Excuse my English accent…

Call-the-Midwife-cast-80fa917I don’t know if you watch “Call the Midwife” or not. My sister got me addicted to this show and I really resent her for that. Now I cannot face my day without talking in an English accent and pretending that everything is “tip top tickety-boo!” To say the very least, my children and husband are very upset my sister got me addicted to this show as well.

The other night, one of the show’s characters said: “I have come to the conclusion that there are only two reasons for doing anything. One is love, the other is fear”. That really hit home with me. I thought about my weight loss and my journey to become healthy.  Was it fear or love that pushed me into starting?

I honestly have to say both. It was my love for my family and my life that caused me to realize that something needed to be done with my health. But it was also my fear of leaving that family and love too soon that really gave me a kick in the arse. This made me wonder if fear was a stronger emotion than love?

Love makes the world go around and love reconnects lost family members and love has made many a pop star several million dollars. But fear can make a mother lift a car off her child or make a teacher risk his life to protect a room full of students. So, can fear really be stronger than love. And in my case, was it fear that convinced me to begin moving my body and eating healthy?

Fear may be strong, but it is also very cowardly. Fear can make you stay in a relationship that you know is bad for you. Fear can keep you immobile, scared to stand up for yourself or others. And fear of the unknown and the different can cause one to carry hate and distrust in their heart.

Fear can also make you believe you are comfortable with a way of life that is slowly killing you.

So, no, it wasn’t fear that gave me the courage to turn away from a destructive life and it wasn’t love of my family either. It was love for myself. Love for the person that I knew I could be: the person hiding inside out of fear. Fear of going back to school probably added 50 pounds, fear of making mistakes as a parent added at least 50. And fear of failing my family through actions or words…let’s just add another 100 pounds with that one.

Fear will not make us change, fear will keep us in one position unable to move ahead. But love? Love is understanding when you fail, love is patient when you make mistakes and love is overwhelming when you feel that you cannot make it another moment.

What do I so when I have a bad day? Or when I don’t want to exercise, or I want to eat everything I have put on the “HELL NO” list? I call my sisters or brother, I text my husband, or I go see my parents. Because love is not just a warm feeling…love is nonjudgmental.

So, pip pip ole chap! Take a look at what fear is keeping you from doing. Make some changes and look for the love!!

 

Et Tu, Peeps?

So it has happened. Every store in our country has special “holiday” treats. Pumpkin Peeps Christmas Chocolate Mousse Reindeer - 6ct/2.375oz - image 1 of 1Spice lattes, peppermint bark Oreos, hot chocolate M&Ms, hot cocoa Peeps (yes even Peeps are teasing me), candy cane Oreos, gingerbread Oreos (OK, someone needs to address this Oreo situation) and of course Starbucks has a whole menu dedicated to peppermint, white chocolate and caramel!

It used to be so exciting to me. I think I challenged myself to try and have one of everything that was holiday themed. I would grab an Arby’s mint chocolate shake on my way to buy everything at the grocery store that had either Santa’s jolly face on the wrapper or had peppermint in the ingredients. My kids would never know what would be sitting on the table in a decorative plate…cookies? maybe. Christmas candy? Maybe. A working chocolate fountain surrounded by various forms of sweets to be dunked? After all, I was showing my kiddos how “in the spirit” I was.

Why do the holidays have to be such a difficult time for people who are trying to stay on a certain eating regiment? Because food is associated with celebrations and social situations. And there is nothing wrong with that. There are people all over the world who do not have a problem eating what they want during the holidays. They can splurge and splurge and never suffer any consequences. I, however, am not that type of person.

Last year, during this time, I fell of my eating program with a massive rush. I wasn’t mentally strong enough to fight the gingerbread men and chocolate Santa. I thought I could sample a few sweets and breads and then not let it bother me. That does NOT happen.

This year, I AM strong enough. I have come too far to allow my self to give up even for one day. I can do this but the question is “can you”?

I you go out to eat with someone and they say they just want a side salad, do you immediately ask them “are you sure that’s all you want?” or “don’t make me eat all these cheese sticks alone!”? My eating program makes other people a lot more uncomfortable than it does me. The other day I met with a few people for lunch and I just had an unsweetened tea. I was immediately questioned to the point of wanting to jump up and scream, “NO I DO NOT WANT TO ORDER ANY RAVIOLI DUMPLINGS IN GRAVY!” But I didn’t do that. I simply say “I’m on a restricted diet at the moment” and then I pretend to wipe my eyes and look to the side very wistfully. They usually assume there is something majorly wrong and they do not ask any more questions.

If you are at a party this Christmas and you see someone passing up the Swedish Meatballs drizzled in caramel cream sauce, don’t immediately begin to question them or force feed them. They are being strong and they are attending the party how they want to attend the party.

Instead of making them try the deep fried chocolate clams, just talk to them. They may be interesting enough to talk to without food involved!

Peace out!

 

 

Outside the Comfort Zone

Exercise. It’s always been a dirty word to me. How many times have I heard: “It doesn’t matter how you eat, you have to exercise” or “move at least 30 minutes a day” or “exercise was created by Satan”. OK, I made up the last one but I am pretty sure it is true.

I started working out at the local Y. I haven’t stopped (OK, my son won’t LET me stop). I thought I was really on top of it. I was feeling a bit cocky, a bit too cocky (dramatic music…). Then I met “HIM”.

I went to a trainer. For the first time in my life. I was scared to death. Totally not something that makes me comfortable. TOTALLY! I made my husband go with me. I honestly had visions of them standing over me with a stop watch and a clipboard, shaking their heads and making funny sounds, like: “hmph” or “mmmmmmmm” or “dear lord in heaven why has this woman waited so long to get here”!

He pushed me harder than I have ever pushed myself. There is a bit of my brain that makes me stop my own workout at a certain point…oh yea, that is the point of passing out. I tend to talk a lot and joke when I am nervous. Always have. He fixed that problem!! I was breathless the whole time so I couldn’t talk or joke.

But you know what?

I went back. A second time. There are few times I have really felt proud of myself…the birth of my children, the first time I passed by a Chick-Fil-A without stopping and going back to this trainer.

My point of all this is that if we do not push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we will never grow or change. I have had to push my boundaries so many times over the past 2 years. I have always been very content in my little world..never venturing out, not passing GO and not opening myself to others. I thought I was content. I thought this made me happy. But I was wrong.

Someone said to me the other day, “There is a light in your eyes that I have never seen before”. At first, I thought that was so sad. I felt like I had been such a pathetic person. Then I realized that I cannot feel sorry for that person. I have to forgive that person and go on. That person was a scared woman who had no idea she could be anything else. And she couldn’t be anything else…until she pushed that comfort zone to it’s limits.

What keeps you behind walls? Is there something you need to break through? Share it with me…I have a hatchet…I can help you tear it down.

NSV – do you have it?

booth1So…if you have a weight issue or even a body issue… it is so easy to become a slave to the scale.

“I had that burrito last night while I watched Jimmy Kimmel, how much did my weight change?”

“Yes! I weighted .70 less than I did yesterday. Time to celebrate!”

However, I was awakened to a new revelation this week. NON-SCALE VICTORIES! Here is what happened: We walked into a restaurant and I went over to a booth and thought “Should I try?” Something with this new attitude in my life made me go ahead and try to sit down. AND I FIT! I fit in a booth for the first time in many many years.

You have to deal with this issue to understand what I am talking about…there is nothing worse than having to constantly worry that there will be no tables available if we go out to eat. Or looking up new restaurants on-line to find images of the inside so you know if there are tables available or space to move between the tables.
Then there’s the time you get into someone’s car and you have to attach the seat-belt before you sit down because it will not fit around you. I can remember attending my nieces wedding and almost squatting through the whole service because I was afraid the chairs would collapse underneath my weight. Or when your son graduates, and you have to plan to attend the ceremony around places to sit when you cannot walk any more. Or asking your daughter if it is OK if you don’t attend her volleyball tournament because you don’t know the layout of the new gymnasium.
These are all obstacles that people face every day. And it’s easy to say, “well. Then lose weight!” but it isn’t that easy to do. I have lost almost 180 pounds, but I have tremendous support, I mean tremendous support. My husband, my children, my family, even my community supports me. What about the person who doesn’t have this? What about the person trying to overcome an obstacle on their own? One of my missions through this journey is to make myself available to any one who feels the way I did.
I know that the healing begins on the inside, it did with me. I had to fix my insides before I could ever begin successfully working on the outside. But it is hard to do. Don’t try to make all the changes at one time and take time to notice your NSVs!
I looked down at my shoes the other day and realized my shoes were tied in the middle rather than on the side – NSV!
I went to the mall with my daughter to shop for her homecoming dress – NSV!

Don’t be a slave to the scale, let your body and mind tell you if you are heading in the right direction. Then celebrate that victory and love yourself…because you (and I) are worth it!

Let me know of your NSVs and we an celebrate them together (not with food of course)!

Let It Go!

So, I had Let-go-Elsa-Frozena really really bad weekend. I mean REALLY bad. So many emotions and so much crying…UGH. You know what I mean right? When you lay down and your head is throbbing and your eyes are swollen shut and you just want the night to pass as quickly as possible.

On top of all of that, I had a Dr.’s appointment first thing Monday morning. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have a lump that starts in my throat when I have to go to the Doctor. I know this is from years and years of being told I was overweight which was causing my high blood pressure and my cholesterol level to be high (not the good cholesterol but the BAD cholesterol). Basically, being told I was slowly killing myself.

So, I told myself, “When you finish at the Dr., just drive across the street and get a Chick-Fil-A biscuit. It will be one time and no one will know. You certainly do NOT have to blog about it!”

I got to the Doctor and was called in to be weighed. I stepped on the scale and my weight was the lowest it had been in years…I mean 6 years! I immediately asked her to weigh me again so I could see the number. She did. I burst into tears. The nurse got a bit teary when I explained to her what I was seeing for the first time in forever.

The Doctor came in to a red-eyed woman, sniffing and dabbing her eyes (yeah – it was me). I think he assumed I was having a breakdown right in the middle of his office because he began backing up and nervously asking the nurse where the tranquilizers were kept (OK, maybe I imagined that part). The nurse explained what was going on and the Doctor gave out a whoop and gave me a huge hug. So, I did what anybody else would do in that situation…yup, I cried again.

But something snapped in me. I realized I had never really been open about my actual weight. I have shared my weight loss story and I have shared obstacles, but I have never taken that step to become completely honest and transparent. I know why. Years and years of being ashamed of myself and hiding have led to hiding the actual numbers from everyone.

You know, when I was in elementary school, they would weigh us yearly. In front of the whole class. That was horrifying for me. I would try to be “sick” on that day. I remember lying about my weight on what should have been the happiest day of any 16-year old’s life…the day you get your license. I have always seen my weight as a negative, as something that no one needed to know.

But I feel differently know. I am proud of my weight and I have lost over 150 pounds! So, while my number may seem unbelievable to you, to me it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

So…here goes (deep breath) (drum roll)…I weighed in today at 297 pounds. First time below 300 pounds in a long time. That’s why I cried…that’s why I practically danced my way to the checkout counter at the Doctor office…that’s why I am so proud of myself.

So, if you are hiding behind a number…let it go (no Frozen singing PLEASE). If people are going to judge you based on that number, let them. You don’t need those people in your life anyway. But think of the people who will support you and give you courage to continue. Heck, if you don’t want to share with anyone else-share with me!!

Oh, and I did go to Chick-Fil-A and ordered one medium unsweetened tea.

Life is good.

 

A Letter To My Body

Dear dear friend-A-love-letter

We have been together now for over 50 years. You were there in the beginning with me, when I was learning to put one foot in front of the other. You were there through all my deepest sorrows and my highest highs. You never wavered. You never questioned how I would treat you, you never questioned the times I elected to have a surgeon cut into you, you just kept supporting me and beating along.

Many times, I have regretted how I have treated you. Many times my behavior would have been considered abusive. It makes me hurt to know that I put you through so much for so long.

But things have changed. I no longer get angry at you, I no longer punish you for my emotions. I am so thankful for you. You gave protection to my beautiful child, not just once but three times. Even when you were unable to support the life within me, you allowed me time to grieve and then immediately gave me another chance to have my babies.

There have been times when you were hurting or you were sick and I neglected your signs. I was too wrapped up in my own feelings and emotions that I couldn’t focus on you. But you have my attention now…full attention. What do they say? Better late than never?

I no longer fill you with food that gives you nothing, just empty calories. Now I take care of you, I look for ways to nourish you, I try to move daily to keep you from aging too quickly. I am your protector now instead of your comrade. I will keep you safe.

How I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life. I thank you for never giving up on me. I know I have pushed you to your limits but I do love you. You are beautiful and you are so forgiving.

Let’s go into this future together now, working together to enhance the best of both of us.

I will support you and you support me. Deal?

From you ever learning, ever loving and ever loyal admirer,

Joanna

TRIGGER!

triggerSo, the other day, I went to see a movie with my husband. We actually drove to the theater, removed ourselves from the car and went inside a movie theater. Normally, we are both so tired in the evenings, we turn on the television and watch the least excruciatingly painful show that we can find (one that doesn’t involve the Kardashians, any political musings or talking animals). Oh – and it cannot be Lord of the Rings…I’m sorry, but my husband has seen that movie so many times that he recites it in his sleep (he sees himself as Aragorn but I think it is more Bilbo Baggins).

Anyway, I digress. After the initial shock of the ticket price (and listening to my husband tell me we could have watched LOTR for free at home) we found our seats and sat down. I immediately began an inner discussion with myself that went as follows: “you can have popcorn, it’s one time, just do it” to which my other self replied “you aren’t even hungry, you just ate, why are you wanting popcorn” and then another voice chimed in “I think they have LOTR collectible popcorn containers” WAIT! Scratch that last one…that was just my husband musing beside me.

I realized, at that moment, something very important. My senses were telling me I wanted popcorn. Being in the theater, smelling the popcorn…my mind was informing me that I needed that popcorn to fully enjoy this experience. I found out these are called triggers. Triggers in eating are emotions or situations that “trigger” a feeling that you need to eat. Getting in a fight with one of my kids? TRIGGER! Money frustrations? TRIGGER! Failing at losing weight? TRIGGER! I can remember sleepless nights when my children were babies, it would be 3AM and I would be making macaroni and cheese. Why? TRIGGER!

How do we handle these triggers when they confront us and tell us that we really need that cupcake if we are going to sit down and pay bills? We must remember that we are in control of our body. Our body is not in control of us. Years and years of bad eating habits cannot be changed overnight. We can’t expect to never fail. It will happen. But what happens after that is what makes us who we are.

I AM IN CHARGE! I don’t need food to tell me how I feel or to deal with awkward situations. I do need confidence and love of myself! If I want popcorn, then I will make the decision to eat popcorn and I will then be responsible for fitting that into my eating plan. For the record, I didn’t eat the popcorn. The reason? I cannot stop after one handful of popcorn. In fact, I can’t stop after TEN handfuls of popcorn. Therefore, I MADE THE DECISION to not have popcorn.

You and I have the power to control ourselves. We have all heard the statement “I just can’t control myself around your chocolate cake”! YES you can. You can control yourself by outfitting your mind and body with alternative solutions to your triggers. Don’t think you can control yourself around that cake? Take a second to walk around the block, eat a small snack or even BLOG (OK…you got me, there’s a fudge brownie sitting on my table daring me to walk by it). After you take a second away from that food…you can disarm your trigger.

THE POWER IS WITHIN! We are all stronger than we realize. Work that inner confidence and that inner strength and be a Body DIVA!

What are your triggers? Let me know and we can blast ’em together!

Can’t See the Forest for the Scale!

treeSo, last blog I wrote about how I had not lost weight in two weeks and how that can really play with your mind. It’s hard to turn your back on something that has governed how you see your body for the past 40 years (yes…the SCALE).

I tried something different. I stopped staring at the scale every morning. It no longer sits there glaring at me and daring me to step on it. I don’t wait until my “morning constitution” to weigh so I will weigh less. I don’t take off my earrings and my clothes (because I am convinced my clothes weigh at least 10 pounds). I even used to shave my legs before I weighed because I think I read somewhere that hairy legs weigh more…

I was CONSUMED by the numbers on the scale. When I was in a program where I was weighed weekly, I would not eat for two days before weigh-in, so I would reach goals. Then, I would go out for a fast food celebration when I reached my goal. In my mind, it actually made sense. I had deprived myself for two days and now I could reward myself.

And don’t even get me started on vacations. My rationalization was always “well, it’s vacation, I’m entitled” or “I will start when I get back-this is my break”.  My body must have been so confused. I can just imagine my digestive systems conversations: “OK, everyone work overtime…we just received a HUGE basket of french fries-Wait! Stop! We must be starving, everyone halt all food processing!”

I just got back from spending four days in Greenville SC with my husband. I don’t know if you have been to Greenville but it is seriously the food center of the world. And guess where we stayed? Right downtown in the food section! We got there and my husband said, “If you want to take a few days off, it won’t hurt you”. He was being nice, he knows that our whole life food has made me happy.

But things are different now. It’s not a temporary diet, this is my way of life. I know I have a problem and I know I will be dealing with it for the rest of my life.

So, guess what? I never one strayed from my eating program…in fact, I never even WANTED to. I felt so empowered and so in control of my life and that is a new feeling for me. I realized that nothing is going to stop me this time. Nothing. I don’t need food to reward me and I don’t need the scale to tell me that I am headed in the right direction,

Guess what else? When we got home, I was able to put on a pair of shorts that I haven’t worn in two years…YES TWO YEARS! Now that’s a victory.

How do you evaluate your success? Good or bad – let me know!

Love you all!