Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween.....Who do you want to be?

Happy Halloween!  Often as children we put on costumes that represent "what/who we want to be" when we grow up. Perhaps it's a princess or a superhero; perhaps it's a nurse or a baseball player.  I'm dressed in a habit today....but not because it's who I want to be when I grow up, but because the virtues of a nun are those that I hope to aspire to one day. Whether you dress up or celebrate Halloween today or not, I encourage you to try to find a few minutes to ask yourself....Who do you want to be....what do you want your life to be like.....a year from now?  Perhaps you want to be healthier or a college student. Maybe you want to be debt-free or sober, or just have a different job. Perhaps you want to be thinner....or kinder....or happier.....or through the worst part of the grief or depression you are dealing with. Whatever it is.....What changes do you have to make TODAY to get there?    CLick below to hear more of my thoughts about Halloween and to see me dressed up as Sr. Mary Celebration!  Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What lies are you telling yourself to keep you from changing your life?

I used to be a BIG FAT LIAR! I didn't lie to people, but it was much worse, I lied to myself. The lies I told myself contributed to my former weight of over 400 pounds. I told myself that I could never lose weight, that I didn't deserve any better, and that it was impossible.  Click my video below to hear more about the ways I lied to myself and to discover the TRUTH that could change your life!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Do you believe that miracles happen to everday people?

Do you believe that miracles happen to everyday people? Do you believe that you can have a miracle and you can change your life?  I am living proof, that YES, they do...and YES, you can! My story is remarkable and perhaps quite unusual, but I assure you that I am a everyday, run of the mill, girl from a small town. I don't have a personal trainer or a private chef to cook healthy meals. I don't have some magic potion or incredible weight loss product. I don't have a lot of money to have liposuction or other surgical procedures. I am a normal, hard-working, woman of faith that buys her clothes at thrift stores, goes to work everyday, picks cat hair off her clothes each morning, and faces the same struggles as you.  The first step in changing your life is BELIEVING that it can happen....and then taking the steps to make it happen. Click my video link below to hear my thoughts on the subject.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Start again today!

It's lunchtime here in Michigan and I just want to remind you that today is the day! If you had a rough weekend, strayed off plan, or promised to begin your journey or try again on Monday...It is here! This is time! Today is the day! What are you eating for lunch? What are you doing with that cigarette in your hand?  What did you just "say" that you wish you hadn't or "tell yourself" that isn't true?   Start right now! You can do it!

Celebrate the Little Things

It's going to be a busy week. Our department has hired two new Retention advisors and I'll be busy this week training them and likely won't have a lot of time to post this week. However, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Monday.  Let this be the week that you really notice how much your efforts are paying off!

Too often when we are on a journey or have a goal that is still a long way away, we often spend so much energy focusing on the end that we forget to celebrate all the great things along the way. This happens on a trip when we pass by unique and wonderful sights along the route because we just want to get to our destination so that THEN we can start enjoying ourselves. Sometimes I hear people lament that their spouse doesn't even like to stop for a bathroom or meal break on a trip. What happens then, is that we miss out on opportunities to see unusual things, enjoy a wonderful bowl of soup at an out-of-the-way diner, or meet interesting people.  We do this during the holidays as well. We get so busy doing all the preparations, cleaning, cooking, shopping for Christmas Eve/Day that we miss out on the wonderful season of Advent, the great holiday specials on TV, the chances to make life-time memories with loved ones, and the beautiful music of the season.

For those of you on a weight loss journey, you may think that you won't truly be happy until you reach goal and you are so focused on hitting that "magic number." I know I was overly concerned about it as well, but I also enjoyed the process of getting there. I enjoyed being able to put on a pair of pants and find that they were too big or making another notch in my belt. I enjoyed getting a positive response or "Atta girl" from someone who hadn't seen me in a while. I enjoyed being able to tie my shoes or cross my legs for the first time in years.  It seemed like everyday there was something that I could do that I couldn't before; those very things that so many people do without thinking.

Yesterday, I had one of those moments. It may seem very insignificant, and compared to fitting through a turnstile or riding a bike, it was, but still, it was awesome, and all it involved was a pair of knee socks!  On Saturday, I purchased a pair of knee socks at a thrift store. They were a name brand, still had the tags on, and were priced just right so I bought them.  I haven't been able to wear knee socks in years; instead I had to wear anklets or footies because  my calves/ankles were too big. I bought the socks without thinking and yesterday, I put them on and to my delight, I pulled them right up without a struggle. They actually went all the way up to my knees....just like they are supposed to!  I let out a squeal and suddenly I felt like I was back in high school at St. Mary Academy putting on my school uniform. I honestly don't think I have had a pair of knee socks on in 20 years!  Gosh, I felt like a silly kid!  Silly, I know, but a "little thing" that is a sign of a "big victory."
God is so good!

So today....and throughout this week, I am going to look for "little things" each day to celebrate.  I'm guessing that if I just open my eyes, I'll find them all around me.  What "little thing" are you going to celebrate today? 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Question of the week: How do you stay motivated?

  • Hello everyone! I learned something new this week: How to use a webcam and have asked members of my Facebook group, WE CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES, to send me any questions they have about my weight loss journey. The following is my video response to two questions about motivation. Click the link below to hear my thoughts on the subject. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them here in the comment section or email me at  Hope everyone is having a great day!

    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    Today is the day! You can change your life!

    Make today the beginning of your new life....with every thought, every meal, every choice! You can do it!

    Visit my website:  or join my Facebook group: We Can Change Our Lives  to hear more about my wonderful new life!  Make it a great day!

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    What will they say about you when you die?

    Perhaps I am a bit morbid, but ever since I was a teenager, I liked to read the obituaries in the newspaper. Our local paper put them on the back page, and it was the first thing that my mother read each day. My grandmother did the same thing, and I remember her saying quite often, “Well, today must be a good day; my name isn’t in the obituaries.” I grew up in a small town where ‘everybody knew everybody” and had a wide circle of friends and family. Later, while working in ministry I had daily contact with even more people, so it seemed like there was always someone that I knew that had died.

    The habit of obituary reading stuck with me, and although I now live in a different part of the state and know a lot less people, I still read them on a daily basis. Now, however, it isn’t to see if there is anyone I know, but more to read about the lives of people that I never had the opportunity to meet. Often I read the beautiful words written about a stranger, and I marvel at the life he/she led. I read about hobbies, accomplishments, marriages, children, and grandchildren. I read about great contributions to society. I read about their legacy and about how they heroically dealt with struggles, wars, and illness, and how much they will be “missed” by loved ones. Sometimes there stories are remarkable; other times they are tragic. Sometimes the departed  have no survivors and I wonder if anyone will even notice that he/she is gone.  It’s amazing how many incredible people lived in my midst and I never noticed or knew. 

    Likewise, I have attended literally hundreds of wakes and funerals over the years. Although often they are times of sadness and pain, I like to hear the stories and see the pictures that are often displayed at one’s death. I have heard stories of travels, family gatherings, acts of kindness and charity; I have heard of great contributions to the world and ways that he/she brought joy and love to the world. I’ve heard about ways in which the person ‘overcame tragedy” or “accomplished a goal.” I’ve heard about ways he/she helped others, put others first, lived his/her faith and how he/she made a difference in the world.   Ironically, I have NEVER heard things like, “he once lost a bunch of weight” or “when she died she wore a size 8”, or even “gosh, she really had a lot of money.” I never heard, “her mission in life was to weigh 150 pounds” or “be the thinnest person in the room.”  It seems that in the end, a person’s weight and pant size means very little and that the “numbers” that are most important in life…and death… involve the number of ways he/she helped others.

    The habit of reading obituaries and attending funerals has helped me prioritize my life.  I have had the privilege of giving the eulogy for many loved ones and close friends. It is a blessing to be able to share the ways that the person has touched my life. I often wonder what others would say about me when I leave this world. I certainly hope that my weight loss isn’t a significant part of the eulogy, but rather a person talks about the characteristics that led to the weight loss; faith, determination, commitment and the ways I used my weight loss journey to help others and bring hope to the world.

    Does this mean that you should eat that donut or order that pizza for dinner? Does this mean that you should skip the gym or light up that cigarette?  Absolutely NOT! I am not saying that at all. When I was 400+ I was unable to do much to help others. I could barely help myself. I was unable to do anything but go to work and try to survive. I was trapped in a world of emotional and physical pain and my ONLY focus was on myself, my own pain and survival. I was NOT making a difference to anyone. So YES, losing weight is important, because without doing so, I’d likely not be alive today. I wouldn’t have this incredible privilege of sharing my story. I wouldn’t get the many emails each day from around the world from people seeking hope and inspiration. I wouldn’t be able to do anything. So YES….put that donut down. So YES, work every day to reach your goals, whatever they may be. So YES, try each day to eat healthy food and practice habits that will lead to physical and emotional wellness, but don’t put all the emphasis on the scale or your waist measurement.  Be more concerned with being kind, being loving, being forgiving, and spreading joy whenever you can. Those are the things that will matter in the end. Those are the things that should matter NOW.

    I’ve said many times to friends and loved ones that I want to live my life every day so that people will have something nice to say when I die. I wonder…..what would my obituary say?  What would others say about me when I die?  What am I going to say about YOU if I'm asked to do your eulogy?  How am I going to make a difference in someone’s life today?   Hmmm…… now that’s some FOOD for thought for me…..much more rewarding and satisfying than a donut!  How about you?   What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind…..if you were to die today, next week, or several years from now?  Life is short; start today!

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    An afternoon chucke!

    One of my friends posted this to my FB page. It certainly made me chuckle! Hope it gives you a smile as well. You have to read the text to understand. Hope everyone had a good day today.
    DO NOT wash your hair in the shower!! It's so good to finally get a health wa...rning that is useful!!! IT INVOLVES THE SHAMPOO WHEN IT RUNS DOWN YOUR BODY WHEN YOU SHOWER WITH IT. WARNING TO US ALL!!! Shampoo Warning! I don't know WHY I didn't figure this out sooner! I use shampoo in the shower! When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning, "FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME." No wonder I have been gaining weight! Well! I got rid of that shampoo and I am going to start showering with Dawn Dishwashing Soap. It's label reads, "DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE." Problem solved! If I don't answer the phone, I'll be in the shower!See More

    Wednesday, October 23, 2013

    Theresa Doesn't Live Here Anymore! Are you happy about where you live?

    I'm such a ditz! My name has been misspelled so many times in the media and now I DID IT MYSELF in the previously posted video.  Here is the corrected one!

    This is what I did at 3:00 am this morning when I couldn't sleep. 
     I taught myself a new thing and made a Power point into a video!
    There is so much to learn about technology.
    Who knows,  One of these days I might even break down
     and get one of those things called a "SMART PHONE." 
     Hope you like my video....and remember...

    Theresa Doesn't Live Here Anymore! Where do you want to live?

    This is what I did at 3:00 am this morning when I couldn't sleep. 
     I taught myself a new thing and made a Power point into a video!
    There is so much to learn about technology.
    Who knows,  One of these days I might even break down
     and get one of those things called a "SMART PHONE." 
     Hope you like my video....and remember...

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013

    Keep practicing....Keep Trying.....You can do it!

    Do you remember what it was like when you tried to learn something new as a kid?  How many times did you fall off your bike and skin your knees before you could ride without training wheels?  How many times did you have to swing the bat into the air before you finally made contact and sent the ball sailing?  How many times did you have to practice your piano or music lesson before you were able to play something that even resembled a melody?  If you are like me, the answer is likely “hundreds.”  When we are trying to do something we have never done before, we have to do it ‘over and over and over’ until we get it right. Sometimes we just get frustrated and give up, deciding that the result/goal just isn’t worth the effort.

    I have been thinking a lot about my recent fishing trip this week and how scared I was to go because it was ‘something new” and I had no idea how to fly fish. I grew up fishing and although I don’t typically catch the big ones and am not particularly good at it, I do have my own tackle box, can bait a hook, and am not usually afraid to take the fish off the hook.  Like many other things, learning to fish takes practice. I have had multiple tangled lines, casts that ended up in the trees or the brush, and have lost a lot of lures over the years. I have also had countless trips when I fished for several hours and didn’t even get a nibble, let alone catch a fish.  There are days like that.  Learning how to fly-fish was a totally new experience. There is a method to casting and bringing in the line (called stripping) that is completely different than the usual pan-fishing that I do. I made multiple mistakes and the line/fly ended up in the trees more times than I care to admit. The guide, Dave Roller, must have said, “Left foot” a dozen or more times, indicating that I was stepping on the line when my cast ended up only a few yards in front of me. Apparently that is a common occurrence among even the experienced fishermen since the line is never completely reeled in, but rather lays loosely on the ground or on top of the water. Over and over and over I’d cast and strip the line back in with no results. It took a lot of patience and a lot of practice and occasionally I was even rewarded with a ‘nice cast’ from someone in the boat! I cast hundreds of times and came back empty, but I did it again….and again….and again. I wasn’t about to give up. I knew I wasn't going to catch a fish if my line wasn't in the water!

    Life is a lot like fishing.  We do things every day and don’t see results.  Maybe it’s work related; you go to the office/job and put in a great effort, only to have it go unnoticed by your boss.  Perhaps you go out of your way to find a perfect gift (for a person who has ‘everything’) for a holiday or birthday, and he/she doesn’t like it.  Maybe you get up early every morning to tidy up the house before work, only to come home and have it all messed up again because the kids/spouse gets home earlier than you. Maybe you just feel overworked, unappreciated, frustrated and/or are just plain “tired” of trying.  I’m sure there are dozens of examples of this.

    If you have been overweight for most of your life, it is likely that you have tried before to lose weight. Perhaps, like me, you’ve even been successful once or twice, but gained it (and then some) all back. Maybe you’ve been on every new diet that came out; Adkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, diet pills, Slimfast….etc., and have even lost weight at first, but then you gave up when it got too hard.  Maybe you have tried multiple times to quit smoking or drinking, or to save money, and were doing great for a few weeks….and then something happened and you went back to your old ways.  Maybe you’ve dated/married multiple people, hoping that ‘this time” you found Mr./Mrs. Right.  We often start out with a deep desire to “get it right” this time; to make it work; to really CHANGE our life, but we get discouraged, lose faith, and just give up, feeling defeated and hopeless.

    Life is like that. We try, we fail, we try again. We fail at our attempts to do “stuff” and we fail in our attempts to “be” a certain way….at least I do…..often.  No matter how hard I try…and how much I desire it…I still find myself thinking thoughts that are ‘unkind’. I still find myself thinking negative thoughts, saying hurtful things, gossiping, being critical, being selfish. The list is really endless.  Fortunately….I know a loving, forgiving God who gives continually gives me a 2nd chance; a new day to try again.  I also know that like all things, I have to practice and practice and practice BEING, THINKING, DOING, TRUSTING, LOVING…... The list goes on.  I also have to practice CHOOSING….over and over and over. Every day…every minute…every meal, I have to CHOOSE what to think, how to act, what to eat.  I have to CHOOSE to be positive, to surrender, to make the right choices, to stay on track.  Sometimes I fail, but I don’t give up. I try again and again and again.

    If you are sincere about changing your life…..and succeeding THIS TIME at whatever it is you want to accomplish, I encourage you today to keep trying. Keep casting that line in the water; keep swinging that bat; keep practicing that song, even if you come back empty, miss the ball, or hit the wrong note.  If you’ve already “blown it” this morning at breakfast; if you’ve already smoked that cigarette; if you’ve already said/done something unkind; start again.  Keep at it. Start from this moment and try again.  You can do it! You must believe that THIS TIME you will “catch that fish.”  This TIME you will be successful….at whatever it is you desire.  I believe in you. Believe in yourself!

    Monday, October 21, 2013

    Make your life worth watching!

    Happy Monday! I had a busy, but very nice weekend. With most of the autumn leaves on the ground and the dreaded “S” word (SNOW for those in warm climates) in the forecast for later this week, I had to finally admit that it is time to get out the winter clothes, coats, and boots. With the ending of one season, comes the beginning of another: Holiday shopping season! Although finances do not allow me to do as much shopping as I’d like, I still enjoy perusing through the many catalogs that seem to fill my mailbox daily.  Yesterday, while enjoying my morning coffee before Mass, I was looking through one of the catalogs that arrived this weekend, and I came across a bracelet with a quote that provided me with a lot of “food for thought.” The bracelet read:  “One day your life will pass before your eyes; make it something worth watching.”  I love that!

     After reading that, I closed my eyes and began to think about what type of “movie or scenes” would be appearing before my eyes from my past, and more importantly, what type of show would be on if I were to die in the near future.  As with most individuals, the flashback contained bits and pieces of all sorts of genres.  My childhood was a mixture of “Leave it to Beaver” until my father became ill and died, then it went to a tragedy and tear-jerker, to the Brady Bunch with the addition of a step-father and step-siblings added to the mix. Drama and comedy, mixed with a lot of religious programming, with a lot of Happy Endings, pretty much summed up my life until age 40.

     Then it took a turn for the worst and my life pretty much played like a Greek Tragedy; some scenes completely out of my control, like the death of several loved ones, a Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis, and job loss, but many scenes were self-inflicted horror show. I relived many of those scenes in my head and for a brief moment, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if there were a “delete” button” on my life story so that I could just erase those 7 years?”  Or at least a “fast forward” button.  Then I thought some more and began to ponder, “Even if I could change my past….would I REALLY want to?”  Certainly, I’d like to have my loved ones back and I would have liked to avoid that physical and emotional pain; certainly I wished that I hadn’t gained all that weight; certainly I would have liked to have those wasted years of isolation, depression, and sadness. But, in all honestly, I really don’t think I’d want it to be any other way. Really, Theresa, come on! Yes, really.

     Have you ever heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger?” I’ve always believed that “character” comes from life’s experiences.  Going through those painful situations have made me into the woman I am today. I learned compassion for the  ill and grieving, because I cared for and watched people I love die in my arms. I learned generosity for those who struggle, because I know what it’s like to be unemployed. I learned empathy for the poor, because I know what it’s like to wonder how I was going to pay the light bill. I learned compassion for the obese and disabled because….well, need I say more?  I learned humility, because I know what it’s like to have to “accept help” from others after a lifetime of “service.” I learned that I am a lot stronger than I ever imagined. I learned what it’s like to depend on God. Mostly I learned that God is faithful, loving, and forgiving, and HE NEVER GIVES UP on us.

    After I hit rock bottom, and I made the decision that I didn’t LIKE THIS MOVIE ANYMORE, God helped me “change the channel” to my life story. Today…the movie flashing before my eyes is a completely different one! It’s a combination of drama, comedy, education, fashion, and ADVENTURE! Every day is a brand new day and I never know from one week to the next what is going to happen. Most days have “happy endings”, but like you, my days are not always wonderful. I struggle, I hurt, I experience temptation, disappointment, pain….just like, and ALONG with you. Losing weight doesn’t make LIFE cease to exist; it just makes us stronger….in body, mind, and spirit, so that it is easier to deal with those “scenes” that don’t have happy endings.

    In the “picture-picture” portion of my life is a boxing match….constantly playing in the background, serving as a daily reminder that I have to FIGHT every day to make the “scenes” I want to view worthwhile. I have to choose EVERY DAY….EVERY MEAL….EVERY THOUGHT….so that the movie of the day has a happy beginning and a happy ending…even if the “in-between” is full of drama, defeat, or tragedy. 

    When we are going through difficulties and struggles, sometimes all we see is the scene playing “NOW” and we forget that “We have control of the remote control.” If you don’t like what’s playing in your life today….CHANGE the channel! You have that power. You have that ability.  You cannot change everything….but you can change many things. Learn what you can from those things that you cannot change, knowing that they are making you strong, and take small steps to change those things that you can. Take control of the remote and make your life worth watching!

    I’ve never belonged to a 12-step program, but I love their Prayer of Serenity.

     “Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot changed, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    Make it a good day!

    Friday, October 18, 2013

    PBS TV interview is scheduled to air.

    For those that are interested in viewing the PBS television interview that I taped last winter, the producer just notified me that it will appear on air at the following times:

    Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013
    DELTA Q-TV...

    Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
    Midland MCTV


    Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013
    Midland MCTV

    This is a PBS show called UNCOMMON SENSE with Junia Doan. She did a 1/2 hour interview. I don't the show is shown in the Detroit area, but I know it is available in the MidMichigan area. Once the show airs, I will attempt to upload the interview to YouTube, but out of respect for the show and Junia, I don't want to do that until it "officially airs" in a few weeks. Here is a link to her website in case you want more information:

    We can shine brighter on cloudy days

    It was very dark on Wednesday morning when my friends picked me up for the fly-fishing trip. The drive took us through some very remote and rural areas and the darkness was even more noticeable. At one point on the trip, I noticed a very bright, rather large light on the horizon. It was too early for sunrise and I wasn’t sure what was causing the brightness. Hmmm….I wondered. I asked my friends where they thought the glow was coming from as they had traveled this route many times before. Cathy said, “Oh those are the lights of the city many miles away. You can really notice them this morning because it’s so cloudy and the lights are bouncing off the clouds.”   Made sense I suppose, and because I have lived in the “woods” for so long and am so far away from any city, I guess I had forgotten what that looked like.  I didn’t really think much more about it, though, because my mind was cluttered with anticipation about the fishing adventure. That is, until yesterday.

    I had a meeting at the other campus yesterday afternoon so I had to make the drive down to Mt. Pleasant. It was a very dreary, rainy day, but as I made my way, I noticed how vibrant the colors of the trees were against the dark, gray sky. Some of them looked like they were on fire. It really was spectacular considering we are at the “past peak” point in the autumn color display.  Hmmm…… I began to think and ponder.  Most people always think of taking “color tours” on bright sunny days because the sun bouncing off the trees is very beautiful. I am no exception, but that’s twice in the last 2 days that God pointed out something to me in nature.

     I wondered what He was trying to teach me….and as I pondered a bit, I began to think about my own life and those times when it was filled with “darkness”, “rain”, “stormy weather”…..heartache, pain, sickness, grief.  Could it be that it is in “those times” when we have the opportunity to ‘shine’ the most….to show our ‘true colors” …or “rise to the occasion and do what we have to do” if you will?  Could it be in those times of difficulty, temptation, sadness…..those times when we struggle and think God has abandoned us….when God’s love shines the brightest?  I thought about all the times when God sent people in my life…to help, encourage, support, pray for and love me, just at a time when I needed it most. I wondered how many times I didn’t notice it….because I wasn’t looking for it….because I was looking for a bright sunny day…..because I was concentrating and focusing only on the “darkness” or the “storm?”  I began to do some self-reflection and I asked myself:

    How do I react when I have a bad day; do I take it out on those around me?

    How do I handle days when I don’t feel well; do I complain?

    How do I handle temptation; do I justify and rationalize my way through; do I give up and quit because it’s too hard…or do I remain strong and allow my determination for a healthier life to win?

    How do I handle disappointment; do I pout and act childish?

    How do I behave when something good happens to others; do I share in their joy or become jealous/envious?

    There is so much room for improvement in my life. Thank God that each day is a new opportunity to do better!

    I wish I could tell you that every day since I have begun this journey 2 ½ years ago has been easy. I wish I could tell you that I wasn’t tempted to give up; that I didn’t want to quit. I wish I could tell you that it was easy to sit and watch my family eat cinnamon rolls on Christmas Eve or pass around those little hotdogs wrapped in dough at the campfire. I wish I could tell you that I didn’t go through struggles with relationships when some in my life became jealous. I wish I could tell you that I don’t have to make the decision….EVERY….SINGLE….DAY….to keep going, to keep motivated.  I can’t.  But I can tell you, that IT IS SO UNBELIEVABLY WORTH IT!!!!  

    Clouds, rain, darkness…..disappointment, hurt, pain, sickness, temptation and failure are a part of life. We can’t escape it……but from this day forward…. I am going to try to look at it in a different way. I am going to try, when those ‘not so great days” arrive, to remember the lights of that unknown city….shining brighter than usual because it was “cloudy and dark”…..and the glory of those autumn trees….glowing brighter than ever….because it was raining…..and I am going to look a little bit harder to see God’s presence. Even more important, I am going to try to let my “true colors” shine a bit brighter…on ALL DAYS….so that it might light up others’ lives when they are experiencing the tough times.

    Don’t give up if you are facing a rainy day. Don’t quit because you had a bad day. Don’t throw in the towel if you went off track or gained a few pounds. Don’t get discouraged if others are losing weight and you are not. Don’t despair if you struggled or ate a donut for breakfast….Look for the light....and KEEP TRYING!  This is your time to SHINE! You can do it. YOU CAN…and YOU WILL….CHANGE YOUR LIFE… day….one thought….one step….one meal….at a time!
    Join my Facebook group: We Can Change Our Lives or visit my website: if you want to hear more of my story!

    Thursday, October 17, 2013

    A good day fishing!


    What an AWESOME day yesterday! I have so many thoughts rambling around in my head this morning and trying to put the excitement and feelings about my first fly-fishing trip into words is not an easy task, even for a “wordy” girl me.  I’m guessing it will take several days to capture all that I’m thinking.

    The day started out very early. My friends Cathy and Ken Zimmerman, very experienced fishermen and long-time friends of the charter captain, Dave Roller, were the ones that invited me along on this trip. They picked me up in the wee hours of the morning and we made our way towards Ludington to Dave’s house. It was about a 1 ½ - 2 hr. drive in the dark. Once we got to Dave’s, we loaded up our supplies in his van, dressed in our waders, and drove the boat to the river to launch. It was still dark when we set out “up the river” to one of Dave’s favorite spots in hopes that we might get lucky and catch a few of the salmon on their way upstream to spawn. We didn’t have high expectations of catching a lot of fish yesterday because according to Dave, it was  the final day or two of the salmon run and a week or so too early to begin fishing for steelhead. But, honestly, I didn’t care whether we caught fish or not….I was more excited about the experience and thrill of doing something “outside my comfort zone” that I had never done before.  This definitely was a new experience for me!

    It started to rain just as we anchored the boat, and it rained for a good portion of the day, sometimes just misting, but often quite heavily. The temps were in the 40’s and 50’s, and with the rain on and off, it was a wet, sometimes cold day, but we were prepared for the weather. At one point, I had water dripping down my face and my hair was soaked, even though I had on a raincoat. Surprisingly, I didn’t care!  The bottom half of me was dry though because I had on thick Neoprene waders. What an experience that was! Just getting INTO them took a lot of effort because they fit tight like a wet-suit and are very heavy; definitely not flattering in any way, but they sure kept me warm….and dry. They also gave me a sense of security because I am so terrified of snakes and other things in the water and I knew that nothing could get through those waders. I had absolutely NO FEAR about walking around in the river or climbing over a big slimy log to get to the bank….or even peeing in the woods!  Getting in and out of them….well, that’s ANOTHER story completely!  J

    Once we got settled and ready to fish, Dave rigged up the lines, poured us a cup of coffee, and proceeded to teach me how to cast and handle the rod/reel. I’ve fished since I was a child, but not like this, so I had no idea what to do and was eager to learn. He was patient and kind as he showed me….over and over again…how to flick my wrist to get the line out and how to bring it back in. There is definitely an art to this sport. It took me several attempts and I made some mistakes along the way as I learned, but I didn’t give up and eventually got the hang of it. He pointed out the things I was doing wrong and showed me how to correct them. He was an awesome teacher….one of the nice things about going on a charter trip!  My friends are quite experienced and knew exactly what to do.

    No one was catching anything but Dave pointed out the occasional “ripple in the waves” that indicated that there was still a lingering fish or two making the run, so we remained hopeful.  Cathy finally hooked one and the fun began.  Holy smokes……what a thrill. I’ve never caught anything bigger than a keeper size pike or bass before and I’m used to pan fishing so I had no idea what to expect with a big 20+ pound salmon. It was amazing. That fish was jumping out of the water…running upstream….putting up a terrible fight and causing Cathy to work really hard to get it in. Dave grabbed the net and jumped over the side of the boat. The fish slapped and splashed and jumped as Dave struggled to net him. Oh my….what excitement!  I’ve never seen anything like it before….and suddenly, I forgot about the rain and cold. I was “in” for the long haul and SO GLAD that I didn’t give in to my fear and apprehension about accepting this invitation.

    The rain stopped briefly and I decided to venture into the river to try that approach. Once again…another thrill….and definitely a first for me. I’m used to canoeing and playing in the river, but not in 40 degree temps or a pair of waders, knowing there are monster size fish with BIG TEETH swimming around. The heavy waders kept me warm and the feel of the current added to the fun.  Finally, my turn came….and I began the fight of my life to land my first fish. The fish took me close to the boat….where that big salmon Cathy caught was on the stringer….so I had that big fish jumping and flailing around at my feet….and another one on my line. My fish jumped and fought and jumped some more. I managed to get him all the way up out of the water and just as Dave tried to net him, he spit out the fly and managed to get away.  I was a bit bummed, but I think Dave was more disappointed. He assured me that I had done everything right in getting him that far and sometimes…well, oftentimes, this is what happens.  Honestly… I didn’t even care, because I had the “experience” that I went out there for. I was happy as a lark!

    We fished for several more hours at that spot, then Dave fired up the grill and began to prepare lunch. I had suspected that they would be grilling so I came prepared with a couple of chicken hot-dogs which he gladly added to the big burgers that he made. No one took offense to my choice of food. I ate those 2 hotdogs….minus bun…and some yogurt and later a pear, and managed to stay on track. Being prepared (bringing my own food/snacks), and being willing to be ‘different” (I explained that my lunch choices were in no way a rejection of his hospitality), have been important keys in my success along the way. YES, I could have eaten a burger and chips with the rest of them BECAUSE I was on a special trip…..but if I justified it “just this one time”, then tomorrow it would be easier to justify it again.  After all….Saturday is Sweetest Day… I could each some chocolate….Sunday is Oktoberfest….I could have a brat and sauerkraut……Next week is Halloween… forth.  See what I mean????  It’s much easier for me just to plan ahead and not find excuses to make exceptions for ANY reason.

    We fished the same spot for a bit longer after lunch and the rain started again. No one was catching anything so we decided to move to another spot. Again, no luck. Our last spot was a place referred to as the “sanctuary” because of all the logs and debris. Dave said that sometimes there will be a few fish “holed up” in the deep areas there but it is very difficult to fish there because of the downed trees. I let Dave and Ken do the fishing there. I was content to sit back and watch. We had been fishing for nearly 8 hours and the only fish landed was Cathy’s. Mine was the only other one that even came close to the net. I didn’t feel bad about not catching more because if the captain and the experienced fishermen weren’t catching them, nobody was likely to. Dave takes clients out 7 days of week, rain or shine, and he wasn’t really optimistic today. Ken and Cathy went out on Labor Day and said that fish were jumping all over and they were catching them faster than they could net them. Apparently, that’s what it’s like early in the spawning season. Perhaps I’ll go again next year.

    But…. I saw a few  fish jump, enjoyed the INCREDIBLE autumn color, spent time with friends, learned new things, and just had an incredible experience!  LIFE IS SO GOOD….and to think… I almost MISSED IT because I was afraid to try something new!

    SO… terms of my/our personal journey…how does this relate? This is what I learned:

    1.       Be willing to learn from the expert fisherman….(read nutrition books, follow successful dieters or recovering addicts, learn about calories, talk to others who have been on this journey, etc.)

    2.       Realize that no one can do it for you….but others can help encourage and teach you.

    3.       Be willing to make mistakes along the way and don’t get discouraged when you do. Try again!

    4.       Don’t give up when it rains or is cold (it gets hard or you are tempted)….Keep fishing!

    5.       Realize that there are going to be times when you do everything right…..and you still don’t catch a fish (see results on the scales).  Even the “pros” have plateaus!

    6.       Fill your boat with others who are ‘doing the same thing as you’ and don’t be intimidated by the fact that they are more experienced than you (get a great support team of others who are on the same journey….like us!)

    7.       If you don’t catch fish (or see results)…be willing to  move the boat and try something new (alter your eating or exercise plan)

    8.       Finally…ENJOY THE RIDE!  Be open to all the new experiences and new sights along the way and focus less on the “number” of fish you catch (pounds you lose) and more on the journey.



    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    I'm going fly-fishing in the morning!

    Tomorrow is the day of the big fly-fishing trip. I’ve never been fly fishing before so this is a totally new, “out of my comfort zone”, experience. I’m both apprehensive and excited at the same time.  When I made that New Year’s resolution about “trying new things, going new places, and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone”, I had no idea all the many new things that would happen to me this year; A plane ride to NYC, TV shows, speaking engagements, riding a Harley, climbing a dune, riding a bike…..WOW….what an incredible, adventurous year for a “prefer to stay at home – very comfortable being an observer-somewhat sheltered” kind of girl like me!  NOW….in less than 24 hours I’m going fly-fishing with a charter captain and some dear friends. I even get to wear those chest high wader things. I’m not sure what to do with them or how on earth I’m ever going to WALK in them, but I get to wear them! J  From what I’ve seen on the website for the charter captain, I might even catch a fish…..a BIG fish!  They fish for salmon and other fish that can be 20+ pounds.  Oh boy!
    I have always loved to fish…..well, perhaps it’s better described as “feeding them my worms” as I usually only fish for bluegill and pan fish. Occasionally, I’ll put on a rubber worm and try to land a bass or a pike, but I rarely get anything big enough to keep. Until this summer, I used to fish with my brother and his family on a pretty regular basis, but ironically, this summer I didn’t even go fishing once! It used to be something that I enjoyed a lot, but it probably has more to do with the fact that it was one of VERY FEW activities that I COULD do in the summer. My brother used to help get my wheeled walker on the boat, or on good days, I could use just the cane, and I’d just sit there and fish. Even an obese, immobile girl could do that much, but it was a chore just to get from the car to the dock. By the time I got to the boat, just about all of my energy was drained. Not anymore! Now I’m going fly-fishing….at least once, anyway!
    I have to admit, however, that as excited as I am about the new experience, I’m also a bit….well, actually, more than a bit…A LOT, apprehensive. When my friends invited me about a month ago, I immediately said, “I can’t do that…I’ve never done that…How am I going to pee in the woods….How am I going to get out of the boat….What if….How….But…..I’m not sure….I don’t know.” I have changed my mind so many times about this trip and almost convinced myself that I COULD NEVER do that.  “Old Theresa” has reared her ugly head once again and almost convinced me to give up this “once in a life-time (maybe)” opportunity. 
    Whenever “Old Theresa” used to get invited anywhere, this type of thinking always occurred, and finally “she” convinced me to just stay home. Eventually, the invitations quit coming and I was content…or so I thought…to stay home and go to bed with a bag of chips.  Part of this fear/apprehension/anxiety came from the reality of my life as a 400 pound woman who couldn’t hardly walk.  EVERY single thing I did had to be thought out and I had to have a plan.  “How was I going to get there…..where would I park….what does the venue look like….will there be tables or booths….will they have an amigo cart….would the chairs have arms…..would I be able to do it….how would my RA pain be that day…..what would I wear……would I know anyone there.” The list was enormous.  I used to have to think so much about all of those issues. If you are/were obese, you’ve been there and you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.  If you are not, this may be the first time you’ve even considered how difficult it is for those that are extremely overweight.  Just imagine the humiliation if you broke someone’s lawn chair or couldn’t fit into a booth at a restaurant.
    Life is not like that anymore for me, but the memories are always lurking in the back of my mind because that way of life could come back if I don’t continue to stay focused and motivated. Since losing my weight, I no longer really have to think about furniture, stairs, mobility issues or clothing. I do, however, ALWAYS have to consider food, and plan accordingly.  I also have to be mindful that my Rheumatoid Arthritis has a mind of its own and flares come and go without warning. For tomorrow’s trip, I have already planned to bring a small cooler. I know that they are going to have a ‘shore breakfast’ and “grilled riverside lunch” but I don’t know what will be served. Yes, I know, I could just eat whatever is served for this one day…but I choose not to. Instead, I’ll bring yogurt, fruit, protein bars, and other healthy options…just in case!  I’ll have enough to worry about without being concerned about food.  After all…. I still have to decide “what to wear” underneath those big rubber waders!  AND…the more pressing issue… am I going to go to the bathroom in the woods/water/waders???  J  Stay tuned! I likely won’t be posting tomorrow as I’m being picked up at 3:30 am and expect to be gone all day and into the evening. I’m sure, however, that I’ll have quite a FISH TALE to tell you on Thursday!   That is, if I don’t show up on “Funniest Home Videos” or the news for falling out of the boat first! 
    Make it a great day everyone….and for a moment….just IMAGINE what kind of experiences you are going to enjoy….now or in the future when you reach your goal.  Don’t give up!

    Monday, October 14, 2013

    Do something today that will yield results in the spring


    Hello everybody! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was quite eventful, but none of it planned. I finally went to the doctor on Thursday to get some medicine for an infection that has been lingering. As I mentioned before, I stopped to check on a friend on Thursday evening and shared about the skunk incident. What a mess! His house still reeks of the aroma. Phew!  I took the advice of my boss and decided to stay home on Friday to allow the medicine to work and to try to get some rest. It was a good idea, but resting never seems to be part of my routine. I definitely am sleep deprived, but no matter what I do, I still wake up at a ridiculously early hour. This habit will come in handy later this week when my friends pick me up for my Fly Fishing Adventure at the wee hour of 3:30 am!  Yikes!  (more about THAT big trip later this week).

    What was supposed to be a day to rest and allow the medication to do its job turned into a day of all sorts of unexpected events. The neighbor shot a deer and needed some help hanging it up in a tree, my friend had an allergic reaction to some medication and had hands that doubled in size and were covered with an intensely itchy rash, and to top it off, on Friday evening, his son (the one that took me for my first Harley ride this summer) paid a “surprise” visit from Florida! He flew in for an extended weekend. This was a complete shock and it was great to see him, even if I didn’t feel well. I went home and went to bed, but I’m sure he enjoyed his visit with his dad on Friday night.

    Saturday was a gorgeous fall day. The sun was warm and bright and the leaves are just about at peak color now. Many of them have already fallen on the ground, but the ones still on the trees are glorious. I was able to enjoy the view on the way to church on Sunday and later Sunday afternoon when I took my friend to Urgent Care for that allergic reaction. I spent a few hours on Saturday afternoon putting the yard furniture away, emptying the fountain for the winter, and moving some of the pots and yard decorations to the sheds. It was bittersweet….because it really was my admission that the gardening season has almost ended, but at least I was beginning to feel better.  

    I need to buy some tulip and daffodil bulbs to plant. I always enjoy the sight of those glorious harbingers of spring, but I never seem motivated to plant them in the fall. I suppose it’s because I’m impatient and want instant results now. The idea of  doing work and investing in something TODAY that won’t produce results until spring isn’t appealing,  but it still is important if I want those spring flowers.

    In a sense, that’s what we are doing now in our life, right?  We sometimes become impatient with ourselves on our journey to better health because we don’t see results RIGHT AWAY.  We think….”hey, I worked out…I followed my eating plan this week…I turned down that 2nd piece of pizza….I should lose 10 pounds this week, right?” and when it DOESN’T happen…we get discouraged and give up.  Sound familiar? Too often we expect things to happen “overnight” when in reality we know that true, lasting results come from changing one’s life…not from changing one’s habits for a few days.  When I was actively trying to lose weight, there were days when I would get discouraged. During those times, I’d have to remind myself that I didn’t get to be 400 pounds in 6 months and I wouldn’t get to be 200 pounds in 6 months either. It took me almost 2 years to lose the weight and in all honestly, those 2 years were SO MUCH EASIER than keeping it off. Don’t get discouraged…..Take a lesson from the tulips:  What you do NOW…TODAY…THIS MINUTE…(yes, throw the other half of that donut/cookie/candy bar away)….will yield results….in the spring perhaps! By next May, you could be 15 (or more) pounds lighter; you could be celebrating 6 months of sobriety; you could be celebrating your “half-year anniversary” of kicking a habit”; you could be walking a mile when today you can only walk the length of your driveway. Maybe you could be going out to lunch with someone that you are currently “at odds” with because you are harboring resentment, anger, or unforgiveness.  Go ahead….plant some bulbs this week…(in a pot if necessary due to climate issues where you live)…and make healthy choices with your life today…and by the time those flowers bloom in the spring….You could be celebrating your success – whatever that may mean to you.  I think I better stop and buy some bulbs myself!

    I’ll post more later as time allows. Have a good day!!!

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

    Just say NO!

    Happy Lunch time!  I'm feeling a bit under the weather today but wanted to take a few minutes and check in and wish you all a great afternoon. A coworker just walked by with a big bag of chocolate and stopped and asked the people in the area if we wanted some.  What do you think I said?   You guessed it, I hope... I SAID....Thanks, but NO!!!!!  Yes, at this point in the game I could have said, sure, I deserve a treat, but I'm not going to! She said,  "I'm so sorry that I asked you, I didn't mean to tempt you" to which I replied, "Oh, you didn't tempt me, I could eat chocolate if I choose to, but I choose NOT TO....and besides, you just gave me an opportunity to prove to myself how strong my conviction really is."  I encourage lunch time and the rest of the day... JUST SAY NO!  Come on, you can do it!  Yes, you COULD eat 'just a bite" or "just a taste" or "just a little bit".....BUT YOU ARE STRONG.... choose NOT TO!    Have a good day everyone...I'm off to eat my yogurt and a pear.

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

    I am a creature of habit.

    We are creatures of habit; well, at least I am.  I wake up at the same time (ridiculously early) every day, even on the weekend; I eat the same thing for breakfast (oatmeal) every day; I sit in the same seat at church each week; Purchase pretty much the same grocery list every week; I arrive to work at about the same time each morning (usually 45 minutes to an hour early),  and usually follow the same routine day after day. In some ways routines can be a good thing, especially if they incorporate good, healthy habits. In other ways, they can cause us to be in a rut, stunt our spiritual, mental, and/or emotional growth, or prevent us from experiencing new things, meeting new people, or changing our lives for the better.

    Sometimes, though, any little alteration to our routine can “throw us off our game”; at least it does for me from time to time. This morning I woke up and discovered that the cable TV was out of service and my whole routine was off-kilter. I am not a big TV watcher but I turn the news on every morning and for 3 hours, the news is the background ‘noise’ while I do other things. I even know that it’s time to get in the shower when the local sports comes on and the daily trivia question means I better be ready to leave! This morning I was all ‘out of sync” when all I saw was the dreaded BLUE SCREEN and all I heard was the ticking of the clock for several hours.  Yes, I am a “work in progress”…..SIGH.

    It’s ironic in a sense that this group is named “WE CAN CHANGE OUR LIVES” because in all honesty, I really struggle with CHANGE. Obviously, my life has changed dramatically, but I still am a creature of habit and I still resist change in many areas of my life. I have lived in four different homes in my adult life and after the initial move-in, I never rearranged the furniture in any of them. It makes me anxious when plans get changed or family traditions for the holidays get altered. I sometimes have difficulty adjusting to the many changes that are inevitable in my job. This kind of thinking hinders me in many ways and really contributed to the destructive/unhealthy behavior, ultimately almost destroying my life. Because I couldn’t adjust to the changes in my life after a job loss, a move away from home, the death of loved ones, a health crisis, and a return to college, I turned to food and isolated myself from others. You know the story by now. My inability to deal with the changes that are inevitable in life nearly cost me my own.  Perhaps you have been thrust into some life changes yourself that you felt like you had no control over….maybe an empty nest or a break-up in a relationship/marriage; perhaps a serious illness or loss of loved one; maybe you lost your job or your home or some other situation or crisis occurred.  How have you handled it? I hope better than I did.

    When I realized that I was at ‘rock-bottom’….400+ pounds, unable to walk, unable to stand up long enough to brush my teeth, unable to take care of my basic needs, almost to the point of needing Assisting Living housing, I knew that I HAD BETTER MAKE SOME CHANGES……and soon. Some changes were easier than others. It was rather painless to substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar, to switch to 35 calorie bread instead of regular white, to drink diet soda or flavored water instead of Faygo. Others were a bit more difficult….rice cakes instead of chips???? Are you serious?  Fat free vinaigrette instead of Blue cheese salad dressing? You’ve got to be kidding!  Grilled chicken instead of a Big Mac? Yikes!  Making these changes were tough at first, but after a while, they became “habit” instead of “sacrifice” and now, they are automatic and routine and part of my day-to-day life. Changing one’s eating habits is not easy, but even ‘little changes” can have a big impact and lead to weight loss.


     Perhaps you feel the same about exercise or physical activity.  Did you resist it at first…force yourself to walk or go to the gym…but now you actually “miss it” or feel sluggish if you don’t get some exercise?  Maybe it’s the same with saving money, going to church, making time for yourself, studying for a class, or even saying things “I’m sorry”, “I love you ”or “Thank You.”  Maybe you’ve made some little changes in your life….and although they took work and effort in the beginning, you now find that they are just a ‘way of life” and as a result, your overall well-being  is improved and you are happier than ever.


    I’ve been really working on accepting change as part of life; in fact, in some ways, embracing it and seeking it out, and I’m discovering day-by-day that CHANGE is oftentimes VERY GOOD!  Earlier this week while working at the other campus, I took a ‘different” side street across town on my way to Meijer’s. I didn’t know where it would end up, but on the way I saw a mailbox that was just covered with what appeared to be hundreds of gorgeous blue Morning Glories. They have somehow escaped the early frost and  was just an absolutely beautiful sight. Made me smile all the way home!  Stopped to Meijer’s and found some Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar Free coffee creamer….never knew it existed….never tried it…and honestly didn’t want to try it because I’ve used French Vanilla creamer in my coffee for as long as I can remember….But I did try it…and for the past 2 mornings, I’ve been delighted by an entirely new coffee experience. A few years ago I never would have even considered trying something new.  I also bought some weird looking fruit. It was specked and was with the plums and peaches. I’ve never seen anything like it before but I bought a few of them anyway…and WOW…they are awesome! I did some research and discovered it is called Pluot…a cross between a plum and an apricot. Low fat, low calorie and very sweet. A few years ago I would not have even purchased fresh fruit (my fruit came in a Hostess pie) let alone try some “strange” fruit.


    In recent months, CHANGE has been an almost constant thing. I’ve met new people and made new friends (YOU), I have gone places (NYC, who would have thought?) and done things I never dreamed possible (seriously, ride a bike and a Harley and climb dune????). Next Wednesday, if I don’t ‘chicken out”, I’m going on a fly-fishing trip on the Pere Marquette river!  Change, although not always easy, can be very good.  I encourage you today….Try something new.  Get a new haircut. Wear a different color blouse/shirt. Make a new recipe.  Think a DIFFERENT thought. Take a new route home from work.  As I said yesterday… “If we always do….what we’ve always done……Then we’ll always get….what we’ve always got.”  Start today….make the changes that will help you CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!!!!  With a little luck…those positive changes will soon become habit and routine.

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

    If you've always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got!  You're HERE....You have DECIDED that you want to Change Your Life....SO....Are you going to take that LEAP of faith and actually DO....something different....THINK something different....BELIEVE something different?   I hope so! Don't be afraid....JUMP off that safe, secure lily pad. YES, I know the water is scary, but you are not alone!....YES, I know the water is deep and you're not sure you can do it...BUT I'M SURE YOU CAN! YES, I know you might not know how to swim, but there are A LOT OF PEOPLE in this group who do and are here to help you.  Go ahead....JUMP and soon you will discover that being FREE is so much better than being confined to those "lily pads" of life!  YOU CAN DO IT!

    Monday, October 7, 2013

    What are YOU smiling about?  I’m sure at one time or another someone has asked you that question, implying that you “might be up to something” or you “know a secret”, or that you are in some sort of mischief.  Perhaps someone in a bad mood has asked you that question because they felt that you were “mocking him/her” or “not taking him/her serious” when being scolded, questioned, or punished. Maybe someone just didn’t LIKE that you were happy about something. Maybe you WERE smiling in a sarcastic way. It’s ironic how we smile for a number of reasons, not all of them necessarily good.
    Today started out to be the “stereotypical” Monday kind of day with one thing after another attempting to annoy me. I must admit, it almost worked! It was cold, damp, and dark when I got up….for the 3rd straight day…and things just didn’t ‘fall into place” this morning. My RA was flaring and my joints were aching, my hair went ‘flat” and was giving me fits, I got distracted and forgot my oatmeal in the microwave and it got cold, the cat threw up on the living room carpet,  and I changed clothes THREE times before settling on my outfit! Finally, I couldn’t find the belt for my trench coat and spent 10 minutes looking for it before leaving without it.  Geez! All of this extra chaos meant that I was late in leaving for work…and it’s a Mt. Pleasant day so I had a 45 minute drive.  By late…I meant that I arrived at work 10 minutes before starting time rather than the typical 45 minutes  early …. “Get a life, Theresa J !
    On the drive in, I decided that I had two choices: either dwell on the morning and let it ruin the rest of my day….or….use the 45 minute ride to “turn things around” and find things to SMILE about today.  So….I began to think about the morning.  Yep, the joints were aching but they are feeling better now that I’ve taken my meds….Thank you God for modern medicineJ.  Yep, my oatmeal was lukewarm…but I ate it anyway and because I did so, I was able to resist the delicious looking pumpkin muffins that my co-worker brought in to share. Thank you God, for strength in times of temptation. J Yep, I couldn’t find my belt for the coat but I wore it anyway and I’m glad I did because I encountered rain on the way here and it kept me dry on the walk into the building. J Yes, I really did change my clothes 3 times this morning, but I had 2 different people tell me that they “like my outfit” today. Thank you, God, for positive reinforcement from others. J And….because I was running late…I actually discovered that it isn’t actually DARK on the drive when I “arrive to work at the scheduled time” and I had the opportunity to watch the night turn into day. Thank you, God for the blessings of each new day. J
     I guess I have A LOT of things to smile about these days, but ironically, only part of it has anything to do with my weight loss. It wasn’t always that way. A few years ago, when I weighed more than 400 pounds and was at ROCK BOTTOM, I didn’t have much to smile about at all. In reality, I had very little joy. Life was really tough and I was in an incredible amount of physical and emotional pain…and I turned to food and isolation to comfort me. At least when I was in my bed with a big glass of soda and a fresh bag of potato chips and M&M’s I was happy for a while. Or so I thought.
    Aside from eating, I used to think that the “only way” I would ever be happy is if I just woke up and was suddenly thin and able to walk.  Sigh….if only it were that easy!  As you know, the process of changing one’s life IS NOT EASY. In fact, it’s downright difficult. There are moments when you just want to give up. There are moments of discouragement. There are moments of guilt and shame. Some days you might find very little to smile about, but IT IS SO WORTH it in the end, but one very important thing I learned along the way is this: Weight really has very little to do with HAPPINESS.  Yes, absolutely I am overjoyed to have this new life. Absolutely, I am thrilled to be able to walk and do things I never could. Absolutely, I am happier than I’ve ever been or imagined, but only part of it has to do with the physical transformation. The true JOY...the lasting JOY…the real SMILE on my face….comes from the transformation in my head and heart. It comes from “looking at things differently” and learning to recognize what is really important in life. It comes from allowing God to change the way you ‘think”…the way you “feel”…the way you “act” and from learning to recognize all the wonderful blessings in your life.  It comes from days like today…when I have a choice to be miserable….to let the ‘dumb” things ruin my day….or CHOOSE to find things to smile about.
    Does this mean that words like diet, weight, change, health, sacrifice, exercise, control, well-being….you get the drift…no longer matter?  Does this mean that you shouldn’t care what the scale says and go ahead and eat that Big Mac for lunch?  Does this mean that you should lay on the couch and watch TV all afternoon instead of going for a walk?  NO! What it means is that “When you choose to see things differently…when you choose to seek the positive…when you choose to smile IN SPITE of the “stuff” going on in your world”, then you will WANT to make healthy changes…to take care of yourself…to make choices to improve your well-being….and YOU WILL BE HAPPIER….regardless of your current size, situation, or life circumstances.   It is not easy….but it is SO WORTH IT.
    SO my friends…Help me…and each other out. Give us some things to smile about today.  What are YOU smiling about today?