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It takes a Village

It's not the first time I am trying to lose weight, but it is the first time I am doing it successfully so far. All the other times I had a plan, this time I don't have a clue.

There is not a diet out there that I haven't I tried. It started about 25 years ago with a diet that required us to eat fruits just like the stars in Hollywood. Of course, I tried it, and, of course, I failed. Back then it wasn't so dramatic; I had about 20 pounds to lose.

A few years later I ate cabbage soup until it came out of my ears.  Eat fewer carbs and more protein. Eat salads and fruits only in the morning. Don't eat after 4 pm. No sugar and fat-free and from there it went straight to a lifestyle that asked me to eat fatty food but took my daily bread away. 

Eat carbs only and wait at least three hours before you eat only protein. (You won't believe how long three hours can be.)

Then, of course, I too fell for the commercials and had food sent to my home. It looked (and tasted) like cardboard and left me hungry. Goodness, what is wrong with celebrities these days. If you make millions, for Heaven's sake hire a chef and let him cook and serve you delicious meals. It's not that complicated.

I went to meetings where calories became points, and I liked that for about two weeks. When I knew how to drink and snack my points away, that's when I left. I found a miracle juice that promised a 10-pound weight loss in three days and pills, powders, and shakes that promised similar results.

It was torture, and I admire everybody that can stick to any of these diet suggestions. Maybe it's just me, but it never worked for me. You tell me I can't have something and it leaves me wanting more of it. Every diet I tried left me wanting what I couldn't have. I lost weight, sometimes even 10 - 15 pounds and I always found it again -and then some. 

This time it's different. I can have it all. We are trying new foods and new recipes, and we both enjoy it. My husband, who doesn't have to lose weight, can eat all he wants and I limit myself to a healthy portion. I am never hungry.

I waste some of my calories on alcohol during the weekend, and a dirty Martini never tasted better. The 230 calories are the highlight of my weekend after a 50 hr. week. I counted gummy bears like a little kid; made sure I had all of the 30 bears I was allowed to have, and I enjoyed each one of them.

We buy vegetables we have never seen before and try food combinations that we didn't think were possible. Who knew a black bean burger could be that good? Who knew an artichoke and a lemon sauce would make me smile? It almost feels like I am retraining my taste butts. 

My husband jokes and calls our new lifestyle our luxury diet and perhaps he has a point. Our grocery bill went up since I started here at MFP; fresh and healthy food is more expensive- but on the other hand, our take-out bill shrunk to almost $0; it evens it out. 

I don't have a plan, and I am succeeding. The pounds are coming off, sometimes fast and sometimes slow.

Why do I succeed? Because I am here and I am with people just like me. We all fight together, and while we have different backgrounds, we all have the same goal. We want to be healthier, more active and lose weight.

The accountability here at MFP and the sharing part with a group of people, who start to feel like real friends, is the key for me. We are a small community inside a big community and we interact on a daily base. The good and the bad get shared merciless -we laugh and we shout, and we all learn from it.

Perhaps it's true, it does take a village. 

44 Pounds lost - 96 lbs to go!

Tough Love

"Be kind and gentle to yourself - Love yourself - You are beautiful!"

That's something I often read in the comment section of my blog. You all mean so well, and you seem to care about me and my well-being. I appreciate it very much - more than I can say.

The truth is, I have been too kind and gentle with myself; I allowed myself to go overboard with food and weight for so many years. There were no limits, no healthy boundaries. My priorities were screwed up. I thought about losing weight; I thought about eating healthier but walked in the opposite direction each and every time. I used every possible excuse known to man, and I forgave myself -often in advance. I was kind and gentle when I should have been blunt and brutal. 

I had a rude awakening, and I am brutally honest with myself ever since.

I am morbidly obese - I am out of shape - I am a heart attack waiting to happen and there is no more sugarcoating it. I have been asked not to use the word "morbidly obese,” but I cannot do that  -it is what it is. I take pictures of myself every two weeks and while I am able to see a little bit of progress, I still see the whole picture as well, and it's not pretty. It makes my eyes sweat, and I wonder how I ended up like this. 

I am very big and while I think I am beautiful inside, I am not beautiful outside. "Big is beautiful" and all the other nonsense they tell us, I fell for all those lies -believed them, because it made everything so much easier.

I don't like the way I look like right now. I am not talking about my eyes or my face. I have some pretty cute features hidden somewhere under a few layers of fat. People are stunned when they hear my age. "Hardly a wrinkle in your face," they say and they are right. Fat doesn't wrinkle much. 

The wonderful man I am married to loves me unconditionally, the way I love him. Nevertheless, lately, I can see the pride in his eyes when he looks at me, something that I haven't seen in years. He loves to see me fight for my health and I assume he can't wait to see the end result. How much nicer it will be, to go out with a woman, who will fit in a booth seat. How much nicer it will be to go out with a wife, who won't hide under a tent. He wants the "old" me back, I know that, even though he would never say it. I will thank him for that at the end of my journey. 

I do love myself. I love the woman I have become. That's the one thing that's beautiful about aging. We accept who we are and we learn to love ourselves with all our weaknesses and flaws. 

And while I believe in love, I also believe in TOUGH LOVE and that's what I need the most right now. The same tough love we show our kids when we fear they might get into trouble.

I know there will be days when I will jump into the calories head first, that's just the way it is. The difference is, I will not longer give myself a permission slip to do so on a daily base. I cannot allow myself to fail. I don't think I have another "restart" in me. This is it!

Sometimes I feel like I am walking in a mind field. One bad step and all can be over. I see people here disappear left and right. Today they are here, they are enthusiastic and full of plans; the next day they are gone. Some come back, they stay for a few days then they leave again. I have been there, I have done that. No more!

I need to hold myself accountable each and every day.

Tough love Babe, get used to it! 

43 pounds lost - 97 to go!

Viva Scale!

Last week's weigh-in was not a success. I stepped on the scale, and for the first time in 150 days, it didn't show a weight loss. I felt disappointed, stood there, butt naked in all my glory in the bathroom and started an argument with our new, digital scale.

"This is not what I bought you for," I mumbled and stepped on it again -just to make sure everything was alright. Perhaps the ground was uneven, that had happened before. Surely, the reading couldn't be right. Instead of a weight loss, it showed that I had gained a pound. "Do your job," I warned the scale but nothing changed.

It took me by surprise. I am doing everything right. I eat mostly in my calorie limit. How the heck did the weight gain happen? "What is this scale thinking?"

I bet it was the Chinese buffet. I had been so careful. I had chosen only the healthy dishes, even tried their tasteless salad, but somehow a pound had managed to smuggle itself back on my hips. If it wasn't the Chinese buffet, then it was the fish, or maybe the second Dirty Martini a few days before that. 

I started my daily morning routine thinking about the scale, and the number I had seen. How interesting. For almost 10 years I didn't care about the scale at all. I knew it was there; I moved it and cleaned it but avoided close contact. Deep down I knew what it would show, and I didn't want to deal with it. 

Now all of a sudden, the scale and I are best friends. I step on it frequently, and I am always delighted to see the results. I haven't named our scale yet -but I fear that's the next step in our relationship and only a question of time. 

I thought about the weight gain, the food, and played the number game in my head. "If I eat less than usual today, perhaps..." 

Then all of a sudden dark thoughts moved in and took over. "Obviously, I had already screwed up. Why don't I just continue to eat what I want for a few days and then go back to my new, healthy lifestyle? Nobody would care. Give yourself a break, girl."

I gained one pound. What a perfect excuse it is. How easy and how tempting it sounded. "Eat a few burgers or a gallon of ice cream. Enjoy life and then start all over again," the voice in my head was pretty persistent.

A break – a few cheating days –falling off the wagon, it all comes down to the same thing. I would choose to walk away from a good thing. I would do that knowingly; it doesn't happen by accident -not anymore.

Just a few months back I would have given in, there is no doubt in my mind but the new, rebellions me -the one who wants to lose the weight so badly- she didn't give in. 

I snapped out of it fairly quickly. I decided that my 1-pound weight gain didn't matter; there was no reason to over think it. Setbacks are -and always will be- a part of life. 

This beautiful, new scale in the bathroom is a guide, a tool that I should use on my journey. I will not be overly obsessed with it, but I will never EVER ignore it the way I did for so many years either.

Tomorrow is another weigh in, and I hope the scale does its job. :-)

41 pounds lost

A good day to be a good day

"A fat lady enters the plus size store and asks for workout clothes." That sounds almost like a joke, doesn't it? Well, I suppose life writes the best jokes because that's exactly what happened.

I started to plan my future workout routine. By the end of the month, my doctor should allow me to work out. I feel fine, my injury has healed, and I almost reached the goal weight (250 lbs) that my doctor recommended. I try to get myself mentally ready for the next big step. I know it won't be easy. My new, used Elliptic Trainer is waiting for me in the garage, the treadmill has been freed of all the stuff it was buried under.

I wondered what I would wear. I have sweatpants and shirts hidden away in my dresser, but they don't fit since years.  I hate to waste money and buy clothes that will fit me now but will be too wide in a few months. 

I got a flyer from the plus size store. They offered a 75% BOGO deal that nobody can resist. It's a bribe that works on me each and every time.

I parked, walked in and the manager greeted me like her best friend. She knows me and my taste, and she didn't waste any time and told me about all the new summer wardrobe that had come in, all of it, of course, would be just so perfect for me.

She looked at me funny when I told her that I wanted to buy athletic clothing to work out with. That was a first, and I couldn't help but grin myself. She pointed me in the right direction, and we both walked to the very back of the store. Of course, they are hidden in the very back and not displayed in the window or at the entry. People of my size and my weight are not supposed to exercise, that's why we shop at the plus size store to begin with.

Morbidly obese people and athletic clothing, that's almost an oxymoron! 

The manager left me and greeted another customer, almost like I wasn't worth the trouble anymore. I entertained myself and looked through the different racks. I know I will be sweating bullets when I start moving around, the 75% BOGO deal came in handy. 

I bought me three workout outfits, this way I won't have to do laundry every day. The athletic capris are "only" a 1X, the tops are still a 2X.

Surprisingly enough, I did not choose the dark colors, as I normally would. No, I went to the bright colors, picked a neon pink top and a bright blue one with matching capris. All of it will match with my crazy, funny tennis shoes, the ones I bought when I hit the 30-pound weight loss mark. I am going down with style. :-)

When I walked to the register, I saw a t-shirt with a print. "Today is a good day to be a good day," it said and I smiled and nodded. I have a lot of good days lately. I feel a happiness in me that is hard to explain. Perhaps I start to feel confident.  

I am not fooling myself. I know working out will be hard and painful, perhaps even humiliating after so many years of being almost immobile. 

I think I am getting antsy to move. Isn't that something?

42 pounds lost 

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