Run to Win: 100 lbs in 118 days

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

From Start to Finish Line - 0 Days Left

This morning I had the wonderful opportunity to share with my HomeMakers group, that I am a part of at my church here in Minnesota, about the journey I have been on these past several months.  Tonight, I wanted to share these words with you as it summarizes the past 118 days perfectly.  I appreciate all of you so very much for following me through all of the ups and downs this summer.  This is not the end for me.  I will continue my road to better health and continue to blog on my progress.  All together, I would like to lose 180 pounds.  Currently, I do no know if that will take me a year or five years.  Yet whatever it takes, I will not stop until I have made it.

HomeMakers Testimony 9/13/11

In October of last year, I decided after four children and over 100 pounds of weight gain since I married my husband in 1999, that I wanted to become a contestant on the Biggest Loser television show.  After all, how else would a girl like me lose all the weight I had gained without the aid of a show like that?

Despite my embarrassment, that I had allowed myself to become so very heavy, I asked several of my friends to pray and believe with me for the opportunity.  On my 12th anniversary in March, instead of spending the majority of my day with my husband, I was at the Mall of America standing in the largest Q line anyone has ever seen for the Biggest Loser casting call.  I borrowed my friend, Emily’s, video recorder in order to make what I thought was the perfect audition video, even taking the time to walk around department stores to point out to producers that the models shown were not really plus size models at all and other phenomenon’s in poor taste such as placing the string bikini section adjacent to the Women’s clothing area in the store.

My plan was to announce on the very last day of HomeMakers in the spring that indeed I had been chosen.  Balloons would fall, everyone would cheer and Living Word would finally receive some good press.  I would stand before you today, the winner of the Biggest Loser season, and use part of my $250,000 grand prize to have somewhat of an "Oprahesque moment" here at HomeMakers and provide manicures and pedicures for everyone.  However, the Biggest Loser never called and for a couple of weeks in the Spring I was emotionally defeated thinking I would never achieve weight loss and be unhealthy forever.

In the midst of my self pity one night, I asked my husband if he thought I could lose weight just like the people on the Biggest Loser show.  Without hesitating, he said, “Of course I do”.  And from there a new vision for health began to blossom.

I decided to take on a weight loss challenge this summer.  Besides diet and exercise, I would also write a blog in order to keep myself accountable.  I called my blog – “Run to Win: 100 pounds in 118 days”.  Run to win based on 1 Corinthians 9:24 that says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.”  100 pounds because, if some of the whiners chosen for the Biggest Loser could do it, surely I could too.  118 days because that is when HomeMakers would kick off again in the fall.  And even though we did not have additional money to add to our current budget, I believed that God would provide a way to do it.

I decided my kick off day would be May 17, the day that Dustin Maher came and taught us his Mama Tone class.  As he shared that day, he asked us to envision ourselves 10 years from now if we made no changes to our life today.  For me, that would mean weighing an additional 80 pounds and therefore, solidified my decision to adopt a healthy lifestyle even more.  At the end of the class, he blessed me with a DVD set that contained 24 workouts.  God was already providing.

As friends began to read my blog and hear that I was using Dustin’s videos along with other workout videos I had borrowed from the library, two friends, Monica and Julie purchased the Biggest Loser and Jillian Michaels videos for me to use.  My parents blessed me with CrossFit and Kickboxing classes at a gym in Maple Grove.  And to help enhance my challenge, Julie also offered to bless me with a 5K at the end of the summer along with participating with me to cheer me on.

When Julie asked me, I wanted to say yes as I had thought about participating in 5K races before.  However, even when I was a much smaller size, I would occasionally have problems with my knees and shins while exercising which made me afraid to try.  Yet as I thought about it more and more, the Lord brought Joyce Meyer's words to mind, “Do it afraid”.  I told Julie yes and stayed committed to my diet and exercising no less than 5 days a week over the next couple of months.

Finally, the day of our 5K arrived.  This past Sunday, September 11.  Despite my training, I was still apprehensive.  Yet I knew this was something I needed to achieve.  In my CrossFit classes, they teach that at the beginning of each workout you should start with your goal in mind.  My goal for the 5K was only to finish.

As the horn blew and we began our run, which was more like an aggressive walk for Julie, it turned out that running was much harder than I imagined.  And even though it was only two laps around Lake Como in St. Paul, by the time I was 1/5 of the way through the first lap, I started to wonder what on earth I was even doing there.  This was torture.  Instead of Julie paying an entry fee, the organizers of the race should be paying us to participate!  I am not going to lie to you.  I thought about quitting.  However, with each exercise video or workout class I have set out to do from day one of my journey, I had never quit.  I decided that this would be no different.

One by one, they passed:  A man with a baby in a stroller, a family with a six year old little girl, woman who weren’t even running, just walking.   However, Julie kept encouraging me, from stories of Dory in Finding Nemo singing “Keep Swimming” to words about being an active participant instead of just sitting on the sidelines.  When the leaders of the 5K passed me before I even finished the first lap, she assured me that was OK and they always pass her too.  And toward the end of the race when I was so very tired and began to feel like I was circling a lake more the size of Lake Minnetonka, she kept cheering me on and said, “Why don’t we just power walk for a while”.  As I gasped for air, I informed her that in my world I was already power walking.  Finally, at 58 minutes and 20 seconds, I crossed the finish line.

Julie and I hugged and cried as we were both so very happy of what I had accomplished.   Something I never believed I would be able to do just three months ago.  Then Julie looked back at the finish line and exclaimed, “Karen!  You weren’t last!”  I turned around just in time to see three other ladies crossing the finish line.  Not only did I finish in under an hour.  I didn’t finish last!

If you knew me last year, you know as I stand before you today on my 118th day of my challenge that I did not lose 100 pounds.  When I weighed this morning, my total weight loss had only come to only 22 pounds.  However, in the past three months more than anything I have learned that my total weigh lost is only secondary.  What is more important is all that I have gained: energy, strength, a desire to eat healthy, perseverance to keep moving forward and the ability to know longer feel ashamed of the person I am.  Today is not the end of my journey, only the end of the first chapter of many to come on the road to become healthy.  Pastor Mac is right when he says, “If you don’t quit, you win!”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Things I have learned - 6 days left

Well folks, I have anticipated it, talked about it, counted the days down to it, and have finally arrived at the last week of my "Run to Win" challenge.  Tonight, with six days remaining, I thought I would take the opportunity to look back and name the top six things I have learned over the past 112 days of my journey.  While they are not profound, they are note worthy of a change in coarse that will not end in the next week, but last for a lifetime.

  1. Through "Ponytail Girl", I learned that first impressions are not always completely accurate.  In fact, in this case, mine was completely wrong.  On the first day we met, her intention was not to ridicule me for running slowly, but to cheer me on to the finish line.  However, since my thought pattern was as such to think that most people were out to tell me how awful I was for letting myself go for so long, I was blinded to see the place she was coming from.
  2. With each passing week that I weighed, I learned the amount of pounds gone were only secondary to the amount of physical strength I had gained and how much better I felt overall.  As I mentioned before, even though the scale still reflects the weight of a big girl, I know I have unleashed the skinny girl within.
  3. If someone would have asked me before I started working out in May if I was a happy person, my answer would have been "yes".  Yet now, I realize that was only a small amount of how much better my emotional well being could be.  Elle Woods was right when she said, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy."
  4. I have overcome my fear of trying new things.  As Joyce Meyer put it, I have learned to "do it afraid".  There are still many things, when it comes to CrossFit and many other areas of life, that I am still unable to accomplish.  However, instead of worrying about what others will think, I try it anyway.  Many times I have even surprised myself with all I can do.
  5. I knew when I started my new way of life to get healthy that it would bring value to my family's well being.  What I didn't know is how much working on my health has been important to my children.  They are excited for me when I lose weight.  They can tell I look different.  They understand that this is an important thing their mommy is doing.  Since I have made myself a priority, they can see the great change it has brought to our family.
  6. Three months ago when I set my goal to lose 100 pounds in 118 days, I knew that it would be hard, but I knew I could do it.  As it has turned out, I will end up only achieving about 1/3 of my goal.  So without a doubt, the biggest and hardest lesson on my journey has been that it is OK that I won't make my goal.  I have learned that not achieving 100 pounds lost at this time is not a failure, but with persistence I will always win.  I am not disappointed, but rather content with all that I have accomplished so far.

Philippians 4:11 (New American Standard) - 

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
Seven Rounds for Time

  • 3 shoulder press - 25 pound dumb bells
  • 6 pistols
  • 9 sit-ups with 10 lb plate

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gain vs. Loss - 10 days left

After reading yesterday's post, one of my friend's shared with me something that a friend had communicated to him a few days ago.  He said, "The main idea is health 'gain', not weight 'loss'.  So in other words, think on what you are gaining and not what you are losing!".  And since it is always wise to follow good advice, I did.

  • A better attitude about most everything and much happier overall, no matter my circumstances
  • Slim to none occurrences of shortness of breath, unless, of course I am at CrossFit.
  • Energy.  I am no longer drained physically all the time.
  • Enjoy spending time with my children more because I am able to interact with them better
  • Sleep so much better at night and rarely need a nap
  • Smaller clothes and can now fit my feet into normal width tennis shoes and lace them up
  • Improved routine and the ability to complete more task throughout my day
  • No pain when I walk up and down the stairs
  • Can now wear the seat belt on the airplane without the seat belt extender
  • Can fit one of my pretty rings on my finger that I was no longer able to wear three months ago - still need to lose about 30 more pounds to be able to wear my wedding band
  • No more heart palpitations
  • When I go to church, I don't have to worry about finding a seat that is big enough.  (Our seats at church are similar to movie theater seats and vary in width, or at least they seem to vary in width.)
  • The gap between my body and the steering wheel has increased to three inches.
  • I am still a bed hog and tend to sleep toward the middle of the bed, but my husband now has more room to relax. 
  • When I go shopping and have to carry my one year old because she is screaming at the top of her lungs, like today, my back no longer hurts.
  • No longer crave unhealthy snack foods.  Before it was almost unbearable as though I had to have it.
  • Even though I am still a big girl, I know longer FEEL like a big girl!!!

And after reflecting on all of these great things that I have gained over the last three months, I can now see that it is so much more than that tiny, little number on the scale I hope to see change each week.  My life has changed.  I am no longer the same person I was just 90 days ago.  I have gained so much more than I have lost!
Proverbs 3:13-14 (Amplified) - Happy (blessed, fortunate, enviable) is the man who finds skillful and godly Wisdom, and the man who gets understanding [drawing it forth from God's Word and life's experiences], For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, and the profit of it better than fine gold.

WOD (Workout of the Day)

  • Rest

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sometimes You're the Bug - 11 days left

Over that past few months I have been blogging about my weight loss, there have been several times that I have wanted to come and post one sentence or less to my blog for the evening and be done.  This would be one of those evenings.  In fact, this would probably be the best time to do it.  Yet if I did that, my honesty code would be thrown out the window and I would not be following my own rules that set before me when I started.

Have you ever heard the song by Mary Chapin Carpenter called The Bug?  The lyrics in the song say, "Sometimes you're the windshield, Sometimes you're the bug".  Well today folks, I was most definitely the bug.

After weighing yesterday and seeing a 21 pound weight loss on the scale, I decided to get back on the scale late this afternoon just to see that glorious number again.  Today instead of dragging the scale out from under the bathroom counter with my foot, I decided to pick it up to move it to the middle of the floor.  As I did, a small one inch, hot pink crayon rolled out from underneath the scale.  And that is when I knew that my huge weight loss results yesterday were due to a crayon opposed to the hard work and effort I had put in over the last week.

I stood on the scale anyway, hoping with all that was in me to be wrong.  Unfortunately, I was not.  My number was very close to what it was last week when I had weighed.  I always weigh in the morning each week, so I am not quite sure how off it was, but it certainly was not anywhere close to a 21 pound loss.

I believe I had about six different emotions hit me all at once.  However, the final emotion that lingered was embarrassment.  I had more views to my blog yesterday than I have had in a very long time, along with many, many comments to facebook.  So now, I had shared great news with a lot of people about something very personal to me that never really happened.  Turned out the it really was the "Movie Kinda Weight Loss" because it was all false.  Well almost completely false.  My smaller sized jeans really were too big as I stated yesterday, so at least that cannot be taken away.

I considered not sharing this at all and just trying to mask my huge mistake over.  Yet that would not be real, that would not be honest, and I felt like if I lied about this and anyone ever found out, the rest of my blog would seem like a lie as well.  I would also have a huge dilemma to explain next week when I had gained so much weight back.

So there you have it.  The truth of what really happened on Karen's weigh day.  One day I am sure that I will look back at this day and laugh.  However, today it is not so funny.
John 8:32 (New American Standard) - and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

WOD (Workout of the Day)
21 reps, 15 reps, 9 reps

  • Thrusters with 45 lb bar
  • Pull ups

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Movie Kinda Weight Loss - 12 days left

It had to happen sometime.  And believe it or not, it has finally happened for me with 12 days remaining in my journey to lose 100 lbs in 118 days.  With all of the ups and downs I have seen on the scale each week when "Weigh Day" has rolled around, today I get to say that I have experienced the "movie kinda weight loss".

So what is the "movie kinda weight loss" exactly?  Well folks, it is the kinda of weight loss that happens very quickly.  It takes place with very little blood, sweat and tears in the interim before you finally see the overweight person transformed overnight on the screen to the slim, healthy, photo shopped looking kind of person that movies are made of.

Now before anyone gets too excited here, let me just say that I still have a long road ahead.  The reason it is the "movie kinda weight loss" in my book is because when I stepped on the scale this morning, 21 pounds had been lost since "weigh day" last week.  No people.  That was not a typo.  I really meant to say 21 pounds in one week, bringing my total weight loss from May 18 to 45 pounds!

One would think the story could not get any better.  Oh, but it does!

When I was in Georgia visiting my mom and dad at the beginning of August, my mom took me shopping to buy smaller clothes.  My mom purchased two shirts for me that I was able to start wearing at the time and two pairs of jeans in a smaller size than what I was currently wearing.  Since this evening was the open house at my boys school, I decided to pull out a pair of the new, skinnier jeans my mom had bought just to see if they might work.  I put them on and they were loose!!  I could pull the jeans out from my waist a full inch and in my thighs and legs there was also a good amount of room to spare.  I did wear them since they have not been washed and I know they will shrink.  However, the other jeans are going back to store to be exchanged for the next size smaller!

At long last, the blog post that seems to follow a script from Hollywood.  I know.  I know.  My week did contain some blood, sweat and tears to get to this great number which is rather anti-movie screen worthy.  However, if I would have written out the perfect week to share in my blog at the beginning of my journey 106 days ago, it would have been very close to the events of this week and would have been deemed by me the "movie kinda weight loss".
Psalm 30:5 (New King James) - For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning. 

WOD (Workout of the Day)

  • Kickboxing

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Now or Never - 13 days left

Today I pushed myself harder than I ever have before in any CrossFit workout.  I did as many dead lift reps as possible with 105 lbs of weight for 30 seconds, six rounds.  Even though only two hours has passed since I completed it, I already feel the soreness in my muscles throughout my body.  Triumph or tragedy?

In the past at this point, I would have said, "I will let you know tomorrow".  Yet due to the changes not just externally, but internally over the last several months, today I would have to say, "It was a triumph for sure".  Yes, there is soreness and most likely, there will be a little more tomorrow.  However, the determination to push myself farther and to keep moving forward to get stronger each day is pure victory.

On the diet and exercise roller coaster that I have gotten to know so very well over the course of my life, this would be the time in the past where I would be nearing the end of my ride.  I would be thinking about how this has been nice for a while, but now I am tired and want to get back to life as usual.  Instead of pressing through to success, I would be taking off my gym shoes until next time.

In only thirteen days, this first phase of my weight loss will be over and my challenge to lose 100 lbs in 118 days technically will have failed.  However, what I have gained over the last one hundred plus days will last forever.  The change within me will remain.  And what I have started practicing daily will not stop.  I will keep going for the next 100 days and the 100 days after that until I am maintaining a healthy weight.

I wish that I had a definitive answer as to why this time is different.  Why I have determined so deeply within that I will not fail no matter how long the road.  Yet I cannot answer that.  All I can say is that a little over 102 days ago something within me clicked and I knew for sure that I know longer wanted to be the largest girl in the room, the most unhealthy mother of all my children's friends or gain another 100 lbs over the next 12 years.  I knew that this was it.  It was now or never.

Matthew 10:23 (The Message) -  

But don't quit. Don't cave in. It is all well worth it in the end. It is not success you are after in such times but survival. Be survivors! Before you've run out of options, the Son of Man will have arrived.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
Six Rounds

  • Dead lifts - as many reps as possible for 30 seconds
  • Burpees - as many reps as possible for 30 seconds

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Julies in Life - 14 days left

Once in a while, everyone encounters those days that you just wish you could go back to bed and start over again due to the bombardment of unpleasantness that greets you when you wake up.  For me, that was this morning when I awoke to find three out of our five beds wet.  Of course, having to clean up after someone who has wet the bed is not an uncommon occurrence for any parent of small children.  However, I will have to say that three beds at once is a little much for me.

Today is also Monday, which means I could have attended my 6 a.m. workout at CrossFit, but didn't since I was unable to go to sleep until about 2 a.m.  I would be lying if I said I didn't feel some guilt for not biting the bullet and just going anyway.  Each Monday this summer has also been when I have been watching my friend's three children for a summer job she had taken.  And if your weekends go somewhat like mine do having multiple children, there is already enough cleanup work to do without taking into consideration the mound of bedding from what I am now affectionately calling, "Wet Bed Fest 2011".

As I stewed in my huge pot of "poor me" soup, I then did what every red blooded American would do in their time of crisis.  I sat down at my computer and logged into Facebook, so all of my friends could hear of my "oh, so sad" morning as well and sympathize.  However, as I typed my pitiful comment that was sure to bring a tear to any mother's eye, I noticed another comment that had been posted on my wall 11 minutes before I turned to Facebook to share my woes.

My friend Julie, who has been cheering me on from the start of my journey, posted:
"Champions aren't made in the gym.  Champions are made from something they have deep down inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision". - Muhammad Ali....You're a champion, Karen.  Keep fighting for all that's deep down inside of you!
I was speechless.  Few words packed with so much meaning.  On a morning when I had not felt like a champion at all, my friend had called me one.  As my fight has had more than one flicker in it over the past few weeks, she prompted me to keep fighting.   And as my vision has somewhat waned as I get closer to day 118 knowing I won't make my goal, she reminded me of the purpose I carry deep inside of me to get healthy anyway.

There are times when we all need our Julies.  There are other times when we are the Julies to others.  I am glad that my Julie was caring enough to take the time to post to my wall this morning.  Without it, I would have walked around as a loser today instead of feeling like a champion.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (The Message) - Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.
WOD (Workout of the Day)
  • Kickboxing

Friday, August 26, 2011

Moon River - 17 days left

For the last several days, my children have been talking about musical instruments and in the process learned that I used to play the clarinet.  So today, for the first time since I was in college, I pulled out my beautiful, black, Selmer clarinet and played it.  As I heard myself play the notes, it wasn't quite as tragic as I had anticipated.  However, it wasn't a beautiful flowing tune like "Moon River" either.

In high school and in college, I had not been the best clarinet player in the bunch.  Yet, I was talented enough to get a small band scholarship during college.  And as I blew into my clarinet for the first time in years today, I actually surprised myself that I was able to still play every note with the exception of about four.  However, it was a little "pitchy" as Randy from American Idol would say (in my case meaning "flat") and if someone outside of my house heard me playing, I am sure their conclusion would have been "beginning band student".

Until about three months ago, my body had been similar to my clarinet.  It had sat still, instead of being used on a regular basis.  Surprisingly, my body could still move in most every direction with the exception of a few things like running and jumping.  However, when I did decide to move a little faster than my usual pace, like the clarinet not being completely on pitch, my body would pop and crack with most every step and sometimes even ache afterward.

Today, I am only weighing in at 24 pounds less than I was three months ago.  Yet when I get up and move, there is no more popping and cracking in my joints, even when I go up and down the stairs.  And while there are some sore muscles every once in while, my overall feeling is so much better.  What will my experience be like when I am weighing 50 pounds less or even 100 pounds less?

I must admit that when I began my new road to better health, while I was determined to lose all the weight I needed to become a healthy person, I honestly did not know how I would ever accomplish such a thing with so much weight to lose.  Now I know I can do it.  With only 24 lbs gone, I already consider myself a new person.

Apparently, I look like a new person too.  I ran into one of my very dear friends whom I have not seen since April today and her first words were, "You are half the size you were when I last saw you!".  Realistically, I know that I am not half the size I was four months ago.  However, do you know how very good that made me feel?  And pretty soon with some more hard work, like that most lovely tune "Moon River" could sound with some practice on my clarinet, I will be beautiful both inside and out.

Proverbs 31:30 (New International Version) - Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
None - Responsibilities of being a mom got in the way

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No More - 18 days left

Have you ever had one of those days where you aren't totally submerged in the depths of despair, but you are definitely standing on the shoreline continuously allowing sad, negative thoughts and images to bombard you?  That would be the summation of the first 75% of my day.  There was no crying or utter depression, but there was a very melancholy sentiment as I wondered through my day merely existing.

Early on, I had decided that there would be no CrossFit workout for me.  I would take a break for the day as all of the other sane, rational crossfitters do after three workouts in a row.  After all, I still had the upcoming workouts on Friday and Saturday to round out my week and today I really wasn't up to the whole "go exercise" routine.

This all changed for me at about 6:05 p.m., an entire 25 minutes before my class would start.  I thought about how miserable I had felt and how slow going I had been all day.  And that was the moment I said, "No more!".

I went upstairs as fast as I could.  Decided to go ahead and wear the very bright, lime green sweatpants I had on in the name of saving time and cleanliness.  I then opened up my husband drawer in search of a t-shirt, as I had not sorted or folded any of the laundry either.  And as I looked through my choices, I found my only option was to wear the very worn out, faded softball team t-shirt from when I played last in GA and did such a terrible job due to all of the weight I had gained.  What a wonderful boost to my already gloomy day!!!

When I finally go into my minivan to head out, I realized that I would be there just in time if no traffic, road repair issues or slow drivers got in my way.  However, they did get in my way.  All of them in fact and I ended up walking in 5 minutes late.  This, of course, was not before I got a good look at myself in the reflection on the glass door of the gym and realized how very awful my clothing choices really did look.  And due to my tardiness, I only made it through the warm up one of three times before it was time to go with the Workout of the Day (WOD).

Then as I read the board, the first sprinkle of happiness for the day begin to find its way into my sad, pitiful mood.  You see, the WOD contained dead lifts.  Something that I am actually good at and can use a good amount of weight lifting.  And instead of feeling whimpy, as I must admit that I do sometimes at CrossFit, I actually felt strong and accomplished before we even started.

Turns out that was all I needed.  Just one thing to turn my mood around and put the unpleasant part of my day behind me.  My only regret now is that I wish I would have decided to change my direction much earlier on. If I would have aspired to have my "no more" moment sooner, I would have accomplished so much more and would have been so much happier.  Hopefully next time, I will remember today and make the decision to do so much faster.

Proverbs 23:7a (New American Standard) - 

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
For time - 21 reps, 15 reps, 9 reps
  • Dead Lifts - 75 lbs
  • Shoulder presses with 20 lb dumbbells 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Milestones - 19 days left

Being a mother of four, there are many milestones that I have the opportunity to witness in my children's lives.  One of the first is potty training.  For my three who have potty trained so far, this has come in two steps.  The first is when they are potty trained throughout the day and then again when they are finally diaper free at night.

For the last eight years I have had two children in diapers at the same time.  At least that is how it was until this week.  This week is when my three year has consistently made it through the night first with a dry diaper and then to "wear", as she calls it, without wetting the bed.  This is not only a sign of her growing up, but also a sign of money that will be saved now only having to buy diapers for one.

Over the last 98 days, I have seen "milestones" concerning my health.  The first was when I no longer craved sugar as though I would absolutely die without it.  Then was the first eight pounds of weight loss I achieved that represented one year of weight gain.  In the last month, I have mastered sit-ups again for the first time in over 20 years.  And finally yesterday, I rowed 400 meters in less than 2 minutes.

Like my daughter's accomplishment in potty training, these personal milestones are signs that I am getting stronger and more fit.  I am "growing up" in the healthy way of speaking.  It is also a sign of money that will be saved in my future.  Money saved from additional doctor visits that would be required of a morbidly obese person as myself.  Money saved from prescriptions I would need to treat the diseases I would acquire or surgeries and hospital stays that would be required.  And in the absolute worst case scenario, saving my children from growing up without a mother.

So even though my weight loss each week has been comparable to a shot in the dark (this week a gain of 2 pounds for the record, equaling 24 lbs lost total), I can feel that my body is better off today than when I began three months ago.  What I have put myself through physically and emotionally has been worth it.  It has not been a waste of time or just something for me "to do".  It is the most valuable gift I have given myself.  So as I countdown my final three weeks before my 118 days are through, I don't look down at the ground in shame for what I have not achieved, but straight ahead for all the milestones I will continue to accomplish.

Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message) - Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.

WOD (Workout of the Day
  • Kickboxing

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Row It - 20 days left

Recently, I watched the movie Whip It.  The main character of the movie, played by Ellen Page, decides that her teenage life, filled with beauty pageants, is no longer for her and joins the roller derby.  While I don't agree with the rebellion she shows toward her parents or the lies she tells to accomplish this, I do like that she realized that she was not happy with how her life was going and decided to change it.

Ninety-eight days ago, I had this "ah-ha" moment as well.  I decided that I was no longer happy on my current track of unhealthy eating and an average weight gain of 8 lbs per year over the last twelve years and started taking steps to change my course.  Those of you have followed my blog from the beginning know that this has not been an easy road.  I have whined, cried, injured myself, considered quitting, been happy, then elated and then defeated again all in the same week.  Yet despite all of my ups and downs along the way, I have not quit and I have kept going.

I have learned while I am not the strongest or the fastest or the person that is able to lose weight really quickly, I am the person who has much perseverance.  For me, this has been the best quality I could have obtained.  Instead of quitting as I have done so many times in the past, perseverance is what has kept me going.  And perseverance is what has helped me achieve so many of the small goals that I have set before me.

Many of you will remember that I had set the goal about a month ago to go 400 meters on the rowing machine in 2 minutes or less.  Tonight I achieved that goal not once, not twice, not three times, but four times! My times was 1:59 the first three rounds and 1:58 on the final round.  I literally wanted to shout and tell all of my fellow crossfitters, whom I am quite sure would have been happy for me.  However, none of them know because I was too out of breath to share the news with anyone.  And as Ellen Page was so excited each time she achieved something great with her new way of life in the roller derby, I am totally energized with each new goal met and transformation I see in my new way of life daily.

Psalm 16:9 (The Message) -  I'm happy from the inside out, and from the outside in, I'm firmly formed. 

WOD (Workout of the Day)

  • Row 400 meters
  • 30 Back Squats
  • Row 400 meters
  • 20 Front Squats
  • Row 400 meters
  • 10 Overhead Squats
  • Row 400 meters

Monday, August 22, 2011

Temporary Discomfort - 21 days left

If you remember the original Karate Kid movie that was made in 1984, you will most likely recall the main characters, Daniel and Mr. Miyagi, entering the "mean boys" karate class and their instructor screaming, "Fear does not exist in this dojo, does it?" and the class screaming back, "No Sensei!".  Then the instructor begins to yell again, "Pain does not exist in this dojo, does it?" and the class again screams back again, "No Sensei!".  Finally, the instructor yells, "Defeat does not exist in this dojo, does it?" and the class gives one last, "No Sensei!" before the instructor ask the REALLY mean boy, who has become rather distracted by Daniel and Mr. Miyagi's presence, "What is your problem Mr. Lawrence?".

Fortunately, for me, when I attend my CrossFit weekly, I don't have a mean instructor yelling at me or asking me what my problem is.  And as the "mean boys" attested to that "fear does not exist in their dojo", I would have to say that I am not afraid when I am at the gym.  I am also quite confident in saying that "defeat does not exist" at my gym either.  However, when it comes to the pain aspect of things, that is something that is very really for me and does exist on a daily basis when I go to my CrossFit workout.

Now as I say this, I am sure some of you are becoming rather alarmed that I am off hurting myself and not being responsible when I workout thus experiencing pain.  However, I can say that 99% of the time I have gone to CrossFit, I have been very responsible and stay within my limits .  Yet even though I am responsible to my body and what I feel in most cases, my muscles are sore on most days.

As I sit in my living room and type to you this evening, my arms and hands are hurting from the kickboxing class I just completed about 90 minutes ago.  Tonight when I road home in our minivan from class, I was thankful that my husband was driving due to the pain I felt in my side and abs as I had worked so very hard to beat that 2 minute marker going 400 meters on the rowing machine and missed it by 1 second both times.  And during class as I kicked my leg over and over again, I could hear my mind screaming, "Stop!  Stop!  Stop!" as I battled to complete each round and not give up.

However, when I feel the pain during or after class, I also have the opportunity to think on the photo that I saw of myself today from about a year ago and observe how much smaller my arms and waist now look.  Or the noticeable difference in the height of my kicks that one of my instructors pointed out this evening.  And even though I might be a little sore from day to day, I no longer dread simple task that felt like they required so much energy just a short time ago liking bending down and picking things up off the floor.

Perhaps you have heard it said, "Pain is temporary, but pride is forever".  While I am not sure I will necessarily be happy "forever" about some of things I have mentioned, I do know that my pain will not last forever.  My muscles will become stronger and each week they will be able to handle what I put them through better and better.  And since my pain is something that I realize I only have to deal with on the short term, I believe I can handle it for the results I am seeing that will be long term.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (New International Version) - For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

WOD (Workout of the Day)

  • Kickboxing

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Woman in the Mirror - 23 days left

Today my husband and I road down a newly completed highway near our home for the first time since it had opened.  Yes, I must admit that this type of activity is one that we find amusing.  You see, we have been anticipating this road being completed for the last five years since we moved back to Minneapolis from Atlanta.  And this spring, once the snow was melted, road crews began to work adding exits, lanes, and eventually paint to connect the road all the way to the next city.

I feel like my weight loss journey over the past 90 days is very similar to this road (minus the 8 people standing around for every 2 people working).  I have been anticipating great things when it comes to the new strides I have made toward better health.  And once I finally got up and shook off all of my excuses to why I couldn't be fit and healthy, I began to see inches lost.  I started to feel better.  I noticed an increased level of energy throughout my days.   And just as my husband and I enjoyed driving down that new road together today, I have enjoyed actually looking at myself in the mirror for the first time in years.

The change in how I feel has also crossed over into other areas.  When I go to leave the house, I now put on all of my makeup instead of just lipstick.  I have started using hairspray again to hold my hair in place and not just a ponytail holder.  Today, for the first time in over a year, I painted my fingernails.  I also do my best to make sure my clothes look neat as opposed to that "just rolled out of bed" look that I had become accustomed to, even though I promised myself years ago I would never get to that place.

Believe me, it is quite alright if you are not one who loves to put on the makeup or use hairspray or paint your nails or an old t-shirt and sweats is your outfit of choice.  I am not saying that my list above is required to be a good person.  And this certainly is not vanity run amok either.  What I am saying is, for me, putting on so much weight over the last 12 years has not only affected my health, but other areas of my life that were once important to me.

So for those of you who have not seen me in the past 15 years and could never imagine me as the no makeup, no hairspray, wrinkly clothes girl I just described, stop gasping for air wondering what on earth could have happened to me and know that I am now on my own personal road to recovery.  And for those of you who have only known me as the girl who has looked as though she has been run over by a truck each morning before you have seen me, look out when I see you again in the fall or you might not recognize me.  Sure, I am still the same girl at heart that I was last Spring.  That has not changed.  Well, maybe a little.  However, the newer version of me is much easier to look at and happier than I have been in a very, very long time.

Proverbs 31:30 (New International Version) - Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
  • NONE!!  I took the day off and enjoyed it with my family!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Choice - 24 days left

Today as I read the workout of the day at CrossFit and assessed the difficulty I would have completing it, I thought to myself, "Surely, I can get through this 10 times in 20 minutes".  For the first five minutes or so, I was right on pace.  However, as the minutes progressed, I regressed to completing each round in more like 3 minutes.  When the buzzer sounded, I had completed 7 rounds plus one round of pull-ups and 5 push-ups.

While still a good number for me, it was not the goal I had in mind.  And since I like to complete my goals, I must admit that it was a little disappointing to not make the 10 rounds.  Just as the repeated theme in my blog has been some disappointment due to my weight loss progression not meeting or exceeding the 75 lbs of weight loss to this point I thought I would have had.

Then my mind goes to the other extreme and I begin to beat myself up in the other direction.  Why isn't 7 plus rounds OK?  That was a good number for the level I am now at.  Why can't I be happy with 26 lbs of weight loss?  At least I am losing something and no longer gaining weight with each passing month.

It is as though I am in a no win situation continuously beating myself up on all sides.  No matter what happens, I can find a reason not to be happy with the result.  And this can happen not only with my weight loss and exercise goals, but any goals that I set for myself.

So today, as I reflected on all of this, I made a decision.  It is a hard one for me, but a commitment that I will do my best to keep from here on out.  No matter how far short I fall from meeting the goal I set, I will CHOOSE to be happy since I am now closer to the goal than I was when I first started.  This includes workouts, exercise challenges like my 5K next month, and yes, even the infamous "weigh days".

I will put any failures, setbacks, letdowns, frustrations and defeat behind me in order to celebrate the small victory I have made.  I know many days this will have to be a conscious decision on my end and not something that will come naturally.  Yet I know I can, if I set my mind to it.  As one of my fellow crossfitters reminded our class today, "The mind is a powerful thing".

2 Timothy 1:7 (New King James Version

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
As Many Rounds as Possible in 20 mins

  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 sit-ups

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thank you Rob - 25 days left

I remember as a student in college watching Sleepless in Seattle for the first time and the two main characters, Annie and Becky, talking about the long distance commercials that brought tears to their eyes each time they watched.  At the time, in all of my vast wisdom at 19 years of age, I thought, "Who does that?  What is wrong with them?".  Ironically, I am now that person.

For those who know me, being quite emotional at times is no secret.  The older I get and the more children I have, it seems as though my level emotion rises every few years.   So today as I said goodbye to my trainer, Rob, who is leaving to join the Marines, I was not surprised as I began to tear up telling him how much I appreciated all he had helped me with over the last several months.  However, I didn't want to freak him out either, so I quickly made my exit before I had full blown tears rolling down my face and went to my van.

People like Rob are such a blessing to have around no matter what area of life one may be working on or what challenges may lie ahead.  When I started CrossFit a little over two months ago weighing in at a little over 300 lbs, he didn't look at me like "What on earth are you doing here?", but instead cheered me on with each accomplishment I had, no matter if it were great or small.  Most every week, including today, he came up with ideas on how I could challenge myself more in my workout without taking it to the extreme that would cause me to fail.  And those times that I did feel like a big, fat failure he assured me that I wasn't and reminded me of how very far I had come in just a short time.  Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could be like that?

So tonight, I write me blog in honor of my trainer, Rob, and say "thank you" for the difference you have made in my life.  You are the kind of leader everyone needs, but few can find.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (The Message) - So speak encouraging words to one another.  Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.  I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.

WOD (Workout of the Day)
As Many Rounds as Possible in 20 mins

  • 15 box jumps
  • 30 kettle bell swings
  • 45 double unders (jump rope twice under w/ each jump)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Gap - 26 days left

When I was in 7th and 8th grade, I remember watching The Cosby Show every Thursday night with my mom and dad.  It was such a great family show and so many of the issues the characters Denise and Theo faced were situations that I could very much relate to as a preteen, even though Vanessa was technically more my age on the show.

I remember an episode in particular in which Denise got her drivers license (Denise Drives).  Although I was not sixteen at the time, I imagined that my excitement level would be similar to her's when I did.  She proudly walked into her home and starts singing, "I got my license.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!".

While I am no longer sixteen and have now had my license for a very long time, the emotion Denise emulated on that show was very similar to the emotion I felt and displayed this morning as I stepped on the scale.  I know.  I know.  Yesterday at the end of my post I vowed to not let the scale move me as I read the number staring back at me.  Well, that was before I saw that I had lost 4 more pounds!!!

Since it is my first week back from vacation and I have only made it to CrossFit three times prior to today, I had actually anticipated that I would gain a pound or stay the same this week.  However, four pounds puts this up there as one of my very best weeks!  This also now brings my total to 26 pounds of weight gone since May 18.  That averages to losing three years worth of weight gain that has occured throughout my marriage.  I also have not literally weighed below 283 since I was pregnant with my three year old.

And while I know I shouldn't be moved by what I see, this did move me back to a place of "I can" after all of the "I quit" moments I thought yesterday.   I know I have got this and I can do it!  One of my fellow CrossFitters yesterday called me "Karen the Incredible".  Today I actually feel it.

Thank you all for your great words of support and all of your prayers that I needed so very badly yesterday.  As I said Monday, my friends and family have helped me to succeed on this journey, not just hard work and determination alone.  Those were not just empty words, but something I know more and more with each passing day.  Thank you for being my someone's to stand in the gap for me!!
Ezekiel 22:30 (New International Version) - “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it..."

WOD (Workout of the Day)
Three Rounds

  • 1 minute ring pull-ups
  • 1 minute ring dips
  • 1 minute ring rows
  • 1 minute ring push-ups
  • 1 minute rest

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stinkin' Thinkin' - 27 days left

I am not quite sure what happened to me mentally today.  However, I can say for sure that my attitude today was the absolute worst it has been since I started my new road to health.

As I awoke this morning, I laid in bed thinking about how much I would like to be thin and healthy, but didn't want to continue working out.  About 20 minutes into the class today at CrossFit I thought about how I would just leave and go home if there was a large class in order to mask my departure.  And as I drove home from the class thinking on my bad attitude, I realized that since I returned from my trip last week the fire that had burned so very deep to get the job done seems to have been depleted.

Where has my motivation gone?  Why the change from a great attitude and really trying to be excellent to an attitude of wanting results with no hard work and determination to get the job done?  After griping about aging last night, did I fall asleep to travel back in time to my teen years when I thought I deserved everything just because I was me?  What has happened?

The answer - I don't know.  I don't know why my mentality has shifted and why the fire that was burning now feels as though it has been put out.  However, I do know that I have to keep going.  And as many things in one's life, sometimes you have to do things that you just don't feel like doing.

On my way home today, I did pray that my attitude would improve.  After all, the Bible does say in Isaiah 65:24 - Before they call out, I'll answer. Before they've finished speaking, I'll have heard.  And while my attitude is still lacking some this evening, it has improved somewhat from the "I quit" attitude I awoke to this morning.

I know I won't stop what I have started.  I will go to CrossFit again tomorrow and for the rest of the week.  I will face "weigh day" with the mindset that no matter what the scale says I won't let it rule me.  However, I promised to share my good and bad along the way and this has been one of the many bumps in the road I have faced in the last three months.  Bare with me as I work through this latest challenge.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (New International Version)
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

WOD (workout of the day)
30 sit-ups
30 thrusters
30 wall balls
30 pull ups
30 kettle bell swings
30 box jumps
30 push press
30 push ups
30 overhead squats

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Silver Lining - 28 days left

As you may recall, I mentioned in my blog on Saturday that I had attended CrossFit last Thursday morning for the first time in 12 days.  However, instead of approaching the workout like I had been off for 12 days, I dug in like I had just been there the day before.  Consequently, I spent Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday hobbling around like a 95 year old grandmother that refuses to use a walker to get around.  I also skipped my CrossFit workout this morning too due to my "condition".  Yet by this afternoon I was getting around more like a 75 year old grandmother who utilizes her walker, so I bit the bullet and went to kickboxing tonight.

I am not sure what song I will be singing tomorrow.  However, tonight I feel so very refreshed.  Getting my body in motion and the oxygen flowing made me feel revitalized.  I was mindful of Thursday's incident as I kicked and punched my way through the evening.  And because of that, I believe I got in a great workout without forcing myself into a state of snail pace to make it through my day.

To be honest as I have reflected back to last Thursday, I believe the delusions of grandeur encompassed my thinking as I attended CrossFit.  After all, I had my vacation, ate Chick-fil-A, exercised only two times on my trip and still managed to lose 2 pounds on the scale last week.  Many of you will recall that I have exercised eight times in a week and kept to a strict diet and haven't seen those kind of results some weeks.

And what I have now become keenly aware of from this incident is that I am no longer 20 years old, my body has been through four pregnancies and frankly, "the old grey hen ain't what she used to be".  Unlike Cher's song If I Could Turn Back Time speaking of getting her boyfriend back, my "If I Could Turn Back Time" song would actually refer to something of value like getting my youth back.  As you might have guessed, I don't enjoy the thought or the feeling of aging and would find it magnificent if you really could save Time in a Bottle.

So there it is.  My rant about getting older.  However, there is also the silver lining. You didn't think that I could leave you on this terrible note about getting older did you?  Of course not!  So here it is - The Silver Lining.  At least now, with my great will and determination to get healthy, I will actually have the opportunity to get older.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 (The Message)

Though the cherry trees don't blossom 
   and the strawberries don't ripen,
Though the apples are worm-eaten
   and the wheat fields stunted,
Though the sheep pens are sheepless
   and the cattle barns empty,
I'm singing joyful praise to God.
   I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God.
Counting on God's Rule to prevail,
   I take heart and gain strength.
I run like a deer.
   I feel like I'm king of the mountain!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Village - 29 days left

In 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton attributed the title of her book to the African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child".  And while I am unsure what number of people it takes to make a village these days nor do I refer to myself still as a child, I would say that since I began my weight loss journey 89 days ago, "It takes not only determination and perseverance, but much support from friends and family for Karen to lose weight".  My readers have been my "village" if you will.

Not a day has gone by without a kind word of encouragement or a quick line to say "keep going".  When I have been down in the dumps, the exact words that I have needed to hear have found there way to me in an email.  And many times when I have failed to believe in myself, you have believed in me anyway.

As I thought on this today, I wondered how many other people would succeed in challenges placed before them if they too embraced the support of their own "village".  However, like I was when I first started on my road to healthier living, they are embarrassed to share and are ashamed of the person they have become.  Of course, in my case, everyone who just looked at me knew that I was unhealthy and needed to make changes. Yet the "saying it" part for me was difficult because that was me admitting that I had failed when it came to making good choices diet and exercise wise.  Perhaps that is why they say, "admittance is the first step toward recovery".

And even though I still know I have a long road ahead of me to become a healthy size and weight, I no longer beat myself up for poor choices of the past.  I don't meditate on the "if only's" that I should have chosen yesterday.  Instead, I focus on the decision that I make today and concentrate on staying on the right path of a healthy lifestyle.

As I share with you today, I realize that I am not perfect.  Nor am I trying to give the impression that there are no longer hard moments for me along the way.  However, I would like to encourage you to take advantage of the "village" surrounding you.  It is my belief that you will find that you are not alone in what you feel or think and gleaning on the support of others will help you to find success on your journey as well.  Today more than ever, I am glad that I leaned on mine.

Romans 12:10 
)Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Instead of Watching the Vikings Game, You Should be Reading This - 30 days left

I am back.  Finally!!!  It feels as though I have not written my blog in over a month and not just the past thirteen days, while I took a break for vacation.  As Ramona Singer from the The Real Housewives of New York City would say, "I feel renewed".  And I can honestly say that everything I have to share with you that has happened over the past two weeks is good news.

  • When greeted by my dad at the airport in Atlanta (who does not have the opportunity to read my blog that often), he immediately commented that he could tell that I had lost weight.  The last time I had seen him was in December.
  • While eating Chick-fil-A five out of nine days that I was in Atlanta, I remember the words of my friend, Don Williams of Georgia who also loves Chick-fil-A, that everything on the menu is under 500 calories.  And since I was only eating a main entree and not waffle fries or shakes, I didn't feel bad about indulging at my favorite fast food restaurant.
  • On Friday of my visit, I saw all of my closest college friends from Georgia Southern.  While I am confident that I either looked the same or larger to three of my friends who have not seen me in the last five years or more, my friend, Missy (who reads my bog daily), said she could tell a difference from when she saw me last year in August.  That was a huge boost for me because I actually weighed the same thing last August that I do now.   And what it is also, is a true testament that CrossFit is working and I am leaner today.  I know.  Some of you are probably thinking, "Well, if Missy reads your blog everyday Karen, then how do you know she just wasn't trying to be nice."  Well my friends, that is because Missy is the "tell it like it is" kinda girl.  If she doesn't mean it, she isn't going to say it.
  • My weekend was spent visiting my grandmother and my cousin, Jane and her daughters, in Alabama.  When I arrived at my grandmother's place in Birmingham, she looked at me and said, "You have never looked younger".  Yes, I have known my grandmother all of my life and have seen her on a regular basis throughout it.  However, I think her true meaning was that I looked younger than what she had remembered me looking like in a very long time.  This works out well for me since I still believe I look the same as I did when I was fifteen years old - blonde and no wrinkles.
  • Best news of the week came this past Thursday morning when I weighed for the first time in two weeks.  I was down two pounds!   Due to personal issues, I was not able to workout but two days while I was on my trip.  Since I also was sticking to my usual foods either, I was rather pleased by this number.
  • Thursday was also my first day back at CrossFit in twelve days.  While I have to admit that I way over did it and am still sore, hobbling around church tonight like I was a 95 year old woman, one of the guys that had not seen me in about two weeks commented that "each time he sees me, I have shrunk".
So now I am down to the last 30 days of my challenge.  I am not where I anticipated I would be at this point. However, I am more content now knowing that I have done my best and what I have accomplished so far has made a significant difference in my life.  My plan is to continue pressing hard through these final 30 days seeing how very far I can go - to shrink even more.  I expect to report the best things yet!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

For the Love of Karen - 43 days left

Growing up I loved watching Little House on the Prairie.  I can truly say it is one of my favorite television  shows still today.  Ironically, I now live outside of Minneapolis, MN near where the story is based.  I remember one episode in particular that was rather heart wrenching called "For the Love of Nancy".  A new kid comes to town named Elmer.  He is very kindhearted, but overweight.  In order to earn the love of one of the many characters named Nancy, Elmer decides to start trying to lose weight with the town doctor's help.  He find success in losing weight after cutting back on how much he is eating and running to and from school each day.  Excited about his weight loss he goes to tell his beloved Nancy the good news.  Her response, "So.  You are still fat.".

Over the last week, much of the time I have felt like Elmer must have when he is excited for what he has lost, but still disappointed because he is still overweight.  I wish there was great fanfare and pomp and circumstance when  it comes to what I have achieved.  However, it feels as it is such small sliver in the grand scheme of things and no where near the mark I expected to be at this point.

As I have mentioned several times in the past several days, tomorrow I will be traveling to Georgia to visit with my family and also my best friends from college.  As I have prepared for the trip, it has dawned on me that to my family I might look about the same as I did at Christmas because I believe I put on more weight after the holidays before I started my journey in May.  I have also thought about when my friends have last seen me.  Three of the four of them have not seen me in over five years, which means even with the 20 lb weight loss I still weigh about 20 lbs more right now than I did that last time I saw them.

I realize that my weight has no bearing on how my family or friends receive me.  In fact, they are all excited that I am working to improve my health and lose all of the weight I have put on over the years.  Yet I am disappointed to now know that when I seen them there will be little change or a change in the wrong direction and I wish it was different than that.  I would so very much like it to get off the plane and meet up with my family and them say, "Wow!  You have lost weight!".  Or see my friends on Friday and them say something similar.  However, I feel that my weight loss will be more of that like Elmer's was on Little House on the Prairie.  No, I won't be greeted by someone rude like Nancy to remind me that I am still fat.  But it won't be the Biggest Loser makeover moment either, when the contestant has lost 80 lbs and their family member is in shock and awe of the contestant's weight loss.  Fortunately, my family and friends accept me the way I am.  However, this week in particular, I wish there wasn't so much of Karen to love.