Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Recently in a spinning class I reached down to adjust my shoe and I saw it. I had a calf muscle. I had a hard calf muscle. I checked out my other calf and guess what? I had a muscle there too.

Recently I rubbed my side and felt something weird. It was my rib cage.

Recently while laying on my side with my knees together I reached down to itch the side of my knee and realized there was a bone there that I never felt.


From Sloth to Cheetah

My family took a trip to Costa Rica a few years back and we stayed at a remote resort there. It took us 2 hours by boat to get to it. It was incredible. We saw so much wild life. I will never forget it. Everyday we took river cruises to look for wildlife and to take tours of nearby towns. Every day when we would get in the boat and we would start our journey. We would see a sloth up in a tree. We were there for four days and every day we would see that same sloth in our comings and goings. He would just be up in the tree in the same spot eating. That sloth maybe moved a total of 6 inches. Six inches in 4 days. We looked forward to our journey every day to see if that sloth had moved. On our last day we were sad to leave because we would no longer be able to check up on our slothy friend.

This morning I was talking to a friend of mine and talking about my journey and I said to him, "I'm just glad to be going from sloth to cheetah" After we were done talking I realized my life was much like that sloth in Costa Rica. There were days on end where I would only move from my room, to the kitchen, back to my room to watch TV. I would get my kids on the bus, and spend my days just eating and staying in one place. Not moving very much. Very much being a sloth. I would get the kids on the bus, eat, sleep, watch TV, eat, sleep, until the kids were off the bus.

These days my life if much different. I'm up two days a week at 430 am, so I can swim and be home before my kids wake up. I get Parker on the bus and am excited to get back to the gym to hit a spinning class, the elliptical, or to lift some weights. I'm moving faster than I ever have before and am on the hunt for a new adventure everyday. I may not be quite Cheetah status yet, but I am closer everyday and will choose being a Cheetah any day over being a sloth and am happy to report that my slothing days are over.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

January 1st 5K

I am doing a 5k on January 1st to kick off my New Year the right way. I have two friends doing it with me and my brother. I was thinking it would be neat to get as many people to do a 5k on January 1st nationwide. It starts at 11am central time. Wherever you are run a 5k at that time and it will be like we are all running it together. Send me a note if you are in and let's see how many people we can get to do it. Come on you know you wanna run with me.

If you are in Chicago the info is below come on out. It's gonna be a blast.

25th Annual New Year's Day 5K Run/Walk
Date: January 1, 2010
Time: 11 a.m. start
Location: Lincoln Park (Stockton Drive & LaSalle) | Chicago
Beneficiary: Lakeview Citizens Council

Kick off 2010 on the healthy footing at the New Year's Day 5K Run & Walk--Chicago's first official 5K running event of 2010! This iconic annual run/walk -- now celebrating its 24th year -- is a fave with Windy City sports enthusiasts!

An estimated 1,500 runners and walkers are expected to lace up on the first day of the New Year at the run & walk that starts at the south end of Lincoln Park. The course route winds north along the lakefront bike path to Diversey Harbor before returning to the North Avenue Field House.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Bet with Andy

This is my friend Andy. I went out to Arizona in November to cheer him on in the Ironman and to finally meet him and some of my other blogger friends in person. It was a great trip and a great time. Andy and I just met within the last year and he and his family are great and I look forward to getting to know them even better.

Andy and I are both working on becoming more healthy. We were talking and decided that we both wanted to lose around 30 pounds, so we decided to make it a little bit more fun by making it a bet.

So we are aiming to lose about 35 pounds by the end of March. March 27th to be exact. If Andy wins, which those of you that know me, know he won't, I have to wear a big L on my forehead all day and explain to people why I am a loser.

If I win, which you all know I will, Andy has to wear a pink shirt that says, "I lost a bet to a girl." It will also say something else that I just haven't figured out yet.

The goal for both of us is to hit under 200 pounds by the end of it all. No matter who wins, but we know it will be me, it will be worth wearing a big L on my head or Andy wearing pink because we will be healither.

Andy, I am so glad we met and cannot wait to hang out again sometime both being smaller and healthier. Here's to our little bet. May the best person win, which we know is me. :-P

Here's some haikus for you. A haiku is a poem where there are 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the last. They do not have to rhyme.

Hey Andy, Game's on.
We are going to lose weight
and you will wear pink!!!

Your family is great
You're pretty okay yourself
I am glad we met!!

Racing with you will
be fun in 2012
I can hardly wait!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's amazing. . . .

How quickly old thoughts can creep back into your head when you've been doing so well with everything.

That happened to me today. On my schedule for working out I had a 1750 swim with no stopping.

You remember my blog post about switching to smaller, tinted goggles, well I was wearing those today. I no longer keep my big goggles on the edge of the pool because I felt like it was just a security blanket, giving me to ok to go back to them, so they were in my bag in the locker room. It was dark and snowing when I left the house, the lighting in the pool is not that great, so it was darker in the pool area, and my goggles kept fogging up.

I started my swim and realized very quickly that I was feeling a little claustrophobic in the water. I stopped after the first 100, for about 30 seconds, told myself not to stop, started again, went another 100 and then stopped again. Told myself to not stop anymore and got going again and started to get panicky in the water. I told my self several times to go and get my big goggles, but I didn't. My mind was racing while swimming. I started to tell myself, "Who do you think you are thinking you can do an Ironman? People like you don't do Ironman races. Look at that guy next to you, that's who does Ironman." Things like that. The pool was very crowded today and people came in and were asking other people if they could share a lane and no one was asking me, so then the negative voice popped in my head and was saying, "No one is asking you cause your still so fat."

I made it to 950 yards before stopping again and was ready to call it a day and go home. I was having trouble breathing (thanks to a ventilation system that keeps breaking), I was having some panic with how dark everything was, and for some reason all that stupid negative talk was popping in my head. I stood there about 1-2 minutes. Talking to myself, out loud, "Ok, if you are a quitter, just get out of this pool, right now and go home. When you are in an Ironman, it will be dark in the water, you will feel panicky, what are you gonna do, get out of the lake and call it a day? I don't think so. Just get swimming and deal with it. You're fine. You can do this. Now get swimming and now looking back." I am proud to say that I started swimming and did the rest of my swim without stopping, with flip turns. It was still dark in the pool, my tinted goggles were still fogging up and I just imagined myself in a triathlon swimming and telling myself that I deserved to be healthy and deserved to be an Ironman triathlete and no more negative thoughts came back while I finished my swim.

It was amazing to me how quickly my old way of thinking just popped into my head and how I almost let it get to me. I need these days every once in awhile, so I do not forget who I was and where I came from, but more importantly who I am becoming because the old me would have gotten out of the pool at 950 yards. I would have used my panic and self doubt as excuses to get out of the pool. I would have let all those negative thoughts take over and today I DID NOT. I overcame and I finished swimming in fact I did more than I was supposed to. I was supposed to swim a 1750 today and ended up doing 2500 total that includes some kicking and the use of pull buoys, but I did 2500 yards and grew emotionally and mentally in the process.

I am a new athlete.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Revisiting the topic of flip turns

Maybe someday I'll be this excited to do flip turns.

Back on November 12, 2009, I wrote about flip turns, I did not like flip turns, I never wanted to do another one, and even asked you all why I had to learn them.

My coach met with me, we swam, and we worked on flip turns. He encouraged me just to add a few flip turns to each swim workout and eventually I would feel more comfortable with it. I told him OK that day, but my mind was saying YEAH RIGHT. I showed up for my next workout, not even thinking about flip turns and the most amazing thing happened. It freaked me out a little. I started swimming and when I got to the wall, without even thinking about it, with no panic, I DID A FLIP TURN. When I came up out of the water I had a little trouble breathing, and had to tread for a second, but not because I had trouble or lost my breath, but because I was excited that I had done it and the excitement broke my concentration. That day was a turning point for me. I would love to say that I did flip turns the whole time. I would love to say that they were perfect. I would love to say that I started loving them, but I can't say any of those things, but what I can say is that when I did flip turns that day there was a sense of peace,not panic. There was a sense of pride, not myself telling me I can't do it. I knew that day I had turned a corner in a very good way.

That was two weeks ago. I went and swam today. I swam 2200 yards. Only 300 of that 2200 was with a kick board. The other 1900 yards was freestyle, sometimes with a pull buoy ( for those of you who might not know what a pull buoy is it is a thing you put between your legs that causes your legs to rise (float) to the surface, so you learn how your body should be lined up. While using this you don't kick and you are only pulling with your arms.), but mostly without a pull buoy. I was swimming in sets of 100 and I am proud to say that in every set of 100's I did at least 2 flip turns. Again, they weren't all pretty, but I was doing it. Only a couple times did I lose my breath, only a couple times did I misjudge and turn too soon and there was no wall there for me to kick, but what amazed me is that I kept going in all the situations. I kept going. I kept swimming and then the most amazing thing happened. . .

Two of my friends were in the next lane over from me. We swim together in my master's swim class. They know I have been trying and trying to learn these flip turns. They stopped me and said, "Hey, Melissa, Nice flip turns. You are so fluid in the motion and so fluid in the water. GREAT JOB!" I thanked them and swam away. I wanted to laugh. When I am swimming I feel anything, but fluid. This all seems so hard and foreign to me still, but they were watching me, they saw me, and they saw that I was fluid in the water. Me, former fat girl, who used to doggy paddle and never put her face in the water. I am fluid in the water. Wow, who would have thought?

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Today someone told me, "Thanks for all your inspiration."

I was told this week by someone who has done an Ironman that I inspire them. They look at my status on facebook before leaving for work everyday and when they are laying in bed not wanting to go to the gym they think of me and get their butt out of bed and go. This is an Ironman people. That's who I look up to for my inspiration.

I've been told that because of me someone is parking their car farther away in the parking lot at work.

Someone else is taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator because of me.

I have been emailed that someone did a 1/2 marathon and they thanked me for my encouragement.

I have had several people tell me that they did their first triathlons because of me sharing my journey.

I had someone tell me just this week that they appreciate my honesty in sharing my story on my blog and facebook. They love how I share the good days and the bad. They love how open and real I am with it.

A professional triathlete named Mike Lovato, who won Ironman Arizona in 2006, told me that I inspire him to keep doing what he is doing.

I have people coming from all over the country in 2012 either to cheer me on at Ironman Wisconsin or to do the race with me.

A couple at church let me know they started Weight Watchers.

Someone at the gym came up to me and told me that I have been an inspiration to her from afar. She has watched me from a distance for months now and barely recognized me.

I am told on a regular basis that I am an inspiration.

I do not tell you all this to get a pat on the back. I tell you this because I am constantly amazed at the feedback I am getting from so many people on how my journey is helping them. Me, just a mom from the midwest, making a difference in so many people's lives. It's amazing and exciting, but I have not always felt that way.

When people first started telling me that I was an inspiration I did not like it. I did not want that responsibility. I didn't want to let anyone down. It was out of my control. I could not control who I was inspiring. I wanted to share my story to help others and it started to, so why was I fighting it? I realized as time went on that I was fighting it because first of all, I didn't think I deserved it. I didn't like that I could inspire to change and what would happen then if they gained it all back? What would happen if I gained it all back? It was the old 306 pounds Melissa, full of doubt and low self confidence. I was told to embrace the people and the concept of inspiring others. I wasn't ready, but I am ready now.

If other people read my blog or my facebook and want to change their lives I embrace that and I will do whatever they need me to, to help them succeed. When people are calling me, texting me, or emailing me asking for encouragement I embrace it. I am changing everyday and I am on an incredible journey that I have no idea where it will take me or how I will use it to help others, but it already has started helping others and will continue to do so and I am so ready to not only help myself, but to help others as well.

Here is what dictionary.com says about inspiration:

in·spi·ra·tion (ĭn'spə-rā'shən)

1. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.

2. An agency, such as a person or work of art, that moves the intellect or emotions or prompts action or invention.

I love in the second definition that it says, "An agency that prompts action." I hope that my journey will not only encourage you, but will also prompt action in your life. I am here for you in whatever way you need me. I know that one of my gifts from God is encouragement and if you ever need any I've got a lot to give. I'm just a click, phone call, or text away. You can do it.

People ask me who is my inspiration, to keep going in my journey? I must say that my number one inspiration of all time is my mom. She was a woman who was full of life, loved helping others especially kids. She taught preschool, taught kids at church, women's bible studies. Wherever my mom went she touched lives. The only person my mom didn't take care of was herself. She became obese and died at the age of 53. My mom has taught me and inspired me to always put others first. She is the reason I love kids and working with kids. I am a lot like my mom and she has inspired me in so many parts of my life, but the one thing that her dying young, has inspired me to do, is to take care of myself. I refuse to die at the age of 53. My mom was my best friend and my biggest inspiration. We heard stories after my mom died of how she touched everyone's lives. I don't even think we will know the full extent until we get to heaven.

Like my mom I want to touch lives every day. I want to help others on their journey. I want to be an encouragement to everyone I come across. If my honesty on my blog and facebook can help then I will continue to blog and facebook. If me getting out there and doing 5K's and triathlons will help then I'll keep doing them. Like my mom always helped others I am ready and embrace the opportunity to help others in their journeys to better health through weight loss.

I love that I have inspired you all and hope that you area reaching your goals. I am here for you. Please keep the notes, comments, texts coming. I'll do what I can and then someday you'll pay it forward and help and inspire someone else. Please let me know what you are doing. I love hearing from you.


Someone wrote a comment and said that his little girls are his inspiration. That gave me an idea. Please comment below and let me know who your inspiration is in your life. It doesn't have to be me. ;-)

Also, I am working on my top ten list of people that inspire me. I will post soon.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

BIG goggle vs. SMALL goggles and how I overcame

Sometimes we do things a certain way in life just because that is the way we have always done it. It's comfortable. It works. Why try a new way when we are fine with how we've always done it? This fact reminds me of a story.

There was a lady who would always cut off the ends of her ham before putting it into the pan. Her daughter, ovvserving this, asked her why she did this. Her mom answered, "because that is how your grandma does it." She went to her grandma and asked her. She answered, 'because that's how your great grandma always did it." She went and asked her great grandma and she answered, "I do it that way because my pan is too small and to get it to fit I need to cut off the ends."

There was a logical reason in the beginning for the ends of the ham to be cut off, but as the years went by and pans got bigger there was no reason to continue to cut off the ends of the ham. It's just what this family knew, what was comfortable for them, what was done, no questions asked.

Recently, someone asked me why I use the Big Aqua Sphere goggles when I swim. The answer was easy, "because I'm claustrophobic in the water and I've always swam with BIG goggles. That's how I'm comfortable in the water." That was an answer I have given several times. That's just how it is. I've been wearing BIG goggles for pretty much my whole triathlon career. That's 3 years. There is no reason for me to change now. I don't want to take a chance and mess things up, afterll, I have come so far in the pool and with my swimming. Why would I chance it, right? I'm good and anyway, I'm claustrophobic in the water, or am I?

Last week I couldn't find my BIG goggles. I always put them inthe same gym bag pocket. They were not there. I realized I had left my swim class in a hurry to get home and left them on the bench in the locer room, so before my next class I checked both lost and founds and found nothing. I was starting to worry. What would I do? How would I swim without my BIG goggles?

I always keep a spare pair of goggles in my gym bag. They are a very SMALL, tinted, not clear and BIG, and remember, I'm claustrophobic in the water. WIth no BIG, clear, goggles in sight I put on my SMALL, tinted, goggles. I did this with some hesitation and with some anxiety. I went under the water and because of the tint it was a lot darker under there then usual. I went under a second time and pushed off the wall and was on my way.

I was as strong as ever. I was doing it. With no more anxiety in sight I was on my way. I wanted to finish 500 yards before my swim coach arrived. I was almost done when she came to the edge of the pool and got my attention. She said, "Hey, Melissa, Val found your goggles in the locker room on Monday. She'll be bringing them today!" I was so excited that my goggles had been found. I swam away, still wearing my SMALL goggles and finished my last 100 yards. I was very happy about my BIG goggles being found, but as I finished that last 100 yards I started to wonder, did I need my BIG goggles anymore?

At my largest I was 306 pounds. I've always done things a certain way. I realized I have gotten pretty comfortable with how I have done things. Afterall, that's how I do things. Why change? It's been working for 3 years for me. I didn't need to change. Maybe I didn't want to change. If you change you have to step up and accept new challenges. Was I ready for new challenges or did I just want to keep doing things that way I had done them up until now. I didn't know. It was a lot to think about.

Val came in with my BIG goggles. I quickly changed goggles and swam another 50 and realized that I did not like how they felt anymore. I put my SMALL goggles back on and finished my workout. What was happening? I've always been claustrophobic in the water. I've always needed BIG,clear, goggles. That is who I have always been as a swimmer. I was scared, I was nervous. What did this mean? How would this change me. As I swam 2550 yards that day in my SMALL, tinted, goggles something changed in me in a BIG way.

I have swam a couple times since this day. I have my BIG goggles on the side of the pool and swim with my SMALL goggles on. I want to keep those goggles in sight while I swim. To me my BIG goggles signify me when I was 306 pounds. When I was less confident, scared, and anxious. I will always be grateful to those goggles for helping me get over the fear of putting my face in the water. I did my first flip turn in those goggles. I swam 1000 yards without stopping in those goggles, but now I am a new person. I have lost 70 pounds. I have a new excitement in my training, in my being, in who I am becoming. I do not need to cling onto the old me. I do not need to do things JUST BECAUSE that's how I've always done them. That is not me anymore. Coach Bob, keeps telling me I'm a new athlete and today in the pool I am more than ever. I have retired my BIG goggles, but I will never forget them. I will never forget who I was, but I will never go back there. I have retired the old me and am excited about who I am today and who I am becoming. Will there be hard days in the pool? Yes. Will I have hard days with my training? Yes. Will I have hard days with my eating? Yes. However, this time I will react differently. I will not let those hard days get me down. I will never look at life through BIG goggles again. I look forward to and welcome challenges and look forward to the outcome.

Watch out world. I'm on my way.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


I LOST 9 pounds this past week.

My total weight loss to date is 70.8 pounds.

I now weigh 235 pounds. I went from the 240's to the 230's this week.

My goal this week was to hit 65 pounds lost and I hit 70. Wahoooo!!

My first weight loss goal is to hit 130 pounds lost, so with this weigh in this week I have hit over half way to my first goal of 130 lost.

Wahhhhooooooo!! I'm so excited. Thanks everyone for your constant support and encouragement. You are all the best and I couldn't do this without you.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I can do ANYTHING now!!

Wow, exciting times are happening. I have had a lot happen in the last few days. It’s exciting. I’m like a kid at Christmas and considering it’s December already I guess that’s an appropriate analogy.

Something has just switched on in my brain. I’ve gone from someone who never thought I deserved happiness to someone who knows I deserve it. I’ve gone from someone who constantly was saying, “I can’t” to someone who says, “Bring it on.” I was the person who used to say, “Who me?” Now I say, “Why not me?” I can do whatever I set my mind to and no one or anything is going to stop me.

This change has been in the process of happening for sometime now, but really started taking root on November 22, 2009. That day I was volunteering at Ironman Arizona and while working the finish line I got to witness a part of history being made. I watched Rudy Garcia cross the finish line. He is a double amputee above the knee. He is about 23 years old and finishing an Ironman has been a goal of his. He tried in October in Hawaii, but did not make the bike cutoff. He was determined just a month later to finish in Arizona and he did. He is the first double amputee above the knee to reach this goal. I got to see him cross the finish line. I got to hear him interviewed after crossing the finish line. I got to shake his hand as he made his way through the finish line area (see above picture). I got to look him in the eye and tell him that he inspires me and many others. He said, “thanks.” Really, though, it should be me thanking him. That was the start of my change. That was the moment in time that I will remember for years to come.

Here is a young man who had every reason to stay at home and feel sorry for himself. What did he do to deserve not having legs? Why him? What’s the point in going on? The point is for moments like these. An overweight woman with big dreams, dreams of finally becoming healthy and fit and completing an Ironman seeing a young man with no legs reaching his goals. I’m sure that Rudy had people tell him he is crazy. I’m sure people told him he couldn’t do what he wanted to accomplish, but he didn’t listen and he has reached goal after goal including an Ironman finish.

I was almost 300 pounds when I first told people that I would be completing an Ironman by the time I turned 40. People thought and some still think that I am crazy. There will always be those critics. I could have just stayed almost 300 pounds and not cared. I have been dealt some tough cards in my life and I could have used those as my excuses for not reaching my goals, but like Rudy, I will overcome those obstacles and reach my goals. If Rudy, who doesn’t have any legs, can finish an Ironman and reach his goals, then what is stopping me?

When I started this journey I was 306.2 pounds. Today I am 238 pounds. I do not even know the last time I was in the 230’s. I am doing it. My dreams are no longer dreams they are my reality. I am living again. I am happy again. I have noticed in the last couple months and especially today I walk a little taller, a little prouder. I walk with my head held high. I do not hunch my shoulders anymore. I noticed that I walk with confidence. It has been a long time since I have been able to to that. I am proud of who I am and what I am becoming.

This past weekend was a real breakthrough for me. I worked out with my Coach, Bob, on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday, he really pushed me in the pool. As you all know the pool and I do not always get along. I was nervous, but I pushed through and had a great swim. I mean there was points where Bob was bumping my feet, making me do flip turns, and some crazy drills, that will help me prepare for triathlon swims. I was tired, I was nervous, but most importantly I was doing it. Just a few months ago I was still having trouble putting my face in the water, but now I am doing it. I am a new person and a new athlete. It’s amazing. I’m not even the same person.

Sunday he invited me to do a computrainer workout on my bike with him at a bike shop nearby. That’s where your bike gets put on a trainer and makes your bike like a stationary bike. The computer than makes the ride harder and easier as if you were riding outside. I was nervous. There would be people there I didn’t know. Would I be the biggest one in the class? What would people think of my bike? Could I keep up? It was a new type of workout. Would I be able to do it? Would I talk myself out of going? Should I even think that I could do it? I told Bob I was nervous, but I was going to come. I even called Darlene on the way there and told her that I was getting more and more nervous the closer I got to the store. I was running late and even called the store hoping that Bob would say I was too late and that I would have to come another time. Guess what? I wasn’t too late. He told me it was fine and to just keep heading his way. I had no more excuses.

I got there, got my bike set up, and got underway. This was one of the hardest workouts I had ever done. It was supposed to be a 90 minute workout, but Bob told me I would probably make it to an hour and that was ok. When I got to the hour mark I pushed on and finished the whole 90 minutes. Bob was really proud of how I did and I remember him saying something to the affect of, “You just put your big girl pants on.” I came away from that workout a different person. I had turned a corner in my training and in my thoughts. I now knew that I could do anything, ANYTHING, that I put my mind too. Just like Rudy Garcia put his mind to finishing Ironman Arizona, I will be able to reach my goals because now I know I can.

I have so much more that I want to write about. So much more that is just bubbling over, but I will save that for another day. Good Night.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


So I have been told that I need to not worry about those things or situations that I can't control.
I have complained to friends about certain situations and they have asked me, "Melissa, what can you do about it?" I answered, "Nothing." So they encouraged me not to worry about it.

It's the same with certain people in my life. I can't change them. I can't control what they say or do, so I have been working on not worrying about those people as well.

The problem I have with this is that the things in my life that I have no control over have controlled my life. When I was a child and things happened to me, or people did certain things, I couldn't control them, but they have molded me into who I am today. I was a kid. I had no choice in things that happened. They happened. They are part of my history, so what am I going to do about that today?

Put them behind me. That is what I am going to do. My past is just that, my past. I can't change what has happened in my life, but I can move on and change how I will respond and react to things in the future. I have held on to my past and my circumstances in my life and let them define me for too long. I have been great my whole life at just shoving my feelings down and am done doing that.

The one thing that I can control in my life is me. I can control how I react to situations. I can control what I do with my day. I need to be done relying on other people. It is great to have people in my life, but I have to realize that in the end the only person that is going to be there day after day is me, so I need to work on myself and taking care of myself and when things come along that I cannot control I will be strong enough to handle them and not let me get sidetracked as I have been in the past. If I can't control it, I"m not going to let it control me.

As you all know I will be doing Ironman Wisconsin in 2012. I was thinking about the whole control thing and racing. In a race whether it is a sprint distance triathlon or an Ironman you cannot control what happens to you. You can plan for your race down to every detail, but you toe the starting line and anything can happen. You can get sick, get a flat tire, twist your ankle, anything. How you react to it will make all the difference. If you let what happens to you on race day side rail you, you will never reach your goal, the finish line. If you let what happens to you in life side rail you, you will not reach your goals.

Today I am choosing to take back control of my life. I am choosing not to let others control what happens to me. My past is my past, but today starts the rest of my life. I am excited about things that are happening in my life. I am the happiest I have been in the longest time. I am a new person and I look forward with anticipation what my future holds.

Monday, November 30, 2009


by: Charles Swindoll

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My wonderful Hubby

About a month ago I threw this crazy idea out to Keith. Here is how the conversation went.:

Me: Honey, now I want to throw an idea out and please don’t dismiss it right away. Remember I mentioned I would love to go to Ironman Arizona this year. Well, it’s coming up. I was wondering if there is anyway I could possibly go? I have a friend doing it. I have a place lined up to stay and a friend says I can use his car the whole time I am there, so I will not need a hotel or a rental care and you have always said that you have a bazillion frequent flyer miles and you won’t have to get me anything for Christmas. So, (Pause), what do you think? (Crossing fingers behind back and praying). I know there are some things that we’ve wanted to get done around the house and I will do those before I leave.

Keith: I’m open to it. But if my miles won’t work and they are going to charge us to use my miles the answer is no.

Me: That’s fine. I’m just excited you would even consider it.

Keith: Remember not getting too excited. So, when is it.?

Me: The race is November 22 and Well, my friend Andy is doing the race and having a party on Friday night that I would like to go to and meet up with all my blogger friends (who I have come to conclusion are, for the most part, not my blogger friends anymore, but rather my facebook friends. HAHA), then the race is on Sunday and I will be volunteering at the finish line until Midnight, so however you want to schedule that would be fine and if I have to miss the party that’s ok too.

Keith: Let me see what I can do? (leaves for awhile, comes back.) Ok, how about leave on Thursday, November 19th and fly home the 24th?

Me: Um, Yeah, that’s great!! (Inside I was screaming WAHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOO!!! )

Keith: Ok, I’m hitting submit.

Me: OK (Inside I was screaming. EEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeee!!!!)

Keith: Stay focused now, you have a lot of work to do between now and November 19th.

Me: Thank you (Screaming on the inside again and a little bit on the outside). Grabbed my phone and started calling and texting all my triathlon friends, grabbed my computer to face book, texted people and was like a little kid the whole night. I didn’t sleep much that night.

So today is November 19th and I’m on the plane heading to Denver for a layover and then on to Phoenix.

One thing that I have realized over the last few weeks is how much I take my dear, sweet, loving husband for granted. He works so hard for our family and I respect and love him so much for that. I don’t tell him enough.

Lately, I have had my focus on getting healthy and triathloning that I have let other things slide. I have never been one to have much balance in my life. I go at things all out and in the process let other things slide. I am getting better at the balance thing, but it is a process in my life just like everything else I have been dealing with lately (weight loss, counseling, etc.).

I have the most patient husband while I figure this all out. I know that he has been frustrated lately with it all and the fact that he has been frustrated and also supportive of this trip is just AMAZING to me. I don’t know if any other husband would be as supportive as mine. He is so supportive and yet there are times I look right past it and get frustrated with him. Not cool. Today as I’m flying out to Phoenix I am realizing just how incredible this man is. I mean I know he is incredible, supportive, loving, patient, the best dad ever, and my biggest cheerleader, but lately, with our busy lives, I have not been as appreciative as I should be.

Keith, I know I frustrate you sometimes, but no matter what you love me unconditionally NO MATTER WHAT. That’s huge. You are patient with me. You stand by my side, and you know that I am trying and you have been encouraging me to keep trying and to keep getting better in this area. Thank you for your unconditional love, your patience, your kindness, your thoughtfulness, and for being my biggest cheerleader.

As most of you know I have trouble flying due to my claustrophobia. I have figured out my triggers on planes and it has been a long time since I’ve had a panic attack on a plane. I realized this morning after looking at my boarding passes that all my seats were in the back of the plane and not aisle seats. I have figured out that I need to be towards the front of the plane. If I am towards the back and have to look forward at everyone in the plane it becomes a problem. I usually use a mask to black out the light and my IPOD to block out the noise. I had my mask, but have lost my IPOD. I started panicking at home and in the car on the way to the airport. Keith was so sweet. He told me not to think about it until I had to or I would have a bad flight because I was working myself up.

He told me to tell him about my trip. I told him all about the hike I was taking, who I was meeting, my blogger meet ups, the party, where I was volunteering, and it worked I quit worrying about my flight and was enjoying myself. He called me while I was at the airport to check in with me. I was able to change my seat and move closer to the front of the plane and got an aisle seat. I called him from the plane and got some more reassurance from him. My flight so far has been uneventful. Again, my wonderful husband came through for me. He had a meeting to get to and could have told me he couldn’t talk or just not take my call, but he didn’t. He helped me through it and it was wonderful. Thanks Keith for helping me through my hard time this morning and helping me relax for my flight. You’re the BEST!!

There is a little TV in the back of the seat in front of me and I have the map channel on and there is a little plane flying across the country. We are about to cross over into Colorado. Yay!! I have almost a 4 hour layover in Denver. I get to see my brother Karl, my sis-n-law, Sara and most importantly my 3 year old nephew,Luke. They used to live 4 doors down from us and just moved to Colorado, so it will be good to see them. I can’t wait.

Well, I will be blogging through out my trip, so make sure to keep checking back. Until then, Have a great weekend coming up. Thanks everyone for your love and support during this crazy journey I am on. I love and appreciate you all.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My friend in pain

Remember I wrote a few times about a friend of mine that is in pain.

I haven't heard from him in a loooong time.

But I just talked to someone that knows him and he got more bad news.

I'm so mad for him. I'm sad for him. I want to yell. I want to cry. When she told me the news I just felt my chest tighten up.

It just seems my friend cannot catch a break AT ALL and I'm sad and there is nothing I can do to fix it. I love to help others. I love to help them solve problems. I want everything to be ok and everyone to be ok. I don't know if that is going to be the case this time.

All I can do is sit back, pray, and wait for my friend to reach out to me. I'm here for you. I care about you. I'm hurting with you. If you need me I'm here.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

WW update

I lost point 4 this week
bringing my grand total up to 64 pounds lost. :)

I will be leaving on Thursday to head to Arizona to cheer on a friend at Ironman Arizona and volunteer at the race. I will also be meeting a lot of blogger friends that I have never met in person.

I found a Weight Watchers meeting on Friday at 10am that I can go to. I really wanted to be with my friends at my Weight Watchers meeting when I finally hit my 65 pounds lost because that is half way to my goal of 130 pounds lost. I am excited to go to another meeting in another state though. Maybe my story and journey can encourage someone in Arizona to keep going.

I will let you know how it goes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Every work out can't be good, can it?

In high school I had a near drowning incident when I was on a trip with my youth group.
We headed to the Indiana Dunes to hang out with several other youth groups.
The Dunes are beautiful beaches that are along Lake Michigan.
We were there hanging out for the day and playing at the beach.
There was a sand bar way out in the lake. A bunch of us swam out there with a volleyball and decided it was a great place to play a game of water polo. We were all very competitive and I always was proud of myself that I could keep up with the guys. This day was no exception. I grabbed the ball and was about to make my move when I let go of the ball. Two guys, one a teenager, one a leader went after the ball. What they didn't realize is that I was underneath them. When they went for the ball I got pushed under the water. They were wrestling for the ball and I was trying to get up. I remember being on my back looking up and just seeing a stomach in my face. I was swallowing water and punching the guys stomach. It was very scary and I remember thinking this was it. Finally, someone pulled me up. I remember nothing else. It may have only been seconds, but it felt like a long time and it is something that has stuck with me for the rest of my life.

I still swam after that, but never with my face in the water. That's why when I realize just how far I've come with swimming I am amazed. I started a Masters Swim class this fall. It's been almost 12 weeks. The first class I had some panic type moments, hyperventilating, and shed some tears. I didn't think I could ever do it, but I did and I am doing it. On my own I have been practicing flip turns. That is where you get to the wall and to keep going you do a somersault and kick off the wall. I have a hard time with the breathing aspect of it. A few weeks ago my swimming coach had us doing them in our class and it was hard, but I was really proud of myself because I was doing it. There was one point where I did it and ran out of breath while I was way under water. I could not get up fast enough, when I surfaced I could not breathe and was a little bit disorientated. I'm not really sure what I did, but the next thing I know the lifeguard was at my side of the pool asking me if I was ok. I was and even did a few more flip turns in that work out, but I was a little, no a lot more, nervous than I had ever been before. I hate the feeling of not being able to breathe and it brings up a lot of the same feelings that day I was under the water not sure if I was going to be ok.

Yesterday, I had my swim class again. We had another flip turn drill. I hadn't practiced them since the last class we did them. I would get to the wall yesterday and just freeze. I would do my somersault and then just come straight up and not push off the wall. It was a total mental block for me. I was just having visions of the stomach in my face and me not being able to breathe. It was hard. I wanted to go home. I didn't like the feelings I was having. I wanted to do this, but just couldn't overcome the fear and feelings of panic. Even with these feelings I kept trying. I did a couple, but would pop up right away. My coach was giving me advice saying I was too close to the wall and that I needed to take a breath farther back and then go into the turn. I just can't do it. I know I will run out of breath. I know I will panic. Just writing about all of this has my heart racing.

This affected the rest of my workout. After this we did some sprint work and I was so out of breath. Having trouble, not at all wanting to be there. I told my coach I was going home. That was it. I couldn't deal with it anymore. I just didn't want to face it at all. She basically told me I would never forgive myself if I went home in the middle of a work out. She told me to just take my time, regroup, do what I needed to do, but to finish my work out. My friend Bill asked me how I was doing. Told him I wanted to go home. He told me I could do it and that it is just one work out out of how many that were yet to come? He told me I could do it and he was very encouraging. I looked at him and said, "Every work out can't be good, can it? He said no and swam away.

I don't like what happened. I don't like that I had some panic mixed with tears yesterday. I don't like that I almost quit. I don't like any of it, but what I like is that I was able to regroup, focus, and do what I needed to do to finish my work out. I do not know how long it will take to get over this fear that stems from my high school incident, but I am slowly doing it. I am doing flip turns. I am putting my face in the water. I am swimming more than I ever realized I could. I am going to succeed and I am not going to let my mind games win. I am a new athlete that has overcome so much already and will overcome this as well. I have a ton of work outs left in my life. I will have great work outs, I will have not so great work outs. What is important is that I keep working out. I will never quit and I will never be that person I used to be.

P.S. I have a question for all you triathlon types out there. If there is no flip turns in Ironman why do I even need to learn and do them? I know it will build up my speed and yardage, but just wondering are they really necessary?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My One Year Anniversary

November 8, 2008 I decided to do something about my obesity. I decided I could no longer do it on my own. I needed help and I needed to stop making excuses and just get my butt in gear and get healthy once and for all. I had watched my mom become overweight and watched her die young at the age of 53. She was overweight when she got sick and still overweight when she died.

You would think that would have been my wake up call. That would be what would have done it. My mom made me promise, on her death bed, that I would do something about my weight. She made me promise that I would not die young like she did. She begged me to get healthy, so that I would not face the same fate that she did. Well, this coming Christmas 2009 will mark 13 years since my mom's passing.

I have yo-yoed up and down year after year. I have had kids. I have gone to a fitness camp and I have been on Weight Watchers since 2003. Nothing worked because mentally I was not dealing with the WHY's of why I eat. Over the last 13 years I have gained 100 pounds if not more. At my highest I was 306 pounds. 306. That was a depressing day for me at Weight Watchers to step on that scale and see that I had reached over 300 pounds. If you would have asked me years ago if that would ever happen I would have told you NO WAY, but it has, it has.

I wish I could remember what it was that made it all clear to me on November 8, 2008, but something clicked with me. This was it I had to get healthy. The rate I was going I was on my way to the same fate as my Mom, an early death. Maybe it had something to do with not being able to do any triathlons due to a leg injury, maybe it had something to do with being tired all the time, maybe God knew I was ready to deal with it all. Whatever, the reason I made the decision to hire a coach and get going.

November 8, 2008 was a scary day for me.I was starting my journey at 297.5 pounds. I had lost 8 pounds the couple weeks before starting with my coach. Walking into that Work out studio was horrible, talking to my new coach Matt, was horrible. I just remember him saying the first few times we met, "That's an excuse, what's the real reason." "Knock off the excuses and tell me the truth." "You are so full of excuses." It was the first time that I realized in my whole life just how easy it had become to make excuses for my bad habits. I was able to justify everything and have an excuse for everything. It was a real turning point for me. I was no longer making excuses I was doing. I was being truthful with myself for the first time and I tell you the truth hurt, but as the old saying goes, The truth will set you free. I was on my way. The first few months were still very hard, but I was able to work through them and really start to be on my way.

I started my journey with my coach Matt, but as time went on and some things changed in my life, I changed coaches. Now I have a coach named Bob. I started meeting with him on August 8, 2009. Before meeting with Bob I was doing really well with my weight loss. I was starting to see major losses at the weight watchers scale. Before I knew it was up to 40 pounds lost, and on my way to 50 pounds lost. I was realizing that I was doing it and wanted it to be for real this time and not like before. I had lost 40 pounds before, but I had also gained it back and then some. What was going to make this time different? How would I do it for real? I had to face some pretty tough things in my life. What was different this time is that I was ready to face the mental aspects of my weight loss journey, which I was never ready to do. I needed to know WHY I gained over 100 pounds. Why did I turn to food when I was down? Why was food my comfort? This past summer I started exploring those questions. What I realized through all of this soul searching is that the main issue, among many, was my Mom's death. It has been almost 13 years and I hadn't dealt with her death. I got really good at telling people that I was ok and shoving it down. I got really good at looking good on the outside, but dying on the inside.

I have since started counseling. The first day I met with my counselor he said, "In a nutshell tell me why you are here? Why do you need counseling?" Here is what my answer was, "I REFUSE to ever be 306 pounds AGAIN!" We are now working on the issues that caused me to gain weight, so I will never be that way again and although the process hurts I am the happiest I have been in a long time and I can say that I will NEVER be that 306 pound person again.

November 8, 2009 was my 1 year anniversary of starting my weight loss journey for the last time. I am happy to say that in that time I have lost 63.6 pounds. I have gained great strides in my mental journey and the most exciting part of it all is I am able to help people get going on their journeys. I couldn't ask for anything else. I am getting healthy, I am happy, I am looking forward to what lies ahead. Whatever it is I know that I can do it. I'm realistic I know there will be tough days, I may turn to food in a tough time, I may not choose to get out of bed and get to the pool before the sun rises, but I will overcome those days and little by little there will be fewer and fewer of them. November 8, 2009 also is the one year anniversary of not missing a weigh in at Weight Watchers, so between my coaches, my weight watchers, and my getting counseling this is all coming together and I am very happy.

I am a new person and I am a new athlete and everything and I'm loving every minute of my journey. Those of you who know me are probably sick of me always talking about Ironman and about my Ironman in 2012, but maybe now you can understand my excitement a little better. Ironman Wisconsin 2012 will signify so much more to me than just doing a hard race. It will signify all that I have overcome both mentally and physically to get to the starting line and when I cross that finish line and hear them say, "MELISSA BLACK YOU ARE AN IRONMAN" it will signify all that I have become in life and all that I can and will be able to do. It is much more than just a race, it is my life.

Sunday, November 08, 2009


Lost 4.2
Making my total 63.6
Starting Weight: 306.2
Current Weight: 242.6

I am so proud of myself.
Goal for next week: lose 1.4 pounds to reach 65 lost, which is half way to my first goal, which is 130 pounds lost.

Remember whatever you want to do just set some goals and do it. YOU CAN DO IT!! I'm living proof of it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Hobbit-starring Parker Black

Parker is in another show.
He is in The Hobbit and is a Hobbit, Wood Elf, and a Goblin. He even has a line. First time ever with a line. :)
It's in Des Plaines at the Prairie Lakes Community Center, 515 E. Thacker St.

The shows run October, 30, 31, and November 1st.
They also run on November 6, 7, and 8th.

You can buy tickets here: Christian Youth Theater

Once there click on Tickets/Shows
Click on NW Cook
Then buy tickets
Once you are in the screen to buy tickets there will be a place to enter a cast members name. Parker is trying to sell 30 tickets to attend a Director's party. Please enter Parker Black for him to get the credit.

Once you buy your tickets come out and have a good time. You'll love the show. They are doing a great job!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My friend is hurting.

I have a friend that is hurting and I am truly hurting with him.
I do not know and will ever say I know what he is going through.
I want to be able to help him. I want to make it feel better. I want his pain to go away.
I wish it were me going through it rather than him.
I've had pain in my life. I have had to deal with it before. I wish it were me instead of him.
But it's not and the best thing I can do is be there for him.
One thing that I know from my pain is that people mean well when you are hurting.
They try to help. They try to say the right thing, but they don't.
I hope that my friend knows I am trying and my intentions are from the heart.
I never want to be that person that says or does something stupid.
I want my friend to know that I am there for him. I care about him. I am sad for him.
Friend, if you need me to back off please tell me.
Whatever you need just tell me.
I can be a listening ear.
I can give you your space.
I can give a hug if you need it.
I can be a friend.

I want us all to wake up and have this all be a dream, but it's not.
It's reality and one that sucks right now the most for my friend.
Please, please keep him in your prayers and his family and all affected.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

WW Update and My little wager with Ralphie

WW UPDATE: I lost 6 pounds this past week. Last week was a bad week. I gained 3.6 pounds last week. I looked at what went wrong, readjusted, got in the saddle again and lost 6 pounds. That put me at an all time high for weight loss. I'm at 61.6 pounds total. 65 pounds is half way to my total goal and I can't wait. 65 is my next goal for my weight loss.

Ralphie Wager Update: So my friend Ralph and I placed a little wager this week. We are seeing who will lose 20 pounds by Christimas. Hey, Ralphie, I lost 6 pounds this past week. Did you read that Ralphie? 6 pounds. That means I only have 14 pounds to go by Christmas. Start practicing now cause I'll see you in Spinning. It's gonna be me, you, and a spinning bike for 90 minutes. Might want to invest in some padded biking shorts cause me and spinning are going to kick your butt. HAHAHAHA

Friday, October 23, 2009

Public Apology to my friend Megan


My friend Megan over at Project Procrastination, and one of my biggest fans, has written several times about coming out of the water at races and having snot all over her face as she continues to run. I used to think, "Ok, Megan, get it together girl, that is so gross." She has written about this more than once. I really just thought she was exaggerating or just had unusual amounts of mucus. I don't know I just thought she was weird, which at times she is and she'd be the first to admit it, but I digress.

As you all know I have been swimming, in fact, I haven't missed a day yet this week of swimming. I take two master swim classes per week. I'm in the water constantly and you know what? My nose runs like there is no tomorrow. It runs as if my whole brain was filled with mucus and it never stops. Now when I run I have an issue too. I never used to spit and i mean NEVER cause girls aren't supposed to, but guess what? I spit now and I have mucus, lots of it, that decides while I'm swimming to make it's exit. Yesterday, when I got out of the pool to get in the hot tub I felt something on my face and you guessed it, it was a huge thing of snot. I instantly thought of my friend, Megan, and decided I should apologize publicly to her.

Megan, my dear, sweet, friend. I silently would make fun of your mucus, snot, posts and I just want to say I'M SORRY. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. Now that I'm becoming a better athlete I understand. Just one little word of advice. You might want to wipe your nose and face before getting out of the water. :) I love you Megan and appreciate all your support. Can't wait to see you at the Hot Chocolate 5k or 15k in your case.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Broken Heart by Melissa Black

I just got a call from a dear friend.
His heart has been broken.
He'll need time to mend.

As he talked and I listened my heart grew heavy.
The sadness was flowing, it broke the levy.
It ran through my veins right to my heart
it was torn and was broken apart.

See I've had a lot of loss in my life.
I've dealt with a lot of grief and strife,
so even though his situation is not quite the same
I do know a little about hurt and pain.

I told him I'm sorry and I'll be there for him.
I told him I'd listen or go work out at the gym.
I'll leave him alone if that's how he feels
and give him the time he'll need to heal.

So tonight as I head off to bed.
I've got thoughts of my friend and his hurt running through my head.
I'll think some nice thoughts and say a few prayers.
I really hope that my friend knows just how much I care.

Ralph AKA Jillian

This is my new friend Ralph. He is my new work out buddy. We met at the YMCA. I was having a problem with my leg and really needed to stretch it out, so I went over to the mat and I was trying to figure out how to stretch out my right hip/butt area. I have always made it a point that if I don't know how to do something I usually ask an employee for help or someone who is working out. So I scanned the stretching mat and saw Ralph. He was in some great looking stretch and decided he looked nice, so I waited till he was done with his stretch and asked him for help. I showed him what I needed to stretch and he showed me two stretches. They were exactly what I needed. We chatted a little bit while stretching. We talked about Biggest Loser and I told him a little bit about my journey and then I went on my way. I realized I really liked Ralph and that I could use his help in my workouts, so I wrote down my Facebook name and my blog and told him that I update my journey there if he wanted to follow my journey. We talked that night and talked about working out sometime.

Ralph is going into the Navy and has to swim and work on pull ups and sits ups and running for a test he has to take for the Navy and I have to continue working toward my weight loss and triathlon goals. We talked about trying to work out together or swim together, but our schedules were totally opposite. We were finally able to meet up and swim together. We were in the same lane, but just did our own thing, encouraging each other a few times along the way. I have always wanted a workout buddy and now I do. We have now swam together three times and worked out together once. He is joining the Masters Swim class that I take, so my swimming coach can kick his butt. :) Ralph wants to be a rescue swimmer in the Navy so him getting his butt kicked in the pool will only help him with his goals.

Last week as you all know I had a tough week. I told Ralph about it and he said, "Ok, meet you in the gym on Monday. I'm going to kick your butt since you didn't have a good week." All I can say about this workout is that he is like Jillian on Biggest Loser. That's my new nickname for him when we work out. :) Before you all comment that he should be nice. It's really what I need. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging and I appreciate it, but sometimes I just need to hear that I screwed up and I need someone to just say it like it is. That someone is Ralph and I really appreciate it. It was one of the best work outs I have had in a long time and not only was he pushing me, I was pushing him. It's going to be good for both of us.

One thing that came out of our work out was a little wager. We both want to lose 20 pounds, so we bet each other to see who could do it by Christmas. If I win Ralph has to take a 90 minute spinning class with me. He hates biking. If I lose (which I'm telling you now I won't) I have to do a Navy work out called a PVC. It has three parts to it. Something called a Body Builder, lunges, and burpies. It is hard. One thing that Ralph doesn't know yet (this will prove if he reads my blog or not) is that I am going to make him wear a pink shirt in the spinning class and it will say, "I lost a bet to a girl." HAHA If I lose I will do my workout in the middle of the gym and sing IN THE NAVY. He doesn't know that either. It should be fun and we are already having fun trash talking each other.

I just wanted to introduce you to Ralph as I'm sure I will be mentioning him more and more. Tomorrow morning we are getting together to swim again. I will keep you posted on our little wager too. Stay Tuned!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WW Update and 5k today

WW Update: Not good.

I had a significant gain, but don't want to say how much. I had a lot going on this week and it was my birthday. There was a lot of emotional eating involved. That really bothered me because I have not really emotionally eaten in almost a year. I let my guard down, wasn't prepared, and didn't log my eating AT ALL. I knew there would be a gain and I have learned from it and have moved on. If I focus on it too much then I will let it launch me into a downward spiral and I will not allow that to happen.

I learned from this that you can never get to confident in how you are doing or how far you have come. I had been telling someone recently that I hadn't emotional eaten in about a year. I told them that I really think I have that licked and then BAM, it happens. You can never let your guard down in this journey. You let it down and it is amazing how quickly some of the old habits come a knocking at the door. I am finally taking care of myself, finally losing the weight, and finally taking care of the mental crap too, so I truly believe I am being attacked by all sides to see how I hold up. This past week I didn't hold up very well. This next week and beyond I will. I had a friend tell me it was only a few days and next time it will only be a few hours and the next time will only be a few minutes. I would love to say that there won't be a next time, but that would just be setting myself up for failure, because life happens and there will be a next time. What I CAN say is that when that next time comes around I will be better prepared and it won't last as long. It's a journey, I had 6 weeks of losses in a row at WW, I had one week of a gain. Am I going to let that one week of a gain turn my life, my accomplishments, and my goals all upside down. No I am not.

One thing about having my journey so public that it is hard to have a bad week. Everyone is reading my facebook, everyone is reading my blog. I'm encouraging and inspiring so many and never thought in a million years that I could help others. I was telling a dear friend at Weight Watchers this week that I wish my journey wasn't so public because I didn't want to share this week, but you know what I want to share now. I want to share the good and the bad times. It's real life. It happens. I want to share with you the hurts, the triumphs, the ups, the downs, and everything in between. I want to share so that when you go through the same thing you can remember my bad week this week and you can be better prepared because I wasn't. You can know that you are not alone and that others have the same struggles. I am picking myself up this week, brushing myself off, and getting back in the saddle. I encourage you to do the same thing. WIth that said I have a 5k today.

I want to do a 5k every month for a year. I started last month and today is the day for my October 5k. I REALLY hurt my toe on Friday. A huge chunk of my big toe nail ripped off. It will be a challenge. This morning I woke up with heel pain in my left foot. This will be a challenge. Coach Bob, wants me to get out there and take out this past week on my 5k and kick it's butt. I want to do that too. I want to beat my time of 47:19. WIll I be able to? I hope. Do I want to kick this 5k's butt? I want to. Am I getting up even with pain in both feet and toeing the line? Yes. Would I have done this in the past? NO WAY. Two sore feet would have been an excuse to stay in bed, but I'm not. After all, I want to be an Ironman. I want to swim 2.4 miles. I want to bike 112 miles. I want to run a marathon after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles. Do you think my feet will hurt during the marathon of my Ironman? Yes. Do you think that it will be hard? YES. So my toe hurting and my heel hurting today is just a test, a test to see what I have, a test to see how deep I can dig, a test to see what I am made of while facing diversity and a test of my desire. I think that today I will pass these tests with flying colors.

This past week is behind me. I ate for emotional reasons and there were days I didn't care. Today I care and I am reclaiming my journey. I am in control. I am the only one that can allow myself to be side railed and I am the only one that can get myself back on track. I'm back on track and ready to sail on to the next phase.

Goals I have made for myself to help me not have a repeat of this past week:

-Track everything I eat. NO excuses. JUST DO IT!!
-Have more fruit and veggies in the house, so I am better prepared for my snacks.
-Make sure I get all my workouts in.
-Remind myself everyday why I want to get healthy and stay healthy.

Friday, October 09, 2009

A poem I wrote recently!!


I'm on the journey of a lifetime
Where I'm fixing the physical part of me and also my mind.

I do not like what I let myself become.
Instead of facing problems I decided to run.

I kept everything in and told everyone I was OK,
but that doesn't work and it caught up to me one day.

I looked in the mirror and didn't recognize what I found.
An unhappy, sad, woman who weighed 306 pounds.

I decided to diet and really went to town.
For years my weight went up and it went down.

Then it went up to 306 for the final time.
I saw a picture of my mom and knew it was a sign.

She died, overweight, at the age of fifty-three.
I did not want that for me or for my family.

I turned a conrer in my mind and journey on November 8th, 2008
and since then I have lost 58 pounds to date.

I no longer emotional eat or want to binge.
I no longer take frequent trips to the fridge.

I no longer live to eat, but rather eat to live.
If you are on the same journey here is some advice I'd like to give:

-Have a person or a group that your accountable to.

-Track all the food you eat, this works, it's true.

-Make sure you take care of all the mental stuff.
It will be rewarding in the end, but right now I know it's tough.

- Set boundaries with others and put yourself first.
If you do this you'll be happy and no longer hurt.

See I'm the happiest I've been in my thirty-five years.
I never want this to go away. It's a feeling I hold dear.

So know that you can do this, I'm living proof.
You'll be happy mentally and your weight will start to disappear, POOF!!!!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

There is no such thing as an off day unless you are willing to accept it-Coach Bob

I woke up today with another headache. It was the 4th day in a row.
I weighed myself this morning. It says I gained 2 pounds this week.
How the heck have I gained 2 pounds when I haven't really changed anything that I've done? I mean, shoot, I went to a Cubs game and had a Subway 6 inch, veggie chips, an apple, and water. I mean come on, gained 2 pounds? I've swam like a fish, biked like Lance, and ran like I did something wrong and gained 2 pounds? I was determined once I had the headache and saw the weight gain that today was going to be an off day for me. I kept putting off the gym. Kept putting off life and felt sorry for myself. I left Bob a message on facebook cause I knew if I left my coach a message saying I didn't want to get to the gym today that I would go cause I wouldn't want to tell him I skipped cause of some stupid crap. (I know the structure of that sentence is off, but you get the point.) He sent me a message back that simply said, "There is no such thing as an off day unless you are willing to accept it." I decided right then and there to get my butt in gear and that I was not going to accept it no matter how much of the morning I wasted. I got to the gym and did not get my whole work out in, but got my swim in and part of my bike in.

I can sit here and mope that I've had a headache for 4 days. I can sit here and mope that the scale says some stupid number. I can sit here and mope and have a pity party, but seriously, how is that going to help me reach my goals? It's not and that is where I need to draw the line. Ok, so I've had a headache, figure out why. I've seen a gain on the scale, figure out why. Learn form these things and move on. I'm losing weight, I'm working out more than ever before, so why do I let these things get to me? I don't know. It's a little of the old me creeping back in and I am here to tell her tonight to get out of here. You are not welcome here anymore. I dealt with you before and became over 300 pounds. You are not going to sabotage me anymore. I refuse to become the person I was and I will fight every day not to become her again. My day started off as an off day and I was willing to accept it, but thanks AGAIN, to Bob, he helped me see that I should not be ok with accepting an off day. Who was making this an off day? Nobody, but myself. I overcame it and turned my off day into a GREAT day!! I have learned from this and the next day I think a day is turning into an off day I will make it the best day ever.

On another note, I found a new counselor, so I start tomorrow at 2pm. I'm not sure what will happen when I get a job, but I found a new one and tomorrow is the day. I did not become 306 pounds by accident. It's not just cause I was eating. There were reasons I was eating, reasons I was not dealing with my emotions properly, reasons I was turning to food instead of help, and I am determined to figure those reasons out. I have never dealt with them. I have,since I was about 10 years old, shoved feelings down and always told everyone that I was ok. I'm not ok anymore. I'm the happiest I have been in a lot of ways, but to continue being happy I need to figure out why I became overweight in the first place. I have figured out that I have not dealt with my mom's death, have not grieved her passing, and miss her a lot.

I gained most of my weight after she died. I am in a grief counseling class with about 5 other people and 2 teachers. We are working through a book and video series. I've only gone 3 times. There are about 10 more classes, so we will see. It's been hard to go and reopen the wounds that were so deeply hurt when she died. I have told everyone that I have been ok all these years, the wounds healed, but not the right way, so as a good friend of mine named Will told me, when I didn't want to go to class, "Melissa, You have to reopen the wounds. They never healed correctly. It will hurt to reopen them. It will hurt to clean them out, but then they will heal properly and there will not be anymore pain." Right now I am at the hard part of having them ripped open again. I don't like the feelings that are coming up, but know that this is necessary in my healing process and necessary for my weight loss journey to be successful this time. Will, thank you so much for those words. You are a good friend.

Monday, October 05, 2009

I am a new athlete

Disclaimer: That is not me in the above picture. I AM NOT that hairy. Just wanted to make sure you all knew that. :)

I have been with my new coach, Bob, now for almost 2 months. One thing that he says to me over and over is, "You are a new athlete." The first time he said it I thought to myself, "yeah, ok, whatever." Then I worked out more, listened to what he instructed me to do, and got a little stronger in my workouts. He said it again. That time I thought to myself, "You know what, I am a new athlete" and smiled to myself.

A while back, Bob, suggested that I take a Master Swim Class. Ok, now when I hear the word Master I think, you know, they've mastered swimming, they are all good, they are all going to kick my butt in the pool, master swimming, so when Bob suggested it, I just laughed to myself. He told me, "you are a new athlete. Sign up for it. You'll be fine." Well, since I pay this man to coach me, and he thought it was a good idea, I went ahead and signed up. I was scared the first time, even had some anxiety that first class. Coach Marsha, my masters swim class coach, is AWESOME. She put me in the beginner lane, which, to my surprise, I was not the only one in there. I thought I would die that first class. There were times that I had to stop and rest after only 25 yards. I did not think that first class would ever end, but it did, and you know what? I survived. I didn't drown. No one laughed at me. Everyone was very encouraging. I was looking forward to the next class. I was a new athlete that day.

Today marked my 7th or 8th Masters Swim Class. I'm still in the slow lane, but I'm getting stronger every day. I swam 2050 yards today. People did you read that? I'll write it again, 2050 yards, that is 1.16 miles. I had to stop and rest, but guess what, not every 25 yards and I had a first today. I swam 150 yards without stopping. 150, that's huge for me, HUGE. I did not think that I was going to be able to finish the last 50 yards of that 150 yards, but do you know what kept me going and pushing? It was a little voice in my head that was chanting, "I am a new athlete. I am a new athlete" with every stroke. This new athlete was able to push and finish her first 150 yards without stopping. I stopped, let Coach Marsha know what had just happened. Every one cheered for me, then I cried. Cried cause I had just done something I HAD NEVER DONE in my entire life. Cried because I have lost 59 pounds, cried because I truly am a new athlete.

Our class goes from 530am-645am, but I wanted to finish the full set that was put out there as a challenge. I stayed and finished it all. It took me until 720, but I did it, so I am not fast by any means, but I stayed, persevered and finished. The old me, first of all, would have never signed up for a masters swim class. The old me, had she signed up, wouldn't have stayed past 645, shoot I might have even made up some excuse so I could leave early, but that was the old me, the woman I don't even know anymore and I never want to meet her again.

As I was leaving the locker room, I passed a mirror. I didn't even recognize myself. I had to do a double take. Then, what might have looked vain to others was this lady starring in the mirror at herself. I was starring at myself because I wanted to remember this moment, what I was wearing, how I felt. I just drank it all in. I was looking at a new athlete in that mirror. I was looking at a new life. I was looking at who I have become and remembering who I will NEVER be again.

Bob, thanks for suggesting to me to sign up for this master swim class. If you hadn't suggested it I would have never done it and I would not have had this break through today. I appreciate you more than you'll ever know.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Not bad for an almost 300 pound woman

Recently at the gym I was doing something that I was able to do longer and a little easier. I thought to myself, "Wow, for being almost 300 pounds this is a lot easier." I stopped myself mid-sentence and realized what I was saying. I've been 300 pounds and almost 300 pounds for so long that, that is what I referred to myself as. I realized that it was easier because I was no longer almost 300 pounds. I'm 249 pounds. That's no where near 300 pounds. I smiled so much after that thought and it felt great.

On another note, I am in the midst of having a garage sale. I am doing it to start the process of purging through the junk in my house to get it clutter free. I'm on my way. One thing I purged was my FAT clothes. I have about 4 shelves of clothes at the sale that are too big. I was folding them and sorting them on the shelf for the garage sale and I totally had this emotional moment. I even cried. I have so many memories in the clothes that I was getting rid of. Some good, some not so good. It was like I was cleaning out the emotional crap too with every piece of clothing I got rid of. It was crazy. It was good. I WILL NEVER, EVER go back to being an almost 300 pound or an over 300 pound woman again. It's a great feeling and a great journey that I am on.

If you are struggling with your weight please know that you can do it. I am living proof and if you need me I am so here for you.

Have a fabulous Friday! I know I will.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No more sidelines for me.

Yesterday Parker went to a rock climbing birthday party.
He is not so fond of heights, so he was not that excited to do it.
I decided I would rock climb, so he could see me do it.
It has been years since I have tried and I am excited to say I did better than ever. Still didn't get to the top, but got more than half way each time I did it. I want to take a rock climbing class now. Fun times.

I was getting ready to climb the wall on the side where all the other moms were sitting. I was a little self-conscience about doing it in front of the moms. I had told the worker, Brian, about my journey and how excited I was to try it, but also a littler self-conscience cause of the other moms. He said to me, "You are the coolest mom here. Don't be embarrassed." That changed my whole outlook on it. I REFUSE to be a mom that watches from the side lines anymore.

Later Parker told me he thought it was cool that I was climbing the wall and that he was proud of me. He also told me that I was part of the inspiration for him to try it. It was neat to see him go from "There is NO WAY I'm doing that" to "Mom, come here and see how far up I can get."

This is what this journey is all about for me. My coach keeps telling me, "You are a new athlete." Today I finally feel like it. Today I can say, "I am a new athlete" and yesterday as a new athlete I literally went to new heights and brought my little boy with me.

Here I am climbing the wall. I'm giving Cindy a thumbs up as she laid on the floor to take this one. It was so much fun.

Here I am with the birthday boy Jack. He is an awesome kid that met while I was his preschool teacher. We met when he was 5 and he just turned 9. My life has been better since knowing him and his wonderful family especially his mom Cindy.

Don't do more than you have to!

"Don't do more than you have to. Why tire yourself out?"

This was said to me by another swimmer yesterday in the pool at my masters swim class.

I came a little late to my class and my coach gave me my drill. I have bad short term memory, so I asked the swimmer next to me, "It's 200 kick, right?" She said, "Um no, it's 100." But I was pretty sure the coach had told me 200 and maybe she did because I was a little late or because I need more practice than the other lady who knows. That's when she said the comment above.

It was an innocent enough comment. She wasn't trying to have me cheat on my laps or be deceitful. Nothing like that, but that comment really got me thinking.

I have been a person who has always cut corners, procrastinated, and really only did what I had to to get by. "Don't do more than you have to" was pretty much my life motto. I am very creative person, so I could always skim by because whatever I did was still creative, but now I think how much I was selling myself short. I could have done so much more. I could have been so much more productive. I could have accomplished so much more in my life, but I was living the comment, Don't do more than you have to.

As I continued to swim I really thought about the type of person I am becoming and the type of person I want to be. I no longer want to skim by in life. I no longer want to only do what I have to do. I want to be the best mom and wife EVER. I want to be the healthiest I can be. I want to be the best triathlete that I can be. I want to be the best teacher I can be. I want to be the best in all that I do.

Here are some things that I am going to do to become all of those things that I want to become:

-I will make my house a priority. Those of you that know me know that my house is always cluttered. I have a friend that starting helping me last week and will be back this week to continue to help me clean out the junk. Once the junk is cleaned out I will have a routine of cleaning every morning and night to keep it that way.

-I will not spend as much time on the computer (cough cough facebook cough cough) or watch as much TV. Side note: I will not be giving up certain shows, but I will make sure my commitments are completed before watching them. My coach told me recently that Ironman athletes don't watch TV they are out doing something. I want to be an Ironman. I'm not waiting for my Ironman training to start to start acting like one, so I will not be watching as much TV.

-I will not eat for emotional reasons anymore. I have pretty much stopped doing it, but it still creeps up on me from time to time. I have a grief counseling class that I am attending to help me grieve my mother's death, which I never did and I will be starting regular counseling in the next couple weeks. I will not let my mental issues hinder my weight loss journey anymore. Food will not solve these issues. I am committed to hitting these issues head on not matter how hard it is, so that this will not keep me from my health goals anymore. Food does not solve problems.

- I am committing to following through on what professional people ask me to do. I have not been good at going to the doctor on a regular basis and when I have I don't always follow through on what they say. I haven't always listened to what my chiropractor has told me to do. My coach before Bob told me once he was frustrated with me. I was complaining about a pain in my foot. He asked me what has your doctor said. I told him I hadn't gone. He asked me what my chiropractor said and I told him, "To ice it every night." He asked me, "when is the last night you iced it?" I told him, "Three nights ago." He told me that if I am not willing to do what people say why even bother going to them and told me I was not allowed to complain to him unless I was following through on what they were saying. That has stuck with me and I am doing a lot better with this. I just had a physical, which I hadn't had in about 2 years and blood drawn which I hadn't had done in 3 years.

-I am not going to procrastinate anymore (starting tomorrow HAHA). This has been a problem my whole life. I still fall into this problem sometimes, but I am slowly getting better.

-I am committing to not being late anymore. A lot of time my procrastination or my being on the computer causes me to be late, so if I work on those areas I feel this area will get better.

These are the things that I was thinking about for the rest of my swim. In fact at one point I was so deep in thought, while doing the backstroke, that I BONKED my head really hard on the wall. I mean so hard that I got an instant headache. Who would have thought that one comment, "Don't do more than you have to" would have spurred me on so much. I'm glad she said it and I'm glad I didn't listen to her. I will not just do the littlest possible anymore. As the great Dr. Phil would ask, "How's that been working for you?" Not very well, not very well. I'm excited about this next phase of my life.

Oh yeah, just a couple of none deep thought:

I swam in this swim yesterday 1750 yards. That's the farthest I've swam yet. Coach Bob let me know that I swam a 1/2 Ironman distance yesterday. That has me so excited. 25 yards used to be hard and now I can go almost 100 yards without stopping. Go me.

Also, the picture above is the picture of my new goggles. Someone stole my other goggles off a bench in the locker room. I heart my new pair. They are awesome!! And as far as my goggles being stolen, I just figure that person needed them more than me.