Sunday, April 26, 2009

Thoughts & Sayings

“… life is sweeter if you make yourself do uncomfortable things."
~editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine- Helen Gurley Brown~

Sometimes we do go through uncomfortable situations before we reach sweeter times. It is never fun, but oftentimes it is through the struggle that we find we possess the strength to succeed. If you are in the midst of "uncomfortable things," then hang will get better. Just don't give up!
~Suess Karlsson~

Never give up and never quit.

Attitude – Life is 10% what you make of it
and 90% how you take it.
~Irving Berline~

Belief – Believe you can accomplish any endeavor you attempt.

It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.

Purpose – Nothing changes until something moves.

Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.
~Dale Carnagie~

Decide the best is ahead of you.

If “will power” fails you, try “want power”.
What do you want most? Imagine the benefit of your wants.

Strive to be honest instead of right.

Goals: take the long view one day at a time.

Take the step to make the leap.

There is strength in Supporters

Be a Supporter. It will strengthen you at the same time.

Disciplined & Persistent – Finish strong

I wish for you to have a productive and happy life. Rely on positiveness to attain your wants, wishes and dreams. Keep stepping towards that goal one stair at a time. Re-remember your accomplishments, give yourself credit for them and don't just dwell on what needs to be done, just do it a little at a time.

"The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them.
Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced
that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams."
~Og Mandino~

Sunday, April 19, 2009

No serious lessons, just stories

This week has been a week of me versus fat. As I lose weight, funny and enlightening things happen. I received some pictures last week from Innovative Weight Loss Solutions (IWLS). It was a set of pictures of me from the front view and the profile view. One set was from my initial consult in April 2008 and the other set was April 2009. When they were sent to me I had to open them individually, so it was hard to compare. I looked at the 2009 profile and instantly thought, “My DeAnn, your stomach hasn’t progressed much.” I e-mailed Pam who is a great support to me at IWLS and told her I didn’t like the profile shot, but I am working on it. She emailed me back and told me to go to the Geary Community Hospital website ( and look at my pictures under the Surgical Weight Loss section (then under pt stories & photos). She basically said they would make people sit up and take notice. So I did. WOW!!! There really is a difference. I see myself everyday and don’t see the gradual change. When I was able to see the pictures side by side, I was floored. Therefore this week has been a “me versus fat” week.

It actually started last Saturday with my weigh in. I finally made it below the 200 pound mark. Man that felt great! One more goal achieved! I will go to several different spas in town and get prices for my “day at the spa” reward.

Then it continued on Sunday. It was Easter Sunday, but it actually started 3 weeks prior. Mom was in the cedar chest getting summer clothes and came across an outfit I haven’t been able to fit into for many years. She thought I would be able to wear it, so I tried it on. Sure enough, it was a perfect fit! I thought it would be neat to save it for Easter. It would give me a new outfit to wear. So we washed it and I put it in the closet. Easter Sunday I got up and put it on. Well, I walked across the room and the pants literally fell off me. I figured no one at church would appreciate me walking down the isle and have my pants fall off, so I put another pair on with the shirt. I figured ½ a new outfit was better than the embarrassment of walking out of my pants. I went to church and one gal admired the shirt. When I went to my sister’s for Easter my mom told me the shirt was really too big. I agreed and said I was going to wash it and give the outfit to this gal that admired it. I hope it fits and she gets much enjoyment from it!

Well, later in the week I put on some pants I have been wearing for a couple of months now. I just kept getting more and more frustrated as the day went on. It was always frustrating wearing clothes that were too small and uncomfortable. Well let me tell you, wearing clothes that are uncomfortably too big is just as frustrating. So I “had” to go out today after Bible study and buy some new pants. I am 2” smaller in the waist. I put on a pair of woman’s pants and was surprised when I had to go to a size 18. The last size I knew I was wearing was 26. The WOW factor came into play again. I have gone from a 3x-5x size shirt to a 1X-2x size depending on the cut. My waist size in pants is 10” away from what I was when I was in 8th grade. I have decreased the size by 8” in 9 months. And I am just now starting to work extra hard on the abs and seeing some progress. Overall difference since June 20, 2008 in inches is a loss of: Upper Arm -3 ¾ / Chest -10 ¼ / Waist -14 ¾ / Hips -13 / Thigh -5 ¼ and Weight -95. Me versus fat!

In water aerobics one lady told me I was looking younger all the time. My neck was thinning out. I laughed. The instructor said, “DeAnn is working very hard today.” I said, “I have 60 pounds to lose.” One lady said, “Yea, but you don’t have to do it all today.” We all laughed. The support from these ladies is unreal. God has blessed me with a big strong support system.

This morning sitting at the breakfast table mom said, “If you lose 50 more pounds I am going to have to ask who you are.” I said, “Well I hope to lose that 50 in the waist and not the face.”

I had my monthly B-12 shot at the doctor’s this week. As I was walking out of the examine room (the nurse gives me my shot) my doctor was standing at the nurse’s counter. He took a double look and said, “I almost didn’t recognize you.” He hasn’t seen me since January. This week has been a week full of hearing, “You look so different.”, “I didn’t recognize you.” etc. It feels good and helps with my attitude and confidence. I feel like I am making progress. As positive as I am most of the time, it can get tough to stay that way. I progress and I waver. I need the encouragement as much as the next person. That is why I thank God daily for all the support I have; my Cell girlfriends, my parents, my family, some of my co-workers, my friends, my swim buddies and sometimes even strangers. One really big support has truly been the people at Innovative Weight Loss Solutions. I have mentioned Ronda, Pam and Jennifer before, but I can’t say enough great things about their genuine care, concern and encouragement. This leads me to the next subject.

Ronda told me she thought my weekly blog needs to be read by more people. She said she was being sincere. She gave me a website to post my blog on. It is at I am just now in the process of getting it set up. As I do I will let you know. It will have the same post as the one on Which is also the same update I e-mail to you, my “Blessings” group? The only difference may be pictures in the picture album I can have on the obesityhelp blog. Ronda has been such a great support to me in the last year. She is so enthusiastic, positive, bubbly and caring. As I said all the gals at IWLS have been a godsend. I know they are only a phone call or an e-mail away. Thank you Ronda, Pam and Jennifer! (My blog has a link on the GCH website under pt testimonies tab in the weight loss services section)

I really need to thank each and every one of you in my “Blessings” group. If you are getting this, you are part of that group. You have verbally encouraged me many times. You have encouraged me via e-mail. I appreciate you more than I could ever “vocalize”. As I said, I may appear very positive, but it is hard to change a lifestyle and make it a permanent lifestyle. Considering I ain’t dead yet, I have to continue to work at it. So thank you!

Most importantly, the one I have to thank the most is God. He has brought each of you into my life at different times in my life. You have influenced me in different ways. He continues to become closer to me or maybe I should say I continue to grow closer to Him. In my cell group today I told my girlfriends that before this journey of weight loss surgery/new life I never connected all the avenues of life together. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual were just parts of me. Well, I have discovered as I have grown (well, actually decreased in size) that all are connected and intertwined. As I grow spiritually I strengthen emotionally and mentally. As I strengthen physically I grow spiritually. As I decrease in size I increase in physical abilities and better health. As I increase in physical ability I grow in spirituality. It all connects and hopefully I can take that connectivity and influence and uplift those I come in contact with daily. I hope one of those persons is you!

Again thank you for the lessons and the stories and the ears you give me by listening to my stories.

"A thousand-mile journey begins with the first step" and can only be taken one step at a time.”
~ taken fromThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People~

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A Staple of Life

A new hair style A new car A different house A new friend
A new job A smaller budget A different routine A new lifestyle


How do you accept change? If you are like the average human being, not well. You fight it tooth and nail. You run from it as fast as you can. You procrastinate. You stand steadfast in your resolve to never change. But, change can be a good thing. You just have to see past the comfort of your perception. Am I saying change is in the perception? As a matter of fact…yes. How you perceive your current situation and how you perceive the possible change will determine your actions and acceptance.

For most of 13 years I have worked a certain shift at work. I have worked evening hours (2:30pm-10:30pm). I changed to a variation of those hours (6:30pm-2:30am). Well after much thought I changed my hours again. In considering this change I had to take into account how it would affect my availability to exercise. At this point in my life that is 1st priority. I figured I could continue to exercise and change my hours and get everything done without being rushed (which keeps my stress level down). I decided it was time to challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone. So I bid for the day power shift at work. What this means is I work 10:30am-6:30pm. I exercise from 7am-9am and am able to shower and get to work by 10:30am. Well, the first week of this change is completed. I love it! The day seems to go by so fast. I get off work at a good time and still have time to do things in the evening I need to get done. I go to bed at a decent time and get plenty of sleep and still get up early to go exercise. If I hadn’t been open to try this change I never would have known how it would be. I actually enjoy going to work again.

Now let’s look at another major change in my life. I bucked gastric bypass surgery for 2 years. I kept doing the same things and kept getting the same results. I continued to grow larger, unhappier and less satisfied with life. When I finally “gave in” and decided to have the surgery I was sure of what I was doing. I knew I needed to do it and had the resolve to try to be successful. That doesn’t mean the changes I would have to make didn’t leave me feeling somewhat scared, uncertain of my ability and mentally guarded about failure. The pros outweighed the cons and I was able to make an intelligent decision instead of an emotional one. I made that decision with certainty that it was the right decision.

Because of that resolve, determination and step of faith I have discovered and experienced many benefits. I can now walk up and down the steps at work with no difficulty. I can walk a distance without being winded. I can wear styles of clothes I have avoided for years. I can bend and tie my shoes without huffing. I can sit on the floor and get back up without help. I can exercise for 2 hours and enjoy it. There are so many things I can do that I was unable to do just 9 months ago. If I hadn’t been open to the changes required to be successful with gastric bypass surgery I wouldn’t have experienced all the benefits I have gained from the surgery and my hard work.

I have changed my lifestyle. I eat better and healthier. I am back to seeking the Lord as the focal point in my life. I have made new friends through church. I am more content because of all of this.

Sometimes the scariest part of change is the differences it may bring. You can’t expect to change something over night or everything at one time. It is all part of a step process. I have talked about the steps to a goal many times. I have an ultimate goal within my weight loss. In order to get to that ultimate goal I have to take steps to get there. It started with having the surgery. After the surgery it was centered on being able to walk for a distance and exercise. I didn’t just stand up and walk a mile. I had to walk a few feet, a long length, a full block, a complete section, an entire mile, etc. Before I had surgery I was able to “make it through” a walking workout tape that was a mile. This week I did the 2 mile tape with ease. I think I am ready to try the 3 mile tape. Oh, it feels wonderful!! When I started at the YMCA exercising it was a struggle to make it 3-5 minutes on some of the machines. Now I easily do 20-30 minutes. It took great effort to withstand 15 minutes of strength training. Now I exercise for 2 hours at a time. I have increased my weights. I water exercise twice as much as I did when I started. Did I do all this overnight or in a week or a month? Nope! I did it a little at a time and slowly advanced and increased and challenged myself to change. I had to change my thinking, my will power and my resolve. But the key is, I had to change; a little at a time.

We have been changing since conception. God has been working in us since we were created. Some changes we are well aware of and others are so subtle and minute that we don’t even realize it has happened. When you began to crawl and then walk and run, you didn’t consciously think “I need to do this”. It just happened because of your natural determination. Other things like hair style, activities, goals, etc. you had to consciously think about and plan. Both types are changes and both affect the full realm of life. You have to take the risk and reap the benefits. You have to weigh the outcome. Sometimes those benefits are not perceived as positive, but they still give you a useful experience.

Through change you can go far in life. No one knows your limitations until you show them. Bank on the benefits. Possess the positive and reap the rewards of a better life through hard work, goal oriented actions and challenging changes.

It was through this process and my positive perception that I have reached my 1st big little step towards my “ultimate” goal. In the next couple of weeks I will be arranging my reward. I will make my appointment for my “day at the spa”. I have reached my goal of getting below 200 pounds and I will relax and enjoy a short vacation. I will be off work for 10 days, take a trip to Oklahoma City, spend time getting a massage, facial, pedicure and manicure and complete a couple of relaxing projects. At one time in my life I never dreamed I would see myself less than 200 pounds. It took time, effort, work, determination, resolve, planned goals, acceptance of small failures, acceptance of great successes and openness to change.

YOU choose what attitude you have. I challenge you today to look differently at what you are able to do...not what you cannot do! Embrace change as a positive thing. List the pros and cons. Make the decision to change for the better. I’m certainly glad I did. I plan to keep changing as my life progresses.

"When you're up to your rear end in alligators,
it's hard to remember your purpose is draining the swamp."
~George Napper~

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spoons to Bulldozers

Spoons to Bulldozers 4/5/09

Does it feel like this process is taking a long time? It may feel like you are a prisoner digging an underground tunnel with a spoon. It sounds like it takes too long. A successful plan requires a blueprint, tenacity, checking and rechecking every detail, thinking and praying and digging every day. It sounds so tough and hopeless, but on the day you hit your goal and see the sun at the end of the tunnel and you are free you will forget the daily grind and grueling pain you felt using that spoon to move that dirt. The key to enduring this process is to set the short term goals. You have to plan to dig so far each day (exercise so long each day, eat healthy each day, etc.) If one day you aren't up to the full length of the plan, relax a little that day, but get back on your hands and knees and tunnel through the next day. Each inch (step towards the goal) brings you closer to the light (goal).

The hopelessness will diminish as you get closer and closer to the end. When your goal is within your vision you become hopeful and invigorated. As you reach that goal you must then set another goal. Once you are out of the tunnel and in the light and free, you must find a new goal to work towards to stay on top. You have broken out of the prison and now you must live a productive life. In terms of our surgery, we must maintain.

Your 1st goal may not be your ultimate goal. Just to bring this in focus I will use myself as an example. It's much easier that way, but you can tweak my example to fit you personal situation. My ultimate goal is to lose a total of 152 pounds. If I were to make that my only goal I would get very discouraged. So I have set several smaller goals. Several of them I have already attained and that has boosted my reserve to continue the hard work to dig towards the end of that tunnel. I am struggling with a "big" smaller scale goal that I just can't seem to reach on the time frame I planned. I wanted to be below 200 pounds before April, but I haven't made it yet. I have had a couple of weeks of set backs. This week I am teetering on the edge. I know I will hit it; I just have to be patient, have tenacity and drive to keep tunneling. I have to recheck my plan and figure out what I am doing that is holding me on the edge. That doesn't mean I give up my steps to get to the smaller goal in order to get to the ultimate goal. My hopefulness is still very strong. I get that strength from my many supports. From the many encouragements and compliments from my supporters. I keep patting myself on the back. I keep rechecking my progress, reevaluating my plan, making sure I am on track. Sometimes the tunnel veers off at an unexpected angle and I have to dig back to the original plan or I have to adjust my plan to work with the circumstances at hand, but I continue to dig and make progress.

Spoons seem like such a small tool in your toolbox, but remember the tool you have is a smaller stomach. As you progress in your healthy lifestyle, you may feel like your toolbox presents a shovel (confidence, drive, hopefulness). Then as you become stronger in your will power and your tenacity and your desires and your goal seeking, your tool may become a bulldozer. You barrel through more exercises; more intense exercise and you feel better which in turn gives you more confidence. Do you see where this is going? Soon you will be at your ultimate goal, maintaining your healthy lifestyle and doing things you haven't been able to do in years. You will have the health you always desired and the contentment and drive to continue upward. It may take 5 years, 10 years and a lifetime to live the life you deserve, but remember, it all started with a spoon!

This scenario can work for any goal you may have in your life. A new career, a new relationship, maybe even a new dream. Just keep planning and digging and the progress will bring forth a blessing!

This concept and thought process was put in motion by a reading from "Financial Peace Revisited" by Dave Ramsey

Friendship is like peeing your pants.
Everyone can see it,
But only YOU can feel the true warmth.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Seuss-ism for Success

This post is an added one for the week. Some times you just get inspired.

This week I thought about Dr. Suess. Why? I really don't know. Some of my best thinking takes place in the bathroom, either in the shower or on the toilet. Occassionally while I am brushing my teeth, but usually in the shower. Maybe it is the hot water rolling over my head and down my body that gets the creative juices flowing. I began to think of some of the titles of Dr. Suess' books. When I was a kid I can remember a couple of popular books; "The Cat In The Hat" and "Green Eggs and Ham". They were silly books, but staples of growing up. They still are. In public libraries they are probably one of the most popular series among the juvenile sect.

So in thinking about Dr. Suess and his educational repretoire, I come up with some other titles that may be less known to the juvenile sect. The first reminds me of my neurologist’s insistence of gastric bypass surgery being the only option for me. The title: "What Was I scared Of?" That is the million dollar question. I have thought about it a lot since surgery. The thoughts I have come up with are stigma, fear, stubborness, and ego. The stigma I put on the surgery and how others would view me kept me in denial of the need to have the surgery. The sad part is most people didn't view the surgery the same way I did. The stigma I put on it was only in my mind. Fear of failure was very real. I had tried so many other "diets", "plans", "procedures", "pills", "potions", "herbs" and "quick fixes" that I knew failure was in my path more than success ever had been. Therefore fear of failure in the eyes of others and the eyes of myself. Not even to mention the frustration of that failure time and time again. Next is stubborness. I know this will be a shock to many of you (not!), but I can be stubborn; especially with myself. I blame this on the perfectionist nature I tote around daily. If it can't be perfect then play it safe. Well, safe in this matter was only making me fatter and unhealthier. If I can't be guaranteed to lose then I will not try. Although I did try over and over and over. So my stubborness was active on both fronts. I kept trying, but "knowing" I wasn't going to make it long term. Then there was ego. I was scared if I didn't succeed 100% then that meant I was a failure which has never done anything for anyone's ego. I had to get past these fears and face the truths. The main truth is I am obese and I am killing myself daily by being obese. Many health related issues, ego related issues and emotional issues are wrapped up in my obesity. Now that is the truth I had to face.

We all face the same truths within our own lives. It may not be diet or obesity. It may be if it is time to make some other type of change. So ask yourself: "what am I scared of?" Then weigh your options and face it. Decide with facts not fears. That's what I had to do and I had gastric bypass surgery because of those facts. I had to face the fears and doubts of success. Now I ask myself "What Was I Scared Of?" Maybe it was failure. Maybe it was success itself. Regardless, I'm glad I faced that fear and I am healthier for it.

The second title is "The Shape of Me and Other Stuff". You know I realized something several years ago. Round is a shape! The problem with this thought is it also gave me an excuse to stay round. Other terms I think of I have used in the past are "fluffy", "fat and happy" (was I really? I doubt it.) and several other denial quotes. It was always worth a chuckle, but it didn't lead to a very healthy life. Thank God I decided to change my shape. I knew it would be a tough go. Many people think it is the easy way out having gastric bypass surgery. I challenge them to watch a few surgeries, read the facts, talk to those of us that have had the procedure and then make a decision of how easy it is. It isn’t a cure-all. Yes it looks like we move so fast in our weight loss, but only if we are dedicated to this new lifestyle the operation offers us. Yes, you can return to your original weight if you decide to return to your original lifestyle. In regards to the “Other Stuff” I am just thankful for the will power, determination, optimism and positive attitude God has given me to continue to work this lifestyle change. We each lead our lives in different manners and we each are a different shape. It is our decisions and actions that form the lifestyle and shapes. To take a phrase from Dr. Seuss, “Hurrah for the shapes we are in.”

This leads me to the 3rd book titled: “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”. There used to be a lot of things I couldn’t do and places I wouldn’t go because of my size. Now I can get down on the floor with out fear of not getting back up without a crane and someone to operate it. I can fit through a turnstile at a concert, vendor event, etc. I am comfortable in the movie theatre seat. I can sit on a chair with both cheeks on the seat. I can cross my legs and sit with my legs together instead of spread from here to yonder. Some of you may have never had these problems, but what are some of the other challenges you have because of something you need to change in your life? Are you “stuck” in a dead end career, frustrated in a relationship, stuck in a debt spiral or any number of other situations? Is it time to take that step of faith and “go for it”? Maybe you have worked at your situation, but have become weary from the effort and little positive forward movement. Don’t give up! We each are made up of 4 parts. They are independent parts and they are also interdependent.

4 parts of people:
1. Physical-we only have 1 body – take care of it
2. Intellectual-read, learn and grow daily
3. Emotional-deal with it and move on
4. Spiritual-get a personal relationship with Jesus and watch all areas grow and strengthen

According to “Oh The Places You’ll Go” “Life is a great balancing act”; “Just never forget to be dexterous and deft” and “Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting so. . . get on your way”.

Yes, Dr Seuss was a silly little dude, but a smart cookie. Look at yourself, evaluate your situations, set the goals, take the steps to attain those goals one step at a time, rely on your support systems and revel in your success!

My Seuss Principle:
Set your goals
Evaluate you motives and dedication
Use a step process to get to the goals
Support systems are a must (God, friends, family, co-workers, activity groups, etc.)
Savor your success

You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.
~David Viscott~