Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Relinquishing Rapunzel

We’ve all been there before. Post bad haircut, second-guessing our decision to be brave, and waiting for it to grow out with painstaking regret..and a new hat.

It’s only hair, right?

It will grow back, right?

I get that, I really do. But in order to understand why it’s so much more than that, you have to also understand what it represents, what it symbolizes, and why losing it and letting it go are two totally different things.

Long hair in literature is well documented as a sign of importance for various reasons. Samson’s hair was the root of his virility and strength. Lady Godiva would not have been half as memorable without her trademark long tresses. And of course there was Rapunzel.

But what about Rapunzel?

How would she have ever been rescued from the tower without her long flowing locks to aid in her liberation? She probably could have freed herself by chopping off her braid and using it mount a daring escape… but that’s not how the story goes. Actually, that’s not how any of the stories went when I was growing up.

Barbie had her Ken, Sleeping Beauty needed the Prince’s kiss to awaken her, Cinderella waited for Prince Charming to scoop her up out of abject servitude, and Snow White relied on the Seven Dwarves to protect her from the wrath of the jealous evil Queen.

But I always felt a little bit more like “Snow Off-White” in my early 20’s. I was the designated good natured chubby friend that was relegated to entertaining the awkward third wheel friend of the cute guy that was flirting with my gorgeous Malibu Barbie roommate. Making tedious conversation to pass the time, sipping wine coolers until she was ready for me to drive her home. Sadly, back then, the only (real life) Seven Dwarves that I ever encountered were Itchy, Scratchy, Burpie, Sleazy, Humpy, Gropey, and Prick.

I grew up envying Farrah Fawcett’s long feathery locks, the perfect coiffes of Charlie’s Angels, and Christie Brinkley’s flowing mane. Not to mention every Whitesnake video featuring a wild haired token beauty with her lustrous tendrils blowing in the wind in hair band  slo-mo. Even Daryl Hannah in Splash, with her shock of blonde Mermaid hair adornment bewitched and beguiled me.

I wanted Mermaid hair.

I wanted what I never had.  Continue reading Relinquishing Rapunzel

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The Year of the Purge

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.clipartkid.com
I really thought I had it all figured out.

I honestly did believe that I had solved my problem. That I had moved past what was holding me back, and freed myself from all of the things that had kept me trapped inside of myself all of those years. I thought it was over once I finally shed the weight.

After all, I had worked really hard to lose over 150 pounds. I had put my nose to the grind stone and sacrificed more than I ever thought I could to give myself a chance at a healthy life. I put 100% of my effort into changing my life for the better, and I was hell-bent on never looking back. I was never going back to the way things were. I was adamant that I was never going to allow myself to undo what I had so purposefully done. And I wasn’t even a tiny bit worried that I might falter. I was Teflon, and I had put on a brave face.

That was my first mistake.

Because, truth be told, deep down, there was a lingering doubt. I always did feel like it was a little too good to be true. I had such great success all during my weight loss journey, that I started to wonder if I was just fooling myself. And the closer that I got to my final goal, I began to get nervous.

I had tried so many times to lose the weight in the past, so what had been so different this time? What was the catch?

Something had always happened.

Invariably something unforeseen would get in the way and derail me. Always my success would be hindered by some form of self sabotage, or an inevitable motivation meltdown.

I started having an undercurrent of anxiety the closer I got to my goal, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I was outwardly excited and eager to finish what I had started, but still secretly cautious of failure. And as a result, I began having a recurring nightmare that I couldn’t shake. It was always there on the outskirts of my consciousness haunting me. Continue reading The Year of the Purge

The Girl in the Window


It was a dark and chilly day in November.

And after what had seemed like an endless ride up to the surgical floor, I found myself peering out of the 3rd story window, nervously playing with the zipper on my jacket and looking down, out onto the street below. My chestnut hair was tied back into a ponytail and my flip-flops were still wet from the downpour in the parking lot.

My sister had gone to the front desk to check me in for my surgery.

A week before, when my doctor had given me the bad news, it had been hard to hear anything else hopeful that she had said after that. What has started out as anemia at a regular doctors appointment had lead me to a hematologist and then had snowballed into something much bigger after a visit to my OB/GYN.

It had all happened so fast.

The word “tumors” had to rung in my ears, and sent a panic into my otherwise ordinary life. Then after monitoring the situation closely for a few weeks I was disheartened to hear that they had grown exponentially, to a dangerously volatile size. So in light of this new sense of urgency we had opted for the surgery in the hopes of possibly getting ahead of it.

I had asked if we could wait till after the holidays. but after seeing the progression and how rapidly the situation was worsening, my doctor said that it would not be a good idea to wait.

So here I was, inside my own nightmare wondering what tomorrow would bring.

The worst part was, that we wouldn’t even fully know the scope of the issues until the surgery had begun. Only then would we know what exactly we were dealing with. So I had no idea if I would wake up and go home with a huge sigh of relief, or if I was going to awaken to even more jarring news and be facing something much more daunting.

The unknown outcome hung over me like a thick fog, and I had been dreading this day as it ticked closer. I was becoming very familiar with the idea of my own mortality, and it was frightening.

I was terrified.

And it felt like the last normal day of my life.  Continue reading The Girl in the Window

Spice-a-holics Anonymous


Two words-

Pumpkin. Spice.

The two most highly anticipated and dreaded words to tickle the ears of a compulsive spice-a-holic.

The two words that signal the beginning of the delectable holiday season.

The struggle is real.

It starts on October 1st with pumpkins, and ends in a peppermint flavored melt down that torches any illusions that I will be wearing anything other than regret come January 2nd.

And the Pumpkin Spice Faerie is the first harbinger of the impending onslaught of the spice inducing carnage.

She is the tell tale Dickens-esque ghost of holidays past that triggers my inner warning light and sends up my hazard flares.

Her appearance reminds me to tread carefully through the spice laden mine fields that lie out stretched between me and the first of the year…

And me and my pants.

“Hey, does this spice make my butt look big?” Continue reading Spice-a-holics Anonymous

Fat(ish)

Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.com

Sometimes when there is no known word for how you feel, you have to invent one…

Fat•ish

[fat]-iSH    

Noun:

-a defeatist state of mind achieved by a downturn in critical morale

Ex: The fat(ish) took over.

Adjective-

-having the characteristics of; or outwardly resembling one’s perceived fatness

Ex: She could no longer happily wear that dress because it made her feel fat(ish).

Verb (archaic):

-to make or become fat(ish) by falling back into old habits

Comparative synonyms

-Busted can o’ biscuits

-Sausage stuffed into a casing

Antonyms: Skinny•ish

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Our mind/body link is a force of nature.


How you feel on the inside is directly connected to how you present yourself on the outside. And it becomes harder to manage it the worse you feel. Often times it’s so involuntary that it evolves without notice.

Having dealt with weight issues even as a child, and having been overweight/ morbidly obese my entire adult life, I had adjusted to my state of being in a way that found me complacent to its challenges.

I had “adjusted” to my limitations and found a certain level of comfort in it.

But once my weight loss began…

Once I started feeling differently in my body…

Well, I started to feel “skinny(ish)”.

It was a state of mind that was created by a boost in confidence that had allowed me to picture a new reality for myself.

And even though I knew that I still had a long way to go, the tide had turned, and the feeling was palpable.

With every pound lost I began to feel thinner. Even when nothing physical was noticeably different, I felt the change manifesting from within.

I knew I wasn’t “skinny”, but I was skinny(ish), and that was a million dollar feeling.

But, once I reached my weight-loss goal, and the hovering began, I noticed that that feeling was harder and harder to hold onto.  Continue reading Fat(ish)

The View From Here


Seeing yourself from the inside-out can be challenging.

Sometimes, seeing who you are in a multitude of perspectives can give you a much more comprehensive view of yourself as a whole, and give you much-needed insight as to what you’re made of, down a deep, where it really counts.

When I started my weight loss journey it felt like I was standing at the base of a monolithic mountain and looking up to the summit and thinking “That is impossible. I cannot climb that.”

But sometimes you’re not aware of what you’re capable of until you have to be.

Until you step up to that plate and take your swing, you may not even  know if you can hit the ball.

It’s easy to get tunnel vision, and to corner yourself into a narrow way of thinking that does not allow you to see outside of the parameters that  you have established. What’s not easy, however, is to harness the ability look at yourself differently than you have become accustomed.

Viewing the world in a different way can open you up to ideas and practices that you may have never entertained otherwise.

As a parent, I have had been privy to a multitude of refreshing moments and perspective changing conversations with both of my boys, and sometimes you can forget that the world can be viewed in many many different ways.

But every once in a while, as a grown-up, you have a particular moment where you get a glimpse into the mind of someone that redirects your own thinking. And on this particular occasion it was through the “fresh eyes” of my seven year-old son.

While driving by a local bookstore, we had stopped at a red light, and my son, who had just learned to read, was peering out the window.

There was a large banner in front the bookstore that read, ‘Giant Book Sale!’

My son, after reading it aloud, then turned to me with a perplexed expression and asked, “Mom, why are only the giant books on sale?”

It caught me a little off guard, but then I realized that to him, it was a valid question.

And after trying to explain to him that it was the word “giant” was referring to the size of the sale and not the size of the books, I stopped myself, and just tried to look at the sign from his perspective.

I suppose it would have been less confusing if the sign has simply stated “giant sale on books”. But because most things in this world are left to our own interpretations, and the English language in itself is fairly complex, we are left with our own deciphering of the world around us to help us make sense of our surroundings.

So rather then correcting him, I gave him an answer.

I told him that perhaps they had too many giant books, and had run out of room, so maybe they needed to sell more of them to make space for the smaller ones. He seemed satisfied with that answer, and that was that.

That particular encounter had prompted me to begin thinking about the value of true perspective.  Continue reading The View From Here

The Directive


It was like my own version of Fight Club.

Me, fighting with myself about everything.

Every decision was up for negotiation.

Every boundary was ripe for a breach.

I was indecisive.

I knew this about myself, and yet sometimes I would still need the reminder.

Some days it was easy to be strong, because some days I didn’t want ice cream at all. But other days?

Other days, it was all I could think about.

And it was on those days that the conversation would go like this:

-No. (Very firmly stated)

-Well….maybe just a bite.

-Ok, yes, but just a single serving.

-I will stop when I’m full.

-I can’t stop. (Why can’t I stop?)

-I’ll start again tomorrow.

-Why didn’t I just say no? (oh wait, I did)

-Why did I not follow through when I first said no? (I wish I knew)

-Tomorrow I will say no (and follow through)

****and repeat from top****

But I was never specific about how I was going to achieve that. I never set a well thought out plan in place to facilitate that outcome. I invariably left myself twisting in the wind with a destination, and no route mapped out to get me there.

And I found out that if I gave myself an inch, I would take a mile.

I needed to stop treating what needed to be done as “optional”. Continue reading The Directive

The Maid in the Mist


Niagara Falls.

I had always wanted to see it for myself.

Several years ago, while visiting the East Coast and getting ready to leave Baltimore, we found that on our way to Philadelphia we still had three days before we were expected at a family get together.

So we sat in the parking lot of the Civil War Memorial near Antietam Maryland and tried to decide where we would go.

The Captain and I have long since practiced a little something we call accidental tourism, where we will just randomly pick a direction or destination and head out without so much as a reservation and the fervent hope of seeing where the adventure will take us. 

So we started looking at the map and trying to decide which direction we would head.

And there I was, waiting for some kind of sign from the universe, when a delivery truck drove by with the logo for Tim Hortons donuts emblazoned on the side.

*cue slo-mo montage…

It was like that moment when the clouds part, and a ray of sunshine breaks through to a chorus of euphoric accolades.

What? We love Tim Hortons! I did not even know that they had stores in the US, I thought they only had them in Canada! Living in Washington State, we were frequent visitors to Vancouver B.C on the western side of Canada, and sometimes we would even go across the border just for a coffee and donut run. Lemon crullers for me and apple fritters for The Captain. And then, we always got a box of assorted TimBits donut holes with a few extra cherry chip ones for the road.

This might be a game changer.

I started feverishly looking on my phone for the nearest Tim Hortons, and found that in upstate New York they had one in Buffalo.

It was decided. We would be heading north.

I looked at the map. I had wanted to see the eastern side of Canada, and I had always heard about how beautiful upstate New York was.

Done. Let’s go.

And then I spotted it. Right there on the border… Niagara Falls.

And as it so happens, that one was on my bucket list. Continue reading The Maid in the Mist

What Happens in Vegas…


You know the scenario.

The all-you-can-eat-buffet binge hangover scenario.

The one where you wake up face down in the carpet asking, “What the hell happened last night, and why am I holding a half eaten turkey leg?”

I tried to focus on the light coming in from the hallway that was flooding in from under the crack at the bottom of the door.

I blinked my eyes a few times to bring everything into focus.

I had been awoken by the hum of a vacuum cleaner and with a strange taste in my mouth.

The room was dark, and my head was spinning.

I sat up and looked around, and I noticed that there were a handful of tiny hotel soaps scattered about.

I was alone. Thank goodness.

I’ve seen enough movies to know that I could have woken up to any number of embarrassing predicaments, including a most regrettable encounter with an angry monkey in the bathroom wearing a shower cap and pelting me with hotel soaps.

I checked the bathroom. No monkey, but the soap said Caesars Palace…

The buffet. I remember a buffet.

I wiped my face.

Was that blood? Oh my gawd, was I bleeding?
Oh, wait…

Nope. It tasted like barbecue sauce.

What the hell had happened last night?

One minute you’re having a few cocktails, and headed to an all you can eat buffet, and the next….you’re waking up from a all night binge covered in hot mustard, with indigestion and a death grip on giant turkey leg.

The last thing you may remember was trying to plot out your strategy, to decide if you needed one plate or two, and figure out if you could discreetly tuck the extra pork chop under your arm while you put the gravy on your mashed potatoes…. Continue reading What Happens in Vegas…

The Legendary Saga of Brokebutt Mountain

It had started out innocently enough.

“Let’s go tubing,” they said, “it’ll be fun,” they said…

Liars.

That mountain became my nemesis.

That mountain humbled me.

That mountain gave me a reality check.

I went in there with a head full of fun and frolic, and I left with a limp, a whimper, and a cracked tailbone.

The night had begun uneventfully enough, with a fierce quest for adventure and winter time thrills.

I had never once considered the dangers. Especially since I had gone tubing before, and enjoyed it quite a bit.

I had also dipped my toe in many another endeavor without pause. I had skydived, and zip-lined, and navigated the roaring whitewater rapids in a raft…

I had jumped in headfirst into so many an adventure, that a night out tubing at the pass seemed harmless.

Not so.

We had arrived to find a bit of a snow/rain mix, and everyone was scrambling for the tubes, and rushing to catapult themselves down the icy hill into oblivion. So I grabbed the first one I could get my hands on, and quickly got in line.

The first time down, I definitely felt the rush. It was pretty slick due to the dense snow pack, and the light rain had added an invisible layer of slippery ice. But the tube I had chosen was a bit over inflated, and since I couldn’t nestle securely down into in it, I felt a bit vulnerable. And as I was going down the hill, I felt as though the tiniest bump might bounce me out of my vessel.

I furiously clung to the handles for dear life, and white knuckled it all the way to the bottom. Like a bolt of white lightning, I had rocketed to the base of the run.

And my very first thought after reaching the bottom of the hill, was that I needed to trade in my tube for a better one. 

A safer one.

But what I did not know then, was, that decision would drastically change the next ten months of my life… Continue reading The Legendary Saga of Brokebutt Mountain