Who are You to Judge?

Once upon a time, there was a young adult just getting her feet into the work world after high school. She landed a job at a somewhat local coffee shop. She started training for two hour shifts each night; by no means was it equal to a full time job week.

She goes in eager to train because she is a fan of coffee and seriously wants to learn. She’s the type that learns intently by listening and watching and not necessarily spending her whole time smiling, but will when she feels the need. She did the homework as given, studied the manual at home, etc.

After a very few short days, the Store Manager says; “well you’re not smiling, you must not want the job and you don’t talk much. If you don’t have a smile by tomorrow, you might as well not work here.” Now this girl left work that night hurt, but fighting tears because the she is one tough cookie. She thought to herself…lady, you didn’t even give me a chance to work in front of the customers and when I did you were in your office not paying attention!.

Keep in mind, this girl was told at one time not to talk to other Baristas.

The next day, the girl went in knowing she technically hadn’t lost her job; but was very reluctant due to the hurtful words said by the Manager.

She worked two hours with four other people on the floor, while the Manager once again sat in her office. The Manager came out and said “you still don’t look happy, you might as well leave.”

The girl left mostly relieved but pissed because had the manager actually watched her work in front of customers, she would’ve found a VERY helpful, kind and smiling customer service oriented worker.

The End.

No names or locations used for purpose of Anonymity.

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Transformation Tuesday

I could show a picture of me from my heaviest weight and a more current one, but instead I’m going to show you what I feel my transformation will be like. I want to lose weight. And really, I need to lose weight.  I’ll be happy to get to 250 first and then to 200. I’m not all that concerned about “onederland”.  My goal is to be healthy and happy.  Oh and I want to eliminate the constant pain I have in my feet and knees.  This pain gets quite bothersome.  I remember my mom had severe pain in her feet and legs too.  However, she had a very large (probably 80 lb) mass on the back of her left leg. This growth was a result of something called Lymphedema.  That made walking difficult for her. She was morbidly obese too. She let the pain take control and was bed bound. She was this way for the last couple years of her life. It wasn’t any fun watching her slowly die.  It is not my intention to be like my mom in that aspect.  Quite frankly, I’m sick of dealing with the pain. I don’t like the idea of being bedridden. I’m young yet and I want to be able to live and move and enjoy life!  I know I’m 43 years old and have PCOS, both of which will make losing difficult. But I have to believe that it’s still possible.

Here’s how I feel my transformation will be:

Transformation Tuesday Img

Now this caterpillar is cute despite its large size.  But this is what I vision; my plump self morphing into a much prettier and healthier me.  And with it, I believe I will gain self confidence and self-esteem. I will be a whole different person. Right now, my fat is like a shell that I hide in. I’m ready to come out and face life.

Peace, Love and Smiles.

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Stepping Out of My Comfort Shell

First of all, let me say that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. And, I shouldn’t let fear interfere with that. My true friends will support my decisions and love me for me. Those that ridicule really aren’t friends.

I’m choosing to take another step out of my shell of comfort. My weight/weight loss has been a struggle for me since high school. Compared to what I am now, I certainly wasn’t fat in high school; however I was built a lot huskier than most girls so I was viewed as overweight and I was unhappy. I was shy and felt like I didn’t matter. Self-esteem; I had none. Those years were tough. Later, after having kids, the weight kept increasing. I’ll be honest, back then when I was a lot younger, I didn’t give weight loss a whole lot of thought. Now I’m not sure if that’s just because I was young, depressed or what. The weight kept coming on. I got to a high of about 403 lbs. That’s when my knees ached all the time; so much so that I went to a specialist. What was I told? We could do some shots, but surgery is out of the question until you lose some weight. I left there teary and upset. Reality was, I wasn’t surprised by what I was told, but I was still emotional about it. On the drive home, I stopped at a red light and was crying. At that moment I felt someone grab my shoulder and whisper the words “it’s okay”. It scared the crap out of me because I was alone in the car. I cried harder. Then I thought that perhaps it’s one of my guardian angels talking to me. At that moment I made the decision to seek out help in the form of weight loss surgery. This is something that I really don’t talk openly about except for on the video logs I’ve done.  I was always concerned what others might think. I feared they would think I took the easy way out. Trust me…surgery was my last resort. I hated the idea of it because I really wanted to lose the weight on my own. I figured that was only way my grandparents and other family and friends would be proud of me. Would they see me as a success if I got surgery? I put those thoughts aside and went to a weight loss surgery seminar and made an appointment with a surgeon.

I went through Grand Health Partners. My surgeon was Dr. Baker. He’s a wonderful doctor and I easily found faith in him. He was also my husband’s surgeon. He is a gifted pianist and also enjoys singing Southern gospel music. Knowing he plays piano gave me assurance that he has strong steady hands. Whether a person’s hands really are strong and steady from piano playing, I don’t really know. He also had a great bedside manner. We discussed the surgeries available and what might be best for me. I had gone in assuming I’d have the gastric bypass just like my husband. However, the doctor thought the gastric sleeve would be best for me. The seminar I attended was held in October and my surgery date was set for December 15, 2009. I was actually surprised by how quick it all came together.

Two weeks prior to the surgery, I had to start a liquid diet. Because of the way my body reacted to the sucralose in their products, I was able to have Carnation Instant Breakfast instead. I could also have broth if I wanted something warm. It was tough, but I did it. My day of surgery weight I believe was 356. I was scared and nervous going into surgery. My fear blocked any possible view of a future thinner and healthier me so I did not get excited like I’ve heard some people do.

The surgery went fine. I didn’t even need any drains which I was very grateful for. My stomach was reduced to the shape of a banana and thickness of a large highlighter. For two weeks following the surgery, I also had to do the liquid diet. I ended up getting Oral Thrush and was put on an antibiotic rinse. The surgeon’s office told me I could start on yogurt as that too would help with the thrush. Yogurt never tasted so good. And the first time I could have scrambled egg – heavenly. Best egg ever! I proceeded to lose weight and I started to feel better. I followed the rules of the tool. I had great loss for about 6 months and then it slowed. I also experienced hair loss during this time. That wasn’t so fun. I started a vitamin regimen of Biotin, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12 and a multi vitamin. I took them daily. After a while, I was able to get off my blood pressure meds as well as the Metformin I was on for insulin resistance. I was feeling good. I got down to a low of 253 lbs. And I felt great at that weight.

And then…some tough times started and sent me on a huge emotional rollercoaster. First, I found out my dad had lung cancer that metastasized to his brain. I found this out in October of 2011. I’m not sure how long he battled lung cancer without most of us knowing about it. He passed away on November 10, 2011. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure how I’d take his death because we really weren’t all that close. There were some choices he made in life that were quite disappointing to me. I don’t like to say I hold grudges, but I was unhappy about it for a long time. I ended up taking his death quite hard. That’s because I felt an extreme amount of guilt. I should’ve made better effort while he was alive to visit, etc. I had questions for him that I was always too afraid to ask and now they’d forever be unanswered. It was a tough few months. I did gain some weight back.

Forward to March 2012; I received word that one of my best friends (who I thought of as a sister) had gone missing. This was March 6 to be exact. I was exercising to a Jillian Michaels DVD when I got the news. Jillian Michaels just happened to be one of her favorite celebrities. My husband went out to help search. I stayed home and was a nervous wreck and in tears. I kept praying that everything was okay. The next day I went to work. Later in the day, I was notified that her body was found in a nearby pond. She was gone. I cried and cried. Her death hit me particularly hard. She was my best female friend. I could converse with her about anything. The day they found her was also my daughter’s birthday. That made for a bittersweet day.  I have not, to this day, exercised to a Jillian Michaels DVD again.

Now it’s June 18, 2012. I go for a bike ride and while I’m out my husband calls to tell me our dog Chyna isn’t doing well and that we should take her to emergency. He comes to get me and we head to the emergency Vet. I had no idea that our night would end with her having to be put to sleep and having to bury her in our backyard. Our pets are like kids to us. So this was very tough as well. I cried several more tears.

I experienced quite a bit of loss over the course of 6 months. My depression got worse. I gained some more weight. After a while I was able to get back to exercising and I tried so hard by recording everything I ate in MyFitnessPal. I did a lot of bike riding and had worked up to being able to do 12 miles. That was a lot for me and I was proud of that. I ended up getting so obsessed with all of it. I entered some contests through YouTube, etc. My obsession got so bad that it caused stress. And I wasn’t losing any weight. I was gaining. I chose to back off on some of that stuff to reduce the stress. I wasn’t enjoying myself at all. And, with the scale going up, that just made things worse and my depression seemed to get worse and on top of that…anxiety.

I had my first anxiety/panic attack in the summer of 2012. It scared me because I had no idea what it was. I was shaking so bad, while my husband held me and tried to comfort me. I went on to have a few more attacks. The worst was in December of 2013. That landed me in the psych hospital. I’ll talk more about that adventure later.

I want to share the success story of mine that is on the Grand Health Partners website (link is below). I was proud that it made it on the site. However, now…I’m no longer 255 lbs. I’m actually around 306. I can’t help but feel like I’ve failed the surgery. However, I remind myself that despite all these hurdles and weight gain, I’m still not where I once was. I’m still down a good 100 lbs. I’d like to lose another 100. It’s not going to be easy. I’ve come to have a strong addiction to soda pop and chocolate.

My Success Story

I’ve written a lot here and if you’ve read it all, thank you! Bless you. I’m going to end with this…no matter which method you choose for weight loss, it’s a lot of damn work. Surgery is not an easy way out. I’m proof that if you don’t work it 100% and you’re not with it mentally/emotionally, it’s just not going to happen. You have to put effort in and be in the right frame of mind and emotionally healthy to achieve the greatest success with weight loss. And that’s what I’ve been working on for the last six months…healing my mind and getting my emotions under control.

I feel like I’m close.  Here’s to getting myself over these hurdles that life has thrown at me.

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Sunday Blog 01-11-2014

Yesterday afternoon, our family met up with my sister Kat and her husband Larry at The Cracker Barrel. We all had such a great time. There was plenty of laughter, conversation and good food too. Later, my husband and I went for a little drive North where we had pizza pockets for dinner. After that, we went to see Lone Survivor. I thought that I’d cry throughout the movie and have that anxiety feeling in the stomach too. I did better than I thought I would.

Today, we started our day with a nice breakfast that my husband made. We then went to a couple places so that my husband could do some mechanic work. And now, my husband is off doing a little ice cleanup at a clients house and I am at home, typing this while NFL football is on TV. I also have some laundry going.

I really enjoyed spending time with family this weekend.

Peace. Love and Smiles.

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Blog – January 8 2014

So far today, I’ve cleaned the kitchen a bit, worked on a photo collage of my brothers family to hang in the house and rode along in the plow truck with my husband. Currently, we are at Fred’s on Plainfield having a little lunch.

After this, a plan to find a plow light kit for the plow truck or should I say the Bronco with a plow kit added? Whatever.

Also may be visiting a few clients he has to see if they need their drive cleared as a result of more drifting snow from our Michigan winter, which has been dubbed The Polar Vortex.

For now,

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Spilling My Guts A Bit

Today I just feel like dumping my thoughts out.  Lately, I’ve been feeling more down again. I wouldn’t say completely depressed but just sad at times.  I’m pretty sure it’s the time of year; holidays fast approaching, etc.  November 10 was 2 years since my dad passed. Anyone that actually knows me, knows that my relationship with my dad was not really that strong.  I didn’t respect a lot of his life decisions and actions and in my opinion could’ve done a much better job of being an earthly father.  I didn’t appreciate the drug use and dealing.  I didn’t appreciate the abusive behavior that I witnessed.  I watched him throw jumper cables at my mom…I was really quite young then, but I remember. I remember hearing the screams and cries of my step-mom through the heater vents of my 2nd floor bedroom.  I covered my head and tried to block it out but that never worked. I was scared. I remember watching him punish my brother physically one time.  Needless to say, I was scared of my dad. But I had to live with him. I because a little goody goody as some would call it.  I made sure I did very well in school (which wasn’t hard for me because I actually enjoyed school – it was my refuge).  I did all the chores and I never talked back. Many times I was even afraid to answer questions if he asked. Afraid of what he might think.  I nearly turned to stone. I remember being pulled out of my dance class because my mom was late picking me up one night and my dad got mad at her.  Dad never took me anywhere..we didn’t have a car.  And he never paid for the lessons.  I loved dance!  I was so hurt and disappointed that I had to suffer just because my dad was mad at my mom.  Talk about unfair.  I really disliked living there and much of my childhood was tough. I’m glad I liked school so much because that’s where I felt I could get away.  During the summer, I was able to spend time at my grandma’s house with my aunt (my dad’s younger sister).  I loved going there. My grandma was always willing to talk with me.  I could even be honest with her on how I didn’t like the pot smoking and what not.  I also was able to go to mom’s every other weekend.  I liked going to my mom’s too.  She was always nice and my step-dad was nice too.  She just didn’t have the means to support us living with her I guess nor did she have the courage to fight with my dad for custody.  She was pretty passive when I think about it.  Today, I’m pretty certain children would be removed from situations like that and placed in foster.  The summer between 8th and 9th grade, my brother and I got to visit with my mom for a few weeks. She lived in a trailer park in a small town north of where my dad lived. This mobile home had the extra rooms for us and we liked it there.  That summer I did the bravest thing I ever did. Honestly, I don’t know where my courage came from. We wanted to live with my mom, but when asked, my dad would say no.  Our only way was to turn him in to the authorities.  I remember being quite nervous talking to the police.  By the way, my mom had nothing to do with our decision to do this.  She did give us a ride to the police station though.  That summer we moved in with my mom.  But I never got over my fears of my dad.  I saw him less and less.  In adulthood, I rarely visited…only around holidays.  I called him on Father’s Day and birthday’s, but that was about it.  When I had my own kids, I just didn’t want them exposed to any of the pot use or anything so I never let them stay overnight there.  I had very little respect for him and I still feared him. Not only that, I was afraid to tell him any of my thoughts.  After my mom passed away and as I approached my 40’s, I had obviously matured and thought differently about a lot of things. I had come to realize that my dad had his own demons and didn’t handle them well.  Not to say he had an excuse for being the way he was….but I did make a better effort to see him a little more. It was not easy and I never did get over the fear and I never was able to express my true feelings.  He did make a better grandparent than parent though.  My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer at some point, but I’m not sure when.  It wasn’t until October of 2011 that his wife called us together and let us know he had cancer and it had metastasized to his brain in July…but had been dealing with lung cancer over a year.  Part of me was very upset that nobody let me know. However, that was up to my dad. He didn’t want to. I’m sure he didn’t want to burden us with extra worry and probably didn’t want sympathy.  I did visit him a couple times. Once was in the nursing home he was in. That was so hard to see him so pale and thin and weak. I left in tears.  I also visited the evening of November 9. He was home and in hospice care. He was very weak and barely coherent. But I was able to tell him I loved him and he said the same.  Again I left in tears. My dad was NEVER one to express emotion much or say I love you.  He died early the next morning.  We all gathered around his bed and talked and remembered him.  It was just a small group of us.  His wife, me and my husband, my aunt and her husband and my half sister. We laughed and cried.  Then they came for his body.  Such a gut wrenching thing to see.

One might think that because my relationship with my dad was so tough that I would find some sort of relief when he died.  But I’m here to tell you, that’s not true at all. If anything, it’s worse. I feel a lot of guilt for not visiting more. I deal with resentment too. There were so many questions and stuff that I had that I’ll never know answers to because I was too afraid to approach him. 

I’m a firm believer in family and that you should do whatever you can to mend the relationships you have before something like death happens. 

November 10 wasn’t bad. I did okay.  I actually had a dream a couple nights before that my dad was in. I was caught off guard but I think he was thinking of me. 

I think I’ll stop spilling for now. 

Peace. Love. Smile

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Weigh In – Diet Bet – Water

I weighed in this past Saturday and was up 1.6 lbs.  This is so incredibly frustrating!  Mostly because I’m really trying.  I’ve been getting to the gym at least 4 times a week. At the gym, I’ve been mainly focused on cardio right now working on the bicycle and a machine called the Arc Trainer.  I will say that the Arc Trainer is a great all over workout and it doesn’t take much to work up a good sweat.  I can only handle 15 minutes on that thing though.  I typically ride the bike anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour…most of the time opting for 45 minutes.  And, yes, it’s quite boring.  But I put on the music and just focus on challenging myself to see how many miles I can get in the allotted time.  By making a little game of it, it’s not quite so bad. And the music of course helps a lot too.  There are TV’s available on most of the machines, but I opt out on using that.  I feel if I’m watching TV, then I’ll tend to move slower and get less of a workout.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but about 3 weeks ago, I joined a DietBet.  I put $30 into the pot and the challenge is to lose 4% of your starting weight by the end of the time frame, which in this case is a month.  The scale was so kind to me in the beginning and now…it’s gone up again.  I have one week left of this diet bet and it looks like I’ll be losing out on my money.  I’m so frustrated by this.  I do believe, this will be the last diet bet that I do because my body just doesn’t like to work with me.  All the exercise, keeping my calories at 1500 or below, etc.  The scale still tells me a bad story. I’m tired of it.  I think this diet bet has done nothing but stress me out. 

So what’s the deal anyway? Why is it so hard for my body to let go of this weight?  One thing I struggle with is getting my water in.  I just do not like plain water…it gives me heartburn.  And I don’t like many of the mix-ins because they’re loaded with artificial sweetners.  Today I have my water bottle with me and I’m determined to get that water down.  Aside from the water, I think I’m doing pretty well.  I have cut back on soda pop. But I haven’t totally eliminated it.  I know it’s not something I need, but it is something I enjoy and frankly I have the attitude that I should be able to enjoy everything in moderation.  I might have one soda a day and sometimes not even that so it’s not like I’m downing a 6 pack a day or anything.  I’ve also cut way back on poor fast food choices.  Granted, on occasion a cheeseburger sounds good and I have one (or most of one). Much of the time, I can’t finish a whole burger. And, that’s okay.  Nobody is perfect and I am far from it.  I just get so tired of trying so hard and feeling like I’m getting absolutely nowhere.  My feet hurt, my knee hurts and must of the time my body feels achy.  But I’m pushing through.  I will say that I am quite determined to not give up or give in to the pain.  My mom did that and it was so difficult to watch her go down hill.

As long as I can do… I will.  After this diet bet, strength training will be added to the mix.  I also intend to return to water aerobics once I get a swim suit. 

I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind.  I just want to be healthy and fit.  If that means 235 lbs, then I’m totally fine with that.  Sadly, I have a ways to go before I’m even at that point.  My last weigh in was 320. Disgusting!!


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