Friday, May 27, 2011

Just ask and you shall receive

I'm sure I'm stating the obvious, but beyond my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. I also am dealing with normal everyday life: Single mother raising a teenage daughter who graduates from high school in two weeks, juggling finances, household chores, and of course in the midst of all this rehabbing a fractured leg while trying to stay focused on my nutrition and stay active. It makes sense every now and then my system crashes. So last week after discovering "I'm NOT what I use to be" I decided to take some time to regroup, refresh, renew. Well, it turns out I spent most of the time self destructing: Sleeping too much, eating too much, and being highly self-critical. It wasn't until yesterday when I finally decided - enough.

One of the things that has changed about me during this transition to a healthier lifestyle is my snap back time. If I  encounter a bump in the road, I don't sulk long and I'm not afraid to seek help if I'm feeling vulnerable. I recently read an article that discussed the importance of weight loss support groups - that's one of the reasons groups like Weight Watchers are so effective and popular - the support system. Some folks like the accountability, receiving advice, and praise.

So yesterday, a week into my state of funk I knew I was at an all time low. Normally, I can self-motivate. I mean, who better to pump me up than me? Well, it wasn't working. My system had crashed and I needed to reboot. Instead, of continuing to eat, sulk, eat. I called the help desk and got my assistant coach, Steve (Personal Trainer) on the line for some much needed support. I met Steve at 24 Hour Fitness several months ago and he instantly started helping me with nutrition, exercise tips, and he's one heck of a motivator. One of the things I like about him is he's non-judgmental. I can tell him exactly how I feel -- and boy do I tell him. He never looks down on me (He seems to understand a big girl's plight). He turns my negativity around and pushes me in the right direction. Yesterday was no different he reminded me of all that I've accomplished and gave me a gentle push.What stands out most from our conversation was him saying " It's really is a battle of you versus you." By golly, he's right I'm in control of my own destiny. That's exactly why I called him. The old me would've stayed in the self-destructive state and not have asked for help. The new me recognizes I can't do this alone nor do I have to. I have a team of supportive, encouraging people who are willing to help me. Just ask and you shall receive.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Recovery journal

Day 101: It went DOWN! 10 minutes on the treadmill @ 2.1 mph. 20 minutes on recumbent bike ranging 65-75 rpm, and the highlight of it all - (4) consecutive 45 second planks with three personal trainers spotting me, rooting me on, and making sure my form was good . The last plank was especially for my assistant coach I had to show him how STRONG I really am.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I am fat, I am not fat - Thank you

About nine years old already deep in a battle with obesity
I've said this many times before I can not lose this weight in silence. Losing 170 + lbs. is no small feat. I've been told by two personal trainers that most people won't start what I finish. I finish because of a great desire, a crazy amount of will that propels me to keep going, but I can't do this without writing. As a child, I always liked to craft stories. I use to read books endlessly as a result I had a wild imagination so I would write wild stories. I LOVE words. I love manipulating them. I love the English language and all of the nuances. So as an adult, I went to college in my late twenties and received a degree in journalism. I found though that I really didn't like journalism writing much there's no room for my voice or creativity.

Anyway, I started writing this blog because I wanted to publicly document my journey, share my story. I never imagined that sharing my story would actually be cathartic for me. In retrospect, perhaps I really started writing because I don't know any other way. Those wild stories I use to write as a child where my brief escape from my childhood and penning my lifetime battle with obesity is my escape now.

I've been obese since I can remember and so losing this weight is not about just losing the weight. I have layers, upon layers of emotional, spiritual damage to repair. I'm learning how to love myself. Truly, love myself. There are no quick fixes for this. This is my life. I'm trying to figure out new ways to handle things without turning to food. I'm trying to create a healthy relationship with food and exercise. When I write to y'all it is raw. I mean what I say, these are my true feelings. So sometimes I may seem a little contradictory, unbalanced -- I am. I am fat. I am not fat. I am thin. I don't want to be thin. I am everything in between. Bear with me, I am trying to finding myself and this is the only way that I know how.

Thank you all for allowing me to document my journey, share my story. I can not do this alone nor do I want to . True, I've never met most of you, but knowing that you're out there encouraging me, offering your kind words and advice gives me the strength to go on. "You're my hero. You inspire me. ...When you share with the rest of us, we all gain a little something too." Your words keep me going on days when I can't find it internally. I'm telling y'all what I'm about to do is big. I am going to turn childhood obesity statistics upside down. Not many people beat childhood obesity once they become adults. It's usually just too late. All of you get to say you helped me. Thank you for helping me. The day we reach the finish line is going to be sweet victory. For once and for all, Farewell Fatso!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Am I *Thin Yet?

This is taking way too long. I feel antsy. It's like one of those long, road trips I use to take as a child and had no real sense of time. I'd be in the backseat of the car, asking "Are we there yet? When will we be there?" I mean, really when will I get there? When will I look in the mirror and see the strong, fit body I desire? I know, I know. It may be that I never get there and I should learn to appreciate myself for what I am  currently - believe me - I expect everyone else to. It's just that when you work as hard as I do at this it becomes overwhelming. I mean, day in, day out I'm battling obesity and let me tell you it's one stubborn opponent.  
388 lbs.

I take photos all the time just because I like to document my weight loss. Anyhow,  this weekend I took a photo (See "Now" photo) and wow! It confirmed what I've been feeling - my midsection needs some serious work. Then, this morning I  weighed myself to find numbers that indicate I weigh as much as a newborn elephant. Geez, I want out of this body and I want out now. I'm growing more and more impatient. And the closer I get to my goal the harder it becomes. Enough ranting time to tighten my seat belt.

*Thin - I only used the word in the title because it flowed better. What I desire is to be stronger, fitter, and weigh less than, well a newborn elephant. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just breathe

One of the things I use to treat myself to before the accident -Yoga classes twice a week. I learned quickly the beauty of Yoga. It's about mind, body, spirit - balance. In our everyday lives we are so busy running around...When do we ever sit still with ourselves and just breathe? Stretch? Focus? For me hardly never. That's why after my first few Yoga classes, I decided to make Yoga a MUST.

Yoga showed me how important breathing is. Really, deep breathing -- opening up your lungs. Breathing is fundamental, precious. Think about it. Ahh...and stretching. Stretching is not only good for the body, but the mind. Finding yourself in the positions is about discipline. Probably more about discipline. I remember, the first time I ever found Downward Facing Dog, truly found it. It was beautiful! Oh and when I found Warrior - oh wow!

This morning, I was feeling a little off balance. So I decided before I set off to start the hustle and bustle of the day, I would take sometime to practice some of the Yoga techniques I learned in class. I sat still, breathing, stretching, focusing.  I even made an attempt to do a Sun Salutation (A little challenging with the leg injury) - a very simple, yet effective pose.

Yoga brings me to a peaceful state. Where I feel calm and at ease. It forces me to take time to sit still with myself and just breathe.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm NOT what I use to be

Yesterday, as I tried to muster up the strength to lift the 40 lbs. barbell overhead I begun to question my capabilities.  While I was struggling I was uttering to myself: "What's wrong with you? Push through."  Being the foolish die hard I am I got through the sets. Next, I waddled over to the mat area where I found an innocent bystander to spot me while I planked (I feel more comfortable getting up and down off the floor if someone's there since surgery). Completed a few planks and got up from the floor feeling a little disoriented only to travel straight to the recumbent bike. Once at the bike "Do What You Can" guy was there and noticed I looked a little fatigued. He asked, "Are you sure you should get on the bike?" Needless to say, I hopped on and rode for a record time (Since surgery) 30 minutes. As I rode the bike listening to my tunes it dawned on me, I'm not what I use to be. Sad, but true. I've lost my endurance, some of my strength, and a little a bit of my confidence. Probably to be expected after having major surgery only 11 weeks ago, but somehow or another I tend to ignore the small details.

As I was headed out  the gym door one of the employees asked "How was it?" I told her: "It went okay, but my tank seems to be running low on fuel." Her reply, "Take it easy, you've been through a lot. I've seen you here everyday this week" By golly, she's right, three days in a row I've been at the gym and one of those days I went to physical therapy as well. The thing is, sure I'm in rehab, recovery mode, but I also have to figure out what my body can do, so the only way to figure that out is to try. It's a balancing act, those of you who've been following me have heard me talk about finding balance before. I want to push my limits, but I also have to be mindful of my true capabilities. Right now, my priority is to recover. I need to slow down, pump my brakes. There's a time and a place to be a rock star and this is NOT the time. Heavy sigh.

I'm searching for balance. Harmony. Peace. Reminder to self: Be kind to yourself and slow down. You'll get there in due time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Eating Healthy Never Tasted So Good: Buns and Fries are OVERRATED

This American Classic duo slims down.  Extra lean grass fed ground beef, red leaf lettuce replaced the traditional bun, with cheddar cheese (omit if you wish to go slimmer), spicy mustard, and vine-ripened tomatoes. Fries substituted with roasted asparagus with garlic and olive oil. Don't be afraid to pick up the spears with your fingers. Trust me: Buns and Fries are OVERRATED.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The look, Fat Mack Truck

So last night I had this blog post already written (see below). Today, however, the day moved in a direction that I had not planned so I ended up at the gym at an early hour. When I got to the gym I saw several of my old gym buddies who I haven't seen since before my accident. To my surprise they had a different opinion of me They all mentioned how well I was getting around on my leg and even went so far to say,"You have the look...You are beautiful. We can totally tell you have lost weight. We can really see it in your face and upper body. Your body looks sculpted...." Ha ha. Me sculpted? What an ego boost. I wish I could just constantly remind myself that I'm beautiful no matter what size and I'm not fat because fat is a state of mind. I don't want outside forces to make me waiver how I feel about myself - good or bad. So yeah, it's nice to receive the compliments, but I want the feeling to be internal. Apparently, I'm still a work in progress in this area.

Here's the blog post which was originally titled: "Fat Mack Truck"

I normally try to stay away form negative self-talk, but... Lately, I've been feeling really fat in my mid-section. I'm assuming my lack of movement, barely walking and  hobblin' on crutches for eight weeks kind of caught up with me. Sure, I was working out some, but not at the intensity level at which I was use to. So, my stomach just feels, well like a big mound of jelly. I know, I know I shouldn't say things like that, but that's how I feel. Now, since I'm up and moving around I can start working on my core again because I feel rather disgusting. Ugh.

The first couple of days I walked without crutches my left foot was so painfully tender -- ouch! Since I have spent the last several weeks recovering my body is de-conditioned. My physical therapist says that's quite normal. I did have major surgery after all and have been pretty sedentary. So after normal everyday activities I feel really, really beat up like a MACK truck has run over me  Hence, the title Fat Mack Truck.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Recovery journal and New School Sunday Dinner

                                                                                                                                   Lemon, rosemary, olive oil roasted chicken, warm spinach quinoa salad w/feta, and roasted tomatoes with olive oil and thyme -- sorry chicken, but they stole the show. 
Day 90: Slow moving, relaxing Sunday after a long week. I can't believe it's been 90 days since accident. My leg feels the best it's felt since the whole ordeal. I feel like the crutches are just that a "crutch." I think I should ditch them, maybe take them when I travel to make sure I don't get myself in a bind. Eh?

New School Sunday Dinner: Gone are the days of Sunday dinner with heavy gravies and dishes loaded with fats. Hello to healthy, lighter Sunday dinner. Nothing like sitting down with family after a long week, eating and catching up. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Recovery journal

Day 89: Life is what YOU make it! I CHOOSE to live mine to the fullest. I radiate warmth and positive energy and I get it back ten-fold. I am surrounded by positive, supportive people. Today, my Physical Therapist met me at the gym to workout with me. She showed me safe, effective ways for me to workout while I'm rehabing. How cool is that?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Eating Healthy Never Tasted So Good

After a long, eventful day, I decided to take a relaxing culinary trip to Nice.

This French classic is a delight! Nicoise Salad:  Wild Caught Sockeye Salmon chock-full of Omega 3 fatty acids, organic hard-boiled eggs, baby red potatoes, blanched green beans, vine ripened tomatoes, kalamata olives, served on a bed of romaine lettuce, and to bring all the flavors together drizzled with Dijon vinagrette. This salad is full of rich colors, flavors, and textures. What's more it offers a nice balance of protein, carbs, and vegetables.  

Bon Appétit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


On February 17, 2011, as a pedestrian in a shopping mall parking lot I was hit by a car and suffered a fractured Tibia - Acute Tibial Plateau Fracture to be exact. On March 3, 2011, I underwent Open Reduction Internal Fixation surgery to repair the fracture. A metal plate was inserted in my leg to hold the repaired bone in place.

Today, marks 12 weeks from date of accident and 10 weeks post-op. At the time of the accident, I was devastated, frustrated, angry, fearful, sad. Amongst those feelings, however, I stayed grounded. I've refused to let my spirit be broken. I've managed for the most part to make the best of an unpleasant, unfortunate situation. Sure, I've had a few down moments, but mostly I've remained happy, optimistic, and joyous. I've continued on with my life -- business as usual. Attending social events, working out, running errands, and completing household chores.  In the midst of this all I've also lost weight and remained relatively fit.

When the accident first occured I had no idea how, why, and if I could get through this. After weeks of sitting still with myself, reflecting, I've become closer with myself. I've learned that I have a dynamic character. I'm strong, brave, fragile, fearful. My spirit shines brighter, my smile is bigger, and my heart is full of love and peace. I'm grateful.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meatless Monday

Yesterday, I decided to join the "Meatless Monday" movement. Watching the documentary, "Food Inc." was a real eye-opener for me and swayed my decision to jump on the bandwagon. I am very, very disappointed and disheartened about our government's role with food, the meat industry, and the mistreatment of animals. Another blog post will have to be written for this topic.  Anyhow, here's a list of my meatless meals:

Breakfast: Grilled zucchini, onion, and mushroom frittata with half of a grapefruit and black coffee.

Lunch: Spinach with Orzo and Feta 
This was my first time trying this Martha Stewart recipe. It comes from her cookbook "Everyday Food." It's so appropriately titled, all  the recipes are easy to prepare using "Everyday Food."  The highlight of this simple dish was the tangy, crumbles of Feta.Yum!

Post workout snack: Whey Protein shake made with Almond milk served with an orange.

Dinner: Sunny-side Up Lentil Salad  
I was instantly drawn to this recipe from Self magazine because of the use of Lentils. I just tried Lentils for the  first time last week and couldn't wait to use and eat them again. I love the nutty texture and mild taste. Bonus: Tons of protein. The dish was delightful although I wasn't thrilled about the dressing.

I felt good about the food I ate yesterday and was satisfied. Although, I was certainly okay with my meal choices and I'm appalled by the meat industry. I'm not planning on becoming vegetarian or vegan anytime soon. I will, however, make Meatless Monday's a regular part of my nutrition plan. It's NOT only better for me, but better for the environment.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Story, Our Story - Part II

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the more I think about this, this really doesn't have to be all about me. Nor should it be. My story could very well be your story.

After reading a Farewell Fatso's followers email late Friday a light bulb came on.I thought my goodness all along I had a plan for Farewell Fatso! and the direction it was going. When I introduced Farewell Fatso! I wanted it to be a HUGE movement for childhood obesity. I was going to get hundreds, thousands of followers on my blog and Facebook page, receive national attention, and begin working with Michelle Obama - uh huh. That is exactly what I envisioned. But, over the course of the months I've read your countless comments, emails, etc. and  you're compelling Farewell Fatso! to go in another direction. Although, if Michelle Obama calls I'll listen.

My story, our story is going to become a monthly featured item. Where YOU can share your story of weight loss and fitness. Keep all the stories of how I inspired and motivated you coming and if you haven't written in yet this is your opportunity to do so. Tell me a little about yourself and your journey in 1000 words or less. Also, please provide before and after photos. Each month I'll randomly select a story to feature. C'mon y'all I know you're out there. You've been reading about me for months. It's time for YOU to share your story. I'll help. Email your stories to: 

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want." ~ Zig Ziglar

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Recovery journal

Day 83: Saying good-bye is usually hard, but NOT this time.Toodles crutches. Can't say I'll really miss them. Oh shoot, that's right. I do have to still use them, but best believe it will be on a limited basis. I'm inching my way closer and closer to a comeback, y'all. I feel amazing!

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Post-Recovery Wish List

Hooray! This Sunday, I get to lose my crutches part-time. I still have a ways to go before I'm fully recovered, but with hard work and good favor. I'll be back in action soon. I was thinking of the first things I want to do once I'm able. Here they are:

  • Starting with a dynamic warm-up, a kick butt full-body, cardio workout (Including push-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, modified pull ups, snatches, and the Farmer's Walk). I'll end the session with a jog on the treadmill with my French rap music blarin'.
2/12/11 - My final jog at Mt.Tabor Park before my accident 
  • A visit to Mt.Tabor Park where I'll take on all five hilly miles, and 300+ stairs just like I did a week before my injury.
  • Dance the night away at my favorite Reggae club.
See, I really don't ask for much. I'm thinking my wishes will come true. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Recovery journal

Day 80: Small victories. When I headed to kitchen for breakfast I felt as if I didn't need chair to scoot around in, and indeed I did not. I went to an hour long PT appointment (First time) and I as I walked in I felt stronger, more confident with my strides. A complete stranger even commented "Your looking good." :) In PT the pain was not nearly as intense as Tuesday and I even went to the gym afterwards.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Do What You Can

Wow. I was on an emotional roller coaster yesterday. I guess, I'm human after all.   Today is a NEW day and my mind is FOCUSED. I realize that recovery and rehab will take as long as it takes and there will be pain, discomfort, and mixed emotions along the way. Like I told a Facebook friend who recently broke a bone in her foot, “A shining spirit will aid your healing I promise you."

I can only control so much and my spirit is high up on the list. Like my friend, Stephen tells me, "Do what you can." During this trying time, I have to remember to concentrate on what I can do and not what I can’t do. 
  • I can walk with crutches
  • I can perform a number of upper body exercises
  • I can ride the recumbent and stationary bike
  • I can row on the row machine
  • I can do Zumba in a chair
  • I can do Water Aerobics
  • I can dial in on my nutrition
  • I can blog
  • I can smile and let my spirit shine
My broken leg has healed.  Now it’s time to up the ante and rehab, rehab, rehab. I can. I will. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Magnificent May

May is going to be a fantastic food and overall fitness month for me. Why? Because I said so. It’s the whole self-fulfilling prophecy theory. When I was crippled by obesity at nearly 400 lbs. I would never buy into the theory. I was way too negative. Now, though I live by it. Another reason I declare May as magnificent is, as I grow and evolve I try and adapt new practices. I tweak things. Sure, I already eat well and have a kick-butt exercise regimen, but there’s always room for improvement.  So with the progression of my recovery, moving into a new place, and well just feeling like changing up the game a little I declare May as magnificent.

On the food front: I went grocery shopping yesterday so my cupboards and fridge are stocked with the good stuff. I bought lean meats (Grass fed, of course), chicken, fish, Tofu. The usual suspects were purchased produce wise. Chuck’s Produce where I buy my produce has a fantastic selection of local and organic produce at reasonable prices. Once I got home I prepped a few veggie dishes - Prep Now, Save Time Later. I figure with the veggies ready I can just give them a quick zap for a snack or as a part of a meal. My cupboards are stocked with a plethora of spices and canned goods: Beans, broths, etc. I very seldom buy ANY packaged items.  With all my goodies I plan to try out a few new recipes and reacquaint myself with a few recipes I haven’t made in a while.

Fitness wise: My assistant coach who normally helps with my nutrition is going to also step in and start helping me with a exercise routine, which he promises will transform me. More details forthcoming once we figure out our master plan.

Did I mention the month of May is going to be magnificent?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hello May!

Super-excited. May is going to be a fantastic food and overall fitness month for me. I just came from several grocery stores and have stocked my cupboards and fridge with loads of good stuff, including Green lentils, Tofu, Arugula - just to name a few.  I have several new recipes I'm going to try. I think I'll post pics of all my creations this month. First up, I'm going to roast some veggies to have on hand for quick reheats. Eating healthy never tasted so good. More about my plan this month in tomorrow’s blog post. 

The Obesity Epidemic is REAL!

The evidence of an epidemic is everywhere.

· Two-thirds, more than 190 million Americans are
overweight or obese.

· Obesity-related diseases are a $147 billion dollar
medical burden every year.

· Childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years

Source: CBS News