Happy Independence Day!

Today we started out with a family yoga session. We don’t do yoga with the intent to burn calories. Mostly we do it to stretch and bond with one another. Today we were lined up just so and I saw the opportunity for some yoga pics. Don’t mind my bedhead or the look on my face like I just saw a Sasquatch. 🙂 After yoga we did a workout on our abs. Did you know that a lack of a strong core is a huge reason why kids sometimes don’t perform well in school? They can’t sustain the support needed to sit for that long, get squirmy, get distracted and leave content learning behind. We’re working on it, here at Lj House.
Bradley and I are planning to hit the weights and treadmill in a bit to counteract the chips and dip that will be making their way into meh belly in a little while. Cutting loose on food is hard for me. I’ve been marching around my house like a maniac trying to score extra steps to accommodate all of the celebrating. Food holidays like today are hard for me. They open a door that is hard to close but I have a really hard time not walking through it. Aside from that, I need to figure out how to include fancy days like this, but I’ll fully admit to being scared. I won’t binge, but I know I’ll be eating more today than I usually do…
Tonight we are honoring our state’s request to avoid lighting fireworks. It’s a sad day for the boy, but we will eat veggie hot dogs, corn on the cob and vegetarian jello salad before we head to the park for our city’s fireworks show. It will be a fun evening! Happy Fourth of July to you all!
After the jump is the third part of my memoir. Thanks to those of you giving me feedback here and there. It’s nice to hear from you. It’s silly, because I already hold very little back on my blog, but it’s a huge risk to just throw it up there. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

So that’s where I started. My goal was to maintain or to lost very slowly, and that’s what I did. I started out in a similar place where I began before. I dialed back the sugar intake and upped the movement. I knew what it took to make the fat fall off, I had the recipe, I just needed to get it going.
Over the next few years we had a lot going on. I went through a rigorous teacher certification process- TWICE- we bought, sold then built a house, we had two kids we were taking care of, we were just full throttle with our life and I honestly didn’t focus too much on the diet. I would have a great, focused month where I’d lose five pounds which would carry over to the next few months where I would maintain and I just kept it that way. The thing I liked about the slowest diet in the world was that every time I saw people, between the previous meeting and present, I would be just a smidge smaller and I received constant compliments and comments about how I was looking healthier, like I’d lost weight, like something was different, and they were right. But what was really happening, as I slowly lost weight and people noticed, was that I was becoming a lot more sure of myself. I was becoming more confident in my ability to lose weight and I wasn’t so shy about it anymore. I started telling people I was on the slowest diet in the world, and they would laugh about the name, but I would feel smug that I had finally found something that was working out, long term for me and I was actively losing weight. It was wonderful!
I got down to 270 over two to three years time. My goal, originally, was to weigh 260 or, if I was feeling especially confident, 250. 250 was my goal and, honest to goodness, I was totally planning on stopping losing once I reached it, but the closer I got to my original goal, the more I began to wonder if, perhaps, I actually wasn’t genetically destined to be a really big girl. Maybe I was destined to be a slightly smaller girl than that. Perhaps 230 was a more reasonable goal, though it scared the pants off of me to even begin to think of how I would do that. I weighed 250 at my wedding, was it even realistic to think I could weigh less than I did at 25 years old? There was one way to find out- I needed to try.
So I decided: Enough of this slowest diet in the world! If they could do it on The Biggest loser in a matter of a year, so could I! What was preventing me? I was stoked, excited, enthusiastic and ready to begin! I was 39 years old and my goal was to lose 40 pounds by the time I turned 40. I had ten months in which to do it, so I challenged myself to start at the kick off of the 2013 New Year! I was excited, and late that night, as soon as 2013 was ushered in, I got really hard on myself. I was restrictive and intense about it. I knew that using my self control and will power was going to be difficult, but I made rules for myself anyhow and tried to stick to them…
But anyone knows that when you go from being incredibly permissive to using an incredibly restrictive diet that there is simply too much temptation. Habits are hard to break and trying to create new ones, all in the matter of a week, immediately following the most candy and junk-filled month of the year, the month where food is elevated to being entertainment, so soon after the Christmas food free-for-all, well, that’s really difficult! I started to fail and was losing momentum almost as soon as I began. Week one netted four pounds lost, week two netted one pound, then weeks three and four netted nothing.
Even though I had not shared what I was doing too publicly, I turned to a colleague and friend of mine named Becca and told her about my troubles. I confessed that my weightloss had dropped off and I was having a harder and harder time sticking with my plan without the scale confirming my progress. I was mostly eating right and I was exercising by walking- what was I doing wrong? While I knew that weight comes off of me slowly, this was frustrating. Right when I needed my body to cooperate the most, it was failing me. Becca changed my life with what she told me next. She told me I should read this website she had come across called Runs For Cookies. The gal who blogged it had lost a significant amount of weight, she had skin removal surgery and was a runner and all around success story. I was moderately excited to to check the site out, but more than that, I suddenly realized that there was a wealth of knowledge and experience to be found online. I’ve long believed that looking at and hearing other people’s weightloss success stories can be incredibly motivating. I watch The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover, Weightloss Edition religiously to see the results I want to see on myself. Blogs should be the same!
I went home that night and looked at Runs For Cookies. Looked at is not a strong enough verb. I suppose I should say that I studied it. I took as much as I could in. I read everything I could about her beginning, about how she started running, I learned all about her skin removal surgery and I became so inspired. Something inside of me started burbling to the surface. Something bigger than me stared to grow. I suddenly realized that this was my destiny and I needed to start it RIGHT NOW. I needed to lose weight and I needed to become a runner. I needed to get healthy, too. But more than anything, I started to realize that I’m worth it.
I knew I was feeling worth it because, for the first time ever, I started to think seriously about getting skin removal surgery at the end of the weightloss project. Before I had always thought about a tummy tuck but really thought that this is just my body and it doesn’t really matter. We say these things it ourselves in order to deny ourselves from becoming disappointed, or at least I do. I try not to be selfish, as much as possible, so paying $18,000 or more for surgery that is cosmetic seemed ridiculous when I thought about it from the outside. But when I thought about it from within, I realized that so much of my esteem was based on the fact that I’d always have this deflated tire hanging from my waist. No matter how much fat I made disappear, I’d always have the reminder, the scar of excessive skin, hanging like a yolk around my neck. I would never be able to escape that, so I defaulted to simply not losing the weight since I’d still look fat after I lost it anyhow. But this time I really thought about what that would be like and I didn’t turn away.
I shyly went and talked to Bradley, my husband, about getting the skin cut off after I lost enough weight, and he didn’t even hesitate to answer that yes, I’m worth it. That yes, my prize at the end of weightloss could be a tummy tuck if that was what I really wanted. If that was somehting that was important to me, we would save up money and pay for it with whatever means necessary if it was really that important and if I really thought I needed it. I did. I wanted it bad. Worse than I had ever allowed myself to realize. I embraced the idea of the tummy tuck and, suddenly, I was more motivated than ever to lost the weight and get the surgery. I quickly looked at a calendar and realized that it I could reach my goal and after the waiting period to let the skin shrink back that will shrink back, I might be able to have the surgery the summer of 2014!
With renewed vigor,I started thinking about how I could further insure success with this project. I realized that Katie, from Runs For Cookies, was public about her successes and failures. I realized that she allowed herself to share her accomplishments on her website, but she also had to own her failures publicly. I decided that I needed to share my plan with my family and friends. They needed to know what I was doing so that I would feel that additional pressure. I decided to write a letter and send it out to everyone I cared about:

Dear Family & Friends,
I get frustrated sometimes with weightloss. Like, why is it not coming off as fast as I would like?! Which is silly. I know why it doesn’t come off when it stops happening – move more eat less! But I get down on myself. I know when I look in my clothes I see different numbers, but I have never put the before and after results of my efforts over the past year plus side by side. I’m pretty amazed.
Yesterday a friend of mine told me about a blog called www.runsforcookies.com.
The woman who keeps the blog has a pretty typical Biggest Loser kind of story – the big girl gets fed up with fat and is determined to lose it in a year. She is successful, has surgery and looks absolutely amazing. Honestly, more amazing than I need to look. I’m inspired now, though. Reading her blog lit a fire under me again and I am chasing this thing down.
My goal for the rest of the year is 40 off before I turn 40 in October. That is a completely reasonable 4-5 pounds to lose per month. If I meet my goal I get to buy new boots. Pretty boots. NICE boots. Since the New Year has begun I am down eight pounds, but my forty starts today. So technically it will be 48 before 40, but I think I can let that slide. [update: my current loss since 1/1 is down 17 pounds.]
I started out on the weightloss when my doctor told me that my fertility was being affected by my PCOS and my weight. He said if I lost just 5-10% of my body weight that I might get pregnant. I realized I had to make a choice – family or fat. It was hard at first. But after a while we got way into it, I lost about 50 pounds, and lo and behold, a baby came into our lives. Jude was born and I gained pretty much everything back. The gall bladder, the pregnancy, nursing and not exercising took their toll and I found myself passing an unmentionable marker again and pushing the seams of my size 24 pants. I started cutting back on food a little. A woman I know lost a pile of weight and inspired me to start trying in earnest. Last October I was 85 down, climbed a little back up through the holidays, and now I’m 80 down total. If you add all the gains in there I have probably lost closer to 160 or so. It just comes back so easily! But the incredible thing this time is that I can step back into dieting and monitoring easily, I don’t fight it anymore, and when I want a cupcake I have one. Or half of one. Or a bite at least!
This time, though, I am taking it out karate chop, biggest loser style. I’m going to try to make my goal without this meandering “Slowest Diet In the World’ crap that I have been on for about 6 years now. I’m officially a midlifer now and I don’t have a bunch of time to waste anymore if I want to make a positive health impact on my life and my longevity. If I want to avoid diabetes.
To be at my ultimate goal I need to lose around eighty more. I can lose more, but I also want to be a realist about what I think I can maintain. Bradley and I walk every day but I think I need to start adding running intervals into that. I am starting weights and riding my cycle every chance I have. While listening to Katy Perry (shhhh. The time just goes faster when she’s talkin’ ’bout last Friday night!).
So cheers for new beginnings and brightened enthusiasm on a lifelong project! And cheers for how far I’ve come! Looking back, I can’t believe it! I remember those days where I would sit, my knees would ache, I’d walk down a hill dreading the return trip back up said hill… And the weightloss? It feels different now. It feels like I finally have control, like I can reign it in. It is a high unlike anything and it feels so so good. It feels right and it feels like it’s real, like it’s really going to happen this time. I believe it.
Much love and thank you in advance for your support,
Tami, Tamara, Tamarella, Yami Yogurt, Methuselah, Lj, Cap’n Awesome, T-Diddy – whatever you call me! Thank you!


One Comment

  1. Marcilla

    Funny how life works–your boy’s friendship with my girl leads to me reading your blog and, much as you described with Runs For Cookies (who I also went and read) I’ve read a lot of your archives as motivation to moving towards a life based in activity and health. Because I have 4 kids and I want to be a mom who does, not just a mom who watches. No diabetes, better health, easier to move around–yes, yes and yes. But mainly I do not want to spend their lives on the sidelines because my body makes it too hard to participate. Thank you for sharing your journey. Thank you for the inspiration that show me this is not only possible, it is worth it. Thank you.

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