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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"I may be short, but at Starbucks I'm a Tall"

I don’t feel short. It’s funny, because I know I am. I see other people that are my height and I’m taken aback by how short they are. At work, I generally wear 3 to 4 inch heels and I love them (especially the peep-toes! I don't actually own the red Mossimo heels in the picture, but YUM!, right?). Anyway, when I happen to take them off or wear shoes without a heel to work, I feel my shortness. Most of the time, though, I walk through life, not feeling my 5'3".

I also don’t feel 32 years old. I know I am, though, because my mom told me what year I was born and I used an excel spreadsheet to calculate my age. If I were to randomly guess, I would say I am more like 22. Sometimes, when I'm talking to my siblings on the phone, I am more like 16. Some places, like the state fair, I feel about 75 (I mean, seriously, do people have to act that crazy?!)

I also don’t always feel good about myself. It’s funny how, even with 54 pounds gone, I still have “fat” days. My clothes might feel a bit tight and I feel like all is lost. I went to the store just a few months ago and, without thinking, walked right up to the size 18s. But, slowly, my perception is beginning to change. My visions of old April are fading, even though sometimes I still feel like her.

So maybe relying only on my feelings isn't a good way to direct my life? It hasn't made me taller yet, but stay tuned...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Before and After Photos

I was thinking that any blog about weight loss should include a before/after picture. I'm 5'3" and lost 54 pounds, with my start weight at 187lbs. The "after" picture was taken today and the befores were in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
It's only when I see it like this that I realize what I truly accomplished.

It's Not About the Weight

It didn't take me too long into my weight loss journey before I realized that weight wasn't the problem. How many of us diet, fail, take pills, feel sick, diet, binge, draw the line in the sand, cross the line, start, stop, give up? We blame the program, the pills, the pre-determined foods, the birthday celebrations, the "American" portion sizes. But those aren't the reasons - and weight is not the problem.

Those of us who struggle with weight WEAR our symptoms and feel worse about our stuggles because everyone can see us struggling.

What's so hard about weight loss is that it's up to me to believe I can - to KNOW I can, and to take the steps to succeed. Following a food program and working out will help, but if you can't picture the finish line with most certainty, you will not start the race (or at least not well).

What's also hard is being honest about the 'why' of our symptom. When we're sick, the doctor's goal is to treat the underlying problem, not just the cough or back ache. Losing weight without discovering the 'why' will only lead to gaining again, no matter how great the program or diet. With each step, with each bite, we have to slow down and listen to the 'why' that is echoing in our head.

It's hard because, usually, it's painful. It's becoming your 14 year old self and hearing the physical therapist say, "My, you're a big girl." Even now, I have tears in my eyes when I think of that. But now that I've called out that memory for what it is, it no longer drives me to the donuts.

So, how do you do it? You fight. This is the fight of your life - for your life. Know that success is possible, feel it in your gut and decide with each moment that there is a bigger cause at stake. Grit your teeth - draw the line - set your course for success.

Do you know why it's worth it? Because the weight isn't the problem. There's something bigger happening. Losing weight gave me courage and confidence - not just because of the change in my body, but because I dealt with those feelings that I would normally just eat away.

Some days (and some months) I forget, but for the past 3 weeks, I have been back on top. Yes, I'm losing weight again - 4 pounds in 3 weeks - but I dealt with my issue head-on. My baby would have been 8 month old a few days ago. I cried, it hurt and it wasn't pretty. But now, I don't feel the need to eat the bag of Doritos.

The weight is never just about the weight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Check Boxes

I like lists and especially ones with checkboxes. Yes, I do. I imagine that someone could torture me, not by pulling out my fingernails, but sending me on my way with a list in which I could not check off any boxes.

I also like to track things. For example, I have an Excel spreadsheet that has every Christmas present I have purchased for everyone since 1999. Every year has its own tab and I compare things like my total dollars spent, average cost per person and major swings in the numbers.

I’m not bragging at all. One could argue on the side of insanity based on this. But I do have a point…. knowing this about myself, I decided to use it to my weight loss advantage.

First, on, they have check boxes for when you accomplish a “good health guideline”. Every time I drink a glass of water or eat a vegetable, I get to click a blank box and it turns blue. THEN, when I check enough boxes for the day, they give me a smiley face! Oh, they soooooo have my number.

Second, I recently decided to give myself another checklist. On my wall is a large downward arrow (signifying my weight going down). In the arrow is a section for each day, with its own set of checkboxes. Tying into my long-term goals, I created some daily goals that will help me make strides towards the big goals.

Some of my daily goals are writing down everything that I put in my mouth, working out (different types depending on the day) and also just writing in general. At the top, I wrote, “Only check off these boxes on days you want to feel good.”

Sometimes I make a list of things I’ve already done, just so I can check the box. I’m not sure why these things excite and satisfy me, but they do. The thing is, I'm me for my whole life. Why not study myself and use my strengths/weaknesses to become the best me that I can?

_X__ Write a blog
_X__ Edit the blog
_X__ Post the blog
_X__ Wonder if the blog was too revealing about myself
_X__ Reread the blog
_X__ Decide maybe someone could benefit, or at least smile today
_X__ Sigh
___ Go to bed

Update/Amendment/Clarification: I feel I needed to add just a touch more to my blog. I may have misrepresented myself as a neat, organized person. Those who have either lived or worked with me (I can hear you laughing!) knows this to be completely untrue. I am more of an organized clutter. My desk at work has papers strewn about, on top of each other, in no particular order. But when I need to find one piece of paper, I can usually grab it right away. I make checklists for picking up my house on the weekend, but usually lose the checklist – and then lose myself in a book….

Monday, April 13, 2009

got hungry?

I have a Hungry on my refrigerator. He is Weight Watcher's new mascot. We're supposed to use WW tools to banish Hungry, and he's a pretty good anchor on my fridge. Today, though, I found this picture - and I'm not afraid to use it. THIS is getting printed out and put on my board at work, right next to the Top Pot Nutrition information.

I think this image of Hungry being a donut-pusher is going to be great for me!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day