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.