Sunday, August 30, 2009

Great Pics

I've been meaning to post these pictures for some time. I am currently taking a break from my frantic studying for my PMP exam which is in just 2 days.

A few weekends ago we went to a wedding of a dear friend. It was a beautiful day and my lovely neice took some fantabulous pictures of the family. She is a budding photographer. I think you will agree that for a 13 year old - she has quite the future ahead of her in photography.

This is us hanging before - waiting for the nuptuals to start.

My beautiful chitlins.

Me and my man.

The clan.

I love this pic.

All dramatic!

Me in my pretty new dress - a strapless!

I love this pic, too!

This was on the property where the wedding was - it was beautiful.


And this was just us being silly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

America's Fat Hatred

There is a new article in Newsweek this week called "America's Fat Hatred". I found it very interesting and if you get the chance to read it - please do. In particular it addresses America's prejudice against fat people - it digs into the question "Why do American's hate fat people so much?" Here is an excerpt from the article:

Fatness has always been seen as a slight on the American character. Ours is a
nation that values hard work and discipline, and it's hard for us to accept that
weight could be not just a struggle of will, even when the bulk of the
research—and often our own personal experience—shows that the factors leading to
weight gain are much more than just simple gluttony. "There's this general
perception that weight can be controlled if you have enough willpower, that it's
just about calories in and calories out," says Dr. Glen Gaesser, professor of
exercise and wellness at Arizona State University and author of BigFat Lies: The
Truth About Your Weight and Your Health, and that perception leads the nonfat to
believe that the overweight are not just unhealthy, but weak and lazy. Even
though research suggests that there is a genetic propensity for obesity, and
even though some obese people are technically healthier than their skinnier
counterparts, the perception remains "[that] it's a failure to control
ourselves. It violates everything we have learned about self control from a very
young age," says Gaesser.

In a country that still prides itself on its Puritanical ideals, the fat self
is the "bad self," the epitome of greed, gluttony, and sloth. "There's a
widespread belief that fat is controllable," says Linda Bacon, author of Health
at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. "So then it's unlike a
disability where you can have compassion; now you can blame the individual and
attribute all kinds of mean qualities to them. Then consider the thinner people
that are always watching what they eat carefully—fat people are symbols of what
they can become if they weren't so virtuous."

But considering that the U.S. has already become a size XL nation—66 percent
of adults over 20 are considered overweight or obese, according to the Centers
for Disease Control—why does the stigma, and the anger, remain?

Call it a case of self-loathing. "A lot of people struggle themselves with
their weight, and the same people that tend to get very angry at themselves for
not being able to manage their weight are more likely to be biased against the
obese," says Marlene Schwartz, director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and
Obesity at Yale University. "I think that some of this is that anger is
confusion between the anger that we have at ourselves and projecting that out
onto other people." Her research indicates that younger women, who are under the
most pressure to be thin and who are also the most likely to be self-critical,
are the most likely to feel negatively toward fat people. .

As many women's magazines' cover lines note, losing the last five pounds can
be a challenge. So why don't we have more compassion for people struggling to
lose the first 50, 60, or 100? Some of it has to do with the psychological
phenomenon known as the fundamental attribution error, a basic belief that
whatever problems befall us personally are the result of difficult
circumstances, while the same problems in other people are the result of their
bad choices. Miss a goal at work? It's because the vendor was unreliable, and
because your manager isn't giving you enough support, and because the power
outage last week cut into premium sales time. That jerk next to you? He blew his
quota because he's a bad planner, and because he spent too much time taking
personal calls.

The same can be true of weight: "From working with so many people struggling
with their weight, I've seen it many times," says Andrew Geier, a postdoctoral
fellow in the psychology department at Yale University. "They believe they're
overweight due to a myriad of circumstances: as soon as my son goes to college,
I'll have time to cook healthier meals; when my husband's shifts change at work,
I can get to the gym sooner.…" But other people? They're overweight because they
don't have the discipline to do the hard work and take off the weight, and that
lack of discipline is an affront to our own hard work. (Never mind that weight
loss is incredibly difficult to attain: Geier notes that even the most rigorous
behavioral programs result in at most about a 12.5 percent decrease in weight,
which would take a 350-pound man to a slimmer, but not svelte, 306 pounds).

These words called out to me big time. Being overweight has always been a stigma about self control. I have had people say these exact words to me - and it led to the feelings that I have abotu myself that to this day - 100 pounds lighter - I still struggle to overcome. So does the fact that I have now lost 100 pounds mean I found my self control? Hardly! I don't believe it was a matter of self control or will power. I can do hard things - I believe that about myself - but essentially - I don't believe I can do them of my own will power. It is Christ who works within me and through me to accomplish His great works. And it sure wasn't my own self control and will power that made me lose this weight. Let's not be fooled people - I had major surgery to re-route my insides to FORCE me to loose this weight. That is the realization I came to - I needed a major intervention in my life to change A LOT of things about myself - not just my self control around eating. This journey has been about FAR MORE than just calories in and calories out for me. I have had to confront a lot about who I am and what I do and how I react to things. That is NOT FUN!

I had developed many coping mechanisms for my life that had to do with food. If I felt stressed - I ate. If I wanted to reward myself - I ate. If I was upset - I ate. If I was happy - I ate. If I just didn't want to feel what I was feeling anymore - I made it go away by eating. And if you wanted to get in my face about what I was eating or how much - oh just you wait - you ain't seen nothing yet - I would just do it more to prove I could. I did it out in the open - I did it in private when no one was looking.

I've been on the receiving end of hurtful comments about my size. From subtle comments like "You have such a pretty face", or "We only have booth's left and you probably don't want to squeeze into one of those - why don't you wait for a table to open up", to the not so subtle from family members about "How could you let yourself go like that?" I've even been laughed at - to my face - in public - about how fat I was. The whole sticks and stones thing? Crap, I tell you. Pure crap. It hurts and it hurts for a long time.

I have made the excuses about why I couldn't exercise - why I couldn't loose weight. Not all of them were invalid either. From my PCOS, to the various surgeries I had, to my "genes", to my hectic schedule with 3 small children, to my hectic schedule at work, to having all the other responsibilities that life throws my way - be just that - in the way.

And I have swung to the opposite end of the spectrum - feeling like I had found the promised land! I have found the answer my obese peeps! You can loose weight too! I found myself wanting to run up to anyone I saw who I thought could benefit from the surgery and shake them going "Wake up! You can do it! If I can do it - you can do it! Follow me! I know the way!" I didn't feel an anger, but I identify strongly with what was said in the article about how people who struggle with their own weight are more likely to be mad at others about their weight. I went through a stage where I did feel judgemental of others and it bothered me because I have been on the other side of that coin.

All that is to say that I know that it takes time to confront your own demons. You have to be in a place where you can be prepared - mentally, emotionally, physically, to do the battle that needs to be done to win this war. I am no where near winning this war. I am still in the midst of the battle to be sure. It is still a constant struggle for me. I am far enough out from surgery that I can eat more normally than I could right after surgery - and it is now where the rubber meets the road - this is where I have to be sure to make the right decisions. I have to be sure to use this "window of opportunity" that surgery has given me to make the hard changes for my life. I don't get it right every time - the surgery is the tool that helps me make the right decisions right now.

But let's get back to the point of the Newsweek article. What do you think? Do you have a prejudice against fat people? Do you think that you have problems with other people's issues because you struggle with that issue yourself? Such as impatience, laziness, self control, foul language, etc... Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

100 Pounds Down!

I finally hit the monumentous goal of losing 100 pounds! I belong to the century club! It's just a little surreal to me.

I was saving a pair of pants that I was barely squeezing into before surgery so that I could see the difference. I was waiting until this very milestone to see what they would look like.

I can fit into one leg of these pants! How crazy is that?

You've heard it here people - I am never going back.

Going Crazy

I am almost done with my Boot Camp class for the PMP Exam Prep. I have one more day of class left. Last week I went ahead and scheduled the exam for Friday, September 4. I thought that was pretty aggressive - only leaving me 2 weekends to really study. Well, today I got a bug in my bonnet and I moved the exam UP to next Tuesday - September 1. I figured after this weekend I really didn't need anymore time - no need to wait all week to take the test - just get it done and be done with it! I am so tired of this and want to be done with all the stress surrounding this exam.

Well, while I was rescheduling I noticed that there is an opening on Saturday. Now I am wondering if I shouldn't just take Thursday and Friday off from work - study study study study and take the exam on Saturday. I so seriously want to be done with this thing.

What do you think?

Monday, August 24, 2009

1st grade chairs

On Monday mornings I go into my daughters' classroom and count the lunch money. When my son was in first grade 3 years ago I did this as well. The only chairs in the 1st grade room are for 1st graders. The teacher is a little stick of a thing and apparently doesn't need a regular chair. When my son was in first grade - I would stand by a cabinet and count the money. I always felt like I would either fall on my ass getting into the chair, or have my ass hanging off the chair, or if I managed to get in the chair without falling I would have to worry about it collapsing beneath me. Today I went in and I sat in the little 1st grade chair and I fit! I didn't fall - I sat in it without any fat ass hanging off the side. I even crossed my legs underneath the little 1st grade table! I love the unexpected WOW moments in life!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Another thing that I have heard a bit of lately is "You are such an inspiration!" Again - the compliments sometimes make me uncomfortable and I am working at taking them more graciously and in stride. So I got to thinking about that word - INSPIRE. This is what the dictionary says it means?

  1. to affect, guide, or arounse by divine influence
  2. to fill with enlivening or exalting emotion
  3. to stimulate to action; motivate
  4. to draw forth; elicit or arouse
  5. To be the cause or source of; bring about
  6. To breathe life into
  7. to stimulate energies, ideals, or reverence

And so in thinking about this word and about all that has happened in my life this past year - I started thinking about those who inspire me. I found this quote below and it summed up a lot of my thoughts perfectly:

There are so many people in my life who inspire me. It feels great to be told that you are an inspiration - so I wanted to spread the love. Here is a list of people who inspire me!

  • Daren - you have had an exceptionally rough year and you continually show me your committment to me and to your family by doing whatever needs to be done - even if it is hard or painful. You have gone above and beyond.
  • My parents - collectively and individually. They have truly taught me by example that I can do hard things.
  • My kids - their amazement and wonder at the world around them allows me to see things through the eyes of a child - all new and sparkly. :)
  • My sister - again with I can do hard things - seems to be a theme in our family. :)
  • Shari - you have been through a lot on this WLS journey - you are a wealth of wisdom and information. You pass it on like no one else can.
  • Nikki M. - for teaching me to rock what I got and love my body - extra skin and all - after all - it's the only one I got!
  • Pam T. - working your way up to a 10 mile race! Your blog and seasoned advice are always timely and accurate.
  • Krystal - yes, you are a GREAT mom!
  • April - you can make anything fun!
  • Rachel - for doin' it "the hard way" - pushing through and keeping the end in sight.
  • Jen M. - for cheering me on in my running - pushing me to further distances - encouraging me up those hills!
  • Rebecca - following your dream and going back to school - and for being my "walk the walk" friend.
  • Amy S. - your thoughtfulness and insightfulness are great!
  • Marsha - what would I do if I didn't have you for a neighbor?
  • Dani - your first race! Don't worry - those haters don't read my blog. :)
  • Becky - you are a good friend who sticks closer than a "sister" - even during the hard times.
  • Liz - I love your "homesteading"
  • Linda H. - you are so good at what you do
  • Aunt Maggie and Audrey - taking the road less traveled - but if you can do it - I can do it!

  • Tonya N. - your passion for a cause that is not only so important but near and dear to your heart is totally inspiring.
  • Amy J. - you just totally make me laugh with your stories about your dog!
  • Dana S. - going back to school and becoming a lawyer - you rock!
  • Tracy E. - IRON GIRL!
  • Kelsey - leaving yourself open to God's plan for your life.
  • Aunt Stacy - showing me that living with a difficult man can be done. :)
  • Debbie H. - going back to school while working full time.
  • Marcy - living a life of service in a foreign country.
  • Kellie F. - being so great at what you do and your love for the kids in your class.
  • Terry and Gynell - being right where God has called you.
  • Laura E. - pursuing your dream and going back to school.
  • Leah G. - you inspire me with your blog - not to mention your friendship. :)
  • RickPete - your introspection into the changes happening in your life are thoughtful and provoking.

So thank you to all who inspire me in so many different ways. You have all stimulated me to action in ways I couldn't even imagine. Thank you for allowing me to bask in the glow of your inspiration. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

How cool is this?

There is a website that I frequent quite often and that I have had a link to on my site for quite some time. If you go down this blog, on the right hand side you will see a small TV where you can watch the latest episode on the WLS (Weight Loss Surgery) Channel. It's got tons of great information, the latest news on the various surgeries, etc...

There is a segment in these episodes by Yvonne McCarthy (a well known advocate in the WLS environment) called WLS Journeys. She always likes to feature a website for people to check out and visit. In this week's episode - she is featuring mine!!!!!! How cool is that?

You can either watch the episode through the little TV lower on my page, or by following this link:

The segment is about half way through the episode!

Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exam Scheduled!

I have been in my PMP Exam Prep boot camp class this week. I have 3 classes this week and 2 classes next week. I feel like I have definitions and formulas coming out of my pores at this point. My instructor advised me to go ahead and schedule the exam - not to wait until I completed the class. So I just scheduled it. Now I'm really nervous. I scheduled it for Friday, September 4 at 8:00am. That is the day before the Labor Day Weekend. I'm hoping and praying that I won't have an absolutely miserable weekend - but that I will be able to celebrate all weekend. I am in major study mode right now with the class going on and I want to ride that wave as best as possible and not loose the valuable information in my brain. It's not too soon after the class, but not too late either. But man, am I nervous!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Unexpected WOW

I had a very odd thing happen to me last night. Out of the blue I had incredibly intense and awful chest pain. I could hardly breathe. It was very scary. I've had bad pain before for various reasons (ovarian cysts rupturing, gallbladder attacks, etc...) and have never been scared. Last night I was SCARED.

The pain went away eventually. I went to the doctor this morning and he ran a gaggle of tests. We don't believe it was my heart - thank goodness. Instead, he thinks it was an esophageal spasm. He said that they could be very painful and feel much like a heart attack.

But this is not the point of my post. A couple of things happened when I was at the doctors office that were WOW moments for me. Doctor's appointments in the past have always been very stressful for me for various reasons.

First was weighing myself. I so dread that - probably always will. It wasn't the weight I wanted to see - but the girl who weighed me was like "WOW! You've lost a lot of weight!" HEHEHEHE!

Then we move on to my blood pressure. My blood pressure used to be astronomically high - even on 3 different medications. So just the thought of having them check it usually sent my blood pressure even higher. Starting with having to take the regular cuff off and put on the "big girl" cuff so that it would fit around my arm. In fact, I was so used to having to do make that switch that I automatically just said "You're going to need the bigger cuff." She just laughed at me. "I don't think so darlin'." And she didn't! And my blood pressure was 118/75! WOO HOO!

After some more various tests and xrays I had to go have some blood drawn. I had just convinced myself that my veins were "deep". Yeah - right. So again, I told the phlebotomist "I have good thick veins, but they are deep and people usually have a tough time finding them." She said "I don't know what you're talking about - it's right here at the top." She didn't have to dig and dig to get the vein - it was right there! Easy-speezy lemon cheesey!

I wasn't expecting to find wow moments at the doctor's office after being so stressed out over the strange chest pain. The unexpected wow's are always the best! :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tracking For My Stall

I seem to have hit another stall. It's so frustrating. I ask myself a lot of questions during a stall to see where I can adjust and change. Is it possible I am doing anything myself that might be sabotaging my weight loss? Here are some of the questions that I ask myself:

  • Am I eating too much?
  • Am I eating too little?
  • Am I eating enough protein?
  • Am I eating too much carbs?
  • Am I exercising enough?
  • Am I exercising too much?
  • Am I getting in enough water?
  • Am I taking my vitamins and supplements regularly?

I have found that in order to accurately answer these questions I need to track what I'm eating and what I do for exercise. I use The Daily Plate by Livestrong. I think I have mentioned it on this blog before, but it is an invaluable tool for me. It is free and can be found at I highly recommend it - even if you aren't "dieting" - it is a really great way to get a good idea of exactly what your eating so that you can see where you may have deficiencies or areas to improve. If you enter your weight, age, etc..., it will calculate how many calories you should be striving for a day. Then you can enter the food that you are eating each day - available from a large database of a variety of foods. When you enter the foods it will show you calories, carbs, protein, fiber, cholesterol, sugars, etc... for that food and track your totals by day, week, and month. You can create dishes by combining various foods that you can recall by dish. You can track how much water you are drinking. You can also enter your exercise for the day and it will calculate how many calories you burned - giving you your net calories for the day. And you can run reports that will show you different trends in the information you are entering. It is a very powerful tool that can give you a lot of information fast.

So I am using The Daily Plate to track my food and exercise. I had gotten away from it since my vacation to Missouri earlier this summer. I am hoping that this will help me to see if there are any areas that I need to re-focus on as I try to break this stall.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Things I never thought would be an issue

I have had a few things happen a lot lately. And I am finding it a bit hard to get used to - I'm not even sure how to react.

  • Increasingly - people I haven't seen in a while don't recognize me.
  • I get a lot of people telling me they are proud of me or making remarks about how great I look and saying things like "aren't you proud of yourself?"

I just don't know how to respond to this. I'm glad you're proud of me. I do appreciate the compliments - I really do - I just don't know how to respond to them. I am embarassed that I got to such a point that I had to make such drastic changes that people don't recognize me. I am mortified that I got to a point that people are proud of me for making changes in my life that I should have made long ago. Am I proud of myself? Yeah - I guess so. Moreso - I'm just mad at myself for living my life for so many years as fat as I was - missing out on so much that life has to offer - not being the best mom I could for my kids - not being the best wife to my husband - and just not enjoying myself or my life the way I should have. I mean - what kind of temple was I? Was I really worshiping the way I could have? Was I witnessing the way I could have? I know it wasn't a waste by any means, but ... ugh!

So if you are one of those people that has made these comments to me and you've been a little put off or confused by my reaction - I apologize. I'm still getting used to this body and I just don't know how to handle those comments. They stir up so many conflicting responses inside me. I do appreciate those of you who have honestly tried to encourage me in this journey (and you know who you are). I know that I need to be gracious and I'm sorry that I am not quite there yet.

I Can Do Hard Things

Disclaimer: The original thought for this post came from a wonderfully brave and incredibly successful poster on the OH board, Shari. So if you're reading this Shari - you rock and are such an inspiration to me.

I have spent a lot of time thinking lately about life after WLS. The last 7 months have been an incredible journey! I am so close to getting to the "century" mark of losing 100 pounds that I can taste it! I swear - when my body gets close to a big milestone like this - it comes to a screaching halt - like it's not quite sure we can do this. To be honest - it has been an awful long time since my body was in this territory to begin with. I just don't think it quite believes we're here. So I have stalled out about 2 pounds from the mark. I'm trying my best to just be patient and ride it out. I'm getting to the point where I can eat more normally. I am keeping more food down and therefore need to work harder at making those good food choices. And so this is where the rubber meets the road I guess. I am coming to terms with the changes that having this surgery has made to my life. Changes like getting my protein in first when I eat, taking my vitamins, how much I can eat, dealing with my emotions instead of eating them away. These are not easy changes to make by any means, but I am realizing I can do hard things. I didn't think I could - but I can. Here is a quote from Shari that has been worded perfectly:

Here it is: YOU CAN do hard things.

I know, you're saying, "What's your point?"

Sometimes, when faced with a challenge-- especially if you're a recovering
addict as so many of us are, when you approach something difficult, your inner
voice says, "Holy crap-- I can't DO that"...and you do an about-face-- you
reach for the drug (or Ring Ding) of choice. To feel uncomfortable..and not to
comfort yourself, is a hard thing --but you can do hard things.

When it's late and you're tired, and you know you are supposed to walk, you
said you would, and it's looking like it might rain-- it's hard as hell to lace
those sneakers up and get out there---but you can do hard things.

Protein shakes can taste yucky. It's hard to remember all those calcium
supplements. It's hard to get 64 oz of water in. It's hard to plan meals, buy
expensive and healthy choices, stay out of the cake in the lounge at work--but
you can do hard things.

You don't have to self-medicate. You don't have to eat those chips. You
don't have to duck and avoid every unpleasant, difficult challenge in your path.
Sometimes, the best bet is to admit their existance..."Yes, hard things, I see
you trying to get in my way, but you know what? I CAN DO HARD THINGS!"

Sometimes this means having to survive a host of feelings you never felt
before because you never let yourself feel them before-- stress, confusion,
anger, rage. You can't numb them out or sand off their edges-- you have to stand
right in your space and let them have a go at you-- and grit your teeth, and say
to yourself, "Go ahead, get in my way. I'll get through this. I can do hard

And you will find that you will survive them. And as you survive them,
you will face new ones, standing a little taller, because in time you will
eventually understand and rely on the fact that you can do hard things.

And eventually the "pass me some Ben and Jerry's--my boss is a jackass" response
gives way to something new-- something that sounds more like this:

"Go ahead, Boss, bring it on. I'll have that on your desk by five."
"No thanks, Nancy, it's gorgeous but I really can't have an eclair
right now."
"I guess I could just park back there and walk."
"It's only 8 ounces and I don't have to love the stuff, I'll just drink it
"If I spend ten minutes planning now, I won't be faced with tough choices

Post RNY living is no joke. It's not easy. It's not fun. It's not all
"Whee, I'm a size 6!" There were days I *literally* cried because a kid at a
store could have a cookie and I couldn't. I felt sorry for myself and holed up
in my jammies, burning candles, and chatting here to avoid my fridge.

When I started, I could literally not walk further than my car, which
is about 100 feet from my door. I bargained with myself that getting down to
maybe 250 pounds would be JUST FINE, I didn't need more than that
because I though to ask more from myself was ridiculous, impossible-- who the
hell loses 220 pounds? That's not even humanly possible, seriously!And I found
out the answer to who does that : it's ME. *I* can lose 220 pounds-- I know
it because I *did* it .

I can manage my intake. I can get in my supplements. I can learn to accept
my new, imperfect body. And with planning and management, I can make a post op
life that still provides pleasure, joy and fulfillment.

I don't do those things because they are easy-- I do them because they're
hard, but I *can*.

I can do hard things.

And so can you. And you will. So the next time it's all too much (and it is
for me too, although less often as I grow), look your RNY challenge--
whatever it is--- boldy in the face and say, "I can do this. I can do
hard things."

Then pull out all the stops and grab the brass ring-- it's there for the

And that is what I have learned on this journey. I can do hard things! Who knew? I can not eat that piece of cake! I can not eat those cookies! I can say no thank you! I can RUN! I can run 6 miles! I can live like this - my post-WLS life is OK. I can do this. It can be hard at times, but I can do it. I will do it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Application Approved

My PMP Application was approved! Yeah Me! Whew!

Now I have to take the Boot Camp which starts in 2 weeks to prepare for the exam. Then I will take a few weeks to study for the exam and then hopefully pass the exam! That's a lot! Maybe that is why I am feeling so anxious today.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Keep them coming

Keep those WOW Moments coming!

I had an event at church on Friday night for their new Women's Ministry. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go until the last minute, so I didn't RSVP. When I got there I went up to the registration table. The woman manning the table is my husband's old boss's wife. I know that is confusing. She probably hasn't seen me in a few months. So I explained to her that I didn't RSVP and asked if that would be a problem. She said "Oh, no - no problem - we just want to get some of your information. What's your name?" Um, it's Pam. She just stood there with her mouth wide open. She goes "Did you do something different with your hair?" HA! That is the question I get a lot these days. Yes, I did do something different with my hair. It used to be long and dark red, now it is short and blonde. But I guess losing almost 100 pounds doesn't hurt either. She said "Well, I was thinking you had lost a lot of weight and I didn't know how to ask you!" She apologized several times throughout the night.

I just can't believe I look THAT different. Do I just not see it?