Thank you for dropping by!

I truly appreciate that you've decided to share part of your day in my world. I hope your time has been well spent and I've made you smile, laugh or think.





Sunday, January 31, 2016

How I Parent (which should not be taken as How to Parent)

There have been a few articles circulating on the webisphere about how to parent.  One will say parents are too easy on the kids.  The other will say parents' expectations are too high.  One will say parents need to be aggressive.  Another will say we need to focus on compassion.

It's all very confusing. 

I'm not going to lie- I've gotten help parenting from two books.  One was "Babywise" which discussed the importance of putting a baby on a schedule.  Despite some of the negative buzz on this book, it did NOT say a ridiculous, minute by minute schedule.  In fact, it even made fun of that by saying that people should use their common sense and adapt.  The second book, which is slightly embarassing, was "Family First."  It's embarrassing because it's by Dr. Phil.  THAT Dr. Phil.  It's fantastic. 

Both of these books helped frame how I parent.  I had no clue about how to parent.  The baby classes taught diaper changing and swaddling but not parenting.  Pregnancy and delivery never scared me nearly as much as what you do the next 18 years or so.  THAT terrified me and continues to terrify me daily.

So what makes me think I should give out advice?  Well, I get asked a lot about how I get my kids to behave and be nice.  I have great kids.  They make me look like a great mom.  They make it easy. 

My son's school did this fantastic team building, anti-bullying program recently.  He came home and said "You know, you're a pretty terrific mom.  I didn't have anything bad to say." And I got a hug, so there's that.  He's 13.  I can count the hugs.  I also commented on one of his former teacher's Facebook thread when she posted an article on affluenza.  What followed were a few comments on what a great kid I have.  From teachers.  So I'm going to say he's turning out okay. 

My daughter is more of a flutterfly.  She's smart- tests ridiculously well- but academics bore her creative mind and grades are more challenging.  However, her teachers have always loved her and she has a ton of friends.  I adore her.  So I'm going to say that so far, so good, she's turning out okay.

Neither kid is perfect, but I'll address that in a bit.

But here are my thoughts on what makes a good environment for kids to grow.

Have a Routine
My kids have been on a schedule since they were six weeks old.  Not minute by minute but there's been a routine.  Bedtime was a bath with lavendar, a story, hugs, kisses, soft music, good night, lights out.  My daughter slept through the night (well, 6 hours) at 2 months, my son at 3 months.  To summarize "Babywise" - how would you feel if you had to scream and yell every time you were hungry, wet or tired?  Good point.  My kids have always been chill because they know what to expect.

We do this today.  Tuesday we are usually having tacos.  We watch certain shows together.  There's a routine, a pattern. 

Any time we get off this pattern- especially if I have to work more- it gets frustrating and we all seem off.

Having a routine means everyone gets enough sleep, gets fed and we have time to connect.

And in that routine- down time.  Every one needs some time for nothing.  My kids are not overscheduled robots.  "Hanging out" is underrated.  I also think it encourages them to entertain themselves.  My kids are never at a loss of what to do.  I've heard "I'm bored" a handful of times- they always have something to read, make, play with, think about-- they manage their own entertainment.

Do Not Negotiate with Terrorists

My kids learned early on that no means no.  I'm also okay with saying maybe when I'm not really sure and don't want to jump to no (like when I'm in the bathroom and they want to do something immediately....um... give me a minute).

But no means no.

Always.

Or as I say: "Before you ask me again, think about it.  My answer will still be no and then I'll be annoyed.  So your choice is to let it drop and move on, or ask again and have a crabby, irritated mom.  Now what were you going to ask?"

I am a terrible mommy friend when I see friends cave on this.  It. Makes. Me. Nuts.  You said no.  Your child will live.  I am dumbfounded when they ask "Why is my kid still having temper tantrums"--- um, because they work.

I know it's easier to cave.  And hey, if you choose to cave, just know that you are doing nothing to change behavior.  If you're good with that, fine. 

I think it's crazy.

If your kid is having a complete meltdown, walk away or leave wherever you are with your kid.  No one likes to watch this. 

There is a good chance your kid is tired or hungry.  And if you stick with the whole routine thing, you circumvent a LOT of this type of tantrum.

Sometimes, it's not because they are tired or hungry and it's because they want something.  This is what I did- for each kid- and it completely eliminated all future public temper tantrums.

One was in Target (my son), the other Jo Ann Fabrics (my daughter).  Both kids were about 2 1/2.

I sat down on the floor, started kicking my heels and started yelling "I'm so upset... my kid won't listen to me..." and on an on I went for about a minute or two, having my own temper tantrum.  Both kids shut up, looked at me and then I said "It looks ridiculous, right?"  They nodded.  "How about I promise never to do that again, if you don't either?"  Worked like a charm.

I also used a lot of common sense.  Before we went into the store I would say "You are not getting anything today.  We are going to get X, Y, Z and nothing else, okay?"  I also tried not to take them when they were hungry or tired.

The louder they screamed, the more they didn't get what they want.  They soon learned it didn't work. 

So if your kid is having temper tantrums, it's because they work.  They are training YOU.


Let Your Kid Be Your Kid
You probably think I'm some Tiger Mom now with rules, time tables, zero tolerance- no love whatsoever.

Wrong.

I think parents should let their kids be whoever it is they are. 

I shudder when parents of shy kids force their child into something like theater or dance-- especially younger kids.  I think it's really awful, to be honest.  If your kid is terrified of being in a crowd, forcing them on stage does NOT create a stronger soul- it just terrifies them all the more.

Or the completely uncoordinated kid being forced on a sports team so the parents can relive their childhood dreams.

Now if your kid WANTS to do that- my daughter stunned us with her desire to play soccer- then go for it.  But if your kid is crying all the way to ballet class, every week- don't sign them up again (don't bail mid-season, though-- I'm all about finishing what you started).

So what if your kid is the quiet, thoughtful child that likes to read and doesn't need a pack of friends?  Or if your kid is bouncing off the walls, don't sign them up for an activity where they'll be sitting for an hour.

Try new things- you never know.  And revisit them.  Your uncoordinated 5 year old might be an excellent swimmer at 13.  Who knows?  But know your kid.  Your kid is a not a mini- you.  I love that my kids are readers but they both have very distinct likes and dislikes from me. 


My daughter was too independent as a kid to do things that were class like- she'd rather play on her own.  My son is great at taking direction and did really well in team sports at a very young age.

They are them. I am me.  Ask them what they like.  Your job is to expose your kid to the world- not force them into stuff.

And again, we always finish what we start.  You sign up for guitar lessons, you finish through the month.   If you want to take them in the future, I'm okay with that as well.

Don't Encourage Your Child to Lie

Of course- who would do that?

I see it a lot.

My husband has a temper.  We've talked about how he reacts to the kids and he has done a 180 because he's seen this work.

Your kids will screw up.

I screw up all the time.

If you lose your head over spilled milk, incomplete homework or whatever- your kid will start lying.  I promise. 

Our kids know that lying is the absolute worst thing they can ever do.  I'm serious.  Scratch the car- it can be fixed.  They lie, now I don't trust them, and it takes a long time to get fixed.

My daughter would have a cookie in her mouth and say she didn't take one.  So we are pros on this.

Basically, if you're certain they are lying, call them on it.  Tell them that if you find out they are lying you are going to be twice as angry and the punishment will be worse.

And when they tell you the truth, don't lose it.  Thank them.  Thank them for being honest.  Think about it.  Then hand out a punishment.

We always need a minute to regroup.  Or a day.

Our kids know there are consequences.  Usually the waiting period is scary enough.  More on this is a minute.

But if you are constantly yelling or screaming or reacting at your kid, you are pretty much telling them that it's easier to lie.

I also think that taking a minute to think, rather than yelling, teaches them that it's okay to make a mistake.  They are safe.  They are loved.  They are growing up.

But if you lie... you lose the benefit of the doubt.

The Punishment Needs to Fit the Crime
Don't overreact and ground them for life.

Make the punishment fit the crime.  Also make sure it's enforceable.

No TV ever again.... not gonna happen.  Bedtime at 8- that you can make happen.

My son lost computer privileges for 3 months when he was 10 and we caught him chatting in an online group.  Because that was serious.  At 13, he appreciates how serious and creepy people can be on the internet.

Watching a rated R movie because we were too stupid and gave you the Netflix password-- that's a verbal "You know better" lecture and we change the password.

Eat Dinner Together as Much as Possible
Our evening dinner is a big deal.  It is also very hard to stick with as a mom with a business.  I'm constantly asked to go to events and when I say "I can't miss dinner with my family" I get weird looks like "It's just one night"- it's not just one night. 

Dinner is part of our routine.

We talk.  We catch up.  We laugh.

As the kids approach the teen years, I know this time is limited.  But for now, I want them to know they are a priority and our family is a priority.

My kids bicker because they are siblings, but at dinner, we are one unit.

Don't Do Your Kid's Homework or Projects

I could rant for hours on this.

My mother-in-law even commented that she had thought I was being mean in kindergarten when I used to make my son do his own homework.  He would say "But Mommy, the other kids jsut have their parents do it..." and I would say "I already went to kindergarten."

But now, he does his own work.  Without reminding.

And the projects... sigh.  That's been the hardest.  My kids walk in with their less than perfect whatever and see the other kids' Smithsonian Exhibits... but now they know.  And I can see the impact, especially as my son is getting older.  The pride he feels when he receives an award or a good grade- it's his.  My daughter just won a costume contest at Halloween for a costume she designed. We helped her as needed, but it was hers.

I think it's good to help, but so many parents don't know when to stop.  Your kid will be so much happier and have such a sense of accomplishment in doing their own work.  They will become more independent.  More confident.

If you step in every time to "fix" things, they will feel incompetent and grow dependent.  You're undermining them, however, well intended.  That A is yours, not theirs and they know it.

Let Them Fail

I'm big on this.  It's not your test.  It's theirs.  If they felt it was unfair, they need to say something- not you (now if it's an ongoing thing, obviously talk with the teacher).

The project didn't get done?  Oops.  That's gonna suck.

When my daughter's Daisy troop took ice skating lessons, the first thing Kat, the teacher taught, was how to stand up.  The second thing, how to fall down.  The third thing, how to stand back up.

I think it's a great analogy for life.

If you don't let your kid fail, they will never learn how to get back up.

It's better that they learn it as a kid than at 25 the first time their boss says "This sucks- do it again."

It's completely okay to not be perfect.  No one is. 

Plus, you learn a lot more from failing, than succeeding.  Learning how to take and manage risk is all part of this.  If your child fears failure, they will never learn how to assess risk.


Listen, I'm not a perfect parent.  My kids may end up crack heads for all I know.  But something tells me that allowing them to be themselves, knowing that we are here for them, knowing that they can figure it out on their own-- I can't imagine that that won't somehow make them responsible, successful adults.

More so than overscheduled lives, perfect grades and designer clothes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Birthday Reflections

This morning the alarm rang at 4:15 and I almost thought "Well, it's my birthday--- I should stay in bed and then get up and eat pancakes...."

But I didn't.

Because it IS my birthday.

I managed to get around the planet one more turn without dying.

Pretty awesome.

And because I would like to make it another trip around, going to the gym IS my birthday present.  To me.

And when I got there, Carole was on the treadmill (I drug another friend into this early morning crazy) and I didn't see Stacey because....






The bag has wine and the she got me a TON of jellybeans because she's hilarious.  You see I am liberal and she is conservative.  I often ask her to translate conservative logic to me and she will have me decipher the liberal take on things.  The jellybeans are a reference to Reagan and her card had an elephant on it.  She also wrote the most hysterical wishes for my upcoming year.  Including her getting a job she really wants.  Which cracked me up.  At 5 am, that is quite impressive.


By the way, having your locker decorated is just as cool at 46 as it was at 14.

The rest of my day was going to be spent working with the jazz band this morning, then getting free coffee at Starbucks, enjoying the office birthday party put on by my office manager Julie who makes everyone feel special on their birthday, installing a new external hard drive, getting my nails done over lunch, one client meeting and then the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.

I say "was" because my daughter has that throat thing that's going around.  She came home with a fever yesterday and she's a little warm today so rather than risk it, she's staying home.  My son, last night at lacrosse, had a coughing fit and looks a little grey.  Last year, he ended up in the ER with bronchitis because he doesn't ever act sick.  So he's here, too.  On the couch.  Watching Star Wars, of course. 

I've got a lap top to get some work done.  I changed my one meeting to a web conference. 

So when we talk about values alignment- health & family are top priority today.  Excellence & integrity- I'm working from home, so hopefully I can return calls & email as needed and not drop the ball.  Happiness- well, it's my birthday. I spent the early morning with my friends and the rest of the day with my family.

Today is definitely in alignment.

No matter who calls and is upset that I can't personally control the Chinese economy and oil markets, I will know that I am in the right place, doing the right thing. 


I had a client tell me that the 50s are the best.  He felt the best about who is was, had good health-- I can see that now that I'm over the hump heading towards 50, he's right. 


That confidence that you regain as you age-- and I say regain because I think we all have it but life knocks it out of us- is truly quite liberating. 

Welcome Year 46!











Thursday, January 14, 2016

Some Rambles

If you're a regular reader, you know I have what I refer to as a 6 hour bladder.  No matter what time I go to bed, six hours later, I have to pee.

I used to have an 8-9 hour bladder but well, age.  I think. 

With this 5 am workout crap I have been TRYING to go to bed early.  Which is very hard when I get home around 6 from work, make dinner, eat dinner (which is a thing in our house- we talk-- just like in the sitcoms and movies) and then sit down, watch 20 minutes of TV and it's time for bed.

Grr.

So I've been lying in bed playing Words With Friends because I haven't gone to bed at 9 since I was 12 years old.

And it doesn't matter.  9 means at 3 I pee.


I think I made it to 3:10 am.

I fell back asleep.  The alarm went off at 4:20 and I thought "I'm just going to close my eyes for a minute" and then BAM it's 4:55.

I debated about not going to the gym because my bed was warm and toasty and another 2 hours sounded FANTASTIC.

But I didn't.

Because Stacey would be there.  And I'm not going to be THAT friend that convinces you to completely change your schedule to fit theirs and then blows you off.  Because I hate that  because as I've mentioned I've never had a friend actually show up more than 2-3 times.

Plus, TWO people said "Hey- have you lost weight" this week.

So SOMETHING must be working.  And it was on different days so I know it wasn't just the outfit.

I usually wake up happy.  Seize the day.  Glad to be alive.  All that crap.

But I would be lying if I didn't share that this entire week, every time my alarm has gone off I dropped the f-bomb.  And I don't mean shouting "Fabulous!"

Today would have been a great day to just screw it.  I waivered.  Then thought why not, I was already up.  I got there late (but oddly at 5:10).  Because my locker wasn't locking, my stuff was in Stacey's and she had gone to a class.

So no iPod.  I was tuneless.

Then I went to my normal area and it was closed for cleaning.

I did not rock it today.  I did not get 6000 steps in.  I did my crunches on the ab machine.  Chest presses.  Some pull ups on the assisted pull up bar.  Walked.  Stretched. 

I went.

Which again, is the whole point of the next month.  To go.  Show up.



Work appears that it may get more challenging with the market volatility of late, but I'm not going to let the Chinese economy and oil prices keep me from being healthy.  In the past, I would have said "No... I have to stay informed and read."  I can't control it.  An hour a day will not make or break my career.  An hour a day will, however, make or break my health.  And if I'm dead or in the hospital, it really won't help my clients.


I'm not stepping on the scale until I'm certain it will motivate me and not be a "ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!  THAT'S IT?  I CAN PEE THAT MUCH WEIGHT OFF!!!"

Please don't ask.

Stacey asked me today if I was feeling better and the answer is resoundingly yes.

But not why you think.  Not because physically I feel better.  To be honest, I'm in this weird transition spot where starting to feel better is a reminder of how far I slipped.  Again, if I had always been fat or out of shape, I probably wouldn't feel that way, but climbing a flight of stairs and not losing my breath isn't a victory to me- it's a "dumbass- how did you let yourself go so much?"

And that's me.  The voice in my head.  Yes, I realize that's negative but I'm human and that's what's going on.  I'm not always a ball of sunshine, folks.

HOWEVER- and this is a HUGE thing--

I feel good because I am doing something.  Truly.  The class I took on behavioral alignment models (see a few blogs back) is ringing true.

I value health.  I do.  I know a lot of people think they do but then do nothing and they are fine.  Because at the end of the day they would like to be healthy but other things are more important.  Or as I explain when I'm doing the values exercise with my clients "Would you tie yourself to a tree in front of a bulldozer for that?"  And for some people, they wouldn't.  I get that. 

But not me. 

Health is huge.  It's why I had wanted to be a doctor growing up.

So to not be doing anything to attain health- that bothers me to the core. 

Now, if I don't lose any weight, I won't lie- I will be frustrated.  However, the joy I am feeling now from this process isn't because the shirt fit, a few people noticed, my endurance has already improved--  it's because I'm being true to my values and taking action.

I feel in control.

And I work in a world where there is very little that I control except my attitude.

You can't quantify the feeling of taking back your life on a FitBit or a scale.

Today, I'm a little happier than I was a few weeks back.

Today, I started my day (well about 20 minutes after peeing and the f bomb) in alignment with what I believe to be important.

And that's far more powerful than a number on a scale.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Still Going...

Here I am on the 12th of January with the workout plan I started last year   ;)

I feel obligated to give an update because despite my best STFU request, I have found that nearly everyone does feel obligated to share their opinion/advice/commentary.

First of all, I am not in the midst of a mental breakdown/emotional crisis.  I got fat and unfit.  I know better.  Health is a huge priority for me so to not be healthy is truly quite bothersome to me.  I have asthma and it is easily manageable when I'm fit.  It is not easily manageable when I'm not.

So I appreciate that support that yes I'm a beautiful person inside and out.  Truly- thanks. 

But I'm still fat.  I'm out of shape. 

I have mirrors.

It happened.

Being out of shape is not healthy.  It could kill me.

Not doing anything is NOT an option.

Owning it is a good thing. 

Second, I already know what works and doesn't work for me.  So when people give me "advice" although I look polite I am going "lalalalalalala" in my head.

What am I doing exactly?

I am showing up for 30 days to the gym.

Showing up.  At least 5 times a week.

Am I doing CrossFit?  No

Am I focusing on cardio?  No

Am I running?  No

Am I doing whatever the lastest trend is?  No

My primary focus is getting there.  For more than a decade, I had no problem going to a gym and working out.  I actually like.

But if I don't go, well, nothing is going to happen.

So I am all about just going.

This is the stuff I've done so far- an hour on the treadmill, a gentle yoga class, circuit/interval training (my favorite), today was just an hour on the recumbent bike....

low intensity.

easy.

Because I've gone gung-hu before and thrown out my back and then been on the couch.

I'm all about making it a routine.

And my food?

Not even thinking about it right now.

Because, I don't really eat too poorly to start with AND because it's my birthday next week and I am going to enjoy which includes eating out and having some drinks.

There is also some science behind it.  If I suddenly increased my activity level and cut calories my metabolism- (more on that in a minute)- would then start to worry that I was starving and immediately do its thing and make sure I don't lose an ounce.

Because my metabolism is fantastic.

What?

Yes.  My metabolism works amazingly well.  In fact, it's SO efficient that through all the dieting in the last 10 years, it has adapted and adjusted.

It panics.

In the event of a the apocalypse, it would be awesome.

It wants me to keep my thighs as food storage in the event of the End of Days.

It cares.

So I'm trying to trick it a bit.

This month, just a little increase-- I'm hoping it doesn't notice.

Then next month, I'm cutting much of the sugar and focusing on  vegetables and lean proteins.

Then month three, I'll pump up the work outs just a bit-- and then I'll keep doing that slowly and try to sneak it past my incredibly efficient metabolism who wants me fat for the future apocalypse.

And I'll tweak.  And I'll adjust.  And I'll add more things. 


Also, I can't do a 180.  I can't.

I can slowly change.  Make small adjustments here and there.

This isn't a contest.  In my head, I have a year to make this permanent and have some positive changes.  I need it to stick.

Getting up at 4:15 is getting easier every day.  Sorta.

My friend Stacey ROCKS.  She has shown up every single day. Seriously.  She is the very first gym buddy I've ever had that has done this.  She could work out at any time of day and she is voluntarily getting up at the crack of dawn to meet me.  She is a night person, too, so this is not easy.

And yet she's there.

And because she's there, I go.

Because she's there.  Because I need to make this habit.  Because I would sleep in if she wasn't.  Because she was fine riding bikes this morning. 

Because I'm just trying to get there.

She's lost 5 pounds already- after losing 135 last year.

And I'm avoiding the scale for now.

What I do know that 2 weeks in, a shirt I bought, never wore because it was too tight, almost donated, now fits.

It's not my preferred size.  But it fits. 

"Hey- nice shirt.  When did you get that?" <- my husband

So there's that.

So basically, I'm moving.  I'm doing something-- and while I appreciate from all my well meaning friends there are 100 other things I could be doing-- I am doing this.

I am going.

I am trying.

I am feeling great... a little tired... a little sore.... but very happy with my accomplishment of just going.

This morning was the worst.  The alarm rang and I thought "Holy shit. I have to do this every single freaking day FOREVER."

But I knew Stacey was there.

And yes, I do have to do this every single day for freaking forever.  For me.

In 15 years, I won't have to do it at 5 am.

But for now.

Yep.

And I got my ass out of bed and went.

Because in a month that shirt will get donated.

Because it's too big.  Not because it's too small.

Slowly.

Consistently.

My terms.

And please don't tell my metabolism my master plan....



Thursday, January 7, 2016

#Letgo

Thank you to Judy Ervin Porter for posting the video below.  Please watch.


Last year I know I annoyed a lot of people with saying No. No to volunteering. No to late appointments. No to Girls Night Out. No to Book Club. No to fundraising. "What's wrong with Lori?" they've asked.

Nothing.

I have the very amazing privilege of working with people in various stages of their lives. I have watched people age over the past 20 years. Loud and clear I hear how they want more time to just enjoy and live more slowly.

I have always struggled with:

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more."

Luke 12:48

I've felt obligated because I have been given much.  

"But you would be so good at this..."

For now, the answer is no. It doesn't mean I don't love you. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy being with you. It doesn't mean I don't support your causes. It just means I need to breathe. To enjoy to life.

I am so grateful for my family, my career, my friends, my clients-- all of it.

But if I didn't step back to simply enjoy it, I will miss it.  And then what was the point?

So please, before you ask, the answer is no.

For 45 years, it was "What else can I do?  How can I help?"

But right now, no.

I'm taking a break. Putting on my own oxygen mask.

Last year it felt pretty darn good, so I'm sticking with it.  

No.

Of course, no doesn't mean hibernating -- I'm certainly still engaged, but it's in the things that impact my kids and my family.

Girl Scouts is fun time with my daughter and her friends.
Helping with jazz band is one of my favorite hours all week.  My son commented that the kids enjoy it, too- I'm apparently "cool."  How many moms play trombone?

I love our alumni committee and I truly enjoy working with the high school seniors- love it.  They are inspiring and make me hopeful.  I get to see their lives change and doors open.

My business, while tedious at times, is rewarding and I know I make a difference.  I just cleaned out my office at the beginning of the year and I have a file of letters & cards clients have sent over the years thanking me.  When it's a bad day, I read them, cry and remember the world doesn't suck

But you need someone to do this and to do that and to change the world?

For now, the answer is no.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Gym was Surprisingly Empty Today....

That's right.  I went to the gym.

However, I am not one of those resolutioner type people clogging up the equipment.

I started back on December 31st. Last year.

So there.

I was hesitant to even blog about any of this.  I was going to start a private blog and then, at the end, post this miraculous story about how I finally lost all this weight.

Because you see, I am nervous.  This is the fourth attempt at this.

Fourth.

I have failed multiple times.

To my credit, three years ago, I completely gave up.  Completely.  The beginning of 2015, I tried running.  For a week.  I learned something very important:

I hate running.

I do.  I'm sorry to all my crazy marathoning friends who swear by it.  But I hate it.  I hated it when I was in shape.

I get nothing Zen from it.  You know where I get my Zen?  Meditating.  Not pounding the pavement avoiding potholes and crazy dogs and drivers or mindlessly thudding along on a treadmill.

I have big boobs- even after the surgery- and it sucks.  So have at it.  I may do the random fun run from time to time, but as a daily activity, I'd rather walk.

But now my weight is settling at a very high, unhealthy number and I've had some weird, nothing serious, health issues that are only going to become lifestyle impacting if I don't lose this weight.

I have been obese for just over 5 years now.  About 8 years before that I was "heavy" - or obese by European standards.  What was once a temporary condition- "I can do this any time I want"- has now become a static part of my life.

I used to shop at Lane Bryant because of my chest.  Now I have to shop in plus size stores.

Plus size clothes are hideous by the way.  They are are either matronly or slutty.  Seriously.  No in between.

And fat people are fat in different ways, so it's hard to make clothes to fit everyone's distinctive fatness.

But here I am again.

And I would also like this to NOT be a request for "helpful hints" from my friends.

Seriously.  STFU.

That's great that you lost 20 lbs.  Good for you.

And let me be clear, I'm pretty sure the 1-2 sodas I drink a year and the once a month fast food I grab because we're traveling aren't the causes of my weight.  Cutting that out will have no impact whatsoever.  I hadn't eaten a Cinnabon in over a decade and yet I still managed to put on 80 lbs.

Here's how I got fat:

I switched from tea to coffee with cream- 100 calories a day = 12 pounds a year.

I stopped exercising regular = 20 pounds each year.

I have a sedentary job. Priceless.

And once you get overweight, your body actively fights against you to lose it.  I spent an entire year tracking what I ate on Spark People.  I did spin classes 3 days a week.  I had only  four days that I ate more than 1500 calories.  In a year, I lost 7 lbs.  Not 2 pounds a week.  Seven in a YEAR.

I broke down and tried Weight Watchers.  I wouldn't say it was useless because I've had friends who said it was life changing (and it was for them).  For me, calories in versus calories out had no impact.  I also hated listening to people in the groups talk about how the cut out soda and fast food and had these miraculous results.  Yes, cutting 2,000 calories a day WILL do that.  To WW's credit, they have completely revamped their program. 

I did the Whole 30 program and had amazing success.  Of course, part of their program is coming off it.  Which sadly coincided with the holidays and that was about 3 years ago.  I gained the weight back fairly slowly.

All of it.

And it brought some friends.

And speaking of friends, I think that's what is going to make all the difference.  I've had 2 friends lose over 100 pounds.  One did it consistently over a 1 year time period.  Another did it more recently in a Biggest Loser type competition.    This last friend and I talked about it and I asked her for help.

We sat down and came up with a workout plan.  To meet at the gym at 5 am.

Six days a week.

We backed into this past week- over the holidays- and today was our first 5 am.

There is no way in hell she wants to gain her weight back.  Ever.

She likes classes.  I'm more of a private work out person doing a nice circuit set up by a trainer years ago.  It works.  I like it. 

So all we are committing to is showing up.  An "I see you" buddy.  A quick text in the morning.  A commitment to meet.

Because apparently health and longevity aren't motivators for me.  Disappointing my friend or having someone think badly of me-- far more of an incentive.

The carrot at the end of the stick for me- a new car.  I could get one tomorrow if I wanted, but I don't really need one.  I would like one with a third row seat.   And I finally found the car I want to get.  But that's a secret for now.

I'm taking a class on behavioral finance- why people do what they do.  There's a whole segment on aligning your values and your actions.  Health has always been a priority for me.  This last decade or so, it's really not been a focus.  My actions would not indicate that it is.  So I've been frustrated and depressed.  I'm not living in alignment with my values.

We are having our closets done and the designer and I were talking about the class (she majored in Psychology in college).  I told her that when your values are out of alignment with your actions you often try to mask it by doing other things.  For instance, my closet is a wreck because I hate my fat clothes.  I am masking the real issue by simply having the closets redone and professionally designed.  Maybe if I had a pretty closet, I would keep it neater...

Maybe if the clothes hanging in the closet were better representative of who I am on the inside, I would be neater.  My closet used to be color coded-- no joke.  It used to look like a boutique.  Now it looks like Old Navy after a sale.

This is also the first time I realized that I am terrified.  I'm terrified that I'm going to fail.  I'm terrified that I will forever be a fat person- and trust me, people are nasty as shit to fat people- that's a real thing.  I'm terrified that this is going to hurt because it will.  I'm terrified that I don't have the will power and what does that say about me?  I'm terrified that I lost a part of who I am by allowing myself to get fat.

So there it is cyber world.

It's all out there.

I will exercise to be healthy.   I will exercise because I enjoy it.  I will not exercise to lose weight because once the weight is off, I will keep exercising.  I'm changing my mindset.

I will say good bye to sugar for the next year or so because if I'm going to get up at 5 am, I had better change my diet, too.

And this time next year, I will be driving my new car. 

And I will be healthier.