Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer 2011

I figured before summer is over..I might as well be brave and post a swimsuit pic.  So here I am.  :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So Close!

So this morning marks a new milestone for me on my journey.  I saw 160 on the scales.  I am only 8 lbs from reaching a normal BMI.  It's still a daily struggle, but I've come this far and refuse to give up.  Sometimes I worry about what happens once I decide I'm done losing though.  This is who I am now.  It makes me feel productive to see the numbers go down.  I'll be relieved obviously and feel like I've achieved something great, but at the same time...the idea of it scares me.  What else concerns me is that I've came to the conclusion that I'll never feel perfect.  No matter how small I get I'll still look in the mirror and be confronted by an array of imperfections that cannot be corrected.  I guess I naively thought that I'd eventually be able to be entirely pleased with myself.  I suppose that will be my next endeavor...the next hurdle on my path.  Deciding that imperfections are what make each of us uniquely beautiful.  Perhaps that will be even harder than losing the weight, but it's something that has to be done...and it will be done.

Hope all of you are well.  :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Q & A

Louise said...
Have you had a problem with sagging skin since the weight loss? I'm 7 weeks into my Dukan journey and looking forward to the end (a lo-o-o-ong way away) but admit that this is the only thing bothering me. These before-after pics are amazing, you were beautiful before! Louise x  Hi Louise!  Loose skin is inevitable if you lose quite a lot of weight, but you can certainly minimize the risk by exercising and drinking plenty of water along the way.  My personal experience is that it is not bad enough to discourage you from losing the weight!
Mindy said...
I just started the diet and happened upon your blog, which I absolutely LOVE! You're such an inspiration! You look gorgeous. Luckily, my fiance is doing the diet with me; we're a little over 3 weeks into it. His weight loss is more rapid than mine, so I'm looking for a fellow female perspective. Are/were there times where you experienced stagnation in your weight loss? Possibly even a frustrating gain? I know everyone is different, but is a 1-2lb loss a week typical? I'm following the "rules" rather strictly, but I admit, once or twice I've slipped. I allow myself to have regular gum, rather than sugar free, and a week ago I regrettably had a beer, which caused a 2lb gain! After that, I swore off straying from the guidelines. My last question is, were there times you allowed yourself to break the rules, and if so, how did it impact your results? Thank you so much for sharing. :) Mindy
Hi Mindy,
Plateaus and occasional gains are perfectly normal.  Your body is quite sensitive to the things you eat.  Whether you have to much salt or even if it is a hot day you may retain more water than normal.  Also, cheating is inevitable.  The most important thing is that you compensate for your missteps immediately.  One step back and two steps forward.  Exercise more the next day and do a white out day of only chicken breast, tuna, water, and green tea.  The more times you break the rules the slower your progress will be.  It becomes a balancing act of how badly do you want to have the occasional treat versus how quickly do you want to see more pronounced results.  You control the speed of weight loss.  But never let your missteps prevent you from continuing on.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to not let any amount of weight gain discourage you from fighting just as hard as you were before.  That's how I came so far.  Best of luck to you and your fiance!  Lastly 1-2 lbs a week is superb!  
thecardigangirl said...
You are amazing! I'm on my second attempt at diet success. Last year I went from 260 to 191, however i'm back up to 230 and reading about your successes are truly motivating. You are giving me hope that I can do this :)  You most certainly can do this!  When I was 16 I lost 70 lbs and put all of it back on and more.  This diet is different.  It changes your life entirely!  Best of luck :)
Anonymous said...
You are amazing. I have lost 18 lbs on Dukan and am nearing my true weight. I am suddenly struggling when all has been easy so far. I just crave all the wrong things in the last week and have had two awful binge days resulting in 5lb gain. I can feel the whole thing slipping away and am scarily out of control. I don't know what has happened in my head this week. How can I re-focus? Daisy  Hi Daisy, Sit down and make a list of all the things you have to gain by fighting for this.  Look at it as an investment in your future.  You are in control, and no matter what you can always lose the weight.  When you start to focus on failure it can become a reality.  Failure is not an option because you deserve the best!  So go for it.  You'll be amazed at the power that lies within you. :)  
Anonymous said...
You look absolutely amazing and are such an inspiration. Did you have any trouble with consipation or bad breath during the diet?  Hi!  Thanks so much.  I did not have any digestive troubles with the diet, but yes ketosis breath has plagued me quite terribly.  It's a necessary side-effect.  Though it's annoying, I'd much rather be healthier and happier than larger with perfect breath.  I recommend mouth wash.
Anonymous said...
Hi, First of all you look amazing and are truly an inspirational women !! I have just started the Dukan diet and in my first week i have a long way to go but hoping it will be successful !! Laura United Kingdom xx  Hi Laura!  Thanks so much.  Let me know how it goes for you.  You'll be amazed at the results! Thanks so much for your questions.  I'll be happy to answer any others as well.  I hope you all are doing splendidly.  :) And here is a before pic of me from August 26th, 2010.  I didn't know the picture existed til i found it today.  A news reporter took my photo at a Beatles tribute concert.  So I couldn't hold the camera just right to try to hide.  This is where I started.  Less than a year ago, this was me. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Let your soul take you where you long to be...

Down 136.5 lbs now.  
Every additional pound at this point makes such a huge impact.  I'm feeling healthier by the day.  I would like to use this post as an opportunity to address any questions or concerns you might have.  Ask me anything.  About the diet or otherwise.  I'll be happy to explore anything you wish to.  I feel that honesty about my experience is what seems to motivate people the most.  

So hopes, fears, questions, whatever you wish to share now's your chance.  I look forward to hearing from you all. :)

Also, I stumbled upon this blog today, and find this guy's story SO inspirational.  Check it out!

Let your mind start a journey thru a strange new world. Leave all thoughts of the world you knew before. Let your soul take you where you long to be...Close your eyes let your spirit start to soar, and you'll live life as you've never lived before.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Go Confidently In The Direction Of Your Dreams...

So I've gone back to fully determined dieting mode.  I'm far from doing it flawlessly, but I am being far better.  I've been drinking more water and exercising more.  Trying to minimize bad foods.  I've now lost 135.5 lbs.  I'm beginning to fear I'll never feel satisfied, so I'm going to set my limit at 139.5 lbs.  Which means I still have right at 25 more lbs to lose. :/  But, I'm already well below what I dreamed possible before, so I'll take it a day at a time.

I wanted to remind you all how important drinking plenty of water is to the diet.  We've all heard it.  We all tend to ignore it.  Well here is one thing I hadn't heard about water until recently.  Drinking plenty of water can help your skin remain firmer during rapid weight loss.  How about that for incentive?  Also, water enables your liver to process fat more effectively.  So there's that.  And, if you don't drink enough water, your body actually clings to its fat deposits.  So drinking enough water alone without even dieting and exercising would likely help you shed at least a few pounds.  So put all those things together, and you have a very, very simple new weapon in your weight loss arsenal.  If you're not a big water drinker (I wasn't at all!), here's another interesting detail.  If you're rarely thirsty or rarely desire water, it is likely because you're not drinking enough water.  Make yourself drink enough water for a day or two, and you'll miraculously find yourself wanting water all the time.  Problem. Solved. :)

The idea of a perfect summer was so motivating to me when I began this diet.  The things I would do, the places I would go.  This summer has exceeded expectations.  I hiked to the loveliest waterfalls, I stood on top of a mountain and gazed downward at the clouds, I've been so overwhelmed with the beauty of nature that it brought tears to my eyes.  I've sunbathed without a care in the world to the point that I'm a quite lovely shade of bronze which is a welcome change from my typical paleness.  I play disc golf outside every weekend in 90 degree weather, and feel even better after I do it.  I am not the same person at all.  It blows my mind.  In some ways I'm the very antithesis of my old self.   

A brief moment last night seemed to epitomize the entirety of this summer.  I took the trash out down the way, and felt like sprinting homeward.  I ran as fast and as hard as I could.  Not caring who saw me.  Not caring about anything except the fact that I could do this.  And in those moments I felt weightless and strong.  I felt unstoppable and truly free.  I used to have recurring dreams as a child of simply running out my front door.  No destination in mind, just running as far and as fast as I could.  It was always a good feeling in the dream.  I didn't feel like I was running from or to anything in the world.  I was simply running.  That was something I never did as a child really.  I never did it as an adult either until last night.  And somehow I wonder if that's what my childhood dream was meant for, to show me where happiness simply being, in simply doing.  I always used to wonder what I was running from or where I was going.  I suppose I know now, and I'll run in this same direction for the rest of my life now.  Most. Gladly. :)

Me.  7.27.11
Frustration is the first step towards improvement. I have no incentive to improve if I’m content with what I can do and if I’m completely satisfied with my pace, distance and form as a runner. It’s only when I face frustration and use it to fuel my dedication that I feel myself moving forwards. ~ John Bingham

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Reminder of Where My Journey Began.

I'm going to share something intensely personal with you all.  Something I ran across this morning.  Something that finally made me realize just how far I've come.  Approximately 3 1/2 years ago, I was in the process of completing all the prerequisites to have my insurance approve gastric bypass.  One of which was writing a letter explaining why I wanted to do it, despite the risks and sacrifice.  So this is me being completely honest with myself.  I wasn't exaggerating.  I felt I couldn't do it on my own.  That there was no hope. 

To whom it may concern:
My Perspective on Gastric Bypass
The greatest things in life often require the seemingly greatest sacrifices. It only makes sense in the whole scheme of things that what you sow is what you reap. Sometimes, however, people just don’t have the green thumbs required to sow things exactly the right way, and they are left without a thing in the world to show for it. I’m one of these latter people. My whole life I have done all I can to be the person I so desperately long to be. I have succeeded internally for the most part, but a large part of what’s inside of me is inextricably linked to what’s on the outside of me. That’s why I took the first step in seeking out help with this life-altering endeavor. I know that without help I will be destined to be this same person for the rest of my life. This person who despite having a pure heart and a wise mind still cannot truly live her life the way she is entitled to.
Going into this endeavor I have heard far more scary things than good things. I’ve heard so many times “You must…” and “You have to…” I’ve heard of the horrible consequences that will result if I don’t do those things, and I’ve heard of the real people who didn’t listen. I know that it’s about far more than a happy ending. It’s still a long, hard struggle that will be lifelong. I’ve thought about all of these things for a long time: how my life will be permanently changed in good ways and bad, how a major source of stress relief will be gone forever, how the people around me will treat me differently, how I’ll never be free from focusing on food for the rest of my life. I’ve thought of how afterwards I’m going to have to grieve over losing a freedom that most people take for granted. After thinking of all these things, what I come back to is this: I will do anything in the world if it means I will have fewer regrets in my old age, and that I will even see that old age.
The life I’m looking at now is not nearly as promising as it should be. I can’t plan things as simple as my class schedule the way I want to, I can’t live without some sort of pain on a day to day basis, I can’t be free from the all the burdens that being overweight entails. If I don’t lose weight I’ll likely never be able to have children, and even if I somehow did, I might very well never live to see my grandchildren.
The most striking reality came to me at the last bypass support group meeting I attended. A girl who had lost 140 lbs over 7 months was there. She was so happy and healthy. She had been my size before, and here she stood looking what I would consider perfect. She told me of how her life had improved, and how she would do it again. She was such an inspiration. Someone asked her if she ever regretted having the surgery though, and her response just dumbfounded me. She said, “Yeah, but only at family get togethers. I wish I could eat all the food they have there, and I can’t.” I thought to myself, how can this woman who has been given a second chance at life even say that with a straight face? It just made me realize that if that thought ever crosses my mind I’m going to remind myself of how silly she seemed. She was given all the world, and she was complaining about missing out on an hour’s pleasure of enjoying one meal.
The implications of this surgery are so far-reaching that I don’t believe any person who has never been overweight can fully appreciate them. Everyone looking in sees it as a result of vanity, but it isn’t. They don’t know what life is like being morbidly obese. Try as they might they could never fully empathize. When every single minute of every single day of your life is made either painful, emotionally hurtful, unnecessarily frustrating or exhausting, or simply not of the quality that any living individual is entitled to; then you can begin to empathize.
I suppose the bottom line for me is this: dietary restrictions, vitamins, other required medications, and follow-up appointments are by far worth the effort and worth the sacrifice. I’m only going to live once, and it’s up to me how much I make of it. If I want to live the rest of my life being miserable physically and mentally then I very well can, but if I take the initiative to recognize that I cannot do this on my own and that help is out there then I will end up with a far better quality of life. By having a better quality of life I can, in turn, improve the quality of the lives around me as well.
How can I do this?...How can I alter my life so drastically and cope with the changes that will follow? Because I’ve never wanted anything more in my life, because I have people who love me more than anything in the world who are completely committed to seeing that I do make it through this, and because if I don’t do this I’ll be robbing myself and those around of me of years of lifetime that could very well hold things so beautiful I could never begin to fathom. I can and will do this because I want to live. I’m not going to take the gift of life for granted. I’m going to make the best of it. I’m going to give it my all, whatever it takes, and in the end, it will all be worth it.

It will be more than worth it.

With sincerest commitment and a newfound sense of hope for the future,

Brianna Marshall

So that's where I came from.  And today I hit the 130 lbs lost milestone.  I've never seen the 160s in my life.  I used to dream of the 220s.  Before that, I clearly couldn't dream at all.  So no matter how discouraged you may feel.  No matter how daunting it might seem...the same girl that wrote that...did what she considered wholly impossible.  I'm not some super optimistic driven woman.  I was a woman without hope.  A woman who anticipated a life ahead that was full of shame and pain, as her childhood had already been.  But I did it, and you most certainly can too.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!
Audrey Hepburn

Friday, July 15, 2011

Big Day!!

The day began with me buying my first pair of Size 8 jeans, and then I got news that my magazine was out! :D  Enjoy :)