Friday, June 25, 2010

Be careful what you wish for....

This weekend is a quick get away to the NC shore with my friend Kaye. I love the beach, I love the water, and being so far from the ocean is definitely one of the downsides of living in the midwest. I realized tonight this is the first time I have been to the beach (here in the US) since I started working with Gui and losing weight. It was amazing to me how different it was from my trip to Hawaii a couple years ago. That trip was so limited by my lack of ability to walk, the weakness in my right side, trying to get my body to cooperate, and my size. Today it was a piece of cake to walk across the beach, and without a worry or thought. It still strikes me every time I do something like that, I am far from taking it for granted and hope I never do!

In addition to enjoying a dear friend and the beach on this trip, I had set another goal for myself, to try to work out with another trainer. It's the first time I have worked with someone outside of my home club (Lifetime Fitness in Eagan, MN) and more importantly someone who hadn't worked with me from the beginning and knew my original limitations. It was a challenge both physically and mentally. I wanted to move outside my comfort zone of those I know and trust and also to see if I could physically manage the session.

I decided to work with "Murdering Meredith" she is the previous trainer of a friend and I felt it was a comfortable choice because she was a known entity but still allowed me to step outside my comfort zone.

I am really proud of myself to say I made it through most all of what she asked of me. There were two exercises that I really couldn't complete as she had planned, but other than that I did much much better than I expected. It was a nice measure of how far I have come. She lived up to her nickname quite well and kicked my butt, she definitely wasn't going easy on me, but I held my own and it made me really proud of the progress I have made! I'm really glad I challenged myself with this!

But what amazed me more than my accomplishment in the session was the unexpected lesson I came out of it with. I have never made a secret on here that Gui, while a top notch trainer, can sometimes be a challenge for me. He is a tough nut and not what one might term sensitive or sympathetic most days...he tells it like it is and calls me out on things when I try to find the easy way out. And for a while I have been wondering if that really worked for me or if I should be looking for a trainer with a "softer side". I now know that answer. Meredith was definitely that softer side trainer...supportive, calm and sweet. And the reality is...being paired with Gui is definitely much more my style. For as good a workout as I got with Meredith and as great a trainer as I found her to be, today made me come to re-appreciate the way Gui pushes me past what I want to do, how he kicks me in the butt when I need or deserve it and how hard he makes it on me at times.

The entire experience was a nice reaffirmation of how far I have come and what I need to have/do to keep moving forward.

Thanks MM for the awesome workout today and thanks Gui for getting me to here!!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I wanna talk about me...

I never got it, why when you are considering gastric bypass surgery you have to go through a six month preparation before they will do the surgery. Why there were required support groups, therapy sessions and other steps to help prepare mentally for what is to come. I truly believed that losing weight was a physical undertaking, that once you reprogrammed yourself to like working out and once you overcame the food issues (whether that be cutting back or in my case learning to eat more) it would be smooth sailing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The physical is such a small part of this, and in hindsight the easy part.

The emotional side of losing weight, particularly if you are trying to lose a large amount of weight, is what no one prepares you for, it is what so few talk about and it is like no other place I have been in my life before. As a child who grew up in an abusive home and a young adult who fought through a rare chronic illness I am used to powerful emotions. I have fought clinical depression (to the point of needing inpatient treatment during the worst days with PTC), I have done the therapy thing, I know what it feels like to hurt. But this isn’t that. This is not a depression issue, this is emotions I have never had to wrestle before. And to be quite honest, I am not so sure most days exactly how to manage them.

I feel like I am on the world’s tallest, fastest, longest roller coaster and despite those around me who try to help, I feel at times like I have gotten on the ride alone. I can easily swing in a moment from being ecstatically happy over a great workout, or being able to wear something I couldn’t a week ago, or being able to use a tampon for the first time in 4 years (sorry to my male readers, that was today’s newest accomplishment and a BIG deal for me) to being totally crushed by having gained a couple pounds, or feeling incompetent in the gym or someone in my life not noticing a change. I feel like there is very little neutral ground in between, and I miss that stability.

And on top of the wild ups and downs, I feel like I have no clue who I am most days. I make a lot of jokes about it. About dressing different or eating differently or whatever, because sarcasm and jokes are how I hide what is inside and protect myself. But what I really mean is I don’t know who I am anymore at my core. Most of the things I thought about myself are changing, or maybe weren’t even true to start with. I look in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself physically or otherwise. Things that seemed to matter before don’t, things I never cared about do, my likes and dislikes have all changed (and keep changing) and my goals for my life and who I want to be seem to be in transition also. I feel like a stranger in my own life a lot of the time!

I was puzzled a week ago when my trainer said he was worried about me giving up because of the emotional side of all this, that he had seen it before and was concerned. It made no sense at the time. Why would anyone bail on losing weight because of their emotions, but today I get it. And he was right…it is a risk. I am at the point of saying “stop the ride I want to get off” and it isn’t because I can’t do the workouts, when I put my head in the game they aren’t so bad. And it isn’t even over food, I am working on getting some additional help with that. It is purely a matter of emotional exhaustion…good and bad. It is confusion, frustration, fear, and a general sense of being lost.

I keep trying to think how to explain the emotions to others but finding the words is the hard part. Finding words seems to be a lot of my problem in general these days. Part of what I am coming to realize, slowly, is that I am causing a lot of the feelings by how I communicate (or don’t as the case may be). I posted a couple days ago about not easily letting people in, this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue the more weight I lose. It is impacting my training, it is impacting my commitment to this journey and I fear if I don’t solve this in short order it will start impacting my weight loss and sabotage all that I have accomplished. Because the more confused and lost I become, the farther I am pushing out even those who I let in in the beginning.

It seems VERY odd for me to say I am at a loss for words. Very few who know me would believe it. Most people usually hope I’ll just shut up *smile* and I feel more now than ever I talk about myself too much, but what I am talking about being a problem is going beyond the surfacy chit chat. I am talking about finding the words to talk about where my heart and head are, and that is my current challenge. Even with those closest to me, I can say at some high level (what we call at work the 10,000 foot view) that I am upset or frustrated or happy or whatever, but to go any lower than that I just clam up. I don’t know how to even start the conversation most days, and when others do I quickly manage to change the subject. And I know all of that is about fear more than anything.

Fear of putting my heart out there and how will others react. Will they get mad, will they laugh, will they think less of me and walk away. I don’t know how to undo the reactions of the past that run through my head. I hate to sound like I am putting blame on my parents, I am an adult, I am past doing that. But I can’t say that their reactions when I would try to talk about how I felt growing up aren’t a big part of this. I can’t once in my life ever remember having a serious emotional talk with either of my parents. I don’t remember it once with anyone growing up as a matter of fact. It just wasn’t something I was ever learned how to do. And those few times that I would let my parents see my emotions, the response was typically to “get over it” or my favorite line of my mother’s “if you don’t stop crying I will give you something to cry about”. Heart to hearts didn’t happen in our home, and I learned very early on to protect how I feel and think because once put out there it was often used as a weapon later on. I look back now and realize it is why my brother turned to writing poetry and why I prefer writing to talking, it was safer to put your heart on paper than to put it out where it could be hurt.

I think the first time I remember any kind of heart to heart talks was with a dear friend in college, and I very quickly realized I didn’t know how to talk about my feelings. I took to note writing and then email once that became an option. It provided a safety net, a way to think through what I wanted to say and make sure it didn’t sound stupid. I also didn’t have to worry about the reaction on the other person’s face. If they laughed at me I couldn’t see it, if they thought I was dumb I didn’t have to see that either. Or worst of all, if it upset them I didn’t have to know how to handle that. It’s why I started this blog, as a way to share where I was at, but not have to say it to anyone. Because the minute I try to talk about it, I find myself going back to that high level, it’s all good reaction.

Until a week ago I didn’t see this as a problem. But it is now becoming a huge one, both for me and those trying to help me with my weight loss, to the point it is threatening my relationship with my trainer and putting all I have done in jeopardy. And as much as I can see the problem and the potential repercussions, I genuinely don’t know now how to get past it. How do you learn to say what you don’t even understand enough to put into words and what you so fear others reactions to? How do you look someone in the face and become that vulnerable after protecting yourself for 4 decades from admitting that you feel scared, confused, unsure of yourself and at times very out of control? How do you learn to trust that those you tell will treat that information with respect, privacy and not later use it against you? And most importantly how do you learn to do it in a heartbeat before you lose the people who you are trying to tell in the first place?

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Some of these got posted on Facebook, but since not everyone is on there, I am posting here also. I have to admit there is another one (full length in the bathing suit) I am just not ready to share yet.

This is my new hair photo....after 10 years of completely the same hair style, color, everything I decided yesterday to take another step in my evolution....I love it (and it is much more different in person than it seems in the pictures)...

Now some comparisons....

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ignore the woman behind the curtain.......even when it's me.....

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror,
I'm asking him to change his ways,
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself,
Then make that change" Michael Jackson

When I reconnected a couple months ago with friends I grew up with, one of the things we talked about the most was how all the families in our home town were so good at hiding what was really going on at home. How teachers didn't know in many cases that children were being abused, that many of our class mates had no clue what was going on behind closed doors. It was an incredibly dysfunctional town that on the surface looked like Mayberry!

My parents were the best of the best at pretending things weren't what they truly were. My father was a deacon in the church, refereed little league and softball and yet was abusing his family at home. My mother worked at the school, attending every event going on in the community and yet was incapable of being a loving, supportive parent and allowed my father to do the horrible things he did.

I will never forget as long as I live the great ease my mother could transition from screaming at us full tilt to picking up the phone with when it rang (mid scream) and all of a sudden becoming the most sweetest sounding person in the world. It used to infuriate me. And she could go back to hysterics the minute the receiver was back in the cradle.

One of my dearest friends growing up used to call my family "The Waltons in Libya" because from the outside we had the most idyllic looking life...the house, the pool, the cars, the money, three very smart children, involved in everything around town, but once you were in our home more than a couple times it became clear it was only appearances, that bad things were happening. But we all did so well covering for the world!

It wasn't until the last 24 hours that I realized just how much of that I have inherited and how good I have become at hiding. I have always known I was careful about who I let in, but I am coming to see now that even those I thought I was letting in probably weren't getting far.

The last 24 hours have been incredibly draining on me, I feel very raw and unsure what to do with all this that has been opened up, but as I said yesterday I don't regret having gone here. It is a growth experience I needed, and I fear shutting it back down before I have fully dealt with it (another of my great skills...pretend I have it figured out, that I am good with it, and move on).

As I have started to really examine who I am, I am realizing there are at least three levels to me...

1) What the world gets...
This is the "cards up on the table" blunt Pam. This is the work horse, problem solver, solution finder who can handle it all. This side is analytical, to the point, confident and capable. This is also the sarcastic, smart, sharp witted person who can handle any situation life throws my way. This part of me is perfectly fine with being alone, of handling it all and never shys away from a challenge or a puzzle. It is also fiercely protective of my friends, loyal, determined and would do anything for anyone. This part of me is also the perfectionist, and incredibly critical and demanding of those around me. This is the "little less talk and a lot more action" part of myself. The part who is often misperceived as bitchy, self centered, a know it all and narcissistic.

2) What those I let in get...
This is definitely a softer version of the above. Still fiercely loyal and protective of those I care about, probably even more so than the day to day part. I would die for my friends if I had to at this level. This part of me is very sensitive, sentimental and wants to cure the world. I want to make it better for everyone else at this level. Some insecurity and emotion exists at this level, but it is kept in check as best I can. I can be sappy and all that, but when the emotional stuff is about me it is limited. I would say this is the level I write the blog at most of the time. This is also where I keep most of being hurt or let down in life. It is where I put my failures and what I perceive as being slighted by those around me. My expectations of others is lower when I am at this place (I am more open to them being human also) but I still get hurt here, and that hurt is a lot more personal, because it is by people I have let get closer to me.

Until yesterday I really thought that was about it. That I had those two parts of my personality.  I am starting to see that probably isn't the case. That there is another deeper part of me that I try to hide from myself as much as I try to hide it from others. And that a lot of the stress and fear I feel lately is because a couple people in my life keep moving close to crossing the boundary between what I want them to see and what I don't even want to see. That when I am told "you go so far and then you shut down" by my friends that this is that wall we are hitting.

3) The part of me I wish wasn't...
This is the part I do all I can to pretend isn't part of me - to myself as well as the outside world. The part I fear people will discover and abandon me over. This part of me is insecure, emotional, scared, needy and quite often lonely. It is also controlling (a huge lesson from yesterday) and hard to satisfy (things I used to think were coming from what the world does see level). It is where the tears live and a lot of the baggage from my childhood, from my years fighting PTC and as I am learning slowly, where a lot of the weight and food issues, come from. It is the part of me that takes over when I am overwhelmed and that I usually curl up on the couch to hide from.

It is also the part of me I fear being unable to keep in check. I was asked yesterday why I have such a hard time letting others see me get upset (no crying rules apply!). I didn't have the answer then, but as I am writing this I am "getting it". It is because crying means this part of me exists, and I fear once that is open to someone I won't be able to hide it again!

It is the part of me that has never really found my place in the world and is struggling so hard right now. Because one of the realities I was not ready to face until yesterday (ok wasn't ready to face even then but had shoved in my face by someone trying to show he cared) is that the more weight I am losing the harder it is to hide this part of me - which is why I feel so emotional at times lately. That my weight, and food, was helping me hide this part of me and that is working less and less now. And also that this part of me is also getting in the way more and more with me making progress on the changes I am trying to make to my life. That this is that part of me who also sabotages the rest.

Its kind of (ironically) funny to me, that I spent the better part of 5 years in therapy (back in the 90's), sometimes multiple times a week, worked with at least 5 different therapists in that time (at least one of which I would consider world class) and I end up feeling like I know more about myself after one stupid conversation at a picnic table than I did after all that. Particularly since it was a conversation I did everything in my power to end.

The greatest irony is I spent a lot of that conversation telling this person he had no right or reason to help me. That it wasn't his job or his problem. It is only in hindsight that I "get it" that those were my last ditch attempts at protecting this part of myself from an invasion I wasn't ready for. That I am still not sure I am ready for, but feel like I have little choice about now. That the only way to face this is to let others in to help me. That it is too much for me to go into alone.

I have said before that people cross our path for a reason, I have always tried to control that reason or the boundaries on it. Maybe this time I don't get that decision, as I feel like it was already made for me. And that TERRIFIES me!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Control...fear...talking and a long hard look in the mirror....

This day in no way has gone the way it was supposed to. This was supposed to be a really easy day...paperwork and catch up at work, a good workout with Gui and just a recovery day. Well that sure wasn't the outcome. I got a late start on the morning which put me behind on paperwork and then I got to the gym and the topics got heavy right away. It needed to happen, but I didn't handle it well. We ended up talking more than working out and it left me drained. I ended up stewing on it while doing more paperwork and then had a long long talk with a friend who helped me sort it all out. In between a lot of tears...of frustration and fear.

It was a hard day, but I have to admit I learned a lot about myself today and don't regret either conversation at all.

The big topic in it all was my need to protect myself and not let people very far in. I am slightly better about things when it comes to writing, which is why I can share to the extent I do here on the blog, where it is "safer" and I can edit and re-edit my thoughts before they come out, but it is still scary for me and there is part of me I still keep hidden. And if I am totally honest I have even retreated from my level of disclosure on here in the last couple months. I have let things get much more surfacy than they were, because I was afraid of how people were reacting to what I was sharing.

It is going to sounds so incredibly stupid, but my greatest fear in life is that once people get to know me, truly know what is inside, they will decide they don't like what they see and take off. That since most people only see the top layer and are ok with that, that letting any more than that out is not safe.  And for those few who do get further, as soon as anyone starts to dissect who I am, what that inside is all about or criticize it, I start pushing them back out to protect myself. More protection mode.

Another thing that became crystal clear to me today (not something new to me) is I tend to have very high expectations of the people I let in, partially because I expect so much from myself and transfer those expectations to those around me and also because I look for any reason to close out those people I have let in to protect myself. If I set the bar high enough for them, usually at a point no one can reach, I can find a reason to get rid of them before they leave me. Again my need to control and protect!

Protection from being left or hurt is so much of this for me! More than I let myself realize. I have mentioned before, I work very hard, too hard it seems, to make sure no one is needed in my life. I have people I love and people around me, but they are there to the point I want them there, not to where I need them. And if they cross that line I close them back out. I have spent a long long time making sure no one in my world was important enough to my life that if they walked away I couldn't handle it. I'll spare you the psychology of how I got here, but this is definitely rooted in growing up with a mother who felt trapped with a man she didnt love because she wasn't capable of handling life on her own and my vow never to be her! Yet in ways I have ended up just as lonely as she was by keeping everyone at arms distance.

One of the scariest things about this journey, which I have blogged about before, is that I do feel it is something where I NEED help and that terrifies me. It goes against everything I believe in and I have worked very hard to make sure I hold the reigns on what help  they can give me. Control!

But I very slowly coming to accept (thanks MK) is that I need to not be the one to decide what that help I get entails. That I hired professionals to help me, and I don't get to be the one who sets the boundaries on what they can and can't help with. I need to let go of that control.

It is easy to say that, but it is harder to understand how I do that. Especially since trainers change jobs so often or even change careers totally. Most of my friends are on their second trainer at least. That notion makes it very hard for me to let Gui in to the extent I probably should...ok that I know I should after today. I realize nothing in the world is forever, but again, I have worked very hard to protect myself, to make sure if/when he moves on I am not left with anything I can't handle. But today's lesson is that that is coming at the expense of making progress now. Yet I am really clueless how to not think that way.

That seems to be my biggest problem on all this, that even though I can sit here and say I need to let down my walls, I need to stop trying to be in control, I need to drop my unreasonable expectations of people around me. I have not the first clue how one even does that! It seems as foreign to me as if I needed to do quantum physics at this point (actually the physics would be easier for me).

I said when I first started this blog, I had no clue what I was getting into on this journey, that I thought when I started it was all about losing weight. I meant it when I said it, but I relearned today how little I knew about where this would go, or even how much I know at this point about where I am going.. That this really isn't about losing weight, it is about taking down all the things I was using to protect myself, to hide from the world with, and that my weight was just one of the items in that arsenal.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The scale made me cry today....

I have always dreaded going to the doctor. I know it is usually going to come with a lecture about my weight. I particularly have always dreaded the scale. That has definitely changed in the last year.

I have a really sweet doctor who from the first time she met me, even before I started losing, has been really understanding about my weight challenges and has always felt that I wasn't eating enough to weigh what I did. A conversation I initiated with her last May about gastric bypass surgery is what started me on this journey. She has been a great supporter through my weight loss and has been willing to do any testing, referrals or provide help I have needed. So I was looking forward to seeing her today, my last appt was in March and at the time I was at 275 lbs.

The reason I was scheduled today is I have been fighting really REALLY bad dizzy spells, especially when standing up or bending over. The last 4 or 5 days the dizziness has been accompanied by nausea and vomiting, so I gave in and called.

It turns out that I am getting too healthy *smile*. The dizziness is from my blood pressure being too low. We had already removed one BP medication in March, but today she reduced the only remaining one by 50%. It was awesome to see my body becoming more and more normal and healthier.

But the best part was the scale results.....I am not sure who was more excited, me or the dr. I weighed in at 249 lbs. That is 89 lbs less than May 09 on her scale. She just kept saying "look at that, just look at that" and pointing to the weight records on her computer. I was having a hard time seeing it because of the tears in my eyes. That is a number I NEVER thought was even possible for me, one I had dreamed of for a while. I don't get why being below 250 is and was such a big deal for me, it is still INCREDIBLY over weight, but that number...250 just feels like a dividing line, between something socially acceptable and something unacceptable. It is the number that you see on all the weight limitations...on furniture, on rides, on everything.

The funny part of crying over this, is that I know when Gui weighs me this week I will be back over 250 (his scale is a few pounds higher than the doctor's) but yet I see just seeing that number, knowing I...WE....have accomplished something I never thought possible for me to reach was overwhelming. I never dreamed when I started this journey I could get to this point, let alone this fast.

Gui's reaction to the number was more....careful (yeah that is the word I will use) as I lost a little faster this past week than is really healthy (we try to stay under 2 lbs a week) but I still have to say TB, despite your hesitation on this, I hope you know how grateful I am to you for helping me get to here, for tolerating the roller coaster that working with me is, for caring in your own harsh ways *smile*, for kicking my butt when I give up, for always making me do "one more" and for believing this could happen long before I did. From day 1 you told me we could get here (and beyond). I didn't believe you, not sure I did until it happened today, but thank you for keeping the faith I didn't have in me!

Eleven more pounds to the 100 seems surreal to even say!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A request from my update on my workouts...

"I never asked for nothin I don't demand of myself
Honesty, loyalty, friends and then wealth
Death before dishonor and I tell you what else
I tighten my belt 'fore I beg for help
Foolish pride is what held me together through the years
I wasn't felt which is why I ain't never played myself
I just play the hand I'm dealt, I can't say I've never knelt
before God and asked for better cards at times to no avail
But I never sat back feelin sorry for myself
If you don't give me heaven I'll raise hell
'Til it's heaven - Jay Z (and sent to me by Thom, thanks kiddo, glad someone gets what makes me tick!)"

My brother Thom posted a comment on the blog yesterday... "hey, could you post a sample of your workout routine for us to get a sense of what you are doing at this point please. -Thom ". Happy to oblige, but before I do let me brag on my brother a little.

First of all, my full confession, I spent my entire childhood jealous of him and his metabolism. He could, and did, eat everything and anything and never gained an ounce. He was tall, thin and didn't have to work at it at all. As a fat girl who only had to look at food to gain weight it was maddening.

Unfortunately for him, as he has "matured" he has joined the real world with the rest of us and now has to work at his keeping himself in shape. He runs (daily?) and has recently dropped 42 lbs himself...going from 236 lbs-194 lbs. I am proud of you little brother!!!! For that and soooooooooooo many other things!!!!

PS..hey Gui, we have a new goal for the list..weigh less FINALLY than Thom (did I mention I am competitive too *grin*).

You can probably tell by reading this that Thom is the family member I have always felt the closest to. I was noticing yesterday on Facebook that he got a new had me thinking of our front yard and watching him learn to ride the first time *smile*.

Ok I'll stop having my moment and answer the question.

My workouts have really been a pretty constant pattern from day 1. Three days a week (when possible) with the trainer and 3 days a week of cardio. At my very first meeting with Gui he drew me this cute little diagram about needing to balance food, cardio and strength work and that has been the model from the beginning.

My trainer time is a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill and then 55 minutes of strength/weight/resistance work. Gui changes the focus regularly, but the major groupings have been pretty much heavy weight (which I LOOOVVVEEE and my body tends to respond well to) and endurance (which I hate). Most sessions are a variety of all muscle groups, but if we are doing back to back sessions we will divide them into upper and lower body days. Exactly which machines/exercises we do changes every session. It is one of the things I really like working with Gui, not only do I not get bored doing the same thing over and over, but it keeps my body from getting used to anything.

My cardio in the last 4 months has centered around swimming (although Gui would prefer if I brought more treadmill or elliptical back in). I love to swim and it is just where I feel the best. Right now I am trying to do a mile at a time, but  my cardio goal is about 45 minutes long. I do have a heart monitor (don't like it though) and have some zone defined workouts I should do more of, but I have to admit they are not something I enjoy (they are for the treadmill).

I know I have put all these things in the blog a while ago, but I thought it might be adding some tips/things I have learned about working out.

1. You CAN over workout, especially if you are not eating enough. I hit a plateau back in March because I was doing double workouts and burning too many calories. That was the point that we put my workouts at a 6 a week, 45 minute a day limit, and as much as I was annoyed at the rule originally, it has worked.

2. Seriously consider working with a professional. Having someone who can see when it is time to change things up is invaluable. Trainers are not just for the super fit and the super athletic. I have no doubt I would not be sitting here blogging this if I hadn't met Gui.

Working with a trainer is NOT cheap (I consider it an investment) but there are cheaper alternatives, such as group training or things like the "my coach" program through lifetime fitness where you meet with a trainer only sporadically to put a plan together and then execute it on your own. Doing this on your own only works so long.

3. The single best piece of advice Gui has ever given me, and YES when he said it I wanted to throttle him, but as usual he was right, was that deciding whether I was going to work out any given day can not be made sitting at home. It is too easy home on the couch to say "I am too tired, too busy, don't feel like it". We made an agreement in April that I would at least walk in the door at the gym, if I then decided I didn't want to work out, I could leave and neither of us would fret it (or at least he wouldn't say he was fretting it *grin*). This has kept me moving on days I totally didn't want to deal with it, and I have never regretted doing a workout afterwards.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Think I am finally starting to lose some of my brain fat......

I am almost afraid to say this out loud because the minute I do I will have a slip backwards and lose the optimism I am feeling today. But I am going to chance it and say it anyway.

I think my brain is FINALLY starting to catch up with what is going on with my body and really internalize all I have accomplished in the last 7 months! I feel like I am finally starting to see what has changed in my body and all the hard work I have put it, it no longer feels so foreign and fake and I don't feel as much any more like I am conning myself and the world by embracing this.

I am not sure what has change that got me here, but I am noting three things in the last week that lead me to this realization...

1. Shopping is starting to be less of an insane adventure.

Now this is partially because I have been taking people with me who make sure I don't go too far astray. But I am also finding I am feeling less and less of the need to try on 5 sizes first before getting to what I really am. Tonight I bought a bathing suit for an upcoming shore visit and got it on the first one! Yes the one in the picture, and we won't even go into how far out of my comfort zone the pattern is...LOL

It has finally sunk in to me how much smaller my clothes are, and it brought me to tears tonight (happy tears), over the bathing suit and the pants I bought. I have mentioned the black dress pant issue before...when I started all this I was wearing a Plus size 12!!!! Tonight I bought the same exact a SIZE 3...a THREE. That is TEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 10 people...T-E-N...sizes smaller in just over 7 months!!!!! Then to top it off I bought a bathing suit. Now in March I tried on a suit at this same store. At that point a 26 wouldn't even fit right, today, I bought an 18 and it fit easily...that is FIVE....5....FIVE!!!!!!!!!! sizes different in 3 months. It astonishes me!

2. I find myself telling more and more people how much I have lost and believing it when I say it.

While my friends have all known, I have really hesitated to tell people I don't know, such as when I am shopping. More often than not the people I am with share it before I do. But I am finding it easier and easier to say and believe, I have lost nearly 90 lbs.

I actually let myself say to a friend tonight the one thing I have been thinking this week but refused to say out loud...I am closing in on having lost 100 lbs. That threshold finally feels doable to me, not just some crazy unrealistic day dream!

3. I am finally seeing in my body what others have pointed out but I just couldn't see.

Not only the weight loss itself, but the other changes...the muscles, the bones, the other things. I was with a friend earlier this week and she pointed out how fit I looked, and I really didn't get it, but throughout this week I have. I seem to notice more and more that I can feel the definition of muscles when I run my hand over my leg, that when I am laying down I can actually tell where my ribs are, that I can see some shape in my face.

I swear I probably look like a newborn does when they discover their feet, the way I keep staring stupidly at body parts. But for the first time I really feel like I might be "getting it".

Again today I was comfortable changing in the locker room and didn't even consider running to do it in a bathroom stall. It felt like I fit there, and that fact that I have done that twice now at the Lakeville club, something I have yet even do at Eagan, tells me that is more than a fluke.

Oh and I also made a decision this week, I am no longer measuring my weight loss on two numbers...the before the trainer starting point (338) and the with the trainer starting point (311). I am just using the 338 number, and Gui gets credit for all the loss, not just what has been since I started training. No he wasn't there when I lose the first 27, but here is the reality. If I hadn't been working with him, if he hadn't be there to put me back together every time I lose my mind and fall off (no under...) the wagon, i would have long ago put that 27 back on (plus probably more). This is one journey, one set of numbers and that is what I am focusing on!

i really wish I understood what happened this week that finally has this sinking in. But I am doing my best to just enjoy it and not over think it til I talk myself out of it, which would be my normal way of managing this. Instead I am ready to embrace it. I had a great workout today, I had a great shopping trip with one friend, dinner with another, and life just feels like it is where it should be! And not having felt that in a long time, I am happy to just be where I am!!!!!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Glass half full...

This is a post I had told myself yesterday while swimming I should write, but I got busy and like too many other things, the noise of life got in the way. A conversation today with a friend reminded me I needed to get back to this.

I have a lot in my life to be proud and happy about...a great job, a great home, good friends.......yet I have a tendency to get caught up in what isn't going right and to then get myself all tweaked over it....often turning something simple into much more than it deserves. It is one of my more self destructive behaviors and one I have definitely slipped back into in the last few months. For my own sanity and the sanity of those around me, I have to get back to focusing on the good and the positive in my life!!!!

So my new goal is that on the days when life seems the most chaotic and out of control I will make myself blog at least one positive thing that happened that day!!!

So here are yesterday's...

1. Swam a mile outdoors in the rain
2. Got to talk to Laura in Israel and see more pics of her new baby
3. Forced myself to change for the first time in the lockerroom at the club and not run and do it in the bathroom or a changing room, and no one ran screaming *smile*
4. Identified a whole new bunch of shirts (that I just bought) that are going back because they are already too big


1. A phone call I totally didn't want to answer (whhhhaaattttt? probably isnt the best greeting btw when you pick up the phone *smile*) ended up helping way more than I expected
2. My upgrade cleared on my flight home
3. I am getting home to my own bed  and my furbies one night earlier than expected
4. My client was really understanding about needing to cancel today
5. I have "blunt" people in my life who put me back in my place when I get out of sorts, and sometimes they even do it because they care! 
6. I was honest with someone about them hurting/upsetting me and it ended with a laugh not the drama I was imaginging would ensue!
7. I am not the one stuck ruining my nails by doing three days of manual labor (*grin* threw that in just for you...and you know who you are)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Broadsided by caring from left field....

"Sent: Tuesday, June 08, 2010 4:30 PM
Subject: RE: Training schedule

Okay - thanks, John. I'll let you know ASAP tomorrow. The off-site facility is available no matter which of the two days we decide on so it's just a matter of availability for the people.

Also, will Pam be accompanying you? I know that the last time you were here we didn't accommodate her dietary needs so I want to make sure that we're able to do that for her, if possible."

This has not been a good week for me. As I said in my last post, my workouts have been totally messed up, I have been in a high stress situation with work and just not handling things well. I ripped apart Gui today for something that was really minor that I turned into a major rant (sorry again TB) and just have been all around miserable (both internally and to be around).

In full disclosure (brace yourself Gui) when I got on this flight I asked for a drink and the flight attendant even went and found me some chocolate when he saw how frayed I was. I only drank about 1/2 the drink and ate about a handful of M&M's, but I was just at the point of not caring. A place I get to to too much lately and am vowing to be done with.

What is going on with my mood would be way too long a story, but in short. I feel like a fraud the last 3 months, pretending I am ok with life and happy when in reality I have been at a pretty down place. While I have MANY things going on that make me momentarily happy, like shopping and cute shoes. At the same time I have been fighting a feeling of worthlessness stemming from some situations at work and letting other people's opinions rob me of my own self confidence (something I am also vowing to be done with, and also am hoping some changes at work in the last two weeks will solve). Having Hilary gone (congrats again on the baby btw) has also allowed those situations to get to me more than they should. She is always great at reminding me who I really am and blocking out the noise of others who are dragging me down, I miss her a lot.

I have let those feelings from coworkers rob me of my joy in my job, of my passion for my work and for also enjoying my workouts and being truly part of this journey I am on. I have only realized that in the last two weeks and am trying to figure out how to better separate the two so I can get back to enjoying working out and being proud of myself and just plain being happy! I don't like who I have beome lately and how that seems to be taken out on innocent people like Gui who happen to breathe the wrong way and I attack. That isn't me and it isnt someone I am happy with.

But today I was not winning the struggle.I was checking my email on the plane (gotta love wi-fi at 30K feet up) and saw an email from my boss for a client we are trying to schedule. Being in a cynical mood I thought "great what now". I couldn't have been more wrong. The email at the top of this post was that email. An amazingly caring sentiment from someone who has only met me once. It meant so much to me I felt I had to blog about it.
It was that less than subtle reminder that I have lost track of remembering that for all the bad in the world, there are some GREAT people out there. That I need to let those be the voices I am guided by and not those who seek to rip me down at every opportunity.
I can't thank you enough Grace. I know you won't see this, but thank you for reminding me who I am, why I do what I do and that there is more good in the world than bad. Your email made me cry and then smile. I don't need Jack Daniels or M&M's as long as I have people like you in my world!!!!!!!
PS. Sorry again Gui....

A workout panic attack I did not see coming...

I was really looking forward to my workout today. Yesterday had to be scrapped due to a meeting that ran long at work and I feel like I haven't had a good workout in weeks (even though it has only been since Saturday). It is also the last time with the trainer I am going to get until next week (due to his schedule and mine) so it was something I really wanted and needed today. Which made my reaction getting ready to head to the gym today all the more shocking for me. While I have never had an official panic attack, I am guessing this came close.

Some of the back story so this makes sense. My normal club is Lifetime Fitness in Eagan, MN. This week the club is closed for some major renovations and we are working out at the LTF club in Lakeville (about 15 minutes away). I am not stranger to the Lakeville club. I swim there on a regular basis, I have worked out there alone before and did a yoga class there once. It is pretty much my back up club. So I had no angst knowing that was where we would be this week for my trainer time.

But somehow about an hour before I had to leave this wave of fear came over me. I felt all those fears I felt my first time training at Eagan. I changed my clothes multiple times trying to find shorts and a tshirt that covered my fat but didn't make me look like a cow. I worried the whole way down about looking like a fool there. About what my trainer had already said about me to the Lakeville trainers (he used to work there) and about just being seen as the fat girl in the gym. At Eagan the staff all knows where I came from, but at Lakeville know one knows that the totally uncoordinated obese woman on the treadmill is nearly 90 lbs lighter than she was a year ago. At my current weight of 252 I felt just as big and obvious as I did back in November at 311.

Even on the treadmill waiting for Gui I found myself sweating and uncomfortable and feeling like every set of eyes was on me. It was a terrible feeling and I still don't totally get where it was coming from.

The great irony to it all is that for some scheduling issues, my session with Gui never even happened. I went through all that without even getting the chance to get past it and just have the workout I needed....fate and irony are such wonderful things sometimes!!!!

It's all about the feeties....

Some days you just have to laugh at yourself!!! I just had one of those moments. I was sitting at my desk trying to get some work done before my workout today and then jumping on a plane, and as usual I was obsessing about my weight...was I up, was I down, what would the scale say at the gym, if TB doesn't weigh me am I going to go hunt out the scale in the locker room or can I make it through today without needing that reinforcement. It's mental gymnastics I do on a daily basis. I know it, I don't like it, but I do it.

But what I didn't realize, is that I base a lot of my decisions on, of all things, my feet. Because I have always struggled with fluid retention (at their worst when I was fighting PTC I used to say I had "Fred Flintstone feet" because they would get so cartoonish looking from retaining ridiculous amounts of water) they have always been a barometer of what the scale would say. But I hadn't realized how much now that the fluid is significantly less of an issue, I am still measuring my progress by them.

I found myself this morning trying to decide if I could see more bones and veins than I could yesterday, which would mean my weight was down, if it was the same or if they looked puffy. It's kind of sad but funny in its own way! Yeah Gui, I am sure if you are reading this you are just shaking your head, and you're right, I may be slightly over obsessing at this point! *grin*

Or maybe I may have to start posted the daily foot report *grin*

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It only gets harder....

I have spent the last two days in training as preparation for my job realignment (gained new responsibilities last Friday). Part of the training was on change management and as I am sitting on the plane (greetings from somewhere over Iowa I think) digesting what we just covered, it has me thinking about this whole weight loss journey.

I came into this really naive. For everything I thought I knew to expect, very little of it has panned out as I expected. The two that seem the most relevant today are, I believed that:

1) This would get easier the further along I went, and...
2) That once I was given the knowledge I needed, that like just about everything else in my life, I could do this alone.

And I find great irony in these two the further into this I go.....


I knew when I started this it was a marathon not a sprint. Despite what you see on "The Biggest Loser" or any of the zillion infomercials, losing weight, changing your lifestyle, is a long road. It is measured in years not months, weeks or days. And I expected that. But what I didn't expect is that the longer you are at this the harder the journey is. I thought this was something you fought to get started with, but as you did it longer you got better at it and it got easier and became more natural. That is not happening for me.

I started out with it being what I would consider a slight challenge. The first 4 or so months, looking back, were a lot easier than I thought they would be. It was easy to eat what I needed to (well as easy as eating ever is for me) I didn't really resent the things I needed to give up like I do now, it was easy to get myself to the gym and I looked forward to it. I did better keep myself on plan, making good choices and just being committed to this.  And around months 3 and 4 I truly thought I had this beat, I could do this, "piece of cake". Boy was I wrong.

In the last 2 months this has become a harder journey not an easier one. And as we talked today about long term organization changes and why they work and don't I started to put this in that context. Here are the reasons I came up with why this is getting harder (in no specific order except my random thoughts)....

1) The first weight you lose is the easiest to lose.
As with my other misconceptions I believed that it would be hard to get my body to start losing, but once it "got it" we would be off and running. Just the opposite seems true. The more I lose the harder it is becoming to get my body to let go of the remaining weight. I have circled/yo-yo'd around the same five pounds now for weeks and it is incredibly frustrating.

2) The grief to benefit ratio changes.
This is one of the topics we talked about today with in regards to our clients. For most organizations change only happens when the struggle of staying the same is harder than making the change!!!!! I am realizing it is the same for people trying to lose weight.

When I started this journey in November I was confined in life by my weight. I couldn't walk far, I couldn't climb stairs, I couldn't shop where I wanted to, I couldn't do what I wanted to. And that drove me to keep moving forward on this journey.

As I have lost more and more weight I have regained more and more of my life. Things now are so much easier than they were. And the easier they become the harder it is to eat what I am supposed to and not cheat, it is harder to stay committed to working out, it is harder to make "good choices".

While I am NO WHERE near where I want to be with my weight, and I know my life can be even more. I have to admit the ease of life now compared to how it was before is sabotaging me. In some ways, I wish I hadn't done some of the things I have already. I wish I had put off my trip to Israel, walking those hills already was a factor here. I wish I had been able to put off buying new clothes, shopping in real stores is a factor here. I wish I had put off some of my food cheats, being able to get away with them and the scale not going up is a factor here.

3) People around you lose interest.
This is the irony to me, and I will address it more in the next section, but lets face it, people stop being interested in things when they aren't new and exciting any more. That is human nature. When I started this all my friends were excited by each new milestone, they were willing to work around my food issues, colleagues were understanding when I said I had to work in time to go to the gym, my trainer was patient with my roller coaster of emotions and my meltdowns.

But more and more these days I see the change in the people around me. My friends are sick of talking about it and hearing about it, the people who feed me as a guest or who go out to dinner with me are getting more frustrated and making digs about it, my colleagues are more impatient with me needing the time for me and the tolerance of the professionals helping me gets shorter and shorter. And I get everyone's reactions, I don't fault them at all, I am sure I would be the same if the shoe was on the other foot, but it's not.  I can't give up, I can't get bored, but I have to admit I do feel more and more alone in this every day.

Needing other people

This has been the single hardest part of this journey, and the one I am really fighting with this week. Before I get into that, let me give you some history on my approach to life, an approach that may not have been totally by choice, but I have made work.

I have had a full time job since I was 13, I put myself through college, I dealt with my medical issues for a decade pretty much on my own (there were people in and out of helping but at the end of the day it was mine to solve and cope with). I have always had jobs where I was pretty independent and had to solve my own problems and find solutions. Handing the world alone is my strength. I have always held the view that having other people in my life is great and something I want, but I never want to be in a position where I NEED people there. That I should never be so dependant on someone that if they walked away I couldn't handle things just as well without them as with them.

In full disclosure, this is partially a reaction to how I saw my mom as I was growing up. She was in a bad marriage and felt trapped there because she didn't have the skill set, the confidence and the tools to leave and handle life on her own. I vowed that would never be me and for most of my life I have stuck to that. And the one time in my life when I didn't (a relationship while I was figthing PTC in the 90's) ended badly and I have regretted it since.

So I came into this journey with a very strong commitment to handling this alone, at least from the emotional point of view. I knew that I would need people like Gui and the nutritionist and others to help me with the practical information and learning what I needed to learn. But beyond that I had every intention of finding all the support and strength to do this alone. And just like other things I mentioned up above, that worked well for a few months. But these days it isn't working.

And here in lies the great irony...the farther into this I go, the less capable I feel of handling this alone, yet those that I would turn to seem less and less interested in providing that support and encouragement that the longer it goes.

And again I don't fault them, if anything it makes me angry at myself. I don't get why my own internal satisfaction with what is going on isn't enough for me and why I need others to be proud of what I have done (and get upset when they don't seem to be)...that isn't me. I don't get why when I get off track emotionally I can't seem to right myself...that isn't me. I don't get why I can't keep myself motivated (on food or working out)....that isn't me.

I have mentioned many times in this blog before all the changes to myself I don't recognize. How I eat, how I dress, my interests. And those I am good with, but these other changes, to who I am at my core, I am really not ok with. It sounds horrible to say, but I don't want to NEED people. I love the people in my life and wouldn't trade them for the world. But this feeling of dependence I really don't know what to do with and it is scaring me to a point I am really uncomfortable with and don't know what to do with.

I am sure many reading will say like the other things this is a good change, but I really don't agree at this point. I feel very lost and alone and it is not a feeling I am used to, comfortable with or know what to do with. And I have to admit it is dragging me way off track. I find myself questioning if I continue this journey because I feel so out of control of things that are going on and I don't know what to do with that. This is not the kind of new territory I expected to be in!