From the monthly archives: August 2012

I gave it several weeks, but alas, I have opted to return my beautiful EatSmart digital scale. I was so excited to join the 21st century and get an EXACT measure of my weight. I have been jealous of those people who are actually logging their weight down to the tenth of a pound. On my old, trusty and rusty mechanical scale, I can only see whole pounds (sort of).

I was so happy to unpack that beautiful, modern EatSmart scale. Gorgeous! High tech! and, in my case, completely unreliable. On the website it is very clear that you have to place the scale on a flat, hard surface. I figured that would be no problem, as I don’t have any carpeting in my house, only tile. Alas, the tile I have is a textured. I could not find a single place in the home that would give me consistent reads on the scale. I had kept my trusty and rusty old scale as a comparison, as well as comparing to my weight at the local grocery store. I was consistently losing on both of those scales, but not on the EatSmart.

How I hated boxing up that beautiful scale. So many people have great success with that scale. I’m just not one of those people. Pity, I really wanted to track a more accurate weight. Does anyone know of a digital scale that would not be affected by a textured floor?



“School days, school days Dear old Golden Rule Days. Reading and ‘Riting and ‘Rithmatic …..”  And buffets, and snacks, and brunches, and morning donuts. It’s back-to-school, but not back to the old eating habits. As I type this blog entry, I am proud to say I survived the first two weeks back at school and am still on my journey into my new lifestyle. Of course, I am exhausted, my feet hurt, my knees are aching, and I’m behind on my lesson plans, but that’s normal for the first two weeks. What’s NOT normal for me is that I have not once succumbed to the siren call of the morning donut or the afternoon fast food drive-through.

The first week back was just for teachers (no students). The week is always filled with a variety of meetings: staff, department, PLC, and professional development. And  each one usually features some sort of food. The first morning was the annual welcome back staff meeting, with the traditional breakfast buffet. The night before I was nervous about it. But I planned ahead. I know that pastries and donuts are one of my greatest temptations. I had gone cold-turkey on them when starting my journey. I had gone 30 days without any pastries or anything made from flour. I decided the night before returning to the temptations of the breakfast buffet, that I would break my pastry-fast, but do it on MY terms.

The night before, I opened up a single serving of yellow pound cake from Nutrisystem. I had portion control and knew how much I was eating: a lovely 160 calories. I put the pound cake in a bowl and poured a half cup of blueberries over the cake. I put all in the microwave for one minute. The blueberries became a beautiful chunky syrup that seeped into the pound cake. I topped all with two tablespoons of Redi-whip and sat down to a glorious indulgence. Oh, yum! It was so delicious and so wonderfully sweet from the blueberries.

I went to bed and felt primed to face the buffet the next day.

At the buffet was the usual spread: donuts, cinnamon buns, muffins, scrambled eggs, sausage links, fresh fruit. My planned indulgence from the night before did the trick. I looked at the pastries, figured in my head how many calories just one would be, and realized that if I really wanted pastry again, I could wait until I got home and have my portion-controlled, calorie-controlled dessert. Once I made that decision, it was easy to fill my plate with better choices and mentally calculate the calories as I added each item to the plate. Strawberries, grapes, pineapple, eggs, and two sausage links.

As I joined friends at a table, I ate slowly and enjoyed my fruit and eggs. I saved the indulgence of the sausage links for last. I cut them up into little tiny pieces and ate the first one before the meeting started. I decided to leave the rest of the sausage bits for during the meeting, taking I bit every now and then. ….. Well, that was the plan. As the principal started speaking, a gentleman at our table got up to toss his plate and, being a true gentleman, he picked up the other empty plates from the table, including MINE and all my carefully cut up sausage bits.

And, do you know what I said and did when he picked up my plate?  Absolutely nothing. I can remember from the past when I would have reached out, taken the plate and said, “I’m not done with that.” Instead, on this day, I just gave in to the greater power that was keeping my calorie count down and mentally subtracted those sausage calories from the day. Now that’s progress.

I survived the similar challenges of the first week back. But my greatest victory came the following week, when the students came back. During the summer, you always lose your “teaching muscles.” You forget how to keep mentally sharp. Your feet and legs forget what it feels like to be standing all day. And you forget just how exhausting it is to be in-charge and positive all day. The last thing I want to do when exhausted is go home and fix dinner. So, guess what I did every night after school? I went home and fixed dinner. No matter how exhausted I was, I fixed dinner every night. Not one trip to the drive-through, not one phone call for pizza or Chinese delivery. For me, that’s a major victory.

I’m beginning to think that this time, I’m really on my lifelong journey out of obesity.



Tomorrow is back to school day. Summer is over and teachers must return to their everyday lives. And return again to the temptations of the workplace. The donuts in the mail room, pastries in the teachers lounge, and, of course, the non-ending fund-raisers of chocolate bars, pizza parties, and bake sales. Yikes! Lord deliver me from temptation.

I started my weight loss journey a month ago, during my summer break. I won’t say it’s been easy to make this lifestyle change, but I did have the advantage of not being surr

ounded by my usual go-to diet breakers. Now I have to face the daily realities of working with “normal” people who are going about their normal lives, which may or may not include making healthy choices regarding food. I doubt most are logging every morsel of food they put in their mouths. Now, I think I begin my real journey, that of returning to the real world with my new lifestyle choices.

And I’ll be honest, I’m worried. Do I have the strength of commitment to continue this journey? Do I have the confidence to reinforce my new “habits” and avoid the old ones? How much will I miss those angel-creme donuts with the sprinkles? And now that I don’t have time to prepare fresh breakfasts and lunches, will I fall back into the habit of grabbing something on the go?

Part of the fear is fueled by past failures. For the last two years, in the Spring my school has sponsored a Biggest Loser competition among the faculty. We would form teams and do weekly weigh ins. Both years, I failed to lose weight. Now, I’m returning to that environment of failure.

I so fervently hope I have now made that mental change necessary to keep me going. I’m not “dieting”, I’m changing my life. And I have the support of online friends to turn to for inspiration. (Still haven’t told most of my non-virtual friends about my journey.) And, I have the greater fear of what will happen to me and my life if I don’t make this new lifestyle a permanent one.

So, back to school. But not back to old habits. Wish me luck!

“Be not anxious for what you shall eat, or what you shall drink … or what you shall wear … Isn’t life more than food? … and the body more than clothing?” ~ Luke 12:22; 29



I’ve just looked in a mirror …. I am horrified. Quickly ran to my computer to look at pictures taken recently. Wow. I cannot believe how awful I look.

I have been in denial about my weight for so long, that I don’t think I’ve actually looked at myself, REALLY looked at myself, for a couple years. Talk about denial! How did I not notice how terrible I looked?

When pictures were taken at an event, I’d just glance at them and pass them out of my reach. I look at myself in a the bathroom mirror and just get a glimpse at my face, never looking into the full-length mirror in the hall until I’m completely dressed.

But I’ve been inspired on my journey to want to take a real “Before” picture so that I can do a side-by-side photo comparison when I reach my weight goal. I decided to get in my skivvies and take a full-body picture I can use as my before. I posed in front to the mirror and ACCCCKKKKKKKKKK!!!!! I was honestly shocked. I knew intellectually I was morbidly obese, but to actually look at my bulk in all its overflowing gory glory? Wow.

I know I’m making progress, but I really don’t see it when I now actually, truly look in the mirror. I’m going to have readjust my mental image with my actual current image. I’m mentally looking worse now than I have mentally looked in the past.

I cannot really say that this new mental insight is inspirational. It’s still too terrifying to me.

I have to keep plugging away. I have to stick to this plan. And somewhere along the way my brain will eventually catch up with my body.



Climacophobia, it’s not a fear you see mentioned often. Climacophobia is the fear of climbing stairs. As an obese person, stairs are a great challenge for me. One of my great “wake up” moments about my weight came a few months ago. I’m a member of Toastmasters and our latest meeting was rescheduled to a location I had never visited before. The meeting was at a neighborhood clubhouse. When I arrived, to my horror, I discovered that the meeting was upstairs and that the elevator was out.

As I stood at the foot of those stairs looking up (and up and up), I quaked in fear. I couldn’t even remember the last time I had climbed a flight of stairs. I was actually trembling as I grabbed both rails and started up the stairs, using my arms to pull me up each step. My heart was pounding with each step. My legs felt like they couldn’t hold me. My knees felt empty and hollow.  I had to pause often up that one flight of stairs. As I got to the top, I was gulping for air. I had to hide myself in the bathroom to collect myself — I didn’t want any of my friends to see my shame.

The worst part was knowing that I had to go down them again. If you’ve never been in such sad shape as I am, you may not realize that going down stairs causes more pain than going up. According to Medline Plus, every pound of extra weight you carry puts five pounds of pressure on the knees when walking down stairs. Being morbidly obese, that’s a lot of pressure on the knees. Or you can calculate the stress on the knee when descending stairs as 3.5 times your body weight.  So, I was putting over 1,000 pounds of stress on my knees.


I made my excuses at the meeting, saying I had to leave early before the end of the meeting. My early departure was to cover the extra time I would need to climb down the stairs. I wanted no one to see the pain of my slow progress down one step at a time.


But that was then, this is now. I had a major NSV the other day (that’s a non-scale victory).

I was attending a performance of Circus Sarasota at the Asolo Theater with a group from my church. I had car-pooled with a friend who had her two grandsons with her. The tickets were for general seating. And as we arrived, there were few seats downstairs where the little ones could see well. My friend suggested checking the seating  upstairs, and I said, “Great idea, let’s check it out.” I climbed the stairs to the first balcony, looked around and up, and saw that there were unobstructed seats one more flight up. “Let’s go to the next balcony, there’s empty seats right in the center, the boys will have a great view.” I started to lead them up to the next level when I stopped dead at the foot of the next stairs.

Instantly I flashed back to that Toastmasters meeting and was about to make my excuses. Until I realized, “Wait, I just climbed a flight of stairs. I’m not winded. I’m not in pain.” I had not even thought about my fear of stairs just moments before. I had gone up the stairs, unthinking, just like one of beautiful people of this world. I must have really puzzled my friend as I turned to her with a broad grin and said, “Yes, let’s go up to the next balcony. Follow me!” And I started laughing like a madwoman as I climbed the stairs, nearly running — which wasn’t too smart of me, because I was somewhat winded when I made the top of the stairs, but I was still laughing as I led my friend and the two kids to the prime seating in the front row.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I have been forcing myself to do step aerobic exercises. I force myself by putting the step across the entryway to the bathroom. Before I can “go,” I have to step. At first, I just stepped over. Slowly I added short routines. After a week, I added a riser. Now, I do at least a five-minute routine on the step before entering the rest room, where, by that time, I really do need to rest.

I didn’t think I was really making much progress. But my body and my subconscious knew better than I how much stronger I had become. Without thinking at the circus, I performed my own amazing feat of daring by climbing that first stairway without even thinking. Granted, my knees screamed at me as we later walked down the two flights of stairs. But I was still laughing even though I hurt.

I think my Climacophobia may be gone.


Today I took the plunge: I actually told my family and close friends that I am changing my life and changing my eating habits. I know what you’re probably thinking, how can it be a secret when I’m publicly blogging about it? I simply never had any fear of my friends and family stumbling on this blog. They do not web surf.

At my prayer group, I opened up to my two cursillista sisters what I was doing. Then, after my prayer group, I went and told my parents. I was loath to share this with anyone. They’ve been through this before with my many, many attempts to lose weight. The last few attempts I didn’t tell anyone about, because I didn’t want to have to face them when I failed yet again. And I did fail, and fail, and fail.

But this time I am not dieting. I am changing my life. And I will succeed. And this time I am doing something different. I am asking for help from my friends and family. Even more, I have given them permission to both support and bully me. I hope I won’t live to regret this, because these people can be real pushy and annoying. I still can’t believe I actually gave them permission to annoy me.

It is nice to have a support system (even an annoying one). And I have to keep in mind my greatest support system.

“You satisfy me more than the richest of foods.”  Psalm 63:5
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9

Keeping my journey a secret was a lack of faith on my part. I know that if I failed, I could do so without the shame and embarrassment with my loved ones. Now, I am truly committed to this path. There’s no chance of me failing at my diet this time, because I’m not on a diet. I’m on a journey. Thanks, readers, for sharing a bit of that journey with me.

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