Monday, March 22, 2010


One of the biggest obstacles that people face on this journey of weight loss is finding a support system. Sure, one could argue that food choices and healthy exercise are the big ones and I'm sure they are, but I firmly believe that without a good support system you won't get anywhere. It all ties together, you see.

For someone who is going it alone, not discussing their path with anyone, holding in all the feelings that come part and parcel with this adventure, it can be very difficult. When that person comes up against a difficult menu choice in a restaurant, how do they make the right choice without input (previous or at the moment) from other people. When the numbers on the scale plateau and they're confused as to why, how do they wrestle with those internal demons that sit in their overstuffed armchairs, eating chocolate and saying "See? It's not working. You might as well QUIT!" Or when, heaven forbid, the numbers on the scale go UP, how do they silence those same demons that are saying "Gawd, you can't do anything right. You're supposed to be losing weight, fatty. Just go cry into your pillow and eat a chocolate bar." There's no one around to offer encouragement or advice. There's no one to suggest that maybe taking their measurements would be a good step now because that gain might actually be muscle. It can be difficult for these people to travel the road in secret, knowing that it's all on them to succeed. I know, I've been there. And each and every time, I failed.

But! If you are one of the lucky people like me, who has finally seen the proverbial light, and you have a support system in place then you should consider yourself very blessed.

As I said, I've played this gig before. I've been there, done that, bought the freakin' T-Shirt. I did it alone. I didn't tell my friends what I was trying to do. I didn't tell my husband what weight I was or even where I was trying to get to. If someone offered me chocolate or chips it wasn't because they were trying to sabotage my journey, it was because they didn't know any better. When I accepted, it was because it would have been to embarrassing to admit what I was doing. Or so I thought.

So what do I think now?

I think I was stupid. And untrusting. And reckless.

I was stupid to think that I could do it on my own. I may be outspoken, but I am not very strong in this department. I NEED my support system.

I was untrusting because in the past when I'd discussed it with a "friend" I had said that I remembered the first times when my mother told me I was getting fat. My "friend" said "And just look at you now!" and dissolved into laughter. That hurt. And it prevented me from opening up about my problems with my weight to anyone else.

I was untrusting because I was having problems in my marriage, whether I wanted to admit it or not, and I was scared. I knew that my husband wasn't partial to twigs. I knew he preferred a girl with some meat on her. I knew he thought I was beautiful (even at 340 lbs!!). I was scared and untrusting because I thought that if I lost the weight that he wouldn't think I was beautiful anymore, that he wouldn't want me.

I was reckless. Horribly reckless. I have two small children who depend on having their mother around to love them, care for them, shape them into the people they will be as they grow. They needed me to be there for them on graduation and wedding days. They needed me to be able to just run in the park with them and play, instead of sitting on a bench watching them because running with them might make me collapse in a wheezing heap.

I was reckless because instead of remembering all that and doing something about my weight problem, I ignored it (and other health issues), and kept stuffing my face with crap. I didn't care that to carry on doing that might kill me and leave my children without a mother.

Reckless. Stupid. Untrusting.

Those are three words that are no longer part of my vocabulary. I can't afford for them to be. If I let them back into my life, they will kill me. If I let them have power over me, they will win and it will all be for naught.

But what has changed?

Well, my location did for a start. Our move to New Zealand was a catalyst for change in many many areas of my life. This country is healthier to begin with. Sports and healthy activities abound! Hiking, swimming, rugby, netball, cricket,'s all there to take part in and enjoy. Hard to when you're seriously overweight though.

My mind set changed. My husband and I had reached (and stayed at) a better place in our marriage, I realised I NEEDED to be here for my children, and I finally got the fact that the only person holding me back was me. We are our own worst enemies.

So in November, I started going to Weight Watchers. Even if I had told no one else what I was doing, that was the beginning of a support system right there. The women at this meeting only see me once a week, but every week they ask how I'm doing and offer encouragement or advice as needed.

I put my trust in my spouse and told him what I needed from him, what I was hoping to acheive and how I was hoping to do it. I told my children how they could help. I told my mother and sister what I was doing. I opened up to people and allowed them to help in the ways that they could. My husband even knows how much I weighed when I started, the heaviest I've ever been, and all he did was hug me and tell me I could do it. That was a huge burden off my shoulders.

As important as all that was, one of the biggest things for me was letting go of the shame and switching it for something else. I took my shame and buried it in a box. And then I held onto the pride. Pride that I am doing something for myself. Pride that I am getting healthier.

And then I opened myself up even further.

I came back here and started blogging very honestly about this journey. All of you who come here and read my ramblings support me. You push me on, you give me the courage to keep going every week. Every day. Every hour.

I talk about it on Facebook where everyone can see. People who are in my life now, people from my past. My first love, the "cool" kids from high school, my family and friends from over the years. Everyone has been very supportive and it keeps me pushing on.

Go back to the beginning and read that paragraph about the person who has talked about this with no one. Imagine how difficult that must be. Now think about someone in your life who may be on their own journey to health and think about ways you can support them. Most of us can't do this on our own and it's important to know that the people in our lives will be there without judgment.

I am thankful each and every day for the people in my life who are my support system. My life line.

Thank you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy dances might make you look funny, but they're still fun to do.

Last week's gain kind of threw me off. It was hard for me to stay on track in my head, but I did it. I swam every day except Sunday this week. 80 lengths a day. 2kms. Hard work but I'm LOVING it. I love getting in that pool and just swimming up and down, over and over again. I get in the water with the intention of working out, but it ends up being much more than that. I'm in my own head, thinking things over, tossing them about, making decisions. It's very therapeutic. And stress relieving.

If you had asked me back in November if there was an exercise I enjoyed, really and truly enjoyed, I would have said no. Sure, I didn't mind walking (as long as I had my iPod), but swimming is awesome.

The weightlessness of being in the water, the resistance of the water against the limbs, the way the water drowns out all the's awesome.

So I've been going every day. And I seem to have gained a reputation. I was at the pool today and a woman in the next lane looked at me and asked "Are you Canadian by any chance?". How she figured that out by standing and looking at a fat chick in a bathing suit and goggles is beyond me, but I answered "yes". She carried on... "And are you the one who has been swimming 80 lengths a day?". "Um. Yes?", I say. She says "Wow! Good for you! That's awesome." and then swims off.



I weighed in last night. I'm not sure why, but before I went I had this horrible feeling that I had put on weight. I guess last week's weigh in threw me more than I had realised in that respect.

But...success! I lost 1.4 kgs this week. That brings my total for 17 weeks to 17.8kgs (39.16 lbs).


Do you have a happy dance that you perform, whether people are watching or not, when you do something awesome? I do. It's not pretty, it's kind of funny looking actually, but it's fun.

I got to do my happy dance on Tuesday.

The town where I live is surrounded by beautiful hills. People walk and run these hills all the time. I, on the other hand, have stayed comfortably at the bottom and admired their beauty and scoffed at the insanity of the people who choose to use them for exercise. And then my friend Crumpet told me she was walking them. It was like a challenge had been thrown down. If she could do it, why couldn't I? Well the answer to that is that she's lighter and fitter than I am...but I wasn't going to let that stop me. I asked her to take me up the hill.

This hill is called the Gentle Annie. The path that goes up one side is a zig zag path (which apparently is why it's called Gentle Annie..something to do with a washing machine?) and gives the illusion of being easier to go up than the side that is just one long straight path. Gentle, my arse.

I thought for sure I would be super slow. I thought for sure that I would have to stop about 20 times to catch my breath.

I was wrong.

I made it up pretty quickly and only had to stop a few times to catch my breath and have a drink of water. And when I got to the lookout at the top? I did my happy dance. I wish I'd had a camera to take up with me. It was gorgeous up there, and not just because I made it up there without dying.

This was a huge achievement for me, and one I plan to repeat.


I am putting together a list of things I want to do at various points in this weightloss journey .... and for final rewards, I'll talk more about that later this week.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Looking for other things......

Over the last 16 weeks (wow...that's 4 months! I can't believe I've doing it for that long!), I have been told many, many times not to depend on the numbers the scales are showing me but to also keep track of my measurements. Each time someone has told me this, I've plastered the smile on my face and said "yes, I know. Thank you." and moved on, or if it was on Facebook I have plastered a :) in the comment box and said "Yup. I know. Cheers." and then logged off in frustration.

I get it. I know. Track my measurements. I've done this before.

I don't mean to sound like a totally ungrateful bitch for not accepting the advice or sounding bitter about it after the fact. And yet that's exactly what I do sound like. Right? Right. It's just that when you've already heard it from a gajillion people, that next one can be a bit grating on the nerves.

So why is this coming to the surface now? After 4 months of travelling this exceedingly long road?

Because I weighed in last night.

After a week of working my arse off at the pool, swimming more and more and more lengths every day, of sweating buckets and taking myself to the edge of exhaustion (ok not quite, but close), I managed to GAIN WEIGHT. When I saw the staff member write down my weight, I had an overwhelming urge to pick up the scale and shove it down her throat, all while I called her a lying bitch for fabricating such a horrible lie.

From that statement alone, you'd think that I gained upwards of 2 kgs or something wouldn't you?

I gained 200 grams. That's a whole 0.44 lbs for you metrically challenged folks out there.

200. GRAMS.

I can't decide if I'm pissed off because I gained or pissed off because if I was going to gain, there's a twisted part of me that thinks I should have done it with style and gained at least a kilo. It may very well be a combo of the two.

Of course, I talked about my gain on Facebook and with friends in real life and that's where my "remember to track your measurements" frustration came in. Don't get me wrong, I TOTALLY appreciate the support and the fact that people ARE reminding me of that. I think it bothered me that I hadn't thought to look at that myself. If you are one of the people who has said it to me, please don't hesitate to say it again.....I NEED the reminder, even if makes me bitchy.

So, having had about 20 people tell me that, I'll be taking my measurements tomorrow. It's been awhile. It'll be interesting to see what, if any, difference there is since the last time. I can already tell you one thing......

I went bra shopping today. This is a scary prospect for many women, but has been especially mortifying for me lately. My bras have been getting older, more full of holes (yes really. And no, it does NOT add to the sex appeal apparently), less supportive...and I've been just trudging along because the last time I went bra shopping I could not even fit the biggest size on the rack. I couldn't get it done up around my back (ok, I COULD..but not comfortably) and my bosoms were spilling out of the cups. HOT. Totally hot.

Today? I pulled the second biggest (!!) off the rack and tried it on. A 24E (46E). I just about died! Not only did it go on, but did so comfortably. And my friend's Bill & Ben (the friends to all men) fit nicely in the cups. I squealed. Out loud. For the entire store to hear. Then I pulled two more bras off the rack (they were on sale...$15 each!) and ran for the till. I had a huge smile on my face and the woman looked a bit tentative about serving me. I told her this was the highlight of my week and why. She chilled a bit. Phew!

DUDE! My boobs are up near my chin instead of doing the polka down near my waist. Sure, they'll still do their dash for cover in my armpits when I lay down, but short of wearing my bra to bed (nuh-uh), I'll just have to deal.


1) Ignore scale. Take measurements.

2) Squeeee with delight at small accomplishments like this.

3) Appreciate the support and don't bite the head off anyone who says to "ignore the scale, watch the inches".

Thank you ALL for the support you've given. I really DO appreciate it.

Now, back to the grind. More swimming tomorrow. Aiming for my 2kms again :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Success is sweet!

I'm back! Don't worry, I didn't fall off the weight loss wagon and get all embarrassed and think I couldn't come back. It's just that someone stole my blogging mojo. But I seem to have recovered and I'm here to tell you all how I've been doing.

So let's see.

Remember my last post where I said I'd had one of those "I don't give a crap" weeks and that I was going to get back on track ? Um. Yeah. I followed that week up with a week of "I really really don't care, you can't make me care and ain't nothing gonna change that". And you know what happened? I had my first gain in 12 weeks.

I gained 500g (1.1 lbs). I started off saying that is was ONLY a small gain. I'd ONLY gained that much and it wouldn't take much to get that much off because it was ONLY 500 g. Well, then it hit me...sure, it might be a relatively small amount, but isn't that what I've been telling myself all these years? "Oh. I gained 3 lbs this week. Oh well, it's ONLY 3lbs." And then 1 year later I've gained 100 lbs.

Needless to say, the next week I was back on track. For real.

Week 13 : - 1.8 kgs (3.96 lbs)
Week 14 : - 700 g (1.54 lbs)

That weigh in on Week 14 was the one that was meant to take me to my 10%. I was 100 g short. I cried. Right then and there in the Weight Watcher's meeting, I cried. Not big tears, but just gentle tears rolling down my cheeks. I did the hard crying when I got home. I'd been SO looking forward to that 10% and it broke my heart to be so close, but not close enough.

This past week? Week 15. I stepped onto those scales and all I could think was that if I didn't get my 10% this time, I was going to scream. Not to worry though. I lost 900 grams (1.98 lbs). That took me PAST my 10%. I jumped for joy. Literally.

My current total for weight lost in 15 weeks is (drum roll please!) 16.6 kgs (36.52 lbs) .... so happy! And for a reward I got this cool key ring...

It's a 10. See? It's very cool and it's on my key ring as a constant reminder of how far I've come.

So what have I been doing? Well other than tracking what I eat and drinking more water, I've been swimming. A LOT. I started off swimming 40 lengths (1 km) with fins. I'm now down to 30 lengths with fins, 15 without and 15 jogging in the water. I'm also still walking and occasionally going to the gym for weights.

For those of you out there who are on your own journey....all I can see is KEEP GOING. I'll be weighing in again tomorrow night, the end of Week 16. There is still a long long way to go, but I know I'll get there. Keep going.