Consumed

I am consumed with feelings right now.  The most dominant of which seems to be guilt.  I feel so guilty.  Is there something more I should have done, or should be doing?  Should I have done chemo? 

We have always been honest with each other.  Right now, we are both keeping a very scary secret from each other.  She knows that she is sick.  I know that she is sick.  She is acting like everything is fine.  She doesn’t want me to worry.  That’s just how she is. 

What she doesn’t know is that I am worried sick about her.  I don’t let her know.  I love on her just the same.  I still scold her when she barks at nothing more than the wind. 

I know she knows that I know.  (I hate people who talk like that!)  She knows I know.  I still call her “baby girl” and still rub her tummy.  She knows.  She know me.  She knows what I won’t talk about.  She knows what these tears are for.  She knows my heart, and my heart can’t lie to her.

The lymph nodes in her neck are extremely swollen.  They are big knots in her neck that are reaching up to her ear.  I’ve accidentally brushed them a couple of time.  All I can think is how is she breathing with these things pushing on her airway?

Over the weekend, Thanksgiving weekend to be exact, she started breathing as though she were awake and snoring.  It was an awful, heartbreaking sound.  Then, as fast as it started, it ended. 

I want to be with her every second of every day.  I want her face engrained deep in my memory so I never forget the first time I experienced unconditional love.  I want to remember her as the puppy that entered my life and loved me instantly.  I want to remember my best friend. 

It’s not fair!  Dammit!  It’s not fair.  Why her?  Why this sweet little girl? 

Her doctor said that I will know when the time is right to make the most awful decision I have ever had to make.  I know the time isn’t right.  She isn’t ready.  There is still little glimmers of her spunky-self that I get to see.  She still greets me at the door every time I come home.  She still curls up next to me on the couch.  She still has life left in her.

I don’t want her to be mad at me for not doing chemo.  I know that’s a human though, but anytime she wasn’t feeling good I would fix it.  I don’t want her wondering why I am not fixing it this time.  I don’t want her to think that I wouldn’t fix it if I could. 

My family was here visiting for Thanksgiving.  My mom spent time with Joie, just the two of them, talking.  Mom told Joie, if she doesn’t get to see her again, then to make sure she looks for grandpa when she gets to Heaven because he will take care of her.  It was as though mom just wanted to say good-bye.  Mom loves Joie.  She was the first dog that was allowed to give mom kisses…never on the face of course, but on the hands. 

My little nephew who seemed to be afraid of the other dogs, always wanted to be around “Jo-Jo”.  When I would keep the dogs in the bedroom away from him, he would ask me “where’s Jo-Jo?”  He wanted her out.  He wanted to play with her.  I think in all of his innocence, he could sense hers as well.  He knew she was safe.  He felt her peacefulness.  He knew.  He just knew. 

I am consumed with guilt.  I should have done better.  I should have walked her more.  I should have spent more time with her.  I should have made her more of a priority.   I only pray that she knows deep in her heart that I would do anything in the world to fix this for her.  Anything I could.  I pray she knows that I love her more than I know how to. 

I pray one day I will know that I did everything I could for her.  Right now, there is too much guilt.  Too much pain. 

I don’t want to be without her.  Ever.

Tears and Kisses

I had a meltdown last night about Joie.  I wept.  And wept.  And wept.  I made myself listen to Anything But Mine.  Big mistake.  I wept again.  Then I made Tony listen to it.  And he wept.  We sat on the floor together, weeping.  My little Princess walked in.  She looked at me and looked at my hand that I had just wiped my tears with.  She stood in front of me.  And just looked.  I’m not sure what the look was.  It almost felt like she was saying “really?  Are we going to do this again?? Really??”  She sat down in front of me. 

She pants now, a lot more than she used to.  The lumps in her neck are pushing on her windpipe.  The vet assured me that the cancer won’t suffocate her.  I can hear her struggling to breathe at times.  She snores at night.  The vet said she will adjust.  It’s moments like these that I am amazed at her strength and resilience. 

So, there we were.  The two weeping willows and the irritated dog.  She was wagging her tail though.  She always does that when I look at her.  When I say “Joie” it wags a little bit faster. 

Looking at her big brown eyes made the tears flow again.  She is such a pretty girl.  How can I get through any day without looking at that face??  My heart hurt instantly.  It ached.  I was overwhelmed with sadness, anger, frustration, grief and fear all at once. 

And then, in her usual tender way she leaned in to kiss me.  This time though, she kissed my nose and wiped the first tear.  She licked my cheek over and over again.  She licked my hand where I had tried to hide my tears.  She sat back, smiling.  Panting.  And tail wagging.  That’s my girl. 

We picked up another prescription for her tonight.  This one is suppose to slow the cancer.  I gave her the first pill praying that it would destroy the cancer. 

If ever someone deserved a miracle, it is Joie.

My Girl

In January, it will be six years ago that my life changed.  It was on January 14th, 2005 I was introduced to someone who changed my life forever. 

Right away I learned one lesson from her.  She was herself.  She knew what she wanted.  She knew how to GET what she wanted.  She was strong, yet scared.  I was as new to her as she was to me. 

She had these big brown eyes that told me she would love me forever.  Her smile told me that she would always make me laugh.  The way she snuggled up to me at night told me that she would be the one that would keep me safe. 

I think she knew by looking at me that I would love her.  She could sense it.  She read my heart like no one ever had.  She saw the peacefulness and the love in me that I was dying for someone else to see. 

Her presences in my life could not have come at a more necessary time.  I had just moved to a new state and the only real friend I had decided that we shouldn’t be friends anymore.  I was dating a lot, but not anyone I saw a future with.  I met a lot of people who didn’t treat me the way I knew I deserved to be treated.  I was tired of life.  I was tired of trying to have faith in the fact that I would ever be important to someone.  I was frustrated with one bad experience after the next.  I was coming to believe that the story of my life would be of the girl who no one really ever knew or loved.

And then my angel entered.  Or, should I say, God brought me my angel. 

She loved me so much right away.  She licked my face when I was sad.  She ran to the door to greet me with a toy in her mouth as soon as I came home, and still does.  She looked at me to guide her.  She trusted me.  She loved me in an unconditional way I never thought I would experience.  We developed our own language with each other.  She laid at my feet while I sat at my desk doing homework.  She has never been far from my side.  And at night, she is always curled up next to me or at my feet.

This is a love I have never experienced.

She is someone that I don’t have to thank.  A pat on the head or a belly rub tells her everything she needs to hear.  She would rather go for a walk or a ride in the car than to have a million dollars.  She has provided me with hours of entertainment.  She makes me laugh when I feel like the world has beat me down. 

She is a huge blessing.  An angel.  My baby girl. 

How can I ever say goodbye to her??  How can I know for sure that I gave her half of what she gave me? 

Her diagnosis is terminal cancer.  My diagnosis is heartbroken.

I am devastated.  Lost.  Inconsolable.  Scared. 

We used to drive about an hour from my house to my sister’s house.  She would ride shotgun in my truck.  High above the rest of the cars, she would sit perched on the seat as if she were human.  I never told her she wasn’t.  I even told the kennel to never tell her that she is a dog.  She would have been heartbroken.  We would ride in the truck, and I would talk to her.  She would listen as if just hearing my voice was the greatest sound she had ever heard.  I would tell her about work, or my latest date.  I would play new CD’s and ask what she thought of them.  Sometimes we would sing along.  She would smile and I would sing loudly, off-key.  Our song, we decided, was “Anything But Mine”, by Kenny Chesney.  I can’t listen to that song right now.  It brings back memories that are so bittersweet.

I decided that I can’t put her through chemo.  The doctor said that it might add a couple of months on to her life, but I can’t take the trauma it would cause her.  She would have to be away from me to get her treatment.  It would make her sick.  And it wouldn’t cure it, only delay the inevitable.  Am I making the right choice?  Don’t I owe her the courtesy of trying everything in the world to save her?  Or is that just me being selfish and fearing the inevitable. 

She’s only 6.  She’s still a puppy.  She shouldn’t have to go through this.  I shouldn’t have to go through this.  I’m not ready to say good-bye to her.  I’m not ready.  I am so angry.  I’m scared.  More than anything, I don’t want her to hurt.  We made a deal though, she would fight as hard as she could and I promised I wouldn’t let her suffer.  We even shook on it.  I will think of her needs before my own.  After all, she would do the same for me.  She has always thought more about me than herself. 

The only consistent that I had as I went through my own treatments was her.  On the days that I didn’t feel so good, she would lay with me and wait patiently for my sickness to pass.  Her presence calmed me.  I would pet her and forget about what I was dealing with.  I often wonder if she knew what I was going through.  Obviously not intellectually, but in her own way, I believe she knew. 

I’m giving her cancer to God.  That’s all I can do.  I’m trusting that God will get us both through this. 

I am blessed to have had this sweet angel in my life.  I am beyond blessed.   And thankful.  I can’t express the gratitude I have for her.  To some, all they see is a dog.  I see her soul like she sees mine.  I see her heart as she sees mine.  I see her personality.  I know her likes and her dislikes.  She knows my commands and she obeys them.  She isn’t “just a dog”, she is a creation of God’s.  God’s gift to me. 

And  don’t see how she could ever be, Anything But Mine.   

I

Superhero Training

Are we already at the end of the challenge?  I can’t believe it!  I remember thinking in January that I had all the time in the world.  Now, here I am 48 hours away from my final weigh in. 

At the beginning of this challenge, we were asked what we wanted to accomplish.  My answer has always been that I want to be stronger.  I want to be on the road to being the best me possible.  In my opinion, I have accomplished my goal.  I am stronger.  A lot stronger!  I’m sure I am at least borderline superhero strong.  I’m just saying….I have got to be close.

I wanted to lose weight in this challenge.  And I have.  The number on the scale now is less than it was on Day One of the challenge.  That tells me that I am headed in the right direction.  I still have a little way to go on this road, but at least now I am on the right road!!

I’ve learned more about PCOS and the challenges associated with it.  Some of the symptoms attempted to kick my butt!  In the end, I fought with all that was in me and was able to put up a good fight.  One of my weapons of choice was knowledge.  I had to first accept that PCOS was a lifelong condition and that there was not a pill that would fix this for me.  Next, I had to gain as much knowledge as I could.  I joined support groups and read books, lots of books.  It wasn’t until last week that I learned that one of the worst foods for me is ketchup.  I love ketchup!  I had no idea it wasn’t good for me.  With each piece of knowledge that I gain, I am able to fight off one more symptom or side affect.   

I do run with my own little group of superheroes.  They really got me through this challenge.  My husband, Tony, has gone through every step, from my excitement at the lower numbers on the scale to my wrath when I decreased my carb intake too much.  He has joined the gym with me.  He has eaten Tofu.  He has changed a lot of his eating habits and is more conscious of his body and what it needs.  He has also been my support.  He listens to my frustrations.  He encourages me.  He tells me every day that I am beautiful.  I don’t know what I would do without his love and support on this journey. 

My superhero friends, family and co-workers at the City of Franklin have been so supportive.  I have a lot of eyes watching my every move.  I have people constantly checking on my progress and keeping me honest!  Thank you all so much!!

The other challengers are part of my superhero group.  While we are all competing for a prize, I want to see them do well.  They are incredible people who deserve happiness in their lives as much as I do.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to know each of them.

My superhero group also includes everyone at Channel 4 that worked with us, especially Jenny, Mark and Christy.  From schedule changes to missing video blogs, you all were amazing to work with!  Thank you for your patience, and thank you for not showing me crying on TV.  Crying on television would have been very un-superhero of me!!

 The staff at the Franklin Athletic Club are definitely superheroes to me.  They have been wonderful to work with! They have been encouraging, supportive and excited for me on this journey.  Especially Aaron Kirchner, who will forever have the superhero name of “Alpha Dog”. 

The second day of the challenge, we were able to get a tour of the athletic club that we will be working out at, whether it was Franklin, Murfreesboro or Nashville.  That was when we were able to meet the real superhero, our trainer Lisa Kirchner (code name: Ninja).  I told Lisa that day that if she was like Jillian Michaels, I would mentally check out of the competition.  While I think that Jillian is awesome at what she does, she isn’t what I would want to work with.  I beat myself up enough; I don’t need someone to help me with that!  Lisa told me right away that she wasn’t like that.  She would tell me what to do and it was up to me whether I would do it or not. 

Not only has Lisa shared her extensive knowledge with us, she has sort of become the Subway Get Fit Challenge Psychologist.  Whenever we feel like we have run into a brick wall, Lisa has been right there with the most encouraging words.  She celebrates our little victories.  She gets excited when she sees all of the changes.  She has joined us for classes just so we would try them.  She has walked a 5k with us.  She has been to a Weight Watchers meeting.  She has done it all.  She is a phenomenal trainer and an amazing person.  And the most kick-butt Ninja around!!

Finally, rounding out my superhero group is the Subway 6 inch turkey breast on wheat with no cheese and all the veggies.  That sandwich has gotten me through many “I want a cheeseburger” situations.  The 6 inch turkey breast has saved me from wasted calories.  I never had to wonder what would be good to have for lunch.  Subway was always there!

Thank you to everyone that has walked with me on this journey.  Each step was made easier by your support and encouragement.

As Not Seen on TV

The end of this challenge is quickly approaching.  In less than two weeks, I will be standing on that scale again to have my progress judged.  There is a slight flaw with the scale though.  It is accurate with weight, but not with progress.  With all that I have been doing during the last 3 months, I have progress coming out of my ears.  I’d like to share with you some of the improvements to my lifestyle that the scale won’t show. 

1)       I am a lot healthier than I have been in a long time.  I feel good overall.  My body doesn’t have the normal aches and pains that it used to.  Now when my body hurts, it’s because of squats and lunges. 

2)      I have learned so much about myself.  I have learned that I have to push myself to push myself!! I have to force myself to work harder once my workout gets too easy for me.  I have a tendency of sticking with what I am used to and not trying something new.

3)      My favorite piece of advice that Lisa gave me was that a pound of muscle and a pound of fat are still a pound, but the muscle takes up less space.  When I get discouraged about the scale not going down, I remember that I have dropped quite a few pants sizes.  Obviously, it is working.

4)      For the past couple of years, the vet that I take my dogs to has told me that my older dog needs to lose a couple of pounds.  He told me that the extra weight can be hard on her joints and muscles and can lead to diabetes.  I don’t want that for her.  So, while I have been doing the Subway Get Fit Challenge, Joie has been doing the Pedigree Get Fit Challenge!   I did some research and found a website that tells how many calories a dog her size needs.  It also lists all of the calories in dog food and treats.  I had no idea how much I was feeding her!!  I have cut back on her food, but I have also been able to take her for walks.  I finally have the energy and strength to walk my dog!  Hallelujah!!

5)      I now know that I can eat cake.  I can have chocolate.   I don’t want a lot of it and I can’t have it every day.  I don’t feel like I have to eat carrots and celery in order to lose weight.  And I have to step up my workout when I go over my calorie allotment.  Sometimes the thought of being on the treadmill for an extra 30 minutes is enough to make me not want cake!!

6)      My life is better.  I am still overweight (or obese as the doctors like to say).  I am making progress though.  I only have to think about my choices right now.  I don’t have to worry about what will happen in the next two weeks.  I just worry about my choices today and how they will affect my life in the long run. 

7)      I am more confident now.  I have prided myself on always being confident, but a lot of time it is a forced confidence.  Most people won’t know how truly insecure I really am.  It turns out everyone I have talked to is insecure in one way or another!  Who knew??

Finally, and perhaps one of the changes I am happiest about is that I am looking forward to my future.  I am excited about what is on the horizon for my family. 

Regardless of what the scale says next week, I am thrilled that I took this journey.  I have enjoyed every minute of working with the best trainer on earth and meeting some incredible new friends.  I am getting to know me again.  I had forgotten how much I miss me!!

The Miracle Weight Loss Secret….REVEALED!!

 Peaked your interest?  Of course I did!  Just like the millions of billboards, television ads, email spam does every day.  Each time I open my email, I am accosted with advertisements of how I can “lose weight now…AND FAST!!” 

It always starts the same.  “Tired of those extra pounds?  Clothes not fitting like they used to?  People starring at your unattractive midsection? Well, have I got a solution for you.  It’s quick.  It’s easy.  You won’t even know you are on a diet.”  

How many times have you heard that same monologue?  Countless, I’m sure.   Better yet, how many times have you fallen for what they are offering at a low, low price?? 

I know I have.  I am an infomercial junkie.   Many times, my husband will walk into the room and see the glazed over, drooling expression that is on my face while I am watching the latest and greatest invention / pill / diet.  I am so engrossed in how this new creation will “change my life in ways I can’t imagine”.  Oh, and so help me if they have “real” people (who are NOT actors!) that will verify the brilliance of the said invention.  They aren’t paid to stretch the truth, right?  It obviously helped them.  Look at how this average Joe whom they pulled right out of the mall has six pack abs just from this very easy to use, light weight machine!!  He is NOT a paid actor, right?  I mean, they are showing his “before” picture, so it has to be true? 

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person, yet I fall for this every time.  The hosts of the infomercials always bring so much excitement to what they are selling.  That excitement is contagious.  I want that excitement!  I need that excitement!  I reach for the phone and my credit card so I can get thin with magic and get some of that excitement to go with it!!  WOO HOO!! 

I have bought gadgets and pills and plans.  I have bought into the commercialism of a very serious problem. 

And yet, here I am at 300+ pounds.

Let me save you some trouble.  It doesn’t work.  It just doesn’t.  There is no magical secret to weight loss.  I’m sorry.  I wish there was, but there just isn’t.  Believe me, I have tried it all. 

Don’t worry though.  There is hope.  You aren’t destined to be overweight forever.  I have a plan that I am willing to share with you that will not require a credit card.  I am not a paid actor, nor am I doctor or personal trainer.  I am an average Joe that has learned the true secret to weight loss.  Are you ready?  Here is it…healthy food choices and exercise!!  That’s right!!  You too can lose weight if you eat right and stay active every day!!  And, at no additional charge you can commit to this new healthy lifestyle!!  A properly balanced diet, exercise and commitment are essential to obtaining that physique that you always wanted!!  But wait, there is more!!  You will also receive more self confidence, better choices for clothing and positive feedback from others at no additional charge!! 

As a matter of fact, if you start this new program in the next thirty minutes, you could DOUBLE the remaining years of your life!  You have to start now though.  You won’t last forever and the clock is always ticking.  Start now for the best results!!

(This information was provided by Jennifer Woods.  Jennifer is not a paid actor and is not an actual advisor or doctor.  She is simply a chubby girl that has had to learn valuable lessons the hard way.  She shared her experience only as a means of support, not for profit.  Excitement is included in this offer because Jennifer has mistakenly purchased too much of it! No restrictions apply since Jennifer is not a lawyer and did not contact one prior to or after the release of this information.)

Thankful For Boundaries

 It’s been a tough week to say the least.  A week that has made me re-evaluate a lot of my life and my choices. 

It started with a ten hour car ride to Michigan for my brother’s wedding.  Ten hours in the car gave me a lot of time to think.  I thought about this challenge and my constant frustration with PCOS.  I thought about creating a magic pill that instantly made me the size I want to be.  I thought about how nice it will be when I don’t have to worry about my weight anymore. 

I started thinking about my priorities in life.  It made me realize that I have this problem of putting everyone else’s needs before my own.  I have never made myself a priority.  There is always someone else that needs me more than I need me.  My thinking led me to the realization that my life is in need of serious boundaries.

I need boundaries.  I tend to get caught up in helping people and end up being the one that pays the price for it.  I just can’t do that anymore.  I need to put myself and my family first.  I need to make sure that our physical and emotional needs are met before I try to help anyone else.

I also had time to think about what I am grateful for.  I have been blessed.  Truly.  I spent time thinking about the ways in which God has blessed my life.  I thought about the wonderful husband He brought to me that loves me more than I think I will ever understand.  I am thankful for my dogs that have taught me the physical meaning of unconditional love.  I am thankful that I am surrounded by incredible friends that provide words of advice or encouragement whenever I need it. 

It was the Grace of God that brought me to this challenge and I am so thankful.  This challenge has provided me with an amazing trainer who has already taught me so much.  I have also met other competitors that are now considered friends.  I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to be a better me. 

As I work to get in better shape, I realized that I am thankful for who I am regardless of the size of clothes I wear.  I am glad that I know how to care about the feelings of those that I love.  I am grateful for the ability to say I am sorry when an apology is needed.  I am thankful that the people that I love know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them. 

This challenge has been more than a weight loss journey.  It’s has been more of a self discovery.   Every chance I have to get on a treadmill and tune out the world, also gives me a chance to tune into myself.  I have learned a lot about myself.  I have learned that I am a lot stronger physically and mentally than I give myself credit for. 

Most importantly, I have learned that I really like who I am.

I Have PCOS

I have PCOS.

PCOS is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. 

Basically, I have a bunch of fluid filled sacs that have positioned themselves on my ovaries.  This has caused me to be insulin resistant, or more commonly known as Type II Diabetic.   

To summarize, PCOS stinks! 

PCOS mainly affects women of childbearing age.  It causes obesity, irregular periods, acne, facial hair, depression, and infertility.  There has been research that suggests that PCOS may be hereditary but doctors have not been able to isolate the gene that causes it.  

About 10 years ago, before I was diagnoses, I lost 106 pounds by dieting and exercising every day.  I put very little effort into losing and the weight just melted off of me.  About six years after that, it seemed like I woke up one day and my body was out of control.  I had gained back all the weight, plus some.  It seemed as though it was almost overnight.  My doctor at the time suggested that I might have PCOS and asked if I had ever heard anything about that.  She explained it to me and handed me a pamphlet with a website so that I could do the research on it.  I didn’t do the research.  I didn’t care.  I wanted a pill that would fix it so that I could forget about it. 

It wasn’t until I was married that PCOS really reared its ugly head.  My husband and I were talking about trying to have children.  I went to the doctor to make sure that everything was in working order.  I found out then that I had endometrial hyperplasia.  The lining of my uterus was beginning to create cancer cells.  My doctor put me on medication that was designed to help stop the cancer cell growth.  After four surgeries, the hyperplasia was gone.  However, the medicine had some side effects.  The most distinct side effect?  Weight gain. 

I share all of this because I would like the world to understand that all of us that are overweight are not lying around eating junk food.  Some of us have medically diagnosed conditions which make weight loss difficult, if not at times, impossible. 

The PCOS has caused my hormones to be out of control.  I have too much of one which causes another to become dormant and other to go into over drive.  It’s like a constant chain reaction or for visual effect; it is like dominoes falling over. 

I have continued to work very closely with my gynecologist and with my primary care physician.  Both doctors have encouraged me to be patient, yet consistent, with my weight loss process.  It is harder for me to lose weight.  My body doesn’t react the way a normal person’s body does.  My body takes every change as a shock and then shuts down until the shock is over. 

PCOS requires lifestyle changes.  I am very aware of how many carbohydrates and sugars I am putting into my body.  When given the choice between sugar and sweetener, I opt for sweetener.  I have actually learned to enjoy unsweet ice tea!!  The advice of “eat more fruits and vegetables” isn’t even good advice for me.  Fruit is full of carbs and natural sugars.  I love fruit, but I have to be careful of how much of that I eat as well. 

Another change is that I have to be constantly aware of what my blood sugar is prior to any exercise I do.  I have this fear of my blood sugar dropping at the gym and me passing out.  My workout schedule takes a little extra effort.  I have to know exactly what time I will be going to the gym.  I need to test my blood sugar thirty minutes before I get there.  I also have to eat something with protein in it one hour before I get there.  Everything has to align, or I could cause myself to get seriously ill. 

I battle PCOS every day.  It’s physically taken its toll on me and mentally has frustrated and exhausted me.  My husband and I have agreed to give up trying to have children at least for now, perhaps forever.  I am a great candidate for infertility or even a miscarriage and I am not emotionally ready for that battle yet. 

I have made some great progress in my battle though.  I once had a blood pressure of 260/ 180.  The nurse that took my blood pressure actually asked me how I wasn’t having a stroke.  That scared me to death.  I was on blood pressure medication for about a year.  I am now free from that burden.  My blood pressure has remained at a healthy 128/84 for the last two years. 

My fasting glucose level was once around 2.5, is now at a healthy 5.5 (6 is considered the point where medication is no longer needed.)  I currently take a shot twice a day, as well as a pill 4 times a day.  I am anxious to be rid of all of it!!

I heard a phrase about PCOS once that I have tried to remember when I get frustrated.  “I have PCOS, but PCOS doesn’t have me”.  PCOS is incurable, but controllable.  As far as I am concerned, I am winning the battle for control, one step at a time!!

The Queen of Advice

You know who gives great advice?

Me.

I’m not usually one to toot my own horn, but toot toot!!

The other day, a friend was struggling with how to convince someone else to eat better.  My words of wisdom were “food was created for survival, but has been commercialized into a means of pleasure.  Use food for survival and not for pleasure.” 

Pretty sound advice, right?   There was only one small problem.  I don’t take my own advice.  I use food for everything but survival.  I use it when I am happy, sad, or just to celebrate Tuesday.  My birthday includes dinner out and cake.  My anniversary is the same story.  Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day…all revolve around food.    I have bought into the commercialization of food.  That somehow food and pleasure go hand in hand.

In reality, food has brought me to 309 pounds.  And there is nothing pleasurable about that.

(Side note: I totally hope this is the week that my trainer doesn’t read my blog…if she is though, HI LISA!!  Feel free to skip this next paragraph…thanks!!)

My other great advice was that losing weight is not hard.  All that one needs to do is eat right, exercise daily, get eight hours of sleep and drink plenty of water.  Isn’t that awesome advice??  I KNOW!!  This is a total “do as I say and not as I do” situation.  I do get eight hours of sleep.  And I eat pretty well. I drink A LOT of water, but truth be told, I have not been as faithful to my workouts as I need to be.  I know I should be and I want to be, but (fill in random excuse here).

The weirdest part is that I love working out.  I love being at the gym.  I love the atmosphere.  I love the feeling of my body getting leaner and stronger.  I love turning on the treadmill or the stepper and tuning out the world.  For that 45 minutes (I mean SIXTY minutes if Lisa is still reading this), I don’t have to answer questions or phone calls.   It is just the treadmill, an episode of COPS and me.  It’s so peaceful and relaxing. 

Why won’t I take my own advice?  If it’s so easy, then why don’t I do it?  I am going to guess that it is because I am my own worst enemy at times.  I set myself up to fail.  It’s a personality flaw that I have spent a lot of time trying to overcome.  I can hear the wise works of Dr. Phil, “we create what we fear”.  I am terrified of failing in this competition.  I am scared of getting on the scale and seeing a gain instead of a loss.  I am just scared.  My fear just encourages my bad behavior, because I comfort my fear with food.  Not salad type food, no.  It’s usually ice cream type food. 

I am working very hard at squashing this fear.  I face it daily.  Every choice I make is going to encourage the life I want, or feed the lifestyle I have.  My food choices, my bed time, my workout schedule all encourage the outcome of this competition and of my life. 

Still, beneath the overpowering fear, I can hear the faint whisper of my lovely trainer “take one day at a time”.  I am trying to take this challenge one day at a time.  Every day I get up and tell myself that the only choices that matter are the ones that I am making today.  Today, I have to make the choice to eat right.  Today, I have to make the choice to go to the gym and get in a workout that challenges me.  Today, I have to make sure I am drinking plenty of water.  Today, I have to go to bed at a reasonable hour.   All I can control is what I do today. 

Taking one day at a time is really great advice.  She must have learned that from me.

I Bought A Dress

Yep.

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.

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