Currently viewing the category: "Motivation"

I am truly blessed to be working at my school. It’s a wonderful environment. And I truly appreciate the many, many student helpers I have on my “Media Crew.” The library wouldn’t run as smoothly without them. I have over 100 student helpers who regularly volunteer in the media center. They adopt their own section of the library, which bears their name – they make sure their section remains nice and in order. They also help decorate the library, process incoming books, and many other behind-the-scenes tasks needed to keep a library running.

On the last day of school, as a small thank you for all they do, I had a party running all day long in the conference room in the library. I laid out chocolates and cookies, nacho chips and salsa, and other refreshments, plus coloring and word searches and holiday videos. For the largest group (my fourth and fifth graders) I had the ever popular BINGO with prizes.

I was so pleasantly surprised to realize that as I laid out the buffet that I felt no temptation to eat any of the treats. I had one cake pop in the morning (given to me by a fellow staffer) and then had a simple lunch. After fifth period, when all my media crew had left for the day, I realized I had treats remaining. I certainly didn’t want to take the treats home with me — I already had a merry bag full of gift treats given me by many students and friends, which I was planning to ration out sensibly over the upcoming vacation. Why add to that with snacks I had bought myself. So, I opened up the conference room to all the students who came in to the media center for the rest of the day (as long as they ate it in the conference room, not in the library). It was so sweet to see high schoolers say “Oooh, can we color?’ and how much fun they had with the simple holiday word searches.

I am truly blessed. May we all enjoy the simple blessings of Christmas, and even enjoy the treats — in sweet moderation.


‘Tis the season of family and joy. Also, it’s the season of fudge, eggnog, cookies, candy canes, cakes, and all sorts of confectionary temptation.

Last Monday, I enjoyed a wonderful tradition. I took my parents out driving and we spent hours looking at the Christmas lights. Besides going among the neighborhoods, we also went to Grace Baptist church. They have a remarkable display of a million lights. They coordinate the lights with music and animation, providing a glorious holiday presentation. I didn’t realize that it was setup as a walk-through presentation. With Dad not able to walk, I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to enjoy it, but the people at Grace Baptist had setup a handicapped area where we could park and watch most the display. Thank you, Grace Baptist, for adding to our Christmas joy.

Driving and seeing the lights is one of my earliest Christmas memories. This was something my grandmother Yost especially loved. No matter how frail grandma got, she loved doing the annual drive around. As a child, I had often sat on Grandma’s lap in the back seat and just felt her love of seeing all the lights and appreciating the great effort that people put into bringing light and joy to the season. Now, it’s my parents who are frail and I’m the one doing the driving. So glad to continue the tradition.

After viewing the lights, we’d always go home and have cookies and hot chocolate. This year, I had tea while everyone else enjoyed the cookies. You know, it didn’t spoil the tradition a bit. And it didn’t spoil my long-term goals.



Lately I have been feeling very sorry for myself — throwing awesome private pity parties. Part of it is that I recently hurt my knee somehow and I’ve been in a lot of pain, especially when I walk (I see a doctor tomorrow about it, but that’s another story). Also, I gained two pounds last week, even though I was true to my calorie level. Third, I certainly haven’t felt like exercising, and certainly impossible to do any cardio. And four, I’m feeling despondent that I’m walking with a cane. I hate to be seen with a cane — I feel like such an old lady.

Today, I forced my self-pity into background mode and decided that I had to get some exercise. So I went to the gym — with my cane. Boy did I feel stupid hobbling from machine to machine. I worked just my upper body (of course). As I was hobbling from the machines to the pulleys, a lady stopped me. She said that she had been following after me on the machines and wanted to compliment me on my strength — she said that she had to constantly lower the weights following after me. And then she noted that I must have been working out for years to have such upper body strength.

Huh? I started working out in July. And, yeah, I guess I must be developing muscles, somewhere under the fat rolls. I was just flabbergasted by her comments. She was about my age with a nice body. And she went on to say that *I* was an inspiration? No, I’m a fat old lady feeling sorry for herself … until this complete stranger completely made my day.

I left that gym still limping but at the same time walking on air. So glad I put my pity and my self-consciousness aside to go to the gym and be the recipient of such a lovely gift from that wonderful stranger.


I’m so glad I’ve been taking measurements! It is such a great motivator when the inches drop off. The scale doesn’t always move, so it’s great to have that other motivator in the form of a tape measure. Alas, I don’t have that third great motivator — photos!

I weigh in every Monday morning. Now, I confess, I also sneak peeks at my weight in the middle of the week. But the only weight I consider “official” is the Monday weigh in. But I only measure once a month. Well, even that’s a fib. Two months ago, I got very disappointed when my monthly measurement showed very little change even though I was losing weight. I did not want a repeat of that disappointment last month, so I skipped the measurements.

So this month, when measuring time came along, it was really a two-month measurement, not one. Oh boy! What a difference two months can make. Totaling all my measurements, I lost 15 inches. Woo-hoo! Of that I lost two inches from the waist and two inches from the hips. I even lost half an inch on my wrists! I’m also really seeing the difference in my clothes. The 24 slacks are swimming on me. I’ve already donated all my 24 blouses to GoodWill. I have to keep the 24 slacks, because I only own two 22 slacks (which even those are beginning to be a bit big!)  I have a collection of size 20 slacks and blouses that I’m just dying to get into. No, these aren’t 20’s from when I was skinnier. Frankly, I don’t even remember ever being a size 20. No, my mother has lost quite a bit of weight recently and she has boxed up her size 20’s for me. And, alas, I am at the ripe old age where my mother and me actually now share the same taste in clothes. Oh, the pain!

After the great rush of joy from losing all the inches, I rushed to try on a size 20 pants. I could not believe it! I actually could get them over my fat butt and all the way on. Granted, I looked like a stuffed sausage in them, but before I started my journey, I couldn’t even get them part way up the hips. This is a great victory.

Now, if I could just get over my fear of taking pictures of myself in front of the mirror. I bet taking monthly photos would really be an inspiration to keep going. But darn it, I hate posing in front of the mirror. Even with 15 inches gone.


It’s finally beginning to happen — friends are noticing. Even though I blog about my new lifestyle, I haven’t told any of my friends about this journey. A part of me is still not accepting that this is my new lifestyle. I remember all the other failed “diets” and the awful disappointments when I failed again. I didn’t want to go through another failure in front of my friends.

But now, it’s  hard to keep this journey out of obesity a secret. As of today I have lost 40 pounds and people are beginning to notice. At choir rehearsal, a friend said, “You look different. Good. Are you losing a little weight?” She dropped her jaw in amazement when I said I’d lost 38 pounds! Yes, at my weight, it takes a lot of weight loss for anyone to notice. Then on Sunday (yesterday) another friend came up and said, “You’ve lost weight. What’s your secret.”  Ha! A secret. Nope. No secret involved – eat less and move more.

I had another fun non-scale victory at my last Toastmasters meeting. A friend said I was looking wonderful. She asked if I had changed my skin regimen because my complexion was beautiful. Skin regimen? I don’t even have one, but maybe I should develop one to go with my beautiful new body that is slowly emerging. I didn’t tell that friend that I was losing weight. I’m going to see how long it takes before she notices it’s the weight. But it is very nice to know that eating well is making my complexion glow!

Before closing out this post, let me add that I do have two friends who have known about my journey out of obesity from the start. These are my two Cursillo friends with whom I have a weekly prayer group. They have been so wonderfully supportive. Knowing that they are behind me, and that I see them once a week, is helping my on the journey. Their prayers are lifting me up. How nice for all of us that now that I’m 40 pounds lighter, there’s less of me to lift up!


FOLLOWUP TO YESTERDAY’S POST: The meeting went very well today. People actually stayed an hour past scheduled end because we were getting so much accomplished. Thank goodness there was enough food and beverage for the extra time. Besides the sandwich rings and chips (which I skipped), I also made a big Caesar salad and bowl of fresh fruit. Of course, there were chocolate chip cookies. I had one. And, naturally, there were about a dozen left over at the end of the meeting..

As people were helping me clean up I asked if anyone would like to take the cookies, since I wasn’t going to be eating them. And one lady said that would make her a hero with her nephew.

I turned my back and couldn’t watch as the objects of my temptation left the room. But, I let them go. I didn’t even cry, though I still had regrets. Alas, I couldn’t get anyone to take the bag of potato chips.

And, big accomplishment, I stayed within my calorie goals of the day.

But, still, I wonder where those chocolate chip cookies are now. Thank goodness they are not on my hips :)


It’s finally hit me. I’m 75+ days into my journey and have lost 25 pounds so far. I’ve been reading other dieters posting about issues with cravings and hunger and been wondering, why aren’t I having these issues? I’ve been obese for … well, forever. I’ve always been an emotional eater. But I’ve been doing so well on my new determination to change my life. Until today.

I’m hosting a meeting in my school library tomorrow of all the county High School librarians. I’ve got a budget from my principal to provide refreshments. So, I put in my order today for a sandwich ring, and made up my shopping list for tomorrow: ice, caesar salad kit, fresh fruit bowl, sun chips, iced tea, cookies from the bakery. And it just snuck up on me: I couldn’t take the leftover cookies home and eat all of them in one sitting, like I had always done in the past. And, I was sad.

Heck, no. I was mourning.

Even though, I knew that one cookie was allowed and would satisfy my sweet tooth, right then, it wasn’t satisfying that emotional craving. I wanted the whole thing! And I hadn’t even seen the cookies yet. I just wanted the idea of eating the whole plate of cookies.

Where the heck did that come from? Suddenly, the thought of never again being able to down about 2,000 calories in cookies in one sitting seems like a loss. Deprivation. End of a way of life that, in some respects, I really liked — I just hated the side effects.

Lord, help me get over this feeling.


I’ve been posting about starting out at the gym and how uncomfortable I felt. Thanks to inspiration and support from friends at, I’ve kept at it. I’m getting rid of my paranoia that people are staring and laughing. I walk in with the attitude, “I belong here. Look, I have a towel over my shoulder — I’m one of you!”

I’m still pretty wimpy at the gym. I can’t go longer than 20 minutes on the elliptical without my knee saying, “Enough. Stop.” But I do the twenty and then go do ten to fifteen on the bicycle (no resistance, alas, but at least I’m moving.) And i’m working with a trainer on resistance exercises and some beginner lifting.

Yeah, I’m a wimp. But I also think I’m a baby gym-rat waiting to blossom.

I have gotten over the fear that people may be watching, or that somebody will come tap me on the shoulder during a workout and say, “Quit kidding yourself, you don’t belong here.”

While working out the other night, I was doing abdominal crunches working on the exercise ball, and I actually felt the tap-tap-tap on my shoulder. Wiping sweat from my eyes I look up and see a rather attractive gym-rat-type standing over me with a questioning look. Was this my fear coming true? Was someone going to tell the fat old broad to hit the road?

As I precariously got up off the ball, he introduced himself and asked what i was doing on the ball — what kind of exercise it was and what it was supposed to do for you. He has a bad back and was wondering if that might help relieve the stress on it.

I told him what little I knew about the exercise and addressed his fears about how to get on the thing and not fall on your butt (the same fear I had when my trainer showed it to me).

Gym GoddessI left the gym beaming that night. Here I am at 268 pounds and 55 years old, and I’m the person someone goes to for exercise advice. I’m not a gym rat. I am gym goddess!


“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


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