Reset: Spring Renewal

I have had a lot going on!! This has definitely been a time of growth, change and renewal in many areas of my life.

I quit my 9-to-5 🙃. I didn’t have a new gig in place when I made the decision to quit but one presented itself once I hit ‘send’ on the email. Though I will miss the regular interactions with some of my peeps, I know it was the best decision for my life. One very funny discovery was the amount of selfies I took at my desk over 3yrs (about 70 that I found in my phone). As a parting gift, I picked some of my faves and gave everyone a collage.

I’m putting more time, energy and resources into my side hustle; my business as a wedding officiant/singer-for-hire called Absolutely, I Do. I’m working on my webpage, social media page and a few other loose ends. I’m just doing my homework because I don’t want to put out just anything.

And finally, I’m at a point where I have the time and energy to invest in getting back to taking care of me. I haven’t been eating or exercising like I should and have gained 10lbs in the last 3 months. In order to get back on track, I’m going to reset my body by going back to the beginning and do the liquid prep diet I did prior to and just after my surgery. I’m going to start with 2 weeks and then reevaluate. I’ll get 90g of protein via my protein shakes (with greens), increase my water intake, homemade broth, herbal tea. Plus, I’ll get back to incorporating at least 30mins of cardio/day; probably by walking the dogs. It’ll be good for me and them. Tomi will be joining me for my workouts so we can both get our healthy on.

Advertisements

Growth In Losing

Often when I’m out, I’m reminded (in this case by a large, knotted bruise on my hip & butt) that many public places are not inclusive when it comes to fat people. Some people don’t like that word as a descriptor but I’m a lot less sensitive about it than I would’ve been two years ago at the beginning of my weight loss journey. Insert whatever word makes you more comfortable; I call a spade a spade.

I went to a sporting event this evening with a group and the seating was less than desirable for my height of 6ft and for sure not comfortable for my girth. I felt a bit like I imagine it would look to put a 10yr old in an umbrella stroller. You just pictured it and laughed…good. In years past, this situation would have sent me spiraling into despair. I would have asked for the car keys and professed to be A-OK. I would have sat in the car balling and then went home and stuffed my feelings down my throat in the form of excessive amounts of fatty food and beverages. Because let’s be honest, emotional eaters aren’t shoveling in salad 🙃. In all honesty, a couple of years ago, I would’ve avoided a group outing like the plague. But I digress.

Today, and many days before today now that I think about it, was different. Today, I created a different outcome. I was with people who value my emotional safety (that’s important) which helped me to maintain. Granted, I did not get to enjoy the game sitting with my group but I managed to find a comfortable space for myself and folks came and checked on me. This past couple of years has been such a journey of self-discovery and a few things I’ve gotten really good at are allowing myself to process through my feelings, transparency in expressing those feelings when needed and making sure I am comfortable in a space.

I find it interesting that here I am almost 2yrs post-op and down 110lbs and still having a hard time in a lot of spaces because of my size. I’m not saying that sports/concert venues, restaurants and modes of mass transport need to cater to me as a heavy person by posting this. I’m just pointing out what most people take for granted because it’s not something they ever have to think twice about. Do me a favor and take just a second to think about your friend or family member who may be a person of greater size the next time you breeze through a turnstile, slide easily into a booth at a restaurant, sit unobstructed down into a chair with arms, sit in a folding chair. No, you’re not responsible for decisions anyone has made or actions they have taken to make them heavy. But maybe taking just a moment to think of these people in these situations and the countless other situations that come up to remind them that life isn’t kind to fat people, you might choose to show a little extra grace and a little more kindness; both really contagious and worth catching.

Happy Birthday, Baby Bean!!

This picture was taken about 24yrs ago.

JaLisa (about age 2; nearly 3) 93′-94′

I was in high school and had gone to a slumber hangout and took JaLisa with me. She always wanted to go with me EVERYWHERE and was never shy; cautious of new people but never shy.
As a child JaLisa was loud, ridiculous, funny, compassionate, loud, talkative, smart, friendly, generous, kind-hearted, spoiled, loud, imaginative, thoughtful, resilient, courageous, loud…
Here we are all these years later and she is still all of those things. She’s lived through a lot; more than most women her age and she’s still standing.

From birth I watched her scoot, crawl, walk and run. There was stumbling and falling but she got up and kept going.

From adolescence to adulthood, I watched her go through the same process from scoot to crawl to walk to run. Sometimes, things got out of order but Tomi & I, her grandparents and the rest of her ‘village’ were there to help guide, dress wounds from the falls, counsel and keep her moving ever forward.

And today, she enters her 27th year. She’s out there moving through life…from a scoot to a crawl to a walk and then a run. She stumbles and falls and we’re still here to guide her; kiss the boo-boos and hug the hurt and tears away. She needs to lean on us less, as is God’s design. More independence; less hand-holding. It’s like I blinked and my Baby Bean became a woman and I wasn’t ready.

Happy birthday to my Baby JaBisa Jell-no Bean!!

Black Girl Joy!!

The Uncomfortable Yes: Conquering Fears

One of my biggest anxieties comes from hearing my recorded voice or seeing myself on camera. Let me classify that; seeing my WHOLE body in pictures or videos. Well, I’m stepping into a new boldness in 2018 (although I’m feeling a bit nervous about it 🤣).

At my church, they record welcome videos that show right after Worship Service. I participated in the filming of two videos that will be featured in the coming weeks. Here’s the real biggie though. This past Sunday at church, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr; the man and his message. How far we’ve come toward equality and how far we have to go. I was asked to sing Take My Hand, Precious Lord which is not a big deal. I enjoy singing and especially ‘making a joyful noise’. I was audio recorded for the weekly podcast which I knew and had wrapped my head around. I also knew that I was video recorded. When one of the pastors texted and asked if about posting the video, I gave an immediate yes. Please don’t think it was because I was feeling super confident about it, because I wasn’t. I hadn’t seen the video or heard all of the audio and all of my anxiety and insecurities came bubbling up with the doubt talk. It wasn’t perfect. You were kinda pitchy at that one part. Your tempo was all over. People are going to be staring at you. What if you look gross (losing 100+ lbs does not quiet your issues with body image). Well, I managed to push those thoughts aside and I. Said. Yes. Then, I sat and watched a video of myself; twice. I watched it once without sound and then again with sound. The first time through, I was anxious and nauseous and I felt like my heart was jump out of my chest. I realized I wasn’t dead 😊. Watching it the second time was a lot less stressful. I’m glad I chose the uncomfortable yes. It was scary and new but you know what? I’m looking forward to doing it again.

Happy New Year!!

We made it to 2018!!

2017 was quite a year for my family and I; full of plenty of highs, lows and lots of in between.

We (Tomi & I) are -150 lighter between the 2 of us as we start this year.  We became homeowners this year. We have lost a few family members & friends (may they RIP) and gained a few new ones. We have both been working toward maintaining/ reestablishing familial relationships that have faltered along the way (such a long story-perhaps in a later post). The end of 2017 was particularly busy for us with traveling. We saw a lot of AMAZING concerts last year; the highlight of which was seeing Earth, Wind & Fire.

2018 won’t be quite as busy as last year for us when it comes to traveling but we have a few trips planned. Our oldest grandbaby (the only boy) graduates from high school this year. One of our daughters is getting married this year. Lord willing, we’ll celebrate another birthday and anniversary this year.

For me, 2018 will be a year of being intentional and consistent. I am really good and being consistently inconsistent. I’ve perfected over the last 20yrs or so. This year, I plan to step my game up and be more intentional about life as opposed to just letting life happen. I know that comes with being consistent. Some would say that it’s about time but I say that every day is a good day for a new beginning. Can I get an AMEN?!? I have been making lists, making plans and setting short/long-term goals. I’m trying to do an overhaul by making small changes (I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew) in several areas of my life where I want to be more consistent; working my business, blogging, skincare, continued weight loss, cleaning house, clearing debt.

This will be a year of fostering, maintaining or releasing relationships. I’m reaching out to those that have previously fallen by the wayside, I am putting in the work to maintain those and that are hanging out there by a thread and I am releasing, with love, those relationships that no longer serve me. I’ve learned that it’s OK to let go of those that don’t want to be a part of my life (and not take it personally) and also to allow myself to be let go of by others. I am going to be more intentional about fostering my relationship with God; spending time in fellowship with Him and in His word.

I’ve also been trying to adopt the action of doing little things with big love. Doing things for others and even for yourself does not always have to involve a grand gesture. Screenshot_20171211-202022.png

I’m stomping into 2018 with a new look, a new attitude and a new vision. I’m excited to see what this year brings.

20171227_111059.jpg

 

All Up In My Face

The title was not my attempt at being clever. This post is going to be about my face.

The Face
If I’m being honest, most days, I don’t think a whole lot about my face. I get up, wash, tone, moisturize (with SPF) and then repeat the process before bed. That’s more out of routine than anything else. Lately though, I think about my face a lot. I pay it a lot of attention and it makes me feel sad. I’m sad about the signs of aging that I’m starting to see waaaaaayyyyyy more of. The breakouts I’m having since the year I turned 40 would bring a teenager to tears. And where the hell are all these moles and freckles coming from? Plucking, twerking and waxing could be a full time job at this point. With all the time I spend on maintenance, just trying to maintain my baseline, I wonder how I ever found time to get up and put on a full face everyday. I guess I’m really starting to really appreciate the ugly side of keeping it pretty 🤓.

Weighing In: One Year Post Surgery

I know! I know! I’ve been missing in action lately (about 2 months) but I’ve got a good excuse; I’ve been busy living life. Work has been CRAZY busy, my wife and I both had birthdays and I put together a stellar birthday weekend with lots of travelling, we bought a house (we signed papers last Thursday and get the keys Monday after work) and I’m helping one of our daughters with wedding planning.

WNBA game, Mariner's game, Seattle Pride, and I wore a formal gown to work. My friends/co-workers glammed up my desk!!
Birthday weekend shenanigans!!
 I am one busy lady!!! I wanted to make sure to write on the anniversary of my surgery though.

Left: July 2016 Right: July 2017

I had my Lap Band surgery on July 29th, 2016. I was almost 500lbs. I had severe chronic back pain and sciatica, lymphedema of the legs, difficulty with movement and breathing and was always just generally uncomfortable. I didn’t get that way overnight. I definitely had an unhealthy relationship with food. I was as n emotional eater and developed an addiction; food was my drug of choice.

Fast forward 365 days…I am down -90lbs and holding. I have been at this current weight for about a month which is A-OK with me. The weight loss with the band has been slow and steady; about 2-3lbs loss per week on average. I’ve learned to have a different relationship with food for sure. Mental health counseling and medication helps me with finding healthier ways to process emotions, anxiety and depression. I’m able to eat about a shot glass amount of food at a sitting so what I choose to eat is super important; nothing too starchy or too fibrous. I also have to be cognizant of how quickly I eat; I have to make sure everything is chewed REALLY well. Because my stomach has limited space, gas or sort back up from eating too quickly can’t be expelled by a burp; I am literally unable.

This journey has been frustrating, scary and quite indelicate at times; for me and for my wife. She deserves an award. I had to learn to eat for sustenance and not allow my ‘eyes to be bigger than my stomach’; literally and figuratively. I had to learn that there are going to be things that I will never eat again and embrace that. Pancakes, waffles, bread…just a few of the things I used to love that I simply can’t have since the surgery. I also have to avoid other favorites like bananas and pineapples, asparagus and broccoli; anything too high in sugar or too stringy/fibrous. Totally worth it though. If i have the unfortunate incidence of food getting stuck on the way down or getting an air bubble trapped while eating, I get one of two results. If I’m lucky, I can stand and walk or put my arms over my head or drink a little bit of a warm beverage and coax it on through. What often happens (here’s the indelicate part) is that it gets stuck and my body forces it back out the way it came. Sounds simple right? Well, because the size of my working tummy is greatly reduced, it’s probably one of the most uncomfortable and excruciating things I’ve experienced.

Looking back would I make the decision to have the procedure again? Absolutely!! I have been able to completely discontinue 4 medications. I no longer have pain and swelling in my muscles and joints. I find that I am a lot more adventurous because I can walk and move for longer periods of time without having to rest. We’ve been on hikes and to festivals and sporting events; I’m experiencing a lot more of my life as opposed to being an observer. I’m able to buy clothes of the rack which I’ve been too big to do for years. It feels AMAZING to be able to walk into the store and try things on. Most importantly, I’m starting to have more days where I feel good in my skin. Not every day but most days and that is a good feeling.

This has been one of the most amazing years of my life!!!