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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!

Wimbledon is safe!

Of all the things I could have chosen as a reward for reaching ONEderland, I had rewarded myself with tennis lessons, what makes me wonder if my brain is shrinking as well.

What in the world is wrong with me? Why didn't I go for a handbag, or new glasses, perhaps a new coat or the art print I always admire. How in the world did I come up with tennis classes?

It's funny how it works. It's something I always wanted to do, but never got around to it. First, there was no money, then there were kids and no time. Then came my size and the weight, and everything I wanted to do, was put on hold -forever.

I didn't have to think about my ONEderland reward for too long. Tennis came to my mind and it went from there. I just wanted to give it a try. Just once I wanted to stand on a tennis court and hit a few balls, preferable alone, so nobody could sue me for any kind of damages someone as clumsy as me, could cause.

When I arrived at the tennis club I felt instantly that I didn't belong. The class was larger than I had expected, and both of the teachers seemed to be younger than my kids -and so was almost everybody else around me.

Most of the people in the tennis club looked elegant and sophisticated and there I was, in my neon yellow shirt with my matching leggings. Such a bargain had it been back then when I bought it in the plus size store. I stand out, like an overweight parakeet, that's for sure. 

I wanted to turn around and leave, or perhaps order a drink at the bar but I didn't. I listened to every word the teacher had to say and introduced myself when it was my turn. I was honest, told them about my health journey and my search for new activities. 

"I will not kill myself running after a ball," I ended and everybody laughed -including me. But I meant it, running is not my forte. 

Quickly I learned how to hold a tennis racket, I discovered forehand and backhand and hit a few uncontrolled balls. I loved it instantly and felt good about it. After just half an hour, I was drenched in sweat and in desperate need of a shower. 

I could hold the racket with ease, what surprised me. It means my Rheumatoid Arthritis is really in remission. The last flare happened a couple of months ago, ever since I am fine. Knowing this makes me happy. I did that!

Now I can hit something hard, without regretting it later. Thank you food!

I enjoyed the tennis class and turns out, I fit right in. I laughed about myself more than anything but also felt a competitiveness, I didn't know I possessed. I wanted to hit the ball the hardest, wanted to hit the target the closest and wanted to be the fastest -even if that meant I had to run. Where in the world is this all coming from?

I had a BALL hitting the ball, and I am going to continue my tennis lessons. It is a great workout and who knows, I even might become a member of this fancy club and have a drink with some of the elegant people at the bar soon. Turns out it is not as expensive as I thought it would be. 

My neon outfits are hanging loose already, and I might have to invest in "real" workout clothes soon. The way it looks like, I might need them!

While I will not make it to Wimbledon, tennis might be the sport I was looking for. I will keep on going, there is no turning back!

I didn't weigh in today- I didn't want to. Just a precaution because I really never want to see the "2" again.

113.5 lbs lost. Only 26.5 to lose!

Sorry Victoria II. - See you next Thursday! 

Hello, Sweet ONEderland!

Today in the morning, for the first time, I was nervous. I had threatened Victoria II., had promised her I would throw her out of the window IF...

...IF she wouldn't finally show me the weight I wanted to see. A number -any number- starting with a "1".  Since weeks I am hovering and stalling in my weight loss. While time seems to fly by around me, it seems to work in slow motion lately, when it comes to my dietary accomplishments. 

And then it happened! I got out of the shower today in the morning and stepped on the scale. I think I held my breath in anticipation, and there it was...198.5. Oh, how much work it was to get here and how good it feels to be here. 

I DID IT! I FINALLY DID IT!

  • Not in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever see a weight under 250 or 200 again in my life.
  • Not in my wildest dreams did I think I had it in me.
  • Not in my wildest dreams did I think a middle-aged lady, fighting menopause could beat the odds.

Oh, ONEderland, may I stay forever?

For the life of me, I can't even remember the last time I weighed under 200 pounds. Was it before our children were born, or perhaps way back then when I was in college? Maybe I was born weighing 200 lbs -yes, that must be it.

It has taken me 620 days to get here, such a long time or perhaps just a short while -depending on how you look at it.

Time, I suppose it doesn't matter in the end. I am reversing all the bad decisions and choices I have made throughout the years. I am taking care of me and my health, and the weight is just a reflection.

Since about four weeks ago, I am wearing a loose, ragged size 16 jeans every chance I get -even in the office. I am having casual Friday every day, and I would like to mee the brave souls, who dare telling me otherwise. I have earned it and I enjoy the heck out of it. This old pair of jeans had been hidden in the back of my closet for way too long. The jeans has seen better days and so have I -we are the perfect match for right now.

I feel like dancing, singing, cheering -I feel like celebrating. I want to run around with the scale under my arm, and show the rest of the world what I did, but I fear many would not understand and how could they? You have to walk in my shoes for a while, to understand the joy a fat lady might feel when she knows, she is on her way to leave the FAT DEPARTMENT for good.

How I did it? It wasn't just me. I had help from family and friends at home and an amazing group of people here on MFP.

Superman-grandpa in a far-away-land, my secret pal, my orange buddy, and the singer, who are all so much more successful than I ever will be. The beautiful girl and her mother, who both showed me what determination can do. "M" the beautiful, young maiden, and my twin -who lead the way. The teacher and the Cajun dancer, the Grandmother and all the other ones who are still here watching out for me.

So many more are cheering for me. All the heartfelt comments on my blog, encouraging me every day. People I will never meet in person, have become a part of my everyday life. Strangers caring about me! 

The success I am having is yours as well. It is easier with all of you by my side and so much more fun. 

Hold your horses! 113.5 lbs lost. Only 26.5 to lose!

Am I dreaming? Holy Toledo - I did it! 

The Beauty in every Wrinkle!

Yes, I look older now. Thank you for noticing! Where once there was a layer of fat and a triple chin, there are now cheekbones coming through, and my face proudly shows the years, I have managed to get under my belt so far. 

"You have such a pretty face," people always said. Mainly because they didn't want to address the rest of me and with that, the fact that I was heavily overweight. "Hardly any wrinkles," they often added and it was true. My face was full and round, there was no space for wrinkles to show themselves.

This has changed quite a bit. Wrinkles and lines have stopped by and have been welcomed with an odd excitement. Now I have fine lines around my eyes and some deeper creases, that seem to come from laughing too much because they settled in around my mouth. 

Hidden under bangs on my forehead are two vertical wrinkles - an indication, that this world -and the people in it- have the ability to make me frown once in a while.

"You look older now," my neighbor said and I giggled like a little girl. "I have given up my wrinkle remover," I joked and of course she had to ask what I had been using. "Chocolate," I said and I giggled some more. "Chocolate is the best wrinkle remover, I am the living proof!" Like so often, my humor was lost on her. Perhaps she never heard the joke before. 

Next time somebody says I look older, I will hit them right between the eyes and watch them fly into the middle of next week...I thought to myself but then, when I thought about it some more and I had to rephrase it a bit.

Yes, I look older now. I hope my face one day will be a roadmap of a life well lived...that's what I should say and perhaps not hit them.

With or without a lot of wrinkles, underneath the extra layers of fat, there is me, in all my beauty, with all my flaws. Still the most beautiful woman in the eyes of my husband -and that's all that matters. 

I am glowing like a firefly, and I feel healthier than I have in years. The inside, that's what nobody can see and perhaps that's a good thing because they might be jealous. 

When people start to talk about your pretty face it might be an indication you should go home and check your weight.  A pretty face seems to mean you are getting fat. (A heartfelt apology to all the thin pretty faces out there, today it's not about you.)

The truth is actually really sweet when you think about it. People didn't want to leave me out when they talked about looks. They didn't want to mention my size and weight, that's why they mentioned my PRETTY FACE and I am entirely grateful for their kindness. 

Now go ahead. Mention my new wrinkles and get used to it, there will be more. May they never again be hidden under fat. 

111 lbs lost - Only 29 lbs to go!

I am going down!

Spreading my Wings

A few weeks ago I watched on older gentlemen walk by our house. He wasn't very steady on his feet, still, he managed to walk right up to the stop sign on the corner. Then he turned around and slowly walked back to his home, just a few houses further down the road from us.

I didn't dare to wave or greet him, I didn't want to distract him from his chore. Long after he had returned back home from his walk, he was still on my mind.

The next day I walked into a sports and camping store and bought walking poles, hoped they might help me to explore the world around me a bit more.

I know I need to move more. Running seems to be the goal of many and I admire them from the bottom of my heart but it's not me.  I am not a runner. I hated it in school and my feeling hasn't changed a bit. I am not building for it and fear I might trip over my own feet, or run into something.

While I have mastered to walk quite a bit, I still haven't walked outside the way I should. What seems to be the most normal thing for others, is still a nightmare for me.

I fear I could fall and not make it back. My foot injury has left more than one scar and I am still afraid it could happen again. "All is well," my doctor says and I want to believe him. Still, I can't shake it off.

During fencing, Thai Chi and Belly dancing I am always on the outside, close to a chair or bench. At home, I walk on the torture machine aka treadmill and there is a chair right beside it, outside I still walk beside the golf cart.

Every day I looked at my hiking poles but didn't find the courage to try them. I am good with excuses, can come up with something that sounds fairly reasonable in no time. If you ever need an excuse not to work out or eat wrong, message me, I will give you multiple choices in under a minute.

My old neighbor, who tries so hard to stay mobile, didn't leave my mind and that was a good thing.

Finally, Tuesday evening I drove to a park close to our house and sat there for a few minutes in the heat. I watched the people go by -all of them seemed happy to be outside. I love being outdoors and it was time to bite the bullet.

I grabbed my walking sticks, got out and felt so silly. Who walks with hiking sticks in a park?  I shook it off instantly. Not caring about what other people might think, that's a present age gives us when we start to need it most.

I started to walk away from my car and it felt good. The use of trekking poles felt awkward at first but that feeling quickly went away. Before I knew it I felt good about it and I felt pride.

I am working out and the world can watch me if they feel like it. Look at me. I am trying so hard to better myself.

I walked two miles in 34 minutes -what I suppose is snail speed for some -but not for me. I was a sweaty mess when I went to the car and the shower afterward was the biggest reward.

Just like the old gentlemen, I have to push myself harder and not care about what others do or might think. This is my life and it's good! 

I couldn't find Nordic walking in the exercise database here, so I added it to it -just for me. On days when I won't play Zoro or wiggle my hips, I will stop at the park on my way home, and I will walk further and further at a speed that I can manage.

109 lbs lost - Only 31lbs to go!

Not gaining more than 1/2 pound on a long weekend with too many goodies, is a success in my books!

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Years ago I sat down one night and wrote down all of the "bad" things I had done when I still smoked cigarettes. The confessions of an ex-smoker, finally admitting how wrong some of my actions had been. How could I ever forget the night I almost sat the kitchen on fire, just because I couldn't find a lighter and tried to lite a cigarette on the toaster. Or the walk in the cemetery when we used a grave candle because as always, there was no lighter in our pockets. 

I feel I should do the same now since I am on my way to becoming an EX-FAT. 

I love that word -EX-FAT-.  It stands for change - changing what has been so wrong once. Just like I became an ex-smoker and not a non-smoker, I think I will call myself EX-FAT. 

There is so much I could write down. All the small adjustments in my everyday life, just so that I could continue to carry the weight and my size around. 

The lies I told myself and the willingness to continue going down that path stuns me now. What was I thinking? 

I never ate in the breakroom. I assume people thought I didn't want to mingle with them, the truth is I didn't want to be seen. I ate alone in my office in front of my screen or I went out for lunch.

It was not just about the amount of food I ate, but the way I had to eat as well. Sometimes in movies or cartoons, you can see the overweight, heavyset gentlemen with a napkin around his neck. That was me! I had to tuck a napkin in my collar, if not, I ended up looking like a toddler after the first experiment with silverware.

When you are that big, you can't bend over your own size anymore and that's something I never wanted to admit -at least not when I still lived it. When your tummy and chest stick out so much that your head cannot reach any further, that's when eating becomes an obstacle curse. 

When food falls down it doesn't fall onto the table or back on the plate, it lands on top of your chest or tummy, whatever comes first.

How I lived back then was not o.k. it was far from it. Isolating myself from others so I could eat the way I had to, is hard to admit but it's only the tip of the iceberg of a FAT LIFE.

There is so much more. Stepping away from things my friends could do, pretending I didn't want to join them, because I knew I couldn't. 

With every pound I lose, I gain so much. I enjoy my newfound freedom a lot. Now I can mingle with our Employees and eat with them, without the fear of embarrassing myself. I am one of them...now I really am. 

Now we can join our friends this Labor Day weekend when they will have a BBQ on the river. I will float in an inner tube right beside my husband, and I hope I won't cry because that's also something I couldn't do for so many years. 

I said it once before. I wish I could bottle up the joy I feel and give it to everybody who is struggling just the way I did. 

The sky is the limit so it seems. I am only 3 pounds away from shattering the 200-ceiling and I cannot wait to see a "1" in front of my weight.

109.5 Pounds lost - Only 30.5 to go!

Patience Padawan!

My first bathing suit in decades!

Almost a year later, I sat on the beach again and looked around me. Things have changed a bit. I am not the beached whale anymore, now I am "just" overweight and people don't stare at me the way they used to. 

I am not hiding under a tunica anymore but enjoyed the water and the sun in a bathing suit and it felt surreal.

"Find the fat lady on the beach and lay right beside her, she will make you look slim," the old joke doesn't apply to me anymore. It's funny how invisible we become when we start to look like everybody else. Being overweight is normal, now I am just one of many.

I feel sexy in my bathing suit and that's something I thought would never happen. It comes with a little skirt, that I can attach if I want to and turns out I love it. I feel like a lady on the beach, not like a stranded whale. 

I almost left the store when I went shopping for my new beach outfit. The bright neon light in the fitting room had made me feel vulnerable. Can anybody dim the light, please? I wanted to shout. I felt like under a microscope and joked that they should give people a drink first, nobody should be forced to buy a bathing suit sober.

My body is changing and I try to adjust to it. The loose skin I feared so much is not as bad as I thought it would be. The girls are hanging in there but let's face it, I will be 60 in 7 years. I am not supposed to look like a model. 

I have carried and nursed children, I have weathered illnesses and life has left a scare or two -just the way it is supposed to. Perhaps my loose skin is just another trophy, earned by living.

I watched the people on the beach. Studied the active ones, admired some of them, felt sorry for others. 

In 7 years who will I be? Will I be the active, older lady walking on the beach, or will I go back to being THE FAT LADY, who sits in a chair reading a book? While reading is a big part of me, I have to make my fitness a big part of me as well. 

The "I HAVE TO" has to become something I will do without thinking about it. Just like the daily dishes or the laundry. Every day a 30-minute workout without a question, and without expecting an ATTA GIRL each and every time. 

I have finished Thai Chi, I am almost done with my beginner fencing class and I enjoy our belly dancing more than I can say. But I fear this all is not enough. I have to do more. I have to get my heart rate up to the maximum every day for at least 10 minutes, and I should be active every day for at least 30 minutes. 

I have to kick it up a notch and I will try to find workout routines that will stand for who I am. What I do has to fit into my everyday life. I have a new goal. I am going to be the active, older lady...period!

I can wear a bathing suit, and I don't look like a cartoon character, that's a miracle all by itself. 

108 lbs lost - Only 32 pounds to go!

Sunburned and happy!

Arms are growing - Feet are shrinking!

I am not kidding, I think my arms are growing.

I can put on shoes and socks with ease, and I can paint my toenails in every color known to man, as often as I find the time to do so. Life has gotten easier lately, and I notice every little change that comes with the weight loss.

Being fat is not easy. It's a constant struggle from morning to evening, even in the night, because it's hard to roll over, and getting up can be a hassle.

The little things that have been once so normal, become harder when you carry 100+ extra pounds around. Putting on socks, cleaning yourself, bending down or getting up, all of these simple things are hard work for an obese person. 

I know, I have been one. I started here morbidly obese and now I am just severe obese -with the goal to be just an average woman soon.

I make a joke about my growing arms and people around me don't always understand what I mean, and how could they? That's one of the things you have to live through, and I wouldn't wish it to my worst enemy. 

My arms can now reach the floor when I bend over, and I can easily reach the middle of my back. I don't have to use a grabber, I just bend down and pick up whatever life threw on the floor. 

I can reach areas on my body -well the diet fairy is blushing, so let's not talk about it.

I bend down straight, not sidewise anymore and now I don't need to wear my slip-on sneakers, because I can tie my shoes -without the fear of passing out. 

Even sitting or kneeling on the floor, is now possible, something I thought I could never do again. The other day I sat on the floor and emptied a kitchen cabinet and I am glad nobody was watching. I am certain that I smiled the whole time.

This year I could be found kneeling over our flower beds, pulling weeds by the truckload and it made me happy.  Pulling weeds is not my favorite thing to do, but the fact that I can do it again -is a special award. Perhaps next year I will call THE GUYS again, and they will make some extra money taking care of our yard, this year I opted out. I did it all -because I could. 

Perhaps I sound like a crazy woman, but I swear my shoes are getting bigger and some of them I can't wear anymore. I never heard about anybody losing a shoe size, but it seems to be happening.

There was fat on my toes and my feet, now its almost gone and what's left is a normal looking foot, that just doesn't want to live in an extra wide shoe. Imagine my husband's excitement when I told him I need to buy more shoes. Off to the donation box with the old ones, in with the new ones. Oh, life is good!

I am finding my way back into a normal, average life and it makes me sad when I think about all the times I struggled so hard because of my size and weight. 

106.5 lbs lost - only 33.5 lbs to go!

 

Hear me roar!

I started losing weight because I wanted to be able to enjoy the rest of my life without the restrictions, that morbidly obese people live with. I didn't want to be controlled by my weight and size any longer. For me it was never about a number on the scale or a dress size, it was about mobility and health.

I wanted to live a better life, and I wanted to silence my autoimmune disorder. Being able to move easier and with less pain, that was my goal and then everything changed and I changed with it.

Like so many other women in this beautiful country, I am one of them who have decided to do something. If you don't like it, change it and that's exactly what I am doing.

The kids are out of the house and have started their own families. My career is secure, my husband and I have trained each other well over the last 30 years, and we live a great, comfortable life together. I have some time to spear!

For the first time in my life, I decided to get involved in the community, even threw my name in the hat, willing to serve the public as a public servant. Nothing big, nothing fancy -just locally.

Life is full of surprises and I am one of them. I have started to take control of my life and now it seems to spread further and further. I am surprised by my own strengths, I feel unstoppable now and it feels good. I had been lazy and lame for too long.

"Arent' you afraid someone will show pictures of you, or will mention the weight you used to carry around?" and the question took me by surprise. Why would they, I wanted to reply but I stopped myself. Yes, THEY would.

How would I react then? What would I say? 

We live in times, where it seems to be acceptable for some, to point out other peoples shortcomings. We live in times, where it seems to be normal for some, to look down at people, and I hate it more than I can say.  Don't look up or down -look in my eyes and see me, deep inside. 

The thought that someone could point out my past weight and size, gave me shivers. To think someone would make publicly make fun of me, made me very upset. It would be too hurtful, I couldn't handle it, my skin is not thick enough.

Then I thought about it some more. Perhaps I shouldn't let it bother me but should laugh instead. "Look at me now and see what I can do when I am determined -and while we are at it, now show me what you have done?

Isn't that the truth? Look at us here at MFP, so many of us try to take control over our lives and so many of us succeed.  

Perhaps my biggest weakness is now my strengths? I will never be ashamed of my past and while I am not proud of the fat lady I created, I am mighty proud of me now. 

Yes, a tigress has been awakened, now hear me roar! 

I gained a pound back - 105 lbs lost - Only 35lbs to go!

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