Aging Does Not Have To Be Painful

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I have been overweight for as long as I can remember and while I was growing up a lot of emphasis was put on my weight by many of my family members. As we all know, such attention tends to push a child in the direction which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. To make a very long story short, I grew up and out to be the obese woman I am today.

One thing that was said to me over and over again that really stuck in my mind was that I needed to lose the weight while I was young because as we age it gets harder. I am not real sure where that mindset came from, or even if there is any validity to it. But, as an impressionable child and teenager I became so obsessed with losing weight that all I wanted to do was eat.

Anyway, back to the whole aging theory. Because I was told on a daily basis, and sometimes several times a day, that as I got older it would be harder I received the message that old equals impossible. Now, I know there will be some who will want to  jump in with all the comments about me being an adult and I cannot blame my childhood forever. I am not blaming anyone but myself for the physical state I am in. I am writing this because I am positive that there are others who have lived this and if I can help just one person to understand that they are not alone, then I am one happy person.

So, where was I? Oh, yes, the aging theory. Somewhere in the back of my head I think I gave up because I took that statement and decided that it was too late to even try. Well, I tried through the years and even lost significant amounts of weight at times. The problem is I made extreme temporary changes which I could not live with and did nothing to deal with my mental baggage. That is why I have this blog, so I can deal with the mental baggage. Right now, the bag I am unpacking is the aging bag. Aging does not have to be painful.

I have always bragged that I have perfect blood pressure, no high cholesterol, and no signs of diabetes. I am in perfect health except for my weight. Now, while it is true that I have none of those things, I have noticed that as I have progressed chronologically I have had so many changes in my body that I have attributed to aging: pain in my back, pain in my knees, asthma, constant sinus infections, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, numbness, etc. However, the more I read and research, I realize that about all of my “growing pains” are side effects of my weight and not my age.

Now, this is my lightbulb moment. You mean to tell me that I can treat and in some cases completely eliminate some of these ailments just by taking care of myself? That’s just crazy!

I have spoken before about baby steps and creating new good habits that I can live with for life. While I have created some great habits such as drinking my water, eating a healthy breakfast everyday, and eliminating a lot of the sugar out of my diet, I have realized that I never really got rid of any of the bad habits. So, where I need to start is getting rid of the bad habits I have, one at a time. I know I can do it!

Small Changes for Huge Results

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Yesterday I wrote about some of the struggles I have been having and came clean with my self-imposed obstacles/excuses. Well, today I am sharing with you the first steps I plan on taking to get out of this funk.

I recently came across one of the most inspirational stories that I have read and I was literally blown away by the transformation. Eli Sapharti – FAT Boy FIT Man is one of those stories that make you just sit back and take notice. He recently posted this video to his Facebook page and in it you can see how genuine he is about wanting to help and inspire people. He also talks about taking baby steps and making small changes so you don’t get overwhelmed and give up after a month or two. This one statement struck a nerve with me.

I have told you before that I have lost and gained the same 50, 60, 70 pounds several times. Every time I did it, I was dedicated and determined and took off running. I would cut out all sugar, all carbs, all fat, drink the shakes, well, you get the picture. I never did anything gradually and went in with an “all or nothing” attitude. I know I have read and heard the advice to make small changes one at a time many times. But, you know me. I am not a patient person. I want to be thin and have a life RIGHT NOW!!!!

Ok, so why did reading Eli’s story and watching his video make me stop and think? I can’t really explain it myself. All I know is that listening to him talk about his journey and his thoughts struck a chord with me. It stayed with me and last night I thought about those baby steps. What can I change right now that I really won’t impact me in such a way that I feel like my entire life has been turned upside down and something that can make an impact for life?

I came up with a few small changes which I have implemented today:

  1. Water: The switch is being made to only water for cold beverages. I am still allowing myself 1 cup of coffee in the mornings though, I am not real sure I can totally give that up just yet. If I really want more hot beverages, I can drink green and herbals teas.
  2. Breakfast: While have made it a habit to eat breakfast every day, I don’t exactly eat the healthiest breakfast every day. Last night I made my own instant oatmeal packs with oats, ground flax seed, cinnamon, a dash of salt, and some Splenda. I then purchased some almond milk and brought it all to work with me. I have breakfast ready to stick in the microwave for the next two weeks. No reason at all to stop for coffee and scones or breakfast sandwiches.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables: I love my freggies, but I am not always successful at squeezing them into my day. It is now my goal to find a way to get some sort of produce into each and every meal. For example, this morning I before ate my oatmeal and cut up an apple and added it.

Three things which I can change and be consistent with and at the same time will be creating habits which will make a huge impact on my goals. I am thinking about what changes to make next. What are some of the changes you have made to your lifestyle?

The Things I Might Miss by Losing Weight

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First of all, I need to address why I have been MIA on this blog. My last post was nearly two months ago. I could go through a long explanation excuse of how I have been so busy moving and working, but I don’t want to lie to you. Yes, my family and I did move and I have also been working quite a bit. But, that has not stopped me from regularly maintaining my Facebook page, so why not post? Well, I think part of it is because I have been feeling like a big fraud. My page has gained popularity and I have been blessed with the greatest support system a girl could have. Not only do I have several family and friends who cheer me on, but there are hundreds of people I have never met who offer continuous advice and support. The thing is, although I am in fact doing everything that I have promised and posted, there are many things I have not done.

I have not been consistent at all with eating. Well, I have been eating, just not making good choices consistently. I have been doing the activities and exercises that I have been posting, but I know I am not pushing myself to do more.

With that said, I have had a few humbling, yet motivating moments the past couple of days and I am here asking you to not give up on me. I have not given up on myself and I know that I can and will live a healthier life.

There are many posts out there, including some from me, which give various reasons to lose weight. Everything from health to fashion has been mentioned. Let’s face it; we all know the health risks associated with carrying extra weight as well as the lack of clothing selections. We also have our own struggles with everyday life to deal with. If losing weight were easy, no one would be overweight. This is not a life that anyone chooses willingly.

With that said, I thought it would be an interesting twist to list the things I might miss about being overweight once I have crossed the line from obesity to “normalcy”. Here is a list of those things:

  1. The ability to stay off of everyone’s radar by staying hidden in the background
  2. Being able to stay in bed an extra 10-15 minutes every morning because I just can’t get the energy to get up
  3. Asking my husband for assistance to get up off the floor, or even the couch at times
  4. My slip on shoes, I might actually have to tie my own shoes
  5. Staying home all the time
  6. The constant weggies (TMI, I know, but this is my list and those of you who are obese know what I am talking about)
  7. My couch
  8. Elevators and escalators
  9. Sitting on the bench while my family rides the roller coasters
  10. Polyester and elastic
  11. The bruises on the side of my legs from chairs
  12. Seatbelt extenders
  13. Heavy breathing all the time
  14. The lectures from my doctor
  15. The lack of invitations to social events or even family events (this makes it easier to hide in the house)

As you have probably figured out, this is more of a sarcastic list. The point is, I have so much to gain by losing and I am so tired of starting over every single day. We all know that I have had my fair share of struggles the past couple of years, but it is my own fault that I let these life events interfere with what should be my number one priority: ME! That is why I have not given and I never will. Today is a gift just as yesterday was and it is my choice how I use it. I am using it to mark my determination to make not only today, but my future better than yesterday.

Non Scale Victories

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I decided that I needed to kick the scales to the curb because like many of us, I was placing all my worth on the stupid number it showed me. That does not mean that I no longer weigh myself, but I don’t place so much importance on the number when I decide to. Well, this morning was one of those days where I was wondering just where I stood with my love/hate relationship with the darn thing, so I decided to pull it out of hiding.

I have lost “only” 4 pounds since this whole journey began. Really? Four pounds in four months? A woman my size? That is just plain …… oh, wait a minute. I am no longer letting that number rule my moods. So, let’s take a look at the past four months and see what has happened.

November: The holidays were creeping up on us and I was already starting to stress about family get togethers. This is not an excuse, it is just fact. I have one of those families that creates a lot of stress even during simple gatherings much less a major holiday. So, let the bingeing begin.

December: Please see November. It is just a repeat, only this time it is Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

January: I was off to a decent start. I had started losing the 7 (no, that is not a typo) pounds that I gained over the previous 2 months and even made a last minute trip across the country to surprise my daughter at her baby shower. Then, BAM! It was three days after I returned that we rushed one of our family members to the ER for what we thought was the flu. Since Jan 12th, my family and I have spent all of our time either at work or the hospital when we aren’t sleeping. The past couple of weeks have gotten better because our bodies basically made us slow down and take a break.

February: We are finally settling down into a routine between work, the hospital, and home. Yes! Finally, a little bit of time at home. There are still many adjustments to be made before this whole ordeal is over, but at least we know that she will be coming home eventually.

Now that we have reviewed my four months on this journey, I am choosing to take a moment to recognize all my non-scale victories (NSV’s) because if you all remember, I no longer define my worth by the number on the scale.

  1. While I may have lost “only” four pounds during these past four months, I am choosing to look at the big picture. With the seven pound gain over the holidays, I have actually lost 11 pounds since the beginning of January. Still not a huge amount, but way better than standing still. I promise, this is the only one that has to do with that evil scale AND I do understand that this is not exactly a NON scale victory, but it is a victory.
  2. On that last minute trip across the country, I was able to fly three out of the four flights without a seatbelt extender. This I have not been able to do in a very long time and soon, it will be 100% consistent and I won’t even have to stress it. If I had listened to the scales, I would not have even tried and immediately asked for the extender.
  3.  I have started and continued some positive habits which will get me to my goal eventually. I now consume between 8 and 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, drink only water, and find some way to fit a little activity in everyday even if it is only 2 sets of wall push ups every single time I use the restroom. It may not seem like much, but it is much more than I used to do.
  4. With all the craziness and stress from the past couple of months, I have not given up. In my book, the only way you fail is if you give up. So, I am in this for the long haul.

To those of you who still depend on the numbers on the scale to validate your success, I challenge you to kick your scale to the curb and look at everything you are gaining by making little changes. I have not made any huge changes in my lifestyle yet, but I can tell you that I actually feel so much better and have more energy now than I did when I was obsessing over the numbers.

Obstacle or Opportunity?

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As everyone knows, I have really been struggling that past couple of months. There are so many external factors which I let dictate my life AGAIN! If you want to read about the pep talk I gave myself you can find it in this post.

That lit a fire in me and with the help from my friends; this week has been just one success after the other. Now, has everything been perfect? No. But, I have not given up and I am actually starting to feel better.  I have been able to control my food intake without too much of a struggle and I have gotten activity in every day, even if it is not the amount I wanted it was better than the ZERO activity I was getting before.

There are a lot of changes going on in the little world of me. I am working hard at becoming the best me I can, and at the same time I am trying juggle a family, work, and other responsibilities. I know, I am not the only person who has responsibilities, but they are still a contributing factor to my current stress level. On top of putting my health as a priority above all else, my family and I are moving out of our home into an apartment. (Very long story which I will not bore anyone with)

Because this is kind of a scary move for me, I have decided to make this a positive experience by looking at it as an opportunity to clean out all my closets and garage like I have been wanting to for a while. Just think of all the treasures that my local shelters and/or goodwill will receive AND I will have a nice, clean slate to start from.

I am also a bit excited because this apartment complex has tennis courts and three swimming pools. Let’s just say I see some additional opportunities for activity in addition to the fact that I am pretty sure we will be on the third floor. In preparation for the stairs, I have been forcing myself to go up and down the stairs here at work a couple of times a day. Hopefully I will be conditioned enough that I don’t feel like passing out the first week we are in our new place.

That is really all I have going on right now. How do you handle change? Do you look at it as an obstacle or as an opportunity?

500 Fans and my 50 Reasons to Lose Weight

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It has been an exciting week in my little world. Not only was my fourth grandchild born on Valentine’s Day, but I also put a goal out there to hit 300 “likes” on my Facebook page to celebrate her arrival. It was a truly emotional day for me since I was unable to fly to be with her for this occasion so I made a comment about how nice it would be to reach 300 followers on my page to commemorate the occasion. I had no idea what was in store for me when I did that. With a little help from my friends, one day later I now have 507 followers.

To mark the moment, I was trying to think of the best way to thank everyone for having faith in my ability to reach my goals. I have seen many pages do 500 reps of a certain exercise to celebrate 500. Well, I am not even close to being in good enough shape to do 500 reps of anything. So I mulled it over all night to come up with a way to mark the occasion in a unique way.

I know! I will write a blog listing my 500 reasons to lose weight and my inspirations for not giving up. Now, before you close this page out, I can tell you that not only will I have the hardest time coming up with 500 reasons (who could really?), but I am pretty sure that you do not want to spend half your day reading my list. So, what I decided to do was my list of 50 (10% of 500) reasons to lose weight. I am also planning on printing several copies of this and posting it everywhere in my house. So, here is the much-anticipated list:

 

  1. To be healthy
  2. To watch my grandchildren grow
  3. To play with my grandchildren
  4. To make my children proud
  5. The sense of satisfaction that I actually did it.
  6. To walk without struggle (or as my friend Shannon would say, without the waddle so I can strut my stuff. LOL)
  7. To fly without a seatbelt extender
  8. To be able to use public restrooms effectively. (Come on, you know some of those stalls are too small even for very thin people)
  9. To be able to sit in ANY seat without fear
  10. To be able to buy clothes because I like them, not just because they fit.
  11. To be able to walk into a room and not feel all eyes on me
  12. To be judged on how I am as a person, not my pant size
  13. To climb stairs without pulling myself up and feeling out of breath
  14. To not feel like my stomach is there for an armrest
  15. To ride a roller coaster again
  16. I want to shop in Victoria’s Secret
  17. To tie my shoes without feeling like I just had a full workout
  18. To wear shoes that don’t look like “old lady” shoes
  19. To get out of bed and not have every bone in my body ache
  20. To get in and out of the car effortlessly
  21. I would really like to be able to clean my entire house without discomfort. (right now there are areas I just can’t get to due to my weight)
  22. To paint my toenails
  23. To cross my legs
  24. To drive without my stomach rubbing the steering wheel
  25. To sit in a booth without sucking in my stomach                             
  26. To go through a turnstile
  27. To be able to utilize the bottom two drawers of the filing cabinet
  28. To not have to say “I’m sorry, Mom/Grandma can’t do that. I will just sit here and watch”
  29. To be an example to the rest of my family, most of whom have the same horrible habits I have had for years
  30. To want to leave the house
  31. To pose in family pictures without hiding behind everyone
  32. So hopefully I can inspire all those who inspire me
  33. So my ex-husband regrets what he gave up for what he no longer has (purely for self-gratification. Mean, I know, but it is MY list)
  34. So my current husband can continue to love me and not become a widower
  35. So I can pursue employment with confidence (I have a job that I love, but it just is not paying the bills)
  36. To wear boots
  37. To live (I know I already said this one, but it IS a pretty important one)
  38. To wear a bathing suit again
  39. To wear bracelets without my arms looking more bloated than they already are
  40. To help with my back pain
  41. To sleep better
  42. To walk without my thighs making that “swishing” sound
  43. To dance with my husband with confidence
  44. To spend a day running errands without paying the price of pain
  45. To put my pants on “one leg at a time” without holding onto something for balance.
  46. To pull my “someday” box out of the back of the closet and actually fit in some of my clothes
  47. So my doctor does not, once again, suggest surgery
  48. To be able to sit up straight (some of you know what I mean)
  49.  So certain members of my family no longer consider me the “black sheep”
  50. Did I mention I don’t want to die?!

Well, as you can tell, I started to run out of ideas towards the end there, but you get the point. I have allowed my physical condition to be an excuse to avoid life for as long as I can remember, and please do not read this list as me being negative about myself or down on life. I am actually in a pretty good place right now where I realize that I should not depend on people and circumstances to make me happy. I am ready, willing, and able to take responsibility for my own life and future. My first step is this wonderful community of people who have all clicked the “like” button in support of my journey and others like me. I realize that this is something I need to do on my own, but I am not alone.  

Where’s the Positivity?

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Have you ever been in a place in your life where you just feel like you have hit a dead-end? For whatever reason, that is exactly how I have been feeling the past couple of days. I have been doing everything I can to think positive and keep a smile on my face. Contrary to what I would like to believe and what I try to project to everyone, I just don’t feel great about myself or my life right now. To help get me out of this funk, I have tried to get into a routine and keep it.

I start every morning telling myself that today is a great day. I make my fresh juice and pack my food for the day so I have healthy meals and snacks available to me throughout while at work. I check in on Facebook often so I can stay in contact with all my favorite people who inspire me and keep the positivity in my day. So, why is it that sometimes I just don’t feel it? Why is it that lately I have been so close to tears because I really feel that everyone in the world can succeed except for me?

Now, please don’t take this as a message that I have given up on myself. Actually, quite the opposite is happening. Today, somehow I managed to dig deeper than I ever thought I could and I am realizing that everyone has their bad days in which they struggle and feel down. So, what did I do? I pushed away the platter of food which was brought into the office today for meetings, and I drank my Green Monster. I then decided that now is the time to write it out. I mean, nothing puts things in perspective more than writing them down for me. So here is my list of self doubts and my own little pep talks to wipe the thoughts excuses out!

Stress: Without going into a lot of detail, the stress level in my life right now is at it’s all time highest. 

  •  Well, Diana, do you really think you are the only person on Earth who is stressed? Think again! There are many people out there who are having just as hard of time making it day-to-day, so get off your rear-end and move! Exercise is the best stress buster out there!

Self Loathing: I know that the word “loathing” is a strong word, but that is exactly how I have been feeling the past couple of days. Let me explain. We had some pretty important clients coming into town this week for work, so I decided I needed to look for appropriate clothes for the occasion. I FOUND NOTHING THAT WOULD FIT ME! Not even the ugly-I-am-buying-this-just-because-it-fits clothing. Why? Because I literally did not find one article of clothing that fit me. 

  •  So, Diana, what does that tell you? Stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something about it! You will never be able to buy clothes that you want by curling up in a ball of self-pity! Get off your rear-end and move!

My family offers little support for me. I feel the constant demand for the high fat, high sugar food in our home and I am so tired of not only trying to buy enough food for two menus, but cooking two menus is very time-consuming. 

  • So, what you are telling me is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to integrate any healthiness into your family’s menu? Come on, you have done it before….. Prepare something healthy and make an extra side dish for them. Who knows? Eventually they may actually get jealous of all the positivity surrounding you and will hop on board with you.

So, what am I doing about it? I am kicking all the self-doubt and excuses out the window and I am not giving up on me. What do you do when you hit a wall and the self-doubt creeps up on you?