Monthly Archives: July 2013

At Last!


I have only been on the weight loss kick since October, and now, 117 pounds and 8 months later (well OK, one year and eight months if you count the pre-surgery work I did), I finally joined a gym.

I joined Gold’s Gym in Arlington last night and then did a 30 minute workout on the bike.  I have an appointment for “orientation” tomorrow, which I have to reschedule because I forgot I have my second writer’s group tomorrow.  But then after that, I’m pretty much on my own.

There are many gyms in this area and I went with Gold’s Gym for a number of reasons.  One of them is that my whole family belongs to that gym.  My step-niece works at one of them in her area and we all get a “family” discount.  Well, they did at least.  The gym she works at is a franchise, so they all get the discount at the franchises that owner owns.  The ones in my area are owned by corporate, so I don’t really get the discount.  That said, however, I can get guest passes to go to the gym in that area so that my sister and I can work out together when I go hang out at her place, which I do pretty often.  Plus I have the benefit of being able to go to any corporate owned Gold’s Gym.

Granted, it’s a little more expensive than some of the other gyms in this area, but I do get the benefit of being able to take Yoga and Zumba classes.  Not too sure what a Zumba is exactly, but I guess I’ll find out.  Plus! I do not have a contract.  I can cancel at any time.  Much better deal than Bally’s (which is now LA Fitness, apparently).

Now my posts will probably include a great deal of whining and complaining about sore muscles.  Hopefully, this will make that last 56 pounds easier to lose and help me strengthen and tone my poor abused body.  I did so much damage to it by being morbidly obese for so long, I sometimes wonder if it will ever recover.

Wish me luck!


To Weigh-in Or Not To Weigh-in. That Is The Question



The one thing I hate about weight loss is the scales.  I made myself crazy this past month weighing myself almost daily.  I have a tendency to do that, make myself crazy over what he scale says.

For about a month, I lost nothing.  I went up a pound or two.  I went down a pound or two.  Mostly, though, I stayed the same.  I hovered around 186 and it made me nuts.  I weighed myself every day almost and would become upset because I just was not losing.

So, I stopped weighing myself every day.

Now I am starting to lose some weight again.  I have dropped 5 pounds in the past two weeks.  I also decided to just weigh myself once a week or so instead of every day.

Intellectually I know that everyone’s weight loss hits a plateau every now and again.  I know this.  Still, when it happens, it is easy to get discouraged and give up.  Of course, I have a built-in “cannot give up button” because of the surgery.  I mean, I guess I could totally blow it and stretch out my stomach by continually overeating the wrong kinds of food, but that would be counter productive, not to mention a colossal waste of money and time.

So, back to weighing myself once a week.  Back to losing weight again until the next plateau.  Hopefully my next plateau won’t last a month, but at least I will only have four days of disappointment and stress instead of 30.  We shall see.

Letting Go


When you make big changes in your life with the intent of making improvements, you have to be willing to let go.  You have to let go of the bad behaviors that are holding you back.  Let go of people in your life who have a negative impact.  Let go of old ideas you have about yourself that hold you back.  You have to do all of this so that you can let in all of the new things that will enter your life once the changes have begun to take effect.

Letting go is not easy.  It is easy to stay the same and do the same thing everyday.  Change is scary.  Even good changes can be scary.  The known pain and sorrow is easier to deal with than the unknown whether it is good or bad.  The problem is, this is no way to live.  If you’re not willing to make changes to your life, things will only stay the same or continue to decline.

Changing your own behavior, stopping the bad, starting the good is key.  For me, the change took a long time.  There was a lot of fear, pain, and anguish in letting go many of my bad choices.  I didn’t start the process on October 24, 2012.  I started the process a long, long time before that.

I spent nearly one year prior to my surgery planning and preparing for the surgery, but I would argue that the change began before then as well.

I am not certain I can pinpoint an exact moment in which I had an epiphany thinking, “Gee, I need to change my life!  I think I’ll start today!”  Nor  can I pinpoint what precipitated my finally taking action, but I would say it was more a slow build than a bright shining moment of clarity.

I knew I my morbid obesity would eventually kill me.

I knew my high blood pressure was out of control.

I knew I was borderline diabetic and would most likely one day cross the line and become an actual diabetic.

I knew I could not walk very far or very much.

I knew I had asthma and could not breathe well.

I knew my family and loved ones worried about me daily.

I knew I was unhappy with the status quo.

Making changes required a lot of letting go and it took me a long time to do that.  I had to let go of many bad behaviors.  I let go of my gaming addiction.  I let go of many of my bad food habits.  I let go of my many fears that kept me unable to from doing what was necessary to become healthier.

I’m not sure how I found the strength or inner fortitude to finally let go other than to say my will to live was stronger than my fear of change.  It did not all happens at once, but it happened.

I cannot say that all of my problems went away with this change.  Far from it.  I still struggle every day against my inner demons.  I still struggle against the urge to over eat.  I still struggle with my ability to avoid my problems instead of facing them.  I have made a lot of progress, yes.  But I know the journey is not complete.

It may never be complete.  I may have to work against my own fears for the rest of my life.  The difference is I now know that I can beat them and the rewards are well worth the battle.

Twitter Fight: Follow Me @Twitlit1000

This is just an FYI post updating my Twitter followers, of which there are only a few, that I am having problems with my @Skinnygrlinside Twitter account.  I tried logging on to find that I could not.  I have tried to reset my password, but apparently, my email address is not the one they have on file.  I have filed no less than 20 complaints to Twitter asking for a resolution and they have refused to help me.  I keep getting the same form letter reply over and over.  My blog still posts to the account, but after today, that will not be the case.

After today’s post from my blog, I will no longer be using that Twitter account.  I am asking everyone to follow me @twitlit1000 instead.  No more posts will appear on @skinnygrlinside from me.



Back On Schedule

Yeah, I seem to have fallen off the blogging bandwagon there.  After my stepfather’s death and my week in Pittsburgh, I kind of lost steam.  I want to get back to focusing on blogging and my weight loss journey.  I was blogging every day for a while there, but life has just been crazy the past couple of weeks.

So, health-wise, I seem to be doing OK.  I had my annual physical last week after I returned from my sojourn in Pittsburgh.  My blood pressure was slightly elevated, (140/85), but I’m sure it has to do with the stress I have been under.  My doctor didn’t seem too worried, but she asked me to monitor it on my own.  I have and it’s come back down to the normal range, (120s/70s).  We are trying to see how I do sans medicine for a while.  I am happy to do that since prior to the surgery I was on three meds a day just to keep it down below 225/125.  Yeah, I was that sick.

Today I joined my brother and my niece in DC at the Smithsonian museums.  She’s 5 and her favorite museums are the Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum.  We took her to the American History Museum.  I think that one is a bit above her head at he moment, but she fared better there than she did at the Art Museum.  The guards near the Matisse may never be the same again.

She liked the Kermit the Frog at the American History Museum and was completely nonplussed by Dorothy’s ruby slippers.  In her defense, she has not seen the Wizard of Oz yet or she may have appreciated them.  I thought she might like them anyway since she has her own pair of sparkly ruby-red shoes, but no.  She just looked at them and asked if we could go see the bugs now.  Oh to be five!

We did take her to see the bugs and she totally fell in love with the bees in the bug room.  The Smithsonian has a pretty cool beehive setup.  You can watch the bees come into the hive through an entry they have on one of the windows.  The bees then make their way over to a hive which they have set up on a fake tree.  It’s actually pretty cool  My niece kept asking where the queen bee was.  I didn’t really know what to say to that.

I know I have talked about our treks into DC to the Smithsonian before, but it was so nice to get my life back to the new normal.  I love being able to walk around the city and then wander through museums.  I could never do that before the surgery and before my weight loss.

I have noticed something else recently too.  I’ve become much more confident on stairs.  I no longer have to hold the handrail and go down one at a time.  I still do sometimes just to feel more secure, but it’s not always a necessity.

Today for instance, I was walking down the steps outside of one of the museums.  I was holding my niece’s hand and she tripped.  I was able to stop, keep my balance, and pull her up before she hit the ground.  I was not even holding the hand rail.  If she was with the “Before Colleen”, she may have tripped down the stairs and hurt herself.  But the “After Colleen” had no problem making what could have been a big accident a non-event.

Have You Been Brainwashed?

Apparently, Dustin Hoffman has been, at least that’s what he says in this AFI clip on YouTube where he discusses the making of the movie Tootsie.  He talks very openly about society’s critical view of anyone who does not fit the standard definition of beauty and how that affected him as a man who was tasked with playing a woman on-screen.

I remember seeing this movie years ago, but admittedly, I do not remember much about it.  I am going to have to go back and watch it now, if for no other reason than to watch it with mindfulness and a critical eye to traditional definitions of beauty.

As a woman who spent her life struggling to find a way to fit into the world of the beautiful people, I certainly know what it is like to feel inadequate by comparison.  I think this is something all women, (and a lot of men, quite frankly), feel.

I spent the better part of my life totally brainwashed, thinking that I was nothing if I was not beautiful, or beautiful as defined by fashion magazines, movies, TV, etc.  But the truth is, I am a beautiful person.  I may not have perfect skin, or the best figure in the world, but I am smart, capable, funny, cute, thoughtful, helpful, caring, loving, the list goes on and on.  I have a lot of great qualities to share with the world, as did Tootsie from what I do recall from the movie.

The only thing that ever stopped me from sharing those qualities was my own self-imposed limitations because I never felt that I measured up.  Granted, those limitations were reinforced because I put too much value on the low opinion of others.  I guess it is easier to believe the bad stuff.  Why is that, exactly?

Well, I am done with that.  Yes, I still struggle with body image and the like.  I may never fully get beyond that, although I wish I could.  But I do not let it destroy me or override all of my other good qualities.

At the end of the clip, Hoffman opines how he allowed himself to be limited.

“There are too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.  This was never a comedy for me.”

I am going to turn this idea on its ear a little bit here and look at it from a slightly different angle.

I have allowed myself to limit my own experiences in life because I had been brainwashed; because I never felt beautiful; because I allowed the low opinion of others to matter more than my own dreams and wishes.

Too many people do this, especially women.

When I started this weight loss and blog project, I began the process of putting that behavior behind me forever.  I am not completely there yet, but I feel as if I have made a lot of progress.  I am taking care of myself.  I am writing more.  I am putting myself out into the world and opening myself up to all of the good possibilities that are out there.  Yes, there is the risk that I will fail, get hurt, be rejected, but I no longer care about that.  There is also a chance I will be successful and embraced by the world.  Either way, I’m not going to allow anything to hold me back any longer.

Have you ever allowed yourself to kill your dreams because you didn’t feel as if you were good enough?  What is stopping you from achieving them now?

Home At Last

I am home from my long week in Pittsburgh.  Finally.  It was a very, very long week.  My mother had surgery on her arm which she had broken.  We buried my step-father.  I saw family that I have not seen in years.  It all felt kind of unreal and was very stressful.

I tried as hard as I could to stick close to my diet plan.  I did have a couple of hiccups though.  Then I developed horrible constipation during my last couple of days there.  It got so bad my mother wanted to take me to the ER.  It finally cleared up last night and I was able to make the drive back home safely.  I think it was brought on by a few bad choices and the stress of a very difficult week.  Needless to say, I am very glad that week is over and I am glad to be home.

All that aside, I had three really great experiences I would like to share.

The first, of course, is everyone’s reaction to seeing me 112 pounds smaller.  My stepbrother, Bill, last saw me a couple of years ago.  He and his wife have been getting updates from my mom with pictures.  But pictures really do not do the change I have undergone justice.  When they saw me, they were absolutely flabbergasted.  Bill picked up my baby sister and her husband from the airport and dropped them off at my mom’s house.  He helped bring the luggage in.  When I said hello, he replied with, “OMG Colleen!  When I saw you from the street I thought you were Sandy (my other sister).”  He then gave me a big hug and told me how great I looked.  As we stood there and talked, he just kept shaking his head and saying, “Unbelievable!”  When his wife saw me, she reacted the same way.  Pretty much everyone who saw me had the same reaction.

The other experience had to do with my other stepbrother’s wife.  Michelle had the gastric by-pass surgery a few years ago.  She was so excited when she found out I was getting the surgery.  She has also followed my progress through my mom.  I have not seen her for maybe seven or eight years.  She was always a big woman.  The day of my step-dad’s funeral this tall, thin, gorgeous woman came up to me and gave me a hug to tell me how good it was to see me and how wonderful I looked.  My mouth fell to the floor.  It wasn’t until she started speaking that I knew it was Michelle.  Talk about the tables being turned.

The last and best news that I have to share is I weighed myself when I returned home.  I’ve lost 3 pounds.  I am now down to 183.  At least there is something good that came out of a very long and difficult week.