My Weight Loss Journey – Part 2

For Part 1 GO HERE

By the beginning of 2009, Art and I both realized our business was failing (see A Business Lost).  We ewere short on employees, working 10-12 hour days just trying to keep it afloat.  For lunch, we would run to one of the myriad fast food restaurants nearby and grab whatever we wanted.  I love to cook, but during this time I was so tired when we got home that we usually resorted to more fast food or take out.  Sometimes we wouldn’t eat dinner until 9 or 10 pm.

We closed the doors on our golf shop on May 31, 2009 and I fell into a depression.  I had two small part-time jobs that I went to faithfully, but most of the rest of the time I slept.  Or ate.  At my heaviest, in January 2010, I weighed 176 pounds.  I hadn’t been on a scale in months and was shocked.  It’s funny that when you look at yourself in a mirror everyday, you often miss the changes that are happening to your body.  I knew I was up to a size 12 (tight), but I didn’t realize how much weight I had put on.

I decided to go back to Sparkpeople.  Started hot and heavy with Wii exercises and the treadmill and tracked my food faithfully for the first 3 months.  By March I had lost 11 pounds.  Then I caught a bad cold and lost my momentum.  I think it was because I had never really been an active participant in the teams.  Sparkteams are a way to connect with people in a similar situation to yours and to find and give motivation.  I have always been so shy that it was difficult for me to reach out to people I had never met. I fell off the wagon again and was back up five pounds by the end of the year.

January 2011 I went back to Sparkpeople this time at 170 pounds.  I knew I had to do things differently – I just wasn’t sure how.  The first thing I saw when I signed in was the New Year, New You challenge.  Those who signed up for the challenge committed to exercising for at least 500 minutes during the month, as well as following Coach Nicole’s short exercise videos (usually strength training) and tracking our food a few days a week.  Nothing huge, but it did feel doable.

I also found a team that was reading the book A Course in Weight Loss by Marianne Williamson.  This 21 week  study really helped me to see that my issues with food came from fears and resentments I had built up inside me over the years.  As I have found a way to let the bitterness go it has become much easier to find other sources of comfort than food.  I also bonded with the ladies in the group and finally understood the benefit of Sparkteams.  When the New Year, New You challenge was over I immediately joined another challenge to keep me accountable (currently I am participating in the Winter 5% challenge – Go Teddy Bears!!).  I also found a couple of teams that had similar interests/concerns to me.  I make sure to check in on Sparkpeople every day – even just to talk to others if I don’t feel like exercising.  Over the course of 2011 I lost another 15 pounds for a total of 21.   I finally feel like I have found the right formula for a healthy lifestyle.

I haven’t given anything up – I don’t crave many of the foods I used to turn to comfort, but when I feel like I want to have them I do – just in carefully controlled portions.  And I don’t feel guilty when I see other people losing weight at a much faster pace than I am.  I just remind myself that I am getting there slowly but surely, and as the turtle said, “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Me - March 2010


Me - October 2011


My Weight Loss Journey – Part 1

I weighed 112 pounds on the day Art and I were married in 1988, which is a bit on the low side for my height. I really wasn’t watching what I ate, but I was riding my bike every day, walking when I could, and never ate much for dinner anyway. Also, I had essentially stopped eating for the 3 days prior to the wedding, so within a month afterwards I was back up to my normal 120.

I have never been a gym rat and was pretty agoraphobic the first few years of our marriage.  I pretty much gave up on exercise during that time, although I would occasionally go to the gym with Art to play racquetball.  Over the next few years my weight went up to 135.

After the births of my boys I stabilized around 140 and was quite happy at that weight for another 7 years, taking regular walks with Art and occasionally attempting the gym.  I knew I had gained weight, but I still liked how I looked in clothes and was so busy running after two little boys that it never occurred to me I was out of shape.

In October 2001 Art was recalled to active duty in the Air Force.  Fortunately, he was never sent into a combat area, but he was gone from home more frequently than before.  I turned to comfort food more than ever.  Cheetos, Cheez-its, Velveeta shells and cheese, popcorn with lots of butter, tortilla chips with queso dip and Nestle’ King Size Triple Chocolate cones were my favorite.  One one of Art’s overseas trips I gained 10 pounds in 2 weeks.  By 2003 I was up to 155 pounds.

Art & I on Alaska cruise 2004

I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight  However, I still didn’t see the benefit of exercise.  I was still walking one or two days a week with Art and doing crunches whenever I felt guilty (not that often) but that was about it.  Family Circle magazine published an insert based on their Eat What You Love and Lose diet and I decided to try it.  I learned some new recipes and some easy ways to track calories and lost 2o pounds.  Back to 135!! I was ecstatic.

That fall I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Not just high – ridiculously high.  How could that be when I was at a healthy body weight?  I had no family history of heart disease.  I started on two different kinds of blood pressure medicine. It never occurred to me that lack of exercise might be part of the problem.

In June 2005, Art and I opened our golf shop.  I was so busy running back and forth and up and down the stairs and moving boxes, not to mention doing the books and manning the cash register during busy times, while still homeschooling Bud, that I was pretty much able to eat whatever I wanted.  I was so stressed I went right back to my comfort foods.  I didn’t gain any weight, but I certainly wasn’t healthy.  As business and life stabilized the weight slowly started to creep back up.

Christmas 2007 brought a brand new treadmill and soon after that I discovered Sparkpeople.  For a few months I used the website to track my exercise, learned some new strength training exercises and some more new recipes.  For the first time since high school I attempted pushups!!  In May of 2008 when I had a partial  hysterectomy I was very glad for all the exercising I had done. I was back to work in a week with one of the fastest recovery times the doctor had ever seen. By July it was too hot to exercise indoors or out (no air conditioning, except in the bedroom) so I gradually fell out of the habit.

To be continued on Friday, January 13…

Bud’s Black Days

Ever since he was a little guy Bud has had anger management issues.

He hated having his picture taken.

When he was 5, Bud tried to pick a fight with some teenagers at the local burger joint because they said he was cute.  At 6, a 9 year old stole  Bud’s water gun (Super Soaker) and started spraying him with it.  Bud ran up to the other boy, grabbed the water gun out of his hands and whacked him with it until the other boy ran away.

I’m not telling you these stories because I’m looking for  sympathy or so that you think Bud is a terrible child.  It’s simply that in looking back I can see all the signs we missed that Bud had a mental health issue.

WebMD has a laundry list of symptoms that can signal depression in children.  I have included the entire list in the hopes that it may help another family, but I’ll highlight the ones that applied to Bud:

  • Irritability or anger (as previously mentioned)
  • Continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection.
  • Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased (From the age of 5 or so on, Bud had a bit of a weight problem – he wore size 12 husky pants when he was 9. About age 10 he grew a few inches in height and since then he has had a hard time keeping weight on.  So we have seen both sides of the appetite problem.)
  • Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep. (I talk about Bud’s sleep problems in my blog post I Couldn’t Sleep at All Last Night.
  • Vocal outbursts or crying.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Fatigue and low energy.
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that do not respond to treatment (We homeschooled Bud through the sixth grade, so he didn’t miss school due to illness.  But by the time he was in the 9th grade, he was missing up to 15 days per semester due to headaches, stomachaches or whatever excuse he could come up with)
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
  • Impaired thinking or concentration.
  • Thoughts of death orsuicide.
  • *this list (minus my comments)©2005-2012 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

I think on some level Art and I knew there was something wrong.  We thought he was just willful and when the problems first started, we cracked down on him when he raged at us (cold showers, loss of privileges).  It worked for awhile and as long as he was at home in a controlled environment, things went well.  But when he was away from home (at taekwondo or AWANA or grandma’s or camp) that was when all hell would break loose.

I wish very much we could go back and know then what we know now.  I wish we could have got Bud the help he needed from an early age so he wouldn’t have to have had so many years of feeling so lost and alone.  I am glad that we were able to get Bud help before it was too late and I hope that someone who reads this will be able to get their child the help he or she needs.

Day of Recovery

No post today as I am taking a much needed day to rest and recuperate from all the festivities.  Look for my post on Friday, December 30th which will be about our family’s New Year’s traditions.

Merry Day after Christmas!!

“I Couldn’t Sleep at All Last Night”

Looking back, I feel guilty for not believing him.  So many times over the years Bud would tell us that he hadn’t slept at all the night before.  “Of course you did,” we would reply.  “You just don’t remember.  You probably woke up a lot and that’s why you think you weren’t asleep at all.”

He was such an easy baby.  No fuss and always such a sweet smile on his face that I called him my angel baby.  But it seemed like the terrible twos lasted three years.  After that, things got easier, but Bud was always  a little crabby and anxious.

Then in 2009 his attitude took a turn for the worse.  Our business was failing,  and Art and I were gone from the house for 10 or more hours a day.  Bud was in his first year of high school and struggling to keep up in some of his classes.  In addition, he and his girlfriend were not getting along.  All I knew was that it was nearly impossible to get him up for school in the morning.  He had a headache, or he didn’t feel good.  Could he just miss a class or two and go in late?  I remember adding it up and he had missed over 15 days of school his freshman year!

Finally, in June of 2009, right after we closed the business, I tried to get Bud up one morning.  He refused.  It was the week before finals and I was worried he wouldn’t pass his classes and end up having to repeat his freshman year.  I told him there were no more excuses and gave him 5 minutes to get out of bed.  Then I personally drove him to school (the boys usually walked, but I wasn’t taking any chances on that day).  On my way back home I got a text.  Pulling to a stop in our driveway I read the message from Bud which read, “well if you’re not even going to listen to me then I might as well just kill myself.  You don’t even know what’s going on.”

Needless to say, I freaked out.  I woke up Art and read him the message.  He agreed we had to take the threat seriously and called the school.  By the time we got there, they had already pulled Bud out of class and he was in the vice principal’s office waiting for us.  It turned out that Bud and his girlfriend had broken up the night before and he just couldn’t deal with going to school.   It was obvious he was done for the day, so we brought him home.  He wouldn’t talk to us and we were scared.  We finally got him to agree to go to therapy through the local Community Mental Health.

It took a month for us to get an appointment for Bud.  In the meantime, he did manage to attend class every day for the next two weeks and to pass all his classes.  His first day with the therapist she managed to get out of him that he had not had a full night’s sleep in years (we think probably since the age of 5 – maybe even earlier).  She also suggested that Bud was suffering from generalized anxiety disorder and depression.  We wrangled a doctor’s appointment the very next day and after two weeks on heavy duty sleep meds we could already see the difference in Bud.

The past 2 1/2 years have been a two steps forward one step back world of medication changes and adjustments, psychiatric appointments and family discussions.  Bud is still not the best sleeper and one of the main reasons he is homeschooling is so that he can “do school” when he is most awake  – usually around 10 p.m.!  He is fun to have a conversation with and, if he’s really well rested, even volunteers to do some chores!!

I’m happy to say – I got my angel baby back!!

Gas Queen

Ok, let’s be honest, here.  We all pass gas.  According to, “An average person will produce around half a litre of fart gas per day, which roughly translates as 14 farts a day. ” So it’s nothing to be ashamed of, I guess.

But ever since I had a partial hysterectomy 3 1/2 years ago, my farts have become epic.  Especially in bed at night.  Not just more frequent, but loud.  So loud, they can occasionally drown out my husband’s snores. states that:

“Over the last few years, it has become quite apparent that a very common symptom of menopause is bloating in the intestinal tract due to the production of gas.  Recent survey results have found over two-thirds of women experience stomach gas during menopause.”


                                     (National independent survey conducted on behalf of Beano by Market Research Institute)

Here are some changes women (and men) can make to help in the battle against flatulence:

  • If you know you’re going to be eating a notorious gas-producer, like cabbage, broccoli, nuts beans, beer, or soda, then take Beano or another digestive aid with the offender.
  • If you forget the Beano, or don’t have any on hand, then be sure to take a gas-reducer such as Gas-X afterwards.
  • Be kind to yourself and your loved ones.  Don’t stop eating healthy foods to avoid passing gas.  A high fat, high meat diet can cause extremely smelly farts.  And I think most people would prefer loud to smelly any day.

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