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Taking Out Health Insurance

1 Jun
At least she's honest. Courtesy of Tumblr

At least she’s honest.
Courtesy of Tumblr

Logic and practicality are my failsafes. They’re what I use to get through life. They’re how I make sense of the turvy-topsy-ness of society. Logic tells me that the likelihood of me being hit by a bus tomorrow is very low. But should that unfortunate event occur, it would be nice to have some systems in place to insure I’m taken care of with no problem.

That’s where my upbringing comes in. My parents beat it into me that I should have some kind of insurance. Example: my mother, who never made my school lunch, would pack up a brown paper grocery bag full of goodies when I had field trips. Why? “What if the bus breaks down and you can’t get food?”

Me: “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Her: “Well, give a sandwich to one of the kids who forgot their lunch.”

Mind you, there were three sandwiches in the bag. This is the type of environment I grew up in. You never knew if the bad was going to happen, so just make sure you’re prepared anyway.

That’s how I like to look at health and wellness. Life it going to throw an abundance of curveballs at you. You could end up being hit by a bus. You could trip and twist your ankle while walking to the bathroom. You could do any number of things that will create a stumbling block to better health. But if you’ve done nothing to prepare your body for the bad things you know are coming (loss of muscle mass, decreasing vision, lower bone density), then you’re setting yourself up for a fail.

Think of taking an active role in your health as just doubling your health coverage. When you’re mindful of your physical activity and your nutritional habits, you’re better informed when you visit the doctor. You can speak eloquently about what’s really bothering you or even what you feel good about.

By becoming more active—even just walking a mile a day—you’re able to offer insight to your physician about your physical activity. We all fill out those wretched forms when we visit the doc’s office. And often we all lie about a sedentary vs. active lifestyle. But when you get in the exam room, you can talk about how you’ve noticed a twinge in your hip when you swim. Or how you feel off balance when you run on a path as opposed to running on a treadmill. Or even how beets give you gas.

Doctors love this kind of stuff. They want to know what’s going on with you and how things have changed from the last visit. Not just your travel plans or the new additions to the house, though those can be stressful. The physical, day-to-day details keep you both on the same page.

You learn a great deal about yourself while on your weight-loss journey. You learn what you’re capable of, what you hate and what you want to be better at. It’s a great way to get in touch with who you really are in a pinch. And it’s an even better way to keep someone whose job it is to be concerned about your health in the know. You two are team. And since they’re getting your co-pay anyway, make your doctor earn it.

When was the last time you visited your doctor? Have you discussed your health and wellness plan?

Stuntin’ Is a Habit

15 Oct

The myth is that it takes 21 days for form a habit. I call it a myth because you don’t really know you’ve made something a habit until you’re much further along in the process. Think about it: What did you do 21 days ago that you’re still doing right now? I’ll tick them off for you:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Working/studying
  • Going to the restroom.

You developed those habits so long ago they’re part of you. What I’ve found on my weight-loss journey is that making your good habits a part of you is key to meeting your goals. And it took much longer than 21 days for that to happen. It’s not called a lifestyle change for nothing.

Making this lifestyle a part of the very fabric of your nature takes a lot courage. It’s easy to stay comfortable in your routine. Eating, sleeping and working are so much a part of you that you don’t realize you’re doing them any more. The same can happen for you when you’ve developed a routine with diet and exercise.

Here are a few ways to make sure your good choices become habit forming.

1. Set a schedule. A plan of action is a great first step toward meeting your goal. If you work a regular 9-to-5, then you’re better off than some freelancers. You know when you need to get up, when you need to get to work, when you get off and how much time you have left over in the day. You know how long it takes to get ready in the morning, how long it takes you to get to work and how to bypass traffic on the way home. That means you know where the pockets of time are for meal preparation, workouts and rest. Those of you without a set schedule are going to have to let life work its way into your weight-loss plan. You may need to first set your meal prep, workouts and rest times and let the rest of your day fit in as needed.

2. Plan your meals. Rest day is the best day for meal prep. You’re not overly exhausted from the hurting you put on your body in your workout. You’ve got time to really take inventory of what you have in your cabinets and what you may be in the mood for during the week. You have time to glance through your cookbooks and see what new recipes will work for you this week. And you have time to browse the grocery store instead of a rush job where you forget things. You may find a nice piece of fish on sale you can broil later. All of this is to say having your meals (especially lunch) ready saves so much time when you’re getting ready to leave for the day.

3. Make your goal your No. 1 priority. You love your family and friends. And being homeless isn’t on your list of things to do. Now that that’s out of the way, take stock of what’s really important to you. Do you really want to lose weight? Do you really want to maintain? Are you looking for ways to cut the unhelpful things out of your diet? If that’s true, then you’ve already made your goal a top priority. Create a vision board or “Being Mary Jane” it and put Post-it notes all over your home. Keeping a daily reminder that you’re doing this for a reason will keep your eyes on the prize

4. Understand there are 24 hours in a day. So you’ve set your schedule and you’ve planned your meals. But life happened, and you overslept and missed your morning Zumba class. Someone at work ate your sandwich, so now you don’t have anything to eat. So what? There’s still time later in the day to burn a few calories. You may not  be able to make it to the gym, but you can surely find a way to get moving around the house. Or you could take a long walk at lunch. Or you could to any number of things that you were supposed to do anyway. We all share the same time clock, and yours says there’s still time to get it in before the day is over.

5. Don’t accept failure as an option. Simply put: if where you are isn’t where you want to be, do what you have to do to get there.

These good habits will become less and less stressful the more you do them. But you’ll be so pleased with yourself when you accomplish your goal.

What habits have you picked up or broken since you began your weight-loss journey?

‘Obesity Is a Tricky Thing’

18 Sep

rosieWe like to have fun here at I’m Skinny, Now What? Talking about boobs and butts and bikini shopping is all part of the journey.

But what we can never forget is that for many people, weight-loss is a health issue. There are men and women out in the world right now who, if they don’t get on the path to weight loss, it will mean the end of their lives.

Rosie O’Donnell came back as a host of “The View” this week. What no one expected was the drastic weight loss. For nearly 20 years, the 5’6″ actress-comedienne held more than 200 pounds on her frame. We’d gotten so used to seeing her that way, I don’t think it crossed any of our minds that she could look any different. It certainly didn’t occur to her—until she had a heart attack.

The block in her artery could have killed her. It should have, according to her doctor. Weight loss would be the only way to prevent another scary instance. But losing weight the way I and many others have didn’t work for her.

I preach a lot about diet and exercise here. I am a firm believer in its benefits. But when you’ve become so comfortable in your weight, it’s extremely difficult to break bad habits. It took me months to get my mind around the task I was about to take on. And then it took another few months to start the journey. For Rosie, she tried weight loss the old fashioned way for nearly a year without good results. So she decided to take the surgical route.

I am not a doctor, and I don’t know Rosie. But I know desperation. A year in, and I probably would have thrown in the towel, but she took the next step and took charge of her health. In an interview with “Extra,” she says that since the surgery a little over a year ago she’s lost about 55 pounds.

A few things Rosie said in her interview touched on some things that I hope gets across to everyone on their journey.

“I haven’t gained since I started losing. Sometimes it’s only a half a pound in the whole month, but that’s okay ’cause it’s going down.”

And it is okay. It’s okay to take control of your health in a way that works for you. For some of us, it’s strictly dieting. For others, it’s hitting the weights. Those of us, myself included, trying to lose a pound or two for beach season may never understand the what the severely obese have to go through. We can offer support and encouragement, but the journey is their’s to walk alone.

“I’m so not used to the new body that it’s hard for me to even buy the right-sized clothes when I go to the store.”

When I got got in beast mode with my weight-loss journey, I had tunnel vision. I knew how much I wanted to lose and what parts of my body I wanted to work on. I knew what kinds of foods I wanted to limit or restrict from my diet. What I didn’t know was how to dress myself. If you’ve been a certain size for a long time, you get used to shopping a certain way. Rosie was buying extra larges when she needed mediums. It wasn’t until a friend took me shopping that I realized my 12s were too big and I needed 8s. Weight loss is as much physical as it is mental. It takes a jolt of reality wrap your mind around your progress.

“There are reasons people become big. It’s protection. It’s layers of protection.”

You may have heard this before, but life is hard. There are people with metabolic issues who can’t lose weight. There are people with depression issues who eat to hide or comfort their feelings. There are more reasons for people to gain weight and have it stick than there are people in the world. But when you reach the point where you realize what you’re doing is not good for you, you’ve taken a major step toward an active role in your health. When you realize that the protective layer you’re hiding under isn’t doing you any good, then you’re on the road to a better you.

photo courtesy of

My Food, My Choice

31 Jul


One of the things you’ll notice on your weight-loss journey is the way people nitpick at your own food. After you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, friends and family will pay more attention to your diet.

Once upon a time, you’d eat half a pizza and a dozen wings by yourself. Now you’re fine with a slice or two and some water. You used to be the one who’d order the giant steak with a side of butter and dab of potato. Now a shrimp salad and dressing on the side suits you just fine.

Your diet has changed; good for you. One if the hard parts now is getting the rest of your peeps to accept that when you decided to go on your weight-loss journey, you made a life decision. You changed the way you live your life, and that’s difficult for others to accept.

You may have heard: “You’re eating half your dinner? I could never do that. That must be why you’re so skinny.” Or even: “You’re making me feel bad. I’m ordering the lasagna while you’re just getting the salad.”

The thing is your food choices are yours alone. You’re not eating to make others feel bad. If your dinner companion is hungry for a pound and a half of steak, then that person has every right to eat it, just as your salad with a side of sweet potato fries are your digestive right.

People who try to make you feel guilty for not eating the way you used to are only projecting their own issues with food and weight-loss onto you. Don’t let them get into your head and make you regret all the good work you’re doing.

I’ve been told several times that the way I eat isn’t  for another person. That may be true, but actually I eat what I want. I just don’t have a strong desire for bad things anymore. 

That all goes back to the concept of perception versus reality. The memory of how you used to be doesn’t quite jibe with what your friends and family see before them. It’s a hard concept for some people to grasp. To many, being mindful of your health means giving up everything. Not only is that untrue, it’s bad press.

When I began my weight-loss journey, it was like being in training. When you’re training, you cut out some things altogether. When you’re maintaining, you can add a few indulgences back into your diet. You’re just more mindful of what you’re eating. I can mentally estimate how many calories I’m consuming versus the amount of exercise I’ve done to burn them. But that took years of practice.

If that’s not for you, try a food journal. If you know what you’re putting into your body, you’ll know how much work you need to do to maintain or work off the pounds.

So enjoy your small plates of food. And remember, no one else is fueling your body but you.

How have you changed the way you eat? Have those close to you been positive about it?

I’m Only Good for Two

11 Jun

I just…I don’t even know what to say about this.

While on your weight-loss journey, you learn the art of sacrifice. In order to drop the pounds, you have to drop the doughnut and pick up the cucumber salad. You have to give up live programming because your spin class starts at the same time as “Game of Thrones.”

Nothing’s ever really worth it if you didn’t have to make sacrifices for it. I say all this to justify why I’m such a slob. I hate cleaning. It was the thing I got in trouble for most as a kid. I remember my mother waking me at 2 in the morning to wash the dishes I’d neglected the night before. I just didn’t feel like it.

Things have gotten so bad that I’ve just had to leave my home to get some peace. I’ve gone for a 6-mile run in the morning, gone to work and come home to complete horror. I had to get out and go for a walk so I wouldn’t have to deal with the mess I’d created.

The irony is that despite my disgust for Lysol, I hate messes. I understand that I’m really lazy. This far into my weight-loss journey, I’ve learned what my essentials are for a peaceful existence: having my meals prepared, setting aside time for my workouts and keeping my place relatively neat.

The other thing I learned, however, is that I’m only good for two of those three. So when I’m in beast mode, my apartment suffers. My poor dog has given me side-eye for how bad things have gotten. But I’m tired. Working out takes a lot out of you. And then cooking? Ugh. It’s all too much, I say. If I’m going to be fully dedicated to my goal, something’s got to give. So I’m sorry floors, but you’re just not getting mopped until I’ve had a chance to rest.

How do you reconcile what you need to do versus what must be done? Obviously, I can’t live my life in filth. I’m a bum, I’m not crazy.

I need to clean? (fights the air)

I can justify the piled up laundry because I’ve been working so hard. The mountain of dishes in the sink are because I’ve been cooking more. When you cook, your dishes get dirty. That’s just facts. I’ve made peace with the fact that when the beast hits, dust bunnies will pile up. I just can’t entertain guests until after rest day.

No matter how far into beast mode I go, I know I have to take a rest day. The body needs time to recover, but that doesn’t mean become a bump on a log. Rest days have become essential to me maintaining my sanity and allowing me time to clean my bathroom and put dishes in the dishwasher. I can get other minor business done, like paying bills and even grocery shopping.

Making sacrifices are expected when you’re in the throes of reaching your goal. But don’t sacrifice your sanity. Maybe it’s not a messy place for you, but something else you need to maintain your peace. Find a way to make room in your new routine for the things that keep you sane. Your friends and family will thank you for it.

What have you had to sacrifice for your goals? How have you had to readjust your needs for that?