Hello, ONEderland!

Monday, September 29, 2014

I have returned to the land of 1! (Wait, that actually sounds kind of depressing.) It is my hope to remain a permanent resident, this time. Despite my excitement, I know the journey does not stop or slow down here. It's time, now more than ever, to go absolutely HAM! Feel free to check back for periodic re-caps on my diet and workout regimens... along with honest thoughts and experiences, along the way. Thanks, again!

Starting:       227
Last:             203.8
Current:       198.6
1-Week +/-: - 5.2
Total +/-:      - 28.4

A Fat Girl Gets Naked And perhaps, More should.

Friday, September 26, 2014
I came across an article link from CNN, entitled, A fat girl gets naked. Usually, links similarly named lead to NSFW sites and Google images, that then lead to reprimanding conversations with your boss. Plus, the term 'naked' can be taken way more literal nowadays, with celebrity nudes being stolen and leaked online and even popularity of shows like, fauxmance reality, Dating Naked and primal docu-series, Naked and Afraid. Assumptions were made, this was probably another story about the woes of a big girl, who made it out. Possibly a woman posing naked to show her pride. A woman who wants the World to know that there is no shame in her body game. In my head, building up a case on why NOT to click the link on my stress-free, care-free last day of vacation, because I had read them all before. All the while, knowing good and darn well someone would share it with me, or I would read think pieces about it, within 1-3 hours. So, I did it. For the Vine.

And, I am so glad that I did.

Lisa Respers France, senior producer for CNN Digital's Entertainment section and star of the CNN Original Video series "Lisa's Desk."

Stripping down deeper layers than anyone whose bewbs were being right-clicked-saved, by the thousands (or, ctrl-click for Macheads)... I read, and re-read Respers France's piece on her experiences as a woman who has struggled with weight most of her life, the potential causes and related encounters, including undeserving thoughts as it relates to positive points in her life, with her family, career, friends, etc., literally thinking, "Get out of my head. Get away from my life! Who sold you the script to my fat girl autobiography?" This woman's story, as part of CNN First Person; a series of personal essays exploring identity and personal points of view that have shaped the writer, resonated immensely strong.

Now, let me first say that most stories about obesity, food addiction and women follow a familiar trip. This one did not for me. This one was different. It was not a 'before and after,' it was not a coming-of-age, tout-en-un article. It was about one woman's #currentsituation! Current addiction or noted weakness situations are not leading article-worthy. Those are reserved for transformations. However, she did not have to shed a pound, or a habit - just yet - to gain the courage to share her story, her reality - with the masses.

Further, here you have a married, professionally successful individual talking about their food addiction. On a major platform, open to the scrutiny of trolls, insensitive know-it-alls, shamers and the like. And a woman of color! Let's be real. A demographic wildly deduced to being overweight because of laziness, our men's preference or junk food consumption - courtesy of our food stamp cards. I am still waiting on mine. She admits:
...I suffer from the one addiction that doesn't elicit much sympathy from most people... Food is my drug.
Respers France comes out of the gate with the pretty, funny, cool, happy big girl mantra. The personality traits a lot of us likable women, who dress well, and maintain an acceptable level of attractiveness are proud of. But, how at some point, the big girls will all hear that drop-kick inducing phrase of "You're pretty... for a big girl." That generic, back-handed compliment that would have been best left with its spewer.
You've met me before. I'm the fat, funny girl who is often hailed for my confidence and self-esteem. The big girl who has "such a pretty face" and who, despite her weight, manages to snag really great looking boyfriends. I "dress really well for my size" and am so much fun to be around because of my outgoing personality.
I sensed a "DESPITE BEING FAT" moment here, that is all too often muzzled, as well. Whether we want to admit it or not, people see us first at face value. Image is mostly everything. Being fat (read: weak, lazy, gross - thanks, society!) is the first thing a potential employer or a blind date notices, in our minds - not our confidence, not our qualifications. After establishing that you are fat, cue working doubly and/or triply hard to prove your value. To prove that you are worth the investment. Worth the love. Worth the respect. Worth the attention... "DESPITE," your size.

She speaks of her childhood, in which a medical issue made simply eating an unpleasant and sometimes impossible task. After years of dealing with this condition, and undergoing a procedure to reconcile - the smell and tastes of food intrigued her. Her new found love of food, continued, grew and became an addiction.

She continued to undress.
It's not as if I haven't successfully shed weight before, but the moment I start, I figure out some way to undermine it. My mind attacks me with thoughts that hurt to even type.
Respers France made the bold move in detailing real fears and repercussions, people do not often speak of - but contemplate - during weight loss. Yes, of course, we all want confetti to drop when the scale hits a number that we have coveted for years. We want the pride in excelling, conquering! Then, what? Mostly worrying about how others (others!!!) will treat you; your family, friends (will they see her me as competition? ), spouse (will he fear being replaced). And facing the realization that once she I lost the weight - will her my life truly be any better? Is the struggle of losing weight worth it? Enter, sabotage, dieting frustrations, a yo-yo and self-fulfilling prophecy. The cycle.
It's a neverending cycle; being fat makes me feel uncomfortable and feeling uncomfortable drives me to the behaviors that make me fat.
She continued to strip.
At that moment I realized that I have been trying to fill my heart by filling my stomach. But pinpointing the pain means going places I fear. Living with anxiety, hoping for joy I'm more afraid of delving into what is killing me (and trust me I am so aware that it is killing me) than I am of dying. Every extra pound represents a pain for me, something I don't like to acknowledge, not even to myself. I grew up in a family where we didn't talk about our struggles -- we ate or drank them away. I have continued that legacy.
My family, like many others - as anecdoted above, did not talk about our problems. Give it to Jesus. He'll fix it. We only talked when someone died, got locked up or needed money. Otherwise, as I like to say, "we viced out our issues" with food (the women), drugs (the men), alcohol (all, self included), silent depression (again, all, self included) and some prayer (primarily, my momma). Masking, avoiding the real pain. The conversations. I still, to this day, cannot face the true pain that assisted in creating my destructive, addictive behaviors. I know what is behind that door; a monster. I would be too vulnerable. If I acknowledge it, it becomes real again. My hate for those I love, and/or who are no longer on this Earth would return. My pain would return. I am too old now anyway. Move on. Lose the weight and let the past, be the past. I know I am only fooling myself, one day I will face it. I owe it to myself and future daughter. But, not today.
So, "Little Lisa," this is the first step towards you and I getting to where we need to be. It won't be easy and it's going to hurt. But we are going to do the work and try to be an inspiration to others who have started and failed over and over. We are going to do it for every overweight person who struggles and those who are no longer here to struggle because their bodies gave out on them. Most days we are going to want to quit, but we can't because the stakes are too high and there is so much more waiting for us than we have allowed for ourselves. I've met you. You're worth it.
Lisa powerfully rounds out her piece with the proclamation of being a better, healthier person, who faces her true fears and pain, all while speaking in a narrative to her younger self, "Little Lisa" (I know this is popular on social media, too; talking to the young you or having the young you talk to current you... maybe there's something to this that I shouldn't be so dismissive about?). Her approach is addressing what "Little Lisa," went through, throwback Thursdaying herself, to understand how and why she and her addiction reached these levels, and how she can begin to change and heal and empower others to do the same. Applause.

Since I jumped into the story, and was so moved, the natural thing was to leave a comment, right? Just in the off-chance that among the sea of support, and peppered ridicule, that my paragraph would be noticed by ANYONE who also related, heck, or even the author. Hey Lisa girl, hey! We are so scared, ashamed to talk during the struggle, we hide in our communities and like-minded bubbles - because it's safe there and free from most who do not care to understand. She didn't hide. Now, let me tell you, I DO NOT read comments on non-niche, unregulated, mainstream media comments sections if the topic is related to or written by anyone identifying with; obesity, women, minorities, homosexuality, President Obama. And whether the topic has to do with any of the aforementioned or not, you better believe it will find its way into the comments section by some repulsive human, without a profile picture or heart. The response to her article, was no different. There were typical, hateful comments sprinkled throughout, but... I did not care. I replied.

I replied with the hope that Lisa would understand just how grateful I was for giving a voice to women... LIKE ME. For telling a piece of someone else's story, even though she owned the rights at this junction. No, she is not the first to come to out with her story. And no, she will not be last. But, today, this story was one that I needed to read. Selfishly, it quenched my desire to just relate to someone, as I have recharged my personal journey. I thank her for undressing before the World. I thank her for telling her truth... and a lot of mine.

Read the entire CNN article, here.

A Pre-ONEderland Pep Talk (Vlog)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I am close, yet again. But, I won't let my weight starting with a "1," give me an excuse to put in any less effort! When it happens, I plan to celebrate and move it right along... no confetti. Okay, maybe a little?

9.21.14 Weigh-In (Vlog)

Monday, September 22, 2014
Another week on the books, and I'm proud to say... I stayed the course! Cleaner eating, meal preparation, bountiful water consumption and longer walks - were my continued tactics this past week. And despite the galas, and celebration dinners I faced this week... I focused on the reason for fellowship, and not the open bars and unregulated cupcake displays. Whoot! 

Starting:                     227
Last:                           210.4
Current:                     203.8
1-Week Duration:     - 6.6
Total +/-:                   23.2

9.14.14 Weigh-In (Vlog)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
First off, YAY! My scale is moving in a preferred direction. With a little more focus on preparing my meals, drinking water, walking, eating veggies and a lot less focus on getting to McDonald's before they stop serving breakfast - I'm back on the losing side!

Starting:                     227
Last:                           222.8
Current:                     210.4
2-Week Duration:     - 12.4
Total +/-:                   - 16.6

9.1.14 Weigh-In (Vlog)

Monday, September 1, 2014
Happy September, y'all! Geesh, we're in the 'ber months, already!? Whether I can believe it or not, it's happening. And I will not let the sun go down on this year, not in a better state than I walked into it.

I weighed in and fortunately, I had a slight change since my last weigh-in of 226.8, with 222.8, today. I'm ready to see that number dip even more. So, I've cleaned out my fridge (#NoAnisha) and cabinets of junk and re-stocked with fresh produce and overall healthier choices.

Grocery Grabs: Kale, sweet potatoes, berries, chicken breasts, peppers, mushrooms, oats, PB, asparagus, Kashi GoLean Crunch, Silk Almond Milk, Muscle Milk, lemon, lime, red onion, olive oil. (not pictured: salmon, whole eggs, bananas, canned tuna)

The work bag, so far. Ironically, I have a business lunch on my calendar tomorrow, so, packing light and saying prayers that I don't go for whatever has the most cheese on the menu!

Here we go!

A Fat Girl and Her FitBit

There is nothing like the pride of telling someone about the ins and outs of your wearable fitness tech! It is a big deal! That is, unless the inquiry comes simultaneous to being handed an order of potato skins, through your driver side window - in the parking lot of your local Max & Erma's. #curbsideisthedevil Apparently, the hostess who is getting her steps in by walking to cars to deliver high-calorie joy, is curious as to where to find her very own. I was so close to unhooking mine and giving it to her, for free. I would even throw in the car charger. And, the 10-pack of interchangeable, colored bands.

Or, going on a fitness and/or journey hiatus and keeping those 50-11 apps on your phone. Swiping past them and clearing their weekly reminders that pretty much sound like, "Oh, hey, girl.... we know you see us!"

Tools are useless to those not in the mindset to use them. Najiramba. I am was the type of person who bought things to get inspired. My FitBit was the result of one of those moments. 'This is all that I need to really push me!' Yeah. Right. I now realize that no matter how much money, and mobile data I throw at a problem, it will not be solved until I take the initiative to use those resources as an added benefit, not motivation.

Yo, my Amazon cart of workout clothes and new tennis shoes were looking good. I woke up this morning and went on a remove-from-cart-spree. You will never see that promotion on the front page.

In this reveal, I hope to go forward with my September plans - using tools that I already have. Which, don't get me wrong, is extensive. From DVDs, books, to adjustable barbells, BOSU, bands... I mean... If I really did inventory - it would be almost shameful. And, hey, if there really is something that could enhance the awesome work I plan on doing in September, then cool. But, it's time to start putting my faith in me, in how much I say I want this. And, not putting so much interest, and heck, distraction... on objects. 

Vlog: Saturday Night Stroll

Sunday, August 31, 2014
Before an awesome night out with the hubs, there was a treacherous 2 miles... Yes, I sad treacherous.

Are you my Health Coach or Parole Officer?

Friday, August 22, 2014
The fact that you can get a dance fitness, ministry ordainment, life coach and dog psychiatry certificate overnight, is interesting. No shade (but, shade), Sparky deserves so much better. I've grown quite numb, rarely perking up when someone tells me they are certified in (name specification offered by a fly-by-night and/or overpriced MLM company - that doesn't even fit their outward lifestyle, whatsoever). 

I do not wish to spend money on advice and up sold 3rd and 4th-party products - from someone whose car is always in the shop and lives with 6 roommates. Not discounting all who chose this education and counseling route, or tout reputable givers of certificates - but if you have 6 roommates... I am talking about you.

Needless to say, I never saw myself becoming anybody's coaching "client," ever. Until... last week.

Now, before you call me a hypocrite - I must elaborate... it was basically court work-ordered! After the passing of the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), our terms of private insurance got extremely stringent. My company - a Fortune 100 - is not playing any games. If you or your spouse is enrolled in the insurance plans provided, you all must take a health assessment. Depending where you rate, you may have to work with an outsourced health coach. Otherwise, you will be subject to hundreds more in annual premiums. They remind us that it is not mandatory - but, your girl ain't payin' the five.

After undergoing routine blood work and a standard physical - I was given the non-BREAKING news; I am overweight. If your assessment comes back with any triggers - you are put on a list. A list of people who must comply with demands - if you ever want to see your beloved, low premiums, again! And by demands, cue health coach.

Thursday, 5:31 PM EST: Call from unknown # (don't answer, leave a message.)

Thursday, 6:31 PM EST: Call from same, unknown # (reverse look up, I know who this is! Ignore.)

Thursday, 7:01 PM EST: Call from same, unknown, non-bill collecting # (so why are you jocking me #? I answer.)
Me: Hello? (If I keep it short, they have to follow suit, right?)
PO: Hi, is this Paula?
Me: Yes. (short, keep it short)
PO: I'm ***, and I represent ***. I am a registered dietitian and personal trainer. I received your contact information to talk to you about how we can help you reach your wellness goals.
Me: (I am missing Family Feud. But, her credentials seem promising. TV muted.)
Me: Okay.
PO: Well, our records indicate (rehashes all of the red flags, and red pen marks that my assessment reveals). Would you mind giving me a quick rundown of your average day? How long do you sleep? When do you eat breakfast, do you eat breakfast? What's for lunch and dinner? Do you participate in physical activities? Etc., etc..
Me: Umm. (reluctantly shares, mentioned something about a salad - one day this week)
PO: (no immediate response) I'm sorry, I was eating a grape.
Me: (no response)
PO: Well... (begins to critique everything that I shared. I was impressed, she got points for being a great listener.)
Me: Duly noted.
PO: I'm going to send you a diet and fitness plan, that may help you get started.
Me: Awesome. (my defenses are lowered, slightly.)
PO: Let's make this a date. How about we chat once a week?
Me: Sounds great. (you know that I do not have a choice!) Thank you.
Following Thursday, 5:31 PM EST (answered on first ring.)
PO: Heeeeyyy, Paula!
Me: (this is happening. just, let it happen.)

Too Much.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
This week, no, these last few weeks - MAN! Have been something like a roller coaster of emotions. I fell apart. If not for the awful news transpiring from Missouri, I was grounded - after a solid year with no issues - with an MS relapse. Meaning, the 5k race I registered and was preparing for is probably not going to happen. Add on family drama, which lead me to taking a break on familial relationships, indefinitely.

A mess.

All of it.

As I laid up on my couch today, thanks to FMLA... I wondered, how could I improve any and everything that was troubling me? I donated until my heart turned blue, I cried, I Tweeted, ReTweeted, I cried some more, I took MS shots. And I ordered food delivery, after delivery. It was the only thing I had control over. And it made me feel "good." The only enjoyable part of being in this whirlwind of f*ckery.

Then I had to wake up.

Everything isn't always going to be right. It's not going to be easy, but it's imperative that I take care of ME. I can't be of any help to anyone or start to really tackle the root of my issues - if I'm not taking care of myself. Physically or mentally. I can no longer pacify my stress and worry with food or self-pity. It does nothing. But, I knew that. Today, I just happened to call myself out.

So, tonight, I still can't walk without assistance... my family situation is no better... and all I have are prayers to send to Missouri - but despite it all, I want to maintain ME.

My goal is simple for the remainder of the week; breathe, eat well, do what I can and continue to pray.

5.7.14 | Weigh-In Vlog ... what had happened was...

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ONEderland, I have arrived!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's finally hitting me, that this IS happening. Not nearly as fast as I want it, nor as easy. But, I'm A-OKAY with it. Around the holidays (oh, Happy New Year!) I was actually up, nearly 9 pounds. Erasing all of my efforts for delicious calorie-dense foods, sweets and bubbly. Came to my senses. Rather, came to terms that if I didn't stop, I'd be back above 227.

While this is a big milestone, it's far from my ultimate goal. Therefore, there's more work to do. I have to recommit, daily. Not to mute my excitement, I have been here before. And I need for it to be the last time.

So there's fresh produce in the fridge, about to pack the gym bag and lunch bag, and the clock is set for 5:30AM for 1 of 2 daily workouts. I'm ret'ta'go!

The food...
So, my plan has basically been to watch portions, eat more green stuff, and drink more water than anything else. I strive to be a little back more on plan, consistently and within structure. This entails preparing more of my own meals. I kind of suck at that.

Chicken Teriyaki w/ Steamed White Rice
Mini Bratwursts w/ Garlic Fries
Ceasar Salad Wrap (No Meat)
Lean Cuisine Roasted Chicken & Veggies
Vietnamese Pho Chicken Noodle Soup
Campbell's Roadhouse Chili w/ Ritz Whole Grain Crackers
Turkey Ranch Panini w/ Lays Potato Chips

Soup & Assorted Snacks for my Workday

The workout...

I have worked out FAITHFULLY... um, twice a week? I have done some home workouts, and check it... went to a boxing gym for a trial run.


The plan this week is to keep moving; pop in my workout DVDs and/or head to the gym. At least an hour workout, for 5 days.

And until next time....