My weight loss journey.......before and after

1.5 years ago


            I have thought long and hard about how I can best help others understand just how easy this weight-loss journey can really be. The process for me has been very slow and gradual, taking many, many months of incremental progress. Yet, it can easily be followed by anyone who is not looking for a quick weight-loss fix. At first glance, the habits I currently live by such as juicing and running, which have been built over time, may seem a bit over the top for anyone just starting out, but trust me, the process has a way of changing you so that all the changes seem logical and simple as you reach each new level. All it takes is truly committing to changing one tiny habit at a time and choosing to adopt each one for the long haul. 

                          My weight-loss journey began when I stepped on a working and (for once) 'trusty' scale after not having done so in months and became horrified to see the numbers 199 lbs. flash on the screen. One stinking pound away from the dreaded 200 lbs was where all my blind living led me to. THAT moment, right there, was my ultimate rock-dead-bottom. The Universe knew me well, for had it read 200 lbs. I might have just resigned myself to being overweight. Yet, that 1 stinking pound less carried with it some hope, hope for a reversal. 
                          Everyone has a 'bottom', a point they know in their soul that once they reach it, 'something' MUST be done. Bottom in this context, for anyone not familiar with this lingo, it defines the very moment one decides it's time to stop and go the opposite direction. Being 1 pound away from two hundred pounds was my wake up call, I needed nothing else to make me aware of my state.  At that moment I felt a irrevocable resolve to take this on for good, no matter what it took. I was done trying to convince myself I was okay with being big, I was done with my baggage about weight, I was done with all the excuses.....I wanted more. 

                       Around that time the Universe sent me another small gift. I also was lucky to read somewhere that cravings are the technically body's way of telling you that you are not giving it what it so desperately needs, nutrients, minerals....etc. Overweight people are overweight, I was informed by this source, because they eat too much of the wrong foods, which often carry no nutrient value. Therefore, the body keeps asking and asking and asking for more and more food to try to fill the body's basic nutrient needs.  I thought on this and decided that I could work with this logic, it was simple and clear. After spending half a day on YouTube watching 101 ways of cooking veggies I began cooking and juicing vegetables daily to see if in fact this theory was correct. I began filling my body with the 'right' types of nutrients and that made all the difference. Within days, the cravings, which have plagued me my whole life, began to subside and I had enormous amounts of energy throughout the day to the point where I would even wake up in the middle of the night to watch movies, read, or blog. This past Thanksgiving, for example, was the first official holiday in which I wasn't constantly thinking 'FOOD!!! the whole time. Food stopped being the end-all-be-all of my life and I felt free to enjoy all the other gifts such holidays provide. 

                         But juicing and eating well alone are not the fix-all cure to life-time weight control. Yes, itwill help one get rid of the excess weight super fast, yet, there are some other minor adjustment that need to also take place in order to make this journey a life-long journey of success. Below I list a few words of wisdom to help you along this journey. I wish you all, whoever you are, success in bringing health, joy and expansive love into your  world.   

1. The weight is NOT coming off with exercise. I am not an expert on this mind you, but I am an expert on my own body and have been doing this weight loss stuff long enough to speak with some authority on what may or may not work. Let me begin by saying that, we all have seen these 'Biggest Loser' types shows  on TV where some extremely fit person militaristically pushes an obese person to run 3 miles, as if that would make him lose any weight in the long-term. As a person who has severely injured herself numerous times doing these ridiculous drill-and-kill type programs while overweight, I don't think they are the way to go at all. Not to say you should no be doing SOME form of exercise. But initially, if your BMI labels you as OBESE the way to lose weight safely and fast would be through what you eat and don't eat primarily. Excessive exercise is not the way to start losing weight if you have a lot of pounds to lose.  Makes sense to me; The excess weight must come off first before a serious exercise program can even take hold. Therefore, I am convinced that the fastest, safest way to lose the weight is to eat extremely right.....period. I would strongly push for vegetable juicing (34 oz day total, or in the least an 8oz glass of vegetable juice before all meals in the least as a way to kick start the loss) I would also advice watching any and all Youtube video that teach basic vegetable cooking skills. YouTube has some wonderful videos for all sorts of recipes, they are addictive. I must add here also that starving is not part of the plan at all, you must feed your body well, period. Starving is very much like 'holding your breath', at some point you have to come up for air....IF it's not a life-long solution, why bother. The obvious rules apply, no sodas, no chips, no salty popcorn, no sugar, no white bread, and most importantly NO to tiny portions. A teeny tiny salad will only turn one into a raging cranky bitch in 2 hours, stop it!! No one like cranky...eat all you like of the good stuff and then go live life!!! But make sure you eat amazing foods.....vegetables......fruits mostly.....fill up on them, make them THE main meal, not the side dishes. Only eating right, to the extreme, will start the ball rolling in the right direction, and fast. Sounds simple, but too many people equate fruits and veggies with small portions and starving. Make them the main meal......

2. Get a heart monitor .....go online and find your target heart rate for your age and weight and make sure you reach that range for at least 30 minutes a day. No cheating, no excuses. Just set time aside and do it, don't think too long about it for if you do, you'll talk yourself out of it. You may have kids, you may be a single parent, whatever your excuse is, find time to do this as if your life depended on it. One of my main goal in getting fit began with my my desire to one day be a grandma. Ooh!! I cannot wait to see what that would be like. But not all of us will get there. It IS a matter of life and death. Therefore, making time and getting all the materials you need to make your workout fun is very important. If you need music, get music. If you need good shoes, a gym membership, a sitter....do it. 

3. This is HUGE. I had to stop blaming people for my weight issues. I did this unconscious 'cranky blaming' for years. My loved ones could not even buy me clothes without me getting all sensitive about who knows what. I have no idea what I was mad at really, yet, nevertheless it felt helpful to deflect the blame on others so that I could stay my course, it was easier than doing something about it in the end. Soon everyone knew to stay off 'my issue'. The narrative of blaming-others became a part of who I was and I never questioned this thinking until much later. You see, I had guilt-tripped every loved one enough so that no one ever dare bother me about my weight, so I was left alone.  Suddenly, I had no one else to fight against, nothing else left to defend.  I had to come to terms with my part in this whole mess, all of it. 

4. NEW life-long habits. It's not a diet, far from it. It's a change of habit ......for life. The 'for life' part is the biggie. Don't even bother changing any habit at all ever unless you can see yourself doing it for the rest of your life. Seriously, choose carefully what you want to incorporate into your routines, for if you take on too much you'll have a hard time sustaining it, if you chose too little, you'll see no change and give up. The first habit I started was juicing and having at least two 8 oz of vegetable juice a day before my meals. The weight fell off me fast, 6 months later, I started juicing more daily. I went from 2 glasses a day to 4 glasses a day and today there are days that the juice may easily replace a meal. A year later, I started jogging daily in addition to the juicing. I started with 30 minutes a day for 3 to 5 months and making sure my heart rate was 118 or more for those 30 minutes.  Notice, all these habit changes are small and very easy to do on their own, nothing revolutionary. Needless to say I did not lose the weight overnight. It took about a year to lose 30-40 lbs. But, the great news is that I have kept it all off and most importantly, I KNOW I am never going back. It's THAT simple. 

5. ONCE the weight is gone, you MUST chose a form of exercise that you can stick with for the rest of your life. There is NO other way around it so might as well accept it right now. Exercise must be a part of your life if you want to live a long and healthy life....period. Pharmaceutical companies spend millions each year trying to convince you there are ways around this supposed 'horrible fact'. You can try millions of easy fixes to lose weight, but NONE will ever work for the long run except a change of habit that requires regular exercise that raises your heart rate for a sustained period of time. This might seem gloomy to any and all who have given up on being physical, yet, the joy, energy and sense of balance I get from exercising 6 days a week makes it all so worth it. The huge secret here is that people who work out are actually not superhuman people who like to torture themselves in the gym daily. A few months back, I too would have cried painful tears if anyone would have dragged me out of bed at 6am to go jogging in the freezing cold temperature. Now, because of how amazing it makes me feel during and after running, I seriously cannot wait to get up and go running every morning...and yes, at 6am. Again, 6 months ago, this was not me.....6 months ago I had given up on ever running again. So don't worry, your mind will change once it gets what it needs and that will make all other larger changes so easy to continue in the right direction....I promise. You will do wonderful!!

6. Worth. Poeple are overweight for many reasons. My personal weight issues relate deeply to issues of self-worth. All my life I have had internal battles relating to lack of self-worth, all for reasons that make no or little sense to me now. These past struggles have manifested themselves into my body through the way I relate to it, how and what I consume, what I think of it, how I view myself or not view myself. I know that we all come here to learn many lessons, and one of mine related to overcoming this hurdle with lack of self-value. I know fairly well that I am not alone in this plight, which is why I share so openly my own weaknesses. These are very much everyone's weaknesses as well. All humans come to face similar hurdles and it's my hope that with the sharing of my own personal journey with weight-loss I can help others jump this hurdle much easier. 

                   I started meditating on the awesome and sheer value of having this life and of having a strong healthy body. I feel so incredibly blessed to be here, at this time, leading this awesome adventure with all sorts of souls. My weight-loss goes way beyond a simple physical change. It's much, much, much larger than that. This journey has allowed me to once again to feel strong, in control and has afforded me the ability to manifest my loving energy in a brighter, clearer and more beautiful way. Peace. 



Be yourself and live Fearlessly- Message from the other side

                   I am been thinking a lot about the special message received by Anita Moorjani, Author of Dying to be Me, after she died and came back to life. The message she received was simple and beautiful. but certainly much more complicated than I am about to describe. Essentially, the meaning of life as she was told is to 'always be yourself and live fearlessly'. She was also told during this near-death-experience that her cancer was due to having lived a life of 'fear'. Fear of disappointing, fear of fitting in, fear of dying, fear of not being enough.
                    Live fearlessly. As an art teacher who loves her job and who works daily to encourage not only her students, but everyone around her to just to be the very best versions of themselves, I think I am on the right track. In reflecting further though, I think it's only recently that I started living fearlessly. Only a few years back I sensed in me remaining lots of 'worth' issues, and this constant need to be what others felt I should be, rather than what I wanted myself to be. I could have easily gone along life like so many and never reflect on these big questions. Like a great friend said to me yesterday, "You can easily be 70 and have never dealt with any of your issues."

                    My self-reflective journey began with a small little seed of ideas planted in a TV show. It began by watching episodes of Kung Fu in the early 80s. Much to my family's unknowing I was slowly being trained into the basic tenets of Eastern religion and to some really valuable and life-changing concepts that would shape the rest of my life. The ideas embedded in these shows were those of having this inner knowing, the ideas of your external actions reflecting your inner self, the idea of 'working on yourself', and last, the idea that you already have all you need to be perfect. As I grew I always navigated towards authors and books that reflected those early ideas that always made so much sense to me, they spoke to my soul. I read and navigated towards books and authors that described god as love and rejected all books and religions that maintained a dysfunctional humanistic and angry versions of our god. Dysfunction, hatred, anger are all imperfect qualities and I knew deep in my hart that god was love. In love there is no room for these lesser human-made frequencies. Books became my teacher, these authors were my role models. To this day, I read books that help me change my life, make me improve my ideas and make me a better version of who I already am. To me it was never enough to just read the big name books of major religions, such as the Bible, The Torah, The Koran. I always felt that these do not have to be one's only or one's primary source of inner-reflection books. There are literally hundreds of amazing sources of inspiration out there that can be transformative and life-changing. Which one has changed your life?



New Running Goals and some tips for long-term weight loss....

                   I have been again inspired by amazing people to change my life for the better. This time I have challenged myself to run 1,000 miles in one year and I am so excited about this new challenge and I know I can do it. This one challenge is inspired by a FB buddy, Heather Anderson (you know you rock). To complete the challenge I would have to run a little less than 20 miles a week for 52 weeks..... 

                  I have learned that I do much better with small and incremental changes to my daily routine and to not adopt new changes until I can adapt to the initial changes completely first. Over one and half years ago I started juicing daily and I now do it daily without a blink of an eyes. I wake up 1/2 hour early to make my drinks for the day and take them everywhere I go with me. This routine has become so part of my life that I could not think of having one day without my vegetable/fruit drink. This summer I began running in July and I now cannot think of a week going by in which I don't run at least 14 miles/week. 
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                  This change in approach to bringing change in one's life is so easy and so manageable that I would absolutely recommend it to anyone trying to bring some positive and permanent changes to their lives. Yes, the changes to your body are slower than perhaps a crash diet might be, yet, the changes are longer lasting. Because I was able to take my time to implement each new initiative I was able to make sure that each small change was fully implemented BEFORE I brought in a new addition to my routine. 

                  When people first hear about me running, the first thing a non-runner will say to me is, "I can't run at all.", or claim, "running is not for me." Running was not for me either when I weighed 200 lbs. Not at all!! But, after juicing for a year and losing all that extra weight, running became lots more possible, suddenly I saw myself doing it in my imagination. I did not just start running while grossly overweight. That would have surely caused an injury and surely I would not have been able to continue this for long at all. We all grew up with these TV shows where grossly overweight people are being militaristically trained to do excessive amounts of exercise. But I truly believe that if you are going to run, the extra weight needs to come off first in order to make it safe for your feet and your knees and your heart....and the fastest, safest and tastiest way to do this is through juicing. A juice fast is not abusive to your body, cleans you out. It's an ultra-healthy way to lose weight compared to all other unsafe methods out there. 

                      This might not be the way most people would choose to go about becoming ultra-healthy, but it's done wonders to my life, my energy and my outlook of the world. I am glad I listened to my inner voice.....would love to hear how you changed your life around for the better.