Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Before and After of My Before and After...

Thanks to my friend Brooke, I have some new followers over on the RRR Facebook page. Unbeknownst to me, while I lay in a hospital bed almost two weeks ago, she sent a bunch of her readers over to my page; which over tripled my page likes. Pretty crazy for this small time blogger. One of the new followers asked if I had any before/after photos….which of course you know I do. I mean, how could I not?

And even though I don't consider this a blog dedicated to weight loss (or at least dedicated to my personal weight loss story) it is always fun to look back on that part of my life and reflect. Could the last day of 2013 be a better time to share? I mean, not much has changed for me (weight-wise at least) over the last 12 months, but that is actually a really good thing.

In 2011 (the first year of my adventure, starting out at 286 pounds) I hit that 100 pounds lost mark, in 2012 I reached almost 130 pounds lost, and for the most part of 2013 I maintained that loss. I am thankful to have found a weight and a way of life easy for my body to sustain.

When I first started, walking a 5K was a CHALLENGE! I remember before I started to lose weight I walked in a 5K that the company I worked for was a sponsor of. I was the last one to finish. I'm not 100% sure of how long it took but I think it was somewhere around 1 hour, 15 minutes. That's where I started. My weight was such a limiting force that the only thing I was able to do was walk, and even that was hella painful.

But I didn't quit.

Don't get me wrong; there were hurdles and obstacles and it wasn't always easy.

But I didn't quit. And for that, I am grateful.

So here it is folks…a photographic representation of my physical transformation.





On February 20th, 2011 I decided I needed to change my life…I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. 
My only full body 'before' picture. This is from April 2011, down about ten pounds give or take so in this shot I weigh ~ 275 pounds….

 April 2011

 July 2011

 September 2011

 October 2011

 November 2011

 February 2012 

 March 2012 with one of my heroes Brendan Brazier

May 2012- my first running 5K!

 July 2012

 October 2012, my fastest 5K to date

 Recognize the location? Same spot as pictured above just 20 months (and 125 pounds) later…


 February 2013 

 April 2013, after my third half marathon

 June 2013~ jump fitness at Fitbloggin'

 August 2013~ my first triathlon 

 December 2013 ~ just a few days ago, post surgery 

December 2013~ my first night out after surgery!  I can almost stand up straight :) 

There are no words to describe how this adventure has transformed me mentally and spiritually- those changes are what make dreaming big and going after the life I truly want possible.  I know I probably sound like a broken record at times but I honestly believe that I wouldn't be where I am today, and this life wouldn't be so amazing, if I didn't fix the underlying problems that caused me to gain weight in the first place, if I didn't find my self worth, self love and acceptance, and if I didn't start taking ownership and acceptance of my own life. I am so thankful that I learned how and that I continue to make positive changes in my life that allow me to grow into the type of human being I've always wanted to be.

I should also note that although I am very proud of my weight loss it is not something I think defines me nor do I see it as a measure of my self worth or value as a person. The best thing about losing weight was that it allowed me to become more active, to become healthy and fit and to reduce my chances for weight related illnesses. Those are all very important things to me. But the things that have really transformed my life all have stemmed from acceptance of self; putting myself and my health first, being open and honest about my dreams/goals, wanting more from life and not being afraid to take chances, caring and kindness to myself and others, more laughter and less stress, all of these amazing things have only occurred because I loved myself enough (at 260lbs and at 160lbs) to say (and believe) that I AM WORTH IT!

And you are, too!

So today, on the last day of 2013, I hope you can take a moment and say to yourself (and believe it) that you are worthy of all your dreams, all the love, all the happiness, and all the amazing adventures this life has in store for you! Because YOU ARE!!!!

Happy New Year my loves!

Love and cheers,

Friday, December 27, 2013

My New Year's 'Resolutions'...

This year, I am choosing to stray from the standard fare resolution. No more big, year long goals or proclamations for me. Not for 2014 at least.

I mean, yes, I am sure there will be some things that will continue to be a resolution for me; year in and year out, like staying active and focused on a healthy me. Those won't ever go away.

But this year, thanks to friends who turned me onto this idea, I wanted to try something different.

This year is all about actions. This year is all about making the life I want. A good, happy, fun life. A life that allows me to grow and become a better person. A life that allows me to be active and adventurous. A life that knows no limits.

So instead of resolutions I will be doing 52 individual weekly challenges/actions. I created a list of things I want to do this year; all of which can be done with little or no advanced planning.  I will write them each on a notecard, place them in a bowl/jar (apparatus TBD) and then each week I will select one and complete it at some point over the following seven days, then a week later pick another.

Sounds easy enough, right?

My hopes are that it will help keep me focused throughout the year on what I really want from 2014; excitement, adventure, love, happiness, and fun. And of course, lots of laughter- once I am able to laugh again.

So, without further ado here is my list for 2014

1.     Cook a new Indian dish
2.     Take a long walk on the beach
3.     Watch Life is Beautiful (or other favorite movie) again
4.     Ride my bike
5.     Dance under the stars
6.     Cut my hair
7.     Try a new activity
8.     Donate unused clothes/household goods
9.     Buy someone a coffee
10. Go to a comedy club

11.  Play Italian cards
12.  Write a thank you note
13.  Tell someone I love them
14.   Go to a sporting event

15.  Create something
16.  Donate to charity
17.  Spend a day inside, relaxing
18.  Spend a day outside, being active
19.  Go on an adventure
20.  Go someplace new
21.  Get dirty
22.  Bake cookies to bring to work
23.  Buy something just for me
24.  Buy something for someone else, just because
25.  Climb the rock wall at UWF
26.  See how many numbers of Pi I can memorize
27.  Watch a documentary
28.  Send my mom flowers
29.  Take a friend out for dinner/drinks/a show
30.  Go to the Pensacola Art Museum
31.  Try a new food/restaurant
32.  Make soup in the Vitamix
33.  Go to a brewery/pub crawl

34.  Listen to live music
35.  Send someone a postcard
36.  Meditate
37.  Create a new recipe
38.  Jump rope
39.  Wash my car
40.  Leave someone a love note
41.  Go ice skating
42.  Take the dogs to the park
43.  Read a magazine
44.  Take a bubble bath
45.  Get a massage
46.  Spend a day with loved ones
47.  Watch a scary movie
48.  Plan a night out (date night, girls night, etc) and dress up
49.  Go out dancing/take a dance lesson
50.  Watch the first Lord of the Rings movie
51.  Spend a day electronics-free
52.  Call a friend

There it is folks, my to-do list for 2014! Sounds like a lot of fun to me. I am pretty excited to get started!

What about you? Will you be making any resolutions, goals or plans for the New Year?

Love and big celebratory hugs,

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Before and 'After' Surgery Pics

I think it goes without saying that the pics I am posting are a bit graphic in nature. These are some pre and post surgery pictures and some may be a bit gruesome, especially since I still have stitches and bruising. So, please, if you are the least bit squeamish I will advise you to skip today's post and come back in a week or two when I post better pictures :)

But first, here is a happy photo to start things off…

Christmas Eve… I actually was up and dressed in 'normal' clothes! 

Pre-surgery; Monday December 16th

Pre-surgery; December 17th- after the markings 

The top section has arrows pointing down, this is the skin that will be stretched down and stitched to the bottom incision line (pictured below) from hip to hip 

The thick black line represents the portion that will be removed completely. I think he called it my 'skin paddle'  

 Thick black line along the bottom is the incision line; where my external stitches are now

This is the after of losing 130 pounds…lots and lots of excess skin

Christmas Eve; six days post op

 The thing around my mid-section is my binder. I have to wear it for a couple more weeks. It sucks. It's super tight, rigid, and makes it hard for me to breath and move around. Fun, fun...
Don't ask me why I'm covering my breasts while I am wearing a bra…who knows... 

You can see the white tape over the stitches and faintly see the stitches around my belly button. This is MY belly button, not a new one. I am super happy I got to keep it :) 

I will be swollen for another 3 weeks or so but the doc says I won't really look 'normal' for another 6 months to a year…it takes a long time for this all to heal internally and externally. You can also tell that I cannot stand up straight yet. One day, hopefully soon. 

I know I am super swollen because my waist is 4 inches bigger than it was pre-surgery. I am 100% ok with that, it's to be expected. I am not even stepping on a scale for another month or so. Why bother?  

Even though I look and feel like a sausage ready to burst I cannot believe the difference!  

Side by side… doc says he removed about 3-5 pounds of skin which is a lot of skin. Skin isn't dense like fat or muscle. It takes a whole lot of skin to make up 3 pounds! I think that picture says it all!

So far the recovery has gone pretty well. I have had some rough patches but that, of course, is to be expected. There are times when I feel like it has been easier than I thought it would be and times it felt like pure hell. I know in the end, it will be worth it. Next Monday, the stitches come out and I will be sure to post more pictures. Thank you all so much for your love and support. It's been a bit overwhelming at times. Not really sure what I did to deserve such an amazing life filled with the most amazing people but I am so happy to have you all be a part of it. Hopefully I didn't gross you out too much. 

Happy Holidays my lovely friends!

Love and hugs,