Monday, April 30, 2012

Rare sighting

Saturday, I got dressed. Glimpsed in the mirror and actually liked what I saw. A rarity.

Excited. I called my daughter in my room for confirmation and she too agreed. I'm looking more toned and there's noticeably less back fat (with no girdle thingy even).

Somethin' about looking good that makes me feel good. I realize, I put a lot of emphasis on the way I look and perhaps I don't tout the health benefits as much as I should. Believe me, I am grateful that by changing my ways I have increased my odds of living better and longer, reduced the stress on my heart and knees. But coming from a place of morbid obesity and losing 170 odd pounds, it's hard to look in the mirror and still be confronted with fat. I mean, I lost the equivalent weight of an adult male. So to still look in the mirror and be fat... I know, I know. I shouldn't, but I do. Anyway, I'm not even going there right now.

Rather, I'm celebrating. Celebrating health, fitness. Celebrating my hard work and dedication. Celebrating my success. For once, I looked in the mirror and didn't mind so much the way I looked.

There was a rare sighting this weekend. I'm working, however, on changing that to a common day occurrence.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Healthy and sick

I pride myself on working out, eating whole fresh foods, and resting -- the key ingredients to health.

Such as life, there are periods were my habits are better, more consistent than others. The last few weeks, I found myself really dialed in on all areas. I was feeling really good everything was going swell.  Working out hard with my new training team, Northwest Personal Training, really mindful of my food choices, and proper rest every night. I even made sure to take a day off from exercising mid-week. Being extra-cautious not to burn myself out.

I was on a roll. The blog's readership hit 25,000, working on a real huge project, cookbook signing at Clark College, and coordinating the FRESH viewing at the library.

Then out of nowhere...Bitten by the flu bug. Bitten hard by the flu bug. It's been awful. Not only the physical discomforts: Body aches, chills, coughing, fever, and loss of appetite. There's something about being sick that makes me feel so vulnerable. So weak.

I've been sidelined for the past two weeks. No interest in blogging, food, or much of anything.  I'm slowly regaining my strength and my smile is back too. Being sick has surely made me appreciate my good health all the more. Even the healthiest people get sick sometimes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Like The Incas

Most of us eat several times a day. Any slight sensation of hunger and we feed it. It’s even recommended to eat six smaller meals a day to keep our metabolism revved up.

Here in America, the land of the plentiful –- we have an abundance of food.  And a number of places to get the food: stores, restaurants, gardens, and farms. The latter, unfortunately, are the least likely places most of us get our food. Our connection to our food is severely limited. Our knowledge of our food, not much better.

When I think about all the food choices I have I feel pretty spoiled. I mean, I get to eat whenever I want and almost effortlessly. My biggest challenge usually is what am I going to eat? The choices almost make it more difficult. Sure, I have to go to the store, select, buy, and prepare the food. But, really that’s pretty easy.

I think back to the Incas. They were some pretty sophisticated thinking people, especially when it came to agriculture. They developed hand made tools to cultivate the land. They worked in systematic groups to plough the fields. They were very in tune with nature and crop seasons. Since they were so close to their food they planned their meals according to what was available at the time. They weren’t guaranteed maize or quinoa year round. It wasn’t every day they successfully hunted a Llama.
They worked hard for their food. They understood how valuable, precious food was to their survival. They didn’t take food for granted. They appreciated their food. They even chanted and sang while working for their food. Food was at the heart of everything they were.

We are a culture obsessed with food, but we don’t honor food the way the Incas honored food. Am I suggesting we return to the ways of the Incas? Well, yes and no. I’m suggesting at the very least we start honoring nature, the animals, and respect the seasons.  And, perhaps we could stop complaining about a simple trip to the grocery store where we get to chose from all sorts of goods. Never mind they aren’t in season. Perhaps we could take some time and cook food from scratch at home, and enjoy a sit down meal together every now and again.

It’s a far fetched notion to return to the ways of the Incas, but at the very least let’s be more mindful and conscious of our food, and food choices.  At the very, very least remember it hasn’t always been this easy.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Fresh and far away

We are so far removed from our food and its sources. A lot of our food, so-called food is made from a slew of hard to pronounce ingredients, in far away factories, packaged, and then shipped to the grocery store.

Animals no longer graze their natural habitat. Instead, they are confined and slaughtered in giant factories, known as feedlots. It’s very rare to have seen or known the animal that we prepare and eat. Most of us would prefer not to see Emily the cow get electrocuted and then have her throat slit. We cringe at the thought. We don’t even want to be bothered with the skin or bones anymore. Hence, skinless, boneless chicken breast. Think about it…If you had to hunt, kill, and clean the animal…How much meat would you eat?

Fruits and vegetables are grown in massive fields and sprayed with gross amounts of pesticides. We’ve never touched the soil, or pulled up the roots. Some of our fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles before they make it to the grocery store. That’s how we can enjoy strawberries in the dead of the winter. Such an oddity, we all know strawberries are the taste of summer. Or do we?

We are so very disconnected from our food. As we evolve, we try to do things more efficiently, but along the way we’ve created quite a mess with our industrialized food system. It’s all convenient. It’s all nicely packaged. It’s all wrong.

I’m just one gal on a mission to create a healthier lifestyle for myself.  Along the way, I’ve done a lot of reading, viewing of films, and realize that a healthy lifestyle begins with the food that I eat. I want to share what I learned with others. I hope I don’t come off as a pretentious, know-it-all. I'm not. I really just want to help you make better informed decisions.

On Saturday, April 21 from 1-4 p.m at the Cascade Park Community Library there’ll be a showing of FRESH The Movie. The film explores the current food industry and honors the farmers, thinkers, and business people who are revolutionizing fresh food in America. 

I hope you’ll be able to join us. There’ll be a panel to lead a discussion and answer questions after the film. And, I’ll prepare healthy snacks for everyone to enjoy. Free. Open to the community.

To get your palette's whet this week, the blog posts, are dedicated to fresh, whole food. I may even provide a recipe or two.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Top 5

By day's end the blog will reach 25,000 vistors. Unbelieveable. Surreal.

Thank you for reading, for entertaining my crazy, and helping me battle obesity the only way I know how: Preparing and eating fresh whole food, exercise, and blogging. I have some super-cool giveaways that I'm making especially for YOU to commemorate this special milestone. More about that next week. For now, let's recap my top 5 favorite (it was hard to chose) blog posts (not in order). Click the link to re-read. Enjoy!

  1. Nothing owns me
  2. Glow
  3. The Underdog
  4. No Limits
  5. I shop at Neiman Marcus 
If you're so inclined...Share with me your fave. I'd love to hear from you.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Walking proud and often

As a morbidly obese woman weighing in at a whooping 388 pounds. The normal everyday things were more like an obstacle course. I could barely walk. Forget about walking and talking at the same time. I avoided walking with folks because I couldn't bear the embarrassment of gasping for air the entire time. My lungs, heart, and limbs just couldn't take it. That's really a sad shame. 

Gone are those days. I park far away, take the stairs, and even take walks for leisure. Walking does the body and mind good. It's a very low impact, inexpensive form of exercise. Even when I just park and walk a couple of downtown blocks it clears my mind. Something about the fresh air and the movement just perks me up.

The other day, even though my body was pretty banged up from boot camp I decided to take a walk outside. I started off sluggish, but once I got going I started feeling much better. More energized. For those who don't exercise I know it doesn't make sense or seem likely. But, endorphines are powerful and so is fresh air.

We often take things like walking a couple of blocks for granted. But, we shouldn't. There are plenty of folks for many different reasons who can't walk. Although it may seem just like a simple every day function -- please don't take it for granted. Exercise your body and mind whenever you get the opportunity. Take the stairs, every time. Park further away because you can.  A power walk with intervals to get your heart pumping, or a leisurely stroll to clear your head.

I walk proud. I walk often. And, I NEVER take one single step for granted.

***Remember: I recently rehabbed a fractured tibia (still kind of rehabbing) so another reason I don't take a single step for granted. Lace up your tennis shoes today!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It doesn't

When it comes to working out some days certainly are easier than others. I’ve been working out now on a regularly basis for a couple of years. I think, I’m relatively fit and can hold my own in most workouts.

The other day, I was in cycling class, riding. It was a hard ride – one of those days where it took everything I had to propel my legs around. But, once I’m seated, I ride for the entire class – no matter. Finally, I was at the point of exhaustion. Pure frustration. Labored breathing, sweating, butt throbbing – I screamed out, “When does this get easier?” In a very matter of fact tone, everyone including, Ted the trainer shouted back, “It doesn’t.”

Huh? What? It’s going to be like this always? Forever? Talking about taking the wind out of my sail. For so long, my goal has been to become fit for many reasons. In particular, I thought that once I was fit the workouts would become easier. So that’s why the response of everyone in class “It doesn’t” really rocked my conscious.

I’m a huge professional tennis fan. Serena Williams is my girl. Finesse, grit, and a wicked serve. It dawned on me, as great of a player as she is, as fit as she is. She still becomes fatigued. She still has hard days. I’ve watched her play some incredible matches. I’ve seen the physical, mental strength it took for her to compete. Some days she leaves the court in victory. Other days her victory was simply fighting through it. Okay, sure my workouts are not on this level, but it’s the same principal, the same fortitude.

Here’s what I've concluded: It’s not so much that we feel good while we’re doing it. It’s that we feel good because we do it. So we keep doing it. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month…It doesn’t get any easier. It just becomes more a part of our lives.
We know what’s at stake if we don’t do it. So we keep doing it. On our own free will. On our own accord.

"It doesn't get easier. You get stronger."

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Squats. Lunges. Push-ups. Typical exercises found in most workout routines. We done plenty of them in yesterday's boot camp, but we also done a little something unexpected, something fun -- a game of tug-of-war. Whew!

When I saw Trevor grab that huge, thick rope my eyes lit up. I haven't played tug-of-war since I was a kid. We anxiously formed two teams, grabbed our spots in line, and started digging in. Tugging back and forth. Tug. Tug. Tug.  My heart was beating fast. It felt like it was going to pop out of my chest. But, I was having too much fun to care I just keep digging.

I never realized I was so competitive. I really started getting into it.  Round two I was first in line. Digging hard. We tugged and tugged. A few times the other team started pulling away from us. I was screaming "PULL." We pulled ourselves to victory that round.

Afterwards we were breathing hard, smiling, and laughing. Feeling like kids again. It's nice to do something different like a game of tug-of-war to break up the typical workout routine. Thanks, Trevor for the unexpected, fun challenge.

I'm really digging my new training studio Northwest Personal Training. It's kinda cool and different.  Wanna join in on the fun and get fit? Email me: for your complimentary pass.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confident Chick

The fat girl has to try harder. So I did. I was funny, charming, and exuded confidence – nothing more than false bravado. I was always dressed to the nines and dolled up. I managed to hide my insecurities very well under my stylish clothes and make-up. Not even my family or closest friends could see through me.

Being the fat girl meant having fewer options in the guy department. So when a fella paid me any attention I made a big deal out of it. As a fat, insecure girl any compliment from a guy was a sure sign that he was interested in me. Despite how I dressed and kept myself up. I didn’t think much of myself. I was very insecure and I longed for a man to validate me. There were some exceptions, but mostly any joker who pursued me, could. I basically let the guy chose me.

Fast forward: This weekend I was at a gathering and a fella made his move on me. A little surprising because I was not dolled up and plainly dressed. Maybe it was my smile and quick wit that got his attention. Anyhow, over the course of several hours I learned a few surface things about him.  He seemed like a nice enough fella, but when he asked for my number I gave it to him with reluctance. I gave it to him only because I didn’t want to be rude. But, from our brief encounter I knew good and well we had nothing in common and I was not interested.

The fat, insecure girl would have gladly given him her number. No matter if we didn’t have much in common. I would have made myself interested. Sadly, I longed for male attention -- someone to make me feel pretty. I wasted a lot of time, and hung around some serious losers seeking validation.

It’s been a long time coming, but I now realize validation comes from within. My self-transformation and weight loss journey is not about what I’ve lost, but more about what I’ve gained. I’ve gained self-confidence and I understand my worth. I don’t fall over any and every guy who tries to pursue me. I’m the confident chick who shops strictly at Neiman-Marcus.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Believing in self

When I have the pleasure of delivering a speech. I explore five themes: Hard work, making adjustments, staying the course, believing in self, and never giving up. These very themes I use daily to combat obesity. This is an excerpt from my first motivational speech I delivered this summer:

I stay the course because I believe in myself. Henry Ford said: "Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right."

Sure, along the way there has been self-doubt. Losing 170 lbs. is hard work. In fact, it is the hardest thing I’ve EVER done.

But, I’m worth the fight. All the bumps in the road are just that bumps. What I’m learning as I grow as a person is that it doesn’t matter what others believe about me. What matters is that I believe in myself. At the end of the day there’s only me.

I have always been a fan of the underdog. The one who the odds are stacked up against. The one that society is betting against. Many of our American sports heroes are underdogs: Rocky, Cinderella Man, and Rudy to name a few. There’s something about the quiet, enduring spirit of the underdog that I admire and can relate to.
As a product of childhood obesity, the odds are stacked up against me. Statistics are not in my favor. Most overweight children grow up to be overweight adults. In my case, that is mostly true, as I have been carrying the weight around for 39 years. But, I have a burning desire to beat the statistics. I am going to turn childhood obesity statistics upside down. 

Every time I walk into the gym I realize I am not the favorite and that I am not slated to win. By golly, I have the spirit of the underdog, even with the odds stacked up against me, I believe in myself. I believe I can win.

Folks, I’m proof, YOU can do anything YOU set your mind to.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Slow lane

Aren’t you tired of hearing about this? I know I am. Huu…Try living it.  It’s like, hurry up and lose the weight already, fatso. So we can move on. You’ve been saying farewell for quite sometime now. Be gone already. Oh shoot, if only it was that easy. Laughing.

Some days I feel like a broken record. Some days I don’t know what to blog about because I feel like I just keep talking about the same thing over and over. I’m a pretty crafty writer (I think) who just so happens to have a journalism degree so I know all about the spin. But, I’m all spun out.

The accounts of my workouts, culinary creations, food choices, breakthroughs, feelings of inadequacy, and fat back are never ending. That’s right, it’s never ending. This is a long, egregious road. This is a tough battle with a very stubborn opponent. Some days, I get sick and tired of it. Oh, how I wish I could speed this up and cross the finish line. I wish there was a magic pill. Maybe there is and I just didn’t get the memo.

You all know by now. I poke fun of myself. Calling myself, fatso is my way of making light of this all. I chose to put myself out here -- in a very open way. I’ve never told you this, but having you follow me is also the very reason I put so much pressure on myself to cross the finish line. I feel like at some point you will grow inpatient with me. Become bored with me. But, I never told you it would be easy, happen quickly, or be exciting. Folks, this blog is my real account of what it takes to single-handedly battle obesity and create a healthy lifestyle for myself.

I write to you from the heart. I strive to be a positive role model, a real example. I’m not farmed away at a camp being fed by personal chefs and worked out by a team of trainers. I don’t eat from a menu of low-calorie sub sandwiches. I don’t eat from packages and follow diet plans that exclude fruit. I don't place drops under my tongue. Perhaps if I tried one of these methods I’d be at the finish line already. Instead, I am right here, in the thick of life -- full of trials, triumphs and twists battling obesity, and creating a healthy life for myself. A life that includes: Exercise, eating fresh whole food, and blogging in the slow lane.

I’ll keep writing, if you keep reading. Deal?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Like That

It's such a simple theory. We often overlook it. Ignore it. Sometimes the simple things are the hardest to grasp. But, this theory is tried and true. Burn more calories than you take in and you will lose weight. Ain't that somethin'?

With the help of my new training team, Northwest Personal Training I burned plenty of calories last week, woo! I understood, my work was not over when I left the studio so I was conscious of my food choices. Alright, I was downright vigilant. Proud to say, as a result, I lost five pounds. Yup, just like that. Five pounds. The simple, tried and true theory does work. No complicated formulas. Just blood pumping, sweaty, exercise and take in less calories by eating wholesome fresh food.

Wait a minute. This simple theory could work if you even eat junk food. Right? Yes, It can.  But, if you're looking to improve your overall quality of health while losing weight than it's probably best to take in less calories by eating wholesome fresh food. On the simplest level: Eat less, move more. Just like that.

No Gimmicks. No Frills. No Magic Pills.

I'm looking forward to my second week with my new training team. Week two goals:  Gain more strength, build endurance, and duh -- to shed more pounds and inches.

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