Category Archives: Giving Thanks

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!!
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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.

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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!!!

New Year, Same Me (Which Is Cool Because Most Days, I Think I’m Pretty Dope)…

Well, it only took me half of the month to catch up on life enough to complete my first blog post of the year. So much for starting the year with a consistent weekly post. Sheesh!! Anyway, let me get you all caught up on the life and times of me.

I brought in the new year with my honey and some friends and doing what I love to do…singing. We went originally to watch the show and Micah and Cat invited me up to join them on a couple of numbers. It was a blast!! Good company, good wine, good food and great memories.

the-crew
Cat, Sara, Micah, Me, Tomi
the-singer
In my zone

As of last Friday (my weigh-in day), I am down 70lbs since this whole weight loss thing started (down 4lbs for the week). Physically, I feel fantastic. I can move around without pain and without getting winded. I had been on muscle relaxers for chronic back pain for years and I haven’t taken them since surgery day. I can climb up and down the stairs in my house without having to climb on hands and knees like a toddler. My wife and I can go on walks with the dogs. We can go out dancing and instead of just part of a song, I dance through several songs and only have to sit down because a song comes on that I don’t like. I am enjoying the new found freedom that losing weight has afforded me.

I do have to say that extreme weight loss is a blessing and a curse. It has been a mental test getting use to my body as it changes. There are parts of me that hang that didn’t use to. My skin feels different to me, my clothes fit differently. My skin is changing, my hair is changing. It’s definitely interesting getting to know myself all over again. I don’t always like how I look with or without clothes. Some days are definitely better than others but I am learning and coping as I go.

I’m learning a few things…

Working out needs to be a priority. It helps you have more effective weight loss and helps you to gain muscle while you are losing weight. I’m getting more consistent with workouts but it is still my least favorite thing to do.

It is super important to take care of yourself mentally. Make time to pray, meditate, journal and pamper yourself. All the change is a lot mentally so you do not want to neglect your self-care; whatever that looks like for you.

Get use to never eating a hot meal again. That sounds weird but I honestly have not had a hot meal since I had surgery. The reality is that you just can’t eat it fast enough. The one thing this surgery forces you to do is slow down. You have to chew more because you don’t want to swallow big chunks (even of soft food). Believe it or not, you will get use to it.

Surround yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed. They don’t have to be on a weight loss journey (although you should have a few of those people in your life). Just make sure that they are not the people who are constantly offering you all the junk food and starchy goodness. Make sure they are people who are willing to listen to the occasional rant about ill-fitting clothing and a not-so-delicious new food. Most importanly, they need to be good cheerleaders who are willing to encrourage and slap that muffin out of your hand if need be. Someone willing to go on a walk with you and your dogs or offer alternatives for getting together other than eating and drinking (crafting dates, walking dates, mani/pedi dates).

Now, we are all caught up and ready to get back to our regularly scheduled program. I will be back on Friday with my weekly weigh-in

 

Weekly Weigh-In

I missed a week but that was on purpose because I was upset by last week’s weight and I chose to wallow in it for a bit.

9/30/16-i gained back all of the pounds from last week. It was my cycle week and I was back on solid foods and I went a little crazy. I’m not making excuses; it is what it is. I’ve got to track all the things that could be a hindrance; what works, what doesn’t.

10/7/16-I’m down -5lbs. Yes!

I had an appointment with Dr. Fox (My surgeon) last week. I’ll have an appointment every month for the first year. Well, it really helped me out things into perspective. I have lost 7lbs this month. I should be looking to lose 7-11lbs per month which translates to approximately 1-3lbs weekly). Anything more than that is a rarity and not realistic. The weekly weigh-ins are important for helping you monitor your progress but ultimately, it’s about consistent and steady changes that bring the losses. I’ve been too focused on the weekly numbers and not the process and the journey overall.

I also need to celebrate my non-scale victories. Last weekend, we went to an amazing gospel concert in downtown Seattle. fb_img_1476041991192Festival of Praise Tour  is definitely worth catching if it comes to your town. Well, we Uber’d to the venue since we didn’t want to be all sweaty from walking. But, we walked back to the hotel after the show. I walked a half mile without stopping. No back pain, no stopping to find someplace to sit. It felt good to be able to do that when just months ago, there is no way I would have made it.

Then, on Sunday, we were driving around and took a wrong turn and ended up near the Museum of Flight. I love museums and this one was on my museum bucket list. I have lots of bucket lists; travel, concerts, museums, food…just to name a few. That’s for another time. Anywhooo…Tomi asked if I wanted to go so we did. We walked around there for hours climbing in and out of planes and the space shuttle. Yes, they have a genuine shuttle from NASA. It’s the training module they used. We had a great time and outside of a few bumps and bruises, I made it.

Last one,I swear! For years I have been too large to wear anything from Torrid. Tomi decided I deserved a shopping trip so we went to an outlet mall that had Torrid and Lane Bryant. I went to Torrid and I can now fit the clothes; tops and bottoms. *frolic*

I’ll be back for next week’s weigh-in.

Weekly Weigh-In

Happy Friday!!! Those that are keeping track realize that I skipped last week. I got busy and I just forgot. I have set myself a reminder on my calendar so hopefully, that will help me remember. I am one of those people who has to write everything down. People say I come across as very organized but truth is, I’m a bit of a scatter brain. Alright, enough about me; let’s talk about me.

Last week (9/16/16), I had a gain of +2lbs. I was a little bummed but I know that I ate a few things that I shouldn’t have so I completely expected it. We fall down but we get up, Right? This week’s weigh-in showed the results of a week where I did all that I was supposed to do and I am down -8lbs!! Woohoo!! For those trying to do the math and keep track, I am now down -54lbs and it feels AMAZING!! I’m down 4 dress sizes. I’ve had to buy new jeans but otherwise, I am still wearing my same wardrobe; everything just fits better.

Last weekend was very active so I didn’t focus on any planned exercise. Friday, we went to a concert at the Washington State Fair (Puyallup Fair-for the locals). It was Joe and Charlie & Wilson and the show was absolutely AMAZING!! Before the show, we spent lots of time walking around the fair and seeing the sites and sampling some food and beverages. We didn’t go too crazy and although I really wanted to, I did not have the elephant ear.

Saturday, we decided to spend some time just laying around at the hotel. We don’t get much time together during the week except for an hour in the morning when she’s getting in from work and I am getting ready to leave for work. Then, that evening we went to a Mariner’s game that we won tix to. baseballWe had great seats out center field about 20 rows back. Anyone who has been to a professional sporting event knows that walking from the parking structure and navigating the stadium to get to your seats is a good bit of walking and moving and I did it without pain and without getting too winded (non-scale victory).We got up Sunday and after a light breakfast, we headed home. images

I have to say that I love how much energy I have now and how much easier it is for me to get up and get moving. Not to mention that I am much more willing to get up and do things now because it doesn’t cause me pain, fatigue and embarrassment like it used to. This journey is hard but is proving to be worth it every day.

 

It’s Official: The Weight Is Over!!

I know! I know! I’m so punny! LOL!!

Seriously though, I could not be more excited to share with you. We were on vacation in California last week. Friday morning, I missed a call from my surgeons office. I checked my voicemail and called right back thinking there was yet another hang up. The insurance coordinator said “We got you approved for your surgery. I can give you some dates for your pre-surgery and surgery to consider”. I dropped the phone. I picked it back up really quickly and grabbed  my calendar. She said “You can call me back if you need to check the dates and coordinate with your work schedule”. I assured her that would not be necessary and that I am not waiting any longer than I have to.

So, here it is…I have pre-surgery education that lasts all day on 7/20 and then my surgery is scheduled for 7/29. LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY!!! I am excited and nervous but most importantly, I’m ready.

Don’t worry, I wouldn’t bring you along to this point in the journey and just leave you hanging. I will make sure to keep you all updated every step of the way up to the surgery and post-surgery.

I’m so happy and excited that I could burst!!!