Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Doesn't Have to Be a Marathon...Just Get Moving!!!

*photo courtesy of Junonia.

If you watch a certain weight loss reality show, you may think that the only way to get the pounds off is to immediately jump into a full-fledged boot camp type workout. More power to you if you can do it this way without getting hurt, but the majority of us are not built to withstand this much pressure on our bodies without bringing on trauma or injury. Seeing someone rushed to the hospital might make for supposed "good" TV drama...but it's not fun for the person in danger and it is not worth risking your life for. Most people do NOT start their fitness programs with a 26 mile bike ride or climbing a mountain.
If you have not exercised in a long time, you need to move into it gradually. Depending on your fitness level, you may need to start out with a brisk walk around the neighborhood...or even a slow stroll if you find yourself out of breath and need to work up to a faster pace. Swimming and yoga are easier on the joints, and you may want to start there if your body is not ready for the pressure of pounding the pavement. I have also found Pilates helpful in strengthening my body, and I will elaborate more on that in another post.
The main idea is to get moving in some way. Exercise is good for your body and mind, whether or not you lose pounds because of it. Chances are you will lose some weight as your body burns more fuel, but what's important is treating your body well, not what size you end up at. Don't expect to be able to run a marathon right away. Do what you can and enjoy the feeling of movement.
Tomorrow is National Dance Day...and I encourage all of you to get up and dance, no matter your size, fitness level, or level of dance experience. Just feel the joy of expressing yourself, and get moving!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Honored To Make The Top 100!!!

I'm excited to share some wonderful news with you. I just found out that my blog made a very special picked their Top 100 Empowering Posts, and my post "Size Does Not Matter" was chosen to be on the list!
All of the posts deal with losing weight in a healthy way and staying positive about yourself and your life journey, and I am honored to be in such good company. If you would like to view the entire list, please go to . My post is listed in the 5th spot under the Self Image section. This site is also helpful if you are thinking about becoming a nurse, filled with information about all of the different categories of nursing, classes, and schools across the country. Please check out the blogs on the list as well as all of the nursing resources available to you.
I am very proud to represent a positive, healthy body image in this group. Thank you to for this great honor, and here's to good health for all of us!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Movie (and Moving) Night on Huge!!!

Tonight's episode of HUGE brought out a lot of emotions for me. Not that it doesn't happen during the other episodes, because it always hits me hard. Movie Night just got to me even more.
Dr. Rand warns the counselors that campers go to the infirmary complaining of a sore throat just so they can get salt, which they then use on their food. To me, it sounds like the camp isn't making the food tasty enough so that they don't miss the salt...and then the kids are treated like criminals for it. She also warns them that they have to watch for couples sneaking off together at Movie Night, because last year a guy and a girl were caught in one sleeping bag together. Sleeping bags are banned this time for that reason. This issue obviously affects teens of all sizes, so it's a great lesson to show.
The girls talk about Hollywood stars in their cabin, and Chloe teases Amber because she still has the hoodie that George let her borrow the day her shorts ripped. Will asks Becca if she's afraid that someone might read her own journal, and Becca tells her she writes in code so nobody can figure it out. Will still doesn't believe that Ian only read the first page of hers, and Becca is feeling guilty that she read the whole thing herself. In the meantime, Ian and Alistair discuss Will and what Ian is going to do. Since everyone is voting on the movie choices, Ian slips a note to Becca to give to Will. When Will reads it, she discovers that Ian wants to write a song with her. When she goes to him, he says that he never wrote anything good before, and he finally did because of her. Now for me, that is an ultimate compliment. I write songs, and I would be honored that something I wrote moved someone that much. Becca doesn't want to get in the middle of Will and Ian, because neither of them know that she read Will's journal. She knows exactly why Will is worried that Ian may have read it all.
Wayne is back to construct the fence, and he and Dr. Rand bond even further. He tells her about Paris, quotes poetry to her, and tells her about a movie that the kids would rather see instead of the lousy choices they were given to choose from. Dr. Rand is just as confused about her feelings for Wayne as the teens are about their relationships. Dr. Rand is even more surprised when she has a conversation with her dad...and he tells her she's beautiful. You can tell that she isn't used to hearing those compliments. I have to admit, that really got to my heart. I'm the same way, and a compliment like that can go a long way in making me feel good. I also know from experience that when I give someone else a compliment like that, it touches them like nothing else can. My advice here: Tell your family, friends, and significant others often how special and beautiful they are. Sometimes we all really need to hear it!
Amber finally gives George back his hoodie, and George goes back to the guys' cabin to give them advice on how to treat girls well, because he's worried that some of them might try the stuff that happened last year. Michael is testing his blood sugar, and knowing that I have to be careful because diabetes runs in my family, I really hurt for him having to deal with it at his age. Ian goes outside to talk to Will when she comes by, and he wants her to help him write a "non-cheesy" love song. She agrees to meet with him later to work on it.
Wayne gives Dr. Rand a copy of the movie that the kids really want to see, "Phantasma". She tells him she wants to be clear where they stand, and Wayne gets mad that she's so defensive. He tells her to see the invoice he left in her office for the fence. Will goes to meet Ian, but as she comes up behind him she can hear what he wrote so far. He's singing about beautiful blue eyes and yellow hair...and Will knows that this song is not about her. It's for Amber. She runs off before Ian even sees her, and I can feel her pain. Even when you become an adult, you never forget that guy you liked...the one you thought liked you back but has fallen for someone else. still hurts thinking about it, even though I've obviously moved on in my life! Everyone knows how this feels.
After Ian says he would like to sit with Amber at the movie, Will also realizes that he didn't read the rest of her journal. He would never have said anything about Amber in front of her if he had, because he's too kind of a person for that. Becca knows how much this hurts Will, but can't help her because that would mean telling Will that she read her journal. Ian has his own feelings hurt as Amber and Michael go off to the movie together, so he goes to the rec center to work on the song. Little does he know that Chloe asked Michael to sit with Amber because she didn't have a "boyfriend"...and that Chloe is expecting Trent to join her at the movie. Trent goes to the rec center to hang out with Ian because he admires his musical talent. He even gives the old drum set a try and jams a little with Ian. As "Phantasma" starts, Chloe is looking around and wondering where Trent is. Michael and Amber sit down next to Sierra, and it's obvious that Michael really likes Sierra. Chloe throws popcorn to get Alistair's attention, and they meet on the side to talk. She admits to him that she was the girl who was caught in the sleeping bag last year, and the guy didn't come back to camp this year. She asks Alistair if she thinks Trent heard about it, and maybe that's why he didn't come to the movie. Alistair says no, but he is so sad for Chloe because she doesn't care that she did that; the guy was popular and they both got something out of it. Alistair goes back to the movie as Chloe cries by herself.
Dr. Rand opens the envelope from Wayne with the invoice, and there is a forget-me-not tucked inside. She leaves the movie, purposely dropping the flower on the ground as she goes. Amber sees Michael take Sierra's hand, so she leaves to take a walk as she's feeling lonely. George is picking up trash around the movie site, comes upon the flower, and picks it up. He goes back to the movie, and he and Poppy talk about all of the angst surrounding them...onscreen and off. Poppy says she thinks she's asexual, because she's never had those kinds of feelings for anyone. Then George notices Amber is missing and goes looking for her. When he finds her, they talk and he can tell she is feeling down, so he gives her the forget-me-not.
Ian walks around outside with his guitar, and Will comes to him saying she got inspired. Actually she wrote down lines from the movie to share with him. They work on it together, and Will really does feel like she's a ghost that Ian looks right through. He tells her he's felt like that so many times, not realizing that this is how Will feels about him. They do agree that romance is a nightmare! Chloe spots Trent after his jam session with Ian, and he seems confused as to why she's there. He thought that their kiss was a one time thing, and didn't realize that she wanted it to be more. She tells him that she wants it to be whatever HE wants it to be. Always the wrong way to go...don't cater to a guy that obviously cares nothing about your feelings just so you can have a boyfriend. Chloe is so desperate for love and acceptance that she'll do whatever everyone else wants...and in doing that she will never make herself happy. Both people in a relationship have to be happy, it's not all one or the other.
As we end the night at the girls' cabin, Chloe is wearing Trent's bracelet, Amber is secretly admiring the flower George gave her, and Sierra is crying because she made out with Michael. She feels like she cheated on her high school boyfriend that took her to prom. What I really love is that all teens face these matter when you were a teen or what size you were, everybody goes through these things. I feel that this show really helps kids figure out things going on in their own lives and makes them more willing to talk about it. Please share your thoughts here, or on my Facebook and Twitter. I would love to know what you've learned so far from Huge!

Diet That Didn't Work #3...Metabolife & Other Diet Pills!

Back in the late 90's, my friend/co-worker Kim and I decided to go on Metabolife together. People who walked into our office could hear us happily chatting away about how much weight we were going to lose and all of the sweet clothes we were going to be able to wear afterward. We were really looking forward to having the results that all of the deejays on our favorite radio stations had with Metabolife. At the time, you couldn't go 15 minutes without hearing the products talked about on the radio, and everyone raved about them.
We both started taking the pills at the same time. Kim began to lose weight rapidly, but my loss was much slower, even though I was following the program exactly the same way she was and we were both exercising. By the end of the month, Kim had lost 20 pounds...I had lost 6. We both kept taking it, because she wanted to lose at least another 20 and I, of course, was trying to catch up to her. Within a couple of weeks I lost 2 more pounds, but Kim started having some problems. Her heart was racing all the time and her pulse pounded in her ears. I will say that I didn't have that happen to me, but I did have trouble sleeping at night because I was still so wound up. She made an appointment to see her doctor, who told her to stop taking Metabolife IMMEDIATELY. A lot of people were having the same problems we were, and these pills were more dangerous than helpful. As soon as Kim told me at work the next day, I stopped taking it as well. I didn't want to have the same thing happen to me.
This didn't stop me from trying other diet pills, however. I tried to reason with myself that it was only this one product that was bad. Well, the real problem was the ingredient ephedra. None of the pills with it were safe. I hopped from pill to pill, but wasn't seeing much in the way of results. I was still laying awake at night because I couldn't calm down enought to fall asleep. I began trying other products that didn't have ephedra but promised the same results. They didn't help me any more than Metabolife did...but one of them gave me the gift of an allergic reaction and a trip to the ER. In the middle of the night I broke out in hives that covered my entire body, my tongue swelled, and my throat began to feel tight. At the emergency room, I was asked what medications I took. I wasn't on any other meds at the time, so I told the doctor about the diet pill. He immediately nodded and told me that he'd seen several people come in already with this reaction that were taking the same product. I promised him at that point that I would not try any more diet pills, and I've kept my end of the bargain. I refused to jeopardize my life any further with these products. (And by the way...Kim's best friend tried Ripped Fuel and wound up passing out at work. She was ordered to stop taking that as well!)
There have been way too many people who died or permanently damaged their health in the quest for that "perfect" body. Don't even think about going that route, because it's not worth it. You are much too precious of a human being to hurt yourself with these products. You are valuable just the way you are right now, and if you want to be healthy start eating nutritious foods and getting some exercise. Your body will find the weight that's right for you...and remember that God never meant for all of us to be exactly the same size. Be the best YOU that you can be, and do it the proper way!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diet That Didn't Work #2...Nutrisystem

Doesn't the Nutrisystem food look so good in the commercials? You would think they were prepared by a gourmet chef. I know when I decided to try the program a couple of years ago, I was looking forward to the meals...especially because all of the people in the testimonials couldn't stop bragging about how delicious everything is. I thought it was a win-win situation, that I would be able to eat food that tasted good and was healthy for me...and lose weight. Plus, it would be easy to follow since I wouldn't have to plan recipes and menus to cook myself. All I had to do was warm up prepared foods...which was very welcome with my busy schedule.
When the box arrived, I was sure that there were a couple of other boxes missing somewhere at UPS. There was no way that a month's worth of food could fit into this one box. WAS the entire month's supply of food, plus the one "free" week of meals that I was promised upon signing up. It was like taking apart a puzzle getting all of the meals and snacks out, and a few of them were smashed...most likely in the attempt to make it all fit. I checked off the list and everything was there. It was obvious that the portion sizes were EXTREMELY small. I got everything ready to try the next morning.
I started on a Sunday with breakfast. The muffin caused a burning sensation all the way down my throat and into my stomach. It was very dry, and even after I tried to wash it down with black coffee I could feel crumbs still stuck in my throat. I drank a lot of water, which is a good thing, but at that point it was mostly to make the muffin go down. The rest of the day's meals did not go much better. Everything was SO salty, which I couldn't imagine was very healthy for me. I most certainly did not feel satisfied after eating, but I was determined to stick with it...thinking that I just had to get used to the food and it was an "acquired" taste.
On Monday morning I ate a different muffin, and I had the same burning sensation as I did the day before. Nothing improved. I went to work carrying my Nutrisystem lunch and a bottle of water. All morning at the office I felt lightheaded because that muffin was so small and I was starving. The serving size was one muffin, and I didn't want to overeat on the plan and run out of food too fast. By lunchtime I was ravenous. You know those old cartoons where the character is so hungry that he starts imagining his friends look like a big, juicy chicken leg? I was starting to think that cannibalism wasn't such a bad idea. I warmed up my special lasagna in the microwave and settled in to eat it. The taste was so bad that I almost threw up after a couple of bites. I choked the rest of it down, since it was the only thing I had to eat. There wasn't enough water in the world to wash that taste out of my mouth.
After another disgusting little meal at dinner, I decided that I was not going to last on this plan. If the food was making me ill as I ate it, how would I ever be able to stick to it? I packaged everything back up just the way the instructions said to, used the special return label and waited patiently for my refund. Two weeks later...another box of food arrived at my door. Nothing was ever mentioned about the return I made, so I called and spoke to someone at Nutrisystem. She apologized and told me to send the second box back as well, and she would make sure the charges were taken off my credit card. I did...and two weeks later ANOTHER box of food was at my door! I called my credit card company, who said that the first two boxes were not taken off the card. I was able to file a dispute with the credit card company and the third box was taken off. I was told that I would have to get Nutrisystem to remove the other charges. I called them again, and was told that the lady I spoke to the first time no longer worked there. (Isn't that what always happens?) This new lady told me she made a note not to send any more boxes to me and the charges would be removed.
The food stopped coming, but the charges were never removed. To this day I'm out $580.00 from Nutrisystem, even though I've tried calling, writing, and e-mailing. And even though they promised full refund, I tried to bargain that if they deducted the 2 days of food I actually ate and reimbursed me for the rest that I would be fine with that. Nope...I didn't get one cent back from them. To only make me angrier, I kept receiving "We Miss You!" postcards in the mail from them asking me to join again. Talk about nerve!
So buyer beware: don't kiss your money goodbye for lousy food. And don't believe the pretty pictures. Just like in cookbook photos, food stylists are used to make the food look its best. Most of the time it isn't even the actual food being photographed...they use other products that look like the food, such as shaving cream in place of whipped cream. It's like having an artist "sculpt" food, just as pictures of models are photoshopped. Really look into any product you're thinking of trying. I would NEVER recommend Nutrisystem to anyone, ever!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Diet That Didn't Work #1...Atkins

***photo courtesy of
Diets do not work. This is the cold, hard truth. How many strange diet plans or products have you tried on your quest for the "perfect" body? I'm going to share some of mine with you...starting today with the Atkins Diet.
I tried Atkins a few years ago on the advice of a friend. He lost 40 pounds following the plan and could not stop talking about how wonderful it was. This friend went to school with my husband and I've known him for many years...and knowing that he is a very intelligent guy, I decided to try it for myself. We were all on vacation together, so I started it the day after I got back home. I read every book I could get my hands on about Atkins and shopped very carefully for the right foods. I exercised 3 times a week in addition to following the plan. I even stuck to the diet on a weekend in West Virginia later that summer...which was very difficult with the types of foods available.
I ate enough meat and cheese to feed a third world country for months. I did eat plenty of veggies, but stayed away from the fruit because supposedly the natural sugars would screw up the plan. It was so hard to spend a summer avoiding fresh fruit, which was plentiful and looked so good at BBQ's and summer parties. I kept wondering why fruit was a bad thing, but I stayed faithful to the diet. I bought the special Atkins shakes, bars, and candies which were formulated to be low carb and OK to consume.
I did lose 16 pounds on the Atkins Diet...but not as fast as was promised. It took almost 3 months to lose that much, and during the last month I was on it I didn't lose anything even though I still stuck precisely to the plan. I upped my weekly exercise thining it would help, but still the scale did not budge. I decided in September that I would allow myself a piece of cake at my son's birthday party, since I wasn't losing anymore weight on the diet anyway. Once I had that first serving of sugar, I could not stop. For the next 3 weeks after the party I ate huge amounts of cake, breads, and other sweets. I binged on pizza, because I had missed it during my Atkins phase. I actually didn't gain any weight back during that time...but after those 3 weeks the pounds came back on, and they brought their friends to stay.
So...what did I accomplish by following the Atkins Diet? I initially lost weight but put even more back on, wasted a ton of money on specialty Atkins products, denied my body the nutrients that come from fruit and other foods, and ate way too much fat in the form of meat and cheese. I also can truly say that my sugar addiction became much worse after the diet than before. I've always loved sugar, but never consumed it in the quantities that I did after Atkins. I would have been much better off eating a balanced diet and having an occasional sweet treat..and would have been less likely to binge on candy and cake.
I'm finally just getting to the point where a single serving of something sweet satisfies me...and it's been 8 years. Following this diet only set me back in learning to eat properly to fuel my body. The initial weight loss is not worth the damage to your health...stay far away from this plan!

Monday, July 19, 2010

HUGE Talents...and Journals!

I love that we're getting deeper into what makes all of the characters tick as the show goes on...and you always bring out the best and worst of everyone when you have a talent show! Chloe and Amber practice their dance to "Baby Got Back", and of course this leads to them arguing about whose butt looks better. After they leave the cabin, Becca tells Will that she and Chloe were really close friends the summer before...then Chloe got popular and suddenly Becca wasn't "cool" enough for her. Have you been there? I know I have! It hurts when friends betray you, and it doesn't matter if you're thin, heavy, tall, hurts no matter what. How have you dealt with a friend like that? Chloe's story to Amber is that Becca got jealous of her, but with the way Chloe acts you can tell that 's not the case.
Shay talks to Poppy and George about the new chef, wondering why Dr. Rand hired him when she recommended a chef to her that specializes in healthy recipes. She goes to confront Dr. R, but walks in on a conversation where she figures out that Chef is her dad. She covers by saying she wanted to tell Dr. R that Will is planning on doing an impression of her for the talent show, and takes off without ever saying anything else. A gentleman named Wayne comes to survey the property line, because the tennis camp director sent him. Dr. Rand doesn't trust him, so she walks it with him. They end up talking a lot and he tells her that a "talent" used to be a measure of weight a long time ago. He tells her that the wooded area is her property, but it could be considered a common usage area because there are no signs posted. She thinks he's blaming her for that and gets angry.
Everyone is deciding what they want to do for the talent show, and Alistair decides to make use of the camp's magic kit. Ian wants to write and perform a song, but he's nervous about performing it in front of everyone. I feel so awful for Sierra, who keeps asking to join people's groups for the show and keeps getting turned down. (She winds up performing with Poppy the counselor.) You can see the difference between Amber and Chloe here, because Amber is about to include her while Chloe tells her no in a bratty way.
While everyone is discussing favorite comfort foods and their talents, Will discovers that her journal is missing. She races back to the cabin but it's not there either. She's freaking out, telling Becca that if anyone ever read what she wrote in it she would die. She has come to love writing in the journal but is not ready to share it with anyone. Becca tries to help her find it, even lying to Shay that she's missing swimming because she's practicing for the show...a dance to "Baby Got Back". (Nice quick cover!) Ian and Alistair are doing their laundry and come upon a journal. They don't know who it belongs to because there's no name in it, but Ian sees the poem on the first page as he looks for a name and he is really moved by it. Alistair makes him quit reading it and they take it to Lost & Found.
Amber and Chloe tell Trent and his friends about their dance, and Chloe's camera winds up broken. Chloe wants to use Amber's but she says she lost her camera, so they head to the Lost & Found to look for it. They see the journal and begin reading it...Becca comes upon them and yells at them for violating someone's privacy and snatches it away. Amber's conscience gets to her and she's sorry she read the journal, but Chloe doesn't care. She finds a camera and hands it to Amber. They head back to watch TV with Trent and company...a Bachelor-type show called "Love Handles". The girls love it, but then the guys decide later that they will perform a spoof of the show as their talent. Becca puts the journal on Will's bed, but then she can't resist reading it herself. When Will comes back she thanks her for finding it, praying that nobody read it. Now Becca feels guilty as well.
Dr. Rand is seen at a group meeting in looks like a weight loss support group, and she shares her feelings about her dad, the property line, and eating that muffin. This is's important to know that even adults have to deal with self-esteem problems and other issues. It's not just the kids!
Ian is still nervous about his song, but Will tells him to just act like he's performing it for her to calm him down. Dr. rand starts the evening by telling Wayne's story about the meaning of "talent". As the show starts, Sierra says that the camera Amber has is hers. Chloe insists that it's not, but Sierra proves it by a sticker that her sister put on the bottom of it before she came to camp. Chloe is upset that Amber lied, and their act breaks up before they even get to perform. When their music comes on, Shay nudges Becca and tells her that's her song...get up and go! Becca dances really well while one of the guys sings the song. She really pulled that one off well! Chloe is so upset that she falls into Trent's arms. He holds her and they wind up kissing. She then helps him and the other guys get into makeup and costumes for their little spoof. Alistair is on stage and he messes up his magic...but thinks quickly and turns it into a comedy act. Everyone loves it! Finally it's time for Ian's song. He says he was inspired by a poem he read, and as he sings Will realizes that he read her journal and she runs off. She never gets to do her impression of Dr. Rand after all.
Chloe and Amber make up when she apologizes for lying about the camera. She admits that she's never owned nice things like that and was embarrassed. Chloe tells her all about kissing Trent. Ian finds Will, but they get into a fight. I have to admit, when I was a teenager if someone had read my journal I would have been just as upset. Those thoughts are only for sharing when you're ready, and if you don't want to share they are for your eyes only.
Wayne brings some no tresspassing signs for Dr. Rand and puts them up, saying that as far as he's concerned they were always there. She apologizes for getting angry with him, and he offers to help with some other things at the camp. Looks like we'll be seeing more of him around!
It's nice to see not just size issues being dealt with on the show...we get to see issues that teens and adults have to feal with at any shape or size. I can't wait to see what happens next week! What are your thoughts on tonight's episode?

What Helps You Avoid a Binge?

Let's face it...people of all shapes and sizes binge at times. The stereotype is that plus-sized men and women are the ones who drown their sorrows in ice cream, fast food, chips, and pizza. The reality proves, that binging is not limited to those above a certain size. Anyone who breaks up with his or her significant other, loses a job, or has to deal with a family member's illness can be prone to bouts of binge eating. The tragedies and stresses of life do not only happen if you wear a double-digit size. In fact, the slender binge eaters are less likely to think it's a problem, since the results don't always show up on their hips because of their metabolism.
It is not good for you to binge, no matter your size. Just because you are thin doesn't mean that you aren't stressing your body with these food fests, and on the other hand just because your natural body size doesn't allow you to fit into a size 6 dress doesn't mean it's OK for you to eat unlimited quantities of food at a sitting. It messes with your metabolism and other bodily functions, and too much sugar, salt, or anything is not healthy for your body. Moderation is the way to go in all things.
Now, what if you usually use food to cope with stress? What can you do instead to deal with it in a healthier way? Find something non-food related...go for a walk, go dancing, read, or talk to a friend. Something that always works for me is writing it all out. I write poems and songs, or find a way for one of my characters to work out stress on paper. You can also write it down...even if you don't write for a living like I do, start a journal and write your feelings in it. It doesn't have to be something for anyone to read except you, unless you wish to share it. That way you can say whatever you want and get it all out without worrying that you will offend someone. Once it's all on paper you will feel better and probably won't feel like eating the junk anymore. Writing it down may also help you find a solution to your problem or find a new way to deal with old hurts.
Think before you grab that food and start digging in. You are a wonderful person and worth treating your body well. If you have techniques to help you deal with stress that work for you, please share them here. Size does not matter...but health does. Find a way to do what's right for your body and treat it well. You deserve it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

In Memory of Carla...

It's been a week since my friend Carla passed away...but I didn't know about it until Sunday. You see, I hadn't talked to her in a few years. I used to see her all the time when I was an office manager at my old job, but it's been 5 years since I worked there. I saw her a few times at first after I left the office, but then we all got busy with life and other things and it was way too long.
She had lung cancer, and by the time she found out it was too late for the treatments to work. She found out in June and passed away last week. She was only 50 years old and leaves behind a wonderful family, including an adorable little granddaughter. By the time I found out, I wasn't even able to attend her funeral and see her one last time...but I've been thinking about her ever since. I remember the times we were at events together and when she helped us run the bowling tournaments, and it makes me laugh when I think about all of the places we visited together as part of the group that went to the convention every March. Carla had the best sense of humor, and she was one of the kindest people I ever met. We had so much fun togther, and I wish all that time hadn't gone by without seeing her. I especially wish I'd known about her cancer so I could visit her while she was still alive.
Carla's death has only driven this point home further for not waste your time here on earth. None of us know exactly how long we will be here, so we have to make the most of it. Although Carla should have taken better care of herself (she was a heavy smoker), she definitely lived the time she had to the fullest. Don't take time with your family and friends for granted, enjoy every single moment. This also reminds me...I heard Brad Paisley's song "Letter to Me" yesterday, and the line "Go and hug Aunt Rita every chance you can" really hit me. I haven't visited MY Aunt Rita in quite a while, and I need to go see her while it's still possible. Please my friends, don't dwell on the superficial things in out what really matters!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pull Away From The Dock And Set Sail!

Do you ever feel like you just need to retreat from the world? Do you stay in your house and hole up in your room, dreaming and wishing for a better life?
A lot of us do this or have done it in the past, while also possibly filling up on junk food or watching endless television to pass the time so we don't have to think about our feelings. Going into this dream mode on occasion is good for us. Sometimes it leads to figuring out what we want to do with our lives or how to deal with a sticky situation. The problem comes when we do this all the time. If this is what you do day after day, you are only numbing are not really living.
I speak from experience. I've had periods of time in my life when I stared at the screen and ate candy or ice cream to make myself feel better. Most of the time I barely tasted the food, I just ate it as fast as I could, trying to fill up an empty hole inside of me. I didn't go out of the house very often to do anything. I felt like I couldn't go out and do certain things until I reached my "dream weight". It took a long time, but I finally discovered that food was not going to fill that hole, and neither was TV. I needed to work through my emotions and figure out what I needed to do to make my life better. I started by being conscious of what I was putting into my mouth, and now when I do decide to have a sweet treat I concentrate on actually tasting and enjoying it. I find that when I'm actually present while eating, I no longer feel the need to go overboard with food because I'm enjoying the portion that I have.
Also, when I do my thinking and dreaming now, I make it a constructive time. During this time I get ideas for my writing and set plans in motion to get things done. It's no longer just wishful thinking...I use my thoughts to propel my life forward instead of just dreaming it away. You do have to stop and think about where you're headed sometimes, but you also have to balance that with actually DOING. And I no longer feel that I have to be a certain weight or size to get out and do stuff. What joy and freedom there is in this!
Here is my advice for anyone who is still out there sitting around and letting life pass them by: Take the time to think through what you want to do with your life. Write down the things you are good at, and also those things that you've always wanted to try but haven't yet. Make a plan around this list, and get out there and try something new. Figure out the first steps that you need to make something happen and then GO DO IT. Get off the couch or out of bed and start actually living. Those first steps will lead to further steps and before you know it, you will be enjoying your life. Just like a ship is not meant to stay tied to the dock, you are not meant to stay attached to your sofa. Unhitch yourself now and set sail on a fulfilling life!

Monday, July 12, 2010

HUGE Goes Larping!!!

How would you like to go larping? What's that? Did you say that you have no idea what that is? I didn't know either...until tonight's episode of Huge. More on that in a minute.
The girls' OVERLY chipper counselor Poppy wakes them up in the morning with a little that I'm sure would be more appreciated by pre-schoolers. For those of you who don't know me personally, I am usually in a positive mood and look on the bright side of things. However, even I would want to wring Poppy's neck if she woke me up that way. All of the sleepy campers meet outside to recite the daily affirmation with Dr. Rand. At this point, Ian is informed that since he is Alistair's friend he needs to tell him how bad his body odor is and that he needs to take a shower. Becca is really into larping and tries to get everyone to go. She talks Will into inviting Ian and Alistair. Will takes a walk with Ian and they wind up talking about a girl that broke his heart. They also discuss Alistair's problem, and Will says if it were her she would want to know. Do you know anyone with a body odor problem? As everyone at the lunch table makes fun of Alistair without him knowing, I think of a family I personally used to know very well, and they all had this problem. People would talk behind their backs, drop hints to them, or even comes right out and tell them they smelled. For all of the time that I knew them, they never did anything about it. I'm not sure if they just didn't care or if they kept doing it to spite the people who said something. What would you do if this were a friend of yours?
Becca, Will, Ian, and Alistair all meet in the woods for larping. LARP stands for Live Action Role Playing, and it's a cross between improvisational theater and game play. Becca comes up with a storyline that she wants to act out, but while the 4 of them are there, 3 kids from the tennis camp show up. Will knows one of them, Brad, from school. She tells Becca later during yoga that he's made her life hell since 8th grade. (Funny, that sounds like someone I knew in 8th grade...who did that to me! I bet you can relate as well!) They all make fun of everyone's weight and wind up chasing them back to Camp Victory. Will feels awful because they ran away, and hatches a plan to get back at them by having everyone at camp come larping with them next time. Becca is glad Will is helping recruit people, but is also starting to feel uneasy that Will is changing the storyline to suit her.
Ian goes to trainer/counselor George to ask advice about confronting Alistair. George says he will deal with it, but then Ian thinks it might be better coming from him. They are both unsure of exactly what to do. In the meantime, Amber and Chloe discuss Trent. Trent always keeps staring at Amber, but Chloe has a huge crush on him. Have you ever been there? You like a guy who doesn't even know you exist, but he's all gaga over another girl. It probably messed with your self-esteem, but this happens all the time. It's nothing personal, even though it feels like it at the time.
Shay talks to Dr. Rand about the upcoming campfire. Shay wants her to tell special capmfire stories like Lorraine, the former camp director, used to do. Dr. Rand is intimidated by everyone telling her how much they loved Lorraine and how much they miss her. You can tell she feels that she doesn't measure up. So Dr. Rand is thin now...but she is still having those self-esteem issues. Back at her cabin, she talks to her dad about it and prints out a story she found on a website. The next day, she sees Becca's larping posters and tells her that the area they are using is off limits to campers. Will says they should still go secretly so they can carry out her plan. Becca isn't too sure about this. Dr. Rand calls the director of the tennis camp and leaves him a message. Later they argue about which camp owns the wooded property. They obviously have both already known each other for a long time...I'm sure we'll find out more about this soon!
In the camp circle, Alistair speaks about losing weight. (No one has talked to him about the body odor yet.) He can't imagine what it would be like to be thin, and he questions if it will really change anything. It's true...we all still have problems to deal with whether we are slender or heavier, but we need to look within ourselves to handle this. Losing weight is for health reasons, and will not magically solve everything in your life overnight.
Will leads everyone out for the larping session, but Becca hides from her and doesn't want to participate now. Amber and Chloe make fun of it, and Becca finally gets mad. She gets her costume on and goes out to the woods. Then Chloe decides she wants to check it out. Finally Amber can't resist her curiosity, and she heads out. On the way she runs into the tennis kids, and they mistake her for another tennis camper. Amber is flattered that they don't look at her as one of the "fat" camp kids, and she plays along to fit in. When they come upon the Camp Victory group, they begin making fun of everyone again, and Amber doesn't know what to do. Becca stand up to them, and the whole group keeps chanting until they walk away. When one of the boys outs her, Amber is also ridiculed by the tennis kids. Dr. Rand finds them and sends them all back to their cabins until the campfire, and Becca is in big trouble. Becca and Will fight about the whole scenario.
Before the campfire, George finally talks to Alistair about the smell situation. Alistair admits that he is embarrassed, because all of the guys shower together. How sweet is George...he takes Alistair over to the showers so he can get clean by himself and stands guard. Dr. Rand tells him to get to the campfire, but he doesn't tell her why he's by the showers because he promised Alistair he wouldn't tell anyone. At the campfire, Amber and Chloe talk. Amber says she's flattered by Trent, but doesn't like him in that way and Chloe should go for it. Chloe goes over to talk to Trent and things seem to be going well. Will is still upset and goes to talk to Becca. Becca says she's always been afraid to speak up because she thought it wouldn't come out right or nobody would listen. She admires Will for being so bold. Do you ever feel afraid to speak up? I used to feel that way all the time, and occasionally still do...but I've really been finding my voice, through my writing and in public. If you feel this way, take a step of faith and stand up for yourself. You will be SO glad you did!
It's finally time for the campfire story. Dr. Rand starts out being very uncomfortable, but then makes a decision. She doesn't tell the story. She passes out the papers to everyone, tells them to rip them up, and pass them around to each other. Then everyone is to raise their white paper as a surrender, to stop attacking other people and themselves. Each camper throws the paper into the fire and says "I surrender" except for Will...she stuffs hers into her pocket.
It is time for all of us to surrender to that pressure that we put on ourselves and each other to be perfect. We are all human, so perfection is not going to happen. We will all be the best we can be, but we will sometimes make mistakes. That's what being human is. Let's all embrace each other, assets and flaws, and support each other!

How Do You Live Huge?

I have a question for do YOU live huge? This does not necessarily mean being "plus sized" are you living your live to the fullest, no matter what your circumstances?
I spent the weekend having a blast, having fun with family and friends. We played cornhole at a graduation party, and this is the best I've ever done at it. I didn't feel self-conscious and really got competitive with it. It was so much fun to really let go and live in the moment. That's something I get better at every in the moment without letting other thoughts keep my mind from the present.
Tonight is a new episode of Huge on ABC Family, and I can't wait to see what happens next. I will post about it after the show again, but in the do YOU live huge???

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Size Does Not Matter -- Neither Does Age! Get Out There And Live!

I am so happy that the new show Huge is getting teens to talk about their feelings and self-images. It's very important to me that the guys and girls that are growing up now get a better handle on these issues than a lot of us did growing up. I can only say that I wish there had been a show like this when I was in high school, because I think I would have found myself a lot sooner and not wasted so much time being so hard on myself.
I also want to address women like me...who were raised in a time when there were not size acceptance groups and the ONLY message being thrown at us was that we were not OK the way we were. We've had years and years of hating our bodies, thinking we were awful people because we weren't size 8 or below, and having people afraid to be our friends or significant others because they felt they they would be ridiculed for loving us the way we are. We've wasted so much time stressing about our bodies that could have been better used helping others and accomplishing our passions and dreams.
I want to tell all of my sisters out there that it is NOT too late...start loving yourself again now, exactly the way you are at this very minute. Enjoy each moment and be present in what you are doing, without obsessing about your size when you should be living what is right in front of you. I enjoy my time with family and friends, and also pursuing other actvities, even more now that I give myself to the moment and fully engage in what is going on around me. No thinking about size or bad hair days, just really letting go and living. Try's quite freeing and you will enjoy life much more!

Monday, July 5, 2010

HUGE Delves Further...What Are Your Feelings?

In tonight's episode of Huge, we get to know the campers a little better...and the counselors as well. As the teens write home, Amber's letter becomes ten pages long. She says it's just she and her mom at home and they are more like sisters. Then we see Dr. Rand and her dad at their cabin. It finally dawns on me that he is the new chef. I didn't make the connection last week, as I was so engrossed in the other aspects of the show. It seems the doc has a hard time letting her mom know that her dad is there with her. I'm sure we'll find out more about their family situation as time goes on, but Dr. Rand keeps writing e-mails to her mom, and then deleting them without sending. Isn't it amazing how our families can do a number on us, even if they don't mean to?
Will takes one of the others' magazines and destroys it, because she hates the way everyone in that magazine is made to look perfect. She puts up her own drawings of full-figured girls and Botticelli-type women. Referring to Amber's pictures, she tells her that these are her "fatspiration". How do you feel about this? I myself used to put up the kind of pictures that Amber did, but now I find myself pulling out photos of realistic looking women and role models of all sizes. I'm not like Will is at this point where she claims she wants to be fatter...I have already incorporated healthy habits into my lifestyle and lost some weight. For me, it's about trying to be the best me that I can, and not trying to live up to the impossible figures that are shown in most magazines. What is your take on the magazine industry, and the images they present?
I cringe when I hear trainer Shay tell everyone that they run faster when they see an ice cream truck. How degrading and demeaning...and what a stereotype. It's also awful when the campers get packages from home and they are searched for any food. I know I would feel like I was in prison instead of camp! Then we meet new camper Danielle...and her entire family. Dr. Rand tells her that they should leave and give Dani some room to adjust to camp, but they continue to follow her around everywhere. Counselor Poppy is still annoyingly perky, but I love how she pulls the girls aside to get them to welcome Dani and include her in their activities. Amber sees Dani's little sister examining herself in the mirror, just the way Amber does. It gets to her, and to me as well. I admit that I still catch myself doing that every once in a you? It's a hard habit to break, that's for sure.
The nice trainer, George, tells everyone that Shay will be teaching basketball and he will be handling circuit training, and they can choose which one they want to do. Amber is first in line for George, which is to be expected since she has such a crush on him. Most of the kids also go over to George, because they're sick of nasty Shay and also afraid of her. I'd be in line for George too. He trains without putting everyone down...that's a REAL trainer! Of course, Shay comes over to choose people to go with her, since they can't all go with George. She also informs George that Amber's name is not Sandra.
Will and Becca talk as they get ready for basketball. Dr. Rand also comes by to get Will to finally write to her parents. Will doesn't want to. Quite ironic that the doc wants Will to get in touch with her parents, but she can't communicate with her own mother. (hmm...) Basketball does not go well, and Trent freaks out almost as much as Shay, since he's really into sports big time. Later on he writes to his mom that without sports he doesn't know who he is. Dr. Rand also tells Dani's parents again that they need to leave, or else Dani will feel that her family thinks that she can't do this. Dani is actually starting to make friends, but clams up when her parents are around. Dani's story hits really close to home for me. I've mentioned before that I was the only child, and my parents were very overprotective of me. They thought they were doing the right thing, but I wound up being so afraid to try things because of it. Dani's parents are doing it out of love as well, but it's too much. Dr. Rand is not forceful enough with them, and they always talk their way into staying. Perhaps they remind her of her mom?
George catches Amber waiting in line to call home. He feels awful for calling her by the wrong name all of this time and wants to apologize. She loses her place in line, so he secretly gives her his cell phone so she can call her mom. It's obvious that her mom is lonely without her and has some of her own issues going on. When Amber goes to give George back his phone, they talk about her mom a little. George is starting to have feelings for Amber too, but seems afraid to show it. Dr. Rand meets her dad in the kitchen where he is experimenting with recipes for healthy muffins. He wants her to try one, but she tells him that she never, ever eats anything after dinner...not even a bite. She takes the muffin back to her cabin and places it by the computer as she tries to e-mail her mom again. She deletes once again, and when she looks over the muffin plate is empty. She ate it without even realizing it...I'm sure she probably doesn't even remember the taste. I think we've all found ourselves there...mindless eating, not really enjoying our food. I know I have, and I try to be more conscious and really enjoy the moment when I'm eating.
Will says she's sick the next day and skips basketball. She comes out of the bathroom to find Dani's mom making the beds. She looks at Will's drawings and says that Will's parents must be proud that she is so talented and creative. Will tells her that her family is not like that, and I hurt for her. She tries to write home, telling her parents that she likes camp but also that they treat her like she's not good enough for them because she's not thin. She tears up the letter, just like Dr. R deletes her e-mails. Dani's family walks Will down to basketball, and Will makes a basket. Dani's parents cheer her and everyone else on, and it's a good feeling for all of them that don't get the support from their families. Dani's parents are really good people...they just have to find that balance between support and overprotection.
Dani suddenly has a breakdown that night...all of her new friends really thought she was doing well. Her parents take her home because she can't handle camp. Of course, if they had stopped hovering around her she might have had a chance to adjust better. The girls are sad to see another friend go so soon...especially Amber, since she had started to bond with Dani just before that. Dr. Rand finally e-mails her mom, but makes no mention of her dad being there with her. Her dad, the chef, sees Will on the basketball court at night practicing, and he gives her pointers. Will is actually enjoying herself!
I love seeing how the characters' walls are starting to break down, and we get to see what makes everyone tick. I know they help me discover more about myself, and I'm guessing that they do the same for you. We all have to look within ourselves to see what makes US tick. Think for a while...what did you learn about yourself while watching the show? I would love for you to share your thoughts. Please share whatever you are comfortable with, but don't hold those other feelings inside. Write them down in a journal or notebook for yourself, to help you understand yourself better. Let me know how you live HUGE!!!

Independence & Peace (With Yourself!)

Yesterday was we celebrated Independence Day for our country and prayed for peace all over the world. Of course this is so important, and I am extremely proud to be an American. God bless all of the troops who sacrifice for us and the leaders who work hard to make the world a better place.

I've also been thinking about the subjects of peace and independence in another way. Do you remember the hymn that goes "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me"? This is so true. We have to be at peace with ourselves so we can spead that joy and peace among our families, friends, and the rest of the world. Are you at peace with who you are...body, heart, mind, and soul? Keep reminding yourself that you are a wonderful person that has been created by God, and you are a blessing to those around you. You have your unique beauties, talents, and thoughts which are all an important part of life on earth. Always remember that!

You must declare your independence...from trying to fit into a certain image created by society and the media. You know deep down who you are supposed to be. God has always known what He wants for you. He doesn't not want us all to be cookie cutter images of each other, or all do exactly the same things on this earth. Wouldn't the world be boring if we were all like perfect little dolls? The variety God created is much more interesting! You must still take care of the body that God gave you, but He has many purposes for each of us...and they don't all revolve around being a certain size. Pray and follow your heart. This will lead you on the correct path for you.

Remember to tune in to ABC Family tonight at 9 PM for Huge. I will be posting about it a couple of hours after the show, and would love to know your thoughts as the characters move further along in their journeys...and also how this is helping you on your own journey. Live huge!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Summertime...Loving Berries Is Easy

I love being able to have fresh fruit in the summer. My mom's favorites were peaches, nectarines, and cherries. I do like all of those, but what I love the most are strawberries and blueberries. I just picked up some fresh berries yesterday, and they are on sale right now because everyone is making their red, white, and blue 4th of July desserts with them.
I prefer mine with either some Cool Whip on top or mixed into Greek yogurt. Of course they are also great on my cereal, but on the days I'm not indulging in a decadent treat (everything in moderation!) this takes care of my sweet craving. I get plenty of vitamins and other nutrients from the berries, plus it's a lighter I don't have to wait as long to go swimming or play tennis after I eat them. The more time to enjoy summer activities, the better!
Remember to take advantage of the season's fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when they're on sale. Berries freeze well too, so you can use them later in smoothies and other desserts. Also take advantage of the beautiful weather to enjoy your favorite sports and activities. Don't let summer pass you by...enjoy every moment you can and love life!