Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weight loss Wednesday - Let's Start the Journey Together!

I have decided to publicly share my weight loss journey with all of you.  I decided to do this so that,
  1. I could create a safe place where others can come together to help each other with sharing their story, their progress, their tips an tricks, their recipes, and their journey as well as me sharing mine.
  2.  I want to create a place for me to be accountable for my food and life choices.  I feel this is necessary for me to change eating habits and essential for me to make a huge lifestyle change.
  3. I want to inspire others and I do not think I can do that without sharing 100% of my life with other. The ups and downs, the failures and the success. 
  4. I want to make a place for sharing goals, and create a place where we can challenge each other, encourage each other, cheer for each other.

I asked myself, how can I make such a place? Here is what I came up with.
Every Wednesday is Weight Loss Wednesday here on my blog.  What exactly does that mean?
  1. 1.     First is a full reveal my entire week with you.  I will keep a weight loss journal.  I will put the whole week of my journal entries up here.  This includes all of my feelings, tracking my workouts, tracking my eating, tracking my health and how this is affecting my health issues.  
  2. 1.     Every week I will take weight loss pictures.  They will be of me in my under things.  I find this embarrassing, but I am hoping that this will keep me accountable because I know the world will be able to see what I have done to my body and how I am changing to fix it.  By doing this I hope to inspire others that weigh as much, or more than I do, to take the first step and join me in this quest!  I want for others to not feel alone in this struggle with weight.
  3. 1.     Once a month will be Weigh In Wednesday. The first Wednesday of the month, I will share with you my weight and measurements. 
  4. 1.     Q & A. Answering any questions anyone might have about my journey or health.
  5. 1.      I want to share those that inspire me, so I will have a Inspirational Person Of The Week as well! 
  6. 1.     Addressing any issues you bring to my attention.

I want to start this TODAY!  So, with all of that said... Welcome to Weight Loss Wednesday!
Currently I weigh approximately 270.  I do not have a home scale that is accurate so until I can get one, this will be my starting weight.  Now the hard part.  Here are my "before" photos.  My Darling took them, and since he is not familiar with my phone's camera, they are not the best quality.

Ugh, I am so embarrassed by these pictures but there is no going back.  

Inspirational person of the week is Sarah Rae Vargas, or otherwise known as Ravings By Rae.  She has a YouTube channel where she has not only look books and haul videos, but straight talk about sex (this has nothing to do with larger sized girls, it is sex talk for EVERYBODY) and positive body image!

For instance this video "I'm Fat.  #ThisIsMe"

She also has a blog, entirely worth while to read!  

She is an awesome mom, 2 gorgeous and entirely adorable children!  Such a effing fantastic role model.  Really, take the time to watch her videos.  You WILL NOT regret it.

If you feel like crap because of outward appearances, watch a few of her videos.  I promise, you will spin your view of yourself to the better, and you may just start to like the way you look!  

Thank you so much Sarah, you inspire me.  You helped me be able to write this post and begin to change my life.

Okay.  Onto the journal.  If you would rather not feel like reading my daily thoughts.

Week 1 Weight Loss Journal

Monday, February 23, 2015 2:07 pm

Yesterday I went to the gym, by myself.   This was a huge step for me, physically and mentally.  Walked 2 miles in 45 minutes.  Not great, but it is a start.  I wanted to start off slow to see what my body would do.

Mentally, I have problems and, that is putting it lightly.  I have panic/anxiety disorder and suffer from dissociative panic attacks.  I have agoraphobia.  I have PTSD.  I suffer from severe depression with self mutilation and suicidal tenancies.  What does that mean?  It means I do not leave the house.  If I do, I am susceptible to severe panic attacks.  When I leave the house, it feels like chaos.  I loath driving, I count cars.  3 ahead I can keep track of, 3 behind I can keep track of, any to the side... PANIC. In a store I count people, if I lose one... PANIC.  The biggest issue I have, people behind me, in particular people running behind me.  You may say to yourself, "Well that happens very rarely."  Yeah, no, it happens more than you know.  I suffer panic attacks especially when at the grocery store, or places like Target or Wal-mart.  Granted it is usually children, but still the sound makes icicles pierce my heart.  I know it comes from when I was mugged and thought I would be raped and murdered.  My attacker ran up behind me and that sound takes me right back to the moment he ran up behind me and grabbed me.  I wait for the arm to lock around my arms, pick me up slightly so my feet were no longer touching the ground, and a big gloved hand hardly cover my mouth while also shoved up to the bottom of my nose making it feel like I could not breath.

Well, at the gym, there are a lot of people running.  A LOT.

I knew my beloved friends Paul and Laura were down in the pool area with their children, Sophia and Charlotte.  Not entirely sure knowing they were not far away gave me the courage, but it defiantly did not hurt.  I climbed the stairs of my local YMCA and looked for a treadmill that did not have anyone directly to my left or right, and definitely no one behind me. I also required one that was not on the main isle where people would constantly walking behind me.  I found one I felt was moderately safe and climbed up onto it.  I looked at the screen and was quite impressed.  So much better than the old gym I had a membership to.  I pressed quick start and increased the speed to a brisk walk.  I got about a mile in and a guy hopped onto the treadmill behind me and started running.  I freaked out momentarily and my heart rate shot up! It went from a quick 142BPM to 172BPM.  I needed to calm the eff down!!  My mind was racing, telling me "RUN YOU FOOL!!!! HE IS COMING!!!!!  HE IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU!  THIS TIME IT WILL NOT GO THE SAME WAY!  YOU KNOW NO ONE HERE, THEY WILL NOT SAVE YOU THIS TIME!!!!!"  I felt my hands gripping themselves into hard fists, my breathing became even more quick, but turned tight in my chest like I had a thick belt around my chest 2 notches too tight, and felt my core start to tremble.  

I needed to run, or fight if I were to stay.  Good thing I was on a treadmill.  I turned up the volume on my headphones, made the treadmill faster and did not leave.  I burned that fear off on the treadmill.  It felt good not to run away.  I can not say that if I were anywhere else I would have done the same but I pushed through the panic attack. 

I got 2 miles in.  I then changed into my swimming suit and headed to the pool.  I could not find Laura, Paul, and the girls.  It was Oscar night so I assumed as soon as the girl's swimming lessons were concluded they beat ass to get home.   I found out that Laura is an Oscar fiend.  Shhhh... don't tell her I blabbed. 

I sat in the sauna for a good 15 minutes reflecting on what just happened.  Never before have I been able to stop a panic attack.  Maybe I was able to halt it by "running away" on the treadmill, and there is no treadmill in the locations where I usually suffer them. 

I count this as a small victory.  Tonight I step on the scale and find out how much I weigh.  I will not lie, I do not want to know... but I need to know.

As for all of my other health issues, they seem okay today.  Fibromyalgia is okay, my hips are tender but that is normal.  My pancreas seems to be fine.  I had some issues with my severe GERD, but it was probably the pizza I had for dinner and it resolved before bed.  I slept like the dead, it was awesome.  need to wrap this up so I can get into the gym tonight!  Yes I am going back in.  The YMCA is only 4 miles from my home so is there any reason why I shouldn't? 

Fill you in when I get home!

8:32 pm

So, I am home now,  jim-jams are on.  Did 3 miles in 1 hour 4 minutes.  I think that is fantastic for my fitness level, which is poor.  I think I did so well thanks to an app my friend Blaze told me about called Zombies, RUN 3.  I did have to pay for it, $3.99, and it was so worth it!  I only had one close call for a panic attack when I was going out to the car to leave.  A teenager was running to catch up to his friends, ice shards of fear stabbed through my chest and I had to sit in my car for about 10 minutes before I could safely drive home.  Thank the Gods I only live 4 miles from the YMCA.   I came home, made inarazushi, grabbed some ice water, and sat down to finish this entry in my journal.  I am chowing down on some antacid tablets since I forgot to pick up my GERD medication.  Praying I do not have any vomiting issues tonight because of my forgetfulness. I am already sore, but for the most part it is a good hurt.  My knees and feet are fibro tender, but I am hoping the worst of the pain will resolve before morning and does not keep me up.  I plan on waking early enough to hit the gym at 8:00 am for the Tai Chi class.  I would also like to get another 3 miles in so I do not feel I need to go back in the evening to walk.  I am really nervous about Thursday’s photos and weight /measurement reveal, but I think I could actually help others struggling like I am.  For the final half hour  before bed I would like to get some music onto my phone.  Zombies, RUN!  Lets you listen to your own music when the story line is not actively playing.  Did I mention I love this app?!  I should do a review, but I should give it a month or so, just to make sure my review would be thorough.  Good night journal, I will visit you again tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015 9:10 am

Today I actually got up in time for tai chi class.  UGH, I suck at it!!!  I find it terribly fun though.  I worked up a sweat, my legs are rubber bands, and I feel good about that.  Let’s hope I can get to yoga class tomorrow!

I want to touch on my goals for the next couple years, because that is how long it will take at a minimum to fix what I have done to my body!  I will also list the rewards I will receive for milestones!

  1. My main goal is to get down to a healthy 140 lbs.  Right now I weigh approximately 270lbs.  Ideally I would like to have this accomplished in 1.5 years, however I am aware this may take longer.  I will be doing this by visiting the gym every day.  Weather it is swimming, walking, running, rowing, yoga, tai chi, or attending a community event/volunteering. 
  2. I want to revise how I eat.  Staying mainly a vegetarian, and only eating game or range fed meats.  Basically I want to eat cleaner.  “Clean eating is a deceptively simple concept. Rather than revolving around the idea of ingesting more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer calories or more protein), the idea is more about being mindful of the food's pathway between its origin and your plate.” - Fitness Magazine.
  3. Getting outside more.  Walking, riding bike, hiking, gardening… I want more of all of it!
  4. When I reach 200lbs, I will reward myself with the chest tattoo I have been wanting.
  5. When I reach my main goal I, my reward will be my back tattoo.
  6. When I reach a new dress size I intend to tailor all of my cloths to the new size, so there is no going back.
  7. With each new dress size under 16, under 12, under 8, new undergarments (I am assuming the ones I have will no longer fit).
  8. I have a “Goal Reward” dress all ready purchased for size 16,                                  and size 14
I will need to find a size 10 and a size 8.  I want to purchase those when I am closer to those goals.

I will revise these goals later to make them set in stone with actual weights,  right now I am unable to do so since I do not have a proper scale.

That is all I have for tonight.  Mom is coming down tomorrow so she can watch Aiden.  This means I skip out on the yoga class, but will be bringing them both to the YMCA in the evening when the splash pool is on.  I will visit you again tomorrow.

More next week!  Until then be gentle to yourself and each other!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Soul Searching Thursday - Back To Basics

Since I worked at Byrerly's in St. Louis Park, Thursdays have been my spiritual day.  It was a day for meditating, reflecting and renewing my spirit.  Being a practicing solitary witch (I mix Celtic faerie magic with a mix of Buddhism, Native American, Egyptian and ancient Greek practices and beliefs, as well as some personal beliefs), it was also my day for ritual and spell casting.  However, since I had gotten ill, my spiritual side has not only been lackluster it has been nonexistent.  My need to revive my spiritual self is suddenly become not only something I have been desiring but is essential to becoming "myself" again.  I have been putting this off for months (that is a lie, it has been years), and I am not entirely sure why.  Maybe it is just because I am out of practice and feel like I can not give it the attention I believe it deserves. To be honest, it is probably because of the breaking of my spirit when my health went bad, so very bad.  

When I first became sick, not only did I not have the energy to spend on myself, I did not have the energy I felt my Goddess deserved.  I did not want to practice half ass, I needed my whole being to be faithful to my Deity... and to be honest, I felt let down by Her.  How could She let this happen to one of her most devoted?  How much pain did She expect me to endure?  Where was she when I needed her to take my hand and support me?  Now I see that She did not turn her back on me, it is entirely the opposite, I turned my back on Her.  I had no faith left in Her so I left.  But now I get it... I had to hang in there for Her to soften the hurt when the pain wracked me to my core. 

So now I have the task of finding my way back.  I remember the physical duties.  Cleansing bath, meditation and devotion, ritual.  Rinse, repeat, and cast on occasion when life needs conditioning.  What I am finding hard is to maintain the mindset, and heart felt longing to return to my faith, without my jaded soul joining what Amanda Palmer calls so perfectly "The Fraud Police" in her book The Art Of Asking.  (If you do not have the time to read the book, it comes on audio book or you can watch her TED Talk.)

"You CAN'T be serious"  

"You don't believe in this crap anymore" 

"Your placing something as precious as your souls faith into something you can not possibly believe in again.  It will let you down again" 

"You will fall harder and faster this time, just you wait and see!"

"Don't be stupid, where is this going to get you?"

I am finding it hard to find that voice inside to tell the police to just "Fuck off already".  I need to find that voice inside myself so I can start yelling at "The Fraud Police", YOU ARE ALL LIARS!  Sometimes I hear the voice, it is only but a whisper in my heart, but it is there.  And it is growing.   All of the things that should of killed me, all the times I tried killing myself, all the times my body failed me, everything to this point I would have suffered so much more had my spirit not screamed out to Her, and Her response to me was only solace, understanding and love.  I am finding it hard, but not impossible.  

So for now, I cleanse. I meditate.  I do my daily devotions.  I do ritual, not everyday... but on the Sabbats.  My faith rises and falls, but never fails. My inner voice grows,  it may never be as loud as it once was, but grows mostly because I feed it.  I feed it love and understanding.  I feed it room in my soul to exist again. I feed it the belief  that it will not lead me astray.  I feed it music and incense.  I feed my need to belong.  I feed it solace that wrongs can be made right.  I feed it creativity.  One day, when the scars on my soul are not such a hot and angry red, the voice will become a shout once more.  Then maybe She will hear me again.

I have faith.

I did not have faith for so long, it feels pretty damn good.

So, with that I will leave you.  I see beauty in every religion and in everything around me, and I hope you can too.  Until tomorrow, be kind to yourself, and each other.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Weightloss Wednesday - Reaffirming Goals And Putting In The Emotional Work Into Working Out

I don't know what it is about the words "weight loss" I find so repugnant.  It is, at least to me, a vain word.   A word that is full of promises of better self esteem, that never delivers. A word of lofty goals that never reach fruition.  I find I am much more receptive to reaching "healthy goals".  I know, not really a big difference, but to me it is.  "Weight loss" for me has built in failure.  When I have desired to be thinner in the past, I never was able to achieve anything meaningful, especially without the help of drugs.  Unhealthy drugs.  I use to think "I don't care how I became thin, as long as I was thin and stayed that way. F*ck my health."  Now, I have a desire to be thin again not because I will fit into my cloths better, or because I will be more attractive, but because my health demands it.  The other things will only be bonus.  So today I took a big step into achieving better health.  

I attended a luncheon at my local YMCA.  I have huge issues with anxiety and a panic disorder associated with agoraphobia, as well as a healthy dose of PTSD.  This was a huge step into actually going in by myself to the gym.  If I can become acclimated to the environment, find just one or two people I can recognize and feel comfortable with, I could follow through... in theory.  I jumped in with both feet today.  Thankfully, Jody, my mother in law-ish, came with me.  Originally, we were going to do this together, but we are interested in totally different classes, so we will be there at totally different times.  There was about 30 people there, and none of them in my age range.  When we had to stand and introduce ourselves, I'm not even gonna lie, I felt like effing running the hell outta there.  When the time came, I stood and introduced myself. 

I did it! HOLY CRAP!! I did it!!

And just that quick, now these people know me.  And just that quick, now I have new faces to ease my anxiety.  And just that quick, now I think I can do this, for real this time.  Plus what a great place!  I had no idea how much they helped people in their community!  Even for a few minutes there, I even felt like volunteering to teach classes on knitting, sewing, or photography... 

Whoa there Tammy, let's just see if we can get through a yoga or tai chi class.  

After the luncheon, I met up with one of my favorite people, Laura, for a shopping venture... to Costco!  The place is like a liquid panic attack for me.  With Laura and the girls, we went down every isle and not even a shake was to be had.  Not even tightness in my chest or tingly fingers, which are my first symptoms for a panic attack.  I love going food shopping with her, she always helps me eat healthier.  And her daughters... forget about it!  I am so lucky to have them in my life here is nothing better than having two little blonde girls running full force at you only to jump into your waiting arms.  So so effing lucky.  Anyway, I went home with some organic spinach, feta cheese, and fire roasted tomatoes.  No crackers, no chips, no cookies or cakes.  just food that has substance to its calories, no empty calories here!

So, to reaffirm my commitment to becoming healthier, weight loss  Wednesdays will have the recipe of the week as well as an exercise of the week, and once a month accountability pictures and a weigh in.  I welcome anyone to join me on this little trip into Healthy Land. I would appreciate company on the trip, and God(dess) knows I can always use the help and tips, because Healthy Land seems so far away right now.

Next Wednesday will be the first weigh in/picture/goal day.  I have done too much today to push THAT far today.  I will also make a list of health goals I am hoping to reach.  Realistic goals. And how I am doing on achieving them, or what I am doing to achieve them... and, hey, maybe I can help someone by doing this!  Maybe a weekly spotify playlist I used to work out.  

Any thoughts and or ideas are more than welcome!

I will, however, leave you with a recipe.  It may not be the best, with the caramelized onions and cheese, but it satisfied my semi vegetarian lunch needs a couple times this week.

Carmelized Onion, Spinach, and Avocado Quesadillas
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 4 large flour tortillas


  1. Add the oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and deep golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes. (If the sides of the onions begin cooking too fast, lower the heat to medium-low, add a little more oil, and stir. Your goal is to have the onion slices cook as uniformly as possible.) Remove the onions from the pan and place them in a bowl.
  2. In the same sauté pan over low heat, add the spinach and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the spinach to another bowl, then carefully wipe the pan dry with a paper towel.
  3. Return the pan to the stove and increase the heat to medium-low. Lay one tortilla flat in the pan. Evenly sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese over the top. To the bottom half of the tortilla, add 1/4 of the caramelized onions, followed by 1/4 of the wilted spinach. Heat until the cheese melts and the tortilla is browned and crispy.
  4. Add the avocado slices (about 1/2 of an avocado per quesadilla), and immediately fold the tortilla in half, onto itself, and flip it over. Continue cooking for about 30 seconds or until warmed through.
  5. Using a spatula, transfer the quesadilla to a cutting board. Cut into fourths. Repeat this process with the remaining ingredients and serve with your favorite salsa or cilantro pesto.
I loved this!  The avocado makes them so creamy.  

My favorite song this week that makes me wanna "shake it" is Ha Ha Ha by The Julie Ruin. The Julie Ruin is like distilled 7th grade for me.  I can remember the way it felt when I would get home from school and sit in my room writing songs that I would never sing, it is nostalgic for me in that way, except that the songs are actually good.  This one makes me just wanna get up and move, in that 80's girl punk band kinda way.  Oh and by the way, The Julie Ruin is yet another awesome band that we all need to thank Kathleen Hanna for.  and Bikini Kill and Le Tigre too.  We should just Thank Kathleen Hanna just for being Kathleen Hanna. I also highly recommend watching The Punk Rock Singer to inform yourself on all the things Kathleen Hanna did for ALL of us!  Modern feminism would not be where it is today without her.

Also I want to shout out an extreamly loud THANK YOU to Scott Meister for enableing me to write this blog post in bed.  Scott you fixed my laptop, you rule.  So nice to be able to type up a blog post and publish it on the same day!

With that I will leave you until tomorrow.  Remember to be gentle to yourself, and each other.