Clips and commando. :)

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Abbigayle is a sassy, brave, vibrant young lady who lives with Type 1 Diabetes. We were riding in the Diabetes Association TourdeCure this past summer. She is my inspiration!

It’s the time of year for me to get my bike, Jenny, out and start riding!

My bike is named Jennyanydots after a character in the play CATS.  Jennyanydots’ job is self-prescribed; she keeps the mice and cockroaches in line and away from destructive, mischievous behaviors.

PURRFECT (get the pun?!) reminder for someone who intends to keep 220 pounds off and T2 Diabetes solidly in remission through lifestyle changes…

Jenny is a glittering metallic black frame with polka dots 🙂 and pink bar wrap.

ZBmb3AXflp9WtvEg-d081ES_1y1a_iGe4F0PYRjUpYEI love her. 🙂

She has taught me a few really important lessons.

Beyond learning about endurance, confidence, camaraderie and new levels of fitness, I would have to say the most memorable lessons so far involved clips and bike shorts.

Anyone who rides is probably starting to chuckle to themselves…  The lessons those two items teach seem to be legend.  MANY funny stories start with one of those items in the starring role…

Once learned; they are never forgotten. 🙂

We’ll start with bike shorts. First thing you should know is that the padded portion of the shorts — that align with the seat to protect your valuable parts — is actually called the chamois.

It totally makes you feel like you are walking around with a full diaper.

They are flattering on NO ONE.  Ever.

And yet they are wickedly useful if you want to be on your bike for longer than… oh… a mile.

In general if it’s a good pair of shorts, padded for a gender specific rider; they are worth their weight in gold.

The biggest lesson about the chamois?  It’s NOT meant to be worn with underwear. It is really meant to be the only thing next to your skin.

No one ever told me that.

I knew women who were riding when I started and I’m still kind of pissed that not a single one of them clued me in on this important little tidbit…

The shorts I bought – true, they were clearance rack specials – didn’t have any kind of instructions or warning labels.  Just how to wash and care for the chamois.

Turns out underwear will eventually create additional friction points INSIDE of the shorts… And you can get some spectacular chafing on longer rides.  Like the kind of chafing that leaves scars.

So about mile 28 on my first 65-miler I find myself pitching my bike to the ground and waddling into a porta-potty to strip off my bike shorts and underwear.  I stuffed the underwear – not even remotely trying to be subtle — into the nearest trash can. And getting OUT of those bike shorts with my feet still in bike shoes/clips, while trapped in a tiny and miserably hot porta-potty? I’ll remember the experience for the rest of my life.

Limping back out to my biking companions begging for lube/glide/anti-chafe/numbing relief was humbling and embarrassing as hell.

Desperation won.

My ALL male riding companions were highly amused and entertained as this played out. I was not. I was miserable. There was NO WAY to hide it — they all knew what the issue was. My only solace?  One of them got to laughing at me so hard, he tipped over on his bike.  SMALL, petty victory. But a victory for my ego.

I got things as squared away as possible.  Finished the ride.  And walked funny for the next two weeks.  That was July 2013. I have biked plenty of underwear-free, happy, amazing miles since that day. 🙂

So… next up would be clips…

I was so hesitant to ride with clips.

I was convinced that I would be attaching myself to a death contraption with no way to escape.  They looked scary. I had heard stories about how they took some serious getting used to.

I finally realized that I loved riding enough to figure out this clipping in/out thing…  A couple of friends wore me down. They convinced me that it would make a noticeable, positive difference over distances and on hills.  (For the record, they were right!)

I got great advice from my friends Joe and Josh who had their own war stories about learning the ins/outs of clips.

  • Clip in WHILE holding onto a barn/door frame.
  • Practice the little ankle/heel flicking motion that un-clips your foot — practice it a ton — while your bike is stable and NOT moving.
  • THEN ride on grass or a soft surface.
  • Practice pushing off, clipping in, clipping out and stopping on a soft surface.
  • ONLY THEN should you go out on the road.

I practiced a bunch. I felt great and confident.

I mean HOW could I possibly forget that my FREAKING feet are attached to my bike?!?

Off I went.  I did great!  I rode for about 3 miles.  Felt confident.  Could feel that I could use my legs pushing AND pulling and that these clips were going to let me use ALL of my muscles to make the bike move!  It was truly an exhilarating feeling!

Then I hit the stop sign to cross Highway 226.

I started to stop.

I PANICKED.

I suddenly could NOT remember how to get my feet unattached from the bike.  I tried pulling my feet up — which is NOT the motion. It’s a simple, fairly dainty ankle/heel flick away from the bike that actually does the uncoupling…

I stopped at the stop sign, yanking WILDLY on my feet…

ALL practice totally forgotten.

I tipped over, in a very gentle fashion, in super slow motion…   Totally attached to both pedals.

A trucker passing by slowed down and, realizing I was OK, merrily honked at me and gave me the thumbs up sign. I flipped him off as I laid on my side, tangled in my bike, laughing and trying to figure out how I was going to get my feet unattached and get up off the ground.

I got it figured out and started off again — this time vowing to practice clipping in and out LONG before the next stop.

I STILL think about clipping in/out LONG before I plan to stop. 🙂

Heel flicks and Commando. 🙂 

That’s what my bike has taught me so far.

I know we’re not done learning together. 🙂

What lessons has your bike taught you?

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Gum, Pote and me on a kickass girls summer ride. We were tearing up the road. 🙂
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Friends.

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“I will support you. But I am also going to call you out on your sh&* if I think you are being  ridiculous or not healthy.’ — Jeff Sherman

Relationships get stressed and tested when we make sweeping, large, epic lifestyle changes.

I know that this is not new news.

Our friends can help and support and be our biggest fans. And they can hurt us and challenge us.

Beyond the ‘how do I get motivated to start?’ question — questions about managing friendships and the tensions created with food, diet and exercise are a close second.

Fractures in friendships are serious, heart-wrenching stuff. Especially if they occur during a time where we are actively trying to create changes and make things better for ourselves.

This blog question is from someone I have never met:

‘I think I am going to have to ‘divorce’ my friend.

It is either my health or her friendship. I have lost a good amount of weight, with much more to lose.  I am pre-diabetic.

She shows up to my house weekly with candy and homemade junk food for my kids.  I’m trying to set a better example for my kids AND I can’t have that crap around my house.

I have asked her to NOT bring it into my house. She always agrees. Then she shows up with goodies for the kids and says ‘this is the last time…’

She doesn’t understand that she isn’t the one I am going to pick if she really forces me to choose…

What do I do?  Did you ever experience this?’

In case you think she is alone, I also get asked:

‘My friend is my biggest supporter. We’ve each lost a bunch of weight. Now she’s stalled and I am still losing weight…  Things are tense.” (I get asked the reverse of this as well; ‘I’m stalled and battling jealousy’.)

‘My friend keeps trying to sabotage my eating plan.’

‘My friend keeps making mean remarks about what I eat/don’t eat.’

Anyone reading these comments will probably think one of three things:

  • That has TOTALLY happened to me!
  • I would NEVER do something that hurtful to any of my friends.
  • Are people really that mean?

This kind of thing has very likely happened if you have made ANY kind of significant lifestyle change. Perceptions and interactions with our friends change because something in our life changes to shift the balance/focus/dynamic. There is a learning curve involved for everyone. Some handle it better than others.

And you HAVE done this kind of crap to your friends when they were succeeding at something and you were NOT. You can sit there shaking your head at me… But you have. We somehow feel threatened by someone elses success or determination or bravery. We have all done some version – subtle or overt – of NOT supporting a friend who is in the midst/grip of a lifestyle change.  We have ALL been ‘that’ friend at some point, no matter how hard we tried not to be.

People can be mean. Especially when they are hurt, cornered, scared, defeated, embarrassed or jealous…  And people who KNOW us are some of the most capable of inflicting deep wounds. I try to remember that meanness often comes from a place of hurt; damn near impossible to remember when you are the target. But meanness is actually about THEM, not about me/you.

When it comes to forging a new, healthy path you might find yourself having to draw a line in the sand (or build a brick wall!) to protect yourself and what you are working towards…

Even with friends.


What happens when that line gets crossed, muddied, disrespected, trampled on?

The growth, death or transformation of our friendships is very much a natural part of all the change that occurs and that we create with a major lifestyle overhaul.

Being told change is natural is something we can grasp intellectually.

But understanding all of the dynamics involved in changing friendships as it plays out in real-time, in our lives, is a whole other story

What happened with my friendships over the 3.5 years of this journey?

I still have many of my same friends. Honest. I was AMAZED to discover how many of my relationships were based entirely on food. We have since found other ways to value, grow and enjoy our friendship.

I am blessed to have a small handful of close friends who are actively a part of this never-ending journey. Some old, some new. But ALL, without ANY exceptions are 100% supportive of the new lifestyle I have built. It’s a tight and intimate circle of folks that I can count on one hand.

There are some friends that are no longer a part of my life. The relationships simply and quietly went away for a variety of reasons. We drifted apart. We just let it happen.

Finally, and the part most folks are really curious about…  A few friends said mean things, were openly not supportive or were creating problems. Actions and words spoke loudly and clearly.

The result was TOUGH conversations and severing of contact that was purposeful.

I struggled HARD with how to handle the friendship-ending issues.

I always want to protect and preserve friendships to the extent possible. I don’t take friendships for granted or throw them away.

The conclusion I finally reached was that to preserve the friendship in each of these cases would be to sacrifice in some way, shape or form what I was trying to do to reclaim my health.

A friend would NOT ask me to make that kind of sacrifice.

In a confused sort of way, they actually helped me make the hard decision.


I saved the best for last. 🙂

I have more than my fair share of stalwart and solid friends who have been on this crazy adventure with me.  I lucked out.  I know it.

They’re doing the hard work right beside me.

They coach me through eating ONE serving of dark chocolate – and not the whole bar the first time I ventured out to try to add chocolate back into my diet after 3.5 years.

They guard the bushes and trails while I jump off the path to… uh… get close with nature.

They meet me at the gym at o’dark thirty to lift weights with a smile on their face.

They find places to eat that make food choices easy for me.  And they enjoy it as much as I do.

They remind me of where I was a year/two years ago — and not-at-all-gently remind me to STOP COMPARING anything to anyone other than my old self.

THOSE actions speak so loudly; you can’t even even hear the words.  🙂

I know there were rough spots over the past few years with some folks who grabbed my attention for a short while; but all along my heart has belonged to this tribe of people who seem as committed to my success as I am.

They’re my friends.

I’m lucky to have them.

They have made all the difference in my world.

Please tell me your ‘make-us-jealous-they’re-not-our-friend’ kind of stories. 🙂    IMG_6626-2

You’re telling me I can never eat candy again?

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Candy. 🙂

*This blog is a little messy, because the topic is messy.  No matter how I tried to organize or clean it up, it just wouldn’t cooperate.  And it’s personal. Fair warning. 🙂 

Just about daily, someone asks me what I ate to lose weight or manage blood glucose for Type 2 diabetes.

A lot of people are interested in the food dynamics for BOTH of these issues.

The bulk of these conversations are people who are a) genuinely curious or b) want confirmation that what they are doing is the right thing.  We tend to get really chatty and animated about food and helpful tips!

A handful of the conversations are people trying to convert me to their way of thinking/eating.  If it works for them — great!

A handful of the conversations are people questioning my choices. These conversations, as you can imagine, go a little differently.  It’s usually heralded by a comment like ‘Well, then what are you allowed to eat….?’  First, I try really hard not to get defensive. Then, I quickly let them know that I am NOT being punished or on a ‘diet’; I am simply and willingly MAKING choices based on what works best for me.

I usually end the conversation right there.

I will freely admit that any of the above mentioned conversations can easily get a little more confusing than normal.  Why?  Because I will eventually admit that I personally made choices to ban certain foods from my life. People are justifiably curious about why I have chosen to do that. (Hence the title question of this blog.)

The honest answer?

They’re banned in my life because of my total lack of control.

I am not one of those humans blessed with the skill of ‘moderation’.

Eat one cookie? A bite of a candy bar? One small slice of pizza?  Yeah… Right…

I have learned these past 3 years that I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl.

That’s really good stuff to know about yourself.


I have had people get — literally — in my face about my food choices.  As recent as this week.

It’s when I choose NOT to eat something that usually triggers the harshest of comments.

‘Your diet would KILL me’, ‘your life has to be so boring if you can’t even eat cake…’ and my favorite (not) ‘just ONE bite is NOT going to kill you…’

There’s more – but you get the idea.

I have a few things I do when I feel confronted or questioned about food;

  • Walk away.
  • Find a friend who knows my story and stand with them. I still lack self-confidence and strength (maturity?) in my relationship with food. I know it. I seek out FRIENDS for comfort instead of food these days. Maybe this is not a healthy trade-off, but it works for now as I am still learning coping skills and gaining confidence.
  • Decline invitations if I know that my food choices are going to be scrutinized or my decision to NOT eat is going to be taken poorly or cause problems for the host/hostess.
  • Just take a portion of whatever is being adamantly pushed and quietly get rid of it.

I am working HARD to make the choices that work best for me and for sustaining my healthy lifestyle.  Non-stop learning.

The biggest hurdle for me continues to be understanding and accepting that NOT everyone needs to approve of what I do, of the choices I make…  And learning to resist the urge to apologize, explain or defend my choices to everyone.

I AM NOT asking anyone else to buy into this crazy, neurotic food ride that I am on.

But it works for me, and me alone.


The one comment that always makes me defensive?

The ‘One bite…’ comment.

People are seriously taping into the deepest of my emotional injuries with that comment and they don’t even realize it…

One bite COULD kill me.

OK… NOT literally at this point in my health journey.

But when I was managing T2 diabetes and battling life-long obesity… FOOD was a very real, dangerous, controlling drug of sorts for me.

When I was trying to establish new, strong habits — one bite could be a real mental/emotional unraveling down a very, very steep and slippery slope. And I knew it. One bite could be the difference between winning and losing a battle.

Or winning and losing the entire war.

Why?  Because that is ALWAYS what had happened in the past.

Having ‘one bite’ is not about being flexible or daring or easy-going or accomodating…

FOR ME, that ‘one bite’ was entirely about the act of GIVING up and giving in. One small step at a time.

One bite leads to two… And that is exactly how you wind up 392 pounds at age 42.

I’d lost the battle countless times.  I know the ‘one bite’ battle all too well.

I have had to work hard to re-frame my entire relationship with food. It’s one of the parts that’s not overtly visible unless you eat with me often, read my food journals or I have chosen to confide in you… So that’s about 3 people. Seriously.

So what did I have to re-frame? What are my goals now?

  • Food is fuel.  I treat food as a means to fueling my life, my goals.
  • I focus on only eating when I am physically ‘belly’ hungry.

I had to first work hard to move away from thinking of food as comfort, peace, solace, friendship. Thats what it had been most of my life.

Then I had another big leap to make when I was in the throes of battling Type 2 Diabetes to move away from thinking of food as poison or adversarial.

It has been constant, private, hard work.

And I’m not done. Not done by a long shot.


So am I really saying no more of certain foods, ever again?  For me; yes. That is MY choice,and it’s worked more than 3.5 years.

I think some of my struggles and battles with food choices might resonate with a handful of folks. BUT my strategies and tactics and ‘all or nothing’ approach with food – NO, it won’t work for most people.  I totally understand that and would never actively encourage folks to follow in my exact footsteps.

Everyone has to find their own path to healthy.  Make their own choices.  Discover what works for them…

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Iced black coffee. 🙂 My favorite treat!

I can tell you that it is a path well worth finding… 🙂

Trigger point

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…all kinds of great paths have opened up for me… 🙂

I often get asked what the trigger point was for my lifestyle overhaul.

I always stumble around for a good answer. I never quite know what to say because the truth is…  Well, it’s just messy.

I did reach a point (July 2010) where I knew I was DONE with the way I was living my life. I wanted to be on a new path. No matter what it took. I felt that shift physically.

My gut and heart were finally ready to follow my mind.

But there were life-long cascading events that led up to that actual moment in July 2010…

I was fat. Not fitting in chairs. Special clothes. Exceeding weight limits. Routinely being the largest person in a room.

Unhealthy. Fatty liver. Cholesterol levels that were sketchy. High blood pressure. A category I’ll politely label ‘female issues’.

Diabetic, Type 2.  Daily injections for blood glucose control. Finger sticks. Drugs to help with complications. Swinging highs/lows that made me oh-so-much-fun to be around.

I had grown used to all of this.

It was all manageable.

But there was a single, big event that changed my world…


My world stopped on 3/10/10 just after 9 in the morning when my mom died.

We had been fighting, all-out, to save her for months.

She died of MRSA.

MRSA is a drug resistant staph. A ‘super bug’.  For my mom, it was a massive, systemic staph infection that could not be controlled. As time went by, NONE of the drugs available in the US worked, not even the experimental drugs, combinations.

My mom had a seriously compromised immune system. She had Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) from when she was 32. Complications from RA, for her, were diabetes and kidney failure. She was in renal failure when MRSA grabbed hold. She was a desperately difficult case for OHSU (Oregon’s teaching hospital) to work on. We were told routinely how dire and complicated things were.

The infection and complications overwhelmed her body 6 days after her 66th birthday.

I grieved. Hard. For more than a year I was secluded, closed-off and wounded. Hell, I’m still grieving 5 years later.  My mom was one of my best friends. She shouldn’t have died. But her health was so complicated and compromised that her body couldn’t help her fight off the infection.

After she died I began to realize a few things…

I hurt my back 4 months before she died. Bulged 2 discs in my lower back.  I tripped and fell. The doctor told me the weight of my belly is likely what pulled my back apart, the fall shouldn’t have done it. I was drugged into oblivion for pain management. I was crippled to the point that I couldn’t bend over my moms ICU bed and kiss her cheek as she was dying…

I will never get over that. Not even going to try. Being fat had finally caught up with me.

This was the first time I ever remember feeling resentment, remorse, disgust, regret (not sure of the right word….) at having let myself get so fat and unhealthy.

And I saw some incredible things in our time at the hospital. I realized that a good long-term strategy for survival is to NOT NEED healthcare/hospitals. I was, at 42, a surgical candidate for a back injury related to my weight, taking 3 shots a day for type 2 diabetes, 6-7 other meds. I was dependent on lots of doctors to keep me healthy.

Do you see where this is all leading…??!

Eventually I did too.

It took about 16 months for me to piece it all together and decide that it time to act.

One other note…  (I said this was messy!)

Grieving changes you. Fundamentally. It scars you. It tears you to shreds.  You literally feel like your heart is bleeding. You are in a blinding mental fog. And oddly, it makes you stronger than you ever thought possible. All of the sudden you are fiercely protective of loved ones and friends; protecting others is the only emotional outlet for the shit storm that is your mind and heart. Grief makes you so weak and vulnerable you sit passively, even in public, with tears streaming down your face because you don’t even have the energy to properly cry…

If you’ve grieved — you know what I’m talking about. You have your own definitions and examples for what it does to your life, your mind and your heart.

Having said that…

I began to realize that my mom would be so, so disappointed in me if I kept living my life as the walking dead. What kind of tribute was that to my mom?!  She was INCREDIBLE and loved life and cherished people and enjoyed every moment she was given — until the very end.

I had to do that same… I had to live a FULL life.  Not a half life of adapting and getting by.

I began to understand that the biggest tribute I could possibly pay to my mom (and dad!) is to show people that I CHOOSE to live life, love people and enjoy each moment I am given.

Things had to change.


The best visual I have come up with is that things were piling up.

Instead of them piling up on top of me and being suffocated by them – like I had always done in the past, this time; I stood on them.

They piled up.  And I just kept blindly and stubbornly scrambling and climbing over them and standing on them.

I didn’t want to be suffocated.  Or squished.  Or buried. Anymore.

I wanted to LIVE.

But… WHY this time?  I had learned to live life as a fat woman.  I was managing my diabetes. I was getting by just fine.

Was my trigger point all really tied to my mom’s death? Was it the little things piling up? Was it just that I finally found a spark of bravery and determination that I had never felt/found/noticed before…

I really don’t know.

I think it was more likely a perfect storm and I was finally ready.

Perhaps too simple an answer to satisfy folks who are looking to be motivated for their own life change… But I really do think it was the right things at the right time and I had just enough guts to make a run for it – and quickly found the right people and tools and encouragement.

It’s still a daily fight to stay in control of food. I keep an eagle eye on my weight and work hard to keep it stable. I still hit snooze sometimes before getting my butt out of bed to go run. 🙂  I won’t lie to you. I understand that I will have daily battles the rest of my life to keep the good habits in the forefront.

Game on.

My mom was proud of me. She made sure I KNEW that every single day of my life. And I know she would be just as proud of me now.

I am a very lucky girl to be so well loved.

I also know that if she was still alive she would be begging my dad to create a wheelchair with all-terrain wheels and a seat belt so I could push her into the hills on trail runs and she would be my running partner…  🙂

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Mom. Fishing Diamond Lake. She is pointing the biggest fish to let everyone know that’s the one she caught… 🙂

More than the eye can see…

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‘You have no idea what it’s like to fight your weight…’

I joined a conversation with two coworkers. They introduced me to the 3rd person in their group.  As I walked up they were talking about losing weight and exercising. They were chattering loudly about how hard it all was to make it work, where to start and how to stick to it.  I didn’t say anything right off, but I eventually piped in. I said something generic about eating less and moving more…

The woman I had just met kind of eyeballed me and said ‘You obviously have no idea what it’s like to have to fight your weight…’

I literally choked on my coffee and sputtered/snorted/cackled.  VERY ladylike and polite. 🙂

Here are the thoughts that zipped through my head:

First: A chance to talk about lasting lifestyle changes. Eat less. Move more… Open door… Walk through it!

Second: Lightly stunned. Someone threw judgement out verbally at someone they had JUST met.  Mentally, we all do that kind of judging and assessing crap – even if we don’t want to admit to it.  But she said it out loud. (Says the woman who notoriously has a broken filter… 🙂 )

Third: WOW!  GREAT reminder. EVERY single person we meet has a history, a battle, a fight, a problem, a triumph, a story, that WE KNOW NOTHING ABOUT.  Things are not always how they look. What was this woman’s story??!  What was going on…?

Fourth:  ASS is a key part of the word assumption.

Fifth:  This woman has no idea that I wake up every morning still convinced I weigh 392 pounds and that it takes me a minute or two to realize I’m not that person anymore… Every. Single. Day.

How was I going to tell this woman I just met — “You are more wrong that you can possibly even begin to understand” and do it kindly?

I smiled and quietly said ‘Oh, but I really, really do get it…’

She responded with a shrug and slight eye roll that I took to mean ‘ yeah… right… whatever….’

I quickly told her the basics; I reversed type 2 diabetes. Got off all injections/meds. Lost 220 pounds. FOUGHT like a freaking-possessed-maniac to learn how to run and love exercise.  LOVE where my life has taken me. Fight for it each and every day.  Fight for it with EACH and every food choice.  FIGHT for it each and every day when I decide to get out of bed and meet my friends at the gym or go for a run.

She said ‘ok… so maybe you do kind of get it…  tell me more…”

We’re going to grab coffee this next week.

I want to hear her story.


Soapbox warning. 🙂

I’ve been stewing on this exchange and my thoughts about it for over a week.

I knew there was a bigger lesson buried in there for me, if I wanted to figure it out.

I decided that this whole conversation was really a GREAT big reminder for me about the bigger picture of life.

Everyone I meet is hurting and battling something.  Or more than one, single something.

Everyone has something in their background, their back story, that has shaped them into who they are today.

Not all of it is visible.  Not all of it is public. Some of it is happening right before our eyes.

I need to go easy on our fellow humans. 

I need to ask more questions and listen carefully.

And I have to QUIT assuming if I want people to quit assuming things about me…

There is always more than the eye can see.

Step on the scale. (Said the spider to the fly…)

Here is what I wrote to a woman who told me she was upset over gaining back a pound after days of solid, diligent work…
QUIT stepping on the scale more than once a week. YES the scale gives us feedback, but it can also LIE. It does not take into account everything that’s going on or all of the other areas in which we have GREAT progress. It’s a number. A snapshot. A moment in time. AT BEST. The bottom line in this life-long-healthy-adventure is that we move and feel strong and eat as smart as we can. PERIOD. The scale will follow or settle or do whatever in the heck it is going to do and we are NOT going to be ruled by it. I would love for you to be healthy and happy and not give a damn about a number on a scale. That number tells the world absolutely NOTHING about the fabulous and amazing young woman you really are. And for the record, the irony in me telling you this is that I struggle with the scale everyday. This is my fight too.’

I have a vastly unhealthy relationship with my scale.

Lifelong, screwed-up relationship. I have always allowed a number on the scale to tell me if I am ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

It’s has been an abnormally INTENSE battle these past 6 weeks.

Here’s what’s been going on;

Since my 50K in December, 6+ weeks ago, the scale has been slowly climbing. It was perilously close to the top end of the range that I set for myself.  160-169. And it was climbing despite doing what I know normally works.

I’ve technically reached the weight I want to be; I am spending the next 3 years learning how to maintain.  Maintaining things is hard work.

The advice from people who have been successful at KEEPING weight off for life?

  1. Have a range to aim for. Give yourself no more than 10 pounds of wiggle room.
  2. If you get to the top end of the range – it’s time to put on the brakes. Go back to the behaviors that helped you be successful.

I had control over the scale most of the Summer/Fall.  I was only weighing myself every two or three weeks. For months it held steady at 162.

I LOVED that I was moving and eating and doing the right things and the scale validated all of it. I felt great, normal, healthy.

I want to get back to that.

About 10 days after the race in December… I was feeling fat and lazy and sluggish because we were in rest/recovery. I knew better; but I started watching the scale. Waiting for it to STOP going up.

Spencer reassured me. I read articles. Taryn and I talked. Josh and Wendie told me stories about it.  The people I trusted and loved all basically said ‘chill, this is normal…’

But given my history; I was deathly afraid that this was not normal. I was SURE that this was the beginning of me re-gaining every single one of those 220 pounds.  That’s the idea/fear that was totally consuming my brain.

I have experience being fat.

I do NOT (YET!) have experience maintaining a loss or stopping a gain.

Since January 1 we’re back to training. I’m eating solidly within my calories for the day. And the scale is STILL creeping up…

So about 2 weeks ago I decided it was time to panic.

I think that’s a perfectly reasonable reaction given the situation.

I was talking to Taryn (registered dietitian and friend) about my concerns and what I was doing to try to stop the climbing numbers…

The look on her face grew increasingly concerned as I described my habits.

  • I was weighing daily. Up to three times a day.
  • I had hidden my scale from myself. Un-hide it, step on it, hide it again. In my own house.
  • I felt anxious.  Constantly.

Here’s the part I didn’t tell Taryn in exact detail…

One day the scale was higher than it should have been, by an unreasonable amount. I felt ANXIOUS. Like I was going to cry or throw up. I felt totally out of control. My heart felt like it was exploding out of my chest.

I KNEW it was a ridiculous physical response. I wear a heart rate monitor for running. Out of curiosity I put on my HR monitor to see if I was imagining all of this…

In a resting or non-active state the numbers for me should be anywhere from 45-80ish.  When I am running easy and comfortable and can chat with my friends  it ranges in the 125-140’s.

As I was panicking about the STUPID number on the scale it was at 132.

My heart was working as if I was running, but I was STANDING perfectly still in the middle of my bedroom.

I needed help.  And lucky for me; that’s right when Taryn staged an intervention. She didn’t realize how perfect her timing was.

She told me to stuff the scale in a bag, put it in the trunk of the car and hand it over.

‘Do NOT weigh anymore.’

I of course stepped on it the night before and the morning of — in total defiance. My last two little data-points on this roller coaster.

But I hauled it to work.  Handed it over.

image1-6 copyTaryn has given me good advice on ways to collect feedback and judge progress that don’t rely on a scale.

I am focused on learning how to accept those as legit pieces of feedback on my weight stability.

  • Are my pants fitting tight?
  • How do I feel when I run?
  • Am I being honest in writing down all I eat?
  • How many calories/quality of calories am I eating consistently?
  • How do I FEEL?

She has been talking to me about this stuff all along.  But now?  Now I am a motivated listener. 🙂  (Sorry Taryn!)

Taryn is in possession of my scale. I will weigh in with her bi-weekly. (We agreed; I won’t look at the number. She just tells me if I am within the range.)

You wanted the ugly stuff.

Welcome to my fight with the scale.

BUT I intend to win this time. What does winning look like in this case?

  • I weigh once a month to make sure I’m in range.
  • I eat healthy and whole and clean.
  • I stay active.
  • I make a smart food choice and eat when I am hungry.
  • If my favorite pair of pants gets snug; I will go back to the eating plan that helped me lose weight in the first place until my pants fit comfy again.

That’s what freedom from the scale looks like to me.

That’s my goal for 2015.

I will believe the words I wrote above at some point on this journey. 🙂

You wanted honesty and the ugly side of this whole battle…  Here it is.

Anyone else struggle with their scale?  Please tell me I am not alone…

#weightisjustanumberandnumberslie