Sunday, November 28, 2010

Remind Me

Remind me why I had surgery. As I am facing some tough heath issues again I have to look back and find the blessings. I hope it will get me through the frustrations I am experiencing right now. I have had to give up some of the things I enjoy the most in my daily workouts. I had surgery over 2 years ago because of serious health issues. I found myself on a road to death. The reality hit when I was able to look in the mirror and see a morbidly obese person looking back at me. I didn’t even recognize myself. There are times these days I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back at me. I have come a long way in 2 years. When I get frustrated I have to remember why I had surgery and where I’ve walked and at times ran. I have to remember before surgery I couldn’t even exercise. I have been doing some very limited running in the last month or so and that is probably what has gotten me into the shape I am in. So I have to give up the running, the rowing (which I love) and some of the other things I enjoy, like aqua Zumba. I hope it is just for a limited time, but at this point there is no speculation. I just have to be wise in my thinking and doing. I want to push myself harder than is advisable. I’ve always been a person who had to give 100+% and now I have to back off. It isn’t going to be easy and I know it is going to frustrate me. I need to set some new goals with lower expectations. That won’t be easy either, but if I am going to get healthy again and get past the pain, I will have to do it. Before surgery I existed but wasn’t active in life. Since surgery I have becomes very active and now I have to slow that down. God always knows what is best and I guess at this point He feels it is best to slow down some. So as I face these health issues with uncertainty and times without answers, I will do the best I can to remember why I had surgery! To be healthy and active!

It is what it is, but it will become what you make it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's About The Journey

A good friend wrote in her blog lately that it isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. I have not written on my blog/update for a month. I haven’t felt inspired. I have been looking at the destination and forgotten about the journey. I felt like if I couldn’t give a rose I wouldn’t write. I have decided the prettiest bouquets are mixed flowers. There are bright brilliant colors, subtle colors, greenery, baby’s breath and even thorns.

My life lately has certainly been a full bouquet. I have had some challenges in my work life, personal relationship life, my spiritual life, my heath and my weight loss life.

My weight has teetered with the same 10 pounds for months. It has been frustrating. It has felt much like before surgery days. I would lose some, gain some, lose some…. Luckily I have not gone past what I was willing to go to. But I also am not willing to stay where I am now. It is so easy to say ”I am going to…” It is hard to walk the walk. I am struggling with the thorns right now. It feels like there are thorns on every horizon.

I think work is leveling off some. This will be a day to day assessment. I am the only one that can influence it and stay above the water level of drowning. Of course those involved play a part, but not the starring role. I am the star and I have to play the part I want. The other people can either be the supporting cast, the villain or the audience. I can name each person in their role. For now, I will take it day by day. I will show up and perform my best.

My personal life is a little trickier. I have to decide what is best for me and go with the decisions I make. This is not always easy because the familiar is so comfortable, even in the midst of the pain and disappointments of life. As the saying goes,”Life must go on. Learn to live with it.” Take the next step and grow from there.

My spiritual life is one of my most frustrating struggles. I want to have a close personal relationship with God, but I am my own worst enemy. I want it now and I want it on my terms. That isn’t always the way it happens. Think about the many different stories in the Bible and how God dealt with people. Many times it took longer than they wanted. Reading the stories makes me think it took longer than I would have wanted. The Israelite wandered for 40 years. This was by their own doing; by not obeying God. I am in the same boat. I often ask for something then turn around and attempt to do things my way because God isn’t quick enough for me. So I have to take a few steps back and I often feel I am losing ground. I have to remember He is always there, always knows best, but also allows me the free will to choose. There lies my stumbling block—my will.

My health, well, it will go at its own pace. The medical world isn’t always on the same time frame as I am. Doctors don’t always do what I want when I want. It is a hurry up and wait situation. It is very frustrating. So for now I have to sit back, be the annoying bee in their bonnet and try to get them to move faster. In the same vein, I can’t just sit back and let the world pass me by. I have to stay focused and continue to work out and live each day to its fullest.

As The Imperials’ song says, “When the water gets high, sail on. When the wind starts to die, sail on. It’s just a matter of minutes ‘til His ship comes to get us and we’ll all get in it. …Just keep your compass set on the SON… We’ve got the Lord in control of our ship and he’ll guide us safely in.”

So in light of all these ramblings, I have come to the conclusion that everything happens for a reason. I may not understand the reasons or the timing or the outcome, but I have to have faith in myself and faith in God. My god is an awesome god. He is the only true God. His name is always in a capital letter. All other gods are in lower case. So I have to put all the challenges of the day in his hands. This is easier to write and think and say but hard to do. So for today, I pray for His guidance, His wisdom and His love to help me make the decisions I need to make in my weight loss, eating habits, determination and patience of life after weight loss surgery.

I have to look to Him to guide me at work and how I relate and deal with each person and situation. I have to look to Him in making decisions in my personal life and dealing with people I come in contact with. I pray He will give me the courage and spirit to make wise decisions. In doing this, my spiritual life will fall into place. Sometimes I think he strips all things (options) away in order to lead us back to Him.

Not every day is going to be a total success, but as long as I am working towards the goal, I am a success. It isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey. The destination will take care of itself if you have your eyes on the right leader.

"Don't blow the chance when you have the chance to say I love you."
~Oliveia Newton-John~
But don't say it unless you honestly mean it sincerely.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Pondering

"Pondering"

What is joy? Is it a hearty belly laugh? Is it jumping up and down as the saying goes, jumping for joy? It is walking around with a smile on your face? How long will it last and what will prompt it? How tight do you have to hold on to it to make sure it never leaves? Is it a state of mind or a feeling within? Is it an outward appearance or an inner sense?

What is happiness? The saying is you have to find happiness within yourself and not with outside things. How do you find happiness when you don't know what it is or what it looks like? Will you recognize it when it slaps you in the face? Will it drift in the window like a spring breeze? Or will it flash like a 4th of July spectacular? Will it creep in like a thief in the night; not knowing it was there until it is gone?

How do you measure success? Is it by the dollar amount in your bank account? Is it a level on the ladder? Is it a job you enjoy immensely? Is it a large house, cars of your dreams, 3.2 children, a spouse you want to spend the rest of your life with or maybe the respect you garner from those around you?

What is contentment? Is it a calm feeling within your soul? Is it a serene sense around you? Is it laying back and relaxing without a worry? Is it doing what you want to do? Is it a fulfillment that is impossible to define? Is it a peace that descends on you when you least expect it? Is it something you can work for, but fail to fully grasp? Is it "walking on cloud nine" and just where is that located? Is it linked to happiness and can only be obtained when you obtain happiness and joy?

Are all of them linked together? Do you have to have all of them to know one of them? Does one lead to the other? Do they lend themselves to each other?

So many questions with very few answers.

Life! Now that is the ultimate question. Is it more than a breath? Is it activity? Energy? Growth? Being? A career ? "Just the way it is"? Participation? Or a period of existence?

I guess all of the above are a facet of each other. Maybe to access each to build on the other is the routine of daily living. If we are able to attain one, each or all of them, will life be complete?


I am going to cheat and post something I wrote 3 years ago. I think, without meaning to be egotistical, that it is timeless. I think regardless of the time of history it applies to life. Regardless of the century, personal age or current events, it is something every person thinks about. At this time in my life I am in the best spot I have been in for a LONG time. I have always been an extremist. I am either extremely happy or pathetically down. I have always had a hard time with the middle ground or the even keel. I even have a hard time with idleness. I am working on that though. In the last couple of months I have learned not to be “obsessive” about the”what if’s” and the “how about’s”. I’ve learned to let go of that which I have no control. I’m not totally there, but many things that used to upset me and bring me to a screeching halt now have little effect on me. I think that is growth. Anyway, I think I am more comfortable in my own skin and don’t need someone else to make me feel that way.

Now back to why I chose to dig up this relic writing. I once again began pondering all these things. I don’t know that I have any more answers than I did before, but I am certainly more comfortable with not having the answers. I know life will not be complete just because I think I have attained one, several or all of these. I think there is no way to fully attain any of them. I think they come in waves throughout life. They ebb and flow like an ocean. The ocean does not cease to exist just because it is at low tide. It isn’t any more evident because it is at high tide. It just is. Much like life—it just is. Each day is another chance to master the plan. The ending is written in the stars and only God knows when that will be. So for today, I must live it with the challenges, the mundane and the excitements that flow into my life. So what is joy? What is success? What is contentment? All wrapped together the simple answer is, they are life. Life must be lived by the moment. It must be lived for the end—eternity. That is where all of these will merge together and be fulfilled. Until then, I choose to live each day with the blessings and trials that come with it. I will keep pondering them all, because that is what keeps me striving to be better. The difference now than in the past? Now I can accept the uncertainty and anticipate the results as they come, instead of worry about if they will come.

Peace to each of you. I hope you will find time to ponder too.


When everything is coming your way,
You just might be in the wrong lane.....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shaking My Bootie

The words of the day are: Aqua Zumba! I love it!!!!! As much as I enjoy my water aerobics class, I would give it up for another 2 classes of Aqua Zumba. Aqua Zumba is only offered Monday night (I can attend it!) and Tuesday & Thursday morning (I am working). It isn’t as cardio as my gym side activities, but it provides a different “high”. The adrenalin rush is awesome! Both gym side and water side get me pumped. Who would have thought physical activity (AKA exercise) would be such an important part of my life. Without my surgery none of it would have been possible and without the exercise my surgery wouldn’t be such a success! Today between my gym time, my water aerobics class and aqua Zumba I burnt 1,207 Calories. I know this because for my birthday I got a heart rate monitor (HRM). I have been wearing it during my workouts and I am amazed at how many calories I actually burn during my workouts. It is encouraging and spurs me on to work harder. I look down at the HRM and see where my heart rate is and sometimes it causes me to push myself a little more. Here is an excerpt from something I wrote this week. It will give you a glimpse into what exercise does for me.

Push it, harder, keep going, push a little more. 62, 78, 93, 112, 143, 156, 175. Easy, slow down, ease up. 160, 152, 136, 122, 118. Steady, easy, level out. Now the sweat is pouring out. It feels great to push it to the limit; to do the bike and work the cardio. The drenched shirt, the soaked hair; the droplets off the nose. The trickle rolls past the forehead onto the glasses lens, over the cheeks and down the chin. Wetness in all the cracks and crevices. The signs of a great workout.

I hope this will get some of you moving. I know there are some of you that wish to feel better and moving will provide that. I know you may not do 2 hours and 15 minutes of workout like I did today or my usual one hour and 30 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes a day. I know when you start, 5 minutes may be all you can do, but keep at it! When I started 5 minutes on the bike and 5 minutes on the ARC trainer was exhausting. Then I began adding the weight training/strength training and 15 minutes was my max. It was a slow process and each week I went longer and harder. Progress is all you need to focus on. Do what you can and increase with time! As I get bored or sluggish I add something else. I have added the row machine, the treadmill, a different floor circuit and different weight machines. I have added aqua Zumba and Pilates sometimes. Just make it fun. Explore until you find things you enjoy. It doesn’t hurt to try something at least twice and then decide. This last week I tried a “BURN” class. It is a cardio circuit class. I found I enjoyed it but didn’t get as great of a benefit from it as I do when I do the same thing on my own. On my own I work it harder and consistently. In the class you have to stop and slow down for things to be explained, so I will go it on my own and feel like I get a better workout. Last week I also tried YOGA 3 times. I decided it is not for me. It irritates me more than relaxes me. I think I can better serve myself and be more relaxed by doing my workout with the cardio machines and strength training plans. Just give something a try!

Hey, thanks for listening and sharing my enthusiasm of moving and aqua Zumba! It really is a blast! Moving more and exercising harder really does feel awesome! Besides, I take my exercise time and turn it into God & me time. We have great conversations. Well, at least I talk and He listens. I do hear Him talk to me in the songs I listen to while we are spending time together. You ought to give it a try!

"If you want to look smaller, just carry a larger purse.
Where's the luggage Department?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Beginnings

As of Sunday (12th) I am 48 years old. A new year beginning. A few years ago I felt 84 years old. Today I feel 48 thanks to gastric bypass surgery, eating healthier, although at times slipping into the old eating habits. I am exercising like I have never exercised before and loving it. I actually love to sweat! Talk about new beginnings. I can remember when exercise was a dirty 4 letter word not to be muttered on my lips or a thought to dance through my head. I couldn't do it, didn’t want to do it and refused to do it! Now I crave it! It refreshes my outlook mentally and emotionally and strengthens me physically. It gives me time with God--just Him and I. That refreshes my spirit. Talk about new beginnings and new outlooks/perspectives.

This week I started Aqua Zumba!!! Now that is for me! I loved it! It is a good cardio. No I still can’t do the arm moves with the leg moves. It is impossible to move as fast as the music due to the water resistance. Everyone struggled with that, so it wasn’t just me and my “flailing” skin. At least I didn't wipe anyone out in a "tidal wave". I sucked at hoopla hoop as a kid and my hips do NOT move independently from my knees. So the “salsa” moves with the hips are a no go for me, but I make up for it in the leg movements. No one can see you not moving the hips anyway! I am just interested in the cardio aspect and it is certainly that! I did really love it. I wish it were taught 3-4 times a week, but it isn’t unless you can make the morning class (10:45). So Monday nights are the only time I can go. There was a gal there I know and she and I laughed the whole class. If you can't laugh at yourself then life is too tough.

I also started a new floor routine I learned at the support meeting at IWLS last week. Oh my goodness, talk about a workout. It was time for me to change to a new routine. I think my body had gotten used to the weight/strength training machines routine I was doing. I had upped the weight and reps, but just didn't feel like it was working. I was getting a little sore/stretched, but just was bored with it most of the time. Anyway, I started this routine that focuses on abs, glutes, arms and legs. You do a set of exercises (Abs-7 different ones; Glutes 13; Legs 13; and Arms 7) for 45 seconds each. I made it to at least 30 seconds on most, some 45 seconds; so I will have to work up to the 45 seconds on all of them. I don't have the clock to look at so I have to remember to count to keep track of my time. Actually I have a clock, but my eye sight isn't good enough to see the second hand and exercise at the same time. A year older….. Who knows, maybe I went longer than I thought. It took me an hour to do the entire routine. Sure felt good at the end. I was tired, sweaty and felt strong. Now I am feeling the complaints from the thigh. I know tomorrow will be a screamer day for all those muscles and I will love it! I will do cardio and water aerobics to give them a rest.

Tonight I tried for the 1st time--Yoga. I had no idea what I was getting into. I was apprehensive, but excited for a new adventure. As I said, if you can't laugh at yourself! I figured if I couldn't do it, then I didn't have to return, but I just might find another outlet I enjoy. Like Aqua Zumba. I've learned through coaching with Ronda at ILWS that I should be open to new things. That is a challenge for me. I don't like to go out on a limb and face new situations and I did that tonight not knowing anyone in the class. I've done a lot of that in the last few months. I have a hard time being idle. I feel like I have to be busy all the time or I am wasting time and that drives me nuts. So Yoga being a quiet, breathing, introspective time was going to be an added challenge. I found I enjoyed the time with myself. I focused on my breathing, relaxing and communicating with God on a quiet level. I really think I will enjoy it. I will give it another try Thursday evening. I may have to by knee pads though because my knees don’t get along real well with the hard floor, even with the THIN mat between them. First I will try using a thicker mat under the thin mat. If that doesn’t work and I decide to stick with it I will buy knee pads and I think that will suffice.

My new beginnings have also centered on my "own-ness". This has centered for years around friendships. I have talked in the past about not being myself, but an extension of someone else. I have been discovering myself. I love the independence I have been feeling. The separation of self from someone else. It has allowed me room to allow my friends room. My expectations for them are so different. Sadly sometimes indifferent, but in a good way for me. I have certainly found a peace within myself. I have also grown a stronger peace within my relationship with God. That relationship I intend to continue to focus on and work on diligently.

This week I began a new season of Bible study at church. I am excited for the friendships within that group to bloom. To be able to grow in Christ in a safe situation and have some "girlfriends" to do it with. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17 I also started another long distance Bible study with a dear friend from 29 years ago. She is a friend that has come back into my life in the last 3 years. We did a study over the summer via email and phone conversations. We took a month off and started another study this week. My birthday brought a lot of "presents" as Tracy put it.

I have ventured outside of my comfort zone and taken on a new challenge this week. I have started an online writing class. I don't know much about it yet, but am excited for the challenge I hope it will provide. I want to hone my skills and funnel this inspiration God has placed in me again after many years of writer stagnation. It is a 10 week class with assignments each week and I should write daily. I'm jumping into new waters and I think I am loving it.

I have a few more goals beginning. I have some plans with steps to take to make it to the next level. Daily I will work on them. For right now I am happy where I am physically, mentally and emotionally. I am not dependant on any one person and any one person's actions or lack thereof has little influence over my feelings. That is a new concept for me. I read just recently a book by Sandi Patty "The Edge of the Divine". She wrote about the edge and defined it as "the point at which something is likely to begin." Well, a lot of things are beginning for me.

Recently I wrote something: "Life gets busy and so many things get placed on the back burner or buried in the junk drawer. That doesn't mean we don't care for the things or people laid aside for a time. Each season in life brings new and different priorities. We take care of what we have to for the here and now and pray the neglected will climb to the top of the priority list and get taken care of too at some point. My only fear is that you can't put the petals back on the roses. We just have to hope a new bloom will grow and afford us the time to nurture it. God gave us 2nd chances and I pray that will apply to relationships. I have had several in the last few years that I thought were lost forever and they have resurfaced just when I needed them most. I've had some I thought would last forever and the petals have turned to wilted silk. I have had to readjust my thinking and accept that the status quo isn't so bad. Even keel is okay sometimes. There is no such thing as forever." And I am okay with all of it.

So as my 48th year begins, so does a lot of new thinking and more beginnings in life. Watch out world "I am woman, hear me roar"! Watch me grow! It is great to be on the edge.


Live for the moments that take your breath away.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Contrasts & Perspectives

The Greatest sung by Kenny Rogers

Little boy in a baseball hat stands in the field with his ball and bat
Says, "I am the greatest player of them all"
Puts his bat on his shoulder and he tosses up his ball.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around
The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.
Now the little boy doesn't say a word, picks up his ball he is undeterred.
Says, "I am the greatest that there has ever been"
And he grits his teeth and he tries again.
And the ball goes up and the ball comes down,
Swings his bat all the way around
The world so still you can hear the sound, the baseball falls to the ground.
He makes no excuses he shows no fear
He just closes his eyes and listens to the cheers.
Little boy he adjusts his hat, picks up his ball, stares at his bat
Says "I am the greatest when the game is on the line"
And he gives his all one last time.
And the ball goes up and the moon so bright
Swings his bat with all his might
The world's as still as still can be, the baseball falls
And that's strike three.
Now it's suppertime and his momma calls,
little boy starts home with his bat and ball.
Says, "I am the greatest, that is a fact,
But even I didn't know I could pitch like that!"
Says, "I am the greatest, that is understood,
But even I didn't know I could pitch that good!"

It is all in the perspective. With the right perspective we can continue on when it looks to the world that we have lost or failed. We are the greatest if that is how we see ourselves.

I am smaller in size and less in weight, but larger in confidence and stronger in physical strength. I can do things I haven’t been able to do in years.

I feel I am younger, yet today I am older in years.

I feel stronger, surer and larger somehow; more capable than ever before!!

Two years of “down-sizing” has left me bigger in so many ways.


Live for the moments that take your breath away.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

BS/PS Hoopla

BS = Before Surgery
PS = Post Surgery

BS one lap around the edge of the lawn mowing = dying for air and extreme pain in the back. Solution = sit down and breathe!!!
PS mow the entire lawn with no pain in back and not out of breath at all. It felt so GOOD!!!!

Another blessing to add to the list of successes of surgery!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Recovering Slowly

I did something not knowing I wasn’t supposed to do it. I guess you would call it a lesson learned. Wednesday the 25th I gave blood at the Red Cross Battle of the Badges blood drive. It is a yearly contest between the policemen and firemen of Salina. Each department attempts to get the most blood donations (votes are cast after blood is given). The one with the most votes is the yearly champion. It is a fun friendly competition between professions here in Salina and a way to give to the community through Red Cross blood donations. On Thursday after donating I left for a weekend in Tulsa. By Friday evening I was dragging. I walked 2-3 times more than usual and enjoyed the exercise it provided. By Saturday I was struggling. I got home Sunday dead tired. I have skid marks on my butt to prove it was dragging. Okay, maybe not that obvious. I got up on Monday at my usual 5:30am time to be at the YMCA to workout. I had missed it all weekend because our motel did not have a fitness center. I made it 15 minutes out of a 90 minute workout time. I came home and went to bed. I got up Tuesday and went to the “Y” and made it through 15 minutes again. I didn’t even attempt to work out the rest of the week. I took the time to sleep 2 extra hours each day and I went to bed an hour earlier than normal. The lesson I learned is a gastric bypass person is not supposed to give blood. Guess we don’t generate iron as efficiently as a non-gastric person. Hadn’t really thought about it before! I have since read some things by other gastrics and they were fine. All I know is I was not fine and my doctor does NOT recommend it. I’ve also read others that say not to donate. So to be safe I guess I won’t do that again. A week and a half later I am still dragging some. I have more energy than I had a week ago, but it is a slow recovery at this point. I will start back at the “Y” on Tuesday. Guess I will go slowly and build back up to speed. I just wanted to inform those who are fellow gastric to be careful. My doctor increased my iron supplement to try to build the iron back up. I hope to be back to “normal” soon—whatever normal is! As I look back at my progress in the last 2 years I realize the normal of a few years ago was to feel like 85-90 years old most days. Even with no energy I feel so much younger and healthier. Soon I will be back to feeling like the young 47.999+ I actually am.

I am feeling a little frustrated overall. I had to back off of the “Y” workouts for a little while. As you might recall I injured myself doing Zumba. My ligament seems to be healed and so I am ready to get back to it. The week before blood donation I was starting to get back to par and increasing my weights, reps and intensity. Now this setback. It isn’t the end of the world. I will just get back on the ball and balance it all again. God is good and God will be my support through it all. On Monday September 13th I plan to take Aqua Zumba class. I hope the water will allow me to take the pressure off the ligament and enjoy the fun activity I found in Zumba. I also plan to beef up my workout time and take a few other classes as well. Variety is the spice of life so they say. I am ready for some different spices in my life!! September 12th starts 2 new Bible studies and I am excited about both of them. Life needs to be more challenging and fulfilling. God will provide my needs! I just have to look to him!

"Forever is composed of nows ."
~Emily Dickinson~

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Adventure In Zumba

Oh WOW!!! Where do I start. First be prepared to LYBO (laugh your butt off)

I have several deficients going for me:

When I thought I would be shaking some things that hadn’t been shaken in a long time if ever, I never dreamed it would be the sagging skin around my stomach. OMG!!!!! As I leaped to the right it was only swinging to the right by the time I needed to leap to the left! Talk about a disaster in the making. The collusion course was not a pretty picture.

My balance is certainly a problem, but I think I can overcome that by over compensating in other ways.

I have always known in church I can’t sing and clap at the same time. Well, I am just as uncoordinated with Zumba. If the bottom half (legs) is activated I cannot participate with the hands. I am the WORST white woman alive—absolutely no rhythm. Talk about a comedy!!!

Zumba has a basis of swiveling the hips (at the hips). My knees are heavily involved in this action.

I think I spent as much energy laughing at myself as I did attempting to do the moves. The lady next to me asked me if this was my first time. I said, “Yea, I’ve never seen this done and I have no idea what I am doing.” She said, “Well, I suggest you do the leg work and don’t worry about the arms.” I think she was a quick study on a full fledge train wreck about to happen. I thanked her! Several minutes later she said, “Just step to the side then to the other side, then double step. You will get the hang of it. It will be easier on Wednesday.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her I couldn’t attend but on Mondays and I doubted it would be any easier means I am not coordinated. I smiled and keep sweating and stepping. I did start to get the hang of some moves.

Then the true hindrance sat in. My Neuropathy. I made it 45 minutes of the hour class and knew I had to quit. My left foot was throbbing. My left toe was screaming. Tonight I have a limp. I have weak knees so some things were very difficult, but I can compensate for that relatively easily. Of course the fat (sagging skin) is a problem. Actually it is swinging skin. I’m sure it is more bothersome to me than it is notable to anyone else. I’m just afraid if I leap to high I will give myself 2 black eyes! :0)

I was very proud of myself though. 2 years ago I could not have moved at all, let alone actually enjoyed the movement and the sweat. I’ve found I LOVE TO SWEAT! Last year that was not the case! I hated to sweat and tended to avoid anything that made me sweat. It felt so good, until my foot threw it’s fit. I plan to try it again next week!! I think! We’ll see what my foot has to say tomorrow. I think it has the bigger vote.

Okay you can pick yourself up off the floor. Mom and dad were about to fall out of their chairs when I told them about it all. I am certainly a mess when it comes to rhythm and coordination involving 2 opposite directions, involving 2 different limbs, etc. I know it will improve with time, just like the lady next to me said. As for the hip action instead of the knee action---well, I’ve never been good at shaking my booty. Belly dancing is definitely out of the question!! I was probably even a disaster with a hula hoop!!

Until the next adventure…..!!!


Always a valley before a hill.
~American Proverb~

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Think Before You Eat

Think before you eat 8/1/10

Today I got up and dad fried some bacon for breakfast. I don’t often eat breakfast, but bacon sounded good. I have eaten bacon in the past and no problems. Well, I went to church about an hour after eating. As I was driving to church I suddenly started to get cramping under my right breast. I told my friend Mellonie I was having cramps. I made it through the 1st song and had to sit down. I sat through the next 2 songs and decided to get up and walk. So I told Mellonie I was going for a walk. We had joked about gas earlier. I had a tough time walking upright. I made it to the teen’s room and laid down on the couch. The pain radiated to my right shoulder and collarbone. After 15 minutes I was feeling better and thought I would get up and go back to the service. I made it 3 steps and knew I was in trouble. Mellonie was searching the hallway for me and ran into me. She said, “Are you okay?!” I said, “Yea, I think I am in the middle of a dumping episode and I am going home to lie down. I will see you at the picnic.” She asked if I could drive or she could take me home. I said I could drive. I went into the auditorium and got my keys and water bottle (thank goodness I sat on the back row). I went home and laid down for an hour and got up feeling fine. At the picnic Mellonie said an older lady sitting on our row asked if I was okay because I looked horrid. Mellonie told her she thought it was just gas. Anyway, on the way home I got to thinking the bacon was cured in maple syrup. We hadn’t even thought about how that might affect me. Won’t be doing that again!!!! At one point I thought I was having a heart attack or appendicitis. I soon realized when I got up from the teen’s room and was headed back to the service that it was a dumping episode and I needed to go lie down for awhile. I just hope I never have another one of those episodes. Now to remember to think about what I am eating, even if I think I’m eating okay. Who would have thought “cured in maple syrup” would affect one so.


Give me a challenger that just might have the strength to take me down,
But give me the confidence to believe I will remain the champion.
~DeAnn M Cornwell~

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2 Years & look at me now!

This just shows the physical aspects of my last 2 years. I can’t begin to measure the health benefits. The way I feel can’t be verbalized. My emotional, mental and spiritual being can’t be written on paper. Thank you God for the means to have surgery 2 years ago. Thank you for the blessings since. Would I do it again if I had to---YES!

6/30/08-------------7/15/10
Weight 292----------- 169
BMI 52.8--------------31
Upper Arm 19 ¾---------15
Chest 59--------------40.5
Waist 58--------------39
Hips 61---------------43
Thigh 27 ¾------------21


2 YEAR STATS Reduction
Weight 123 lbs
BMI 21.8
Upper Arm 4.75”
Chest 18.5”
Waist 19”
Hips 18”
Thigh 6.75”


Sizes
6/30/08----------------------7/15/10
Shirts 4x-5x(30-32W)-----------Xl-1x
Shorts 3x----------------------1x (16) (too big)
Pants 26-28P-------------------16P
Pants 50”----------------------40”
Sweats 3X (44-46)--------------M/L
Underwear----------------------down 5 sizes
Bra----------------------------down 5 sizes
Shoes 8.5---------------------7.5

May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock!
~ Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Celebration

My youngest great nephew, Talon (BKA – Better Known As – Bubby) and I share something. We are the same age. He turned 2 the 15th. I will turn 2 the 21st. Yes it will be 2 years since my surgery and new life. I am the healthiest I have been in far too many years. I am the lightest weight I have been in over 20 years.
Saturday we had a 2nd birthday party for my sweet great nephew. He opened his gifts and giggled and played and enjoyed the day as only a 2 year old can. Life is full of such wonderment to him and few worries. As he gets older he will take on more responsibilities. Some by his own choosing (tie my shoes, pick out my clothes, “I do it!”) Some by default. As you get older more is expected of you in order to survive in this world.

Well, I face many of the same feelings, emotions and expectations as Talon does. I am scared at times I am not eating right, exercising enough, living to the fullest. I feel happy for my progress. I am excited to work towards my new goals for the next 5 months. At my 2 year check up my surgeon told me many people at the 2 year mark gain weight. They begin to feel the old hunger pains. They are more relaxed in their journey. They can expand their pouch. Therefore it is even more important to keep my portion sizes to the minimum, chose the right foods and watch my calorie intake. This is true for anyone regardless of having gastric bypass surgery, but more so for me. Therefore my expectations need to be positive so I can keep myself focused on what is truly important. He was surprised I am still losing inches and decreasing in clothing sizes. I am working harder today than I was 6 months ago and it is paying off. He asked me what happened. I assumed he was referring to the fact I have lost 18.8 pounds in the last 6 months. I told him I got focused and serious. He said “Again.” It was a statement and not a question or an accusation. It felt good to know I am focused on myself and what I need and it shows. My surgeon is not easy to impress.

In the past few months I have addressed being positive, keeping focused, trusting God, grieving and growing, reflecting and many other dimensions of life. Through it all God has been the constant steady for me. The more I turn to Him the more peace I feel. Just as Talon feels at peace because of how his mom and dad, sister and grandma provide for him, I feel at peace when I acknowledge what God does for me. I turn to Him and he blesses. I can sit down and write my blessing list and it would be very lengthy. You would be listed on it. Your support through this 2 year journey has meant the world to me. Most of you are silent supporters. Some of you are very vocal and let me know I am doing good. Thank you. I still need that encouragement.

I was reminded today of some of those blessings. I was able to join in the fun of the celebration. I can remember a time and see pictures in my mind of me being present but not a part of the happenings. I was physically taking up space but wasn’t involved in the joy of the celebration. Today as I thought about what was happening and how I was relating I thanked God. For the 1st time in more years than I can remember I was able to participate. I held Talon and Makayla (my 2 ½ year old great niece) up to take a swing at a piƱata. BS (before surgery) I wouldn’t have been able to do that. I was able to show my oldest great nephew how to swing a golf club more effectively. I’m no golf pro, but it sure helped him. BS I wouldn’t have even cared to be involved. As I said, I was present, but I wasn’t a participant. I have pictures that show that. I hope today’s involvement with them will be memories they will cherish. I was able to help in the kitchen. BS I would have sat and watched because I didn’t feel well enough to care. Yes, BS was a time of numbness. 2 years out and I am learning to enjoy life with childlike eyes sometimes.

I still have my days, as everyone does in their journey of life. But I adapt to those days much easier. As I progress in this new lifestyle, I pray my “brain-frame” will be set more on God. I pray I will keep remembering what it was like over 2 years ago and what it is like now. I pray I will keep track of what I used to not be able to do and what I can do now. I pray I continue to be refreshed by those accomplishments and challenged to attain new accomplishments. As Talon grows and matures and becomes more independent, I pray he keeps his childlike eyes and enjoys life and keeps himself healthy.

Happy Birthday Talon!
Happy Girthday DeAnn! (Girth = distance around something: the distance around something thick and cylindrical such as a tree trunk or somebody's waist)

May your character not be a writing upon the sand, but an inscription upon the rock!
~ Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Perspectives of Life

Fulfillment of life is all in the perspective.

Depending on how you ask the question will determine the answer. It can influence the outcome. This is not an original concept from me. My pastor brought this to my attention today and caused me to think beyond the thought.

Depending on how you ask the question:
Some were asked the 1st question, some the 2nd question and some the 3rd question.

You don’t want……. do you?
You do want……. don’t you?
Would you like 1 or 2….…?

The results of this particular set of questions surrounded the serving of apricots.
The 1st question brought the response of 90% saying no they didn’t and 10% saying yes they did.
The 2nd question brought the response of 50% yes and 50% no.
The 3rd question brought the response of 50% wanting 1 bowl and 50% wanting 2 bowls.
It wasn’t a matter of if they wanted them or not. They probably didn’t feel they had an option but had to decide how many instead.
It would appear they were influenced by how the question was worded.

There lies the pondering of life. We usually get what we expect from it.
If we look at it positively we will probably find a positive outcome.
If we look at it in a negative manner we will probably find a negative outcome.
Kind of like the glass half empty half full dilemma.

You choose how life is going to be lived. Get what you expect. Expect what you want. Live with the results. Sometimes our expectations are more than what can be given, so take those lemons and make lemonade.


“Time passes. Lives change, but love lives on.”
~Barbara Leachman~

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Living – A Slow Process

I had a friend this week tell me sometimes she feels people have moved on without her. She also made the statement that we shouldn't hold onto the things of the past because of the need to live in the here and now. I then started to think about how we need to use the past experiences as a springboard for growth. Through memories we learn and progress. Progress through the pain and the joys of life lived daily in the present. I then began to think of those times and wrote "A Slow Process". I hope you will use the pain and joys of life to live to the fullest measure. It might be a slow process, but through that process we are able to digest the progress to a healthier life.

A Slow Process


 

Life won't be a string of pearls

until the oyster of living

works through the sands of each day

and forms the pearl within.


 

Each situation of life will take the lump of coal

and shine it into the priceless diamond.


 

It takes time to process—a slow process sometimes.


 


 


 

"The leading cause of death among fashion models

is falling through street grates."

~Dave Barry~


 

Monday, June 21, 2010

GPS

These days people rely heavily on the GPS in their vehicles, on their phones, and wherever else they may be able to attach them. At work I got a 911 call from someone who needed help. I asked them where they were and they said, "Let me look at my GPS." Well after a short period of time trying to decipher their location, I asked if they could see any landmarks. They said, "Hold on I'm narrowing in now." Well as it turned out, all they had to do was look up and see a HUGE sign that said "PETRO 2" They were at the I-70 intersection at Salina that was populated by huge signs you could see for a good distance advertising 2 truck stops, gas stations, motels and other businesses in the area. All they had to do was look up and see them.

Well I must admit, I rely on my GPS too. Mine isn't a system that is attached to my vehicle, my phone or wherever else one can attach a Global Positioning System. My GPS is God Positioning System. It is a system that has been in existence since the beginning of time. It has always worked. It doesn't take any special equipment or special installation. I don't even have to have money to afford it. All I have to do is accept it, place it in my heart and rely on it to direct me down the path I need to go. Sometimes it will lead where I don't want to go, but it has a built-in intelligence chip. It knows what the best route is for me. If I follow it, it will divert me around the road blocks in life. It will send me past the pot holes, construction zones and congested byways. It is always up-to-date. It talks to me just like the fancy GPS of modern day technology. It is 100 % fool-proof.

All I have to do is look up and see the HUGE sign. God makes things clear as day as long as I keep my eyes on him, keep my ears attuned to his voice and follow the path he has laid out. It is when I stop listening to the soothing voice that says "Turn left before the bump." "Keep your eye on the goal." "Take one step at a time." "Don't rush by going over the speed limit. Everything comes in its proper time."

Yes, my GPS is always reliant and is always looking out for my safety and best interest. All I have to do is look up. I am assured I will get to my destination in the right time—God's time. Best of all it doesn't have to be updated and it never gets obsolete. The passing of time just makes it better. All I have to do is "Be Still and know that he is God." My navigator is always in control, all powered up and always ready to be used.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wounded Heart


 

How much Christ is a priority in my life will determine my lifestyle. How much I mimic Him. Jesus didn't come for the righteous, but for the unrighteous. Come to Him as you are and He will make you what he wants you to be – step by step, trial by trial, and release by release. When I relinquish my desires for His desires, when I resort to trusting Him and relying on Him, His healing begins. Through my release and my obedience I am fulfilled. Lord, Help Me, for I can't help myself.


 

Let Him show you how much He loves you. I have to give Him the chance to "prove" His love. He won't force himself on me. I have a choice. My choices will produce the outcomes and the consequences I must accept. God can make those outcomes a blessing if I choose Him over temptations.


 

Instant
gratification results in temporary
satisfaction. Don't you want something more permanent, like consistent fulfillment, contentment, joy, etc? Is instant gratification worth the loss of the blessings? Is temporary satisfaction worth the loss of a life of fulfillment, contentment, joy, etc.? Anything of worth takes added effort and focus – only found through God.


 

God can make the impossible possible, but we have to invite Him to work within us. We have to give up our own desires, our own plan of solving (through instant gratification) for His plan of dealing with any situation. God often doesn't respond instantly. When the people around us hurt, we hurt and Christ hurts when we hurt. Only He can heal.


 

Jesus conquered the grave. He can help conquer our daily demons; food, alcohol, drugs, fears, rejection, loneliness, depression, doubt, frustration; temptations of any sort. I must look past the instant gratification and towards the permanent blessings. Anything worth having takes time, effort and focus. God can give me it all. I must set my eyes on the end goal, not the short- sighted satisfaction. As I settle for the temporary satisfaction, I lose the permanent blessing.


 

"Jesus, He meets you where you are. Jesus, He heals your secret scars. All the love you're longing for, is Jesus; the friend of a wounded heart."


 

Sign of aging:

When you try to straighten out the wrinkles in your socks

and discover you don't have any on.

  ~Max Lucado~ Paraphrased

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memory Reflections

“I barely recognize my own reflection.” This is a line in a song I heard that caught my ear this week. The last 3 days I have spent reflecting and remembering. This weekend was my 30th year high school class reunion. I started my preparations for the reunion on Thursday. I dug my yearbooks out of my “hopeless” chest. I didn’t want to face people and be totally in the dark as to whom was who. I found my yearbooks from 7th-12th grades. I found my group class pictures for kindergarten, 1st & 4th grade. I looked at the pictures and read the “autograph” sheets. As I looked at the pictures, I chuckled some. As I read the words printed by classmates and teachers, I was astonished by them. I wondered just who they were talking about. Some I wondered just who they were. Names I didn’t recognize were scribbled below a nice sentiment. Some names were first names only. I guess we thought we would always be able to recognize that handwriting and signature. I was astonished by the sentiments because I certainly don’t remember me that way. I don’t remember the school days the same way they were portraying it. The reflections they were providing were not the reflections my memory held.

It would appear I was the class clown in many entries, even by teachers. I was the lunch table entertainer. I just don’t recall it that way. Actually I don’t recall much about school except feeling awkward, out of place, and struggling to feel like I belonged. According to many entries and many recalled stories at the reunion itself I was the one who always had a smile on her face. I was the one that always brought a laugh to the table and made people feel “at home”. I was “a ray of sunshine”. One gal at the reunion blew me totally away with her memory of me. She was a gal I never felt liked me, always tried to make me feel unworthy and unwanted. She said she was always in awe of me because I was always so positive, always had a smile on my face and always put people at ease. WHAT? I wasn’t that at all. I was shy and tried to remain on the side of the stage. I heard several talk about my dry humor that snuck up on them, bit them and infected them with laughter. Evidentially I was a decent dancer. I felt like I had 3 left feet and no green thumbs. How can someone dance with 3 left feet? I can remember going to dances and dancing, but I sure don’t remember being a good dancer. Today the only thing that has major moves when I dance is the skin under my arms. Back then according to the entries on the autograph sheets, I guess several guys wished they would have been able to dance with me. Well, I think, why didn’t you ask? I guess they thought the guy I went to the dance with was the only one I was supposed to dance with. Anyway, it was a real eye opener to read what people said during an awkward time in life for any person. Growing up is not easy for the majority. To listen to them reminisce at the reunion was an eye opener as well. They reinforced everything I read on those autograph sheets. So maybe I was what they remembered me being. Sure wish I had the same memories.

At the reunion I pulled out the 7th-12th grade year books along with the group class pictures for kindergarten, 1st & 4th grade. It was so much fun to watch everyone look, laugh, remember and share. The elementary sheets spurred people to go find people in their elementary school. In Abilene there were 4 public schools and 1 Catholic school for grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. So for 7 years you went to school with the same people. Then in 7th grade all 5 schools consolidated into one Jr. High/Middle School (7th & 8th grades). Then on to High School (9th-12th grades). New friendships were formed in 7th grade, then again in 9th grade with different people older than you. Many of those friendships pulled you through your senior year. We gathered in our elementary school groups for a school picture, then into one large group for the graduating class. I thought how so many people from similar walks of life from the beginning, to so different walks of life in our adulthood were formed once again into one big common group. We had survived life in different fashions, different avenues, different modes, different life paces, different consequences and outcomes; but we had survived! And here we were sharing a common theme, even if it was just for one weekend. It didn’t matter if you were popular, pretty, talented, athletic, musical, outgoing, shy, a class clown, straight, gay, entertainer, intellect, or whatever; what mattered was you survived and had a story to tell. You mattered!

Yeah, I barely recognized my own reflection as presented through the eyes of people who probably had a clearer perspective than I did. Much of it wasn’t a familiar reflection to me, but I have to trust the printed words and the reminisces of the “masses” and believe it to be true. Maybe I wasn’t so alone growing up in the school system. Maybe I wasn’t so different from the next person. Maybe I made a difference to someone within my reach all those frustrating growing years. Maybe I still make a difference today. I sure hope so.


Means you can't change the modifications or complications that come with maturing,
you might as well laugh about them.
~Patsy Clairmont paraphrased~

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What is the Cost

What is the Cost?                            

This week I am not thinking about just my weight loss journey. I am thinking about life in general. Many of my thoughts were in my head before going to church this morning. Many of them were expanded because of the worship time and then the message. It still amazes me how I can be thinking about something and Dave's message will expand my thoughts to greater depths. God truly uses him to speak to me where I am at the time. I think that is called divinely inspired.


 

I think about how my weight issues must be balanced with every other aspect of my life; my friendships, my thoughts, my desires, my actions, my need for happiness, my need for the even keel. My weight issues are a part of me, but just a part. There is a balance to everything in life. Even the earth is balanced in order to remain afloat. I think about the "what if's", the "how about's", and the "it is not…, but…"


 

Do I hear what it really is or do I hear what I "need" it to be? Am I ready for the answer and for what it will really take? Will it depend on how comfortable it will be to pay the cost? Am I willing to turn from the familiar to gain the benefit, the health, the happiness, the joy? Am I willing to walk through the process and keep up the steps, even though they can be tiring and the feeling of the challenge can be scary? Sometimes it is easier to feel horrible than it is to deny the familiar.


 

I think of coping skills and how the familiar can be so comforting compared to changing, even knowing the changing will bring bigger benefits in the long run. This week I struggled with eating some things even knowing they would make me feel horrible. Even though I knew the outcome would be uncomfortable (physically as well as emotionally) I still chose to side with the familiar instead of work the challenging.


 

Something Dave said today made me think "what is unavoidable pushes us to become knowledgeable to sustain ourselves, not necessarily for the value of the unavoidable". It is unavoidable that I will want to eat things I shouldn't, because I enjoy the taste. Even though often the taste isn't as good as I remember it being. It is through the knowledge of the outcome that I must base my decisions for my actions, not on the feelings of the moment. I must remember at the moment what those actions have shown me to happen in the past. Therefore my decisions are activated. I don't know if this makes sense. I sure seem to be able to over-look the inevitable misery for the instant gratification. There lies the need for balance.


 

Jesus said "Seek ye 1st the Kingdom of God". Why is it I try to balance out everything? Why can't I remember in my moment of "weakness", that all the strength I need, is in whom I should seek 1st? Why is the need for balance, how I justify not seeking God first? Why do I think I have to do it all on my own before I reach out to Him? Is it because the familiar is more comfortable than that which feels unnatural—seeking help 1st? God must be everything to me, not just one of the things that mean something to me. If God means everything to me, then everything will fall into place.


 

Where is my safety net? Where do I place God? What is the cost?


 

God can free us from our past; from our familiar, to His healing. He is the safety net.


 


 

"Moments of joy will pass, but so will my pains and sorrows.

I will try to live with them, learn their lessons and let them go."

~Lori Erickson~

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Reminiscences

Reminiscences    

This has been a week of reflection brought on by the anticipation of a Saturday event. The reflection brought on a lot of thoughts and feelings which led to the writing of this:


 

DOORS

There is a knock on the door

I have kept locked for some time.

If I open the door

what will I find?

Tears.

Fears.

Laughter and

joy.

Feelings bundled

and kept at bay.

Small doors of my heart keep opening

and the closed up hurt and tears

come pouring out.

As each door opens

a small bit of healing occurs.


 

This Saturday we celebrated the graduation of my youngest niece from college. I was filled with pride for her. It brought on pride about many areas in my life. I have focused the last few days on pride. I am so proud of my progress in growing. I am also proud of the people in my life. I think of all the support I get from those around me. I will share a few of my thoughts from this week as I reminisced.


 

I am proud of the progress I have made in my weight loss journey. This pride is not just centered on the pounds I've lost, but in the health I have gained. It is in the activity level I have obtained, going to the YMCA daily and exercising as I have never been able to do before. The activities I can do now that I couldn't a couple of years ago, such as participating in family gatherings and helping with preparations. I helped my sister and niece prepare for her graduation reception. This is something I would not have been able to do before my last year and half journey.


 

I began to think about areas in my life that have been a challenge for me. I have talked openly in this blog about my struggle with dealing with feelings. Over the last few months I have struggled with them head on. Some have been happy feelings and some sad feelings. Some easy to recall and some difficult to face. I hate to cry regardless of if they are sad, angry, hurtful tears or happy tears. This Saturday as I watched my youngest niece walk across the stage to receive her reward for her college journey, I was filled with happy tears, but they were as difficult to release for me as the sad ones. I have been trying to embrace all of them in my heart as they surface.


 

I think back to a time in the mid 90's that was very difficult. Daily I was faced with a situation I hated and challenged me in so many areas of my life. Through that challenge it cemented a very special friendship I still treasure to this day.


 

I think about the support I gain from my support group at IWLS. Although I do not have any strong friendships there, I do connect with a few people on a monthly basis. It is their encouragement and comments that lend to the feeling of support. I pray I offer that to them for the short time each month we connect.     


 

I think of how I hate change. It is scary when things are different than what we are comfortable with. But I also know it is through those changes that we grow. As the scenery changes and people change and move in and out of our lives, I try to walk through the changes and reach out as they pass. Hoping to grasp a little something I can tuck away in the memory banks of my mind. I try to embrace them in my heart. I know it is through this embracing that when the knock on the door comes, I can open the door, face the feeling and allow the healing and rejoicing to flow.


 


 

"The constitution only guarantees the American people

the right to pursue happiness.

You have to catch it yourself.

~ Benjamin Franklin~


 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Great Adventure

This weekend I went on "The Great Adventure". It was a women's retreat at church. It was 9 ½ hours over a day and half. The title told me I would be involved in something bigger and grander, more important and extreme. It would be more significant, lasting longer. An adventure made me think of an exciting or extraordinary series of events. An undertaking involving uncertainty and risk. When I signed up for this retreat I never imagined where it would take me. I never dreamed it would challenge me to look at an area in my life that needed some serious attention. The title certainly lived up to its billing. I had to face issues I didn't want to face. Dealing with feelings daily, hourly, minute by minute.

I have been dealing with the same issues in my Back on Track program. So I guess in a sense you could say I had a jump start on the adventure I faced this weekend. I have been intensely learning to deal with feelings over the last 2 months. I used food to deal with feelings in the past. I tried to handle them on my own. Well throughout the BOT program and this weekend I discovered I cannot handle them on my own. I have to face them with God's support. I have to turn my will over to Him. Me, someone who has to be in control all the time and be perfect at it, has to allow God to take over and I has to accept my imperfection. I have talked about this in the last few blogs. That is because it is forefront in my thoughts. It is where I am at this time in my life's journey.

I have a person or two who thinks I put too much stock in my weight loss surgery procedure. They think I was fed a line and was set up with a smoke screen that didn't pan out. I on the other hand do not feel that way at all. Each step I've taken in this journey for the last 20½ months have been filled with challenges, disappointments, frustrations, blessings and rewards beyond my imagination. I knew it wouldn't be easy. I didn't know it would be so hard. And I never dreamed it would challenge me to look at myself and my relationships with friends, family, co-workers, and God. I just thought it would assist me to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. Instead it challenged me to rethink my entire life; my reason for existence and my process of living. It became The Great Adventure I never dreamed of taking, but it has been worth every step of the journey. It's just now I know I don't have to take it alone. Yes, I have to do the work, but I have God to call upon to face the feelings, face the challenges of healthy eating and face the uncertainty of the next bite, the next step, the next leap and the next fall. See, that is the process of life regardless of if you have had weight loss surgery or not. God has to be the center; the support beam of the process.

So God, take me through the great adventure! Show me the extreme, significant, grander, extra ordinary, uncertain series of life's long lasting thrills of living in you. Give me the fortitude to face the fears and willingness to accept the joys of this adventure called life. Give me the freedom to face the feelings and live through them and not hide them in food or in the back of my mind or under the mistaken belief they will hurt me. Help me to live beyond the food, the "diet", the "obsession" of what, when, how much, how little and how often. Help me to become comfortable in my skin. Let your light shine through. This doesn't mean everyday will be bright and happy, full of smiles and glee. There will be days of frustration and doubt, fear and anxiety. Happiness is just a fleeting instance, but joy is a lasting state of mind. Let me be joyful in the good and the bad. Both result in growth. Help me see my life isn't just about weight loss, but daily experiences. Lead me through this Great Adventure.

"Every road that's traveled teaches something new."
     ~Amy Grant~


 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Lessons Learned

Here are some random phrases and thoughts to mark my progress in the last 6 weeks. I started the Back on Track Program with Ronda at IWLS six weeks ago. I have finished it with FANTASTIC results! I not only lost weight, but gained my lifestyle of choice back! I have new habits and a positive outlook again! The formal program may be finished, but the end result has just begun.


 

"So much of my anguish is caused by my own resistance." ~Pam Vredevelt~ "Angel Behind The Rocking Chair". I think of my resistance to change. I resisted giving up my favorite foods for years. Then I had surgery. Then I gave up those foods for about a year. Then I got back into the habit of eating them again and eating for all the wrong reasons. I resisted changing those habits for about 8 months. I was in such anguish over the non-progress I was in because of that resistance. Well, over the last month I have gotten back on track and am in such a better place mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I had to stop resisting what I didn't want to face.


 

"The growth process is a series of advances and retreats". Being a perfectionist has hindered my ability to take 2 steps forward and then accept the one step backwards. Through this last 6 weeks I have learned I don't have to have "all or nothing". Sometimes I just have to accept the status quo and even at times less. I know I will revert back to the perfectionist mentality at times, but I think I have gained a foundation to be able to step back (retreat) and reassess at a healthier level in order to advance. I will do this by using the tools my weight loss surgery has given me, the tools God provides for me through others, medical avenues and knowledge. There is no bag of tricks with this process. This knowledge I have gained is only another tool I must use properly and consistently in order to be healthy. For many years I tried by my own will power and made no lasting progress. God provides outside himself through many other avenues and I have to use what he provides to assist me to succeed. He is the ultimate worker of miracles. Weight loss for me was a miracle because I had tried everything for over 20 years. But I have to participate in the miracle to make it happen. God fills the jar with wine, but I have to bring the jars to Him to fill. God healed the sick, but the sick had to be willing to come to him and ask for healing and believe. God provided the tools for surgery such as financial means, determination, IWLS, etc. Now I must use those tools to the best of my abilities. Of course the biggest tool is God himself, but I have to tap into Him. "Wisdom is the application of knowledge" ~Helen Kaitlyn Barclay~


 

"Emotional eating has nothing to do with food." It is not about the food anymore. It is about recapturing happy memories, feeling safe, loved and having it together. I have relied on emotional eating most of my life. This is why we call certain foods "comfort foods". It got to a place where it no longer felt comfortable. I no longer felt comfortable being in my own skin. Now I have the knowledge to discern between natural hunger and emotional hunger. This isn't to say it still isn't my preference to rely on the food for that comfort, but I have learned new habits to rely on God for that comfort, that fulfillment and that power to overcome the emotional fill of food. At times "discernment is like driving an automobile at night; the headlights cast only enough light for us to see the next small bit of road immediately in front of us. But that light is enough to take us home." (from "Listening Hearts")


 

Wishing is safe and tidy. I can wish for success and wrap that wish in a neat little package to myself. I have to desire that wish to evolve. I pray God will give my desire feet. Unless I am willing to put forth the effort and run the race and strive for the goal, it is only a wish, and will never become a reality. Sometimes that race isn't tidy. Sometimes it is hard and dirty work. Discipline is required. Discipline is a long distance race. I am in it for the long haul!


 

In the wings waits a new life. I took the steps to retain that life through weight loss surgery 20 ½ months ago. Also by participating in Back on Track with Ronda at IWLS. But most importantly by finding the "wind beneath my wings" in the breath of God's love. Now is the time to grow, retreat and advance; use the wisdom and tools God has provided and discern where He is leading me in this journey. I have a grip back on the important things in life. Food is not it. People are. Goals are. Progress is. Wishing is safe, but my desire has to have feet running towards the dream and I must wish beyond the concept and put forth the effort and daily application of the knowledge God has given me. I put these tasks in the hands of God as He leads me towards my ultimate goals!


 

Living in the light is one of the most difficult tasks we have.

It means getting out of the way so there is no shadow blocking the source.

~Luci Swindoll~


 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Progress Can Be “Painful”

Sometimes frustration and success go hand in hand.  The last 5 weeks I have been working with Ronda at IWLS (Innovative Weight Loss Solutions) on a program called "Back on Track" (BOT).  It is an intense 6 week program to get the bariatric weight loss patient back on track; although it would work for the non-bariatric person as well. I had wandered so far off track I was lost in old habits.  Eating had become out of control.  Ronda told me this program would get me back where I needed to be.  She also told me it had a lot of documentation.  Boy, she didn't lie.  She failed to emphasize it would also involve a lot of honesty and soul searching.  This program has you setting goals, changing habits, establishing and enhancing your exercise program and reestablishing your eating.  Let me tell you about my progress in this program.

Over the last 3 weeks I have completely over-hauled my eating.  I have cut my portion sizes back to the proper proportions.  I was eating 2-3 portion sizes and now am back to one portion.  It is easy to get out of control.  A portion of meat (3oz) easily becomes 3 portions (12oz).  Just take a chicken breast for example.  I would eat a chicken breast and call it a portion.  Once I weighed it, I discovered it was averaging 9-12oz a chicken breast.  There lies America's dilemma.

I have weighed, measured and counted for the last 3 weeks.  I have planned menus and been diligent in being conscious about my eating.  This week has been a challenge.  For the 1st 2 weeks I was eating protein and non-starchy vegetables only.  This week I was allowed to put other things back into my diet.  So I sat down and read my material for the week and quickly became frustrated.  I will share a little of my week's observations and feelings with you.  I will rely on my journaling to take you inside my thinking and feelings.

Jennifer (dietician) says I need to eat more food because my calorie count is too low for the amount of exercising I do.  I don't feel tired or exhausted.  Dr Hachem wants me to take in less than 1000 calories and Ronda has allotted me 1200 calories.  Jennifer suggests 1200.  I have to keep my fat count, carb count and protein count at a certain percentage in regards to my calorie intake.  If I add certain foods they may trigger a gain or cravings, but I am now allowed some of those foods.  Jennifer tells me as I add these foods my calorie intake will increase, which is what she is looking for.  I on the other hand want to continue to lose weight so I fear adding these foods.  It has become a catch 22 situation that had become very frustrating to me.  I wrote, "Some days being fat was so much easier.  Do I increase calories?  Do I not increase calories?  How do I increase calories without increasing fat and carbs?  How do I take in more calories when I am already eating more often than I want?  How do I keep within portion sizes and increase the calories?  Too many questions for my brain!  Before I was eating wrong, now I'm still eating wrong.  Maybe there are no answers."  As I gave up for the day and went with the status quo and allowed myself to feel the frustration, journal instead of eating (my old habit was to eat past the "crisis") and think about what was going on in my head.  I was able to settle down.  I slept on the "problem".  I knew giving up was not an option and I would have to adjust something.  I woke up with an entirely different perspective.  I realized part of the problem was my perfectionist nature of all or nothing.  A thought popped into my head.  One word—TRUST.  I needed to trust God first.  I needed to trust the Back on Track program.  I needed to trust Ronda, Jennifer and myself.  I needed to trust it would get better with time if I just followed the program.  Just hang on and get past this "bump in the road".  I don't have to be perfect ALL the time.  Some days I will fall short.   This is true with anything in life, not just eating.

I do feel like I am back on track.  I have made great progress in weight, eating and new habits.  I have thrown off old habits that I latched onto again after a year of surgery.  Yes, I know there will come a day I will eat beyond only proteins and non-starchy vegetables.  As that time comes I will have to make choices from things that got me back in trouble 9 months ago.  I pray for the wisdom.  I also pray I lean on my new habits.  BOT has broken the cycle of craving carbs.  It has broken the cycle of eating out of control.  As I add some of those carb foods (fruit, grains, cereal, wheat pasta, milk, yogurt, etc) I will monitor its effects on my cravings and weight.  I will stay on top of everything this time and NOT take the 1st bite of the "forbidden foods" (sweets, desserts, crackers, white breads,
etc.)  It was those forbidden foods I knew I should never have taken the 1st bite of that got me in the dark pit I was in.  As my appetite returns and increases I will have to eat because I am hungry and not because I am bored or don't want to deal with a certain feeling.  That is part of my new habits I have formed during BOT.  Right now I rarely feel hungry.  I am in the infancy stage, like right after surgery. I eat by clock to keep my metabolism up. Adding certain foods will push me into another stage, just like after surgery.  When I am ready to move forward I will do it wisely and with the knowledge I have gained over the last 5 weeks.  It all comes down to wise choices!  This is true for anyone, not just the weight loss patient.  It just seems I am more focused than the average person.  I want to be healthy and that requires a conscious effort to be such.  If it didn't need to use a conscious effort, I would never have been overweight to start with.

In essence, thank you God, BOT, Ronda and my diligence to succeed and be as healthy as I can be.    


 

"To Hear with my heart, to see with my soul

To be guided by a hand I cannot hold

To trust in a way that I cannot see

That's what faith must be."

     ~Michael Card~

"That's What Faith Must Be"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Grieving and Growing

This week has been a week of grieving. My 35yo nephew in-law died unexpectedly this week. His 31yo wife, 10yo daughter and 6yo son are left behind. It was such a shock. I spent much of Tuesday and Wednesday trying to find answers to all the "why's", "how's" and "what's". I talked to my niece on Thursday and was instantly put at peace and found solace in her outlook and attitude. How she could be so strong was inspiring to me. Then at the memorial, which she conducted, she was once again so strong. She gave comfort and support to everyone in that room in a fashion we should have been giving to her.

She asked us to write a memory of Peter. I found healing in the writing. I forgot how good it feels to write. At one time in my life I did a lot of writing, but strayed away from it many, many years ago. I have been trying to write more to process emotions and feelings since beginning my Back On Track classes with Ronda.

As I think of grieving in regards to my weight loss struggle, it centers on grieving over the types of foods and the amounts of food I can consume. I think about food all the time. I have to plan my meals and think about what I eat, when I eat, how I eat (slow, fork down between bites, chew thoroughly, etc.) where I eat and even why I eat. I have spent the last 2 weeks very focused on all these things. I have seen such great progress. I don't know if there will ever come a day I will be able to make eating natural; a day I won't have to weigh, measure and count to make sure I am eating correctly. I think it will in time, but until that time, this is the way of life for me. I am grateful God has provided the inspiration and desire to get back on track. He has given me the tools to be able to make this journey a success. Tools like Back On Track, Ronda, family and friend's support, encouragement from them, knowledge and desire, talents I possess, such as the talent for organization, etc.

I know if I hadn't had this surgery I would not have had the success I have had. See, for many, many, many years I tried this diet, that diet, this supplement, that supplement, Herbal Life, pills, Weight Watchers, counting, weighing measuring, dieting, dieting, dieting. Until the surgery I was unable to stay focused and be successful consistently. The big picture kept getting bigger (in weight) and my desire to be healthy continued to decrease. I figured it was just my lot in life to live with. IWLS provided the helping hand. The surgery doesn't fix the problem, but it gives me the tools and the springboard to succeed. It is up to me to use them to my best abilities. Through support from IWLS staff (Ronda, Jennifer & Pam) I have been able to see a healthier life. I can do things I haven't been able to do in so very long I thought they were out of reach.

This week I was told by someone she could see what surgery did for me. I am healthier looking and my happiness is evident. My energy is visually apparent and my speech shows my positive outlook. My posture shows the confidence. All this since surgery. There is no secret magic to the surgery. It is only a springboard to become better. I still have to do the work. I still have to have the focus and I still have to be dedicated to myself. Health is not a given, it is a present to me.

God has given me the drive to exercise regularly in order to be healthy. Before surgery that wasn't even an option. Before surgery I couldn't get on the floor and play with my nieces and nephew. Now I can! Before surgery I couldn't walk Wal-Mart, Dillon's or a block. I used the motorized scooter in the stores. Now I walk the entire store pushing a cart. I can walk miles in a day. I can stand for periods of time. I can bend. I can tie my shoes (with the bows on top). I can hug people closer. I can cross my legs. I can sit in a booth instead of at a table. I can walk through a turnstile forward instead of sideways. I could go on and on with this "grateful list", but I think you get the picture.

Yes, it is a grieving process. I grieve the comfort I used to find in food. I grieve the carefree days of eating what I want, when I want, how I want, etc., even if that mindset is what caused the dire position I was in before surgery. But the bigger benefit of my health, my abilities, my activity level and my positive outlook on life outweighs those grievances.

At the memorial service my niece chose 2 of her husband's favorite songs by Garth Brooks, "The River" and "The Dance". "The River" talks about living with the ebbs and flow of the river. We must adjust and carry on. "There's bound to be rough waters. And I know I'll take some falls. But with the good Lord as my captain, I can make it through it all." In Garth's song "The Dance" he talks about winning and losing and not knowing the events that will take place in life—"I could have missed the pain, but I'd of had to miss the dance." See, sometimes grieving is part of growing. Grieving is part of learning, Grieving is part of living and grieving is part of the progress. So as I grieve aspects of food and eating. I grow in health and I grow in happiness and I get to live with my family and friends. Thank you God for giving me a second chance with life. Thank you for this dance!


 

"...wisdom is the application of knowledge."

     ~Helen Kaitlyn Barclay~

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Procrastination Can Kill

Procrastination: to postpone doing something, especially as a regular practice.


What an interesting thought, procrastination can kill.  I was thinking about a few areas in my life and how procrastination has slowed or killed something. 

Procrastination can kill dreams.  How many times have you dreamed of something you wanted (a career, an item, an event, a person) and because you procrastinated the opportunity passed you by?  If you have a dream of any sort and you do not actively pursue it, it can just slip away.  The dream may die or the opportunity to fulfill that dream may pass you by.   Maybe a career you always wanted may never be obtained because you procrastinate about making changes, seeking education, acknowledging a door that is an opening to that career.  Maybe you are fearful of failing so you procrastinate until the opportunity is pass and the fear is then alleviated by the process of elimination and missed opportunities. 

How many relationships have you lost or never established because of procrastination?  It takes "effort" to keep a relationship healthy.  If you procrastinate about keeping in touch, getting together or just letting someone know you are thinking about them, the relationship may die and that is a loss .  Sometimes we procrastinate because of the place we are in life and don't reach outside of ourselves.  This can be because of sadness, hard times, fear of rejection, loneliness, self pity, busyness, and so many other reasons.  If you reach out, most of those circumstances/feelings will be taken care of.  To lose a relationship because of procrastination or neglect is such a sad thought.  I've had it happen to me a couple of times.

While I am talking about lost relationships I think of my relationship with myself.  Because I have procrastinated about caring enough about myself and putting myself on the back burner I have lost myself in some ways.  I have a tendency to place others before me.  I think this is what we are supposed to do, but we are also supposed to take care of ourselves.  Several years ago I procrastinated about taking time for me and devoting too much time to my job.  In that vein I lost my health.  I have decided to do something someone else wanted done when I really needed time for me.  Have you ever canceled your plans in order to fulfill the plans of another?  I think we all have.  This is a form of procrastinating about taking care of you.  Sometimes you have to take care of you before you can give to anyone else.

Now I hit the real nature of my procrastination.  We all know I had gastric bypass surgery July 21, 2008.  I followed the rules to the letter.  I ate all the right stuff, in the right portion sizes and exercised like I was supposed to.  I was dedicated for about a year.  Then for some reason I began to experiment with foods (crackers, cakes, carbs, sugars, etc).  I found my tolerance for these foods was very high.  The more I knew I could eat them and not get sick the more I ate them.  Many times as a priority of choice over the protein and low carb foods.  Then there came a time when I realized I was doing the wrong things, eating the wrong foods and eating too much.  By then I was in over my head and couldn't see a way out.  I would tell myself I will get back where I should be next week, after this holiday or that holiday, once I get past this event, etc. etc. etc.  I finally decided I was only "fooling" myself and trying to fool others.  I had friends that knew I was frustrated, but had no real idea of how far I was in over my head.  I procrastinated about being honest with them and myself for fear of rejection, fear of being seen as a failure, seen as being just like I was before surgery.  By procrastinating about being honest with myself I fell deeper and deeper in that emotional feeling denial pit.  It became easier to nourish that "stuffing my feelings routine" with the routine of  eating food.  Instead I should have nourished it with dealing with the feelings, asking God to lead me and asking my friends for help.  I finally decided to get back on track.  I reached out to Ronda at IWLS.  Even after talking to her and seeing a way out I procrastinated.  Circumstances kept us from getting started as soon as we wanted with the Back On Track program she teaches.  In the mean time I could have started making changes before we started the classes, but because I procrastinated I didn't.  I continued to sink slowly lower and lower into despair.  I became more frustrated with myself,  my situation, my dishonesty with myself and my tainted honesty with my friends.  I think my family saw some of it but they didn't know the depth of my despair.  It was just a couple of weeks ago in my blog I talked of the fear of failing.  I feel like I have overcome that fear by working with Back On Track.  I am a success in many ways.  I exercise regularly.  It is that exercising that has kept me afloat.  If I hadn't had that established and active I would have gained weight.  Instead, exercise maintained me and I just teetered between 6 pounds for the last 5 months.

Ronda and I started Back on Track March 5th.  This week was the week to get my eating back on track.  I read my material on Tuesday and was instantly frustrated and angry.  I was angry with myself for allowing myself to get so far down, for allowing myself to deceive myself, for not being honest with myself or anyone else.  I was frustrated because I had to begin doing something I hate--keeping a food log with calories, fat, carbs and protein.  There are so many foods I want to eat I can't eat for now.  There are foods I have been eating and enjoying that I will never eat again.  This is a time where procrastination can NOT be an option.  I must plan and do in order to become healthy again. 

See, procrastination only delays progress and maintenance.  Whether it is progress or maintenance in a career, dream, relationship or health, it is hindered by not facing the truth, doing what needs to be done in order to reap the benefits.  The benefits of a career you love, a dream you've worked for or a relationship you've formed.  Procrastination can kill.  If it doesn't kill it sure slows things down.

Determination gets you started and keeps you going for a while,

but it is never enough to bring you across the finish line. 

     ~Joyce Meyer~

   Only God can do that.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stagnation

"not develop or make progress—to fail to develop, progress or make necessary changes; stop flowing—to stop moving; become inactive—to become listless and inactive". Yes, that certainly defines how I have been feeling.

This week a very special person in my life said to me, "they don't need inspiration.  They need to hear you where you are because that is where they are." When I began this blog it was to keep my friends and family updated on my journey. It also developed into a following for other patients. I have wanted to be an inspiration and when I haven't felt inspired I haven't written. Well, I don't know how inspiring this week will be to anyone, but it is certainly a portrait of where I am.

I have been so frustrated and discouraged lately. It just seems like all I do is eat. I told Ronda (IWLS) I don't get my needed daily water in because I have to wait an hour after eating to drink and means I eat all the time there isn't an hour between. I kept a food log a week ago and it seems like from 2pm-5pm and 8pm-10pm I ate all the time. One thing to the next. Not because I was hungry, but because I was bored and the food was there so I ate it. It wouldn't be so bad if what I was eating was celery, carrots, etc., but it is cookies, crackers, candy, ice cream (Skinny Cow at least), etc. I am so sorry I ever took that first bite of the "forbidden foods". That ugly sinister voice saying "Just one bite won't hurt." Well, it was wrong, it did hurt! It lasted longer than the time the bite took and the time it took for the calories to be worked off. It has lasted for months. That one "little bite" has become a little bite over and over every day, many times throughout the day for many months. The taste of the food wasn't even pleasurable. Many times I didn't even remember eating it. There are so many "old" habits I have gotten into. Eating too much, eating the wrong foods, eating all the time (commonly known as grazing), eating too fast, etc. The nasty Carb creature has certainly taken over my new lifestyle and pushed me back into the old lifestyle. Now to look up out of this dark pit and focus on the small penlight I can still see at the top. Hope is not vanished. Inspiration is rumbling in the pit of my soul. I just have to focus my ears on the positive; on the possibilities I once ran towards. I will set new goals which may be the same goals I had in the beginning of this journey. I will follow plans to fulfill those goals. I will succeed. I will be a winner! I will overcome and reignite my resolve to be the best I can be and not be just another statistic of failure or a statistic of stagnation…

I have worked so hard to get this far. I still work hard with my exercising, but it is like wasted time if I don't change my eating habits. I am too stubborn to give up on the exercising. I thank God for that. Who said perfectionism is a curse? It is the only redeeming trait that has kept me moving and working hard. Exercising always makes me feel good (pain and all), but it hasn't been as effective as it could have been means I eat inappropriately.

I just have to remember, as Nicole C Mullen sings: "Call On Jesus"

"But when I call on Jesus,
All things are possible
I can mount on wings like eagles' and soar
When I call on Jesus,
Mountains are gonna fall
'Cause He'll move heaven and earth to come rescue me when I call"

I can't rely on will power or my own abilities. I have to look up and call.


 


 

Love is a tricky thing. 

Our hearts were created to crave it.