Monday, August 31

Well, Color Me Happy!

There are certain times in every woman’s life when she has an urgent sense to re-invent herself. Usually those times come along side a major life change. Marriage, birth of a child, divorce, a milestone birthday, and so on.

I have spent the last year reinventing me. Figuring out who I really am, what I love to do, where I would like to go in life. And something inside me tonight made me feel like once again, like the changing of seasons- it is time for something new.

Lately when I have looked in the mirror, I have seen something familiar. The old me is still there, although not as bulky as it once was. But I still see fat Charlie. And when I see fat Charlie, I want to eat like fat Charlie used to.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been horrible about the diet. Yet with the frustrations of last week when my grandmother had a medical emergency (that she kindly dragged me into headfirst), I got stressed out and ate. You know all about it if you read the last post. So this weekend, I went from overeating to moderately eating. Better to be sure, but still not great.

At this point in the game, I am at a crucial point. I can continue eating as I have been over the past few weeks- maintaining a decent weight of 177-182, or I can press on like Lee and venture into the unknown world of skinnydom. It’s just another 35-40 pounds. That’s it. So what am I so stinking afraid of?

Ultimately, as you all know, I am afraid to fail. I’m afraid that I will let ever one down, crash and burn, yadda yadda yadda. This is the same tune I have been singing since day one. I think it’s time for a new song, don’t you?

What are the worst case scenarios that could happen if I keep trying to diet and fail? Seriously, I am the queen of the game “what’s the worst that can happen” and I proved my ability yesterday when a horrormoan induced fit caused me to break down in front of Matt and he got an earful. So instead of using my ability at this unique mindset to only drive my hubby up a wall, maybe I can use it to conquer my own fears. Let’s consider the options…

Worst Case Scenario #1. I don’t lose any more weight. Now realistically, if I keep working on the diet like I did earlier this year, that won’t happen. But what if it does? A) I am healthier than I have ever been before in my life. I can sprint for short distances without passing out, I can keep up with the kids, and I could dance again if I wanted to. Sure, Matt may not be able to lift me up or properly tango with me, but I can still keep a good pace if I wanted to. B) I can shop in real stores again. With the exception of clothing that isn’t built for us Dolly Pardons of the world, I have no need to venture into a plus size store ever again. I can shop on the cute side of Fashion Bug. C) I can still say that I have lost 60 pounds, as long as I deny the urge for French fries once in a while. I am finding that I can maintain within 5 pounds very well, and that is one of the hardest things for a dieter to do. So even if I don’t lose another pound, I am still sitting pretty.

Worst Case Scenario #2. I have to relinquish the blog to someone who really is working on losing the weight. Wow, that one would absolutely break my heart. This blog has become my cyber connection to hundreds of you out there who are struggling just like I am to beat the bulge. I can’t tell you how many new friends I have because of this goofy blog. Even old ones who have reconnected with me because of it. There is a kindred spirit among us fat chicks, and that is a bond that no amount weight could break. So if I ever would have to walk away, it would make me beyond sad. That in itself is reason enough for me to keep pushing on.

Worst Case Scenario #3. I fail. I fail big. Yep, it could happen. I know it could. I feel like I am one month of bad eating away from that happening. Yet somehow I know that regardless of my imaginary impending failure, I will try to find a silver lining in the mess. That’s just the kind of person I am. You should see my house. It’s usually a wreck. But I see how much love and happiness we have in spite of the piles of laundry and dishes in the sink. We are not defined by our messes. We are defined by our ability to function within the mess.

Really, those are the major things I could freak out about. And some days I do. But tonight, something was in the air that prompted me to change things, to mix it up. Just enough that when I look in the mirror I don’t see Fat Charlie anymore. I want to see possibilities.

So, at midnight, I decided that maybe a new look might do this girl some good. For those of you who have known me as an adult for any length of time, what I am about to share won’t come as any great shock to you. You have known me long enough to know that this is my own form of personal entertainment. For others that are new to the world of Charlie, well, brace yourselves for this next announcement.

I colored my hair tonight.

I colored my hair PINK.

No, it wasn’t an accident. No, I was not attempting red or auburn. I was attempting pink. And boy oh boy, did I ever get pink! It was actually Matt’s idea, springing from last summer. I dyed a part of my hair pink for a vacation Bible School I was doing when I was leading the music for the kids. They pay attention when a girl who has some pink strands is crooning with them. But I only did a small portion. Matt liked it so well, he asked me to dye it all pink. (I think he hoped I would look like Gwen Stefani.) But that was when my weight was at it’s highest, and I was so miserable the last thing I wanted to do was go to the store buying Oreos in bulk and draw attention to myself with bright pink hair.

But tonight, something inside me snapped, and for once it wasn’t a bra strap. It was that cord I hold on to about being fat. I’m still a fat chick at heart, but suddenly, I am unafraid to open up my heart and secret places to the world. I am willing to take risks and make some noise. I’m willing to let people look REGARDLESS OF IF I FAIL.

I am willing to go out there with pink hair and while I don’t look a thing like Gwen, I do look like somebody besides Fat Charlie who was so afraid to be noticed. I look like Charlie reinvented, and you know what? I kinda like it. In fact, I like it a lot. My mom will hate it (sorry, Margaret the Saint!) but I know Matt is going to totally dig the new me. It puts a little more bounce where it ought to be. In me, not ON me. And I couldn’t be happier to have made the choice of pink.

Cause everyone looks pretty in pink, don’t ‘ya think?

Thursday, August 27

I would like to submit this for your consideration...

Well, I have to tell you- Wednesday didn't go so well, Couch to 5K speaking.

In fact, it didn't go at all. But the Chinese takeout I ordered in its stead was fabulous!

Actually, Wednesday overall was one of those days where you just want to crawl back into bed and start again. But I couldn't, so it had to be dealt with. And I did. With food.

I suppose remembering it today, as I cautiously avoided the scale, the truth is I always turn to food when I am stressed. Instead of thinking about the things that are going on, especially if they are stressful things, I plan what I will eat. I imagine each possibility melting in my mouth until I establish the winner winner chicken dinner. I am pretty sure it is a horrific form of denial. But in moments of stress, turmoil, or horrormoan induced antics, I deem it worth the cost and bury my frustrations with food. And usually a side of gravy.

But there are other things I am able to NOT do, because the cost is so great.

Like if you get caught in a lie. It is so humiliating when someone discovers the truth. It feels like they never look at you the same way again. So I do my absolute best never to lie. And when I do, I approach the person with remorse and ask forgiveness.

Or steal. I don't shoplift, because the fines and fees, not to mention jail time, would really cramp my style and budget. So I dismiss the idea and do without. Or pay for it. Ahem, Matt pays for it.

What about the cost of overeating? Do I truly consider what it actually does?

It causes me humiliation, just like lying. There have been several times I have seen myself in the mirror and felt that old familiar humiliation rise up. Usually it's a 3 way mirror that does it, but I consider that when I am shoveling Lo Mein in my mouth?

It cramps my style. As you all have read, I am a rock and roll and tattoo kind of girl. But I won't get a tattoo on my arm. Not because I think it's wrong or would be trashy. Nope, it's cause my arms are still fat, and I want the tattoo to look good. Plus all the wonderful vintage dresses from the 40's and 50's are not Plus Friendly at all. Give me a full skirt, and I don't look cool. I just look full. So I make myself full to match the inside with the outside.

What about my budget? What is the real cost of overeating and being a bonafide fat chick? Well, we have to shop at overpriced stores where the markup for a few extra yards of fabric is worse than the profit made on name brand purses and shoes. And they don't go with the style of a rock-n-roller like me either. Caftans are not my thing. Not to mention all the extra health care expenses like diabetic testing supplies and surgery for knees that give out under the weight of my indulgence. Or bariatric surgery, should I ever deem that diet and exercise just don't cut it. So I cut a big hunk of pie and let the flakey crust wash away my own feelings of flakeyness at messing up the diet once again.

Well, what isn't cutting it is my resolve. I am not acting like I am a winner winner baked skinless chicken dinner. I am acting like KFC extra crispy with a side of potato salad. And somehow, I have got to rip off the yummy skin and get to the meat of this issue.

I wish I had an answer to share with you about how to not stress eat, but I don't. I can control it sometimes, but on days like yesterday, there's no stopping the reality that food feels good.

Instead of trying to pretend like I have it all together and make the problem worse, I'm not going to offer a solution. Maybe this is one of life's great mysteries that will never be solved. But what I will tell you is that tonight, after the kids are done with chores and are freshly bathed, I am going to get back on that treadmill and run like I was supposed to last night. I'm going to count yesterday as a lost battle, but today I'm going to fight like I didn't lose yesterday. Today, I am once again a winner winner skinelss baked chicken dinner. And steamed broccoli with pretend butter. And an apple.

I guess I am going to go back to my core beliefs and work it harder today.

Considering, my options, this is the way to go.

Getting back on her horse instead of shooting it-


Tuesday, August 25

Getting off the couch

So it is the day after I attempted the first leg of the Couch to 5k program, and it wasn't too awful. Sure, it was hard work, but mostly because I have a phobia about running. I am pretty sure that my fear about giving it a shot made things much harder than it should be. I went for time, and not for speed, because I knew if I went too fast, I would wear myself out in the first round of intervals! Because I have a treadmill, I was able to control the times to the second and know precisely what the speed was, which was helpful.

Here is exactly what I did:
Walked at 2.7 mph for 5 minutes to warm up and felt like I was a total fake because I ate KFC- skin and all for dinner. Watched those 5 minutes melt away too quickly as I prepared myself to run.

1. Ran for 60 seconds at 5mph and felt the blood rushing.
Walked for 90 seconds at 2mph while praying that I would be successful at this.

2. Ran for 60 seconds at 4.6mph and started to contemplate what the heck I was thinking by signing up for this.
Walked for 90 seconds and thought to myself "2mph isn't really slow enough, but any slower and I will be standing still. I better keep up with this and catch my breath."

3. Ran for 60 seconds at 4.6 mph and felt myself regretting getting mixed up in this program.
Walked for 90 seconds at 2mph and thought about how I have really been slacking on the diet and have managed to get myself back up into the low 180s. It made me mad.

4. Ran for 60 seconds at 4.7mph and used that anger to fuel me on, which is the only thing anger is good for.
Walked for 90 seconds at 2mph and realized that I was half way and still breathing. In fact, I was breathing enough for more than one person.

5. Ran for 60 seconds at 4.6 and stayed mad, although it was a windy type of anger.
Walked for 30 seconds at 1mph, because I hit the wrong button. Seriously contemplated staying at 1mph for just 60 more seconds, but cowboyed up and went back to 2mph for the duration of the time.

6. Ran for another 60 seconds at 4.6 and was pretty sure that the legs were going to be another casualty to the sport of running and I would have to change my birthday to the 4th of July.
Walked for 90 seconds and realized that I could make it for 2 more times if I apply myself. Also vowed NEVER to eat another donut if I was going to continue running. It's just not worth carrying the extra weight.

7. Ran the next to last 60 seconds at 4.7 and decided to nix the no donut policy because if anyone had ever earned a donut, it was me at that moment. Ran like I really was going to Royal-Donut- Royal Donut.
Walked 90 seconds at 2mph and near the end, I decided that I just might possibly be able to do this crazy program. Also reinstated the no donut policy.

8. Ran the final 60 seconds at 5mph because if I was going to meet Jesus, I wanted it to be at the higher speed, not the slower one. Also ran with a little spring in my dragging step (at least for a beat or two) because after this I would be walking again and wouldn't have to run like this until Wednesday.
Walked for 5 minutes at 2mph, enjoying the feeling of satisfaction that I had accomplished running for a total of 8 minutes and no 911 call was necessary. Also, decided that I need a better way to keep track of the time. Perhaps a timer or 2 would help. I'm terrible at math, and that broke my concentration. Or perhaps I can employ the use of short people that keep raiding my fridge and eating all my 100 calorie packs. They can figure out how to work a stopwatch. After all, they know how to pick locks. And run the DVR. And outsmart Mom and Dad regularly. Yep, they will help me next time.

Today, I'm only a little sore. Mostly my hip flexors feel like they have been rung through the ringer, but Jillian at the YMCA made me hurt way worse. I'm thankful that I have been walking for a while, though, because I really think that helped tremendously with the endurance. So I enjoyed the process more than I thought I would once it was all said and done.

I know a few of you have decided to do the program with me. Feel free to post any comments about your experiences. We are in this together, and I intend to use that to our advantage.

On a lighter note, on the home front, I have been dealing with an issue that has frustrated me often. This year, in order to save money, we decided to have the kids take sack lunches every day to school. Problem is, they keep forgetting their lunch boxes. And it's rather annoying. So in a moment of pure genius, I figured out a way to solve the problem by purchasing an additional lunch box. And, uh- jazzing it up a little. To prove a point. (And for my own Mommy amusement. Those moments are few and far between.) Tim had to take it Monday morning, since he is usually the one who forgets his lunch bag at least once a week, and the original bag was at school. Poor kid. I almost felt sorry for him when he had to walk into school with this...

...but it did work!!! Not one child has forgotten their lunch bags so far. Hee hee, that's the real joy of parenting!!!!

Sunday, August 23

Couch to 5K

So I needed a challenge. And a challenge I’ve got.

Me- running- 3 miles straight- in a mere 10 weeks.

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

We will see.

I had heard about the “Couch to 5K” program from several friends when I began the diet, but have been hesitant to try it up to this point. It’s a program that has you running intervals and walking in between in order to build up your endurance.
But running has never been my thing.

I joined track in 7th grade for a whopping 5 days, and ended up with shin splints. One time I ran 2 blocks to rescue a baby that had wandered out into the street. I couldn’t catch my breath for an hour. When I got my treadmill last February, I tried to run for 5 minutes at a time. My knees were killing me when I was done.

Nope, running has never been my friend. Not only from the physical aspect, but emotionally as well. What is my motivation to run? What do I have to run from or towards? Is there anything running can give me that aerobics or Fat Girl Yoga can’t?

I don’t know, but I am willing to find out. 10 weeks isn’t all that long. Just over 2 months. And I can do anything for 2 months. If nothing else, it will make me work harder on the diet, because I am going to be really irritated if I eat poorly and undo all the benefits that running could give me, in a burning calories sort of way.

The “Couch to 5K” plan is simple. It’s laid out on and it’s only 3 times a week. So I am going to work the plan on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Feel free to join me and see if the plan works! Personally, I can’t imagine that I could ever run for 3 miles without my lungs exploding or my calves falling off, but I am willing to try!

I am also going to beef up the yoga this week. I have ordered several new DVDs that should be arriving this week, and they are more intense than the Fat Girl Yoga I hold so dear. You all may get another “Yoga Incident” post. That remains to be seen. But until then, with my heart geared toward running and my duct tape covered chest shining, I am going to give this new plan a whirl.

(By the way, with this video, Matt and I stuck to the plan of no script. He had 3 questions he had to ask me, and was forced to make up the rest. He had no idea how I would answer. I, in turn, had no idea what he would say except for those 3 questions. We caught each other off guard pretty often, as you can tell. We also caught our camera guys off guard, and you will notice that the camera shakes often from our nephews trying to control their laughter. We didn’t really tell them what the video was about, we just went for it. Poor guys. Good thing this family has a wonderful sense of humor!)

Running to the finish line-


Tuesday, August 18

#1 Stepping out and Shaking it up

Remember- the camera adds 50 pounds. ;)

Dancing from Fat to Freedom- Stepping out

Yesterday I saw the TV reality show “Dance Your A$$ Off” for the first time.

I know, it takes me a while to figure out what is trendy.

And I have to tell you, I started watching the show out of morbid curiosity from the title. It closely resembles the name of this blog, and I thought what the heck is THIS show about?
Now that I have seen it, I must admit that I am left with mixed feelings.

First of all, I am not a reality show kind of girl. I have only watched a grand total of 5 minutes of “American Idol.” I have never watched the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, the Amazing Race, Big Brother, the Apprentice, Survivor, Temptation Island, Dancing with the Stars, or any of those shows. I admit that besides the occasional Biggest Loser re-run, I have only purposed to watch a limited number of reality shows ever.

“Top Chef” and “Project Runway” on Bravo.

“Groomer Has It” on Animal Planet.

And “Bathroom Divas: Opera Star” on Ovation Television. (Heck yeah, I’m a classy dame.)

That’s the end of my list.

Until yesterday, when I had fallen into a deep pit of self pity, and found myself watching a marathon of Dance Your Butt Off. (Which I really really really wish they had used Butt instead of A$$, and this is my blog, so I’m changing it.)

For any of you who don’t know the premise of the show, it’s like Dancing with the Stars meets Biggest Loser. Fatties like us have to diet, exercise, AND have 3 days to learn a fairly complex dance routine. The scores of both their dance score and percentage of weight loss determine the winner of the episode. And it’s brilliant. And ridiculous. Kinda like your old pal Charlie.

At first I thought it was going to be like a train wreck. I’ve seen myself dancing on stage enough times to know that not every fat girl is pleasing to watch dance. It’s often horrifying, and I count myself in that category. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a huge fan of musical theatre, and had the opportunity to be Roxie Hart in the show "Chicago" a few years back. It wasn’t fantastic, but I remember how good it felt to be up on stage acting like I was the sexiest thing since sliced bread. When I watch the DVD of that same performance, somehow the magic is lost, and I’m not even close to sliced bread. I’m downright crummy. So I wasn’t expecting this show to be much different than watching that painful moment as I totally miss my Fosse cartwheel (while wearing tango heels, mind you) and land flat on my butt in front of 500 people. I expected this show to be a total miss and all that jazz.

But it isn’t exactly a miss. It’s more like a “work in progress” kind of show. You see that there is loads of talent underneath the unflattering costumes and buckets of sweat. Cause these people are pretty good at dancing. Way better than I expected. In fact, they could dance me right off the stage.

Which leads me to a very important thought about being fat. Sure, maybe we can’t do things like everyone else. Maybe we have to work twice as hard to make it look as good as one of the skinnys. But if we keep working on our dreams, all of a sudden, when we DO lose the weight, we are better off for it. Because we worked twice as hard, we reap twice the reward. We make it look easy. We make it look better.

So after tossing and turning about Dance your Butt off, I have to admit, this show is a winner. It promotes the idea that fat people are talented too. Cause we are. We can do things like everyone else, we just have to modify it a little. We have to work harder at it.

With the diet, I admit that I haven’t been working hard at it. In fact, over the last 2 days, I have quite successfully undone all the hard work I did last week. Yep, I’m back up to 182, and I’m not afraid to admit that. Just three days of slacking and 5 pounds is back on. It’s not what I want to say, but it’s the truth. I suppose I need to get really serious about this whole process again and start dancing my own butt off.

So here’s my idea. Once a week, I am going to post a real video of myself. I don’t know how yet, but I will figure it out. I need MORE accountability. Yeah, as if the blog isn’t enough, I have to push myself further. I have to open up more. Lovely, huh? But I am going to attempt to do things that I couldn’t do before. Like zip up clothes I never dreamed would fit. Like dance really well. Like sing and not be ashamed of how I look while I am doing it. I have to learn to be comfortable in my own body, and that is going to take work.

If you have any suggestions of things that you would like to see me attempt, please let me know. I will run out of ideas pretty quickly. I’m a writer first, and I have a limited number of talents. I don’t JUST want to do things I already know I can, because this is an exercise about broadening my horizons. Learning I don’t have to stick to the script of what I know. I want to grow in who I am. I want to start truly dancing from fat to freedom.

If nothing else, this will be great entertainment for you all. I’m sure it’s going to be a train wreck indeed. But that’s half the fun. I want to say that I tried everything. So bring me your ideas.

I think I’m ready to start dancing my butt off.

Monday, August 17

A Monday Morning Poem Entitled "Spare Me"

The rain was still soggy, the birds were in flight

But I was not happy to see morning light.

For sleep had not come till at least 3 am,

When Matt shook my side and said “Get up again.”

So less than four hours was all of the rest

I had for myself as I got the kids dressed.

My mom picked up Amy who had to go play-

Attending a band lesson early this day.

Left with just 2 kids, I was right on time,

When Matt left before me I thought all was fine.

Till I walked outside to the van that I hate-

And saw the flat tire. I knew we’d be late.

I got on my cell phone and frantically tried

To catch Matt before he got far from my side.

But apparently he wouldn’t answer the phone-

And left me to deal with flat tires alone.

I desperately searched for the can that we save-

Fix-A-Flat for times we have “Just in case days.”

But the can that I found had been used once before

And I shook it to find out that there was no more.

Right at the moment the cat made her escape,

As I chased after her down, my morning took shape

Of something that’s just like Calamity Jane.

I hate Monday mornings that seem like a pain.

The cat was secure but the tire was not-

So I had to work with the options I’ve got.

I ran to the neighbor who always runs late-

But found she had left her house long before 8.

No one could help me get kids off to school-

And I did the unthinkable. I broke a big rule.

I drove on the flat to the gas station’s lot

Ignoring the warnings I’ve always been taught.

Half way to the destination that I was headed

I called up my husband, his morning I shredded.

For after he answered- I yelled in the phone

“I have a flat tire!” He said “I’ll come home.”

“No need!” I retorted “Now I’m on my way,

But if I never make it, then you’ll have to pay.”

With anger and heat I pulled into the spot

Where I could fill up on some air. NOT.

It took 3 quarters, in the van there were none.

So I did what any other woman would have done.

I dashed inside the station and purchased a pack

Of smokes, making sure I got 3 quarters back.

I filled up the tire and headed to school

And the kids in the back seat knew I had been cruel

To my sweet darling husband- and his only crime

Was that he hadn’t answered my phone call in time.

With a minute to spare the kids got to class,

And I knew that I had been a pain in Matt’s a….

Of course on the way home I was stopped by a train.

What else would happen to Calamity Jane?

For a decade of minutes, just me and my smokes

I wondered how I would tell all of you folks

That I was not perfect this morning at all.

That your fearless leader is quite prone to fall.

After I acted so unlike a lady-

I felt I deserved that I now weigh 180.

A quite fitting end to this horrible tale

Of how a flat tire led this girl to fail.

I must clean the house now to help change the fate

Of the way that I spoke so unkind to my mate.

I hope that he reads this to hear my remorse-

And you heard it all here, coming straight from the source.

Matt, I’m sorry I was a witch this morning. Please forgive me.

Saturday, August 15

Goals for August are Picture Perfect!

Goal number 1 for August- stay in the land of 170s. CHECK!!!! (177 feels great!)

Goal number 2 for August- fit into size 11/12 jeans that have been
hanging on my dining room wall since May...CHECK!
(Granted, I still would never wear them in public yet, but they ZIP!!!!!)

You may have noticed the bathing suit in these pictures is the same one I whined about yesterday. Well, after assessing our checkbook, I realized that a new suit was out of the question. So I simply cut the straps from the back and tied them around the back of my neck.

You must know that I would never wear it out to a pool looking- well, as my husband and photographer calls it- boobylicious, but for the sake of charting my progress, it will do just fine. No guys read this blog anymore anyway. They gave up as soon as I equated my faith with a tampon. Except for Matt and my brothers, and they don't count as guys. They are just boys.

My next issue is going to be figuring out a way to get rid of the belly flab. I still tend to be tubby around the middle, while my legs have begun to resemble something like chicken legs. (However, the life of my razors has drastically improved!) I need to find out how to drop the back fat and jiggly belly. Even though it looks TONS better than it did 8 months ago, there has got to be a way to tone it up.

I do have a "Bellydancing for Fitness" DVD I have been wanting to try. It's been sitting on our entertainment center for well over a year, and I'm pretty sure it is still wrapped in cellophane. Maybe that will be my new trick for next week...I suppose you will just have to wait and see!

Friday, August 14

Support for a Long Issue...

Well, something finally tripped my trigger, and I have no idea what it was. But I can now officially say that I have lost 60 pounds. Not only 60 pounds, but 61!!! I am standing at 177.4, and I have to admit that it feels pretty gosh darn good.

On the smoking front, I have cut my smoking down by 2/3rds, which is just remarkable. I am finding that it is easier to say no when I really want one. That is a miracle in itself!

In light of recent weight loss, I will once again be enduring bathing suit photos later tonight for my personal records. I doubt I will post them again, however, because I'm not sure that they will look right. I have already shrunk out of my new suit. Yes, I swam in it maybe 5 times this summer and now it won't hold up the girls.

Part of the reason it won't work is because of the shrinkage factor. While the fullness of my body has been going down down down, the fullness of my cup has been going long long long. I currently possess 2 flesh colored tube socks that have grapefruits hanging at the bottom. It's pathetic. I am not sure how to handle it except to roll them up and get on with my day. Or get surgery. And frankly, that's not an option right now. I still have 39 pounds to go. I may not have much left by the end of this diet. Poor Matt. He was such a boob man too...I'm taking away his fun. Or stretching it out. That may be closer to the truth!

But now that I have the pleasure of saying only 39 more pounds to go, I find myself being excited again about doing what I am supposed to do. Remember when I was whining earlier this week about feeling so unmotivated? Well, I have busted through that plateau, and now I feel like I'm on the home stretch. (My chest is taking that literally, I'm afraid...) I think that the major lesson I have learned through all of this is that determination is key. Even when it doesn't feel like it's working- STICK WITH IT! It doesn't feel good? WORK THROUGH IT! Broccoli leaving a bad taste in your mouth? FIND A NEW VEGGIE TO LOVE!!!

I know, it's a total 180 from where I was earlier this week, but sometimes obedience to your plan (or in my case HIS plan) is all that you need to get results. I cannot stress that enough. I never thought I would be saying I was in the land of 170s ever again, nor that I only weigh 4 pounds more than my husband. But it happened because even though I whined and cried and moped, I still stuck to the plan. It sucked, but it stuck.

How are you guys doing with stick-to-it-tive-ness? What do you guys to do keep hammering away when you feel like you are the one getting nailed? Are there quotes, scriptures or sayings that you lean on? Do you call a friend and work through it? Leave a comment and help others! We are our own best support when we are down in the trenches together.

You guys do a way better job of supporting me than my bathing suit.
I may be going shopping this weekend...

Wednesday, August 12

Up in Smoke

I told you I would warn you, and the day is at hand. Sort of.

Yep, I am trying to quit smoking.

I have to tell you, though, I am not doing very well. In fact, it has been a complete disaster so far. So, in usual Charlie fashion, I am going to whine and write out all my feelings about it on the blog. This is truly how I process stuff, and I find a great comfort in getting things out in the open. You need to know that I am real. That I am just like you. That I have issues. BIG ISSUES.

Here's my dilemma.

I am stuck in the low 180s. It's because I am scared. I am scared to hit 175 and then I will have to give up the camels. I feel myself "craving" food I don't need as soon as I get down to 180.2, because then I won't get close to 175.

I don't want to just quit smoking and get it over with because I am scared I will gain 30ish pounds like I did last time I kicked the habit. Every time I try (like last night) I find myself wandering in the kitchen looking for something to keep my mouth busy. Then it freaks me out because I have come so far on the weight loss journey and I don't want to go backwards.

I am in a classic catch 22. Don't want to lose weight because then I will have to quit. Don't want to quit because I am scared I will gain weight. So I am stuck with a non-shrinking butt and a box of patches I am terrified to use.

I know that not one of you loves me less because I am not perfect. In fact, my openness about who I really am- flaws, fat, farts, and all- seems to make you all rally to my side even more. However this situation has me at a total loss. What in the heck am I supposed to do here?

In my mind, this would be the ideal situation:

Every time I crave a smoke, I make myself run on the treadmill for 5 minutes. Every time I want to put something in my mouth, I drink 16 ounces of water. Every time I am crabby, I will grab my husband and snuggle. When I start to freak out about the whole thing, I grab my Bible and pray myself through it.

Because the reality is- I KNOW without a doubt that God is big enough to handle my mess. I just won't give it to Him. I keep telling Him, "Tomorrow it will be Yours. On Friday. On Monday. At 175. At 138. In 2010. Heck, I'll just wait till you call me into Your Kingdom when eternity begins." I did the same thing with the diet for 5 years. Now that I have found freedom from the fat pit, why am I so hesitant to give Him this last thing?

Because this really is the last thing. When I heard His still small voice in my heart, He told me 2 things had to go.

The weight. And the smokes.

So what if, and stick with me here, what if I am hiding behind a carton of junk just like I hid behind my weight for 20 years? Am I simply giving myself an excuse to not reach for my dreams by still hanging on to the smoking? Maybe I am telling myself that I am not worthy to have the life/ministry/opportunities that I see before me because who would ever want a female preacher/teacher who smokes and won't give it up!

Hmmmm. This could be the reason.

Because when it all comes down to the basics, I am scared to death I will let myself down. That I will let God down. That I will fall on my face and you will all be witness to it. Not just with the smoking. With everything.

Which is exactly why I started this blog in the first place. I knew the weight loss wouldn't be easy. But I knew if you were all watching, I just might stick with it. Even if I failed in a miserable way (and you can scroll through past postings to see that I have done that time and time again) I would find the courage to get back up and try this again. I would keep pushing for the end result that needed nothing more than a determination that wouldn't quit.

OK. I am going to try this with a different approach. Maybe this is how I need to quit smoking and keep losing weight at the same time.

I AM GOING TO FAIL AT LOSING WEIGHT. Not every day, but I am probably going to gain a few pounds. I give myself full permission to gain weight over the next month as I quit smoking.

I AM GOING TO FAIL AT QUITTING SMOKING. Sometimes, I am going to give in to the cravings. But the cravings I resist will be counted as a victory. It is ok if I don't do well. It's ok if I make a bad choice here and there. It will not be the end of life as I know it. I give myself full permission to not be perfect. Perfection is not a requirement to be who I am, and it never should have been in the first place.

JUST BECAUSE I AM NOT PERFECT DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT I HAVE 2 IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO THIS YEAR. My goals are not going to change. I am not going to wuss out like a cry-baby and say this is too hard for me. I am going to fight and rage against my fat and my smoking. I will understand that this is a process, and God will teach me valuable lessons as I have both victory and failure. I will embrace that this is going to be hard. I will accept that I need help and support along the way. I will be a failure today if it leads me to winning the battle tomorrow. I will not demand perfection from myself.

GOD IS ALL THE PERFECT I WILL EVER NEED. How easily I forget this fact. He never asked me to be perfect. That was a pipe dream I came up with all on my own. With the diet, when things weren't going the way I thought they should, He still did the shrinking- making me lose inches instead of pounds. So perhaps while I struggle with horrific cravings for tobacco, He will cause me to depend on Him in my weakness. Then it's all because of Him and His grace. Not because I had willpower or a patch or Chantix. I can quit because He gives me grace when I need it the most.

Sheesh. Being perfect is the last thing I need to be! If I am perfect, what would I need Him for?

Maybe I can embrace every craving, telling God that for the moment, right when I desire a camel menthol lite, I will want Him more. I will CRAVE HIM. Ask for His brand of perfection to wash over my camel habit. I will ask for His great waves of mercy to sweep me off my feet, and turn my ashes into a thing of beauty. I will call down the aroma of heaven to fill my lungs with the same smoke that led the Israelites out of captivity during the Exodus.

And that's it. That's the answer. I am going to smoke my Jesus.

Gives a whole new perspective of going up in smoke.

Tuesday, August 11

A cold day for summer

This is going to be brief. I have a cold. Feel like crap. Trying to quit smoking. Mother Nature is still making me miserable.

32 is turning out to be a fabulous year so far.

But the longer I am laying here, the more resolved I become to make it count. This is the year that I will experience the end of my weight loss journey. This is the time that I will find my voice (not today, apparently, cause I sound like Bea Arthur, may she rest in peace) and speak up on behalf of fat chicks everywhere. This is the year I will carve out a path that is wide enough for anyone to start achieving their dreams, and take them on the narrowing journey to weight loss.
Maybe it's just the cold meds talking, but I am becoming more motivated by the second.
This is THE YEAR for me. How about for you?

Saturday, August 8

A Letter to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature-
You and I have known each other a very long time. And I have to tell you that I am getting a little tired of our relationship. You waltz in here at least once a month and think that you are welcome to stay for 7 days at a time. You leave a huge mess while you are here, and just knowing that you are going to be crashing with me makes me crabby beyond belief. I really don't appreciate your presence in my life. I'm really irritated you though that your gift on my 32nd birthday today was appropriate, because trust me, Mama Nature, it WAS NOT.

Not to mention that you make the whole dieting thing really hard. In anticipation of you, I seem to over-eat and become a bottomless pit for 3 days about a week before you get here. Then I balloon up a pound or 2, and after you leave I have to work extra hard to drop those pounds and fight to continue to make headway. You are a fat enabler, Mama Nature, and it isn't fair.

I have been thinking of ways that we could make our relationship a little friendlier, and I want you to seriously consider these options. After 20 years of a strained and frustrating situation, I think that these requests are not so out of line.

1. Send me a note. Instead of your usual course of action, keep some post it notes and a sharpie in my uterus. When the time comes, just write "Not Pregnant Yet" and stick it in my underwear. Don't worry, I will find it. This is so much nicer than assaulting me and causing a week's worth of drama.

2. I'll give you access to my cell phone. Normally I keep it in my bra, but I can make other arrangements. You can text me, call me, or even call my husband. Just let one of us know that prenatal vitamins are not necessary for the next 3 weeks. Heck, I'll even let you call during peak hours if you want. Just think how much simpler life would be if you just called us and gave us the word.

3. You could let my husband have one once in a while. Not that he deserves it, but he's a fantastic man, loves me completely, and I bet he's willing to take one for the team. Matt is a good guy like that. When our 9 year old daughter whips him at chess, he takes it with stride. So one or two periods wouldn't break his spirit.

4. If you insist on forcing me to need enough coverage that I have to have wings, figure out how you can keep the wings IN PLACE. I cannot tell you how many times a wing has snuck back up and stuck to "areas that are not bald." It hurts like holy heck to try and peel them off. Seriously, if they didn't stick to the underside of my knickers, they shouldn't stick to- there. But they do. And I am not a Brazilian wax kind of girl. At least not when it's only on one side from the stupid wing.

5. Go ahead and let me get pregnant! I don't understand why you are being so stingy about this, because nothing would make me happier than to be knocked up again!!! Go ahead! Hit me with twins! Triplets! I can handle it! It has been almost 8 years since my last break from you, and I am ready to take another 3 year hiatus and poop out a few more short people. So can you just relax? Please? I suppose on that note, I am still kinda glad you are hanging around. I mean, Matt and I do want more kids, so I guess it's good that you still come back month after month.

But I think some of these suggestions might change the attitude of women everywhere. Can you imagine how much nicer the world would be if women just found a note in their skivvys? Or got a call? Or if men had a period or 2, they would find a way to make you disappear and still continue the human race. They figured out Viagra, I'm pretty sure they can handle this too! Sleep on it, Mother Nature.

Now I have to go to walmart and get some pads with wings. And a razor.

What a stupid birthday present.

Your acquaintance-


Friday, August 7

The little train that couldn't

Once upon a time there was a girl on a diet. She was doing really well too, sitting at a pretty 180.2 for the second day in a row. Yet at just over the half way mark, she can feel the cycle beginning that makes her want to sputter and spiral out of control.

Now, this girl- she isn’t motivated to do all the things she knows she should.

Like tracking her food. Weighing it. Portion controlling it.

Or eating veggies. And fruits. And saying no to those delicious little Pilsbury appetizer bites that are nothing but buffalo chicken and buttery pastry. Last night she ate the WHOLE BOX.

Nothing would make this girl happier than to blame other people, her hectic schedule, or even the fact that she is working on a new book (ironically, its title is “Dancing from Fat to Freedom” and a new blog has been started). There are a million reasons why she is spread too thin to diet.

But she knows better.

She knows that personal responsibility is the number one lesson she has learned up to this point. SHE is in control of her diet.

She has every resource to succeed, but something insider her always feels destined to fail. And she has to fight that urge kicking and screaming (which would technically count as calories burned) and overcome it or the diet will go SPLAT in her face.

So today, as this girl gets her caboose back on track, I want to ask you- does anyone else ever feel this way? Am I the only one with a nature that seems to beg for failure? Does anyone out there have encouraging words for a woman who is tired of veggies and Smart Ones meals? Who doesn’t feel like doing aerobics? I’m not asking for pity here, but maybe one of you has an insight that might do the trick.

A trick to get this girl back on track.

Wednesday, August 5

The Power of the "G Force"

First of all, let me say this:

For an expensive fancy dancy hotel, you would have thought they could afford better toilet paper that the thinly bleached out bark I had to suffer all weekend. The post-pregnancy hemorrhoids (Frank and company) are raging. Granted my oldest baby is 7, but I can still consider it post-pregnancy, right?

But the joy I experienced this last weekend was like no other. It was amazing to see what happens when a girl gets real with her Maker. Unbelievable. There’s a link at the top to read about it (on my faith blog Random Acts of Charlie) if you are curious. Lots of Jesus talk, so for those of you who aren’t religious, brace yourselves. But it’s worth a read.

And as far as me blogging every day? Well, I counted the other blog my one for yesterday. The hands are still recouping from blisters (yes, blisters) from dragging my suitcases all over the Charlotte, Atlanta, Cincinnati, and Indianapolis airports. I am a wuss. So typing is still a little tender.

OK, now I have to tell you about the diet portion of the trip. Although there isn’t much to tell. I TRIED to do well, but hotel food is not very conducive to a woman watching her waistline. It’s frustrating when you think something is a good choice and it comes out with tons of drippins and goodness in addition to your chicken breast. Next year, I’m driving down and taking a cooler.
But I did manage to get in some good walks, and even 2 sessions in the hotel fitness room. Which leads us beautifully into our story for the day. The power of the G Force.

See, when I was in college, I wore a size 38 G. Yeah, it sounds impressive, I know. In fact, my nickname in college on the girls dorm 3rd floor was “G.” Before it ever became popular. And we had much fun back then, as the picture illustrates. We were all just crazy. (Thanks for the pic, Shannon. I am on the left. I won't say who is next to me, but you girls feel free to fess up on your own!)

Since then, 38 G has expanded and contracted several times, thanks to breastfeeding, weight gain, weight loss, and of course, my cruel mistress- gravity. 38 G became a 38 lonG. And honestly, I have no idea now what my size is. I really need to go in for a fitting!

Back to the story. I have plenty of extra room in my bras now, because the girls have shrunk a lot in the last 57 pounds. Not that you can tell, because when you roll them up to insert into the cups, they still look big. But the bra has become more than a bra now. It is a purse. When I left my hotel room to work out, I was terrified I would lock myself out. So of course the key card went into the bra, along with the MP3.

I did not anticipate that the sweltering 8 billion percent humidity in North Carolina would make me sweat so hard on the pre-workout walk. It was evening, and cooler, but the air was thicker than my waist before the diet. Ug, by the time I came inside to the air conditioning of the hotel fitness studio, I was drenched, stinky, and sleepy. But I still tackled that stupid elliptical machine for a solid 15 minutes before calling it quits. Then I was cold and sweaty, but felt like I had accomplished something.

As I drug myself back up to the 5th floor to my room for a nice hot shower, I was feeling great. I was going to stay right on track during this trip, and not gain a pound! In fact, my mind arrogantly thought, I would actually LOSE weight, proving that I am the most successful dieter. Almost breaking my arm patting myself on the back for my high level of commitment, I approached my room. And I got out the key card, covered in Swamp Boob goo, wiped it on the side of my shorts, and slid it in the card reader on the door.

Lights flashed red, and nothing happened.

So I pulled it out and tried again.

Red lights. Bupkis.

I probably attempted to open the door 20 times before I admitted defeat.

The G Force had demagnetized the key card.

I had no choice but to get back on the elevator, sweaty, stinky, and irritated, head to the front desk, and ask them to reprogram my key. Please understand, we were in a fancy hotel. There was Italian marble on the walls and floors, a cascading fountain in the lobby, coffee shop that rivaled Starbucks, and a restaurant that Emeril would have been proud to cook in. This was not a Holiday Inn.

And here I am, dripping sweat, soaked to the skivvys, smelling like an entire football team, and I have to go through the Lobby to get to the front desk. Nice.

As the elevator dinged, I stepped in, praying it was vacant. Of course it wasn’t. Van, the Hispanic language director for Proverbs 31 (the ministry that put on this little shin-dig) was standing in her pajamas, barefoot, and looking somewhat bewildered and embarrassed.

“I don’t normally look like this, but I locked myself out of my room, and have to get another key,” she said.

I smiled.

“I demagnetized the key card while it was in my bra cause I was working out and sweat on it.”

She grinned.

And so, a new friendship was born on the elevator, between a sweaty stinky girl and a barefoot missionary in pajamas. We laughed and giggled, and approached the front desk together.

I was explaining my predicament to the front desk clerk, and I giggled when I saw her cringe a little as she realized she was holding the key card that had been in my sweaty bra and it was now in her hands. And I’m pretty sure that she put on some sanitizing hand gel on before she helped Van get a new key. Not that I blame her.

And Van? She finally got into her room, and realized just how magnetic my personality really is.

Monday, August 3

My Bloggy Challenge and Big Butt Giveaway! (No, I'm not giving away my butt- I already tried that)

So I met with an agent this past weekend. He encouraged me to blog 5 times a week because that is what other bloggers do. OK, no problem. But I can't do anything like normal people. I have got to make this fun!

I am going to blog Monday through Friday for the next 5 weeks. And I want you to forward me. Not because I think I am fabulous, but because I know that women need to hear the message I am sending out: DIETING IS NOT THE END OF YOUR WORLD! There are ways we can get healthier without losing our minds! We can laugh our way through this!

Now, how in the world can I get you to forward my message to those that you think might need a good laugh and some encouragement?

By giving you free stuff. That's how!

Yep, I am going to be sending you goodies. Don't we all just love goodies? I know I sure do! I haven't decided everything that will be in the goodie basket, but it will contain some specific things.

One is- of course- the official Fat Girl Yoga DVD. Girls, I can't praise this DVD enough. And now it is really hard to find. Worse case scenario, if I find out the one I ordered to give away is on back order, I will send you mine. Yeah, I do love it, but you are worth it. (Technically it is called "Just my Size Yoga with Megan Garcia" but fat girl yoga rolls off the tongue better.)

Second- Anti-Monkey Butt Powder. If you have not ever tried this amazing product, then you are missing out on the redeemer of "Over Rubbed Thighs due to exercising." When I first started working out, this powder was applied before exercising and after, because it really cuts down on the whole top of the thigh irritation that us fat chicks suffer.

Third, I am going to send you a variety of some of my favorite diet snacks and yummy stuff. Not really sure what I am going to include at this time, because I am working on something VERY SPECIAL for you. But once everything is panned out, I will let you know. Patience, sisters, patience!

Over all, I am setting aside a budget of $100 worth of stuff to send to one lucky winner. Yep, I am not afraid to spend my husband's hard earned money on you.

Now I know you are all waiting with bated breath. HOW CAN I WIN THIS AMAZING PRIZE?

Here's how. All you have to do is email your friends and fellow fat chicks about this blog. Tell them what it means to makes you laugh, inspires you, it is some crazy Illinois girl's way of helping others, whatever you want to say. Be honest, and tell the world.

When you send that email to all your friends, you need to do 2 things.

ONE- Include my email address and send it to me too. You can do it at the top, CC me or BCC me. I just need to get that email in my box. The email address you should include is at the top of this blog, but if you are lazy like me and want it here, it's .

TWO- Make sure you type the address of the blog in the email or link it. Some of you are more internet savvy than others, so if you don't know how to link it, just type in and your provider should automatically link it for you. That link HAS to be in there so your friends can go to it from your email. This will help me track who has looked at the blog because of you. And it just might sway the judging.

Speaking of judging- How am I going to decide who the winner is? I have a panel of 3 girls (myself included) who will read your emails to your friends. We are basing it on the emails you send out, not the quantity of people you send it to. If I can help one person with your email, then it is worth the goody basket to me.

So there it is! That's how you can win. I hope that you take advantage of this, because it really will be a fabulous goodie basket. And I want to get out there and help other girls just like us. We need to laugh. We need to support one another. We need to know that we are not alone.

I'll be looking forward to reading your emails in the coming weeks, and the contest will end on September 12th at midnight. Have your emails in by midnight on Saturday night to be eligible to win. Good luck and forward the Shrink Big Butt love!
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