Category Archives: Accomplishment

Conversations With Yourself

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At 5’3″ and 231 pounds, I was classified as “morbidly obese”. Whether or not I agree with that label is another story. But according to all the professionals, there it was in black and white, a body mass index of 40.9%.

Over the 25 years I spent being overweight (which I still am, by the way – according to the professionals) I often wished I could *see myself* at a healthier weight. Every new year I’d think “well, if I start in January and lose 8 pounds per month, I could be thin by Thanksgiving!” And then I’d fail to follow through, and Thanksgiving would roll around, and I’d still be hefty because all I did was THINK about it, and again I’d be ashamed of my lack of self-discipline.

There’s something about this commercial that really speaks to my heart.

I don’t know anything about Medifast. But personally, I think it’s good motivation to “visualize yourself” where you’d like to be. And in this commercial, in the two tearfully spoken words: “Good job!” – I sense her embarrassment over her current shape, her desire to accomplish her goal, her doubt over her ability to gain control, her hope that this time she’ll follow through, and the pride she knows she’ll feel when she does. Maybe I’m reading more into it than is really there, but I see me in her.

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A Fire Pit Would Have Been A Whole Lot Easier!

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Several weeks ago, Jake asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I’d been wishing for a really nice fire pit like Alice has in her back yard. (Of course, her back yard also has 100-foot pine trees – with bears occasionally in them, summertime highs of 60 degrees, a salty ocean scent, and views of snow-capped mountains to go with her crushed rock fire pit surrounded by really cool log stools to sit on. And her back yard has Alice, too, but I can’t have EVERYTHING!)

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So, I told Jake I wanted a back yard fire pit surrounded by crushed rock with really cool log stools (except I don’t think our scrawny cedar tree stumps would have quite the same effect) and twinkly lights in the trees like Bonnie’s.

Off we went to Lowe’s, where John was in hog heaven dreaming of all of the projects he could accomplish with unlimited time, patience, and money. He and Jake started pulling out bricks and stacking them in a circle, calculating how many they’d need and how high the pit should be and what color would look best and all of those boring details. It started looking like some serious money was going to go into a project I thought would cost MAYBE $75.

While we were there, I got to looking at tile and thinking “if we’re gonna spend THAT much money, we might as well spend a little more and get something that I REALLY need and want.” Our house was built in 1994. Vinyl flooring was standard in most kitchens, and I also made the most unfortunate choice of carpet in the dining room.

Carpet. In the dining room. With three boys. And their friends. And Joshua. And Grant Garrett spilling an entire plate of spaghetti sauce. And who knows how many football boys who didn’t ‘fess up to dripped pizza roll sauce. And several dog accidents. Need I say more?

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So, we decided to bite the bullet and pull the trigger and take the bull by the horns. Some expressed doubt (*cough*Doug*cough*) and others said things like “man, that killed me!” (*cough*Jonas*cough*) but those same people loaned tools and advice and space in a dumpster and a “YOU CAN DO IT” pat on the back (thanks Jonas! And Tim! And Darrell! And Bill! And Doug!)

And our kids. They were amazing. I can’t even say how much work they did – and did with a smile (except for the times that John and Jake butted heads because they are too much alike…) Jordan was a whiz with the tile saw and all of the angles that had to be figured. Jake muscled through that stubborn vinyl down to the bitter end, and Alyssa did a lot of dirty work with an iron, boiling water and a scraper. Erin was a grout master and always has vision for projects like this. Micah willingly helped with everything. I can’t say that the project itself was FUN, but it was FUN to be with all of our kids and laugh and make memories with them. John is a fabulous handyman – I’ve always admired the way he tackles a project, and he does things right the first time.

Yet…the project isn’t completely finished. I still have to seal the grout. John has to put new baseboards down. The carpet seam has to be re-stretched and tacked down. Our stove is still on the deck and fridge is still in the living room. There are still about 6 tiles that need to be laid in the pantry. And if this project is like some others in our history, it might be 2016 before some of these things get done. 😉

For those of you who have read this far and are wondering – what does this have to do with weight loss? Well, for one: laying tile for 8 hours earns you 35 points plus!

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And for another: my blog is about struggle, determination, and balance and I guarantee that those were all involved in this project.

But I have to laugh when I think of what Jake said a couple of days into the endeavor: “A fire pit would have been a WHOLE lot easier.”

Here are some “before” photos. Pardon the mess and don’t judge! 😉

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If you’ve ever wondered what’s underneath your carpet…here it is:

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SICK!!!

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And in case you wonder what you might find under your stove that hasn’t been moved in 17 years…here ya go:

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We had to cut the carpet to divide the living room from dining room. I was at work during this “no-turning-back” moment, so the guys handed off the scary job to Alyssa. 🙂

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Then, the really dirty work started. John thought the vinyl would come up easily. NOT. We hacked away at it, scraped, beat it, screamed at it, and seriously thought about TORCHING it. In the end, we had to sit a hot, steamy iron directly on every square inch of vinyl until it heated enough to be pulled away from the paper backing and adhesive below it. Then we had to pour boiling water on top of THAT mess and wait for it to soak in, then scrape it away with scrapers and chisels and any other sharp-edged tool we could find. This was HARD, and SWEATY, and SLOW, and AWFUL. Just looking at these pictures makes my stomach hurt. 😉

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My glamour shot: I was tired. It was late. 🙂


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No yuppie women here! 🙂

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Hanes, anyone?

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HINT: If you have to ruin some irons, get them from Goodwill for $3.99.

Well, we finally got the floor uncovered, but found that the builders had spray painted the trim on the concrete floor so we worried that the paint would have to come up before the thinset would adhere. Thankfully – Bill said it would be fine as it was.

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Next John “popped a line” of chalk to get a straight line to start thinking about laying the tile. We had originally thought we’d lay it in straight vertical (or horizontal?) rows but John’s friend Darrell (who does a lot of tile work) said that while laying it diagonally would mean more cuts and more work, we would like the results better.

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The first bit of mortar (or whatever it’s called…) in the kitchen/dining room is laid…

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Awww.
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Lots of cutting and figuring:

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And THIS picture was taken after we got home from the New Year’s Eve party, about 1 a.m.:

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John didn’t want to lay the tile diagonally in the laundry room because there would’ve been too many cuts and wasted tile. So we decided to put a fun transition piece between the kitchen and laundry (and also between the game room and dining room.)

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This is my favorite part!

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No BUTTS about it…this was a tough project! 😉

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Had to crawl through a few windows…

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And make a few tricky moves:

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We made a *few* Home Depot runs…

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And the grouting started. Isn’t she pretty?

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John did a lot of “figgerin'” in his head. Which is funny to look at but is really smart, because as your momma and daddy always told you… “If you do it right the first time, you don’t have to do it again!”

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The LAST TILE! (Well, except for those few little ones in the laundry room.) Hint: save the last pieces for the ones that won’t show (under the stove, etc.) because by then you almost won’t CARE what it looks like. 😉

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Grouting the kitchen/dining:

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MESSY.

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And the (almost) finished result!

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I sure do love these people!

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Thanks for letting me share! I know it’s certainly not the biggest or most amazing or fantastic project, but we are pretty excited about it! A fire pit may have been easier, but this is A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

OBSESSED

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A few years ago, I saw an episode of an A&E television show called “Obsessed” that gave a glimpse into the lives of people with different anxiety disorders. One man was obsessed with working out. He would get up extra early in the morning to go to the gym before work, and he would work out during breaks at the company gym, and then would stop at the gym AGAIN on his way home.

At the time, I was a complete couch potato and could not fathom ANYONE being willing to subject himself to such torture not just once, but THREE or FOUR times daily! But now…now that I’m a long-distance-runner-hurdler-professional-weight-lifter-and-all-around-athlete 😉 I can relate a bit more. Well…actually I guess I should say that since I now go to the gym (usually) three times a week (except in December) I can relate a bit more.

It is hard not to be a bit obsessive when you’re trying to get rid of extra weight. The grocery store feels like a battle zone with sugar IEDs lurking on every aisle. The “Grilled Chicken Bowtie Festival” winks at you from Carino’s menu, luring you in with the words “grilled chicken” and then slapping you with the sneaky asiago cream sauce. And it’s scary to fall off the workout wagon – because once you’re off, it’s so hard to get back on again!

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Here’s what I’m still learning. It’s okay to have some Bowtie Festival every once in a while, and even then you don’t have to eat the whole plate full. If you have a 14 year old boy, you can count on him to be happy to finish anything you can’t. You can also have some Raspberry M&M’s, if you can make the bag last for a couple of months (yes, months!) And it’s not the end of the world if you go a week without working out. Just get back on the wagon and keep going.

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Food log today: Egg McMuffin from McDonalds. Chicken tortilla soup and some Garcias chips for lunch. Buffalo pretzel chips for snack. And maybe a Ghirardelli peppermint chocolate square. Four slices of lean brisket and a spinach salad for supper.

Trying to Stay Un-Hefty

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Isn’t “un-hefty” a word? If it isn’t, it should be!

We’ve had a few people ask us “how we did it” (losing weight), and the following is part of an email between me and a friend. I have to say that we still are fighting to lose the last bit and are fully aware that it’ll be a fight to keep it off. I don’t have any illusions that we’ve got it all figured out! I just thought some of you might be interested in a few of the things that worked best for John and me.

By the way, this is one of the photos that I saw of myself that was kind of “the last straw.” I keep it on my refrigerator for motivation. And because I love Gretchen. 🙂

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“Weight Watchers really does work because it teaches you to make better choices and it’s a lifestyle change, not a fad.

As far as my advice – I would say, don’t be in a big hurry because you need to be in it for the long haul. Don’t say “I’ve got to do it in six months” because that can set you up for failure. Also, don’t set unrealistic goals because you may get discouraged.

Track your food / points EVERY MEAL, EVERY DAY! (John didn’t track, he just followed me…but I had to or I’d forget what I’d eaten.) If you don’t have time to record it before you eat it, take a picture of your plate with your phone camera and then you can take time later to track your points.

Set a goal for losing ten pounds, and then go from there. Losing really is motivating, and it’s easier to lose in the beginning but don’t get discouraged if it slows down a little. The less you weigh, the less you need to eat, so your points will go down. Sometimes that’s a little depressing because you already think you don’t get to eat enough…but it’s worth it!

Discover new foods that you like and that satisfy you. The things that helped me the most are good Boars Head deli meats (smoked turkey, Bavarian ham) for breakfast or lunch (I don’t even need bread) – lots of protein and no carbs and fat (but be careful of sodium content)….also Laughing Cow cheese. The light ones are two for one point – great on pretzel chips and on baked potatoes. Also, we love spinach salads with grilled chicken – lots of grocery stores carry frozen pre-grilled chicken breasts so it’s easy to make a salad. There are lots of good light salad dressings, but I prefer the real stuff, I just don’t use much of it. Progresso light soups are filling and tasty.

Find the things that are high in protein (so they are filling and satisfying) and not just empty sugar calories. Most cereals are just sugar, so it was hard in the beginning, because I like cereal – but I hardly eat any now.

Find a good salsa and use that instead of cheese on eggs or baked potatoes, etc….I love Julios.

Give up ANY kind of sugar drink and switch to diet. (A lot of people say the diet sodas aren’t good for you and I’m sure they’re not but it has been pretty crucial for my weight loss to be able to have a diet soda.) I don’t even miss the regular ones any more. At all. And it didn’t take long – maybe a week or two for me to not miss it. I love Diet DP, DP Ten, Coke Zero, Diet Pepsi with cherry….almost all of them are great! Red Diamond splenda sweetened tea is good.

I’ll eat a little teaspoon of peanut butter when I’m feeling munchy – it’s semi-high in points but tastes good and is filling.

Most of this will all depend on your tastes. That’s what I mean when I say – find what works for you. Stick with it every day – don’t have a “cheat day” (unless that works for you) because to me, it would ruin my whole week.

One of the biggest things I guess is – when you’re eating something, ask yourself “am I really enjoying this?” If your answer is not whole heartedly YES, throw it away. Don’t waste calories on it. Save that for things you really enjoy.

If you have a big piece of cake in front of you and you’re feeling guilty – eat a bite or two and then pour your drink on top of it.  That really works for me, because it takes the temptation away and you won’t keep nibbling it.”

We wish you the best!

Me vs. the Oreo Balls

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Had a stare down with this big plate of Oreo Balls. I think I prevailed, since I only ate one.

Food log for this busy day: breakfast – 2 oz Boar’s Head ham and 1/2 cup cottage cheese (I’m a creature of habit, and the protein works for me!) lunch – 1 1/2 cups beef/vegetable soup and my can’t-go-a-day-without-them buffalo wing pretzel chips. Supper- Weight Watchers Smart Ones chicken fettucine. Also one Oreo ball and two of those pretzel and Hershey kiss thingys.

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The Abominable Chubby Woman

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“I really am a mean and despicable creature at heart, you know. It’s so difficult to…REALLY change.”

I never really thought of myself as mean and despicable. Occasionally moody and contrary, maybe. But I can sure relate to the Abominable Snowman – it is so difficult to really change!

But the words “put one foot in front of the other” crossed my mind almost daily for a while. And I particularly identify with this part of the song:

“If you want to change your direction; if your time of life is at hand…well, don’t be the rule, be the exception! A good way to start is to stand!”

[Food log today: 1 1/2 oz. Boar’s head ham, 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/2 oz. cocoa roast almonds for breakfast…Progresso light chicken noodle soup and pretzel crisps for lunch…5 of Erin’s vanilla wafers mid-afternoon (sorry, Erin, I finished the box)…2 oz shredded chicken breast, one taco shell, 2 tbsp cheddar cheese, lots of spinach, 1 tsp balsamic vinaigrette, 1/2 cup pasta, sprinkle of feta cheese, a few pita chips and a bit of hummus for supper…AND a 40 calorie fudgsicle.]

Pray.

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John prayed for me to lose weight. I guess some women might find that offensive…and I guess if I thought he was asking God to turn me into Angelina Jolie, I might have been offended. (And because he knows what’s good for him, he was careful how he told me.)

I knew he was asking God to help me be healthier. But it caught me a little by surprise, because I tend to think that God has much bigger things to pay attention to than “Carla’s struggle with fat.” The more I thought about it, though, the more comfort I felt. There is no anxiety too small or too large that can’t be given over to Him, because He cares for me and you. I read that in 1 Peter 5, and tell other people about it, and I need to remember that it applies to me, too.

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I put that picture in the middle there to distract you from my food log for the day, because my determination was low, and my struggle was high. For breakfast I had a few cocoa roasted almonds, 2 ounces of Boar’s Head ham, and 1/2 cup of cottage cheese. That’s pretty much the end of the determination. Lunch and supper consisted of two Mexican food places: Garcias and Trudy’s.  Garcia’s = chips. I had two cheese enchiladas and about 1/4 cup each of rice and beans. And chips. At Trudy’s I had two smoked chicken tacos. (Man, I wish I could re-create those smoked chicken tacos at home!) And chips.

I bet even Angelina Jolie wouldn’t be able to resist Garcia’s chips.