Friday, May 28, 2010

Apples and peaches and broccoli, oh my

I don’t have a whole lot to talk about today. I’m so looking forward to the long weekend. I’m going to try to make myself go to the gym at least once or twice. My gym is not close to home, but there is one in my apartment complex I’ve yet to try. I’ll let you know Tuesday if I go.

One thing I’m super excited about is Eat Right Atlanta. Children’s has worked with them to offer us fresh produce delivery straight to The Park every two weeks. You can buy a basket of an assortment of fresh fruits and veggies for just $15.

I was so happy to see the announcement on Careforce. A friend of mine is involved in a similar program in Kennesaw and loves it. I had researched a few produce basket programs closer to me, but they were all too expensive or had inconvenient pick-up hours.

So how great is it for us that we can do this at work? I know they are trying to set up delivery at the other campuses, so those of you not at the Park, hold tight.

According to the website, this week the basket will have:

• Apples
• Peaches
• Grapefruit
• Broccoli
• Cabbage
• Celery
• Corn
• Green Onions
• Potatoes
• Romaine Lettuce
• Crook Necked Squash
• Bell Peppers

That’s a lot more than you could get at your grocery store for $15. I can’t wait. You can visit Careforce for more information, or go to Eat Right Atlanta. Fresh produce here I come!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, all.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Push it real good

When I started personal training a couple of months ago, I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what I would be able to do and if I could manage the intensity.

I remember the first time I did a lower body workout. I got through it, but it was so hard. I left the gym and cried the whole way home. It was too tough. I was too fat for it. How did I let myself get this out of shape? I wasn’t always this way.

Did I mention I was a black belt?

After my mom died in 2000, I decided I needed an outlet. I took up Choi Kwang Do and eventually earned my black belt. The test was no joke. It was two hours of sheer endurance. Defense drills, belt patterns, shield attacks. There were times I wanted to give up, but I had trained hard for it and I couldn’t let myself fail. After receiving my belt, I was so proud to actually call myself an athlete for the first time in my life.

Fast forward seven years, and I’m crying after lunges and squats at the gym. I talked to my fabulous trainer (Hi, Jessica!), who told me that it should always be tough. The stronger I get, the more she’ll intensify my workouts. It was hard because of her, she told me, not just because of me.

That changed the way I look at training. Yesterday, Jessica really upped the workout. I did things I didn’t know I could possibly do. Bicep curls on a Bosu ball? Push ups? Chest presses with ab curls? Did I really do all that?

Yes I did. And I didn’t even cry. In fact, I pushed myself harder than ever yesterday and I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt.

And today? I’m sore. But I’m also wearing a shirt I haven’t fit into for nearly three years. Booyah.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Poetry of preparation

I was a Girl Scout for many years. So I know well the meaning of “Be prepared.”

Unfortunately, I ditched my Scout roots this weekend at the Ronald.

Usually when I stay at the House for the weekend, I bring my own food, just to be ready in case there are too many temptations. But this past weekend, I didn’t have enough time to get to the store before I headed to the House. And it cost me.

Normally there are ways for me to make healthy choices. We almost always have stuff to make salads, but there wasn’t even a speck of lettuce around. Instead, I have three words for y’all: hash brown casserole.

There are some temptations that are just too strong for me. Cheesy potato goodness ranks right up there. I’m disappointed in myself that I gave in to it, but I’m also looking at the positive. I used to raid the storage room (the one that’s full of all sorts of processed snacks and general yumminess) and bring several bags of whatever I could find into my room with me. Doritos, Cheez-Its, Oatmeal Cream Pies. You name it, I ate it.

So even though I did indulge in perhaps a little too much of the hash brown casserole for dinner Saturday (and, er, for breakfast and lunch Sunday), given my prior behavior, I’d still call this a win.

Let me make something clear. I’m in no way making excuses for my slip-ups. When I eat something I shouldn’t have, no one is harder on me than I am on myself. But the thing I try to remember is that since I began this journey in late February, I can count on one hand the time I’ve let things slide. It used to be every night. Every single night. Trapped in a prison of my own making.

So, no. I’m not perfect. Nor will I ever be. Giving in to all or nothing/black or white thinking is what got me in trouble in the first place. This is a learning experience and I get a new lesson every day.

I never want to let you all down. But I know, most importantly, I have to strive not to let myself down.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Size Schmize

Last week I did what I had been dreading.

Pants shopping.

I desperately needed a new pair of black pants. I was volunteering for the North American Leadership Conference (NALC) and was required to wear black pants and a blue polo. The pair of pants I had been wearing were enormously big on me and I was terrified of a wardrobe malfunction in front of our elite donors.

So I went to Target (I’m still losing and don’t want to spend a lot on transition pants). Part of me was excited and another part of me was worried. I had all these thoughts that maybe the scale had been lying. What if I was in the same size?

Well I wasn’t.

Instead I had gone down (drumroll, please…)

One size.

One whole size. That’s. It.

I bought the pants—albeit bitterly. I mean, seriously? I’m down 42 pounds and only ONE little size?

I know, I know. I should be grateful that I am down at all. But I was definitely a little disappointed. I’ll just chalk it up to one more lesson learned along this journey.

In happier news, I am a regular platelet donor. I try to go every two weeks, but have been off my schedule and just went Tuesday for the first time this year. When they took my blood pressure (I’m fortunate in that I have always had very good blood pressure, despite my weight) they used the regular cuff. I have sat in that little room dozens of time waiting—completely mortified--while they search for the extra large cuff. This time when I told the person I needed the large cuff, the reponse was different.

“No you don’t,” she said. “The regular one will work just fine.”

It’s all about the little victories, right?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Are you ready?

Our first session of Weight Watchers will conclude tomorrow. Throughout these past several weeks, I have lost pounds, gained insight and found hope through your support.

I had no idea what I was in for when I started blogging. What was initially going to be a little side project has become a major part of my life and an even bigger part of my journey. I’ll continue to share my ups and downs through this blog as I begin the next session of Weight Watchers.

But now’s your chance to join me. Many of you have expressed interest in Weight Watchers at Children’s through the Strong4Life Program. Here’s your chance. During this week and next week, plan to attend the Weight Watchers Open House at your campus. If you’re in the Park, join me from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday, May 18) in Classroom 6 of Building 1644 (NOTE: This is an update!) to find out more about the program. For other campuses, check the home page of Careforce for the schedule.

Are you hesitant? Afraid it won’t work this time? So was I. I sat in the open house 17 weeks ago—bitter, angry and hopeless. But I listened. And I asked myself what I had to lose.

So far the answer has been 40 lbs. I’m excited to continue. And I’m excited to meet more friends in the process.

You are not alone. At our meetings, you will hear the stories of your fellow employees. You’ll nod your head in recognition of their struggles, and you’ll applaud their triumphs—just as we’ll do for you.

Try it. Go to an open house with an open mind. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn that you really are ready to change your life.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What'll I have?

I had a good weigh-in this week. I lost 3 lbs. and am officially down 40 lbs. I was hoping to lose 50 lbs. total during the first session of Weight Watchers, but I’ll take 40. And I have a week to go.

Today, Thursday and Friday, I am volunteering for the North American Leadership Conference (NALC). Members of the Children’s Circle of Care—people who support their local pediatric hospital with gifts of $10,000 or more—are invited to attend an annual conference. This year, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the host hospital. Throughout the conference, there are speakers, special tours of city sites and a gala dinner at the Georgia Aquarium, followed by a concert with Lionel Richie.

Today, I helped host a tour that went to the World of Coca-Cola and CNN. Following the tours, we gathered at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce for lunch catered by the Varsity.

The Varsity. Even when I’m not trying to lose weight, the Varsity is a little much for me. Definitely a fun treat when you have visitors to Atlanta, but certainly not every day. More than the food, I think going to the Varsity is about the experience in itself.

So how did I answer the famous question “what’ll ya have?”

Yep. A salad. I watched everyone around me don their red paper wedge caps and dig into the onion rings, fries and chili dogs. And I munched on iceberg.

The truth is that more than just trying to be healthy, I was afraid my body would rebel. It hasn’t had a French fry in more than three months (just typing that is a “wow” for me, by the way) and I was afraid I couldn’t handle it.

So I had my little salad.

But I also had a small Frosted Orange. Hey, I’d walked for hours. I earned it.

Friday, May 7, 2010

True confessions

When I first started this blog, I told you I wouldn’t always be perfect. But I did promise I’d always be honest.

So I’m writing today with a confession. Wednesday night, I had a big moment of weakness. And in that moment, I resorted back to my old ways and turned to food. It was the first time in months.

As I wrote to you earlier in the week, I had a photo shoot. I can’t pinpoint exactly why it made me so incredibly uncomfortable, but it did. I share pretty openly with you guys every week, but this took it to an entire new level. And it freaked me out.

Let me be clear. The photographer, his assistants and all the people involved were wonderful. It went very smoothly. But for some reason it left me feeling vulnerable in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.

I talked to some friends last night who reminded me that as I go through this weight loss process, I’m shedding layers of myself. Not just physically, but emotionally, too. As these layers are peeled back, I’m going to hit new spots of vulnerability. I have to deal with those as they come. Sometimes I’ll be stronger and other times I’ll be weaker. But I have to forgive myself and move forward.

It seems a strange thing. Those who know me on a more superficial level see me as outgoing, loud and silly, with no problems being the center of attention. But those who know me best know I’m only comfortable as the center of attention when I’m the one in control.

If I’m telling a story or cracking a joke, I’m great in the spotlight. But if I’m getting praise or compliments or if it’s my birthday or something like that, I may be smiling on the outside, but inside, it’s sheer panic.

I think that my weight has shielded me from this for a long time. The extra pounds have, quite literally, built a wall around me and protected me from really shining. And as I lose some of it, I lose my protective barrier.

Wednesday night after the photo shoot, I drove home and stopped by (what else? Seriously, again with the Chinese?) Panda Express. Remember when I told you guys about the first time I’d overeaten and how uncomfortable I was after eating too much of the Panda? Well, I had essentially the same meal Wednesday night. The difference is that this time, instead of being motivated by hunger like I was the first time, I was motivated by emotions. And rather than stop myself, I let myself give into it.

I have to put this in the past. I have to look at how far I’ve come. I know that a few months ago, that would barely have scratched the surface of a normal binge. And most importantly, I NEVER would have talked about it. To anyone. That, to me, is progress.

This blog is sacred to me. It’s given me a new hope for my life. It’s shown me that I don’t have to live in fear or shame anymore. I can share what used to be my deepest secrets and I only receive encouragement in return. And because of that, I know that no matter if I have a binge episode here or there, nothing will derail me from being the person I’m truly meant to be.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Photo shoot fear

So. The weigh-in this week wasn’t as big as I was hoping. But I am down 1 pound. I’ll take it.

Today I’m doing something so far out of my comfort zone, it’s not even visible with a telescope. Remember my recent blog about how much I hate pictures? Well, in just a few minutes, a photographer and crew will come for a photo shoot for a story they’re doing about me in the next issue of Careforce Chronicle.

I’m not excited about this. Not even a little bit. I’m willing to do it, because Children’s has been so supportive of me. I truly would not be where I am and where I’m going if it weren’t for my working here.

But that doesn’t mean I want my picture anywhere in public. Lately, a few more people have recognized me from photos on my blog. That’s a nice feeling. Of course, I’m secretly hoping they’re thinking “Wow, she looks much better than in person than on the blog.”

Ah, self-esteem. That pesky little voice of doubt that’s in all of our heads. It doesn’t matter what we weigh, what we look like, what our income is—we all have our insecurities.

But I’m sucking it up. I’m doing this for you guys. And while I’m sitting here posing at my desk and panicking inside, I’ll be thinking of all the nice things you guys have written to me.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Camp was wonderful. I’m exhausted but happy today. I’ve been pretty busy trying to catch up from being out last week, so I thought I’d just update you with a few stats:

From Thursday afternoon to Sunday afternoon:

Steps walked: 33,740, a total of more than 18 and a half miles (it would have been more, but I was driving some people around in the golf cart both Saturday and Sunday morning)

Salads eaten: Three

Desserts passed up: Three

Desserts eaten: One. What can I say? Banana pudding is a weakness.

Cookies consumed: None, despite a huge surplus of them that I avoided all weekend.

Pieces of pizza inhaled: One

• Diet Cokes consumed: Um, let’s just skip this. What? We had 7 a.m. wake-up calls!

“Ice Cream and Cake” dances performed: Four

Ice cream and cake eaten: None

Macarena and Electric Slide performances: One each (I was doing something else and missed both the Cha-Cha Slide and Cupid Shuffle. Darn.)

Hugs received: Countless

Hopefully this will pay off in my weigh-in tomorrow. Stay tuned to find out.