Monthly Archives: January 2013

Weight Loss Journey Day 23

sunset cloudsI’m feeling it. That sense that this blessed rest is almost over. Tomorrow will be our last day on the beach. We’ll be gone before the sunrise on Saturday.

Introspection takes over.

I’m tired of not getting sun on my tummy.

I’m tired of hiding next to my condo door when I want to feel the ocean on my feet while I seek the sun.

I do it.

I wrap in my towel. Drag the lounge chair and my journal to the ocean edge. Where people will walk by. People who may or may not even notice that I am there, just another sun-seeker at the beach. Another middle-aged woman in a bikini top. (The bottom swimsuit piece is still granny style. Just can’t go there all the way.)

I pull the towel away and quickly plop onto the chair letting my toes dig into the sand and delighting in the tickle of the gentle tide that laps over them. I feel the sun. I relax.

Someone walks by; I panic. I imagine they are a conservative couple who would never have a bikini top in their home, and who have read my articles. I imagine they are now appalled to see me like this . . .

But they don’t even notice me, not really. And I am angry with myself for this crazy game. I’m tired of being afraid.

I’m tired of hiding.

I sit a while longer. The sea washes over my tattoo. The one on my foot that reminds me that Jesus delights in me. The one that matches my daughter’s, connecting us as she gets engaged and prepares to connect with someone else in a new way. The one that says we delight in each other.

my cool tattoo

The one I sometimes hide.

I let it go, this angst.

Then, finally, I pick up the little blank book.

journal2

Then finally, I write.

writing

Maybe you’d like to know what. I’ll tell a little, carefully edited. Raw but not completely revealing:

“[Last Thursday] I was tired of crying alone, of hiding . . . of having no human place to undress. Years of compressing anger, the fears, the pain, have taken a toll. Sometimes it expands, too often and unbidden, to full size. And sometimes when it does I cry. I know it as raw, feeling pain—but other times it doesn’t feel like anything.

Then a car comes out of nowhere, and my body hurts. I hurt.  I rest and try to heal.

All used up.

. . .

I don’t want to be a burden. To hurt others. To ask for what can’t be given.

But I don’t want to be that little girl crying out for solace into a void where there is no one able to give it.

. . .

I want to be naked and unashamed. I don’t want to cry alone. I want to cry with arms around me. I want uncloaked intimacy of body, heart, and soul.”

And as I wrote these things I saw a little girl Paula. She watched to see how the words would be received. She heard voices of the past that kept her quiet.

And I remembered the little girl who wrote in her journal, unable to write real words sometimes, just harsh, cutting marks, bearing down so hard that for pages after her quiet explosion the writing space was ruined.

Nobody else was strong enough to be trusted. Just God and her journal.

But now that little girl looks curious. She’s watching to see if I truly unveil. She’s watching to see if there are people strong enough for all of her.

And I write more:

“I’m afraid I’m just a vapor with nothing left to give substance. I’m afraid of leaning and being leaned upon. What if relationships topple, too much vapor for leaning?

I know God is in this somewhere. I’m pretty certain I would have already crashed and shattered without hope of being put back together again if He weren’t. But right now I don’t want to be told He is holding me up. (Though I’m sure He is.)

. . .

I’m wearing a bikini top as I write. I’ve wondered why—at 47 and very overweight—I would crave the sun on my stomach, on the long unexposed part of my breasts. But I’ve begged it to come and color me bronze. I long to feel its heat in those typically hidden places.

The first few days I cowered, barely leaving the lanai, begging the sun to meet me there. Funny. I have burned shoulders and upper chest, but these places I expected to be so tender, those so long hidden, have not seemed to draw in the sun at all.

Today I did the unthinkable, dragging my chair out where people are, so hungry was I to have the hidden places touched. I think the water might reflect the sun, and I might actually show that I have been changed, there in those vulnerable parts.

There is risk. A few still walk the beach, and I am seen. I might even be noticed, though I hope not. The biggest risk of this exposure is that my vulnerable, hidden places will not only be warmed bronze, but seared.

Real Time Update:

So far no searing . . .

There’s some confusion about how I’m doing this blog, especially with people who started following the blog after this post released, so check it out if the timing stuff confuses you. Basically, the heart of today’s blog is about what happened on the 23rd day of my weight loss journey even though today I’m at something like day 87. The real time updates talk about my present struggles/success, but in less detail. I hope getting both perspectives help!

And about yesterday’s real time update–I did get it together to return to exercise, and I’m researching plateaus and praying about how to approach this one.

What About You?

Have you hidden? Come out of hiding? Been seared . . . or healed?

Weight Loss Journey Day 22

the beach walkingIf I were home today would be my “weigh in and tell BENew what my pounds and inches are” day.

But I’m not home.

Maybe the extra week before I weigh again will show some real results. I’m starting to feel different. I look in the mirror and my eyes aren’t so sure, but in my heart I KNOW I am different even if the mirror doesn’t SHOW it.

I can’t believe I can walk the whole beach like this. I’ve come so far from the woman who spent all those hours on the couch or in bed this summer. We see lots of cool stuff as we walk.

Today’s expedition included a small shark

shark closer

And a weird stump that sprayed ocean water as the waves rolled over it. I wish I were an artist and could paint it.

walking 2

I’m still doing nothing. Not reading, writing, or even watching movies. We sit on the lanai and talk for hours. We walk the beach or swim at the pool.

I lay in the sun in my bikini top.

Bikini top. Still weirded out by buying one and even more by wearing one. It isn’t about showing something off. With my weight and stretch marks that isn’t even possible. It’s about something . . . more. About not hiding. About not holding back because I fear what people think. About being brave enough to do something differently than I did yesterday–or even for most of my life.

So I expose this previously unexposed part of me to the sun, longing for it’s warmth, wanting to be kissed brown even as I fear I will scorch.

I keep cutting back on sunscreen because I’m not even tanning on my tummy, much less burning.

As so passes another day at the beach.

It’s peaceful as night falls here.

palm tree and dusk

We eat healthy

food florida

And watch the sunset as we do.

sunset and bird

The birds lift their wings to freedom, and I long to follow.

Real Time Update:

The brave thing of this week wasn’t buying clothes but giving them away–three garbage bags of three different sizes. It’s even braver to do so since I’m frustrated by that plateau I mentioned yesterday. But I will NOT return to 190 pounds. Or 183 Or 180. And I will NOT give up on losing another chunk of weight.

Though to be honest I’ve avoided exercise today. It is self-sabotage, this grumpy-I’m-not-going-to-do-it-if-I’m-not-going-to-see-results-attitude. I’m not giving into it long term. But for today . . . I’m nursing my emotion as I try to decide whose advice to follow: eat more, not less, for a short time; add more intensity to exercise; change up exercise patterns; drink more water; eat less; get more fiber; reduce carbs.

It’s overwhelming.

But I WON’T give up. Just taking today to process (okay, and to feel sorry for myself, although it’s not making me want to eat, it’s making it hard to force myself to eat.) And when I quit feeling so mad I’ll pray about this, make a decision, and keep on keepin’ on.

What About You?

What would be a freedom choice in your life? How do you process disappointment? Or make good choices when you get conflicting advice?

Weight Loss Journey Day 21

You didn’t think I’d do it, did you?

I did.

Bought a bikini top on clearance at the Sarasota Wal-mart. I didn’t grow up wearing a bikini so this is not a normal place of comfort for me. I only wore one once, on my honeymoon for my husband. But there is something to this, something I don’t yet understand. Like I mentioned yesterday, I think it has something to do with my need to quit hiding.

bikini

Yes, this is what I bought. NO I will not model it on the Internet!!

Do you think I’ll get burned in those places that have not been exposed? I’m slathering the sunscreen.

And NO, I am NOT wearing the top while we walk the beach, but only when I slip just barely out our sliding glass door, away from most of the people, and let the sun kiss my fat ole tummy.

Heavenly.

We decided to add swimming at the pool to our routine when I returned from drinking in the sun. For the trek I threw a cover-up over the bikini top and skirted swimsuit bottom. Since I hadn’t seen anyone at the pool, I figured it didn’t matter what I wore. Of course now a family, which included a teenage boy, splashed in the water.

I went back to the condo and put on the top goes with my mature-woman-cover-up-stuff-skirted-swimsuit

With all that extra exercise I was under calorie count today, I but didn’t feel hungry. And with all the healthy choices we’re making, I feel fantastic.

I’m surprised I still have no energy for any of the stuff I expected to do, like write in my journal or read. That’s where I usually turn when I need to work things through, like what’s up with this hiding thing, how do I think about all the trials of 2012 (and before), and my obsession with not hiding.

Maybe I don’t want to put the energy into journaling because of the icky feeling in my head that has haunted me since that last car accident. (It bothers me to do computer work and even fatigues me to write in my journal.)

But this resistance feels like something else.

When I lie in the sun I talk to God, but it seems disjointed and jumbled and rambly. I miss the deeper conversations I had with Him with pen in hand, helping me focus.

Still, I’ve no desire to pick up a pen.

Maybe I am still in rest and unwind mode.

Real Time Update:

I did eventually process some of the stuff buried inside. If I’m brave enough I’ll post parts of it in a couple of days.

As to what is happening now, about two months after the above experience, I’m in another plateau. The first time I plateaued I kept doing what I was doing for a couple of weeks, and all of the sudden I dropped  7 pounds. This plateau is starting to concern me as it is lasting longer. I did some research this morning, and I have a few ideas–like being more careful about water intake, which I’ve become slack about. Also, I may need to watch types of foods more carefully, not just amounts. And it may help to push myself a little with the exercise. I am stronger now. I walk farther and without getting as winded, so it’s become pretty easy. If I was wanting to maintain this would be fine, but I’d like to drop another 25 or so.

I sound pretty cavalier about the plateau, but it’s starting to bug me.

What About You?

Any ideas about how to handle plateaus? What do you do when you’re frustrated with the weight loss journey? Have you ever felt tired of hiding–physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally?

Weight Loss Journey Day 20

sunset in Florida

Sunset in Florida

Okay. This is really weird, but I want a bikini top. I’ve owned one once in my life—for my honeymoon (when it still looked good on me). But suddenly I want another one, stretch marks and all. Not because I’m skinny, but because I want to feel the sun on my stomach.

Hmmm . . . can I even admit that I, a conservative homeschool mom, want a bikini top? (There’s that theme again. No hiding.)

This is a beautiful, safe beach. Most everyone here has 10-30 years on me. The sliding glass doors of our condo literally open onto the seashore. In the mornings there is a steady stream of people who walk up and down the five mile stretch of white sand.

So healthy!

I’ve been watching the women, thinking. Here are my conclusions:

  • Older women, for the most part, seem more secure with their bodies
  • Fat looks better when it is tanned (maybe that’s why I want the bikini top?)
  • While I am wowed by the two robust women riding a bike in bikinis through the middle of town, I don’t want to be quite that brave. Well, I do. I mean how awesome is it that they just don’t care? But . . .
  • I like the looks of the women who walk the beach in modest swim suits and shorts. I want to be trim and wholesome like them. (But I still want a bikini top to lie in the sun. Weird.)
  • You can still look fit and good when you’re over 60. (I’d better conquer the weight thing now!)
  • The older women enjoy their men. Most are here with a husband, and by the way they interact, I’m thinking they are husbands of many years. I want to hold hands with my husband and walk the beach in ten, twenty, thirty more years.
  • Older women still love their girlfriends. There are clusters of tourists who are here with a group of friends. I like to watch them giggle and talk non-stop, fully engaged. No matter our age, we need girl time.

Kathleen and I have found a rhythm. We have eggs, turkey bacon, and one piece of toast first thing in the morning. Then we walk along the beach. (The first day it was barefoot, but thanks to the blisters from the sand we now start out in tennis shoes, though I usually have to shed them as we near the end of our trek so I can splash through the ocean.)

We come back, hot and sweaty, and guzzle water. We relax in our lanai with shakes made with frozen fruit and chia seeds. (I use my BeFull and almond milk. She does her protein stuff and coconut milk.) Then she stays inside, and I seek the sun. Later we have a healthy supper in our lanai while we watch the sunset—usually salad, a protein, and a glass of wine.

Healthy and Elegant

Healthy, low calories, elegant. (And yes, Kathleen has more veggies in her salad than I do. Be impressed there is salad!!)

I’m learning a lot from her about eating better and exercising. About not sacrificing taste or elegance even though we’re careful with calories. Kathleen makes everything beautiful.

Real Time Update:

Yesterday I warned you today would be a little weird. But I guess it wasn’t too bad. It does get deeper, so hang on. But seriously, what was up with me and that bikini crave??

What About You?

What have you learned as you’ve matured that you wish you could tell your younger self? What do you look forward to once you pass middle age? How do you make healthier, low calorie foods elegant?

REAL TIME UPDATE

sugar picture perched

30 lbs of sugar. I can’t believe I used to lug this much weight every day.

I’ve been posting about my weight loss journey, sharing journal entries from about two months ago so I can offer you guys a daily chronicle of the weight loss journey, but I decided to slip an extra post based on where I am real time. It was just too impacting on me to wait 60 days to share.

Jerry and I were at Sam’s Club. He pointed to the sugar and asked me to pick up three 10 lb bags. I couldn’t believe how heavy they were, how much they weighed me down. I know the weight I lost was more evenly distributed, but still!

I can hardly process how I lugged that much weight around every day for so many years. No wonder I move with much more ease. No wonder I feel so much lighter, inside and out.

I’m so grateful to God who is leading this journey, to my husband who told me I could do it, to my prayer group who prays for my victory, to Ben M. who was convinced I needed to be a beta tester, and the people at Life Force who invited me in. And of course to BeNew.

There are obviously hard days on a journey like this. Days when emotions or party food or plateaus threaten my forward progress. But from where I stand right now, I am shocked at how much easier it has been than I expected. The good nutrition in Body Balance and BeNew has curbed the cravings and made me stronger. People all around me have been sick this winter, but I feel a sniffle, then it goes away. I have energy that sometimes shocks me. And I have fallen in love with movement.

When you’re thin you take the ability to move for granted. With most people the weight creeps on slowly, and you don’t even realize how much joy of moving you’ve sacrificed. I could cry when I think about how much effort it took to even get out of a chair sometimes, and how light I feel now. I treasure my meandering walks through the neighborhood. I feel like giggling when I can’t help but actually run a while. The other night I dreamed I ran, effortlessly, for miles, not blocks.

Spiritually there is change, too. It’s like I’d given God access to everything but my body. There’s a new connection between us, and I sense His pleasure as He watching me living more of the life He created me to live. We take walks together, and my heart bubbles forth as I listen to the bird sing or feel His prompting to pray something unexpected.

If you’re on the fence about facing your need to lose weight, please don’t delay. If you’re trying shed the pounds but ready to give up, don’t! It’s not only about looking better (that just wasn’t enough for me), it’s about living better. Fuller. Stronger. With more joy.

I still have at least 20, maybe 30 more to go. It’s coming off more slowly now, and on some days that’s frustrating. But I’m not stopping. Where I am is so different than where I was, and I can’t wait to see what it will be like where I’m going.

Weight Loss Journey Day 19

seagulls

Flocks of seagulls had to part as we walked

Grocery shopping with Kathleen was enlightening. Honestly, things have been so tight financially since the parent company for my husband’s business stopped production that grocery shopping at home has been  . . . interesting. Thankfully, there is often chicken or turkey and berries and yogurt at the discount place I often frequent, but it’s strange, too, not finding ingredients I want for specific dishes and not wanting to pay full price at the regular store. (I’m learning improvisation.) It’s also hard to resist packaged food that is high in calorie and low in nutrition, but VERY CHEAP, especially with three teenage boys with hollow legs eating non-stop and consuming huge quantities of groceries. (Thankfully, Jerry recently decided to work for Life Force, the company that chose me as a beta tester for BeNew. We believe this to be a viable option to replace the income we lost.)

walking the beach foot

barefoot in the sand

But I’m in Florida now, a guest of my friend and her husband. We shopped healthy. Very little carbs. Eggs, chicken, salad stuff, and fruit. I learned a lot watching her make choices. So much of weight loss and healthy eating starts at the grocery store. That seems obvious, but . . .

Now this is the way to exercise—walking a gorgeous white-sand beach with the waves lapping next to me. Love the sand squishing between my toes! The seagulls block our path and flutter into the air as we push into their flocks, so close I can feel the whoosh as the birds take to flight. We leisurely walked 5 miles while we got caught up on each other’s lives.

FIVE miles!!?!

It’s easier at sea level, and we didn’t push anything. We stopped halfway through to sit and watch the waves, but still! Who would have thought two months ago when I spent a good portion of my day in bed that I would walk five miles????

Thanks to all that walking, I was 328 calories BELOW 1200, which is good since I was 500 OVER yesterday. I’ve heard that you shouldn’t dip below 1,000, though, because your body thinks it is starving and holds onto the fat instead of releasing it. (I should probably research to substantiate that.)

So far I don’t feel like reading or journaling or doing anything but walk the beach, rest, talk to Kathleen, and lie in the sun. I thought I’d process all the trauma of the last many months, but I just don’t want to do anything.

Real Time Update:

I’m learning to shop healthier and eating lots more salad since learning from my friend Kathleen’s shopping habit two months ago. She probably won’t believe this, but I’m actually eating raw spinach for most of my salads now. (Something she tried to talk me into in Florida!)

Tomorrow’s post gets a little weird (at least for me) so uh . . . well, we’ll see what you think.

What About You?

How do you balance the need for healthy foods and your budgetary restrictions (if you have any). Do you agree that weight loss and healthy eating begins at the grocery store? What helps you make healthy c choices when you shop? What do you do to unwind? How do you process hard times?

Weight Loss Journey Day 18

View from the lanai

View from the lanai!

Can I just say that airport food is ridiculous! Incredibly expensive, high in calories, and when you’re up for hours and hours and all off schedule . . . I just wanted lots of coffee on the plane, but of course I can’t stand their coffee without adding sugar and creamer . . . and I’ve been up since 2 a.m. Denver time and eating these little airplane snacks  . . . then of course we were starved and wanted a real meal once we got to our destination.

Way off calorie count by the time we settled in at our condo, and feeling heavy from the weird food, but not satisfied. Geez!

We eventually settled in for the night with a cleansing salad topped with walnuts and enjoyed with a glass of red wine while sitting in our lanai. (New word for Paula. Don’t I sound elegant?)

I’ve been thinking about how much I hide—like before I left home how I hid to cry, or how I almost didn’t type that I had a glass of wine because some of my friends don’t do alcohol.

But here’s the thing, I’m enjoying God’s incredible gifts: this wholesome food, beautiful sunset, glass of wine, and a lanai to sit in as I embrace it all.

Real Time Update:

Here I am, sixty something days after I first saw that gorgeous beach. But in some ways today was special like that. After several straight days of highs less than 10 degrees, I awoke to a toasty 28. I was no longer hindered by the cold! Spent three miles wandering the neighborhood, gazing at snow-capped peaks, and letting joy bubble forth after a difficult few days. Later, Jerry actually felt like walking with me (He hurt his back and couldn’t walk with me for most of these last 60 days, as I talked about in an earlier post,), so I got more sunshine and clocked another mile. This all led to making one of my more elegant meals for the family and feeling that I could enjoy it with them thanks to all the calorie burning. Gotta embrace the moments of beauty in this life!!

What about you?

What moment are you embracing today? Also, how do you handle traveling while seeking to eat healthily?