December 31, 2020

My Top 20 of 2020

Yikes--as we all can probably agree, 2020 has not been the greatest year. It's been extremely new--dealing with a pandemic by lockdowns, wearing masks, virtual learning for schools, social distancing, having doctor's appointments via Zoom, missing out on holidays with the family, etc.

I write a list every year of my "Top XX" of whatever year it is. In this case, it's "20" for 2020. I almost considered not doing the list this year, because could I even think of 20 great things from the last 366 days?

Once I started going through photos on my computer, however, I found so many things that brought me some joy despite all the stuff happening around us. So yes, this post is worth something! 

My Top 20 of 2020 (in no particular order)...

1. I built a corner desk for Noah to his request--no drawers or shelves, just a modern-looking corner desk to fit in a particular corner of his bedroom. I was really excited to work on this! It looks very simple, but it did cause me some frustration when I cut the 45-degree angle on the desk top. All in all, though, I think it turned out great. And more importantly, so does Noah!

2. We adopted two black kittens (a long-haired and short-haired) from a local rescue. I was always against getting kittens because they are much easier to find homes for than adult cats. But my family wanted kittens so badly, and I compromised. They had to come from a rescue and they had to be black. The woman who runs the rescue said that black kittens are very hard to find homes for. 

We named them Chick and Duck (to stick with our Friends theme). They have provided us with hours of entertainment this year! They have the funnest personalities. I adore them!

3. My dad did one of the most random things ever, but it was so funny that it remained pretty memorable. He asked me one day if I had any yellow poster board or yellow paint. I told him no, I didn't. A couple of days later, I learned why he wanted them. There was no reason for him to do this--just having fun during the lockdown, I guess! Hahahaha.

4. We had an earthquake in August--which was crazy! It was very close to our house and the people around here all wondered what was happening. They thought that the nearby nuclear power plant had an explosion or something. I was at my brother's house at the time, probably 15 miles away, and it was felt even at his house. 

Jerry sent me a text while I was at Brian's (see below) and I thought it was hilarious. I had just finished remodeling our garage at the time! And the earthquake was kind of a joke around here, because it most definitely wasn't serious but it was kind of a big deal.

5. The night before Easter, my younger brother Nathan and his girlfriend decided to drive around and plant Easter eggs for the kids (mine and Brian's). In the morning, there were dozens of Easter eggs in the yard. I spotted a squirrel eating something odd and I had no idea what it was... until I looked closer and saw that he'd gotten into an Easter egg! He chewed through the plastic and was eating the chocolate inside. It was so funny!

6. Eli competed in his first Rubik's Cube tournament! We went to the University of Michigan and watched him compete in several different categories. I was crazy-impressed with all the kids there, and Eli did great! I was really proud of him for competing.

7. Eli caught a monster musky in the lake... from SHORE. That's ridiculously difficult to do. It was his dream fish and I was so thrilled for him. The local newspaper even wrote a whole story about it. You can read about it here

8. I've been DYING for a new front porch (i.e. stoop--we've just always called it a porch around where I live). Ours was 17 years old and in shambles, as you can see from the picture. I planned to do a concrete porch but we couldn't find anyone to come out and pour the concrete. So I decided to build one.

Unfortunately, the price of lumber shot up to three times what it was last year. Instead of building it as big as I would like, I just made one that we can use to get by until spring. In the spring, I'm going to extend it out much farther to the right so we can put a couple of chairs on there. We also tore out all of the landscaping and plan to start fresh in the spring.

9. The biggest project I've ever taken on... I insulated and drywalled our garage. ALL BY MYSELF. Every single screw was put in with my own hands (and a drill). When Jerry offered to help, I declined--I wanted this to be my own project. I spent four months working on it and I LOVE how it turned out! I build a wall of shelves, which you can see in the other pictures. Here is the post with the other photos.

10. We drove up north to my sister's cabin in the summer. It was just Jeanie, Shawn, and my family, which was perfect. I never get to spend time alone with them! On the way, we stopped in Mackinaw and I took Joey for a walk (as part of my 75 Hard program). We came upon this park with the perfect view of the Mackinac Bridge! (It connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan)

11. I got a new car! I can't say I was thrilled about doing this--I thought I would have my previous one for the next 10 years--but we had a mechanical problem that nobody could diagnose without having to take the whole thing apart, which would cost a fortune. So we just traded it in (they gave us a great trade-in offer). And I left the lot with the same model of car (a Jeep Renegade) only it was orange instead of yellow and four years newer.

12. We had a few Zoom game nights with our friends, which was super fun! We played Wits & Wagers, which worked out well as a game that you have to do from a distance.

13. Emily came over and we built a little free library. She's been wanting to build one but didn't know how, so I helped her. It wasn't done when she left--she wanted to paint it, so we didn't attach the plexiglass or the door yet. Emily got to try power tools for the first time, which was fun :)

14. Luke and Riley stayed the night and we had so much fun! The kids are at the PERFECT age. I can't get over how smart they are! And they're hilarious. Riley calls Luke "Lukester", haha. We made popcorn with the "special" popcorn maker (and I gave one to Luke for Christmas).

15. I made over 100 masks to give away to people who needed them. It wasn't nearly enough but I just couldn't think about making any more! They're very comfortable, though, so I made a few for myself and that's what I wear when I go out. Despite being tedious, I really enjoyed this project!

16. I finished up Nathan's bathroom. There wasn't a lot left to do to it (not pictured are the shelves that I built into this closet). He started working on it years ago and just didn't finish. I also removed his popcorn ceiling (you know how I feel about those). I still haven't been over there to sand and paint it! His girlfriend has been staying there and working from home during COVID, so I've been waiting until she goes back to work (the sander is loud and most definitely disturbing to someone trying to work).

17. Jerry and I got a new mattress. We'd had the same one since we got married! We were both getting aches and pains and not sleeping well, so we did a ton of research and we agreed on this one by Saatva. It's really comfy! 

18. Noah turned 16, got his driver's license, and bought his first car! I can't believe how fast he's growing. It's so odd that he doesn't have to rely on me to drive him places anymore. He's getting so independent!

19. While up north at my sister's cabin, Shawn (her husband) and I built shiplap in his pole barn. We both love woodworking. We got to use the planer that I'm dying to buy (it's in the top left corner of the pic). Seeing it in action made me really want to save up my allowance for it. Anyway, it really fun to spend the afternoon with him working on the boards for the shiplap.

20. Last but not least... I built a squirrel picnic table! After seeing a viral photo of one, I really wanted to make one, too. I put my own twist on it to make it look a little more authentic. And I'm shocked at how much traffic the post about how to build a squirrel picnic table gets. In the almost-10 years I've been writing on Runs for Cookies, it's one of the most viewed posts. Clearly, it's because I have the cutest squirrels ever ;)

See? I can definitely find lots of positives to come from this ridiculous year. I am hoping that things really turn around tomorrow!

Per tradition, I like to do the same "fun facts" every year on this post, so here goes:

I ran 28 miles this year, down from 182.6 miles last year. Yikes! I think it goes without saying that this is, by far, the fewest number of miles run in a year since I started running in 2010. However, I've logged a LOT of walking miles, so I'll focus on those. 

I walked 865.62 miles this year, with 846.65 of those miles being since July 20th when I started my 5+ miles per day walk streak.

The food I consumed the most of this year... this is a hard one! Usually this is an easy question for me, since I tend to go through cycles with food, eating the same thing for months and months at a time. I honestly couldn't say! I got really into Asian dishes and I made a lot of those. 

My most memorable meal was probably the Hello Fresh dinner my mom made for us. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but it's called Bibimbap. I've made it a couple of times since then, but mostly, I've used the ingredient combinations to make other dishes. This is when I finally understood the hype about sriracha.

My current favorite breakfast is... well, I don't eat breakfast anymore. Since I started intermittent fasting, I've been skipping breakfast. And I'm never even hungry for breakfast anymore.

My current favorite TV show is... well, these little facts just aren't very fun this year! Haha. I can't even think of my favorite TV show! Right now, I've been really into Grey's Anatomy because Jerry and I have been rewatching it. But it's definitely not my favorite show. I haven't started watching the new season of Shameless yet, but I'm sure that would be my favorite if I had!

My current favorite evening treat is potato chips or pretzels and hummus. Surprised? I have no idea why, but I just haven't been very into sweets this year. If I do want something sweet, it's usually a Milky Way.

What I am most looking forward to in 2021? Taking control of my health. I want to lose weight, sure, but I mostly want to feel in control again and to do what I can for my chronic pain as well as my mental health. I basically just want to focus on improving myself in all areas of my life. I've been writing a lot about it in my "Goal Crazy" journal/planner. (Amazon affiliate link) It took me a long time get it all set up (planning out my goals) but I'm ready for tomorrow :)

Happy New Year, Friends! I'll be toasting the new year in bed with a book and a cup of ice to chew. So fun! ;)

December 30, 2020

My Sister's 75 Hard Transformation

(If you're not familiar with 75 Hard, I would go back and read this post on my blog. I explained it all there.)

In August, when Jerry, the kids, and I went up north to my sister's cabin, it was shortly after I started doing 75 Hard. I stuck with my plan while I was there, even though it was--well--hard. I had to switch up my routine and going out for my second walk of the day every afternoon was tough (mentally). But I did it and I'm glad I was able to stick with it.

I told Jeanie about 75 Hard and she was interested in it but said the timing wasn't good for her right then. And in general, 75 Hard is not for everyone! It's a super tough plan for mental toughness. It's not a weight loss plan--the whole purpose is to become very self-disciplined--but people usually lose weight while following the "rules".

Jeanie ended up starting 75 Hard and she took it very seriously. She's an occupational therapist and she's been working very closely with COVID patients all year. Her job has been crazy-stressful but she still managed to go 75 full days while following all of the rules of 75 Hard right to the tee. I was amazed when I saw her Day 1 photo next to her Day 75 photo. She looks amazing! 

I asked her if I could share her pictures and for some details about what she did because I knew people would be just as awed as I was. So, here is what she had to say...

When I first listened to the podcast with Andy Frisella about 75 Hard and decided to do it, I picked out the Weight Watchers PointsPlus plan as my diet. That had worked well for me in the past and I found that I could access all of the PointsPlus information from a free app called iTrackBites. I think in the app it’s called the "carb conscious" program. Weight Watchers has since developed other programs and I never found myself as successful on them.

For workouts, I was originally planning on running, swimming, and doing the circuit at Planet Fitness. Once I started the first couple of days, I really had to find a groove of how I was going to stay organized for 75 days. I wasn’t sure if I should do my run first and then walk my dogs (I did not count the dog walking as a work out) or if I should walk the dogs and then run, etc.

I settled into a routine of getting up at 4 AM and taking the dogs for a walk, dropping them back off at home, and then going for a run. This counted for my outdoor workout. After work, I went swimming or for a walk or did the circuit.

After about 10 days, I ran into a major issue with plantar fasciitis in my foot. It has been acting up off and on since the summer but it got really bad after I started running on it. It’s a long story but I ended up seeing two different podiatrists and switching shoes and I had to stop running. So I switched to brisk walking to limit the impact on my foot.

I learned to set out all my waters and number them one through eight in a container on my counter the night before. I kept my empty bottles and put them back in the container so I could ensure I drank all eight at the end of the day.

I also downloaded the 75 Hard app and would check that in the evening when I was logging my food in the iTrackBites app. I think the 75 Hard app is a must because there were a few times I forgot to take my progress photo and then when I checked the app at the end of the day, it still gave me time to get all the tasks completely done.

As far as the diet goes, I eat a sensible breakfast--usually oatmeal or egg whites and a protein shake--and I would eat a protein bar at lunch. Then I just eat a typical dinner.

The Apple Watch or other tracking device can sync right to the iTrackBites app and will tell you how many Activity Points you’ve earned for the day. I know you can eat your Activity Points but I only chose to use a small portion of the points for food and I often had about 100 points left over at the end of the week that I did not use for food.

I also know on Weight Watchers there are no food groups that are eliminated but I chose not to have any sweets like cookies, cakes, pies, etc. The closest thing to sweets that I spent Points on was some Nutella in my oatmeal in the morning--but I counted the Points. I determined in the beginning that as long as I stayed on the program and did not go over my Points value each week, then that was considered "on track". 

I’m a picky eater and don’t like vegetables, so I feel like the Weight Watchers Points Plus program was perfect for me

For my second workout, I would just swing by the gym after work and swim or come home and walk. I found going to Planet Fitness to do the circuit was a little bit tricky because the hours are modified due to COVID. So I didn’t do much of that--maybe only a few times.

As far as organization goes, I even organized how I packed my gym bag. I had my towel and my clean clothes for after swimming at the bottom of the bag. At the top of the bag was my swimsuit and a towel for when I got out of the pool and my flip-flops to walk to and from the pool.

I only weighed myself once a week. I feel like I followed the program to the tee the way that I understood it from the first podcast when he talked about 75 Hard. He has since put out a second podcast on it and he states that you’re not supposed to use a Kindle for your reading and it’s supposed to be an actual book. But I believe this contradicts what he first said. Either way, I completed at least 10 pages of a nonfiction book for all 75 days.

To be honest, I really love the whole structure of the program. I treated it like a job. When my alarm went off it was just non-negotiable to get up and start. I learned to love the morning routine of walking the dogs and then having 45 minutes to myself to listen to a podcast while I walked outside.

Being that it was so early in the morning, I was sure to wear a reflective light and I also chose to carry my own protection as far as pepper spray and a concealed carry gun.

The things I wish I would’ve done differently are 1) I wish I would’ve at least put my hair in a ponytail for my before picture but I had no idea I was going to be sharing that with anybody; and 2) I also wish I would’ve taken side and back photos in the beginning.

But the bottom line is that I love the program and I actually love the simplicity of the rules. Doing them for 75 days is another story but I found it motivating and never really dreaded doing a work out.

I am taking this week off between Christmas and New Year’s but I’m not going totally wild with diet or anything like that. I’m at our cabin up north, enjoying myself but don’t plan to drink alcohol at all this weekend and I’m still drinking my gallon of water and going on a nice walk.

My next focus is going to be getting to the gym and starting to do more strength training to tone up. I think it’s important as a middle-aged female to get in some weight bearing exercise to help prevent bone and muscle loss.

Basically, I plan to continue with a modified program. I plan on only taking my photo one time a week and to read just for enjoyment and not a particular amount or type of book per day. I want to continue with the two workouts but I don’t want one of them to have to be outside. And I still plan to follow Weight Watchers and drink a gallon of water each day. I’ll check back in in 75 days and see if we can tell a difference with strength training!

I lost weight consistently every single week for 10 weeks. In the end, I lost 24 pounds total.

My advice to others, which I read from people who had done the program, would be "don't overthink it". I think there are a lot of varied opinions on how strict the program is and what Frisella means by "following a diet" and all of that--it’s easy to get caught up. So I think that just sticking to the basics and your interpretation of some of the information he says will get you through.

I think it was great to have a mental focus and a physical checklist of stuff to do. There was some guilt sometimes because I was so exhausted by the time my day was ending that when my husband was working 12 hours and didn’t get home until 7:30 at night, I was already ready for bed. I tried to make sure I was getting 7-9 hours of sleep at night because I do not function well on less than that.

The challenge has definitely boosted my self-confidence and I find that my mentally conscious time is not spent wondering if people think I’m fat, or if I’m breathing heavy while talking to a patient after I just ran up the stairs etc. I feel like I do have more confidence and self-esteem. And it’s been fun to try on clothes I haven’t worn in a long time and find out they fit!

Doesn't she look amazing?! I was stunned when I saw her photos. And her self-discipline... it motivates me for sure. Jeanie and I both love sweets, so when I learned that she didn't have any dessert for 75 days, I was very surprised--that's extremely difficult. I'm so proud of her for finishing!

December 29, 2020

Christmas Staycation

This year has not been great. I think pretty much everyone can agree on that.

Jerry and I were planning to take the kids to San Francisco back in April and we decided to cancel our trip because of COVID. We'd planned for that vacation and we were so excited about going. At the time, I had no idea how big the COVID pandemic was going to get. We hoped we could reschedule our trip for fall. Now, I'm wondering if we can even plan something for 2021.

Anyway, Jerry had vacation days that he hadn't used because we didn't go anywhere, so he took a few vacation days this week to be home for Christmas. He's had the last seven days off in a row, and we treated it as a staycation. A very LAZY staycation! I saw this on Facebook today and could relate, 100%:

Jerry and I both checked that off our list this week ;)  Other than a few necessary things we had to get done, we spent the last week watching Grey's Anatomy (I'm ashamed to even estimate how many episodes we've watched). It's even gotten to the point where we BOTH have dreams about Grey's!

The kittens woke us up yesterday (Duck likes to play fetch in the mornings and always brings us something to throw for him) and I groaned that I was having a good dream but I couldn't remember what it was about. I thought hard for a minute and then remembered that it was a dream that I was kissing Jackson from Grey's! Hahahaha.

I also worked on the wood project I mentioned, but it's still not done. The whole thing is put together, but I still have to paint it. I put on a coat of primer, but it was so cold in the garage that the primer was not spreading well at all. I'm going to have to sand the whole thing and try it again. 

Jerry checked out the heater in the garage a little bit and discovered that it's not actually working--it's blowing out air, but not hot air. So, we're going to have to look into that. The propane heater wasn't lighting on the day I tried priming... so clearly it just wasn't meant to happen, I guess! But the project is very cool and I'm excited to post about it. I'll try to finish it ASAP.

We had a couple of movie nights with the kids and played some board games. I still walked Joey every morning. But mostly, we watched Grey's Anatomy and Jerry gave himself a terrible haircut. Haha! Today, he asked me to see if I could fix his hair. There was no possible way to fix it other than shaving it all off completely, but I told him I'd at least cut the sides and back shorter and see if it would make the bald patch less noticeable. Now, instead of looking like a mistake, it just looks like a really bad haircut. If I posted a photo, it would turn into a meme for sure!

I had another appointment with my psychiatrist today, and I'm feeling very relieved. A couple of weeks ago, when I talked to him (we have to do "telehealth" appointments--video chat), he said that he was going to be closing his practice next month. I was shocked. A month's notice to find a new psychiatrist?!

He'd said, " you may want to start looking for a new psychiatrist. But we can talk about that more in a couple of weeks during your appointment." I assumed that meant he was retiring. I was feeling super overwhelmed at the thought of finding a new psychiatrist.

During my appointment today, I learned that he's not actually retiring--he's closing his practice and moving to a different practice quite a bit farther away. I only have an appointment once every six months unless I request to see him in between, so I have no problem making the drive (roughly an hour and fifteen minutes). 

I should have just asked him more about it during my last video chat so I didn't spend the last two weeks with it hanging over my head! Finding a new psychiatrist is extremely difficult--there are waiting lists for all of them. And I really like my doctor, so I am glad that I can keep seeing him.

Jerry goes back to work tomorrow, so it's back to reality around here. I don't have any New Year's plans, so I'm just going to start preparing myself for a fresh start in 2021. I know they aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I love New Year's resolutions and I've been working on a list for a while now. I always write a few goals to work on--the start of a new year just seems so fresh.

I'll post about those on January 1st--because it's cliché  ;)

December 28, 2020

The Expense of Walking

I'm almost embarrassed to write this post, because it's going to sound petty. I'm not writing it as a complaint (well, not trying to) but I was thinking about it on my walk today and it was pretty interesting! 

My feet have been hurting really badly for a couple of weeks and I know it's because I need new shoes. Mine are VERY worn out after all of the miles I've put on them over the past five months. I needed new shoes at least a month ago and I've been putting it off because they are so expensive.

When I first started walking, I had a couple of pairs of running shoes without many miles on them, so I used those. And then I bought one pair (new) on eBay when I had to replace one pair. I've basically been rotating three pairs of shoes: 

Brooks Ghost 8 (yes, they are OLD! But I didn't put any miles on them until early this year)
Saucony Triumph ISO 4
Altra Escalante

The Ghosts are the most stable, but they are still a neutral shoe that is good for supination (under-pronation--a problem of mine). The Triumph ISOs are super comfy! I was wearing an older pair of them for a while and when they needed replacement, I bought a newer model on eBay and love them. The Escalantes are the perfect zero-drop shoe (you can read about Altra and the zero-drop heels on this post--nerdy, but very interesting!). 

All three pairs are extremely worn out now. I only ever use them for deliberate walking (not when I go to the grocery store or work in the garage or anything like that). I've always needed to replace my shoes every 300-350 miles or so. (Some people can wear them up to about 500 miles, but I am not one of those people--I start getting knee and foot pain after 300-350.)

I LOVE how comfortable these Triumphs are, but check out what has happened on the treads. See the big depression in the middle? I feel like there is going to be a hole in it soon.

My Ghosts have worn down to look really smooth where they are not supposed to be:

Same with my Altras:

In the past, when I found a shoe I liked, I'd always stock up on it when the new model was introduced so that I could get them much cheaper. That's why I had the old pair of Ghosts--when they came out with the Ghost 9's, I bought four pairs of the 8's because I liked them so much. And I just wore through my last pair.

Anyway, I cannot find the discontinued models of any of the shoes that I like (in my size at least). The cost for the new model of Ghosts are $130; the Triumph ISOs are $150; and the Escalantes are $130. 

When I was walking, I started doing the math in my head. Since I walk five miles a day, seven days a week... that's 150 miles per month. And if I change out my shoes after 300 miles, I only get two months wear out of them.

Let's say I get the Ghosts. I spend $130. Since I would wear them for two months, that would mean I'm spending $65 per month for shoes! For $130, I'm spending $2.17 for each walk. And to break it down into miles, I'm spending $0.43 per mile.

Each morning, I'm spending $2.17 TO WALK. Doesn't that sound crazy?!

When I was running, I never thought much about the cost of shoes because I wasn't putting this many miles on them. My mileage was about half of what it is now, so I was replacing less frequently. And like I said, I'd usually buy several pairs at one time when they were discounted. I'm going to have to start watching for when the new models are released so that I can buy the previous models at a discount!

Anyway, my feet have been killing me and today I finally decided I needed to buy a pair, even if it was going to cost $130. I read reviews of different shoes and found a pair that a lot of people mentioned was good for people who supinate. I've never tried them on, and I'm really hoping that they fit and are comfortable.

They're ASICS Women's Gel-Venture and they're actually a trail running shoe. When I walk Joey, I walk in the grass along the water at a few parks (in other words, not on pavement) for part of the walk. So, I figured that I'd try out the trail running shoes and hope that they feel good on pavement, too. They were only $50, so if they work out, they'll only cost me $0.83 per walk instead of $2.17 ;)  They have free returns, so if I try them on and they don't fit well, at least I can get a refund.

If I don't like them, I think I'll just bite the bullet and get the ones I've already tried and liked. I've been working out our budget for next year (our expenses have changed quite a bit this year) and it seems crazy that I need to include my shoes in our budget. I never really put this much thought into the cost of walking--it's nerdy, but kind of eye-opening.

Thankfully, the other costs for walking are minimal. I buy good-quality exercise clothes at thrift stores and they last forever. I've gotten a lot of Under Armour clothing (my favorite) and even Lululemon for super cheap. I do buy good socks (new)--I love my Balega socks (Amazon affiliate link) and they are about $14 per pair. However, those are great quality and I still have pairs from 2016--they hold up really well.

Well, there really is no point to this post other than to say... shoes are expensive! I didn't realize just how much until I did the math breaking it down per walk and per mile. But the walking has been great for me, mentally and physically, and it's worth it!

December 27, 2020

The Fear of Successful Weight Loss

This is a post that has been in my drafts folder for almost four years. Yikes! I figured it's about time I edit and publish it. (I did write a post that addresses this a little--not as much detail--but you can find that post here: What I Wish I Knew When I Started Losing Weight).

This post is still relevant, in the sense that I felt the way I felt in 2009-2010 when I was losing the weight--it doesn't matter what happened since then. My circumstances have changed, though. I've gained back a lot of weight--45 pounds in two years--so I wasn't sure if I should post this. But everything I wrote is true, regardless. So here goes...

I've written a lot about my successes and struggles during my weight loss journey, mainly to help other people realize that they aren't alone--but it helps me, too! When I get an email from a reader who is going through the same things I am (whether it's when I write about bipolar, depression, anxiety, my weight climbing up, binge eating, etc.), I feel better when I know that I'm not alone.

While I was losing 125 pounds in 2009-2010, I experienced something completely unexpected: FEAR.

For my entire life up until that point, I dreamed of being thin. Skinny, even. I thought it would make me the happiest person on earth. I was so tired of being fat and would have given just about anything to be thin.

In mid-April of 2010, I hit the 80-pounds lost milestone--something worth celebrating, right? Instead, I completely freaked out. It was like a little panic switch turned on inside of me, and I had a mini-breakdown. It was completely irrational, but I was scared to death... of my success.

I'm not trying to sound so melodramatic, but because I have since been contacted by people who have gone through the same thing, I want to accurately describe what was going through my head. Over the course of a few weeks, I was filled with anxiety and fear of my weight loss. Some random thoughts from when I was losing weight:

I was getting a LOT of compliments from people who noticed the weight loss, which meant that it was very noticeable. Which also meant that it would be noticeable if I gained it all back. I was terrified of gaining the weight back and having people notice that I'd "failed" at another weight loss attempt.

I was getting a lot of attention, as well. When I was 253 pounds, I felt invisible. I could walk into a clothing store and nobody would even look at me, let alone greet me. Going out with a friend, I would always notice men checking her out while ignoring me. I was twice her size but invisible.

When I'd lost so much weight, it suddenly felt like I had removed this invisibility cloak and people asked me if I needed help finding something, or asked how I was doing, etc. Instead of hearing men call, "Cow!" or "Fat ass!" out their car windows at me (yes, this happened), I was suddenly getting cat calls. This made me feel like I wasn't important when I was obese, so I was scared to gain the weight back and be invisible again.

My sister and I had become much closer as I lost the weight. Prior to that, we hardly ever talked. Whenever she called me, it was to talk to my kids. We didn't dislike each other, but we just didn't have anything in common. As I was losing the weight, Jeanie would call me frequently to hear about how I was doing. She was very excited for me and inspired by me, and we became closer and closer as sisters. I was beyond thrilled with the new level of our relationship. So, when I became scared of my success, another thought I had was that if I gained the weight back, I would "lose" my sister.

I was terrified of actually hitting my goal weight and reaching maintenance. When I'd started losing weight, I never dreamed I would get so far into the process. I had no idea what I was going to do to maintain the weight loss, because all the odds were stacked against me from the beginning (something like 95% of people who lose a large amount of weight gain it all back).

Beyond all these, there were things that I missed from when I was 253 pounds, and I realized that if I wanted to keep the weight off, I simply couldn't do them anymore:

I wouldn't be able to eat premium ice cream by the pint, or polish off an entire box of Swiss Cake Rolls in one sitting.

I wouldn't be able to make myself feel better by stuffing my face with a batch of cookie dough.

I wouldn't be able to relieve anxiety by eating an entire bag of chips and chasing them with wine... before dinner.

I wouldn't be able to eat an entire jar of Nutella in one sitting, while making promises to myself that I would start losing weight tomorrow.

From that point on, if I wanted to maintain my weight loss, I wouldn't be able to eat anything at all without wondering (even if just for a moment) how it was going to affect me, good or bad. I always hoped that when I was "thin", I wouldn't think about weight anymore. It would be a non-issue. But once I had lost 80+ pounds, I started to freak out about the fact that I would have to think about it.

When I was losing the weight, I was looking at a day or a week at a time--but suddenly, I saw my life laid out in front of me and it didn't include an entire large deep dish pizza with several beers chased by a pint of ice cream. This scared me, because if not those things, then what?

Jerry was always saying things like, "You're so skinny! I can touch my elbows with my arms all the way around you!" and things like that. It was meant as a compliment, of course; but I suddenly had a clear picture of what he would think if I gained the weight back. He had never said a single negative thing about my body when I was obese, but it was obvious that he loved my new body--so I was afraid to take that away from him.

I feared losing friends. I didn't want my friends to think that I was no longer fun because I couldn't be super spontaneous when it came to food and drinks. Also this was something that I missed--I missed just going out for drinks and food without a single care of how many calories it contained or whether I was overeating. I still miss this. Even when I plan to splurge, I still have that voice in my head telling me the consequences of my choices.

I feared that my life was going to be utterly boring and mundane from that point forward, because I would always have to be careful about keeping the weight off.

When I was obese, I never actually thought that I would someday be of "normal" weight, or even "thin". I assumed that I would lose some weight and then gain it back, like I'd always done. So, when I saw some serious progress (80 pounds lost), I became terrified for all the reasons listed above. It sounds so odd to be afraid of success, but that's exactly what happened to me in April of 2010.

I even felt so scared that I wanted to quit. I wished that I could take it all back and erase the entire thing. Quitting wasn't an option either, though, because of my fear of failure. Fear of success, fear of failure... I felt like I had no options. The consequences of whatever I would ultimately choose to do with my life were very scary to me. So what did I do?

I just continued doing what I was doing, and hoping that I would feel better about it.

And it worked! I dropped more weight, but I started to embrace the changes in my body and accept the lifestyle changes that I knew would have to be permanent. All of my lifestyle changes were things that I knew were "do-able" for life--yes, I would love to eat an entire large pizza by myself, but can I be happy with just having 2-3 slices? Sure.

Eventually (maybe after a few weeks, or a month or so), I no longer feared my success. I really looked forward to each new milestone, and I was so happy that I'd stuck with it. I had mini-breakdown when I hit the 140's--but again, I got past that. If I had given up due to fear when I hit that 80-pounds lost mark, who knows where I'd be today?

I am so grateful that I lost the weight, but I still have fear of success. When my story has been in the media, I'm referred to as a "success story"... but what does that really mean? How long do I have to maintain my weight loss to be a success? How much weight is "acceptable" to gain back and still be considered successful? So many questions.

As I continue to write my blog, I am always afraid of the day that could be the start of gaining back all the weight. I started losing weight in 2010, and I still wonder if I will gain it back. With so many people following my journey, whether they are rooting for me to keep it off or secretly hoping I gain it back, I fear having to one day explain that I've gained it all back.

As for today... 

Reading this post (that I'd written four-ish years ago), it's interesting to see that I actually have to deal with these fears now. I've gained back a lot of weight and some of my fears have definitely come back.

I don't know if my story is still considered "successful" or even what that means. At what point does it stop being an issue? I feel like I've matured a bit since I lost the weight and I don't care so much about the numbers on the scale. There is SO MUCH MORE to people than their weight! Some of my favorite people are overweight or obese and I love them just as they are. I don't look at them and think of their size; it doesn't even cross my mind. 

I don't want to gain back the weight, for many reasons. And I'd really love to lose the weight I've gained! However, I don't want to fall back into thinking about it all the time and worrying about it all the time. There are lots of things that are more fun to fill my head space with. I'd like to focus more about balance in 2021 and not focus so hard on just one thing. I'll write about that more later.

Anyway, I found this four-year old draft interesting, now that I've experienced gaining back a lot of weight. I'd forgotten about some of these fears, and after reading them, I realized that they are some of the same fears I've had recently. I avoid the scale like the plague because of these fears!

It definitely gives me something to think about, especially as I plan out my goals for 2021. I don't regret losing the weight, despite the fears that I had/have, because it completely changed my life for the better. No matter what happens from here, I've learned so many life lessons throughout the last 10 years! 

December 26, 2020

Oops, He Did It Again

In February of this year, I wrote about how Jerry messed up his hair. He'd decided to cut his hair with the clippers by himself, which he'd never done before (I've always done it for him). I have no idea why he decided to do it, but it actually didn't look too bad. I was impressed.

I noticed that he'd missed a very small spot on the back of his head and I told him I'd fix it, but he wanted to do it. He went into the bathroom and we were talking while he pulled out the clippers. I wasn't watching, but I heard him say, "OH NO!" and then I realized what he did.

He'd forgotten to put the blade guard on the clippers, so it shaved the spot on his head completely bald! We were dying laughing. Eventually, he decided to just shave his whole head, which led to another story--he found a weird spot on his scalp that had to be biopsied, yada yada. Here is the whole story complete with gross biopsy photos.

Anyway, yesterday I was teasing him that he looked like John Ritter because his hair was growing out and it looked very "feathered", hahaha. I told him that I'd cut his hair today if he wanted, and he agreed. Then I worked on my blog post while he went and showered.

Apparently, he thought it would be a nice surprise to me if he cut his hair himself. After he was gone for a while, I started to wonder what was taking him so long to shower. I had been working on my blog post for at least 45 minutes by then. I yelled to him to see what was taking him so long and he burst out of the bathroom and yelled, "I did it again!"

I was startled for a second because I had no idea what he was talking about. I took one look at him and burst out laughing. I have NO IDEA why he would attempt to cut his own hair again, but you would think that he would've been extra careful to make sure that he put the blade guard on. Here is a video of him explaining what happened. AGAIN.

I cannot believe that he made the same mistake! It's always been a fear of mine when I cut the boys' hair that I'll accidentally forget to put the blade guard on (I've come close a couple of times).

He hasn't decided what to do with it yet. At first, he asked me if I thought I could blend it... HAHAHA. Last time, he decided to just shave his entire head--but he really doesn't want to do that. One of my friends suggested that he write his name there so it looks like a tattoo. I thought that would be hilarious! 

All day today I couldn't stop laughing every time I'd look over at him and see his hair. I hope that the next time he needs a haircut, he'll just have me do it. But I can't imagine this happening a third time! At least it's entertaining ;)

December 25, 2020

A Throwback of Christmases

For your entertainment, here are some photos from my childhood Christmases in the 80's. You can thank my mom for my stylish haircuts ;)


Preschool... the boy sitting next to me, picking his nose, is my friend Lance! :)

Clearly, my mom decided I needed bangs!

Fievel Mousekewitz was one of my most memorable Christmas presents when I was a kid. I LOVED Fievel and I can remember getting him for Christmas. 

I have no idea why, but I decided to dress up like Santa one year.  My "beard" was a pair of underwear! 

And then my dad, telling me what he wanted for Christmas. Of course this was SO funny ;)

Here, I was obviously getting to the age where I thought Santa was a little on the creepy side...

I can remember wearing these white tights with red hearts on them. I couldn't stop picking at the hearts!

My most recent Santa photo. This was in 2017 with Jerry and the kids.

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas! xo

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