At first when I decided to write a blog about my weight loss and trying to reclaim my health I had hoped to write about every two weeks, but so much has been going on, I haven’t had time. I also didn’t hit my goal right at Thanksgiving as I would have liked. But, I hit it!  Just this week I finally closed in on -25 pounds. That is about a week and a half late from when I set out to do it, but these things are not perfect and changing habits is certainly not perfect. I think in the past if things didn’t work out the way I wanted I criticized myself and then stopped believing I could accomplish what I wanted to. This has definitely changed for me. Slow and steady wins the race.  The blip in there for Thanksgiving didn’t help, especially since my apple sausage stuffing ended up making it to the dinner table three nights in a row.


I blipped up on the scale at Thanksgiving, but only by a pound. Here is my big mistake, though. I was excited by that I tempted fate and went to a movie with Phil and then the devil entered the room…….  I love popcorn!  Oh my gosh I love movie popcorn and if any of you have tried the Alamo Drafthouse’s popcorn you know it is plain and simply THE DEVIL. Here is proof:  Look at the picture I took….highlighted all in Satanic colors…lol…Phil and I went to see the Gucci’s because Lady Gaga and Adam Driver were in the same movie. I was gloating about only gaining 1 pound over Thanksgiving AND I did the turkey trot and walked an entire 5k!  So, I was so proud of myself….PROUD…here comes the downfall….I ordered a big coke (which to this point I had totally given up) and the popcorn. Phil ate some of this delightful bowl of popcorn, but not much. I munched it all down. My thinking was if I did the 5k and only gained 1 pound from all that turkey and stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes surely I wouldn’t gain too much eating a big bowl of buttered popcorn and a coke. I even went to the pool and swam and did my pilates reformer class.  However, when I weighed in on Monday, I was up 4.6 pounds. Holy shit!  That was not fun. I was so down in the dumps, but I knew i needed to get it together.  I was now only .4 down after an entire month of dieting. So, here is what I learned from my mistake. It was all salt. I went back to my diet, which is eating a lot of veggies, lean proteins, and lower carbohydrates, however, plenty of fresh fruit and lots of water.  It came off pretty quick.  Hence, I am now actually down 26.6 pounds.   Doing the Turkey Trot helped, for sure. We had signed up for two, actually. One to support Make A Wish and one at Field Club where we swim in the summer. But, on Thanksgiving Day the windchill was at 12 degrees and Phil and I cozied up in bed and slept in. At least the donation went to Make A Wish, which we love. So, we ended up only doing the one the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This one is open to the public and was awesome. The course was wonderful and the shirt….well, it is all about the shirt. I love this shirt!  I am so stinking proud of it also. What I realized on the course though is it is time to address the issues with my knee that I tore apart on the ski run in Canada on New Year’s Day in 1994. The poor thing is bone on bone and it hurts. I plan to have my knee replaced once I lose about 50 pounds, so I am halfway there. When we were doing the Turkey Trot Phil and I ended up talking to a Physical Therapist that told me to definitely lose the weight, but then just get it done.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have to say when I tore my ACL and about everything else skiing, my recovery was horrible. It was a really hard time for me and was the start of my weight gain. I used to be so athletic. When I tore my ACL I was about 20 pounds overweight. After I severed the ACL and had my knee reconstructed, I was on crutches for a long time. I had also torn my medial ligament, my hamstring, and tore some of my patellar tendon. It was pretty bad. I didn’t go back to aerobic classes, biking, and hiking for a really long time.  It was also the start of my insecurity about my physicality and after that I had two other major knee accidents and surgeries to follow. Then, I tore the labrum in my hip and had to have surgery after Lolo’s first recovery.  Then, right before she relapsed I tore my Achilles tendon. The right side of my body has gone down for the count.  Getting weight off and rebuilding the strength in my body has become a priority. I have given up the idea of ever skiing again, which sucks because I was born in Idaho and it goes without saying that I absolutely LOVE to ski. I haven’t given up the idea that I might be able to play tennis again. For now, the 5k was a lot. My goal was to finish!  Next was to not fall down at any point and then to not pee my pants. I finished and didn’t fall down or pee my pants. But, walking a 5k actually hurt some. The next day it felt great, but that day I went home and iced my knee, took motrin, and did a lot of stretching. I loved the route and plan to hit that route again and keep practicing. Someday my goal is to the 10k for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with Julie Guillot and Dr. Meshinchi, so I have my work cut out for me. My new resolution is to keep working on the weight, but also get in to my Orthopedic Surgeon and get the gel injections that help relieve the bone on bone pain. I have been told by a couple of people that I would be a good candidate. I no longer have a meniscus there because of my love of pretending I am a back up dancer for Tina Turner and a few drinks with some old friends……(one of the addiitonal knee surgeries.)  I used to have that entire back up dancer dance down. I can barely do any of it anymore. Man, those were the days.

On a positive note, the 25 pounds has done me so much good. My new job is kicking my booty. I am on my feet walking back and forth doing medical laboratory testing all day. It is full time and I also climb stairs between the Chemistry and Hematology department. The set up is cool. The co-workers are really awesome. The building is beautiful. But, the work is hard on me physically. I think losing 25 pounds is helping. The other great thing about the job is they have a cafeteria on the 6th floor with a great chef. He creates a beautiful salad bar and for $5 I can build a beautiful salad. He makes more stuff, but Weight Watchers loves veggies so I pile a big veggie salad high everyday and add a hard boiled egg. Perfect!  It is actually a little bit delicious, if I must say. I also don’t have to cut all those veggies up and it saves me some time in the morning. That I will call a bonus. The other great thing the minus 25 has done for me is allow me to feel better in my clothing. I ordered a new dress for a wedding and I felt great in it. It fit really well and it was actually pretty and not made my Omar the tent maker as my Grandpa used to say was his tailor…lol….oh God, Grandpa was so funny. 

Our family was invited to the wedding of Zach Sieff and Brooke Larson in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We drove up for the weekend last weekend. Jonathan and Lolo were also invited, but my poor Lolo has been fighting a really bad respiratory infection for about a month. She had missed so much school and was so drained. On top of that, she had finals the week after. She was so sad to miss it because Zach and his brother Adam created the video that went to Taylor Swift that got her to come spend time with Lolo in her hospital room. Zach is the youngest brother of my bestie, Jen Churilla, and the uncle to Lolo’s friend Maggie. Maggie and Lolo have been friends since they were 3 years old!  Needless to say, we love this family like our own. No, scratch that….we love them more…lol

We had the time of our lives. I danced about the entire time. Jen and Jonathan teased me that they warned the DJ to NOT play any Tina Turner.  RUDE!!!  It felt good to have something nice to wear and also dance the night away. I can’t wait to repair my knee and lose more weight!  On another positive note, I have learned to balance fun events like weddings and holidays and Weight Watchers. It is all about balance. It helps to let go sometimes. I don’t lose my mind and eat an entire chocolate cake, but I never did that before anyway.

I even might have a drink…or two. The other highlight of the weekend was having a little tequila with my son. I had to have a toast with him to celebrate him finishing Paramedic School and just being an overall awesome person. He had so much fun at the wedding and did get back to the hotel a few hours after us, but those Sieffs, they make everything fun. It was also such an inspiring wedding because it truly was a celebration of love. I also was so glad to see Jen and her whole family there. It was such an honor.  A few good times certainly help the body feel good.  My biggest inspiration for my health is hoping that someday I get to dance at Jonathan’s and Lolo’s weddings. I want to be healthy enough to be strong and enjoy the times coming up. I also want to be able to celebrate my own love story with Phil. We have been married for 34 years and as we age my hope is that we get to age together and both enjoy life and good health. He has jumped on the band wagon to help me. In fact, I am going to end this blog because he is pacing. We are heading to the gym together. It is a Saturday and my favorite thing to do is head to the gym for a swim on a Saturday.  It feels so good to swim laps and my cool new Apple Watch is able to track my pace in the pool. I am so dumb, though. I thought i was swimming a mile. I misread the sign at the pool. I am swimming a 1/2 mile.  That is still pretty dang good!

In summary, what I learned about this process is that it is going to take some time. As I gain more patience and realize it will take the time that it takes, I know I don’t have the finish line in sight yet. In fact, the real accomplishment is that I look at this as how my life is forever now and not just something I am doing for a short time. I do have my eyes on that next target. 30 pounds here I come. I had hoped to have those 30 pounds down by the Debutante Ball for the Omaha symphony on December 27th. My dress already fits, so I just think the additional 5 pounds off will give me more confidence to wear those heels for the majority of the night. I can’t wait to see Jonathan and Phil all dressed in tuxedos. My mom LOVES dressing up.  She is so excited to go. It should be a nice night. I am sure if I hadn’t started this weight loss journey my weight would have been adding stress to my anticipation of this night. To have a dress that fits is a pretty good thing. It really can be those simple things that make a difference.  That and having a fresh veggie salad everyday are what I am excited about these days.  Merry Christmas!  Wish me luck with the holidays!  May yours be merry, bright, and healthy!


Tomorrow is Sunday, December 12th. Tomorrow is Lolo’s cancerversary. 9 years ago on December 12th, Lolo was diagnosed with Acute Monoblastic Leukemia. When Lolo relapsed, we were told if she gets to her cancerversary 5 years later she would be cancer free and well on her way to health. I used to wonder if I would ever not feel sheer terror this time every year. Most cancer families have PTSD and cancerversaries recall the time of year when you felt the bottom fell out of your world. Well, this is the first year that I don’t feel sheer terror. I still have sad memories of this time and I will never forget how my sweet girl walked into the hospital and nearly died within a few short days….and then spent the next year battling to survive. But, this year I feel JOY. Lolo is home from college. We had a close call with her health this year with her respiratory infection and recovering from COVID. She is worn out. We are also soooo dang proud of her finishing the semester. She has a winter class and one incomplete to finish because of her illness. We are both excited to hang out, BAKE!!!, go to some exercise classes, puzzle, etc.  Tomorrow instead of doing anything big, we are simply having chicken enchiladas with just our nuclear family. She is meeting up with Nora and Amber Saltsgaver tomorrow from Nora’s Nation…details to follow and getting her dress fitting for her Debutante dress. She is always my inspiration. I hope she sees if this old broad with broken knees and such can get fit she can also regain her stamina. December 12th is certainly going to feel differently tomorrow.