Holding my "before" favorite shirt after losing 125 pounds on my journey to better health.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pace myself

I have wanted to share so much of my journey and I need to remind myself that it took me some time to get where I am today and I need to take some time to share with you. With that said I am going to probably slow down on posting my blog and may limit them to just one or two or three (who knows?) a week.  I decided today I wanted to review a little of what I have shared with you and hope that something I have said has ignited a little spark to begin your own journey. I read though the titles of my blogs and decided to review them with a little advice. First came my first post and I was amazed as thousands of you read it. I wanted to remind you that the most important thing you need to do is start. I mentioned about my diet(healthy eating) and exercise. I encouraged you to walk tall, do it for you, have hope, and play at your exercise like you were a child. I shared with you my struggles with fibromyalgia and the steps I had to take to see improvement in my health. I shared with you a lot about my gym experiences and  some idea for movement if you don't like the gym scene. I wrote about the dreaded swim suit pictures and about my beautiful flowered thongs. I cautioned you about watching others do movement that you could do like my sis and I did during recliner Zumba. I told you about my struggle to walk just 342 steps to my mail box and back and that it is very possible to improve if we try. What I really wish and think about a lot is that somewhere in all my ramblings I have been able to give you one thought or the desire to join me on this journey about become more healthy. This blog is to help ME and YOU to continue or begin showing up for life. Thanks for all the wonderful comments so many of you have sent my way.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Childs play.

For the past couple of years I have asked my family for fitness equipment for gifts for my birthday and Christmas. One of the the first gifts I got was a huge exercise ball. The kind you can sit on and do all kinds of good exercises on.  I attempted to try it out for a day or two and looked at all the different pictures of people demonstrating how to do  different things with the ball to strengthen muscles. I sat on it and bounced a little. I laid on it and was immediately rolled to the floor. I just didn't think I could do it.  I put the instructions in a safe place and tucked the ball behind my recliner. One day my grand's came over and spotted that BIG WONDERFUL BALL. Can we try it granny? Can we? Those little ones took that ball and had a blast. Rolling, chasing, bouncing, pushing, kicking, bumping each other, balancing it in the air with their feet,  rolling over it with their bodies, and tossing it back and forth. They would squeal and laugh each time it bumped into them. They did not stop and ask to study the instruction sheet or do the proper movements on the ball- they just played with it.  The ball that I had looked at and decided was to hard to do became their favorite toy!!  As I was thinking about this the other day I realized that I had looked at that ball with the wrong attitude.  I needed to get that ball out and try again. This time looking at it as a BIG WONDERFUL BALL. I did not really have to do the exercises that the little pictures were showing me and I did not need to be perfect in every move. I was holding my self back by thinking I could only use that ball the way its instructions said.  I needed to just play with that ball..... My ball still sits behind my recliner and it still comes out to play with the grand's when they come over but I now know what fun I too can have with that ball.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Don't like the gym? No worries.

I have put a lot of posts about my gym experiences. At the time I started this journey I had to have the structure and the routine of the gym or I would have not done anything. I had to make it the most important thing in my life. To save my life. BUT everyone is different. There are many, many ways of getting the movement our bodies need.  I also walk and get out in the world as much as I can. I need that sun shining on my face. I need to see the flowers and hear the birds. I need to look at the rocks and the mountains around me. I dance to Richard Simmons DVDs sweatin' to the oldies.  The songs are great and I can be out of step and Richard doesn't even care. He just encourages me along. I have tried many things in my home to see what I like. I have played for many hours on a Wii fit that I borrowed from my son. I have stretch bands and exercise ball. My husband has a set of small hand weights that I use. I have little tiny ones from one pound to five pounds. Put them by your favorite chair and work your arms while watching TV. Pace inside your home. Walk around and look out the windows. Just add a little as you can.  I had to find things I liked to do. There are so many ways you can improve your movement and begin to feel better. Even if it is hard for you to stand put on some upbeat music, tap your feet, move your arms, do leg lifts, and stretch. Do all you can to begin on your journey. I never dreamed the wonderful things that have happened to me by just moving a little more each day. They can happen to you too.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

342 steps

Today I walked briskly to my mail box. I counted the steps there and back. 342 steps. Today that seems like almost nothing but two years ago it was like walking a Marathon. I decided that was one thing I could do to get me out of the house and begin walking again. I would have to wrestle with myself most of the day to get me out the door. I remember how far that seemed and how tired it made me. I was so weak that often when I got back I would sit on the porch and rest before climbing up the 3 steps into my house.  It seemed like it took forever but it couldn't have. Only 342 steps out in the beautiful world. Only 342 steps that opened the world to me.   Be sure to check out more about my walking experience under exercise tips...                                                                                  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


One day at a family gathering I mentioned that I need some new Thongs.  There was dead quiet and then everyone started to laugh.  I continued telling them that thongs were very important to me and I  wore them everyday. I really like the flowered ones or if they had a little bling on them. I am also pretty fussy about the feel. This went on for a little while as they continued to stare at me and laugh. They finally figured out what I was talking about. I was informed that the proper words for my foot wear was "flip flops."  Now most of the people of my generation called that kind of foot wear "thongs."  They were a necessary part of my life for a lot of years. It was very difficult to put shoes on. I could not bend over to do it so had to sit and pull my legs up by my pant legs to get them on. My hands do not like to do small tasks and so I struggled with the ties. At the end of the day my swollen feet really did not like shoes.  I began to  wonder "what if" the thongs were part of the problem with the pain in my back, hips, and knees. My good friend FlyLady told me often about wearing my lace up shoes.  She came and stayed at my home with her DH one time and I am sure I laced them up when she was there but went right back to my old faithfuls after she left. I decided I better give good shoes another try. I found out that shoes do make a big difference. After a few days of doing the fight with getting on (oh no!) first sox's then shoes I discovered I did feel a little better. As I began putting them on every day I found that slowly it became easier. My feet hurt less. My back stopped aching. My knees were happy. I was able to walk more and stronger. Don't get me wrong here. I wear my lace up shoes every day now but I also look forward to spring because I can get me some new pretty thongs!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


I have Fibromyalgia. I have chronic carpel tunnel syndrome. I have pronater terres syndrome.  But I refuse to let them have me. Many times I wondered about the impact all the medications I took had on my conditions. Of course I was taking all of them for the Fibromyalgia but I still wondered. I took a lot of pain medication. When I finally hit the bottom and knew changes had to happen I was so terrified of what my body would do off the narcotics. My body had become addicted to the medication and was amplifying my pain for more medication. A very, very dangerous cycle. Hurt take a pill, still hurt, take another pill. I should be dead.  So off I went for 7 weeks of detox, withdrawals, therapy and healthy living. After a few days my little fibro muscles started to settle down and with it that awful deep endless pain. I was feeling better. My mind was clearing and I was feeling a little bit of hope. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was so sick and my body did not want to give up those little pills. It took me over a year to finally feel like maybe this was worth it.  I do not take any medication for pain now. I do not take any of the medications I had for depression. Not even over the counter medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol. Yes, I still have fibro and some of the gifts it brings to my body. I get frustrated when I deal with the fibro fog.(cloudy thinking) I still have achy muscles and jump when someone touches one of the trigger points on my body. I have also learned that IF I do not do some form of exercise for a few days that the deeper pain tries to come for a visit. Only for a day or two though. I will fight as hard as I can to not take him back as a full time roommate. I did not enjoy his company at all.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recliner Zumba

About a year ago I was lucky enough to spend a day with my sister. We live about 300 miles apart so this was a big treat. As we were talking about some of my movement moments I mentioned to her that I was going to a Zumba class. She informed me she had a wii and had a Zumba game. We decided that we would get it going and see how well we could do Zumba. She worked at it and finally figured out how to run the game.  It seemed pretty complicated. We decided to watch for a little while and see how to do it. After about 40 minutes of watching we both started laughing. We realized that we were both kicked back in big soft recliners sipping on our favorite big drinks letting the little Zumba figure on the TV entertain us. That was a fun day but neither one of us got much movement in.  I guess I want to put this on as an example of how many times we just sit back and watch others live the life we wish for ourselves. I also want to remind myself and my sister that sometimes it is okay to just kick back and enjoy the company of someone you love. Love you sis.

Do it for YOU

I have a great friend that I met at the gym.  Sue is about 40 years old, at a very unhealthy weight, has diabetes, and depression.  She does not want to be there. She lives with her parents and has a very tiny athletic mother. Mom decided that the best thing for Sue would be for her to go to the gym. From conversations with Sue it has become a very unhappy home because of mom's goal for Sue.  She walks in the door with her head down, shoulders hunched, and walking very slowly.  She goes to the machines and slowly does a little work. She then goes into the women's lounge and sits. Sometime she cries. She has become friends with many of the patrons and we love her and give her encouragement. She is a beautiful young lady. I wish I could give her a little spark so she would want to do this for herself.  I guess what I want to emphasise is that it has to be YOU who wants this. You have to want it so bad that you are willing to put in the work. No one can do it for you. You can not do it for anyone else. You can have cheerleaders along the way giving you a needed boost but this is a journey you have to do yourself. Sue has got some benefit from going to the gym. She told me the other day with the biggest brightest smile that she had lost a little weight. I saw hope and pride in what she had done. Maybe she will begin to come for herself. I hope so. She deserves it.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Walk tall

Have you ever notice the way people walk? I am a people watcher and the way someone walks can tell a lot about them. Now...have you ever notice how YOU walk.  I was told once that even if you feel terrible and just want to hibernate that if you will hold up your head, straighten those droopy shoulders and walk with purpose and  pride you will begin to feel better. I always try to remind myself that I need to do just that.  One great thing about it is that it burns calories and also gives strength to those back muscles.  I noticed two years ago that I would just kinda shuffle along at a snail pace. I now walk as if I really want to get somewhere.  In my house I walk from room to room with a fast pace and find ways to take a few extra steps. I go back and forth from the laundry room several times instead of piling all the clothes on top of each other in a basket to make one trip. I take several trips to the car to unload groceries. I just look for ways to add more steps to the day. I am so grateful to be able to walk. My mom was a walker and would go for miles.  I must have got that great enjoyment from her. Thanks mom for your example. I wish she was still here to tell her.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Swim Suits

 I decided that I was going to keep track and see if I made progress with this new lifestyle. After I paid a lot of money for my gym membership I realized I had to get a swim suit.  I found a couple that I thought would work. I then in a moment of insanity decided I wanted some "before" pictures in my (gasp) swimming suit.  I also took some picture of myself in the clothes I wore every day. I took front and side shots. I don't know why I didn't take pictures of my behind. I guess I thought that if I ignored it then it didn't exist. I did not take my measurements then. I did them about six months later so don't have that lovely record.  As I lost weight I stashed away a couple of shirts and a pair of shorts I lived in. I looked at those pictures again the other day. I was surprised to see the sad look and the way I held myself. I just looked so defeated. Today one side of me is so happy about the changes I have made in my body and spirit but the other side of me felt so sad for that old me. I remembered how bad I felt and the waves of discouragement that would wash over me. I was drowning. I am so thankful for the many, many people who threw me a life line when I couldn't swim.  We can all be that life line for each other.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I don't really like the word exercise. I like to think of it as movement.  At the gym  the other day I was reminded of something that happened to me when I first began moving again. I was at a local pool and could not climb up the ladder.  When I got in I hadn't checked to see if there was a disabled ramp or gradual stairs that I could go up. I had to climb that little metal ladder. I tried several times and finally was able to heave myself up the three little metal steps.  Of course I had a big pity party and swore I would never go again. What made me remember this was a very harsh, mean comment one of the ladies at the gym uttered to me while we were relaxing in the jacuzzi. She didn't know my history or anything  about me so had no idea that what she said was going  to put me into internal rage. It takes a lot for me to get vocal with someone but  I wish I had have said something. I was just so shocked. Anyway, down at the end of the pool was a dear lady that was having a struggle to get out. She was slowly coming up the steps(not ladder) and pulling with all her might on the rail to be able to make each step. She had two dear friends pushing and pulling her. I looked at her and thought, "good for you, you are fighting a great fight, come back, don't give up."  The women next to me in the jacuzzi muttered to can anyone let themselves get like that?  I was so shocked.  I don't know what battles the lady coming up the stairs has in her life but I know that she has more strength and courage than the lady in the jacuzzi will ever understand. I love to cheer for those who are moving and improving their lives. In Zumba one day I danced next to a lady who was in a wheelchair. She had small hand weighs and worked on her arms and upper body to that wonderful music. She had a great time and so did I. I watched a trainer helping an elderly lady from her walker onto one of the weight machines. I stopped and told her I was proud of her. I like to encourage others because so many have encourage me. These things remind me that there is always hope. Move, just move. Dance, twist, tap your feet, pace while on the phone, stand up and down while watching TV, use cans of soup as weights and lift them while watching your favorite show, toss a Nerf ball up and down in the air, walk a dog, rock up on your toes while pumping gas, walk around the grocery store a couple of times while shopping.  A few extra movements a day can do so much.  Use your imagination anything can be a tool to help you move. The body is a wonderful blessing.  It can repair and become strong.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My diet (healthy eating)

 My very first action for beginning to eat healthy was to get Very Angry. I walked out of the Dr.'s office with diabetic medication, blood pressure medication, and a steroid  inhaler for my asthma.  I had spent thousands of dollars and over a year of my time trying to recover from the bucket of medications I took before I went to the wellness center( a softer word for rehab.)  I bawled and carried on for a couple of days before I could convince myself to find out what and how I could change my situation. Well everything I read said DIET AND EXERCISE!  I just didn't think I could do that. But I had to do something.  I researched the diet that is recommended for diabetics and decided to give it a try. It is a low carbohydrate well balanced diet. I have to confess I had not given carbohydrates much thought.  I had to give up some of my favorite comfort foods because they all contained about a gazillion carbohydrates. I decided to give it a try for a couple of weeks. I  did not follow it perfectly.  I just decided to try one thing as an experiment. I gave up all white starchy foods. Bread, rice, pasta, potato, sugar, and flour.  It was hard but after a couple of weeks my blood sugars began to lower, I felt a little better and I had lost some weight. I still limit white from my diet. Notice I said limit. I still have a little on occasion but crave, yes I said crave whole grains now. I slowly lost about 55 pounds over a year that way. Off all three medications by then. WhooHoo!!!!  After that first loss I got stuck. Nothing happened on the scale for about 8 months. I decided I needed to shake things up a little and so joined Weight Watchers this past July. I could do it on line but I knew if I had to go weigh at a meeting I would make myself follow the plan. When I got going I was surprised(not really) to find that I had slowly began eating more and some of my favorite treats again. I was not being honest with myself and had to admit I was cheating myself. I have done really well with the Weight Watchers plan this time.(notice I said this time)  I follow their plan carefully but I always look for foods that have the lowest carbs. I did try it online with small success. I also tried it about 5 years ago and lost but gained it all back and more. I was just not ready for the life style change that I needed to make. As of today I have lost 115 lbs. I feel so much better both mentally and physically. I know that I need to keep this weight off and it is going to be an ongoing challenge in my life. That is the main reason I am doing this blog for your support to keep me on my journey of health. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Gym

 Survived stregnth and abs today and feel some soreness in my shoulders and back. It is a good pain. I wanted to mention how I commited myself to changing my life.  One day I decided to check out a local gym in town that had a pool. I had researched the gym and saw they offered a water aerobic class at 9 in the morning. I decided to go watch and see what I thought about it. I liked what I saw and on the spot signed up for a 2 year contract. I paid the full amount that day and knew that I had  to prove to my  hubby that it was going to be worth that big expense. I had to commit big and I had a lot of work ahead of me. I did the water aerobic class for a few months going everyday. In that time I became friends with many of the ladies in that class and a couple of us dared each other to try Zumba.  We tried it and we liked it.  We were slower than the young girls, always out of step, but we had a lot of good laughs on ourselves. I was told many times by others that joined that class that when they saw us in there they were brave enough to come in too. I have made a lot of friends. If I could give a word of advice on the gym. If you want to join a gym then investigate. Go watch. Try a class or two. Talk to the members. It is a huge expense and usually a huge time commitment. It is  a different enviroment but if you focus on you then the other stuff is pushed aside. Many city recreation centers offer the same type of classes. Start looking into the options and try them. I never thought I would enjoy zumba, or step, or stregnth and abs. Find activity you like and jump in. I will never be perfect at zumba or even be able to dance the full hour but I can have a lot of fun trying.

Getting started

   I finally convinced myself that I needed to really get serious about reclaiming my life. I was surviving off  a lot of medications I had been on for years. I was not taking the narcotic pain medications that I had been dependent on for 17 years. I was suppose to feel great but I didn't. I was surviving but not really living. I decided that I was going to take about a week and prepare myself and my home for success. I was going to be very serious about this. I told my family that I was going to really get serious and see what I could do. (I am sure they all thought, here she goes again.)  My main focus at this time was to get my blood sugar down and hopefully quit taking the metformin my Dr. had insisted I take.  I spent the week doing research on healthy ways to control blood sugar. I wanted to know for myself what could help.  I learned that diet (healthy eating) and exercise are huge factors in controlling and lowering blood sugar. I tracked my blood sugar levels to see what I was eating that was causing the problems. (Bread, cupcakes, cookies?) I was in denial and had to face the facts I was killing myself. I guess I hit bottom because I just got mad, sad, frustrated, but determined to change.  I heard a little statement one time and it has often reminded me to stick with this. It is... you are digging your grave with a spoon.... I WAS. I had to realize that I was the problem but I could be the solution. Only I could do it. I cleaned out my treats. (of course by eating them) and started to reserch different ways to move that would cause the excess sugar to burn as fuel instead of  joining all my little fat deposits.  I started to walk. I found a pool in my area that offered water aerobic. I just started by starting.... 
     This morning I am going to go to a new class called stregnth and abs. I will probably be the oldest one there. I probably will only be able to do a little of each exercise.  I probably will moan and groan a lot.  I know I will be on the back row. I will also make new friends, learn new movement options, and laugh a lot at myself. I may even have a little fun.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Today I am going to work on putting a few ideas on my exercise tip page.  I know that movement is very important to the health of both body and mind. It was something I really had a struggle with.  I just didn't want to do it. I still  have a stern talk with myself on occasion to convince myself that I really do need to keep moving.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Loved this:  HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper "maybe" when it seems the entire world is shouting"NO!"
I can't believe all of you looking at this blog. I will get going with some ideas in the next few days. I have been thinking about what is the most important thing to tell you. I had to first of all decide I was worth it. I NEEDED TO DO THIS FOR ME. I had to find other motivations to help me along but I often  have a little love fest.  I Think of how I have lived with this body for  years and it is the only body I have. I tell myself I am the most important person in the whole world to ME. My body and brain are fabulous. I am beautiful  but want to feel better. I have to tell my  body that I am going to challenge it, love it, work it, fuel it with healthy foods, and get feeling better. Sometimes my body gets a little sassy and doesn't want to do or eat what I really should but I can usually work though that with a little self talk.  One of my major problems is I "what if?" new adventures to much. What if I am the fattest in this class? What if someone stares at me? What if I am the oldest? What if it hurts? What if I walk with someone and I am to slow or get to tired? To cold, to hot, to crowded, only one there, blisters, sweaty.  I can go on and on. I have had to change my what if to SO WHAT?  I have been the fatest, oldest, slowest, ets. I have not died from any of those what ifs. I have had a lot of fun and made a lot of new friends who have become great supporters for me in my Journey.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

My first post!

This is me today after losing 115 pounds.
After being asked by many of you to share and inspire you on how I did my journey of better health and weight loss/fitness I decided to take a deep breath and jump into the blog scene. I call it a journey because I do not know where we will go with this and what I might say to help you. I do not have any “expert” training and can only tell you what has worked for me. To read the details of the events and challenges that helped me arrive at this new place in my life, "click" on the link for "My Story!" So…If you are interested in some ideas and lots of love and encouragement let’s begin our Journey together.
Laurel Dodge