February 16, 2015

My Tips of the Scale Interview

In January, I was approached by Tips of the Scale who asked if I would talk a little bit about my weight loss journey. I was truly honored to be asked even though I wasn't sure what I could offer; most days I feel like I am just fumbling around still trying to figure things out. But if I have learned anything, it is that I will be on this crazy ride for the rest of my life. And even though some days I’m frustrated as Hell…I cannot imagine going back and living the unhealthy life I had; the one that literally weighed on me every minute of every day. I am the happiest, healthiest and strongest I have ever been.
SO, I am beyond scared and nervous and a little bit excited to share that interview with all of you…I mean, I’m putting it all out there. However, if there is another thing that I have discovered on this little jaunt to healthiness, it is that somehow, someway I keep uncovering strength that I never thought existed. If I can help just one person who may be on their own journey, sharing my story is worth it. Don’t give up; don’t ever give up…fight. YOU are worth it.


February 13, 2015

Happy Heart Month!

Hello friends!

So, it’s February, and this month we are celebrating all that is love, right?  Well, for most.

Confession:  my Hubs and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day – we’re cool like that…

But we DO celebrate all things love on every other day of the year…shouldn’t everyone??  I guess February 14th is as great a day as any to remember to love each other.  So, to all of you out there, Happy Extra Special Love Day!

Guess what else is celebrated in February?

By now most everyone knows that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one killer in the United States.  The American Heart Association reports that globally, 17.3 million deaths per year are due to CVD and estimates this number to grow to 23+million by 2030.  In 2008, the U.S. lost over 780,000 people to CVD-related diseases like strokes; that’s 2,100+ deaths per day.  These estimates are staggering.   CVD includes heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. 
The scariest part of CVD is that most of these cases can be prevented.  No matter how many times we have heard it, it never hurts to hear it again.  Here are some KEY factors to avoid CVD or improve your chances of getting better even if you aren’t doing anything now.  You don’t even have to do all of these things.  Even adopting a few of them will help:

Recall Center

Many of you know that when I was at my heaviest, my cholesterol and blood sugar were very high…high enough for me to need to be on medication to lower them.  I have lost 85lbs from my highest weight and I am proud to say that halfway to this point, I was able to stop taking blood sugar medicine.  I am also on the lowest dose of cholesterol medicine with hopes to be able to come off of it very soon.  Not only does diet and exercise come into play but so do genetics…and that’s something to consider, too.  My family has a history of high cholesterol so I have to be very careful.  If you have a family history of heart disease or any CVD-related illnesses, chances are you’re genetically pre-disposed.  Through eating healthy and getting active, I was able to lose weight.  The rest of the positive effects have followed.  I will continue to try to manage my cholesterol for the rest of my life, but I would prefer to do it without medicine which means that I have to eat right and be active.

One bit of advice that I found very enlightening was that people in the 30’s and 40’s cannot think that they are not at risk; youth does not offer you extra time not to worry about disease.  Unfortunately, studies are showing that younger people are developing early signs of CVD.  Take care of yourself now, no matter your age.

For more information about heart disease, check out The American Heart Association’s website.


November 10, 2014

Be Great

Original Photography - Jennifer Lefebvre

This weekend as I was perusing some articles on Facebook, I came across an interesting story about Haley Morris-Cafiero.  Haley is a photographer and she noticed one day that as she was taking a self-photo in New York City, a stranger in the background seemed to be looking at her oddly.  She examined the photo a little bit more and then decided to conduct a social experiment in which she, an overweight person, photographed herself to see if she could capture stranger’s reactions to her as she was performing normal activities like exercising or shopping for food, etc.  What she found was surprising.  Haley captured photos upon photos of people staring at her; seemingly because she is an overweight person.

Upon looking at the photos, I have to admit that sometimes she was performing activities in odd places where I would imagine anyone would stare no matter what your size.  For instance, in one picture she seems to be working out in the middle of a very busy sidewalk and passersby try to maneuver around her.  Nevertheless, in many photos, she does not seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary, yet the reactions of others that she captured are disturbing.  Here is a link to the story.

We cannot in any way imagine what the people are actually thinking; one can only assume.  However, as an overweight and previously obese person, I know the looks all too well.  While we indeed take up more physical space in the world, we would rather remain invisible…instead of looking at us in jest, please just don’t look at us.  I have written about this previously.  And while people rarely looked me in the eye, I guess I didn’t like to think about the fact that they did, in fact, very much notice me.  If I could have seen the looks people gave me when I was not looking, I would have been heartbroken. 

I think that Haley is brave.

She writes:

 “I have always had a hard time controlling my weight. My uncontrollable exterior has determined my place in society and I have often felt left out and awkward. For this series, I photograph myself in socially engaged spaces to examine how my body fits into society. I choose compositions within social sites: restaurants, stores, pools and other places of leisure. I attempt to juxtapose my place in the scene with issues that contribute to my weight gain.”

Haley is creating a composition of not only the photos, but of the comments that people leave for her on social media sites.  I know this already, but the world is cruel.  Some of the hateful comments that she has received are truly eye-opening.  Many of us would not put ourselves out there like this; she should be applauded.

If you are interested in more about Haley Morris-Cafiero and her project, The Wait Watchers, please visit her website.

I want to leave you with this thought today:  forget anyone of no importance to you.  Do not waste time or energy on people who do not matter.  Surround yourself with people who love you for you.  Remove the people from your life who do not make you feel beautiful every single day.  And for goodness sake, we should take lessons from Haley...be brave, BE GREAT, make others feel great, and dance to the beat of our own drums.