Thursday, May 29, 2014

Do I REALLY just want to "Eat Normal"?

Do I REALLY just want to "eat normal"?

This is a very real desire that we all have to confront at some point or other in our journey towards optimal health. 

Well, put it this way, we don't HAVE to confront this idea, we can IGNORE what is deep down and simply ACT on that hope after "losing weight", which WILL likely cause us to gain it all back again.

We've all been there, at that party or bridal shower or wedding reception or vacation, longing for the carefree days when we could eat whatever we wanted.  No matter that we were overweight or obese, we just wanted the freedom to eat what we wanted to eat, consequences be darned!  Do we really want that?  Really?

Or, we can deal with it and CHANGE OUR WANTS.

Let me give you a different perspective on it.  Do you REALLY want to "eat normal"?

Firstly, doing what we've always done will get us what we've always got.  Is that the status quo I want to maintain after all my hard work?

Secondly, the idea of "normal" in this country is what has 2/3rd's of Americans being overweight and fully HALF of those overweight Americans being OBESE.  So, "normal" is overweight or obese.  Healthy weight is actually the EXCEPTION.  We are the MINORITY, those of us who are a healthy weight.

Granted, and this is more true of YOUNGER people who are a healthy weight, but some of them can remain so because their bodies naturally tend towards that.  But the vast majority of those of us who are, oh, over 25 years old and who are a healthy weight are so because we choose to maintain energy balance and eat healthily, as well as move our bodies a little bit every day.

And those of us, like me, who have been FORMERLY obese or overweight and decided to make a lifestyle shift, we DO have to to fight for the right to be healthy, and create a NEW normal for ourselves!

Since only about 5-15% of people who lose a significant amount of weight maintain their losses for two years or more, that means those of us who have done that, who ARE in the healthy weight range, are the minority of the minority (of the minority of the feels like one of those pictures of a mirror with a picture of a mirror with a picture of a mirror....I digress.....).

So tell me, do we WANT to eat NORMALLY to BE NORMAL, or do we WANT to eat EXCEPTIONALLY to be EXCEPTIONAL?


Do you know who else chooses "Exceptional?"

Olympic quality and elite athletes.


Channing Tatum in an interview with a journalist over dinner was ordering a hamburger without the bun, "and hold the fries". 

Channing Tatum.  He took a moment after ordering to explain to the journalist that he was only a few days out from shooting on a film he was starring in, and therefore was minimizing his unnecessary carbs.  Channing Tatum.
Henry Cavill a.k.a "Superman" had to sign a contract with Universal that he would ONLY EAT what the Studio provided him to eat for about 6 months during shooting.  He was on a mission to get what he wanted, which was to be EXCEPTIONAL in his Superman suit.

Exceptional in this context means that you are comfortable with and actively striving towards your health goals.  I have lived the life of a "normal" American adult, and it did NOT bring me peace and joy.  In fact, quite the opposite, it brought me heartache and emotional conflict and pain such that I vowed NOT BE THAT WAY ANYMORE.

Our bodies are our bodies, we can't swap 'em out for bodies that DON'T store extra calories/carbs etc as fat.  Our bodies will always do that, we have not and will not change that propensity.  What we HAVE accomplished by losing the excess adipose tissue (long-term energy storage) and becoming a healthy weight is that we have brought our bodies back in to energy balance.  We are no longer hoarders of calories on our person.  We are also living a life, those of us who have done that, which is necessarily more active.  For me, this life I live now is infinitely  more satisfying and exciting and downright FUN that the life I was living as a Class IV Super-Obese-yet-"normal"-eating individual. 

And I will continue eat "exceptionally", and I will continue to move "exceptionally", to maintain what I have GAINED, which is optimal health, so that I may be able to continue LIVING an exceptional life.  The life I always dreamed I would live if I were the person I 'might have' been.  There is no 'might have' anymore.

I am her.

Rinse and Repeat!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

"Now What?" Energy Balance and Optimal Nutrition, That's What!

I have been doing a lot of thinking about my own "food rules" that I am establishing now that I am in maintenance.  Having read and re-read Dr. A's Habits of Health, and books like "Refuse to Regain", and observed my own physiological responses to certain TYPES of foods (high-glycemic nutritional wasteland foods) I feel I am really coming into my own in terms of realizing what FOODS I will be eating on a regular basis, what MINDSET I need to cultivate to do that, and what BEHAVIORS I am choosing to engage in to now MAINTAIN optimal health and move into ULTRA health.  Indeed I am passionate about health.

I read an interesting article in Outside Magazine entitled "Your Diet is a Cult", an Interview with Matt Fitzgerald who recently wrote the book Diet Cults (Link to interview at Bottom) and it's main premise is that diets (not used here in the "weight loss" term, but in the "eating-for-life" term), can somewhat be considered cults to a degree, that there are vastly different philosophically based ways of eating out there, and all think THEY are the RIGHT way, in fact the ONLY way.  Paleo.  Vegan.  Vegetarian.  Whole Foods.  Plant Strong.  Atkins.  Carbs-are-Good.  Carbs-are-Bad.  High Fat.  Low Fat.  Raw.  The Maker's Diet.  Juice.  The list can go on and on, and there seems to always be a new bandwagon in town touting yet another "this is the ONLY and BEST way" philosophy.

Note I am not adding "Organic" or "Gluten-Free" to the above list, because these are done by necessity (Gluten-Free) or the desire NOT to consume pesticides, etc, and I'm all for that! 

He begins by making the observation that people are, at their core, passionate about what they eat, and they way they eat.  He says: 

"Food is such a basic symbol of identity. We become emotionally invested. Even three-month-old infants show dislike for puppets who don’t like the food they like. I think we are all susceptible to the mythology that one diet is best."

WOW.  I read that and it absolutely clicked.  Eating is so fundamental to human life that we tend to search for MEANING in what and why we eat.  What is the solution, what is the determination that he concludes in his book?  That we should all embrace what he calls "healthy agnostic eating".

He expounds on what this means with the next two questions:
In your book, you propose we embrace agnostic healthy eating. How do people eat like this?

They don’t demonize any nutrients. No entire food categories are eliminated. They have fruits and vegetables with almost every meal. There aren’t a lot of fried foods or sweets. It’s pretty basic stuff, but can fuel the best athletes and weekend warriors like us. 

Do a lot of people already embrace agnostic healthy eating?The silent majority of health conscious eaters out there want to eat healthy and are turned off by diet cults. In my exposure to world-class endurance athletes, very few Olympic-caliber athletes do any kind of diet with a name. They don’t demonize any nutrient. My personal instinct is that I don’t want to trust fear mongering salesmen who vilify a lot of the food people eat.
What about all the people who don’t care about athletic performance, but just want a diet that helps them lose weight?I call it the suck-it-up diet. The secret to successful weight loss is motivation. Get out of the mindset of finding one way that works, and realize a lot of ways work. You still have to choose something specific. Anyone who loses weight and keeps it off doesn’t just wing it. They have rules and stick to them, but they’re not necessarily the specific rules of a diet cult.
How would you rate your own diet?It’s much better than average. My diet looks pretty normal, but is high quality on two levels. The first is that it’s weighed heavily toward the highest quality food types, such as fruits and vegetables. I have very few fried foods and sweets, and not a lot of refined grains. I eat more fish than any other kind of meat. It’s also quality in that I buy high quality food, such as organic food, and grass fed beef, and try to pay a lot of attention to ingredient quality. But I still have at least one beer a day. My wife and I like to eat out. We celebrated my birthday on Saturday and I had French fries at a restaurant, and I almost never eat them.
What does that mean?

I particularly appreciated what he said about those trying to lose weight.  Bear in mind that he says those attempting to lose weight need to be on the "suck-it-up" diet and that they need to "pick something and stick to it".

I think this is where people have a misconception about the Medifast 5&1, since it DOES eliminate fruit FOR THE SHORT TERM (as we are losing weight), it seems on the surface that he would not be in favor of this method.  This is NOT what he is saying, because the Medifast 5&1 is a SHORT TERM program FOR THE PURPOSE of weight loss so would fall into the "pick something that works and suck-it-up" philosophy that he DOES espouse. 

What he IS saying is that someone's long-term "diet" (food consumption for maintenance purposes) should not fall into the category of elimimating any single food groups OR nutrients.  This is very congruent with Dr. A's Habits of Health as well as the Transition and Maintenance portion of the overall plan.  Dr. Andersen doesn't advocates elimination of entire food groups for long-term weight maintenance either.  His approach is very simple, very scientifically based and considers the WAY our bodies PROCESS food and HOW to harness that for long-term weight maintenance and optimal health.  I dig it!

I think that if I could sum up my "diet philosophy" moving forward (and not "diet" meaning "lose weight" but "what I eat now that I am at a healthy weight", it could be adequately expressed in two sentences of two words each:

Energy balance. 
Optimal nutrition.

My Maintenance Credo. 

How will this express itself moving forward?  Quite a bit like the interviewee described HIS own diet.  Nothing is demonized, but basic common sense about the physiology of the human body and how food interacts with it causes him to eat very healthily.  And this is what I have always heard from Dr. A as well! 

So if I see a Twinkie, athough it may be able to be shoehorned into my "Energy balance" portion by logging it and not going over my TEE for the day, it CANNOT be equated at ALL in my "Optimal nutrition" portion.  It is an empty wasteland of pseudo-food particles that will only increase my inflammatory response. 

For me, these two will be inseparable and non-negotiable.  And that is how I will choose to mindfully and intentionally remain at my ideal healthy weight.

Rinse and Repeat!

Link (cut and paste):

Friday, May 23, 2014

Living Well Takes Effort

I was lying in bed thinking about this whole subject last night, and I came to the conclusion that for me, living well is always going to take tremendous effort.  Yes I'm in maintenance.  But don't let anyone tell you maintenance is a breeze.

Being in maintenance takes as much vigilance and even MORE planning than the weight LOSS portion of our program.  There is no "when this is finished" mindset in maintenance.  It does not exist for me, because IF THIS IS FINISHED only means one thing, it means I'm NOT in maintenance anymore and that is NOT an option for me that I am even willing to entertain.

Tremendous effort, but well worth it.  My day still contains daily activity.  Although I am not in training for a marathon anymore, I swim or run just about every day, anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour.  If I don't I go stir crazy.  When I'm not swimming or running it seems I am chopping vegetables LOL.  I love to chop vegetables and prepare amazing salads, it is sort of my time for meditation.  When I'm not swimming, running, or chopping vegetables I am cooking lean protein like fish, chicken, lean ground beef or steak, or SHOPPING for healthy food at Sprouts, Whole Foods, Costco or Trader Joe's. 

When I'm not swimming, running, chopping vegetables, cooking lean protein or shopping for healthy food I am reading books for personal development like "Change or Die" and "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and "Change Your Questions, Change Your Life", and "Never Eat Alone", and "Refuse to Regain" and of course "Dr. A's Habits of Health".

When I'm not swimming, running, chopping vegetables, cooking lean protein, shopping for healthy food or reading personal development books I am taking care of my family and their needs while trying to keep the house clean and balance my stress levels. 

All of these things I need to fit in to just about every day.  And it is a lot.  Welcome to the rest of my life!

But you know what?  I am joyful!  I am peaceful!  Sure it is hectic and sure I still have an eating plan and sure there are stressers and labs for my son and annual check-ups approaching and all and then on the top of it all PMS comes marching through my door.

So maintenance is amazing, and wonderful and welcome to it and all, but it is really a whole lot more of the same behaviors and mindset that allowed me to ARRIVE here in maintenance, extended. 

I decided to change my mentality in the PROCESS of the weight loss phase, not to wait until I "got here" to begin changing my MIND about health.  And as a result, I realized that maintenance is ALSO a strict eating plan.  But I was prepared for that.  And I was joyful in that.  And I wasn't "waiting for it to be done".  For me it is the SAME amount of diligence and mindfulness and planning and effort, if not MORE to be in maintenance.  And it takes effort.

Maintenance is not for the faint of heart is what I'm saying here.  And the mental fortitude it takes to remain here doing the things I need to do in order to STAY here I had to develop ALONG THE WAY.  With intention and mindfulness.  With Dr. A's Habits of Health.  With intrinsic motivation.   

In short, choosing to live a healthy life full of vibrancy and joy is a heck of a whole lotta work. But I tell you it IS worth it. The alternatives are bleak. Been there, done that. So, I will continue to choose to live with intention, with constant hard work, lots of effort, and direction in order to maintain my relatively newfound health.  Hey, I'm 44, and for the first 41 years of my life (with the exception of a couple of years in high school and college) I was usually in a state of being overweight or obese!
Mindlessness is the enemy of maintenance.
Mindfulness is the friend of maintenance.

Yes, living well takes effort.  But it is well worth it.

Rinse and repeat!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Change or Die.

I try to do an hour of "Personal Development" every day, and today I was reading a book I received recently on recommendation from a friend called "Change or Die" by Alan Deutschman.

All I can say is, WOW.  This guy has the psychology of creating lasting behavior change DOWN.  In reading the primary tenets of the book, I realized I was looking backwards at a pretty accurate summary of the mind change that I went through within the last couple of years.

Upon first glance, the title gives the reader somewhat of a preconceived notion that Fear, Facts, and Force are the primary methods of creating lasting change.  Reader BEWARE!!!  Nothing could be further from the point of this book.

In fact, he makes the point that when the "Three 'F's' ARE employed, FEAR, FACTS, or FORCE, change is rarely if ever permanent or sustainable in any real way.  In fact, only 1 in 10 people who initially respond with a commitment to change their life which is based out of any of these three components ONLY will succeed in the long-run at making it a lasting change.

What, then?  Is this a hopeless situation for the life-time strugglers in the weight and diet department?  Are 9 out of 10 of us destined to slog out the rest of our days being overweight or obese and feeling powerless, absolutely POWERLESS to effect REAL an LASTING change?

On the contrary.  This is a book about hope.  H*O*P*E.

The Author, having studied three distinct populations where even the most professional psychologist and psychoanalyst, and medical science and history say are UNCHANGEABLE in their behaviors, and having SEEN REAL and LASTING change and OBSERVED 8 out of 10 of these persons living a life of FREEDOM from their past, unwanted behaviors, comes to the conclusion that there are THREE KEYS to creating real, lasting, sustainable, ACTUAL changes in lifestyle and perspective.

Whew!  I was hoping he would say that!

What are those three keys?

1)  Relate
2) Repeat
3) Reframe

"1- Relate:  You form a new, emotional relationship with a person or community that inspires and sustains hope.If you face a situation that a reasonable person would consider hopeless, you need the influence of seemingly "unreasonable" people to restore your hope - to make you believe that you can change, and expect that you will change.

- Repeat:  The new relationship helps you learn, practice, and master the new habits and skills that you'll need. 
It takes a lot of repetition over time before new patterns of behavior become automatic and seem natural - until you act the new way without even thinking about it.  It helps tremendously to have a good teacher, coach, or mentor to give you guidance, encouragement, and direction along the way. 

3- Reframe:  The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life. 
Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn't have made any sense before you changed.

New hope, new skills, and new thinking.

Wow.  Just, WOW.  This describes to a "T" my journey with Take Shape For Life.


I know there are some who believe that I just had a big dose of the crazy sauce.

No, looking back I know that all three of the above actually occurred in my life, and that it allowed me to create a solid foundation of health.


I hope someone finds encouragement in this synopsis.  I know I found great encouragement reading it in the book!

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"We ARE what we repeatedly DO" - Aristotle

"We ARE what we repeatedly DO.  Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle

Before losing 150 pounds and creating Optimal Health in my life, this was true.

AFTER losing 150 pounds and creating Optimal Health in my life, this remains true.

Before beginning the process of getting healthy, I was the sum total of my habits.  My Habits of Disease, my UNHEALTHY Habits.  What did that look like?

I can sum it up in a few sentences.  EATING unhealthy food, and LIVING a sedentary lifestyle.  The quality of life this created for me was a dark place.  I was an extrovert living as an introvert.  I weighed 272 pounds and walked occasionally with a cane when my knees hurt too badly.  I was almost as big around my middle as I was tall, and doing anything but sitting on the couch was a real effort.  My son was growing up with no one to play with him because I couldn't get up off the floor without the assistance of a piece of furniture, and while sitting on the floor it felt like I was suffocating. 

I was.  Suffocating.  In a world of my own making.

When I fully realized the tools I had available to me to create the health I desired, though, things changed.  Rapidly.  Within 2 weeks of beginning the program I had more energy.  My mood lifted and the dark clouds seemed to lessen.  I smiled. 

As I moved into Optimal Health I can scarcely remember what it felt like to walk into my closet full of clothing in 13 sizes (THIRTEEN SIZES!!!!!) and have nothing to wear, nothing that made me feel pretty or confident about myself at ALL.

Now my life is so different.  SO different.  I decided WHO I wanted to be, and then I began DOING what that person would do.

I began to practice Habits of Health.  Daily.  Consistently.  Over time, I BECAME the person I knew I COULD HAVE BEEN! 

Now?  I'm an extrovert LIVING like an extrovert.  I smile every day all day because I have genuine joy and peace living the life I knew I could live.  I began repeatedly DOING those things that would bring my TOWARDS health.  And I can say with full confidence that I am enjoying that health FULLY.

So what do you do?  Are you satisfied with being the person who thinks they can't get through a weekend "on program?"  Are you satisfied being the person who "will always struggle with my weight?"  Then continue DOING those things and focusing on the struggle and focusing on the yummy food on the weekends that you have been thinking about all week.  Because eventually we all get what we want.  What do you want?

What did I want?  I wanted health.  I wanted health so badly that I refused to focus on the "hard" or the "struggle" and began DOING the work.  And eventually it wasn't hard anymore.  And eventually the struggle ceased.  Because I DID what needed to be done.

We aren't overweight or obese because we are just destined to be that way.  We are overweight or obese because up until now we have chosen to engage in the habits that would make us so.  So make a NEW habit.  Practice that habit daily.  Master it.  Then move on to the next habit.

Some habits I created along the way:

*Measuring my cooked protein on a food scale.  ALWAYS.  I still do it.
*Measuring my vegetables with a measuring cup.  ALWAYS.  I still do it.
*Drinking 90 ounces of water daily.  ALWAYS.  I still do it.
*Adding daily healthy motion daily.  ALWAYS.  I still do it.
*Reading a few pages of Dr. A's Habits of Health consistently.  I still do it.
*Eating 5 meal replacements per day when I was on the 5&1.  ALWAYS.  I still utilize the meal replacements in my healthy maintenance plan because I have chosen to incorporate them.  I haven't found a superior alternative so I stick to what works for optimal nutrition and low glycemic.
*I did NOT use weekends, special occasions, office parties, or other social functions to "take a break" from health.  I still don't.

I want to encourage you to choose your path then develop the habits that will take you there.  IF you would like a program that helps you create the health you desire, message me and let's get going. I am a FREE Certified Health Coach. I'll help you get on the path towards Optimal Health.

Rinse and Repeat!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Relating to Stephen Covey

I KNOW I've read Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" before but it did not speak to me before like it speaks to me now.  I guess when the student is ready the teacher will emerge LOL!  I read the book in college and it sounded like "Blah blah blah-de-blah blah blah".

Last night I was reading his book and he mentioned the following:

"Inside-Out:  Many people experience a fundamental shift in thinking when they face a life-threatening crisis and suddently see their priorities in a different light, or when they suddently step into a new role, such as that of a husband or wife, parent or grandparent, manager or leader. 

We could spend weeks, months, or even years laboring with the Personality Ethic trying to change our attitudes and behaviors and not even begin to approach the phenomenon of change that occurs spontaneously when we see things differently.

It becomes obvious that if we want to make relatively minor changes in our lives, we can perhaps appropriately focus on our attitudes and behaviors.  But if we want to make significant, quantum change, we need to work on our basic Paradigms.

In the words of Thoreau, 'For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is one striking at the root.'  We can only achieve quantum improvements in our lives as we quit hacking at the leaves of attitude and behavior and get to work on the root, the paradigms fro which our attitudes and behaviors flow.

Of course, not all paradigm shifts are instantaneous.  Some are a slow, difficult, and deliberate process. 

In order to see things differently, we had to BE differently.  Our new paradigm can be created as we invest in the growth and development of our character.

Paradigms are inseparable from character.

BEING is SEEING in the human dimension.  And what we SEE is highly interrelated to what we ARE.  We can't go very far to change our seeing without simultaneously changing our BEING, and vice-versa.

Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world.  The power of a paradigm shift is the essential power of quantum change, whether that shift is an instantaneous, or a slow and deliberate process."

WOW.  I mean, WOW.

I can truly say that my paradigm has shifted on how I see myself and how I see my health, and health in general.

Gone are the days that I am just psyching myself up for another day.  If you read back in my blogs over the last 7-8 years you will see that the change came slowly, in a deliberate process of sometimes painful change.  I changed my paradigm to that of orienting myself towards HEALTH, it isn't just a way of looking at things or a tricky maneuver with semantics.  It is a fundamental SHIFT in how I see me, how I see the world, and the lens through which I think, process emotions, and choose to behave on a day to day basis.


So, for some it is a "trigger experience" that shifts their paradigm.  Mine was slow and deliberate and INTENTIONAL.

I AM a fit and healthy woman because I shifted my PARADIGM to BE a fit and healthy woman, and in so doing I BECAME a fit and healthy woman.  And a fit and healthy woman I will REMAIN.


Just some thoughts for a Sunday morning!

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Breaking the Generational Cycle of UnHealth

One thing my son will likely not experience is being able to remember a time where his Mom was a "yo-yo dieter".  Because I made the decision to become Optimally Healthy back in 2010 when he was 5 years old, he now has a healthy Mom who will NOT "struggle with her weight" for his entire formative years and beyond.

This is his new reality, and mine as well.  I can honestly say "I USED to struggle with my weight, before I decided to create optimal health in my life!"  It is so freeing to know that I am not passing my previous dysfunctional relationship with food on to my son. 

The cycle is broken.

You see, I am 100% sure that I will not give up Optimal Health. 

Here is what my life USED to look like.
I am sad to say that I made my god my stomach, by orienting my life around the pleasures and the excitement of unhealthy food and dealing with the consequences of that.  I let food determine my emotions for the day.  If I was feeling blue or anxious or stress I'd turn to IT for comfort and a temporary "high".  It was my drug.  It was my idol.  Literally.  I'd orient my day around what and when and where I was going to eat.  And it had to be yummy. 

The times that I would have a glimpse of what I had become, and wake from a food-induced coma long enough to realize how unhappy I was and how dysfunctional and unmanageable my life had become, I would enter a
"diet mentality" with zealous abandon.  I would psyche myself up for another round of deprivation from the food I loved, buckle down and hold my breath, anxiously hopping on the scale every single morning knowing that "it" would determine what kind of day I was going to have, an inflated (emotionally) day or a deflated day.  I was impatient to "get there" and "be done with this" and "get to goal" and I'd make elaborate charts about "if I lose this much per week starting now then this line says I should be "at goal" on such and so date...."

I had simply switched idols.  Instead of my stomach being my idol, I had made the scale my idol.  The scale determined my emotions.  The scale gave me permission to be happy or sad.  The scale determined my self-worth each day and I lived by that determination.  I was petrified of whether "today" would be the day I'd dive off plan and it would be the beginning of my rapid weight REGAIN, perpetuating the cycle of "lose, gain, repent, repeat".  I was distrustful of myself.  I couldn't understand how one minute I could say "no" to something "off plan" with steely resolve, but the next minute be putting a piece of cake or brownie in my mouth that I may have been left alone with.  It felt like multiple personality disorder!  How could I be "so strong" for a day and then, like Jekyll and Hyde, turn into this person who appeared to NOT CARE whether she gained weight or not?  This was NOT the person I wanted to be.  But I didn't seem able to figure out what to do about it!

My life looks so different today.  WHY?  Because I made the fundamental decision to create optimal health in my life.  I decided to become the version of myself which reflected my full God-given potential.  You see, I don't believe God called me to be a fattie.  I had done that to myself, by having unbalanced priorities and by not fully realizing or believing that I was capable of living a life of health and, yes, self-discipline.

I am so grateful to Take Shape For Life for giving me the tools I needed:
* The Medifast 5&1 Plan for the weight loss phase
* Dr. A's Habits of Health System as my guide for CHANGING my MIND
* The individual support of my most awesome Health Coach
* The Bionetwork of support of the Community (Events, Conventions, Trainings, Doctors, Nurses, Dietitians, Behavioral Therapists and Exercise Specialists that were available to me, even being able to talk personally with Dr. A at events)

And I am so grateful to God for giving us the free will to choose how we will live our lives here on Earth.  I choose to live it in a manner worthy of that which I have been called in the service of my family and my community.  I couldn't even BEGIN to do that when I was Class IV Super Obese and didn't even have enough mental energy to get through one day, didn't have enough emotional energy to give to anyone else, even my family, and didn't have enough physical energy to even walk to my car without huffing and puffing.

A new life.  A joyful life.  A renewed mind.  They aren't kidding.  An authentic life and an authentic me.  I have utterly transformed inside and out, and I'm not EVER going back into that dark cave of the diet mentality.  I am an Optimal Health Practitioner!  =)

Rinse and Repeat!