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Have I Been Sick?

Walking with Nordic Sticks in the winter time just seems to make more sense, and I feel now more comfortable when I walk in my park. 

The park has always been there, I just never had a use for it. As a matter of fact, it takes me less than two minutes to reach the entry of the park by foot. It is just one street over from where we live, it is nestled in between the backyards of houses that face each other. The neighbors across the street from us can enter the park through their backyard gate. How much more convenient can it get?

The walkway around is exactly 2.2 miles from start to finish -the perfect distance for me. Every morning, when the weather is on my side, I stop there on my way to work. I park the car, grab the Nordic walking sticks and off I go. 

Right when the sun comes up, I am on my way to get part of my daily exercise routine in. I love this time of the day. It's just me and my thoughts, and I have to admit, I like getting a peek into other peoples homes as well. It's a bonus I enjoy!

By now I know who is an early bird, and I have gotten to know many of them. Dogs are guarding their yards -some still bark at me. Most of them have given up, they know me by now. "That's the weird lady with her funny sticks who bothers us every morning," they seem to think, and while I can't prove it, I assume dogs can shake their heads as well.

Right at the curve, when I change direction on my way back, there is the house, where my new friend lives. I met him this summer when I started walking with my hiking sticks.

One day I could hear him walk behind me, and a short time later, he walked beside me, like it would be the most natural thing in the world. He didn't ask too many questions, just wanted to know my name -after he introduced himself, and then he talked about his family and everything that was important to him.

My new friend is 5 years old and has been my neighbor since the day he was born -I just didn't know.  

At the beginning he only joined me for a few minutes, then he was forced to turn around by MOM'S ORDER -knowing he would be in trouble if he would go any further. Now his family got to know me and he is allowed to walk with me -if he feels like it. 

"Why do you walk with this sticks?" he asked me a while back. 

"I am trying to get healthy," I heard myself say and he thought about it for a short time. "Have you been sick?" he asked me and I didn't know what to say.

Have I been sick? Is obesity a kind of an illness, just like any other addiction or obsession?

I believe I have been sick, and I am not talking about my autoimmune disorders. Being overweight by 140+ lbs is not normal and it is definitely not healthy. Having lost so much weight, I can feel the difference within me, that's something that can't be seen or measured. 

I am not walking for weight loss, I am walking for health. I walk with these damn sticks, to get myself back in the shape I should be in.

I am walking to keep my aching bones moving. I am walking because moving is part of my new lifestyle. I don't always like it, to be honest on some days I hate it with gusto, but just like the dishes in the evening, there is just no way around it. It needs to get done!

Maintaining my weight in the future, won't be possible without exercise, I have accepted this as a fact. 

I will enjoy my park in the future. I am glad it's there!

121 lbs lost - Only 19 lbs to go!

Christmas is coming too fast. Can time slow down, please!

It's not just a Bra

I can multitask beautifully. The shoes fly off my feet while letting out the dogs. With one hand I check the mail and open the fridge with the other.

It's pretty much the same ritual every night. I am not sure if other women do the same, but I also take my bra off, as soon as I come home. The GIRLS deserve some freedom, it's like lifting a restraining order I suppose.

I am proud of our home and keep it neat and clean -most of the time- but I have my sloppy moments and so my bra ends up at places, no bra should ever be.

The evening dinner has priority, everything else will fall into place afterward. Washing and chopping, juggling knives, pots, and pans is the nightly entertainment that I really enjoy, and for that, I need room to maneuver -it's just as simple as that. That's why my bra has to go!

Two years ago it was a hassle. I was so big that I couldn't reach the middle of my back. I had to pull down the shoulder straps through the arms of my shirts, and then I turned the BEAST around until the hooks were in the front on my big belly -only then could I take it off.

Now I can reach my back easily, what is a good indication that my RA is really in remission. No way could I do it with aching joints and bones. The daily Nordic walking has given me upper strengths -without me realizing it at first. I am getting my mobility back and feel stronger with every passing day. 

Two years ago my bra looked like a monster. One night, I hung it on the hooks behind our bathroom door and it was almost as long as my robe. I remember the shame I felt when I saw it. This huge, unattractive piece of lingerie is what I have to wear, I thought and I never hung it up again. I didn't want to be confronted with the truth, it was just too painful. Not one of my proudest moment that's for sure.

54" that was my bandwidth back then, now it's only a 38" and I am mighty proud of it. No longer do I have to wear something that looks like a carrier for watermelons. Finally, I am back into a size -and range- that allows me to buy something attractive, and I enjoy it more than I can say.

Now I have the freedom to buy a bra just because I like the color and the style. No longer am I forced to find the ONE that might fit -but really never did.

Over the last couple of months, I have purchased a nice collection of loungewear and sleepwear, just because I could. It still feels a bit surreal. Me, the Fat Lady, fits into the clothes, I always admired on others.

No longer am I embarrassed when I look at my lingerie. No longer do I feel I have to hide it, because I don't want my husband to see the monstrosities I have to wear -not that he didn't know. Now my bra can hang on the hook behind the bathroom door, and noticing the difference between NOW and THEN makes me smile. 

The other night my husband came home and when he walked into the living room, he absent-mindedly, pet my black bra -thinking it was the cat laying on the back of the couch. When he told me about it, I lost it. I laughed so hard, it was the kind of laughter when you don't make a noise -because you just can't. 

With a smile, he handed me the neatly folded bra and it looked small, that's the one thing I noticed right away. SMALL!

With every pound I lose, my life seems to slip back into something I would like to call normal. Shopping for, and living in oversized clothes, never felt normal -I just pretended it was. 

I had to lose weight to realize how complicated and hard it was to be fat. May I never forget!

120.5 lbs lost - Only 19.5 lbs to go until Adjustment Day!

Half of my Thanksgiving-gain is gone. Yeah, Baby! 

It's not just a Bra

double post error

More, More, More!

I stood in the kitchen and prepared my all-time favorite Thanksgiving leftover dish. A slice of the hideous miniature gluten-free bread, homemade mayonnaise, gluten-free stuffing, homemade cranberry sauce and of course, a nice heap of cold turkey, held in place with another hideous miniature gluten-free piece of bread.

I warmed it up for just a few seconds and sat down to enjoy my lunch. The gluten-free version looked rather small, compared to the sandwiches I consumed for so many years, but I stopped complaining when I took the first bite.

It was exquisite - marvelous - unbelievable yummy, and at this moment I was at peace with my Celiac disease and the rest of the world. Sadly, it didn't last long -the peace as well as my sandwich. My plate was empty and without thinking, I got up and marched toward the kitchen to make me another one.

More, more, more -there was a choir in my head and it got louder and louder.

Wanting more is who I am and I assume -or hope- I am not the only one. More money, more success, more happiness -more of everything and the feeling of not having enough, doesn't stop when it comes to eating.

3 and even 4-egg omelets were the norm for me, so were EXTRAS. Extra gravy, extra salad dressing and of course extra bacon when we went out for breakfast. The ultimate feast - the more, the better.

Of course, I got the second sandwich and it was as delicious as the first one. The third one didn't happen, because I had run out of the hideous miniature gluten-free bread. 

More, more, more - the choir in my head never stops. 

I have enjoyed a 5-day long Thanksgiving vacation, decided to take a break from logging and gave myself the freedom to roam a bit. Victoria II. gave me my reward today in the morning. I have put on 3 pounds and while it's not a tragedy, it shows me that I can derail myself in lightening speed. 

You would think I know calories and portions by heart after almost 2 years of logging, but the way it looks like I don't, or perhaps I do, and that's why I decided not to log, to begin with. Yep, that sounds like me. 

More, more, more! Will I ever be at peace and content with less?

Perhaps I am just the product of our society and it's time for me to set my own rules -not just in the kitchen. Less is ok! 

I wish MFP would show weight gain as public as it shows weight loss. I want to be held accountable at all times. Loss or gain, it is a mirror of my lifestyle -something that I need to see. Well, thanks to my wonderful scale I have seen it.

I took a few illegal u-turns Thanksgiving and now it's time to Log n' Roll again. I suck without logging my food.

3 Pounds regained - 119 pounds lost - Only 21 to go!


Just like a Pitbull

We had an argument and as so often, I asked the same question over and over, demanded an answer, where there was none. Even happy couples fight once in a while and when it happens, I show all the female trades so many cartoons make fun of.

I wish I could say that I chose my battles wisely, but the truth is I am more like a pressure cooker. I let it build up for weeks, months even, and then, without any warning, I let off steam and bring things up that happened a while back, and my poor husband each and every time doesn't know what hit him. 

During one of our silly fights, my husband made a statement that took me by surprise. "You are like Pitbull," he said, "You get a hold of something and then you don't let go."

WHAT??? He cannot possibly mean me? I thought but instantly knew he had made a point. 

Later on that night, I looked at our two older dogs -who happen to be Pitbull mixes we adopted many years ago- and I couldn't help but think about their character traits.  

Both dogs are clowns and always in a good mood. They are playful and loyal and yes, very protective -so am I. You mess with my family or people I love, and I will come after you -all guns blazing, even if it's just verbally. 

The dogs are not everybody's Darling -neither am I. I love people and the interaction with them, but don't see the point in pretending to like everybody -online or offline. 

Many seem to be in awe about by success and determination here at MFP and I often wonder about it myself.

680 days today! How in the world did I manage to be here for so long? How the heck did I achieve all the milestones and rewards, I had written down in a contract with myself so long ago. 

The journey to a healthier life and the weight loss that ultimately comes with it is not always full of dancing, singing, and rose petals, it can be tough at times.

How determined are you? I wish this would be a question MFP would aks us when we set our goals here. 

Are you ready to make sacrifices and last but not least -and once again I think about our fourlegged family members

Are you excited to be here? 

I know I am, and this hasn't changed a bit during the last 680 days. I feel the same excitement that I felt on Day #1. I am ready to plan and log my food. I am always eager to try a new, healthy recipe and anxious to share success -and temporary setbacks- with the people I am allowed to call my friends. 

This fat ladies journey to a new and healthier life requires indeed Pitbull determination and discipline. Good grief, my better half was right, if I really want something I don't let go. 

With that in mind, now for the second time, I will finish a rather unusual shopping list for Thanksgiving. Food, recipes, and meals are not sacred territory in our family anymore. I have rocked this boat last year and I continue to rock it a bit further this year. Hold on tight family, this is going to be fun!

The scale showed 190 lbs today in the morning. Another pound bit the dust!

680 days - 122 lbs lost - Only 20 more to go!

Happy Thanksgiving and a special cheer to all the Pitbulls, Pitbull mixes in the shelters. May you all find a home soon!

There Is No Silver Platter

I often wonder how it feels like to get everything served on a silver platter. Can the rich and wealthy feel the same joy that we do, when we after years of hard work, pay of a car or a house?

I am planning the first and only Deed-Burning-Party in my life. After 30 years of paying mortgages, our home will finally be OUR home. I remember when we drove by the house for the first time. It was love at first sight on my end, on my husbands end not so much. 

"Too much house, too much money, too much work," he judged quickly and while I knew that he was right, I could see us living there happily ever after. 

We talked about it, juggled numbers back and forth and finally, we both agreed. We would buy the house -if the banks would let us. It didn't look good at first. We were young (dumb) and broke in the lender's eyes, but to our surprise, they gave us the loan, and we moved into our new home. 

We knew what we wanted, and we were ready to work for it to make it happen. It was not always easy, we made sacrifices.

The love of my life worked two jobs at times and so did I. There were periods when we had to stretch the money as far as we could, there were times when I thought we would not be able to make it. Who knew children could be so expensive? Why didn't anybody tell us there would be repairs? 

We lived - We learned -We adjusted.

I have been quiet here lately, haven't talked much with my friends, haven't logged and didn't feel like blogging either.

The Deed-Burning-Party will be right about the time when I will celebrate my two-year MFP-anniversary. Two short long years, and I am still not at my goal weight, and far away from my ideal weight. 

172 lbs, my goal weight, was the lucky number I aimed for when I signed up here. Now only 19 pounds away, I realize that it's not where I should be. 172 lbs, was just the last number I could remember when I thought about my life before I started my fat-career. 

Realizing that I will have to juggle the numbers a bit, hit me hard. 

WTH? Why haven't I reached my goal weight yet? Why am I so slow, while others seem to manage to lose the same amount of weight in just a few months? 

"Do the crime, do the time," comes to mind and I know I have done the crime. You don't wake up weighing over 300 pounds overnight, it took a long time to become morbidly obese. Gosh, I was good at it!

Why didn't anybody warn me it could take that long? Why is so hard at times?

Well, life doesn't serve success on a silver plater -at least not to ordinary people. We have to fight for it, we have to make sacrifices to make our dreams come true.  

Being an average size with an average weight, and not being seen as the fat lady, is my dream. 

No, it's not always easy but no matter what it takes, I am willing to go the extra mile. Screw you Menopause!. I will lose the pounds you superglued on my hips and butt, no matter how long it takes. 

121 pounds lost - Only 19 lbs to go reach goal #1

Patience Padawan, patience!

Two Weddings and 118 Pounds!

Last weekend our little girl got married to a wonderful man, who fits right into our crazy family. And while the newlyweds were the center of attention, I often looked at our son and his wife this weekend, and couldn't help but remember their wedding day as well.

To be honest, I felt like I was reliving this wedding in my mind, while I enjoyed being the Mother-of-the-Bride beside my daughter. Three years have past and yet, it feels like a lifetime already. I can't believe how much has changed.

Back then I was very heavy. I can't say how much I weighed, but my guess would be somewhere around 320 pounds. I still have the pantsuit I wore that day. It's a 3X with a flattering, loose jacket. The material was very lightweight, still, I sweat all day long, even though it wasn't too warm. I didn't dare to take the jacket off, wore the extra layer of clothing like a shield, with the hope to hide my size. 

I sat most of the day and my ankles were swollen. I mingled because people came and visited me. I couldn't stand for a long time and move too much, it left me winded. People adjusted to my needs and for that, I am entirely grateful. Back then I didn't realize it, now I do.

This time I was all over the place. I danced with my husband and everybody else who asked me to, and the jacket was left behind quickly. All the Thai Chi, the Fencing and my daily Nordic Walking have paid off. My arms are in good shape and I have no problem showing them. This older lady doesn't have wings (yet.)

I wore a beautiful dress - a loose size 0 from the plus-size store. The last size this kind of store can offer me. It was marked down by 80%. The smallest size in the big-people store is quite often on sale -so I learned- and I will take advantage of it, for as long as I can.

I stood for hours at the reception and it didn't bother me a bit. Thai Chi has given me my balance back. I can stand on one foot and hold my drink steady -I tried it, just couldn't help it. 

"Mom, you look fantastic," my Son told me and it brought tears to my eyes. Our kids are proud of me and my health accomplishments, and it feels good.

Some people didn't recognize me, others looked at me in disbelief and I loved it. It's not about the attention, the looks are a reward. It's like a gold star on the forehead for a job well done.

I remember the food and the amazing wedding cake at my son's wedding. A big part of it went home with us that night, and I remember eating it for days afterward. To be honest, I was the only one eating it. I never let anything go to waste, that was often my excuse. 

This time the wedding cake was not an option. I have been diagnosed with Celiac disease last year and I have to live a gluten-free life. It's almost like the Universe gave me some help. "Here, give this fat lady another autoimmune disorder that will help her to stay away from all the cakes and pies. Perhaps that will help her."

Thank you, Universe! It worked!

My priorities have shifted dramatically. Food just doesn't hold the power anymore - I do. Today I eat what I need, not what I want. Food has become fuel and not a filler.

I don't know if that happens with every weight loss, but I assume that people who lost a substantial amount of weight, have felt the same changes within, that I feel now. It's a shift of priorities and weight loss is the result, not the goal. 

Three years ago I had felt exhausted and worn out after the wedding and I feel the same right now, but for totally different reasons.

Last night, after the last guest had left our home, my husband and I hugged each other for a long time. We were both exhausted and very happy -and broke.

Soon there will be more pictures on the mantle and one of them will show the newlyweds surrounded by their families. I haven't seen the picture yet, but I know I will love it, even if I look like a moron. 

For the rest of my life, there will be a BEFORE and AFTER picture on our mantle. In the wedding picture of my son I am morbidly obese, in the other, I weigh 118 pounds less.

I couldn't help but weigh in today in the morning and to my surprise, against all odds (drinks) I have lost the pound I had gained back last week. 

119 lbs lost - only 21 lbs to go! 

Now more motivated than ever! 

Every Child deserves Fun at Halloween!

Everywhere I look, there is Halloween candy laying around. Chocolate and sweets, my biggest weakness!

Last year I only bought Halloween candy I didn't care for and my husband hid his candy in the car and in his lunchbox. It felt like a walk on eggshells, and Halloween was not the same without giving out something the kids really loved.

This year is different. I learned, I did my research, and now I am all excited and can't wait for the kids to come by on Halloween. 

As every year our home will be spooky, my husband will be goofy and our dogs will be moping around in the backyard. 

Everything will be the same -well almost. One thing will be different and it will be obvious to everybody. We will have a teal-colored pumpkin in front of our door, right beside the orange one and I love it.

A teal pumpkin is the sign that we welcome kids with food allergies, and it lets parents know that we will give out non-food and/or food allergy friendly treats.

How brilliant is that? There is no candy in our home that I know about. Yeah, Baby! (High Five from the Diet Fairy.)

Let me be honest here, I had never heard about the “Teal Pumpkin Project” until someone told me last year. The Teal Pumpkin Project was launched in 2014 by FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education) to raise awareness for food allergies, and promote inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.

I wasn't sure at first, but then I met a couple at our neighborhood meeting. The wife got up and introduced herself. She told us about her family and asked if she could give some of us a special bag with toys and treats for her children, who have severe food allergies. She wanted to make special treat bags and bring them to our homes, so that later on that night, we would give them back to her kids. 

She told us about the teal pumpkins and she got my attention. An older lady made us all laugh when she said her grandchildren were all too chubby and were in desperate need of some non-food related treats as well.

As so often in life, some of my neighbors found the idea of a teal pumpkin silly and uncalled for, others welcomed the idea of different Halloween and came up with all kind of good ideas.

Image result for teal pumpkin project

And here a list of non-food treats:

  • Glow sticks, bracelets, or necklaces
  • Pencils, pens, crayons or markers
  • Bubbles
  • Halloween erasers or pencil toppers
  • Mini Slinkies
  • Whistles, kazoos, or noisemakers
  • Bouncy balls
  • Finger puppets or novelty toys
  • Coins
  • Spider rings
  • Vampire fangs (my favorite)
  • Mini notepads
  • Playing cards
  • Bookmarks
  • Stickers
  • Stencils


Every child deserves fun at Halloween. 

If you decide to have a teal-colored pumpkin this year as well, please go the FARE website and add your household to the map and connect with other homes in your area that are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.

It's a great way to make kids happy and it helps us, the ones who love sweets too much, to focus on something else instead.  It's a win-win.

118 lbs lost - Only 22 lbs to go!

1 lb re-gained -what I blame on my daughter and all the fun shopping before her wedding!


The Wolf I Feed!

I had to fill in for a colleague of mine, who got sick. I had to leave town, slept four days in a hotel bed, instead of my own. I wasn't particularly happy about it, moped around quite a bit. Instead of shopping with my daughter for my mother-of-the-bride dress, I spent my time listening to boring speeches. 

My brain was on autopilot. I listened half-heartedly, did my job the way I am supposed to -without thinking too much. 

Then the speaker said something that woke me up in a flash. 

"Permanent Results require Permanent Changes," he said and with this short statement, he rattled my little world.

Sometimes I wish real life would have a pause button or even a reverse button. I wanted to hear it again, wanted to have time to think about it, but a quiet voice in my head already repeated it over and over, and it got louder and louder. 

Permanent Results require Permanent Changes!

This short statement sums up everything I already knew, but I had to hear it from someone else. A stranger verified what I knew all along. 

There is no going back. The changes I have been making since I signed up here at MFP, are now my new lifestyle. None of it is temporary, or the result -my weight loss and my better health- will be temporary as well. 

I was so happy when the meeting was over and I finally could sit down and digest the truth. I wanted to say it out loud and share my newfound wisdom with every stranger around me -but of course, I didn't. I sat there quietly, and I am sure I looked like a fool. Eyes wide open, with a puzzled look on my face, one of my favorite expressions lately.

Permanent = Lasting - Endless - Remaining to the end - Forever!

My healthy is my wealth, and my weight loss is a big part of it. 

I need to wrap my head around it. This is forever! Going back to my old lifestyle will just send me down the rabbit hole -again and again. I have failed myself in the department of weight loss and health quite a bit in the past. I have lost and regained, and have repeated it over and over. Oprah Winfrey is not the Queen of Jojo dieting, it's me. I have done it more times than I can count. 

Sometimes I feel the urge to binge eat for hours. The old demons are still there, perhaps they always will be a part of my life, and maybe that's the way it's supposed to be. 

There is the old Native American legend about the two wolves, who live within us. The good one and the bad one. Which one will win, a little child asks. The one you will feed is the answer. 

I literally don't feed my demons anymore. They starve within me. Now and then I hear them whisper but I ignore it. It is all up to me -always has been.  

Permanent results, require permanent changes. 

I want my lifestyle change to be permanent. Forever! There I said it and I  mean it.

119 lbs lost - Only 21 lbs to go!

Life is great-even without the buffet in the hotel!

Walk through the Swamp!

Every Monday she declares that now finally she will join me on my weight loss journey, and it lasts until Thursday. Then she starts complaining about her food, and she talks about the upcoming weekend and all the plans she has made. "I will not be able to stick to my diet then," she explains, and I just nod quietly and don't say much. 

What is there to say. I have done the same for way too long. Just like her, I have nibbled on foods I didn't like. Just like her, I had the dream that all my weight would come off in lightning speed -if I would just stick with it for a few days. 

My colleague is unhappy with her weight and she wants to change it, but she never follows through. It has become our weekly routine, and it could be really entertaining- if it wouldn't be so sad at the same time. 

She doesn't like how her DIET makes her feel and I understand that. I watch what she eats and wouldn't like it either. If you are not a mouse, don't eat like one! 

"This weekend we have company," she starts explaining, "But Sunday afternoon I will make a plan for next week and stick to it," she finishes and I nod again. 

"I wish you would tell me how you do it," she often asks and I don't know what to say. To be honest, I am actually afraid to say anything. I can't give advice or hand out a magic wand for weight loss. I am still learning myself.

But then, maybe I should share with her what my Thai Chi teacher taught me when I had felt overwhelmed in his class.

"Start before you are ready," he always said. "Don't prepare, just begin," and at first it didn't make sense to me. 

Baby steps, I learned here at MFP. Oh, how true it is. 

Forget the big picture, finish today and do the same thing tomorrow and the day after. Do what needs to be done regardless of how you feel - take action according to the needs of a situation, not according to the needs of your emotional state.

It's about consistently doing what you know needs to be done, without thinking about it.  

Life can be tough at times and even hurtful. It is a ubiquitous misconception in our comfortable and stimulation-modern society, that we should always feel fully motivated to do something and feel good while doing it. Newsflash: WRONG!

You do not need to feel motivated to take action, and you do not need to feel good while getting something done. Take action and move forward, then you will be on your way to significantly improve every facet of your life. 

Feeling good comes later -it's a reward for biting the bullet. That's how I look at it. 

Sometimes you have to walk through the swamp to reach the meadow.

Perhaps that's what I will tell my colleague on Monday, when she will start her DIET again and maybe, just maybe this time she will hear me.

116 lbs lost - Only 24 to go!

Life is fabulous, even on days when we think it's not!

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