Friday, May 29

The Right to Bare Arms?

For the longest time, since high school actually, I have had a serious complex about my arms. My flabby jiggly arms. The ones that are connected to my round shoulders and barrel chest. I’m built like a linebacker who was endured a surge of estrogen, minus the hair, adding another cup. A little higher, of course. But not much. Stupid gravity…

As I have been losing weight, I have slowly been warming up to my less than graceful upper appendages, but I'm only lukewarm. Which leads me to a huge dilemma.

I have to attend a formal party next Saturday, and it’s like prom for grownups. Well, for the girls anyway. The guys usually show up in a nice shirt and jeans, which makes for an odd combination. Sequins and denim- like a bedazzler gone awry. And because I have to attend this party, which I am very much looking forward to, I must make a decision that could make or break me. Am I small enough yet to expose the upper parts of my arms to the world?

Part of this predicament is completely mute. There are only so many appropriate dresses that will go around the boobs and not make me look like I am aerodynamically incorrect. Not that Matt would mind, but come on, I have eyes, people, and they are hazel! But I also don’t want to look like a nun, pious and lacking any sex appeal whatsoever. So in finding the perfect dress that is a blend of streetwalker and kindergarten teacher, I am forced to make the big decision.

Sleeveless or sweat factory?

Because on one hand, the sleeveless is a light flowy fabric that has the wonderful capacity to breathe. It doesn’t need altering, and really, the dress doesn’t look too bad. IN MY MIND. But what if I get out there and everyone starts hurling on the spot because my less-fat arms are not as fabulous as I thought? What if my arms are the topic of conversation at every table but mine? What if they aren’t ready to make their public debut?

But on the other hand, I sweat like a pig, and that is not an exaggeration in the slightest. I pour out buckets, and as you may remember, the pits are sensitive to deodorant. I only have 2 kinds that really work, and after 2 hours, I still smell (so I suppose they don’t work that well). So if I wear the strapless dress that is a much heavier fabric with the long wrap to cover up arms, I am going to be comfortable with my pigs in a blanket, except for the fact that I can’t lift them up, or heaven forbid wrap my arms around my darling husband’s neck to romance like I want to. Nope, I am going to be in my own invisible straight jacket. Smelling like a linebacker right after practice.

So, I left the decision up to the only thing I could think of that would be impartial. THE SHOES. Yes, I put a most emotional and big decision in the hands (rather on the heels) of the one thing I could count on. I have gorgeous feet, if I do say so myself, and while we have marched into some precarious messes together, I know they will stand on their own and happily choose my path. It was a big step for me.

Before I left to do some serious shoe shopping, I took my measurements for the first time in 3 months. I have been dreading this because the last time I did it, there was not so much change and my nose got out of joint. It was like saying “You are doing all of this really hard work, and I’m throwing you a bone. But you need to work harder.” It has only been a change of 17 pounds since the end of February, and I wasn’t expecting much. Maybe an inch or 2… 5 tops. As I started tracking my numbers on the Excel sheet, I noticed that the auto sum at the bottom was adding up to double digits. By the time I was finished, I was floored to learn that I had lost 18 inches in 3 months! When I added up the total since the first time I measured everything on January 1st, I am happy to report a grand total of 30.75 inches!!! And I am proud to say that 1.5 inches were off those flabby arms I love to hate. Hmmmm….

I got in the van, filled with joy and courage, to fit the outfits with the perfect shoes and decide from there. I walked around 3 stores, tried on about 15 pairs, and got it narrowed down to a few pairs, but wasn’t in love with any of them. I’m sure looked glorious as I was trying on very formal shoes in my bright red sweat pants pulled above the knee, pretending like I was in one of the two dresses, spinning to see if I would fall flat on my shrinking butt.

That was when I saw them, the perfect shoes for the occasion. I loved those patent leather beauties from the moment I laid hazel eyes on them. And they were like stepping into a cloud, fitting me perfectly. (And I didn’t even have to buy an 8 wide! My feet must be getting thinner too!) Then I found the perfect jewelry, on clearance for $3 at Wal-Mart, and got myself a new bra (had to get a dark one) and a girdle. For those of you who have known me long, or been in a play with me, you know that I am all about the lycra, and have been known to wear more than one girdle at a time. Highest amount at one time was 4. But for this special night, I am only wearing 2. Feeling pretty happy about the shrinking body.

So, I am not going to tell you which dress won. You have to guess on the survey over to the left. Yep, I want to know what you guys think. You may be surprised! Only 3 people know which dress I am wearing, and Mom, Sheryl and Julia, you are NOT allowed to vote. I will post a picture of me in the winning dress on Saturday, the 6th, right as I am all dolled up and ready to go to the party, so you all can get the full effect.

By the way, I wanted to let you know about an upcoming Operation Shrink Charlie’s Big Butt special! I am going to do an interview with Mrs. Kelly O’Toole. If you don’t know who she is, then you are missing out on meeting a huge inspiration. She was the person who told me how she lost weight. And, people, weight she lost! Only 175 pounds. Yep, you read right! 175 pounds! Absolutely amazing! We are working on getting it together, and she is excited to share some of her experiences, thoughts and insights with us all. She saw me at a wedding on December 27th, talked to me about what she has done to lose such an incredible amount, and by January 1st, I was on the diet train, where I still am today. You can imagine how excited I am to share her story with you! I promise to keep you posted.

Until then, know that I am working out, eating right, and as always- having fun and dragging you along with me. Now go vote!!!

Saturday, May 23

A Look Back between THEN and WOW

OK, one of the hardest things for me to do is be open about the size of my body. I’ve always found it (my body) to be “inferior” and because of this I learned how to let my personality overcompensate for the fact that I am a fat chick. Not to mention that the blessings in cups tend to make me look like I am eternally preggers because the shirt hangs like an awning from the boobs and is a good 6 feet away from my tummy. God giveth me A LOT of blessings.
Yet in light of my recent success at hitting the land of “Under 200 pounds at last,” (this morning I was at 198.4!) I had to rethink how I feel about my body. It is changing, and I believe there is a good reason why. I started fessing up to the truth about my body. After I admitted to the world what that shameful weight actually was, something inside me really changed. I began embracing what my body was capable of. I began enjoying the little victories instead of saying “but there is still so far to go!” -
I began loving the body that I had hated for so long.
Now, what I am about to do is completely out of character for me. Because of my faith, and my calling to be a preacher, I am a firm believer in modesty, and the idea of me in a swimsuit is earthshaking to me. The idea of publicly displaying an accurate picture of me in a swimsuit on the internet for all to see is ludicrous, almost to the point of plaid. (Spaceballs reference, for those who didn’t understand that last one.)
I want to make something very clear before we move on. I am now a woman of integrity. I am not posting these pics to display a sense of anything except encouragement. Please don’t write me and say you think my posting these pictures is completely inappropriate. One of the largest issues I had in the beginning of the diet was I had no idea what size I really was. I would get a picture taken and think “Man that picture was at a bad angle! I look really fat!” Nope, in reality, I was really fat. It wasn’t until one of my friends told me that she was at 204, when I was sitting at 210 that I finally thought- OK, girl, you are about this size. It was an eye opener for me, and finally gave me something to compare myself to in a realistic way. It was very healthy for me.
My hope in posting the pics I have is that someone can look at them and say “Ok, I am about this size” or “I was about that size when I started.” This is not a sexual or attention gratification thing, and if you see it as either of those things, well, quite frankly, you are wrong. All righty, enough disclaimers. Let’s get to this before I chicken out and post more pictures of men’s feet with red toe polish on them. (that cracks me up everytime!)

So these are pics of me from the beginning of January. I was 225 pounds then, and a size 22/24. I had lost some weight from the previous Oct-Dec, but not much, only 13 pounds. I felt miserable, as you maybe can tell by the look on my face. The poor flowers on this suit weren't supposed to look that big, I assure you. But that was THEN.

And this is WOW. (I mean now!)

I was surprised to say the least. So, one of the most awesome things about taking pictures (disgusting as they may be) is to see the huge difference in the tummy area. Apparently it was not the shirt that made me look pregnant. It was the Ben and Jerry's within.

I know that the wow/now pics aren't great, and I am still 60 pounds from where I want to be. However, I can rejoice that the change thus far has been massive. Because my husband is a photoshop genius, last night he was able to lay the really fat picture under the not-so-fat picture and show the difference between the 2 photos. When I looked at the finished product this morning, I was nothing short of astounded. I could not believe the difference you could see between the pics, just 5 months apart. Can you see the difference?

So while I was busy whining about cheating on donuts and freaking out about not being under 200, my body had an agenda all it's own. It was slowly morphing into a much better version of me than I ever thought possible! I am not getting biggest loser results in 12 weeks. But after seeing these pictures (with white/blue unsunned legs and all) I realized that I am doing what is best for my body. If slow and steady will lead to a healthier me, then I need to stick with what I am doing.

And now, my dear shrinkites (that's my pet name for you all- like a Biblical equivalent of Jebusites or more modern day Mennonites. It was either that or the shrinkonians), it is your turn. You don't have to send me pictures, but I would love to know about your goals, your victories, and your struggles. Trust me on this guys, there is something freeing about admitting out loud where you are on your journey, and telling someone who understands. If you don't think I understand, look again at the pictures from January. I DO UNDERSTAND. Any thing you send me (at ) will be kept confidential (unless you specify otherwise) and it will be between you and me only. I'm not asking you to do this because I am nosy, but because I want you to experience the same success that I did when I "confessed" where I was to you. I want you to be liberated from hating your body, and find a peace with your physical state that is in transition.

I want to take you with me to the land of Shrinkage, where skim milk and splenda flows!

Thursday, May 21

It finally happened today! I saw 199.2! I am in shock and awe, and it is an amazing feeling! I promise to write again soon, but you, my dear friends, deserve an update when news is of this magnitude. If I can do it, SO CAN YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 18

Stuck in the Middle with You!

    The only thing I am losing lately is motivation. Yep, I am stalled out again. Although I am stalled out at a lower weight than I was before, and lower than I have been for years, as it were. I am stuck at 200 pounds even.
    I have tried everything to get under that not so magical number. Well, I should say I have tried everything that doesn’t require wheat germ, toilets or sweat. I seem to have an aversion to doing that which will make me hurt the next day, including everything but my “Fat Girl Yoga” dvd. Even that has been cast aside because there is not a clean spot in the living room to do it.
    So what in the world is holding me back? We discussed this a little in my confessions, but we never got to the real problem, OR solution. (I really could care less about the problem, as I am only interested in how to fix it.) But, my sweet friends, life does not work like that, and I am sure you all know that. We have to figure out the issue before we can move on to smaller and better things. So we are going to muse for a few moments, as I ramble through all my deep dark feelings about being fat, and see if we can’t resolve one or two. My goal in doing this is to not only help myself, but maybe some other dieters out there who have fallen off the wagon. You guys write to me about the same stuff I deal with, and the internet is cheaper than therapy, so I say we do this together! Are you ready? Hang onto your girdles, girls, cause here we go!
    Excuse #1- I have been fat all my life, and it’s not going to change.
    Ok, coming from a life long fatty, I can relate. I was skinny till I was 8, and got put in a school where I was the underdog. I was miserable, and once I learned to read big thick chapter books, I sat and read while munching on chips. Before I knew what had happened, not only was I the underdog, but I was the FAT underdog. I stayed in this position until…well, I am still in this position, but that is not the point. The point is that we change jobs, get married, get divorced, we even change our hair color! (Heck, I’ve colored my hair for so many years I have no recollection or idea what the real color looks like! Although I’m pretty sure there is grey now. I have children.) So, we make these huge life altering decisions, and they are not made overnight. We have to work for them. When you get a new job, you have applied for it first, made yourself stand out among all the other candidates, interviewed like a pro, and then negotiate your salary before you even get there. If the old job was perfect, you wouldn’t have applied for the new one, right? So your body needs a new job, plain and simple. Yes, it has already been trained to be fat and lazy. Yes, that first day on the job is going to be really hard and scary. But, sweethearts…that new job for your body has way better benefits than the old one. And once you are fully trained, that new job is going to seem really easy. Not to mention that your body will be lengthening its retirement benefits by lowering your cholesterol, shooing away diabetes, and even extending the life and usage of our joints. So you have been fat forever. So what? Today is not forever, my friend. You can’t change yesterday, but you can stand up today with brave face and get to it!
    Excuse #2- I am too busy to worry about my diet right now, and don’t have time to exercise. Oh, this one is a fun one. We are all incredibly busy, and no one really has time for anything. I even have neglected this blog for over a month because I am so flipping busy. However, knowing how many of you are at that "BLAH" point (I am too, believe me), I decided to forgo housework today and talk to you. I think when we look at everything as a whole, it seems too involved. We have to count out portions, pack lunches, ignore family and loved ones to make time for exercise, etc. Dieting IS time consuming, I’ll give you that. But it is also about making good healthy choices in the moment. Regular or diet? Diet or water? Fries or salad? Elevator or stairs? Do you see? In the split second that we make decisions like that, we can change our lives drastically, by putting good things in, moving our body, and walking past that office birthday cake. I know that we don’t have hours to put into dieting, but I promise you that you have split seconds to turn your life around.
    Excuse #3- This is going to slow for me. I need immediate results, and I am not thrilled about how long this is going to take! Have you ever tried to grow out your bangs? This is the hardest thing a woman can do. You all know that your bangs get to a point where they are not long, but they are not short. They are at that wretched in between stage when you can’t do anything with them. Does everybody know what I am talking about? It takes time to grow them out, no matter what you do. Usually, when mine are growing out and they get to that in between stage, I whack them off even shorter before. Do you know why? Because they get into my eyes and it makes me nuts (nuttier than before, anyway), so off they go! Alright, you are dieting. You have seen some results, but you are still far from a size 6. Just look at it this way. This is the annoying stage when your diet is getting in your eyes. It bothers you, and you really can’t do anything but keep going and say “the heck with it!” If you cut it off now, you will never see how far it is going to go and how awesome it will look when you hit goal. So, put the cupcakes down, and pick the dumb bell up. Start banging out some jumping jacks, and get through this, one step at a time!
    Excuse #4- I have too much weight to lose. It’s overwhelming! OK, when this whole dieting adventure started, my waistline could have gotten a senior citizen discount. It was awful. I had one pair of jeans that fit me, and they were a whopping size 26. I fit my 55 inch waist in those puppies, and they were snug. I know what it feels like to have over 100 pounds to lose. I started this journey at 238 pounds, and that was the number I got before I stopped weighing myself. So I know how this feels, like it is just too much to handle. But you have to start somewhere, before you become the subject of a half-ton special on TLC. SO- why not here? Why not today? I have talked about little decisions, and life changing steps that take time. The clock has to begin sometime. Since I started dieting, I have lost 38 pounds, and happily report that my waist is a svelte 38.5 inches. That is 16 and a half inches I have lost on my WAIST! It felt like a lot to begin with, and it was painful to see how far I had to go. But I committed to drive on this trip, and not fly. It’s important that I keep pressing the gas pedal and steer toward Disneyland. I may only be half way there, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to turn around and go home!
    Excuse #5- I have gained back all the weight I previously lost, so that means I am a total failure. Dieting again is only going to lead to disappointment and will prove that I can’t do it! First of all, you have proven that you can do this already! You lost it once, you can do it again! Just because you fall down doesn’t mean you get to wallow on the ground in your misery. It means that you got to take a breather, and now you must get back up and run for your goal! Everybody feels like a failure at something. Mine are too many to list, but include dieting, housework, math…I could go on and on! If you are going to be a quitter, be a quitter at something worthwhile- quit allowing yourself to be the fat you. One of the best things I ever did was make my husband change my nickname. He used to call me SB- Sugar Butt. I now make him call me SB- Skinny Butt. The mental reinforcements are key to your success. If you keep telling yourself that this is impossible, then it will be! But if you start telling yourself that you are beautiful (or handsome for you fellas), that you are capable, and your body is changing at this very moment, you are going to trick yourself into being successful! Once it starts, and you see small results, then you will be back on track. Take measurements, grab a friend who is dieting and walk, let someone know what your weight is to hold you accountable! These things will help you in the long run as you push yourself out of your comfort zone. Dieting is not about comfort. It is about allowing you to be the best you that you can be! That is going to take some commitment, and failure will only cling to you as long as you let it. So, get up! Shake it off! And know that I believe in you. We can do this. I know we can!
    Excuse #6- Charlie, I don’t need to lose weight! I only read the blog because it is incredibly funny and you are so gosh darn talented! Then I suggest you go home, eat 10 boxes of Twinkies and a bucket of lard every day for the next week, and quit making the rest of us look fat! But keep reading the blog, cause you’ll need it after that lard hits your thighs!
    I hope that this helps you fellow calorie counters out there. I want you all to know that no matter what you are facing, you are not alone! You are not fighting this fight by yourself, and I am here to help, however I can!
    I want to thank you all for your emails, updates on your own journeys, and your encouraging words through comments on the blog and facebook. Your friendships are vital to my success, and I promise to keep you all in the loop of my own travels in diet land, as I push ahead in the land of “Under 200 pounds at last!” Yep. It’s gonna happen very very very soon, I just know it!
    Until then….
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