The Mormon Trail

the-mormon-temple-from-salt-lake-city-4I live right on the route of the Mormon trail that was traveled on in 1846. In fact, there is a bridge about 2 hours south of me (Omaha) the is named after the Mormons, where they spent their winter quarters.  When I was younger and read about the Mormon trail it seemed so long ago, yet, it was only a bit over 100 years before I was born in 1957.

I am not a member of The Church of Latter-day Saints, but I have a close friend that I dearly love that is. I have spent a lot of time in her home and among her church family. I feel it a privilege to get to visit her in the heart of what I jokingly call “Mecca”.

All of the members of the LDS church that I have met have been really good people, Who live under a solid value system.

On a cruise with my friend Stephanie and our friend Lou. We had some of the natives on the island believing we were  triplets. I have never belly laughed more in my whole life than with these two.

On a cruise to lose with Richard Simmons, with my friend Stephanie and our friend Lou. We had some of the natives on the island believing we were triplets. I have never belly laughed more in my whole life than with these two. This was nearly 20 years ago.

My friend Stephanie once told me 20 years ago,  her goal as a mom was to raise “great human beings”. She and Butch have done that very well, they are blessed with great kids, who married great spouses, and wonderful grandchildren.

I have really struggles lately with how long my road to health has been,  and is still going to be. In my own personal “mormon trail” I am still in about Iowa, about 1/3 there. Mormon_Trail_3Yet those brave pioneers felt progress was being made even  when they were in Iowa, and God used them all along the way.

It was a tough trip, and it took a pretty good chunk of time out of their lives to get there. Some didn’t make it, including their leader Joseph Smith. Some of my fellow weight loss buddies have not made it either. The Mormons suffered lots of persecution, and what we call now days Bullies. I know that feeling very well. Fat people get bullied everyday, and it’s not just the kids that are bullied.

It wasn’t easy, Some pushed hand carts to get there, not even getting to ride in that bumpy wagon! And I would bet the food I eat today on my food plan is a thousand times better than what they had to eat sometimes.

Yet, as long and hard as that trip was, they never lost site of the prize which they called Mecca…or um… Zion. They were driven to never stop until they got there. In fact, they really didn’t know where “there” was, they only knew it once they got there. But God whispered in there ear, and they listened. Trusting, and moving one foot in front of the other.

One more  thing they did was depend on each other for survival, as I do you, and many others around me. They put their lives in each others hands, knowing someone always had their backs. I feel this kind of support as well. I never doubt for one moment that I will have to do this alone.

Once they arrived, the first thing they did was give thanks. Then, they shared their joy, and helped many more take that journey. And the journey was easier for the next group because the original pioneers told them what to expect. I have many mentors around me, that are teaching me what is ahead, and what worked for them. I know, as my journey to good health increase I will be so full of gratitude that I will spend the rest of my life helping other who have been in my situation. The Church of the Latter-Day Saints have over 85,000 Missionaries all over the world.  They not only share their faith, but serve the communities they are in. I had some nice Missionary boys paint a shed for me years ago. I don’t care what faith you are, but one thing for sure, we can get a lot of inspiration from the history of the Mormons.

And like my Mormon friends, I will make a trail for others to follow.

 

Stinkin’ Thinkin’

 

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I was thinking entirely too much about food today. I could not stop! I found myself plotting and planning in my head about what I was going to  make for dinner. You know that kind of thinking, you kind of creatively think about how you can stretch the boundaries. I can rationalize it all away too, if I stay in the “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” frame of mind.

I won’t go through the foods I was thinking about because if any of you are like me, once something is mentioned, it can get stuck in my brain.

So many things can trigger a binge or slip. A food commercial on TV has been known to get me behind the steering wheel in my PJ’s in the late hours and to my favorite drive through. CrazyLadyDriverThat’s why willpower does not work for me. There are things that should never cross the threshold of my home, and I have cut back drastically looking at recipes on the internet. I wish I did not love to cook. I find it baffling to hear when someone who struggles with their weight does not cook. Not critical, just baffling. I love all things food, cooking, farmers markets, going to the grocery store, watching cooking shows, and eating, of course. I use to say that as a badge of pride. It made me an expert. Yeah, an expert at killing myself slowly.

So these days when I have a day like this, I try to take lemons and make lemonade, sort of. Instead of thinking how I can push my limits, which often leads to a binge. I try to creatively think what healthy food, do I really enjoy.

I have several “go to” meals in that healthy choice file in my head that I really love. Eating healthy should not feel like punishment. My friend Sean, never eats food he does not love. So you won’t see him eating salads, or even things he feels even neutral about. I have sort of adapted that philosophy. One of my go to meals when I feel the urge to eat a large portion, is stir-fry.

In fact I had some left over baked chicken in the fridge, as well as some brown rice, and stir-fry veggies in my freezer. It was quick, filling, and delicious!

So often we can get that craving our of our head by focusing on an alternative. I tend to think black and white. But life is full of grey. Think outside the box. So often there are satisfying options we have not considered.

Have a great weekend everyone!

 

 

Food for Thought

 

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I don’t write much about food on here. That is not accidental. In my past weight loss efforts I would go on a diet, and get a food plan, or go to a weight loss meeting and most of the information and conversation was about food, how much and what kind. I’d leave with a handful of recipes, and new low calorie, low fat, low carb foods to buy at the store.

My paradigm  has shifted greatly over time. My focus this time is about putting priorities, values, my relationship with God, and order in my whole life, not just the food I eat. Now, food is part of it, but it’s not the whole focus. I do believe we all have to find our own food plan that works for us, but the food choices have little to really do with weight loss. At least for me, my unhealthy relationship with food and my portions were the biggest problem. I had to break up with food like a bad boyfriend and put it on the “just friends” list. And trust me, sometime I miss my old lover. But it was a horribly abusive relationship. I almost lost my life being abusive with what was at the end of my fork.

There is a TV show that is called “My Diet is better than Yours”. my-diet-is-better-than-yours it’s about a group of people all having their own diet guru. It’s a contest about who’s diet works the best. It reminded me of the attitude I use to have about food and dieting.

have you ever worked hard on one area of your life, experience personal growth,  and then have something or someone say something that reminds you of how you use to think? It’s hard to hear sometimes because you remember the wrong path you were going down or how naive you may have been. It can be a way to measure how far you have come. It’s important to respect anyone who is where you use to be and not be arrogant about it. I have sadly, had to learn this the hard way in the past. I have let my new confidence turn into cockiness. It was not pretty and I was knocked back down on my butt very quickly.  This weight loss thing is so fragile that we need to gently respect everyones process. I try to be mindful of this when I watch that show.

I got a load of groceries at Sam’s Club today. I have to be very careful how I spent my money there, I am on a budget, and it seems you can drop a few hundred dollars in no time. My friend Teresa won’t let her husband go there without a chaperone because he spends too much money if he goes alone.

But I like to load up on water, I know it’s kinda bad for the environment and probably the same as the tap from my faucet at home, but bottles water is kind of a luxury for me. It feels special, and I seem to drink more water that way. I really try, and usually manage to get 72 ounces in everyday. (I pee a lot)

I got a lot of fresh produce, frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast. paper products, and a few other things. I like to buy hamburger patties as well, if I buy a pound of ground beef, I make my burgers too big, and it’s just a better way to be portion controlled.

I spent the rest of the afternoon washing, chopping and bagging up the produce. It takes a few hours, but you do it once, and it’s ready for you when you need to make something. You are much more likely to make something healthy, and if you use it, it won’t rot in the fridge. At this point I can not afford to waste food.

Last year this time I would have never been able to do all that in one afternoon. Even sitting on a stool, it was too much to work for a few hours that way. It truly is a miracle how our bodies respond to being cared for, and how we can gain back our endurance and strength with what and how much we eat. Food truly is medicine.

After I was finished, I stood in front of my fridge, and was amazed at how different a full fridge looks today compared to my fridge a year ago. Fresh produce, has replaced all the fatty deli meats, cheese, and big bags of chips. The freezer is full of frozen mixed veggies and fruit for smoothies. Chicken breasts have replaced the hot dogs, sausage, and other processed meats.

The point I want to make is, diets and diet recipes, and food hacks are like believing a Kleenex will cure a cold. It is our relationship with food that has to change. He (food) can not be the focus of your life anymore. If food is the best part of your day, then you are missing out on life, like I did for so many years. I can not get those years back. I can only learn from them. Food should not be the soft place we run to, a hobby or something we automatically do when we get bored. it’s not a substitute for our fear of getting out there and experience life or trying something new.FullSizeRender 26 Surfing the internet for hours for recipes and posting them on Facebook is a waste of precious time in our lives, when there is so much great literature out there!  Our kitchens are not our sanctuaries!  I’m not preaching as much as I am reminding myself of this. Old habits are hard to break. But, can be broken.

Have a great day everyone! Drink your water and eat something GREEN!

 

 

Getting my wings

 

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No, not angel wings, I’m no angel, just forgiven and honest. But I do feel a growth spurt around the corner.

Honestly, it has been a long, long, LONG Winter. Normally I love Winter. But the things I love about Winter are all about snuggling in with food, and sitting and watching movies, and doing… well, nothing. I am ready to fly!

Some fears are a good warning to be smart. So honestly, I really do not thing it safe for me to go out when it’s icy. One fall and I am doomed. So I have been cooped up in this house for what feels like months. It is starting to feel like Narnia. In the book “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” by CS Lewis.LionWardrobe13 It was winter forever, and felt like  Spring would never come. I have questioned a few times if I was living in Narnia.

The days are long, and sometimes I wonder if progress is being made, but It is! And the numbers on the scale are a testimony of that. I do not believe the scale is a measure of our self worth, or self-esteem. There is so much smack talk about the scale, and sometimes we can take that to the other extreme, using it as an excuse to not be accountable for our food consumption. But honestly, it can be your friend, but ONLY if you use it as an honest and tangible measure of your weight loss progress, not your character.

I have has some financial issues I have been worried about. I am slowly working my way through it, myself. That feels good. I believe all of this is related. Taking charge of my own health, and finances are all connected. There are a lot of other things as well, our clutter in our homes, even our relationships.

Speaking of relationships, I may get some flack for this, but I really do not like those meme’s about friendships still being there after not seeing each other for months and years. Relationships that have great meaning to you need to be honored by nurturing them. I believe it’s important. I have a friend I love dearly that I went to beauty school with. We revived our relationship last Summer. We never had any conflict, but life happened, and she raised her family, I did my life. I am so deeply grateful to have Diana back in my life, and if I was to do it over again, I would have maintained that relationship over the years. imageI missed out on a lot of milestones with her, by not maintaining that relationship. No one makes me feel as good about myself and makes me laugh more that Diana. Diana has walked me through some tough times in the last 10 months, and she has brought so much laughter in the days my world seemed so serious. I love you so much Diana! I have several friendships I wish I would have maintained and nurtured. But it’s never too late.

spring is just around the cornerSo if you think you do not see progress because your road is so long, take a quick peek behind you, but not for very long, just long enough to see the progress you have made. You may be surprised the ground you have gained during the times you did not feel you were moving. Spring is just around the corner!

 

 

 

The Question Before the Question

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I read a book that was one of the catalyst for the change I needed to turn my life around. It is called QBQ, The question before the question. It’s purpose was to motivate corporate executives and leaders to motivate their employees to take personal responsibility. It was recommended by my friend Lori Olson, who’s husband is a successful motivational speaker and teacher. Rick speaks mostly to large corporations. Rick is one of those calm approachable people, with a warm personality and great wisdom. Because of that character, you want to hear what he has to say. You know he knows what he is talking about. His wife Lori is the same. I am blessed to have these great people in my life.

The book is all about taking responsibility for your life and actions. It teaches you to quit being a victim, and even when the task ahead seems impossible, you still own it and try, regardless of why or how you got in the spot you are in.

Up until I read that book, I was spending most of my days feeling stuck, and listing the many obstacles that were in my way keeping me from having success. I did a lot of whining, and altho some of the situations in my life were not created by me, I quit focusing on the source, and started focusing on how I could resolve these things. I laid aside my resentments, and took whatever resources I had, and made baby steps towards claiming back my life. Never expecting to be rescued or taken care of. I quit waiting for those who in my mind had transgressions against me, to fix, apologize, or repent.  What they did or did not do, was none of my business.

There is a saying among 12 step users that goes, “I keep my own side of the street clean”. So that’s what I started doing. I started with little things. One, was making sure I stayed under 1400 calories a day, no matter how my day was going. As my friend Sean Anderson says, this was a non-negotionable. Sean’s blog, The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser had a huge influence on my new approach to live. There was not going to be any reason, no matter how chaotic my life got, that would change that non-negotionable, in my day.

So I started adding to that list, I started a blog, I sought out people in my life, and on the internet who were successful at what I wanted to achieve. I surrounded myself with these people, I watches what was working for them. I remember my pastor Tom Jacob saying we become like the people we spend time with and the books we read. So I started reading more motivational and Christian books. My relationship with God became more intimate. I knew there were things that I could not achieve alone, but I did not let that stop me from trying. Every time I just blindly moved forward, and trusted, exactly what I needed showed up at the precise moment I was in need.

I started meeting people who I always wanted to know, bloggers that were having successful weight loss, were made available to me. Leaders and experts in weight loss just supernaturally crossed my path. I did nothing special, except staying true to my calorie budget, and walked through every door that came my way, never questioning how I was going to do it, afford it, or even know how.

The biggest thing I did was quit being a victim and take personal responsibility. FullSizeRender 26I let God take care of any revenge I might want to cast, I did not freeload. Every time I have a need, I think of a way I can earn my way out of debt. And no job was beneath me. I have been up all hours of the night sewing little baby shoes out of felt, to make $40, when my need was over $1000. And somehow, I earned and saved my way to pay the debt I had.

The lesson here is, stop being a victim, own your situation, and let God deal with the transgressors in your life. Stay on your own side of the street, and keep it clean. What that man across the street is doing, is none of your business. What he thinks of what your doing is none of your business. What he or his wife think of you is none of your business.

My business is to take care of Kathleen, never at the cost of someone else, and never expecting anything from anybody. No matter how needy I am, or how much abundance the guy across the street has, or is capable of, he owes you nothing.

I was over 500 pounds, I was broke, sometimes even getting my utilities, and phone shut off. But I started with what I had or could do, and here I am 10 months later, and 125 pounds lost. I have a promise of a job in the Spring when my mobility is better, I have so much to look forward to, and an army of support people around me.

This is not about my great ability, or willpower. I have no willpower. This is about taking personal responsibility, and letting God fill in the cracks and broken pieces.

I spent the whole month of December every evening in my bed listening to OA (Overeaters Anonymous) phone meetings. I knew the Holidays would be tough, so I sought out ways to strengthen my mission to health.  I am in constant search of saturating myself with successful and progressive people.

One of the hard parts is when I recognize my old behaviors in others. I have not always handled it well. but I am learning, their way of handling life is none of my business. Unless specifically asked, I work hard at keeping my mouth shut. It’s hard, and I have not always been able to keep my criticisms to myself, but I am learning.

So my message  today is, quit whining, figure it out, stop being resentful of everyone else, and take personal responsibility of whatever your struggles are. You will be so surprised at the ground you will gain in a short time. Blessings to all of you!

Fear

 

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So much of my struggles in my life have been fear based. In fact it has taken my lifetime to realize the extent of it in my life.

When I was in my 30s and 40s, I feared losing the people in my  life that were dear to me. Being single, that was my parents. They always struggles with health issues, and I was emotionally, and  (not so healthy) dependent on them, mostly my Mom. I was the emotional love tank she drew from. I do not mean to disrespect my parents, they were truly amazing people, but not perfect. And today I embrace those imperfections. But, she was very insecure, always worried and stressed about everything, and always shared those fears with me. My father was not one to share feelings. In fact, he was so shut down emotionally, he struggles with bleeding ulcers during most of my childhood years. So, starting at a very young age, my Mom latched onto me for emotional support as well as an emotional outlet. It’s not fair to put that much emotional dependency on a child, I felt very loved, but also felt the weight of my mom’s happiness on my shoulders.

There were a lot of unspoken rules that I adapted because of this. I never felt I could come home and tell her about the kids at school that were making fun of me on the way home. I guarded her feelings. I knew she felt responsible for me being an obese kid, and helpless as to what to do about it. So, as an adult this exasperated, I became her care taker, emotionally and physically. I remember cutting hair in my beauty shop, and when an ambulance or fire truck drove by, I would stop what I was doing and call their home to see if she was ok. And if I could not reach her, I would go into a full blown panic.

Needless to say, my soft place to run to was food. I am sure many of you can relate to this. I see a very strong common thread like this with many people who are obese and especially morbidly obese. When my folks, husband, and everyone I loved died, I had nothing left to fear, my purpose was over, and that is when I shut down, stayed in bed, and ate myself up to 537 pounds.

I have a lot of self awareness regarding how I deal with fear. Knowing this, I can work through it. But it’s not easy. It’s much better because I have tools and an army of support people to help me deal with it.

Because I have experienced this, I can easily recognize those who live in so much fear that it paralyzes their life. Like I did, they bury their heads in the sand, become needy, or fall into deep denial. Sometimes it turns into resentment, mine certainly did. Or anger, or sarcasm. Fear wears so many masks and even layers of masks.

This morning I woke up with a fear of a financial matter I needed to deal with. I had been procrastinating dealing with this for a long time. I wanted to just pull the covers over my head and not deal with it. But after a lot of prayer and self talk, I didn’t do that. I got up and going, made coffee images(important) and made the phone calls needed to resolve the issue. Funny thing, the thing I worried so much for weeks about, did not happen. I had just enough money to cover (property taxes) and let me tell you the feeling of confidence I gained turned my day completely around.

It is so hard to face your monsters. Sometimes it feels like you will die. Believe me I know, but when you do, the pay off is life changing. The saying ” If you don’t try you will never know” is so true. putting something off, or hiding fear behind the many facades we use only magnifies the problem.

Be brave today, just do one little things that pushes you past your fears, you won’t believe what a catalyst that can be to bring you to a courageous, peaceful place in your life.  That drive to run to food for comfort leaves, and it allows so many joyful experiences and people to enter your life again.

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Patience

 

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My patience have been tested lately. It’s mid January here in Nebraska, I have lost enough weight now that I am starting to feel better, but not quite enough to put me back in to the mainstream of life. But I am very close. It is going to be below zero all weekend, and a windchill minus 32 is predicted for the night time. That is cold! So I am completely house bound for a while.

So, all that to say, I am getting very restless, and my patience are wearing thin. My days get very long, and it seems the weekends are even slower. I’m not really complaining, I signed up to do the time. Doing something the right way is seldom the easy way. But I know this is the right road to health for me. I am very grateful that my obesity did not deteriorate my health to the point that I could not have the luxury of lose it this way, or caused me to land in the hospital. I say that with great humility, because that was the next stage for me. I am not above that experience, I am grateful for God’s grace. Few people live to my age being as obese as I was at one time. I am here and alive for a reason.

My wellness has more to do with my head than my body. There are many vehicles in the car lot of diets, that will help you lose weight. Many that works very well. Everyone finds their own path. But for me, all this time alone to think has been the best gift ever. But not the easiest, by a long shot. I wake in the mornings with no purpose or anything to look forward to, except my meals. Which I monitor very closely. I spend a lot of time reading motivation and spiritual books and devotionals. And a lot of Netflix!

Being physically alone in this journey to health has kept me from comparing myself to others, and having to deal with someone eating foods that I struggle to abstain from around me. That would be so hard.

Sometimes when we do a task alone, we reach higher, because we do not see the limits, like we might if we had a companion. I think I was a better hairdresser because I worked alone. No one was around to be an example of any limits. I know I was more apt to try new things.

But along with this comes a solitude life that has helped me grow closer in my faith, and my relationship with God. I don’t use this blog as a means to preach. I feel very strongly that my light should shine on it’s own, in my day to day life. But It is also a huge component to my recovery, so I have to share it, if I am to be truly honest.

I look forward to spring, when all things become new. I will be new, and there are so many experiences I will have that I have not enjoyed in a lot of years. That time is just around the corner. There is a satisfaction and confidence that comes from working hard and doing the time. It feels earned, and anything we work hard for we take better care of.

So in this dark coldness of winter, I am feeling hope.snow-flowers-crocus-purple-hd-wallpaper-34729 A sense of self respect and hope that I have not felt in a long time. I dream of spring and all life has to bring.

Surrender

 

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Most of us, before getting on a good food plan, tell ourselves and maybe those around us, “I need to start eating better”. We spend days, weeks, and months, talking about what we need or should do. We almost become prisoner to all the “should”. I have a friend who feels so strongly about this she has eliminated the word “should” from her vocabulary. A pretty smart thing to do if you ask me. The word just brings on guilt, dread, and procrastination.

What comes to mind when you see the word surrender? Is it It defeat, giving up, giving in or waving the white flag? That’s what most of us think. But to me these days surrender means a new beginning to a life of suscess. When I surrendered to all the “shoulds” in my life, my world started to change. I became pro-active and accountable, when that decision was made, the word, should, almost vanished from my vocabulary as well. I decided to put action to my “shoulds” or just let go of them.

The days of rationalizing and excuse making have diminished. I look back and see how I use to eat and actually convince myself I was not eating near as bad as what the scale told me. In fact, I avoided weighting myself at all cost so I did not have to face reality. I remember eating big helping of goulash (ground beef, tomatoes, and macaroni) and convincing myself it was a normal portion. I rarely had any leftovers. I cooked big and ate big. Almost all of my social life involved food. Much of my on line world was looking up recipes, and most of the email I got was from recipe sites. I spent my days thinking of what I was going to make for supper. It was the biggest event in my day. My focus has really shifted these days. I have notices a huge cut in my grocery bills. I’m learning to buy less and smaller packages of things. My whole paradigm has shifted. It was a lot of work to maintain that kind of behavior and still convince myself I was not eating all that much, retaining fluid, blaming that piece of ham I had eaten the day before.

You can’t imagine the peace that comes when were surrender, and quit fighting. Yes it is work to get on a food plan and stay diligent and focused everyday. A good day for me requires being mindful and accountable of what I eat and do. I have devotions daily, and make time to read, write and journal. But it is not nearly as hard as carrying around that burden of guild from all the self abuse. The best part, is I am getting my self respect and dignity back. I can see people who lost their respect for me starting to respect me again instead of feeling sorry for me.

So if you are procrastinating getting going and taking care of yourself, I encourage you to just start. You will be surprised what a relief it is. And how that one step forward spirals into one positive success after another. I promise if you honestly try, you will be amazed how what you need at that very moment will appear, sometimes what seems from nowhere.  Just surrendering frees you up to spend your time and energy on positive things you could never imagine happening to your life.