Monday, May 31, 2010

How Bad Do You Want It?

I hemmed. I hawed. I limped. I crawled. I negotiated. I meditated. But this dang knee isn’t healing itself, and it damn sure can’t take me biking and hiking like I want. So it is with some foot stomping that I will have surgery June 23.

In 20 years, my family doctor has not steered me wrong. When she said that the fancy “buff n’ shine” that my orthopedic surgeon proposed is my best option for extending the life of my original parts, I decided to heed her advice.


Accepting that surgery is my best option is a lot like when I accepted that losing weight was my best option. I’d tried to deny I was obese, but it’s hard to ignore 300 pounds, just as it’s hard to ignore a knee that’s constantly going out. Once I got honest with myself about my weight, I developed a plan, and life felt lighter even before I lost a pound.

I’m putting together a plan for this knee business, too. Six to 12 weeks recovery time seems like forever right now, but I’ll stick with it – moment by moment, just as I did with weight loss. I’ll do everything I can to recover in as short amount of time as possible.

What a change from my non-exercising days. Back then, if a doctor had said, “Lynn, you can’t work out for 6-12 weeks,” I’d have been ecstatic!

“Woohoo! I ‘can’t’ exercise! I have a doctor’s excuse and everything!”

But now – in this place of weight loss and changed mind and eagerness (yes, EAGERNESS) to exercise – I can’t wait to rehab so I can get back to doing what I love to do: hiking, biking, elipticizing. Heck, just walking without fear of falling will be fabulous!

I can’t deny that I’m a little scared that the moment the surgeon’s scalpel cuts my skin, 170 pounds will seep in along with those old excusive habits. This will be the biggest test in maintenance so far. Can I hang on to this weight? Well, as Don Henley asks, “How bad do you want it?” Answer: I’ve never wanted anything as badly than for this last time down the scale to BE the last time down the scale. I really want it bad enough.

So, I’ll keep on keepin’ on. I’ll eat well, move when I can, and ask for help (online and off) when I need it. No more scary silent worrying. I’m done with that. I have a plan. And looking on the bright side, for a few weeks after surgery, I’ll get to ride around WalMart in a scooter! Beep beep!

So my question to you is: how bad do you want it? And what are you doing to get it?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The "Giving" Chair

I bought this old rocking chair at a garage sale for $1 in the summer of 2004, the summer I weighed 300 pounds (give or take). Its seat was broad, like mine, and the arms had been removed so it fit me perfectly.
The old gal’s been on my porch through snow and rain, heat and cold, grandbabies, parties, and, of course, weight loss. When over the winter its seat developed a split down the middle seam, someone suggested I throw it away. It was only a dollar, she said.

But throwing away that old chair would be like throwing away my old black pants. My pants, I wrote back in March (see “Ode To My Size 28 Black Stretch Pants”), are my friend. They help me through those days when I wonder: Why am I doing this? Why do I journal my food? Why do I eat the way I do? Why do I (usually) say no to chocolate cake, mac n’ cheese, and half in half in my coffee? I love those things!

“Ah,” say the size 28 black stretch pants, “but you love yourself even more.”

The old rocker is that kind of friend, too. It’s my favorite place to sit when I’m having a “fat” day because I remember that garage sale and how I sat down on it before I bought it. My back and legs were sore from walking around. The air was warm and I was breathing heavy. My face was flushed. Sweat trickled down my back. I sat on that chair to rest and it welcomed me – all of me – and gave me comfort.

When I sit on that chair now, I feel the magnitude of 170 pounds gone. I feel small and bony and strong. I feel healthy and grateful. I feel welcomed and comforted. In a way, the chair is my “Giving Tree.” (“The Giving Tree” is a children’s book by Shel Silverstein.) Only unlike the boy in the book, I (or rather my husband) fixed her seat, and in the coming weeks, she’ll get a fresh coat of paint. I need her and want her to have a long life on my porch.
Congratulations to Lynn’s Weigh Facebook “friend” Wendy, who won the Leslie Sansone “Walk & Firm” DVD giveaway! In a few days, my daughter Cassie will be back with a review and giveaway of a new yoga DVD. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 24, 2010

“Some Day” Always Comes (and another giveaway inside!)

Started out I was simply going to vacuum the mudroom. That’s all. A little warm-up before my workout. Four hours later, the hallway carpet was now the mudroom carpet, and my glutes were screaming at me (but in a good way).

I’ve been saying for years that “some day” I’d take up the carpet in the small hallway that links the front of our house with my office and downstairs bathroom and put it in the mudroom, and when I couldn’t bring myself to look at, let alone vacuum, the ugly brown and black speckled mudroom carpet one more time yesterday, I knew “some day” had arrived.

I grabbed a big box for the scraps, a pair of pliers, a screwdriver and a hammer. (I should have grabbed gloves, too) and went to work.
The aftermath
Ripping up carpet is like unwrapping a gift. You never know what you’re what you’re going to get. Yesterday I was hoping against hope I’d discover a nice wood floor, not the kind of flooring we discovered when we ripped up the carpet in the original part of the house in 2006:
Larry ripping up carpet and discovering 1930s newsprint sticking to the pine floors!
The hallway I uncovered yesterday is part of the “new” part of the house that was added in the 1940s. I ripped and tugged until I’d lifted out whole the 60- by 53-inch piece of berber. I peeked underneath and hello! 1940s speckled fiberboard!
I love antiques. God knows I do. But flooring like that should have been outlawed. Bad enough it’s speckled ugly, it’s cardboard ugly. And there was no getting that stuff up without professional help.

So I cleaned it up, painted it white, and laid down a braided rug until I decide what to do next.
Meanwhile, back in the mudroom, I removed the ugly brown and black carpet, wiped down the shelving, cleaned the dust off the ironing board (it doesn’t get used much), and relegated the dog toys to the outdoor storage bin. Larry and I cut the old hallway carpet to fit and we laid it down.
The berber in its new home
Bye, bye, ugly speckled carpet!
When I get a bee in my bonnet like that – when I just can’t stand how something looks or works or I just need a change – there’s no stopping me from starting. Before I lost weight this last time though, I plunged head first into a project not always knowing how or why, and I often lost interest and didn’t follow through. When in 2005 my “some day” came to lose weight (after soooo many “some days” over the years), that same strong desire for change was there, but this time I had a plan and the desire to not stop, even if it meant, to use my carpet story analogy, cutting up my hands or being disappointed in what was underneath.

It’s interesting how that shift in attitude about weight loss caused a shift in my attitude about most other projects I’ve undertaken in the last five years. I still get that overwhelming urge for change – I don’t think that will ever go away or be tempered – but I tend not to jump in without a plan or at least without first committing to seeing it all the way through.

Who knew losing a few pounds would do so much more than change one’s appearance?

As promised, it’s time for another giveaway from my box of weight-loss/weight-maintenance tools. This time, it’s the Leslie Sansone’s “Walk & Firm with Interval Training” DVD. (She’s the lady from the Walk Away The Pounds fame…some of my favorite workout DVDs ever.) I’m also throwing in one of my own Thera-Bands because I ripped in half the pink one that originally came with the DVD. Didn’t mean to. Just got too strong, I guess!

Anyway, you know the only stipulation I have is if you win this DVD, you either give it away when you’re done or keep it if you can’t part with it and donate an item to your local food shelf.

To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment or send me an email at And if you care to, tell me what’s changed in your life that isn’t weight related as you lose weight. I’ll draw a winner on Thursday, May 27.

Congrats to reader Garen (aka Quinta da Quilter) who won the Peter Walsh book in last week’s giveaway.

To those of you who haven’t won one of my giveaways yet, don’t be afraid to keep throwing your name in! I love hearing from you!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chocolate Cake and Other Memories

Today at my grandson’s first birthday party, I saw my ex-husband for the first time in 11 years. I also ate a piece of chocolate cake made from a recipe that’s been in my family for more than 40 years. Both brought up a lot of emotions, but thankfully I didn’t eat the cake because I was in the presence of Ex.

Even though I had a knot the size of Fort Knox in my stomach both in anticipation of seeing Ex and actually seeing Ex, eating the cake was something I’d planned, and along with a little fruit and a small portion of bean burger from Claire’s plate, it was all I ate this afternoon.

Yet it was –

dare I say –


Ex (husband #3 from 1990-1994) was at the party because he and my children recently reconnected. I’m cool with that. I supported it, actually. However, he and I will probably never be real chummy again and I’m learning to be OK with that. My kids are happy and that’s all that matters to me. Besides, it’s complicated and not a ball I want to add to the juggle I’ve got going right now with my knees and shoulders and book and what have you.

Bright spot: Ex’s wife is awesome. She was my friend before she was Ex’s wife. I introduced them, actually, and convinced him to ask her out. Seeing her today was a really nice blast from the past. She looks and sounds the same as ever, and it was like it was 11 days and not 11 years since I talked to her. She personifies all that was good between Ex and me while at the same time represents all the things we wanted in each other and couldn’t have.

OK, so back to the chocolate cake. Growing up, I blew out every year’s birthday candles on that cake, and it was the Baby Jesus cake of choice every Christmas (my daughters always insisted on throwing Baby Jesus a birthday party). It’s still the featured cake at my niece’s and nephews’ birthdays, and now my grandchildren’s.

It’s the frosting that sets it apart. While it tastes good in tandem with the cake, I always ate it separate from the cake, like the cake and frosting were individual foods. Today I ate a small sliver of cake, consuming both the frosting and cake together. But it just wasn’t the same. Sort of like Ex and me. We’re both good people. We are just best when enjoyed separately.

What is it about particular foods that anchor us? Remind us? Tether us to a memory? That chocolate cake kept me somewhat sane today. Just seeing it in the pan reminded me of my 30 years before Ex. The times when I was a little kid like Luca and Claire and enjoyed the hell out of my birthday. I didn’t even have to eat it to feel its significance.

Thanks for making it through this complicated maze of thoughts. I hope some of it made sense. I just needed this place to vent and start sorting out this newest layer of life stuff. I suspect we all need a jumping off place like that. I’m just glad I had a nice sliver of comforting chocolate cake to put it all in perspective.

Luca crushing his non-chocolate cake cupcake. Happy b-day, Luca Man!
Claire crushing carrots with reduced-fat ranch dip. That girl ate at least 25 carrots today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Luca-Proofing My Life

Yesterday the g-babies were here, which meant, as always, I had to Luca-proof the house. The little man is small but quick. He can take down my oil lamps, candles, books and photos faster than I can tell him “no,” ergo, they all get put up. WAY up. Then when he leaves, I put it all back to normal.

The thing is, as I discovered while putting things back in their place last evening, normal isn’t always best.

Take my metal candle holder. This is where I always had it, on my cedar chest in front of the window and amongst a whole lot of other things.
Here’s where I “hide” it from Luca, on the dining room table.
I really love this candle holder, but it gets lost on the cedar chest. It’s much more impressive on the table. I would never have thought about this until I paid attention to where I hid it from Luca.

I did the same thing with weight loss over and over again. I’d move things around (so to speak), lose some weight, and then when I was done, put everything – attitude, food, ego – back to “normal.” Yeah. That worked out REAL well. I was always lost among the clutter, always losing for the wrong reasons and gaining it all back.

I never thought about that clutter until I paid attention to what I really wanted for myself: to be as healthy as I could be. I’m finding this same concept applies to all aspects of my life: writing, my knees, the places I want to go, the people I want to meet. I have to be willing to see the clutter in order to change or grow or succeed, to shine in the place that’s best, not the place I always thought of as normal.

Now seems the perfect time to give away another one of the tools in my arsenal: “Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” by Peter Walsh (Oprah’s organizational guru and consultant on TLC’s “Clean Sweep”). As with all my giveaways, all I ask in return is that you pass it on when you’re done, or if you can’t part with it, donate an item or two to your local food shelf.

All you have to do to throw your name in the hat is post a comment or send an email to And if you feel like it, share the ways in which you are or want to “Luca-proof” your life. I'll draw a winner on Sunday morning (May 23).

Luca discovered the outdoor water bowl for the dogs. I don't always catch everything that needs Luca-proofing.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Parting on the Left…

“And the parting on the left is now parting on the right…” The Who from “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

In my case, the parting on the right is now parting on the left. My hair part, that is. But it’s a change, nonetheless. A subtle change that helps ebb the tide of last week’s angst.

Sorry for the six-day hiatus. Last week was a crazyass week with a crazyass schedule which prompted crazyass thoughts. However, there was a lot of good family time which counteracted the crazyass thoughts and now I’m back, head screwed on once again, in the world of clear(er) thinking.
Is this pure joy or what?
Luca and me
You know how when your immunity is low and you’re more likely to catch a secondary illness? The same principle applies to emotions. When I’m overwhelmed by one negative thought or experience, I’m more prone to secondary negativity. Last week, that secondary negativity was the “fuglies.”

Over on my Lynn’s Weigh Facebook page (you can join us by clicking here!), I asked: “Fat days...yeah, they happen. But what about overall ugly days? Mind, body, face...when our mind’s eye and our real eye REALLY don’t agree. What do you do?”

Here was the corresponding conversation:

Tobii: I am suffering with ugly days at the moment and have been for weeks. Nothing seems to get rid of it, even having a shower, fixing my hair and face, there is always something bad in my eyes. For me it is always at worst when I need a haircut and dye, once I get that sorted, I generally feel a lot better about myself.

Alison: I'm having a terribly ugly day today. But honestly it is my fault. Look at the pictures I just posted. I did nothing to get ready this morning. and I find if I take the few minutes to fix myself up in the morning, the ugly days are less likely to come.

Rhonda: Oh...I know about those ugly days. For me, a curly haired girl, these humid days really do me in. I wonder why I even fix my hair when the weather makes it look like I've been shot out of a cannon. ;)

Sheri: It's all about the hair, isn't it? If that's working, then everything else looks better.

Tammy: Ditto on the looking like I was shot out of a cannon. A straightener just doesn't do it when really humid. Bad hair typically means I feel ..blech.. throw on a hat, feel (extra) fat, etc.. Sad how important that hair is!

Me: Hair is a very strong influencer, but for me today, it's not my hair. It's just an overall ugh.

Tammy: I'm sure the sloppy paint-splattered sweats and baggy tee shirt aren't helping me out but eh.. better luck tomorrow! :o)

Barbara: sorry, Lynn ... avoid mirrors. :)

Shari: Ball cap, cool shades, lipstick.

Jennifer: Put on my walking sneakers and go for a walk it always clears my head and gives me time to regroup it's really a mind game we are playing with ourselves! If that does not work a good cup of coffee or tea always cheers me up!

Me: Jennifer, a walk sounds really good. And it's dark now so can get by without a hat ;)

Michelle G-L: I try and watch or listen to something funny...laughter helps. I stay away from cameras...LOL and I go for a nice long walk.

Michelle P H: I have those days, too. I make sure to stand up straighter, smile my best smile at everyone, and remember that my opinion of my looks doesn't influence anyone's love for me. They still love me!

Terri: I say stay away from anything reflective! When my niece is feeling that way instead of saying she is going to call in to work sick, she says "I'm calling in ugly". LOL

Karen: I'm glad to read this today...sometimes I feel all alone with my uglies...for me a lot of the time, it is underarm sag, and I saw it in the mirror when I brushed through my hair today. If you lose 110 pounds in your fifties, it is inevitable. I'd love to know what you do, Lynn?

Mary: Perhaps pull out some "before" photos and look how far you've come? Ugly days? They happen...just try to remember that you looked the same yesterday and everything was fine. Try to do something special for yourself...(smile)

We all get it. The fuglies, that is. A bad hair day, excess skin shown in just the wrong light in just the wrong outfit…whatever. Couple that with feelings of insecurity or bad news or pending “ugh” and we start to doubt everything, physically and emotionally.

For me, the emotional “ugh” comes from probable knee surgery in early/mid June. I’ve been pretty darn lucky these last few years – walking and exercising on two really bad knees – but my luck has worn out. They just aren’t working anymore. But unlike the old me, the new me is checking in and listening. This may sound silly, but I like to meditate for a few moments on whatever body part and say, “I care about you. You’re a part of me. I will do what is necessary to protect you.” And I get a better sense of what I need to do to heal.

What a change from before! It used to be I saw my body – more specifically, its parts – as a separate entity, like a farmer and his cow. He appreciates it, but he’s willing to sell it.

I’m not willing to let my body parts go anymore. Heck, it’s why I lost weight! I finally cared about the whole darn package. My mind was no longer separate from my body. Now, when specific body parts need extra attention, I listen (although I rarely like what those parts have to say.)

I hate surgery and hospitals and drugs (wait…the drugs might not be so bad…) and not being able to shower for god knows how long, but the frightful thoughts have brought forth a mindfulness that I hope will help me make a good decision.

In the meantime, I changed my hair part to make me feel less…fugly. And according to this photo, I look pretty much the same as I did two years ago. It’s all in my head.
Thank you so much for reading, and a special thank you to my Facebook commenters. You helped me combat those uglies. Or fuglies. Whichever you prefer. LOL


The kids – all of us – are alright. (Keith Moon…need I say more?)


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

There's No Such Thing As Ideal Conditions

Before I got out of bed this morning, I turned on my Blackberry to check the weather forecast. Downstairs, my dining room table was full – again – of flowers that needed to be repotted, but it’s been so dang cold out I haven’t been able to get the job done. They’re blooming and outgrowing their plastic starter pots, but if I wait until ideal conditions to repot them, their roots will have nowhere to go and they will start to die.
The temperature was 40 and the forecasted high was 46. Looking ahead at the 10-day, there were no more 30-degree nights predicted, so I knew today was the day, even if it was cold, dreary and miserable outside. I would take them to the garage to repot them and let them live there, protected, for another day or two.

I thought about the gardens I planted the year I started losing weight. I started the beds in April 2005 after I’d lost about 35-40 pounds. I built three beds and added soil, manure and mulch to two existing beds. While I was still obese, weighing about 265, I had a lot of energy. Energy born not just from weight lost, but from that euphoric state of no longer living in denial. Just as overeating drained me physically, denial drained me emotionally. Once I lived in truth, I had a clear path for walking (not sprinting) down the scale, and I felt like I could do anything.

If I’d waited for the ideal conditions to lose weight, I’d have never started. There would always be an excuse: a holiday, a birthday, a vacation, my period, my schedule, cheesy potatoes, chocolate. I’d lost weight in the past, but never with a plan; just an overwhelming urgency to get the weight off NOW. The results were like this poor basil plant:
I knew I shouldn’t have put it in the ground last week. I knew there was a still potential for below-freezing temps. But no, I wanted basil in my garden NOW. Well, guess what? It was 27 degrees the other night.

While I’ve not fully learned this lesson in terms of gardening, I finally did this last time down the scale: anything worth doing and doing well takes patience. There will always be some resistance and there will always be something you must rise above or allow to just be. If you know this from the get go, the path will be easier to tread.

There will be frost in May and there will be food at parties. Just as seasoned gardeners know to respect the weather, people with a plan, a goal and dogged determination have the tools to navigate a dessert table.

I can navigate a dessert table. I need a little work in tempering my spring fever.
My garage, where my newly potted plants will stay until it's an itsy bit warmer.
Speaking of tools…I’ll be drawing the names of two winners tomorrow for the two books I’m giving away: “Stress Eater Diet” and “Wake Up To Your Weight Loss.” Leave a comment here or send an email to before Wednesday at 6 p.m. eastern time and I’ll put your name in the hat!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Sunday, Another Giveaway! "Stress Eater Diet" & "Wake Up To Your Weight Loss"

Many of you may remember when I reviewed and gave away a copy of “Stress Eater Diet” by Robert Posner and Linda Hlivka in February 2009 and “Wake Up To Your Weight Loss” by Alyson Mead in October 2008. Now it’s time for me to part with my own copies of these great books because they aren’t doing anyone else any good just sitting on my bookshelf, and they are way too full of good stuff to keep hidden away.

In this giveaway, you get to choose – in your comments and emails – which book you’d like to win (yes, you can choose both). You don’t have to give a reason, just the title will get your name in the hat.

Before you decide, here are some highlights from my review of each book.

Stress Eater Diet

This “diet” is normal and healthy – real food and no “cleansing” – and it places a strong emphasis on mindful eating, behavior modification, and stress-reducing techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga and exercise.

I was really glad to see the question, “Who are you losing the weight for?” asked almost right away. God knows enough of us have lost (or are are still losing) weight “for” someone else, “for” something else, like “just for me” isn’t good enough.

The “spin” to this diet (and you know every diet has a spin) is its emphasis on serotonin imbalance. The authors recommend eating foods that contain tryptophan (an amino acid essential for normal growth and metabolism). Foods include: turkey, chicken, fish, pheasant, partridge, cottage cheese, bananas, eggs, nuts, wheat germ, avocados, milk, cheese and legumes. They also want us to get out in the sun more.

Another big reason I can recommend this diet is its use of journaling, both food and emotions. Long-time readers, you know I’m all about journaling, even before you start to lose weight. Figuring out WHY we overeat, WHY we treat ourselves the way we do, and WHAT we eat can help us develop personal strategies for overcoming old patterns.

The heart of the book is the actual diet. The last section deals with stress-reducing foods and outlines a four-week eating plan. It includes the best explanation I’ve read on why it’s important to “eat your colors,” and what those certain foods do in terms of health benefits.

The meal plan gets two thumbs up. There a lot of emphasis on protein, fruits and vegetables, and while the plan suggests several kinds of meat, I can see how it could be easily adjusted to accommodate those of us who choose not to eat meat.

You can check out the Stress Eater Diet blog by clicking here.

“Wake Up To Your Weight Loss”

You might think that meditation and Buddhist teachings and Zen are all ethereal and maybe even mumbo-jumbo, but take it from me, a true realist, there is nothing more real and grounding than learning to love yourself.

It is through my (still small) understanding of Buddhist teachings that I recommend “Wake Up To Your Weight Loss”. Mead’s approach to weight loss combines writing and meditation to help readers cultivate loving kindness toward themselves and their bodies. I like how she sums up what meditation is: “The mistaken belief about meditation is that it is somehow magical, bestowing peace and light on whomever it touches. But meditation is simply a tool, to help you focus in on and, more importantly, learn to cope with the stuff your mind may fling at you.” And if your mind is anything like mine, what it flings is often a lot of s*it.

Along with writing and meditation, Mead offers helpful “off the mat” exercises to take into real-life situations throughout the day.

I truly believe that knowing ourselves, becoming our own best friend, being compassionate toward ourselves, is the real key to weight loss and maintenance. As Mead writes in chapter seven, “Losing weight is, in a sense, losing part of yourself. The closer you get to learning who you are on a very intimate level, the more power you will have when emotional issues arrive.”

“Wake Up To Your Weight Loss” is a good companion piece to diet and exercise. It’s better than pills and there are no side effects except feeling more at peace and at home in your own body.

So…you know the drill. If you want to win one or both of these books, leave a comment or send an email to and I’ll throw your name into the appropriate hat. I will draw a winner on Wednesday, May 12!

Congratulations to Gretchen who won last week’s Dummies giveaway! I’ve still got a lot of books and DVDs to go in the upcoming weeks!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bertice Berry’s “Year to Wellness” Sounds Right Up Our Alley

Michel Martin recently interviewed sociologist and author Bertice Berry on NPR’s “Tell Me More.” Berry lost 146 pounds in less than a year by focusing not so much on her weight but her health. I found myself often agreeing out loud as she talked about her “Year To Wellness” program. Four things in particular really hit home for me:

1. Which comes first? The healthy body or healthy mind?

Berry said she was concerned about her daughter’s weight and brought her to the pediatrician. “He said…if you start her on crazy diets and programs and this, that and the other, she’s going to start yo-yoing like we’ve all done. And you're going to destroy the part of her mind that is healthy about her self image. [He] said it’s a lot easier to heal the body when the mind is healthy. But if you destroy the mind, then the body is going to follow.

“And so once I started looking at it and realizing that everybody’s goal weight is exactly where they were when they first thought they were fat, you look back at those pictures and you go, well, why did I think I was fat?”

Amen! My “ideal” weight once I got out of high school was 150…EXACTLY what I weighed in high school the first time a doctor called me fat! And I spent the better part of 25 years trying to get back to and stay at 150, only to realize that until my mind was healthy, I could NEVER get back to and stay at 150.

2. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

“I’ve come to see that those who care a lot, carry a lot. One day I had this crazy thing happen. And I think the universe speaks to us in all kinds of ways and we have to listen. And for me it was my sewage system kept backing up and then we found out after researching and digging and looking, the backflow valve on the system was not working. And so all the stuff from everybody else’s house was coming to my house.

“Immediately I looked at this and said, ‘You know, this is what I’m doing in my own life. I’m doing everything I can to be well, but I’m taking on the stress and the problems and the worries of everybody in my life.’ And the moment I saw that, I was able to start unpacking this need to help everybody else do all their stuff without taking care of myself.”

How many times have you put everyone else before you AND tried to lose weight at the same time? The most successful “losers” I know put their health and goals ahead of everyone else or can incorporate their health and goals into their daily interactions with family and friends.

3. Journaling

“I tell people you have to spend three days, however you want to do it, journaling, talking to yourself in the mirror, but throughout your day, think about how you feel about yourself. At the end of the three days they call me and they say, ‘Oh my god, I didn't know the things that I was carrying and thinking about myself. I didn’t know the things that I tell myself on a daily basis.’”

Turning down the clutter in our heads and allowing our own voice to come through is NOT easy, but (as I’ve preached ad nauseum) it is crucial and, to me, the most important thing any of us can do to lose weight. It doesn’t matter what “diet” you follow, if you don’t know why you’re doing it or are doing it for any other reason or person than your own well being, then it ain’t gonna work.

4. Get rid of toxic people.

“People only know how to push your buttons because they’re the ones who put them there. [Once] we start removing those buttons, they have nothing to push. And so you start to remove the toxic people (from your life).”

This one can be difficult if not impossible, particularly if the toxicity comes from family members. However, how we allow them to affect us is completely within our control. I found that by spending more time with supportive people helped me see how I was allowing myself to be manipulated and mistreated by those who would have me fail. Toxic people are not toxic because of you or me. They are toxic because of themselves and some pain and suffering and lack in their own life. That took me a long time to learn.

Right now, Berry’s “Year To Wellness” is a workshop, but I hope she will write about it soon, too. To read the full transcript of the interview, click here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Faith Is a Nose Ring

Nothing like arthritis to make a person feel old. Creak, pop, stttreeetch. Can’t pick up this, can’t twist off that. Oops! Knee jammed up again.

Driving home from physical therapy yesterday, I was not feeling 46. I was 102 with sore arms and one badass mood. I drove past Studio XIII on my way to the post office, and as always happens when I see Studio XIII – like a fluff of air – I think the same brief passing thought: ‘Hmmmm…a nose ring.’

I parked in front of the post office and thought about the night Cassie had her belly button pierced at Studio XIII. It was 2000 and she was 16. I went with her to sign the consent form, and lest you think me a horrible mother, I challenge you to spend an hour with Cassie. If that girl doesn’t convince you to see her side of any given subject, you are not human. Seriously. Cassie was born debating.

For instance, when she was 3 years old, her sister Carlene was 5 and I’d agreed to let Carlene get her ears pierced. Cassie begged to have her ears pierced, too. I said yes, but six weeks later when it was time to take out the studs and put in real earrings, she cried before I even touched her ears, so we let the holes grow shut.

When she was 4, Cassie insisted she was a big girl and would let me change her earrings if I let her get her ears pierced again. Six weeks later, she cried when I removed the studs, and we let the holes grow shut.

In kindergarten, Cassie was super jealous of her older sister who got to wear all kinds of fun earrings and so she promised, promised, PROMISED she would let me take out her earrings if I let her get them pierced AGAIN. I told her that if she didn’t let me change her earrings in six weeks, that she wasn’t getting anything else pierced until she was 16. She agreed. So I took her to Claire’s Boutique. Again. And finally, FINALLY, six weeks later, she let me change them. And – bonus! – she didn’t cry.

When she turned 16, Cassie reminded me of what I’d said when she was in kindergarten and said she wanted something else pierced. Not only is the girl an incredible debater, she has a mind like a steel trap. She remembers EVERYTHING. Takes after my mother.

…Sigh...OK, I figured she’d want a few more holes in her ears. Nope. She wanted something below the neck. She wanted a belly button ring. …Sigh…Fine. Whatever. I told her that if she paid for it, I’d sign the paper. I believe her exact response was, “Goody!”

Glen the Master Piercer at Studio XIII was calm and reassuring. Cassie would be fine, he said, and as he prepped her belly for the ring, commented on what great belly button skin she had. Perfect for piercing. All I could think of was how much trouble that dang thing gave me when when she was born.

A baby might not come with an instruction booklet, but she goes home from the hospital with part of her umbilical cord still attached. You have to clean it, tuck in her diaper, use Q-tips and Betadine…geez, like I wasn’t nervous enough about dropping her.

I followed the hospital instructions to a T and still Cassie’s belly button got infected. I was sure it was going to kill her. Not to mention, it STUNK. Peeeuuuu. Frantic, I called her doctor who prescribed a little stronger antibiotic. In a few days it dried up and fell off. I threw it away, not wanting to keep any vestiges of failed motherhood. But 16 years later watching her get it pierced, I wished I’d saved it.

Throughout the following nine years, Cassie had her tongue, nipple and nose pierced and Carlene had her tongue pierced and ears pierced in strange places, all of which they’ve allowed to grow shut, except for Cassie’s nose piercing.

As the timer ran out on the parking meter, I tried to connect to that unexplainable urge to get my nose pierced. I thought about Cassie and all the other people I know who have a nose ring. They aren’t Bohemian or angry, defiant or ignorant. The little stud in their nose fits their face and personality. It’s like a mark of confidence. Of ownership of place in the world.

My desire for a nose ring didn’t stem from coveted youth or anger of regret. I just wanted to make a statement of faith with my nose. A small physical pronouncement of where I am in relation to where I’ve been. I’m a person with a whole lot of arthritis, who often feels older than I am, but deep down inside I know there is peace, contentment and confidence if I just remember to tap into it.

I turned the car around and drove to Studio XIII. Glen was there, as kind and reassuring as he was 9 years ago. I put on my big girl panties and sat on the table. As the needle penetrated the cartilage, so, too, did the physical pain penetrate the emotional pain. It brought forth a confidence I hadn’t felt in a long, long while and I felt the peace I knew was inside me but I’d nearly abandoned.

Armed with unscented soap, sea salt, Hibiclens and a big box of Q-tips – I went home feeling more than an age.

I felt like myself.


Reminder: You have until Friday to post a comment on my last post, “Parting Is (and isn’t) Such Sweet Sorrow,” to enter your name to win a collection of “For Dummies” DVDs and books. While you’re at it, join us on Facebook! Click here to “like” Lynn’s Weigh.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Parting Is (and isn’t) Such Sweet Sorrow (another giveaway inside!)

It was with some sadness that I said goodbye to my barbell yesterday. My daughter, Cassie, adopted it because she can give it the love and attention I no longer can.

I remember the day I bought that barbell in June 2008. I felt so he-manish when I walked into the sporting goods store and handled the 20-pound curve bars. When I found one that felt good, I had no idea how to add weights, but the sales associate (Doug…very cute…very nice) showed me a variety of attachable plates and how to use them. I bought six of them, two of which I kept attached to the barbell.

When I brought the barbell, with its two attached plates and four unattached 2½-pound discs, into Cassie's house, Claire was thrilled to see HER “wheels.” She always played with them at my house, so she was super excited to have them in her house. I told her they were for the barbell and she told me, “No, Grammy, they are wheels for my car!” Who am I to argue with the imagination of a 2-year-old?


My barbell. It challenged me and sculpted my shoulders like no other hand weight or machine ever did, and I’ll miss the emotional high I got watching myself lift. And before you write that off as vanity, I totally believe it’s empowering to watch yourself work out. It also helps you catch flaws in your form. It might feel weird at first, but for me, seeing my body working from all angles helped me – and still helps me – see my body as it really is and not 20-170 pounds heavier I usually imagine it is. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with checking out your buffness. Be proud of your definition! Show it off, even if you’re the only one looking.

The reason for this change in barbell custody is that, as I wrote in my last Refuse To Regain blog (see “I Can’t Want To. I Can’t Like That.”), last week my doctor confirmed what I’d suspected for awhile: my arms are hypermobile/hyperflexible. This means that weight lifting with free weights and machines ultimately caused – or at least accelerated – the damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in both my shoulders and biceps. Therefore, I’ve traded my hand weights and barbell for Thera-bands and will continue to strength train under the supervision of a physical therapist.

BUT…you won’t catch me boo-hooing. No way! I was afraid I’d have to give up strength training completely and watch my arms waste away and turn into sticks. Besides, Thera-bands kick ass. If you don’t believe me, get yourself a 3-foot length of the blue or red stretchy bands and check it out. While Thera-band won’t prepare me for powerlifting competitions, that was never my goal anyway. As long as can pick up my grandkids and keep my bones healthy, I’m as strong as I need to be.

Last week I started giving away some of the tools that helped me throughout my weight loss. The first was “Pure & Simple Stretch” with Karen Voight. This week, in memory of my barbell and hand weights, I’m giving away a four-pack of Dummies stuff. Two DVDS: “15-Minute Workouts for Dummies” and “Shaping Up With Weights for Dummies,” and two books: “Weight Training for Dummies” and “Stretching for Dummies.” The only criteria is, if you win, you either pass them on when you’re done (if you’ve found them helpful and can part with them) or keep them and donate a non-perishable healthy food item to your local food shelf. That’s it.

So post a comment or send an email to to enter your name and I’ll draw a winner on Friday!