Thursday, September 8, 2011

Believe it, Achieve it...a letter from my past

Today I started dusting off the built in shelves/cupboard in our dining room, and the next thing I know, I'm cleaning it out and getting rid of junk that has just been accumulating dust for a few years now.
In one cupboard, I keep all our pictures (you know, before digital cameras and SD cards). I have some things in there from my high school years. Talk about bringing back memories. I've laughed and cried this morning. And one little piece of paper that I found couldn't have come at a better time.

I played volleyball in high school from junior high until my junior year. My coach was former military and a West Point graduate. She was tough in every sense of the word. I remember early morning practices filled with drill after drill. Physical fitness was her first priority followed by learning the skills of the game. She always pushed us to be the best team and individual we could be. She taught me so much more about life than she did about volleyball.

Every week, she would hand out the team newsletter, "Attack Lines." Some of my teammates put them in the trash on their way out of practice, but I remember having them hanging in my locker and in my bedroom. I really admired her, so I took everything she had to teach me and valued it greatly. As time marched on, and I graduated from high school, I decided to let go of some of the newsetters that had once met so much to me. For some reason, though, I kept one.

I found it today.

The title: Takes a little more to be a champion.

This particular newsletter was about the art of success, and these are the quotes she included:
"There are no secrets of success. Success is doing the things you know you should do. Success is not doing the things you know you should not do."

"Success is not confined to any one part of your personality but it related to the development of all the parts: body, mind, heart and spirit. IT IS MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TOTAL SELF."

"Success is discovering your best talents, skills and abilities and applying them where they will make the most effective contribution to your fellow man."

"Success is 99% attitude."

"Success is a continuing upward spiral of progress. It is perpetual growth."

"Success is relative, individual and personal. It is your answer to the problem of making your minutes, hours, weeks, months and years add up to a good life." ~Wilford Peterson

"A champion not only dreams, but prepares for the adventure and thrill of success through hard work, persistence, and determination. Victory is so sweet, but to hear the words 'Well Done' will be the ultimate reward! To God be the glory for the great things He has done!!!" ~Coach Davies

"You will become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration." ~James Allen

"Believe it, achieve it!"

Talk about finding this at an appropriate time in my life. I'd like to think God's hand was guiding me to this today. After my incident last night with the neighborhood kids taunting me as I walked, I needed a pick-me-up to remind me that I CAN and WILL do this.

Success truly is a personal thing. I can't measure myself next to anyone else but the woman I see in the mirror looking back at me. Success really is 99% attitude, like Coach said. If my attitude is dreary and "woe is me," I'm not going to succeed at finding my inner strength and improving my health.
The one quote that will stick with me is the first one: There are no secrets to success. Success is doing the things you know you should do. Success is not doing the things you know you should not do.

There! That's the only secret to being healthy and losing weight. Just do things right, and you'll be successful! Choose healthy foods, exercise and smile. The number on the scale will go down. It's that simple. Day by day, do what you know is right, and you'll see the rewards when you look in the mirror.

In the words of Coach, if you believe it, you can achieve it!

I'm taking this newsletter that is well over 12 years old, and I'm hanging it up in my bathroom right by the mirror. Every time I see it, I will be reminded that I will be successful. One day at a time, each daily success will add up to a healthy new me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yup, still hurts...

I thought that maybe when I reached a certain age, being made fun of for being fat wouldn't hurt as much.
I was wrong. So, so wrong. It still hurts just as much as it did as a teenager.

I was in a hurry this morning to get all 3 kids packed up and out the door to head to my grandma's house that I didn't get a workout in this morning. I totally ignored my alarm since the storms kept me up most of the night. My almost-5-year-old is scared of storms, and he ended up snuggeld up between my husband and me, his foot in my rib cage. Sleep was non-existant.

I promised myself that I'd take a walk tonight after the kids were tucked in bed and Jason was home to watch them. I much prefer to walk in the evenings, without pushing kids in a stroller. And with Jason deploying soon, my evening walks are coming to an end. I really enjoy the solace and peace while I'm walking, which is why I don't walk wearing headphones with music.

Well, normally it's peaceful. Until tonight.

I was about halfway into my normal 1.5 mile loop when I saw some kids ahead of me on bikes. They were on the opposite side of the street. I was in a rhythm and chanting in my mind "That which doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger." I was sweating. I was in the zone.

As I approaced the kids, I didn't make eye contact--just kept focused on the sidewalk ahead of me. Then I hear mooing noises and obsenities that I won't repeat here because they don't deserve to be repeated.

At first I wanted to run across that street and knock the brats off their bikes. I was balling my hand into a fist, and I just walked even faster. Eventually as I rounded the corner, the taunting stopped when I was out of sight.

Really? I couldn't believe what just happened. I'm guessing they were junior high age. I was a middle school teacher in my pre-mom life, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Middle schoolers are notoriously judgemental and self-centered.I shouldn't have let it get to me.

Yet here I was, walking down the street pretending that it was sweat, not tears, coming from my eyes. I'm almost 30 (1 more week until that lovely milestone...ugh!). Why should I let some middle school punks get to me that way? Then I realized that I shouldn't.

Instead of sulking the rest of the way home, I actually jogged for a bit (note to self--buy better sports bras). In that moment, I decided that I didn't give a rip who saw this fat girl trying to run. If someone wanted to make fun of me for it, then so be it. Because at least I'm out there trying to better myself and my health. I decided to get up off the couch tonight and give myself 30 minutes to become a better me.

I hope those boys know how much words can hurt, no matter what the person's age. And I pray they don't make fun of their peers that way. Words hurt. But instead of letting what was said to me bring me down, I'm going to use those words to push me to work even harder. And if I know teenage boys (and I do know how they operate), I bet this time next year when I run by, I hear whistles instead of mooing. Then maybe I'll stop and talk to them, remind them that I was the fat woman they mooed at before and watch their jaws drop.

I'm over it. People can moo, yell, taunt, or tease as I walk by. Because I know it's only a matter of time before they realize that I'm shrinking. And then they'll be the ones looking stupid.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm smiling because...

I did it!

I did 50 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise--the Walk Away the Pounds DVD, 3 miles walk.

A month ago, I think the most exercise I got in a day was walking up and down our stairs a few times a day. Now I get at least 30 minutes a day, and I'm working towards an hour. 

I had plenty of excuses for not working out today. The dishes are piled up in the sink. There's laundry to do. Toys are scattered everywhere. I slept terribly last night and have pretty much been up since 2:30am. 

But as I sat on the couch to watch last night's episode of Teen Mom (oh, c'mon, we all have our guilty pleasures), I felt like a slacker for not working out instead. So I grudgingly walked to the kitchen for my tennis shoes, grabbed a pair of socks, and put the Walk Away the Pounds DVD in and turned the DVD player on. Normally I do the 2 miles walk, but today since I was feeling extra-motivated (NOT), I put the 3 mile in. Truthfully, Kendra took the 2 mile DVD off the shelf, and I couldn't find it. I guess she forced me into the 3 mile walk. Thanks, Kendra. 

I was sure I'd never make it all 50 minutes. But I did. And I even used 2 lb weights. I'm proud of myself. 

What does a 282.2 pounds girl look like after such a workout?

See...I'm smiling! Yes, that's sweat on my shirt...time for a shower. 

And at least now I can sit on the couch tonight and watch TV with no guilt because I got up and did it when I didn't really want to. If I can do it, you can do! Give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to be a better you!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

We all know that saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 

It's a lie.

I've never had a broken bone from a stick or a stone. But I have had a broken heart from mean words spoken to me. 

I don't specifically remember the first time another person made fun of me for being overweight. I know it wasn't in elementary school (remember, my mom swears she bought slim jeans for me). When I started junior high, I was active in volleyball and basketball. I was a majorette in the marching band. And I played volleyball and softball in high school. 

I wasn't a star athlete by any means. I remember always being the slowest when we did our training runs for volleyball. I dreaded practices, but the love of the game is what kept me going. Somehow, though, even with playing sports, I was chunky. I know my diet was probably the culprit. I was never really worried about what went in my mouth--pizza, fast food, pop, candy bars--I loved (still love) junk. Despite physical activity from sports, I was still one of the heavier girls in my class.

Somewhere along the way, my male classmates developed nicknames for me--Thunder Thighs, fatty, Rhino (my maiden name is Rinehart). They had no issues with making fun of me as I walked by to give a speech in speech class. They would gang up on me at lunch. I hated, hated, hated free time after lunch in the gym. They'd always make fun of what I ate for lunch, and then they would shout their mean words at me. To this day, I still hear their voices echoing "Thunder Thighs" and "Rhino" at me. It hurt then and it still hurts now, over 10 years later. I cried myself to sleep many nights after a bad day at school. 

I'm a fortunate survivor of bullying, I guess. Yes, I had my feelings hurt and I cried more times than I can count because of peers making fun of my weight. What really gets me is that I wasn't even that overweight. I bet I weighed about 175 or so when I graduated. At 5 '7.5", that really isn't significantly overweight like I am now. If I could go back in time, I'd learn to love myself more. I know that being bullied created some serious self-esteem issues that I'm still dealing with today. Thankfully, though, being made fun of didn't keep me from falling in love with an amazing man. It didn't keep me from graduating college with a Master's degree in Education. It didn't keep me from having 3 beautiful children. It didn't keep me from living. Sadly, today too many adolescents don't see a life after bullying and they choose to end it once and for all. That's heart-breaking. No person should ever be made to feel worthless because of what the number on a scale says. Such a tragedy.

I'm still working on getting past the mean names. In fact, today when I weighed in (lost a pound, by the way) I still heard "Thunder Thighs" in my head when I saw 283.6 on the scale. I don't know if I'll ever forget the mean words spoken to me in high school. I don't suppose you ever really forget being bullied. 

But what I do know is that I can and will do this. In some ways, hearing those terrible names in my head is what keeps me going. I'm doing this for my girls. I want to teach them healthy habits. I want them to be healthy, active girls. I never want someone to call them Thunder Thighs or make fun of them for being overweight. I want them to grow up to be strong, independent women who love themselves unconditionally. And I know that I'll never lie to them by telling them that sticks and stones may break their bones but words will never hurt them. Words do hurt. More than people can imagine. 

Today I'm letting go of all the mean names. I'm letting go of the sadness. I'm letting go of the fear. I'm letting go of the hurt. Those words will no longer be repeated in my mind whenever I pass by a mirror or get on a scale. I have to love myself for who I am right now at this moment in time. I have to love myself for who I am on the inside. I'm learning that loving myself unconditionally is a key part of being successful on this journey I'm on to discover a healthy me. So letting go of the hurt is one step towards my ultimate goal. I can do this. Nothing will stand in my way. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Say what? That burned 888 calories?!?!

When we moved into our house in Dec. 2005, we didn't really get a good idea of what the yard looked like because it was covered in snow. When the snow melted and the grass started to grow, we realized that we have a huge hard to mow. Well, huge for living in town anyways. The first summer we lived here was 2006, and I was pregnant with our first child. So there would be no push mowing the yard for me. I guess that first summer started the standard that Jason would be responsible for mowing the yard. In the summer of 2008, I was pregnant again, so my father-in-law mowed for me while Jason was deployed. 

I've mowed the yard twice from 2005 until today. Both times I cursed the entire time and swore I'd never, ever, never, ever do it again. It takes over an hour of pushing and pulling the mower, maneuvering around trees, a swing set and the pool. It's a work out, for sure. 

Today we were all outside. I had already gone for a 1.5 mile walk this morning with Kendra. Jason was working on the Bronco axle swap that he wants to finish before he leaves. I knew mowing the yard was on his plans for the day, but I could tell he really didn't want to stop working in the garage. 

So I got the key to the shed, put gas in the mower, and began mowing the yard. The lazy side of me was yelling at the ambitious side of me to cut it out and sit back down. I'm happy to say the ambitious side of me won.

It took me 75 painful, sweaty minutes to mow. I cursed a few times. I twisted my foot when I stepped in a hole. I hit my head on the tree branch that Jason has begged me to cut down for awhile now (guess what he'll be doing next weekend? Cutting down that darned tree!). I wanted to quit more than once. But for some reason, I kept pushing through the pain and I mowed the yard.

If you're not out of shape and you mow your yard a few times a week with no issues, you're probably thinking I'm just exaggerating. But for real, it was hard for me. I'm not in shape. I'm not an active person--well, I didn't use to be. I wanted to do this for Jason, so he could continue working on his project. The bonus is that it was also good exercise for me. 

How good? Well, I put the workout into My Fitness Pal as 75 minutes of push mowing, and for my current weight, I burned an estimated 888 calories. Holy sheep! As soon as I saw that, the sweat in my eyes didn't sting so much anymore. The blister developing on my foot wasn't as painful. And the ambitious side of me was saying, "Na-na-na boo, boo" to my lazy side. 

Best of all, Jason was truly appreciative that I mowed for him. I did warn him not to get used to it. He reminded me that he only has 3 more weeks of mowing before he leaves. Guess that means I better get used to feeling the burn of mowing the yard. I thought about hiring it done next summer while he's gone, but I think I'll hire someone to watch the kids while I do it instead. I could get used to burning that many calories just by mowing. Obviously, the calories burned will go down as my weight decreases, but still. It makes me feel good that I can take care of the lawn myself. Being overweight will no longer be an excuse as to why I can't mow. Instead, being overweight will be the reason I do mow the yard.

Watch out world, this fat girl is on a roll. First, mowing the yard. Next up, running a marathon. Okay, maybe not a marathon. But I feel like nothing can stop me now! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

I need a road map...

I think when I started this journey, I was at a breaking point. I needed to have that meltdown in order to jolt me into reality and realize that I needed to do something about my health and weight. I'm 2.5 weeks into my trip, and I'm liking the progress I'm seeing. I need a road map, though. Something to guide me and help me work towards my ultimate goal of losing nearly half my starting body weight and finally reaching an acceptable BMI. 
I've decided to set mini-goals. That makes the task of losing nearly 140 pounds a little less daunting. Looking at it on a timeline with increments should help me feel less overwhelmed. 

On Aug. 1, I weighed 298 lbs with a BMI of 46.0-- morbidly obese. I hate that phrase. Absolutely hate it. And I never want to be assoctiated with the phrase morbidly obese again.  

Monday, Aug. 15, I weighed 284.6 lbs, for a total of 13.4 pounds gone forever and BMI of 43.9.

My goals along the way...
Sept. 15 (deployment day)--278 lbs, BMI 42.9 

Oct. 31: 264, BMI 40.7

Thanksgiving:  256, BMI 39.5, no longer morbidly obese. Just obese. Hey, it's progress. 

Jan. 1, 2012: 246, BMI 38 (NO excuses for unhealthy eating over the holidays!)

Feb. 14: 236, BMI 36.4

Easter (Apr. 8): 222, BMI 34.3

May 28: 208, 32.1

July 4: 198 (ONEDERLAND and 100 lbs gone FOREVER!), BMI 30.6

Aug. 10: 188, BMI 29.0 NO LONGER OBESE!! 

Sept. 2 (my 31st birthday): 182, BMI 28.1  I'll weigh less than I did when Jason and I met just in time for his arrival home!

Oct. 1: 172, BMI 26.5

Thanksgiving: 160, BMI 24.7--A HEALTHY WEIGHT!

Originally, I wanted to meet my goal of 160 by September 2012 when Jason gets home from deployment, but after looking at a calendar and recognizing that I want to do this slow and steady so I can keep the weight off, I realized that might not be realistic. When he gets home, I will have lost over 100 pounds and I'll finally weigh less than he does. I'll take that! 

I'm not sure that 160 will be an ideal weight for me. I may adjust the goals as I go. 160 is still at the top end of a healthy BMI for my height. However, I know that 160 is so much better than the 298 I started at. I will be healthy, feel great and look amazing. Knowing that makes this journey worth it. I know there will be weeks of ups and downs. But having these mini goals along the way will keep me motivated to reach them. It's much less daunting to look at it as 10 pounds at a time than 140 pounds all together. This road map will be a guide to help me get where I need to be. I'm so excited about what my future holds. I can't wait to see what I look like at a healthy weight! I just know that great things are in store for me.  


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Sometimes I wonder what it'll be like to be thin. Not really thin, I guess. Just healthy. I'm so used to seeing a fat person when I look in the mirror. I have a difficult time imagining what I'll look like when I weigh 160 pounds. I think the last time I weighed 160 pounds was junior high. I've looked at pictures of myself from those years of my life, but those really aren't a good comparison. I was shorter then, and my boobs hadn't made an appearance yet.

I'm afraid I won't like myself when I get to my goal weight. I guess maybe that's a stupid fear. Who doesn't like a thinner version of themselves? I've had the same fear in the past when I've tried to lose weight, and I think it ultimately sabotaged me. I figured why bother if I won't like who I am when I get there. I find myself feeling that way this time, too.

I worry about my stomach. Well, now I guess you could say stomachs. Will those two stomachs I've developed merge into one? Or will I still have issues with tummy hanging over my pants? I've had dreams that I lost weight--my arms were tone, my legs were lean, my face looked great. And then I lifted my shirt to check out my stomach. Much to my dismay, I still had 2 flabby stomachs that were the same size as when I started trying to lose weight. I know it was a dream (more like a nightmare) but it has me scared that my stomach will be that way when I get to a healthy weight.

Loose skin. That freaks me out, too. I've got stretch marks that aren't from pregnancy. I know they won't go away. So what will happen to my skin? Will it be all saggy and gross? If so, what's the point? I could never have surgery to remove loose skin.

What about my boobs? What will happen to them? I've had a breast reduction. I worry about if I'll have the appropriate proportions when I get to 160 pounds. I weighed over 200 when I had the reduction. What if I had too much removed and I'm like an A cup or something? I know that won't happen in reality, but I'm still afraid I'll look silly with whatever boobs I have left when I lose the weight.

Fears are a tricky thing. I'm trying not to let them hold me back from accomplishing my goal. Really, all I want to do is BE HEALTHY. I'm not sure that 160 pounds is the magical weight to attach to the word healthy. I might get to 160 and feel like I need to lose a few more, or I might get to 170 and call it good. Who knows. But these fears are trying to hold me back. I think I'm afraid to look good, mostly because I've never had much self-esteem. I've never put on a pair of jeans and thought, "Dang, I look hot." I usually put on a t-shirt and baggy pants to cover up the fat. What will I do when there's no fat to cover anymore? Will I like the way I look?

I still have a long journey ahead of me. I know in my heart that I CAN do this. I just need to crush these fears before they hold me back from doing what I need to do. I know that some day, I'll look in the mirror and love the woman staring back at me. And if I happen to look good in a bathing suit, then that's a bonus. I need to work on loving myself from the inside out. I'm getting there--one day at a time.