I was so excited to begin this blog hoping that it would create accountability for me so that I did not give up focus trying to get my body back in shape after so many years of not taking care of myself. I was surprised by the response I received from so many people struggling with the same issue. Many do not outwardly seem like they have food issues or don’t exercise or are feeling unhealthy. So many women have body image issues and have a hard time caring for themselves. I was worried that by blogging people would think that I wanted the attention on myself or would criticize me, but I knew that my hopes for health and strength outweighed the anxiety of putting myself out there in a public space. I have a good friend, Kim, that I haven’t talked to in a while, but she will always be my good friend. She is wise and I love her. At one of the worst times of my life she gave me a plaque that sits in my office. It says, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.” (Dr. Suess) In essence, the blog brought me incredible support and joy. I want to thank every person that sent me positive support and encouragement. This means so much to me. The picture to the right is of Lolo and me. It was used for a national session that our pediatric AML core IMpact team presented to help families of kids with pediatric AML understand the disease. It was so moving to see our core Team post pictures saying “you are not alone.” Being alone with the weight of the world on your shoulders is one of the hardest things for human beings. We are social and we thrive when we get help from our friends. The other surprising result from the blog was the honest emails I received from so many of you that shared your fear, worries, and confusion about how to care for yourself also. I hope to have time coming up to answer each and every one of you. We are all in this thing called life together. I hope that my blog may help some of you also know that “you are not alone.” I hope to be honest and raw because that is how I roll. I hope I can share my wins and my losses in a way that I can hold myself accountable and learn something along the way. My biggest win is that my biggest supporters in this endeavor has been Lolo and Jonathan. Both of them have been cheering me on.
So, here we go! This was a hard month for me. I had started the process of trying to re-enter the workforce again. I was confused about how that was going to go. Was I going to go back to work as a Clinical Laboratory
Scientist or a High School Science Teacher? There were many pluses and minuses to both. I have wanted for some time to explore the option of doing something completely different, but a few factors made the decision for me, mostly my age and the realization that I need to step it up and get a job. I started noticing how tired Phil has been. He took on a new role and works mostly 10–12-hour days and has a lot more responsibility. My boyfriend is now 60 and I love him dearly. After losing my dad young and having a child diagnosed with cancer, I never take someone’s health for granted. Therefore, I decided I needed to go back to work pronto and help rebuild the retirement I cashed out to help pay Lolo’s medical bills, her college tuition, and help with living expenses while she has been recovering from cancer. I decided my schedule had to coincide with helping Phil lighten the load at home. The man is no slacker and does most of the yard work and works really hard around the house. Long story short, even though I love running Lolo’s Angels full-time and being there for the kids, it was time to step up. So, between the two jobs….I didn’t feel I wanted to head back to teaching at this stage of the game even though my passion is truly working with young people. I applied for a few jobs in hospital labs and found the ones that excited me had terrible hours. So, I narrowed down my search to a job that had hours where I could spend time in the yard on the weekends with Phil and time in the evenings at home or working on Lolo’s Angels. I was lucky to receive an offer from Think Whole Person Healthcare. I will be in the lab there full-time running my behind off. They have 33 physicians and the lab is hoppin.’ I have my fingers crossed that I can handle being on my feet for 8 hours again. I also really want to keep up with my workout schedule because I am seeing some progress. I think I have found my niche. Working full-time and maintaining time at the gym takes commitment and stamina. I am committed, but still short on stamina. This will surely be my challenge, but I HAVE to make this work. I am already trying to look at ways that I can limit my other commitments to make my health and fitness a priority when working full-time. UGH! I am a bit nervous about how I will do. One day at a time. I did the company training this last week and I start full-time in the lab training tomorrow morning. The good news…..my work uniform will be back to scrubs, tennis shoes, and a ponytail! I like that! A good thing and a bad thing about the new job is they cook these wonderful homestyle meals for lunch for the employees. On my training days I enjoyed this, but I will be staying in the lab break area to eat my Lean Cuisine going forward and maybe only enjoy the home cooking perk here and there. God help me, they have homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. Lord!
Before starting work I made a bit more progress towards weight loss. I am now 20 pounds down! My goal was to accomplish this by November 1st and I was a few days late, but still in the ballpark. I am surprised that I was able to accomplish this goal. It took me 4 months because I am in the remedial class for weight loss and this has been a steep learning curve. I had set a goal of buying myself an Apple Watch once I hit minus 20 pounds, so here is my new watch! I decreased how much I ate out and only buy a latte once a week now. The savings added up and the Apple Watch is motivating me to track my workouts and move a lot more! The biggest win in this department is that when I went in for my doctor’s visit, I had decreased my BMI by 4 points. This makes me proud and is part of my “Why” I am doing this….I want to be around for my kids and my husband.
Now, I keep going up a pound and down a pound. The best habit I formed was to weigh in daily. I found for me it helped me be more honest with myself and make friends with my body instead of thinking the scale was this crazy conspiracy against me. It made me also see the trend downward when I see the WW app showing my progress. Every time my weight bounces down some, it also bounces up. So, now my new goal is to lose 10 more pounds by the time of Lolo’s Debutante Ball. This is scheduled for December 27th. That would be a total of 30 pounds off by then which would feel pretty good. I had hoped for 40, but I think 30 is more reasonable. It seems I am losing about 4-6 pounds a month. Again, I wish it was more, but slow and steady wins the race. I have 100 pounds to lose. It is easy to get bogged down in that, but I am already 1/5 of the way done. I guess I should say, I only have 80 more to go. I no longer have 100 pounds to lose. I like that better! It took me a good two months to learn to use Weight Watchers website and the app well to track points and get a good idea of how much my body needs to take in that is healthy and still lose weight. If you are interested in trying Weight Watchers, here is an invite a friend app to join: https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/checkout/iaf/?iaftoken=71A0E7EA00 It has really worked for me so far!
As I have started having some success at losing weight, I also realize that I am undoing many years of some ingrained habits that have resulted in being 100 pounds overweight and not fit and strong. Therefore, I am looking at my list of habits to work on. I think next time I blog I will share my list of what those habits are and how I am tackling them one or two at time. It is a lot! I mean seriously, as I tether apart this problem of weight loss and working out, I realize there are a lot of habits that slowly crept into my day.
One of the things I am surprised at that I didn’t know and understand before is the belief that some people have that someone
that is overweight has a low opinion of themselves or has low self-esteem. Maybe so, but actually not always. I actually don’t think I have low self-esteem at all. I think I haven’t been able to manage anxiety and stress over the years and have had a lot shiz to deal with in my life. As I get to know more and more people that struggle with caring for their bodies, this is true of many of them. I would say women in general struggle with low self-esteem because society has dished out a load of garbage to women about how they should feel about their bodies. I don’t take that on as a rule. I still go to the pool and swim, even at my weight, whereas many women will not put themselves in a swimsuit even though they love swimming. Now, that is a total shame to me. It is also a shame that people that are overweight have been shamed in our society so much. It is like so many problems that humans have as a rule. There are just as many people that are alcoholics or binge eaters or drug users or sex abusers out there that in many ways are not shamed as much in our society. I am not owning any of it. I am not going to take on the shame for being overweight and seriously feel that the shame that some people offer for another person’s body type speaks more about them than it does me. I am just going to do the best I can. But I do offer some great reading about some of these issues. I just read “Women, Food, and God” by Geneen Roth. Wow! Great read. I knew it would be because my dearest friend and guru Katie Twit suggested it. I highly recommend this for any woman or man married to a woman or raising a daughter.
One of the things that has really worked well this month for me was establishing a couple of workouts that I enjoyed and enlisting some support in that space. I will caution anyone starting a workout that you may have the same problem as I did. Just forming the habit was stressful because it as a new thing. I failed at it many times but didn’t give up! For example, this sweet instructor, Jen, at Club Pilates may tell you that I didn’t have their system correct and would log in wrong to the class. The first few weeks of Club Pilates I logged in wrong so missed a class. Then, I showed up and wasn’t logged in so there wasn’t room. Two weeks in a row I couldn’t find my grippy socks. I was about over it and finally I decided this was ridiculous! I wanted to do this damn class. So, now I have my regular routine. Also, the first few times I did the class I could
Not do all the reps and one exercise I couldn’t actually do at all. I am showing up. I now have a stash of grippy socks and I know how to use the app. My advice is to allow yourself some grace getting in the rhythm of a new class or routine. It is extremely frustrating for a while. My workouts now are Pilates on Sundays at 0900, Training with Brent on Tuesdays at 1800, Thursdays easy workout at the gym, Fridays Swim a mile, Saturdays Yoga. I have not once made it to all of them in a week, but I am hoping to once I get used to each thing. I am actually swimming more than that because I have started to love how many calories I can burn. My Apple watch shows that I burn over 500 calories when I swim a mile. When I first started swimming consistently it took 50 minutes to swim a half mile. Then I could swim a half mile in a half hour. This last week I am now swimming a mile in 35 minutes. This blew me away. Being able to chart my progress has been very
motivating to me. Maybe I am like a kindergarten child. Having Jen at Pilates recognize that I am trying to stay fit once again makes me feel like I am not alone in this battle. Or, having Brent send me a text that he is looking forward to our workout coming up. Thanks, Jen and Brent! (You can see me at my Pilates Reformer station behind Jen proud to have finished her class!)
As I am able to have more stamina I am finding that I am able to participate in more things that I find rewarding. In addition to going to the gym I helped Phil prep the yard for winter. Before I could barely help him because I just pooped out. Then once I started working out all I could do was work out. This month I am adding in more physical chores to help more around our yard. It feels so good to mow and to rake and be a part of creating our outdoor space. It also is nice to hang out in the outdoors when it is nice in Omaha before Winter strikes….because it is coming soon and that in itself is a whole challenge for me to stay fit and healthy. In winter I just want to curl up in a ball with covers by a fire and eat macaroni and cheese. That is a problem for a month from now…..
So, in summary, 20 pounds off equals a new Apple Watch for me! I met my goal for November 1. My next goal is only 10 pounds, but it is reasonable because I am starting a new job, Thanksgiving is in there followed by Christmas. I hope to meet this goal of -30 pounds by December 27th. Some of the habits I have formed that have resulted in success are:
1-I turn off the lights after dinner and have hot tea before bedtime. No eating after dinner. 2-I plan my meals for the day rather than eat what sounds good at the time. 3-I drink 8 glasses of water a day religiously and drink hot tea instead of having a latte. 4-I eat out rarely now, but when I do I plan ahead 5-I schedule my workouts and try to make them a priority. 5-I have fresh fruit and vegetables at eye level in my refrigerator ready to go. 6-I try to journal and breathe through anxiety and try to focus on the impact this has on poor food choices and overeating. 7-I carve out time to make sure I get extra rest. Dieting makes me more tired so some nights I actually have to sleep up to 9 hours. No matter what I am trying to sleep 8. Melatonin has helped and so does winding down for bedtime.
This month my challenges are definitely getting bigger. I know I will be so much more tired when I go to work. Being exhausted has been one of the issues that has resulted in weight gain and not having the energy to go to the gym. I am trying to look ahead and decrease the stress on me this month so that I may be able to handle the fatigue I will have from starting a new job. I will have Thanksgiving off and will be cooking for my family. We have sized down the number of dishes, but it is my absolute favorite meal on the planet. To help stay active Phil and I signed up for not just one Turkey Trot, but two. Yeah, baby! We are doing one on Thanksgiving Day for our other favorite charity, other than Lolo’s Angels…Make A Wish! Then on Saturday we are doing one at Field Club because they have the cutest dang long-sleeved shirts. I love earning a t-shirt from a fun run/walk. I will be walking, but 5k is 5k! That will help get me moving. I hope by December 1st I have lost another 5 pounds to keep me on target for the 10 I need to lose by the 27th of December. I am trying to find a smaller reward for 5 pounds and something cool for 10 pounds too. My idea is that my reward also has to be something that would be a tool or motivator to continue this progress!
I had a friend tell me not to get caught up in the pounds as much and I agree somewhat. Part of the focus on the pounds is I have a knee that is screwed on and needs to be replaced. When you are 100 pounds overweight it is hard on your joints and your body. I am not looking at becoming a swimsuit model. I just want to engage in an active life, be healthy, and decrease my BMI. I am not obsessed with the goal of the pounds. I know these pounds will come off as I learn to eat healthy and maintain my fitness. I do predict that this will take me about 2 years to accomplish and then learn to maintain it. Ultimately, I would like to go into the doctor and not have the doctor write “obese” on my health chart. I would like to not have my weight be an obstacle to my energy level and the choices I get to make. I also want to be able to do active vacations and see more of the world.
LesLee, your post resonates with me as I imagine it does with so many women trying to be healthy in a culture that puts roadblocks in the way of just about every step we try to take.
For me, the “failure” of never completely conquering my weight problem is something I’ve always felt so much shame. How can I accomplish other important things in my life but can’t figure out this one thing?
One thing I know for sure is doing this alone doesn’t work for me. Thank you for posting this! I feel a little less alone and look forward to following your journey.
This is fantastic! 20 pounds!! Good work!
Have to get back to fighting weight so that I can come visit you in California and we can go hiking!!
Love your blog. It resonates with me so much trying to lose the chemo weight I gained. Maybe your reward can be clothing related as I’m sure losing that much weight some things aren’t fitting right?
Thanks, Julia! You are doing so well with your positive self! I have meant to cheer you on but have had my head in quicksand lately. Go, Julia!!