. snack food. Oh, and even if it was a good healthy choice, like hmmmm let’s say…. celery? How about a stalk of celery and a 1/2 jar of peanut butter? Healthy just got thrown out the window! After the snacking, would then come the unhealthy dinner. Burgers, french fries…. and condiments. I loved my condiments too! So, french fries with ranch! Burgers with extra mayo! That was my idea of a good time. Thinking back, I never tasted any of it. I just ate to eat. I’m even sure that some of it was good, possibly great. But I wouldn’t know. Things have changed. Food is no longer a “filler” but it is “fuel” and I enjoy it. I eat three meals a day. I eat healthy, good for my body and soul food. When I eat, I enjoy every bite. I eat less food because I need less. I eat slow because I am appreciating my food. What I’ve noticed is when I eat healthy, my body rewards me. It is less tired, I no longer get migraines, and (for the most part) have a positive attitude (have to check with the husband on this one). I don’t crave the bad food, because I’m providing my body the nutrients it needs. When I have an on plan treat, I savor it. I actually do! I use my son’s small spoon, and I take small bites. It’s my special treat and I thoroughly enjoy it. The next time you see a kid enjoying an ice cream, watch and learn. That is what I strive for. That look. If it isn’t there to fuel my body or for absolute and total delight; it’s not for me.

Emotional Eating

If you haven’t read the book, “Life is Hard, Food is Easy” by Linda Spangle you must. It puts it all out there in black and white. Life. It makes sense and doesn’t sugar coat it. The way I love to hear things. So, when I started my life changing at MRC this book was coming up in classes, and conversation often enough that I felt I needed to read it. When I opened it up this was the first chapter…. Emotional Eating. I thought… “Nope…. not me, might just skip it”. “I don’t get mad, or sad, or discouraged, or depressed, only to find myself at the fridge…. But, what the heck. Let’s give it a quick once over….” Boy, was it an eye opener. She defines emotional eating as “using food for emotional or phychological reasons instead of for satisfying the body’s physical requirement for food”. Hmmm. I read on. Here’s what I started to understand. It didn’t have to be obvious. I wasn’t “hunting” down food. She talked about M&M’s… and Girl Scout Cookies…. how you start with just a couple, and next thing you know you’ve lost track of how many you’ve eaten or in my case, the cookies and M&M’s disappeared (and no, there were no magicians in my home). I looked down the page, and suddenly my picture appeared, with arrows and blinking signs “emotional eater” all pointing directly at me! It was frightening how she was talking not to me anymore, but about me. Then she continues; there are the celebrations. You have a birthday…. have a cake! You get a promotion…. well then, dinner and drinks! You meet up with a long lost friend…. dinner, dessert, and drinks! Hmmmm…. this is looking a little too familiar. Oh gosh, what happens when you lose 10 lbs? Dinner, Dessert, Drinks…… then back to the beginning? How does one celebrate without food? It’s been in our lives for so long. It’s how we show we love each other, right? I love you, eat a cookie. I adore you, I made you a steak. I’m proud of you, here’s some ice cream. And sometimes, I would just find myself munching away for no reason; just because. Then, the box, or bag, or bowl would be empty. It was not serving me physically. I never realized that this was emotional eating. I just thought it was “bored” eating! “Just because” eating! But! It was serving a purpose, just not the purpose that food is meant to serve. And so, that companionship had to be evaluated. Linda Spangle, at the end of that very first chapter has a wonderful poem. Food is wonderful! In fact, food in my best friend. But lately, I’m aware that my friend is hurting me. Making me uncomfortable. Sabotaging my goals. Causing me Grief and Guilt. Possibly destroying my life. Today I made the decision - it’s time to get a new friend. Linda Spangle I understood completely what she meant, and it’s not about comforting yourself with food as she says. It’s about allowing the emotions to come in and embrace them. It’s to feel, and be felt. It’s to love and celebrate and embrace it all. I have found wonderful new ways to celebrate success, show love, be creative when bored, and cry when I need to cry. I experience life as it comes. It’s exciting, and sometimes scary, but always geniune. It’s me.

Beginning [noun]: The point at which something begins: Starts

I gave my peer inspiration speech at my center last night. It was lovely. As scary as it was to open up about things that had been held so close to my heart for many years, it was freeing. I felt understood by my peers, and loved. It was a wonderful experience. Below is the speech.
Peer Inspiration,
Denise July 21, 2008
Metabolic Research Center, Greeley CO
Hello…. My name is Denise and I’ve been coming to Metabolic Research Center (MRC) for almost 9 months now. Thank you all for being here today, and celebrating my journey with me. I have my life back and I look forward to seeing you all achieve your goals. I wanted to start off my saying that most people that do these peer inspirations, are able to stand up here and speak without reading off of a page but this is all very raw for me. The thoughts and experiences I’m about to share with you today are very close to my heart. I’ve not shared them publicly before but I wanted to here, with you, today. They aren’t my exercise routine, or my food choices, or how much water I drink (although all have worth, and we can definitely discuss them). These are the issues at my core. They are the issues that I have had with food my entire life, and the reasons why I’m here with you today. I don’t have all of the answers but I hope to be able to give you some insight on what has helped me along the way.
First, I’d like to give you some background into my journey here. I was born and raised in California so I spent a lot of time outdoors. I was on the swim team, and played soccer. I spent a lot of time at the beach and we did a lot of outdoor activities…. My Mom regularly sent us to school with pita bread sandwiches and fresh fruit. We ate healthy food at home too. So, one of the questions I often ask myself if how did I get to be obese? There are a lot of pieces to that puzzle that I’ve discovered along my journey but WAY too much to get into here today…. I’ll attempt to just share a few… I had horrible self esteem, I had negative self talk, I was shy and I was often scared. When I say scared, I wasn’t necessarily scared of my parents… but I was scared of a lot of things. Scared of fitting in, scared of not fitting in, scared of talking, and when I did talk, I was scared of saying the wrong thing, I was terrified of dying…. Basically I was scared of everything. And I stuck out… I was tall. I was the tallest girl in school. I recently saw my 6th grade class picture and I could have been mistaken for the teacher. So, I took being the tallest as being the biggest which was very scary. I was the “biggest”. I just remember feeling really, really BIG. This kind of negative self talk just snowballed through adolescence, and into adulthood. And in time, I became what I put out…. I became Obese. Obese then became Morbidly Obese.
When my son was born in 2000, I decided it was time for a change. I started a program and did well. I lost quite a bit of weight on the program but I never changed my perception of food. I didn’t attempt to understand my issues around food. I would spend all week thinking about what I was going to eat for my “cheat meal” after weigh in. As important as I believed this weight loss was too me, the food took priority over it all. I gained it back within a year (plus some). I’m sure most of you can relate to this. I wanted to be smaller, and “less” obese but not as much as I wanted to eat. My priorities weren’t clear at that point. As much as I wanted them to be, I hadn’t hit my “rock bottom”. I tried other “diets” along the way, but none with any true success. Then… something amazing happened. I gave up. I threw in the towel. And in doing so, it started me on the journey into discovering the most amazing person I've ever met.... myself.
This journey wasn’t for the weak at heart. It was a dark, cold, lonely, and sad place for a very long time…. but on the other side was my life. The life I was destined to lead. The life we all can have if we decide it’s worth the effort. When I gave up, I saw someone I have never met. I have never been the type of person who shuts down and makes a conscious decision to quit. However, this time…. I was done; completely over it. I was now morbidly obese and that's just the way it was. I needed to accept my role in this world and embrace it. This was me; all of me. “Love it and leave it”! I would eat what I want, hide in my room, and publicly put a smile on my face. It would be the new me. I would not continue to compete with food; it could win…. I was too weak. I was just a victim to food. This would be my new outlook. Unfortunately, the person who couldn't accept this new outlook was me. How was I going to look in the mirror everyday, and see the real me trapped inside and not do everything humanly possible to save her. But for an entire year, that's exactly what I did. And, as I got bigger… my world got smaller. I would lie on my couch or in my bed. I cried into my pillow or on my husbands shoulder. I constantly made excuses to not meet up with friends (because honestly, who would want me around?) and I refused to be out in public anymore than necessary. I repeatedly asked my husband how he could be with someone that looked like me (by the way I am married to the kindest, most supportive man in the entire world) and apologized to my son for not being the Mom he deserved to have. The kind of Mom that rode bikes, went to the park, took walks, and played outside with him. I felt weak, depressed, anxious, lonely, and powerless. This was not the person I used to know. I didn't recognize her and she was not me.
Then, one day it happened. I decided enough was enough. I was taking my life back. This was not the life I was meant to lead. This was not my destiny. I was not living my authentic life, or being my authentic self. I had allowed those feelings to have power over me for quite some time, but no longer. I felt empowered to take my life back. Above all else, I wanted to reclaim the person inside the body. I held her close, and made sure she knew that she was loved, and cared for, and that I would never abuse her again. I also agreed to forgive myself. I was moving forward. I could not go through life, not living, anymore. And I was not living it at all. I had merely been existing. In doing so, I had been doing a disservice to myself and my family and friends by not being the person I knew I was… inside. That day my world opened up and I began my journey. There was a quote that means the world to me.... it says "I took a vow of non violence and that includes my body". First and foremost, I refuse to do any harm to myself. That same day, I started a list of things I wanted back. Things that I could not have from being the weight I was.
My first entry..... My wedding ring. It is actually the ring my Dad gave my Mom when they got married. That ring is very special. To me, it holds a lot of symbolism. My parents were young, their love was innocent, my father was going off to Vietnam, and my Mom was entering womanhood. It was the beginning of everything. My parents are no longer together, but that ring still holds the symbolism for me. So when I was married, it became my wedding band. My husband added a platinum band in the middle to complete our circle. This ring, that meant so much to me, didn’t fit. It hadn’t fit in years. This first entry began my list and it is pertinent to my journey. I truly hope that you all have an opportunity to sit down and write your own list. I can’t tell you how much I’ve used this list. It keeps me focused and helps me to keep my priorities straight. When values are clear, decisions are easy.
I had been researching a center, and had been interested in checking it out. I had been online and had found some good feedback from other clients. I had also found a supportive “external” forum that seemed to be a good fit for me. I was ready.... I really felt strongly that this was the direction for me. I just knew that this center was going to help me in my journey. I just could “feel” it. So, I called and made my appointment. I signed up that very night! There was no question; this was my place. This was the missing link on my journey. For me, it was exactly what I needed; counseling, classes, food instruction, weigh-ins, and so much more. I am a good student. I am able to have someone tell me what to eat, how much to eat and I will follow that instruction..... My issue has always been the heart issues and the head issues. I needed to understand why I do what I do and what I can do to change my perception about food. I love this center. I love these people. I feel like they are committed to my success, as much as I am. I'm more than just a number to them and when I’m here, I feel like I’m with family.
I began MRC on October 27th. Before Halloween and more importantly, before Halloween candy! For me, this was a great place to start. There can always be a reason to hold off…. But when values are clear, decisions are easy. By the way, Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday.... and it went off without a hitch. I was on plan, and kicking butt. Several holidays, and events followed.....
The most powerful and emotional issue that occurred was that my Father in Law (and I don’t even like to call him my Father in Law… he was my Dad. I am lucky enough to have had two Dads) was diagnosed and then passed away from Lung Cancer. He suffered greatly, and we miss him very much. When he died, we didn’t know how we would continue on without him. Fortunately, we had no regrets. We still hear him and his advice all the time. He was great at kicking us in our butts and getting us back on track. There was no time for pity parties. This man knew of loss, and sadness, and could have been quite bitter. But he wasn’t. He was strong. He found out he had cancer one year to the date after he had been given a kidney transplant that he waited 7 years on dialysis for. His response to us, when asked how he felt about it all? “It is what it is” As bad as things are or can be, you move forward. You don’t waste time on things you can’t change. You do what needs to be done, and you fight. It is what it is. You can’t change it. Life happens, death happens, we have to continue. And in relation to our situation here; there can always be an excuse or a reason to eat off plan…. But what’s the point? Life is constantly happening, no matter how much we try to stop it. It is what it is. And, I could have used any or all of those life events as a reason to mis-step, but I had a choice and my choice was clear. "I took a vow of non violence, and that includes my body".
I also had my list.... Let's not forget the "list". I had now named it my "freedom list". It was all of the wonderful things I would get back (my freedoms) as I lost weight. So, when someone would say "Would you like a piece of cake"? I would think of my list..... Here's how it went.... Cake? or Riding a bike with my son? That decision was so easy to make..... It was almost ridiculous to even think about. Cake or my son? There was no thought needed. Sometimes there was no temptation in front of me…. Sometimes it was just me and my thoughts….. wondering if I could continue? Could I handle it? So, then out came the list. And, then I would realize that I absolutely could do it. I was strong and powerful. There was no question.
I had other assistance as well. I have the most amazing support system. My husband and son are just beautiful. They are my foundation. I can have a bad day or feel weak, and they hold me up. They tell me how strong I am and motivate me in the most wonderful ways. I hope to return that gift to them someday.
My husband; he is amazing. After our Dad passed away, we were coming home from Ohio and I was sure I was done. While we were there, I had made it through every kind of temptation possible. I had been strong, and made it through all 9 days but now, we were driving home and I couldn’t do it anymore. Each time we stopped on the way home, I would request something… one time it was French Fries, then Mozzarella Sticks…. It went on and on. Each time, my loving husband said the most wonderful thing. He said… “When we get home, if you REALLY want it, you can have it”. When we got home, something magical happened. I didn’t want any of that “stuff” anymore. I was back in my routine and feeling fine. He is my best friend, and the person who knows me better than anyone; often times, better than I know myself. I came away from that experience realizing….If you want something badly enough, you are willing to wait for it.
My Son; the love of my life….. I can’t begin to tell you all of the things that he does that make me smile. One of the many things he does, that just makes me want to hug him until he can’t breathe is: When I get home from weigh ins, he asks how much I’ve lost and gives me high fives and sometimes adds a special success dance for me. That’s just part of it though…. My absolute favorite thing is what I like to call “Amiri measurements”. Amiri(my son) is seven and understands lb’s lost, but that to him is irrelevant (except for when I lost his weight… then I could say I lost one of him… now I say I’ve lost almost two of him). What matters to him the most are hugs….. When he used to hug me, his hands didn’t touch…. So, he started measuring my loss by how close his fingers were when he hugged me then he would say “Momma, you are losing a lot”! Now, his hands overlap and it’s very exciting. I love getting those measurements.
I've gone through every emotion there is. For me, it’s seems like at different weights, I've been at different levels of self discovery. They were really powerful steps that I needed to take. Sometimes the emotions would pop up and overwhelm me.... Other times, they just would flow in and out. In the beginning, I needed to know so desperately why? What shaped my behaviors as a child? What created my control issues with food? When did my self image change? Was I born with a negative self image or was it learned? Was it influenced by my parents? Or was it society? Could it have been influenced by my peers? Maybe it had all been in my head? At points, I would be angry that I could let myself get to this point. How could anyone have gotten so out of control? Why didn’t I stop myself at 200lbs? or at 250lbs? Why not 300lbs? or 350lbs? Why had I just kept going when I knew it was such an issue? I was so relieved and thankful to have the classes here at all of these different moments because it really helped me to understand my feelings, as well as my old behavior. I was able to really evaluate these feelings in a safe and friendly environment. And when I felt like I needed to discuss these things, they were there. They were a neutral party, and could provide a sounding board when I needed it. I can talk to them about anything.
Which leads me into my “slip”. Twice, I discovered that I was going back to my old habits of skipping meals. I really thought I had everything all figured out and it hit me out of nowhere. For about a week, I would skip breakfast or lunch.... or both. It was my old ways, without the bad food choices (at least), but it was slowing creeping back in. And it caught me off guard and put me into a tail spin. It took me some time to get over the fact I wasn’t as perfect as I thought and I spent a lot of time talking to my friends here. But what I realized is how much you learn from these things… and when you’re perfect, you don’t learn a thing. In terms of having a slip, or with any issue or mis-step that may come up, I’d like to share an analogy with you. Picture yourself driving down the freeway heading home to the ones you love. You miss the exit. What do you do? Do you continue to drive on, screaming and yelling at yourself, never to arrive at your destination…? Never again to see the ones you love? Or, do you acknowledge the error, get off on the next exit and make the correction? I choose to make the U turn. Again, when this “slip” occurred, I thought it was so awful but what I realized from it was that I don’t have my mind figured out quite yet. I am a work in progress and always will be. But isn't that the most amazing part of being a human being? We are always learning, and growing. So.... back to basics. I went back to square one and remembered that I'm learning. That's what I did and I got back on track.
As of today, I have lost 115 lbs on plan and look forward to living. My freedom list is still growing day by day and I will share it with you now. My wedding ring is now almost falling off and will need to be resized.
Through this journey, I have had the pleasure of meeting the most incredible person.
She is loving, kind, and caring.
She is determined, and intelligent....
She is amazing and I am that woman.

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