Archive for March, 2010

I Bought A Dress


It’s right there in the title.  I bought a dress.  My youngest brother is getting married and I bought a dress to wear to the wedding.  If you know me at all, then you know that Jennifer does NOT wear dresses. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am “girly” to a degree.  I love to get dressed up in cute outfits that involve pants and boots.  Nothing makes me happier than a mani/pedi .  Although I’m fine with my weight being displayed for the general public, my vanity steps in when my gray hairs try to make an appearance.  I notice things like eyebrows.  In fact, my husband didn’t even know he had eyebrows until I pointed them out.  I’m all about a super cute purse.   I am never without lip gloss and I thoroughly enjoy shopping for items that sparkle.  That’s the girly side of me. 

But dresses?  No.  Those are prom queen girly and that is just not me. 

I do not wear dresses. 

It doesn’t help that I have an awkward body.  I am built like a linebacker.  And no one wants to see a linebacker in a dress.  I have broad shoulders and a man size chest cavity.  I have thighs that can leg press a repetitive 225 pounds.  While I am enormously proud of that accomplishment, it has made my legs have a graceless shape.  Needless to say, it’s not very flattering for a woman.

This dress is way outside of my comfort zone.  It is so far outside of my comfort zone that it is taking all of my mental strength to not talk myself out of wearing it.  My husband says it looks great, but I’m sure he is well aware that there are stiff consequences for saying otherwise.   (See previous post about my meltdown ability.)

Since my purchase, I have been paying special attention to my comfort zone and the ways in which an expansion could be valuable.  This challenge has actually widened my comfort zone quite a bit.  Last year at this time I would have been terrified to join an exercise class.  Now, it’s just part of my routine.  When I feel like my workout needs a pick-me-up, I join yoga or Zumba.  My fear before was that the other participants would laugh at me.  The opposite was actually true.  The classes that I have participated in are where I have found great encouragement.  By expanding my comfort zone to try something new, I in fact found that I enjoy what I had feared. 

Could I enjoy wearing dresses?  My Spanx and I both agree that it will be a long time before that is something we deem “enjoyable”.  For now, I am content in knowing that I look a little better in a dress than I did 6 months ago.  I am also content in knowing that the expansion of my comfort zone is where I have found the courage to make positive changes in my life.  It’s risky to step outside of what is familiar.  Our minds have a brilliant way of creating unrealistic “what if” scenarios.  Those “what if’s” can be overwhelming.  Realistically, what is the worst thing that will happen if I wear a dress?  Maybe someone will tell me it looks bad?  And?   

And, perhaps that will be the perfect time for my inner linebacker to step forward. 

Stay tuned.  There may be pictures.  No promises though.


I Know Better

For the last 7 weeks, I have been faithful about my weight loss program.  I was tracking what I was eating.  I looked forward to my workouts.  I was finally getting sleep thanks to my C-PAP machine.  I really felt like a million bucks. 

And then tragedy struck.

I was only in Detroit for five days, but I feel like I have set myself back about 3 months.  I didn’t exercise.  I was careful about my food choices, but I didn’t have the opportunity to always make the healthier choices that I do at home.  I was sleeping on a bed that I wasn’t used to, which ended up hurting my back.  Normally, this wouldn’t have been a problem but I haven’t yet mastered the art of using my C-PAP machine while lying on my stomach.   We only had time for about 4 hours of sleep anyway, so I opted for sleep without my C-PAP machine. 

I can’t regret any of the choices that I had to make.  But I can ask a question.  How in the world was I able to live that way before the challenge?? It was miserable!!

Prior to January 22nd when this challenge began, my life was exactly what I had described above.  I was always on the go, not eating right, not exercising and not sleeping.  My stress level was off the charts!!  I was using caffeine in place of good nutrition and sleep.  How was I able to maintain that lifestyle for 5+ years??   

I am reminded of the quote by Maya Angelou, “I did what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better”.   The lifestyle that I had before was what I knew would work to survive.  I was surviving, not living.  I don’t want to ever go back to that lifestyle.   I know better now, and I will do better. 

The funeral also reminded me of how unpredictable and fragile life is.  I’m certain that my father in law never knew the value of his life for those that loved him.  He didn’t always make the right decisions, but he did what he knew how to.   I watched his friends and family hug and cry.  I listened to their stories and laughed with them at the antics of the man that I didn’t really get to know.  I learned that he did the best he could with what he knew.  It reinforced in me that I want to do better.  I want to be better than what I already know. 

This week, I will be spending a little more time at the gym to make up for last week.  I will get back to where I was before going to Detroit.  However, I will never go back to where I was before this challenge.  I certainly know better than that now!!

Life’s Trials

This week Tony and I are in Detroit, where we both grew up.  As much as we love being here, it is unfortunate circumstances that brought us here.  Tony’s father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly over the weekend. 

We found out about the death on Monday morning.  By Wednesday at noon we were in Detroit submerged in funeral arrangements.   Emotions have been overwhelming.  We are running on adrenaline and caffeine.  Although incredibly unhealthy, it’s seems to be all that we can do to keep going right now. 

I didn’t get a chance to know my father in law.  He struggled with his own issues in life and my husband decided that we needed a little distance.   I’m sad because my husband is sad.  I am hurting for my husband, but with so much to do, we have to keep going. 

In the last 48 hours, I have slept about 5 hours.  I have had more coffee then I normally drink in a month.  My eating schedule is about the only aspect of life I can control right now.  We are running from one side of town to the other side all day.  Luckily, I had the wherewithal to make sure I packed healthy snacks so that I am not stopping at fast food when I am hungry. 

I haven’t had time to get to the gym, so I have had to be creative with my exercise.  On the ride here, Tony and I would stop at rest stops for a brisk walk and lunges.  There isn’t time for much else right now. 

I am exhausted.  Tony is exhausted.  We are running on empty, but sometimes that’s just how life goes.  I know that this is a temporary situation and we will get back to normal shortly.  In the meantime, I have to remember that I am committed to a healthy life and have to be prepared to improvise when life throws curveballs.

The best meltdown

I had a meltdown. 

There.  I said it.  I melted down like a two year old at a toy store.  Yep, I had a grown folks temper tantrum and I am fine with admitting it.

Sort of. 

I pride myself on my strength.  I am extremely capable of putting out multiple fires at the same time.  I like that about ol’ Jen.  I like that I don’t get rattled very often. 

Last week, I got rattled.  Seriously rattled. 

There are two kinds of meltdowns that I have.  There is the once-a-month-nothing-is-going-right-crying-and-wanting-ice-cream meltdown that lasts about 2 days.  It’s during this time that my husband cannot say nor do anything right.  Sometimes a simple look from him will wake the meltdown beast.  It’s just how it goes.  I’m sorry that this is the way it is, but I am very grateful to have married someone that can and is willing to handle it. 

The other meltdown is what I experienced last Friday.  It was the double meltdown with extra drama and a side of who-else-can-I-bring-into-this.  Here is what happened.  If you have been reading my posts you know that I have been told a couple times (read: repeatedly, continuously, endlessly) to stay off the scale.  So, I asked Tony to hide the scale from me and under NO circumstances is he to show me where he put it.  No matter what I threaten or explain, his answer has to be a definitive “no”.   Last Friday, I said to Tony that I needed the scale.  He sternly replied “no”.  (For Tony, this is a HUGE deal!!)  My shock was apparent.  I had to throw out the big guns.  Enter the waterworks.  I cried.  Yep.  I did.  I cried because next week is the weigh in and I don’t want to be embarrassed.  I cried until he got the scale for me.  Lesson learned here is that tears are totally Tony’s kryptonite!! That is info worth filing into the memory bank!

Without hesitation and still through massive tears, I got on the scale.  I’m not going to say what was on the scale, but I was NOT happy.  And then it happened.  The mother of all meltdowns had begun.   

Step one, I cussed.  I used words that my mother would smack me for even today. 

Step 2, I “addressed” Tony for getting me the scale after I had clearly told him not to under ANY circumstances. 

Step three, I threw the scale. 

Step four, I emailed Lisa my displeasure and was willing to accept that I was just born to be fat and it was time she supported me in my crusade. 

Step five; I called the doctor to insist that there was something wrong with me.  The receptionist that I was whining to thought that I may need to talk to the nurse who promptly asked me if I needed to come in right away.  In hindsight I now believe the receptionist (and possibly the nurse) thought that I was having a psychotic break.  But whatever, I still got in to see the doctor.  Mission accomplished.

My doctor reminded me that even a small amount of weight loss was still loss.  I adore my doctor.  Seriously.  There isn’t another doctor I would rather see then him.  However, I believe wholeheartedly that he has never had a weight problem in his life.  So, really, what does he know about a small weight loss.  I have so much to lose!  How can a small amount even matter?  He listened until I think he was ready to choke me (note to self: send Dr. M a “thank you” card for not choking me) and then sent me for blood work just to make sure everything is okay.   

And finally, step 6.  The phone call from Lisa, who is training me physically but also, spends a lot of time talking me off of the ledge.  And I was on the ledge.  The first words Lisa spoke were something about staying off of the scale.  Duh!  I have learned my lesson.  (Yet, I sense that we will have this conversation multiple times in the near future as well.) The second was about me being too hard on myself.  I am a perfectionist.  I know I am.  If I know that I am not going to be the best at something, I don’t even try.  This challenge has pushed me to take part in activities that I am awful at, i.e. Zumba.  I am terrible at Zumba, but I still did it.  I actually like it. Even with knowing that rhythm is required and I have none at all.    Lisa reminded me of all of the success that I have had and how I feel so much better, which is true.  I do feel much better.   She told me that when I am not the best at an activity, that I should focus my efforts on being the best at not quitting the said activity.  I’m not the best at Yoga, but am I the best at not quitting yoga!

Forty five comforting minutes later, the meltdown had passed.   It was a 12 hour meltdown, but that’s not even close to my meltdown record.  

I’m focusing this week on being proud of my accomplishments.  I walked a 5k this weekend and had a great time!  That’s an awesome accomplishment that I should be proud of.  This time last year, I could have been facing a different fate with a 5k, perhaps as a “cause of death”.   I’m proud that I was able to finish and that I was willing to go a second time!  And, I didn’t finish first or second.  So, I wasn’t the best at it. 

However, I was the best at finishing in spot 546. 

And I was the best at not quitting!!


Prior to starting this challenge, I was a 330 pound professional dieter.  Despite repeatedly hearing people tell me that I needed to make lifestyle changes, I was convinced that there is a magic diet that I hadn’t discovered yet!  If there was not a magic diet then at least a magic pill.  Either way, I was convinced magic was somehow involved.  It had to be.  I was banking on it.  In fact, I was breaking the bank on it!

I hated hearing about “lifestyle changes”.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Did I hate that?!?!  What lifestyle changes do I need to make??  I agree, I need to make changes.  But what are they???  The only phrase that irritated me more was “you’ll lose the weight when you are ready!”  I was 330 pounds!  How could I be more “ready”!!

Fast forward to the introduction of me and the Subway Get Fit Challenge. The challenge and I have had our ups and downs; growing pains is what I call it.  We also had some outside influence that was wreaking havoc on our new relationship, namely “the scale”.   Yet, here we are in week five beginning to find the rhythm of our relationship.  I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I would like to share. 

Lesson #1: In a “lifestyle change” I can still eat whatever I want.  I can have a fast food hamburger.  I don’t need to have it with cheese and mayo and I can’t have it every day.  If I want to eat it, I do.  And it is okay.  As long as it is in moderation, I have nothing to worry about.  The lifestyle I had before encouraged me to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  Now, I have changed that to be that I eat what is good for my body but also what I enjoy. 

Lesson #2: I don’t need a scale, ever.  One might think the scale is there to help me know what my weight is.  Wrong.  The scale became a de-motivator.  I don’t need to put myself in the path of negativity.  So, adios stupid scale!!  My clothes will tell me where I am in my progress and they are a lot cuter to look at!!

Lesson #3: Foods that I swore off as a child are actually not so bad as an adult.   Cauliflower and I have been enemies for as long as can remember.  What was I thinking?? It’s delicious!!!  Even without being soaked in ranch dressing.  I missed out on years of enjoying delicious cauliflower.  Luckily, with this specific food, it is okay for me to make up for lost time. 

Lesson #4:  I don’t have to be the best at everything.  I did Zumba.  I am NOT good at Zumba.  I love it, but I am not good.  Perhaps it’s because I don’t have a dancer’s body yet.  Regardless though, it is totally okay.  I am still going Zumba.  I will draw the line at investing in the Zumba gear though.

Lesson#5: Lisa may be little, but it has been decided that she could take me down.  I may be able to hold my own for a little while, but in the end, she will have more energy and endurance.  I need to work on those two things because I never know when my trainer is going to sneak up on me like a ninja.  Safety first, that’s what I always say. 

Lesson #6:  I’m on MY clock for weight loss.  Yes, I want to do well for the challenge, and yes I have personal goals I would like to reach but I don’t have to do it in the next month.  I have time.  I am taking the right steps and constantly moving forward.  That’s all I have to require of myself.

Lesson #7: I have to write down what I eat.  Whew..I am SSSOOO dishonest when I don’t!!  I can eat three days worth of calories if I am not holding myself accountable for what I am eating.  Writing down anything that goes in my mouth truly keeps me honest.

Lesson #8: Having to wear a mask for sleep apnea is not the worst thing that could have happened to me.  I fought seeing the doctor about my snoring because I thought I could lose weight and then I wouldn’t snore anymore.  Getting good sleep is essential to losing weight!  Since seeing the doctor and getting my C-PAP machine, I feel a million times better!!  I don’t care what anyone says either, I rock that mask!!

Lesson #9:  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Floating around in my purse are Fiber One bars and sugar-free gum.   I don’t keep food that is bad for me in my house or my desk.  I am always looking for new recipes and I never go to the grocery store without a specific list.  A couple of weeks ago, I wanted ice cream in a willing-to-crawl-on-dried-rice kind of way.  Instead of going to the store and buying a gallon, I stopped at McDonald’s and got a cone.  I LOVE ice cream.  And seriously, who knew that ice cream could be so good without hot fudge and peanut butter cups?? Seriously.

Lesson #10:  I only surround myself with people that support me 100%.  My husband has been amazing! Amazing!  As in, he joined me for Zumba and Yoga, amazing!!  He was the only guy in the Zumba class, but he still rocked it!!  My dogs who bring me their leash when they need exercise.  They seem to just know that I do as well.  My mom and dad, who are both out of state, call to encourage me and check my progress.   Mom isn’t one to listen to my whining about it being hard.  She knows my true strength and pushes me to find it when I am not meeting my own potential.   Dad though, he will totally listen to me whine for a few minutes!! My friends from different parts of the country are cheering me on by following my progress on or emailing recipes or cooking dinner.   I’m so grateful.  I love all of them!! My co-workers at the City of Franklin have been incredible as well!  From the group that gets together to watch my segments on the news to the people who stop me in the halls to encourage me.  I am blessed.  And thankful beyond words.   

It’s not easy, and I am okay with that.  I won’t get stronger by taking the easy road and I want to be stronger.   In the meantime, I am learning all that I can.