60 Pounds and Counting

Written By: Kim - Dec• 23•13

When I started this blog in January 2011, one of the goals that I publicly declared was weight loss and a healthier lifestyle. You see, I figured if I declared it publicly, then it would happen. Well, it doesn’t always fall into place like that. I joined the gym and was consistently hitting zumba and yoga classes three to four times weekly. My body was toning up and people noticed. However, my weight was not really changing. You see, the problem was that I had not learned to change my eating habits nor my approach to food.

Not my coach, but a good friend. This was taken in April 2013.

Not my coach, but a good friend. This was taken in April 2013.

Fast forward to the early spring of this year when I ran into a friend of mine. She too had always struggled with her weight, but had lost 30+ lbs.

She looked great and wanted to know if I was interested in joining her on a transformation. I am married to someone who sells for a living. I don’t buy into sales pitches easily. I blew her off at first.

Then, she followed up via email and said she needed people to practice on because she wanted to become a certified health coach. This was her second approach. I caved and said I would help. I didn’t think it would hurt.

No matter what I have weighed, in shape or not, I have never shared my weight with anyone except the doctor’s office because they force you to step on that stupid scale. So, here I am shopping at Walmart declaring that I need to lose more than 50 pounds—that’s when it became real.

I said the number out loud and to a friend. I never shared that with anyone. Ever.

I realized it was not “a few pounds” but significant pounds that I needed to lose if I was going to be at my 1991 wedding weight. As I continued to shop around Walmart that day, I noticed how many people were overweight. It really began to sink in that I was not getting any younger and if I wanted to be happier with myself again and healthier in the long term, then I had to act. If I did not want to end up in a wheelchair shopping, then I had better do something. And, hey, I could try it for a month and see.

I started the Take Shape for Life program on 14 June. As of today, I have lost 60 pounds with another 10 to go. You see, I miscalculated the weight I needed to lose in order to be the size I was when I married my husband in 1991. This has not been easy. Detoxing from sugar and carbs that first week or two was awful. I was so cranky, even my family members were telling me to eat a bar. I wanted dinner ready right when I walked in the door, I was so famished. I could not look at food on the TV or in magazines because all I wanted to do was eat. I was totally focused on food like I never was before.

But, by the end of the week, I lost six pounds. This was my wakeup call regarding how many empty calories I was putting into my body and how often during the day I was doing this. After a month, my clothes, were fitting better. So, I pressed forward to the next month. Then, I started tracking what I was eating through My Fitness Pal app. Talk about another wakeup call: Do you know how many calories are in two Double Stuf Oreos?

I can tell you that there is no good time to start this. When I started this past summer, my children’s swim season was at its height and nothing smells better at 6 am than a Chick-Fil-A sandwich. Or, maybe a hotdog at 9 am once the grill starts up – those are always yummy. Oh, did I mention the colossal donuts? You know, swimmers need carbs. Ack! The food was everywhere, but I could not partake. While I could not avoid the smells, I did at least avoid the visual. Did I mention that this is hard? Really hard. Let me tell you that losing weight as a middle-aged, 40-something mother of two teens is not for the faint of heart.

My good friend who also changed her life. This was in November 2013.

My good friend who also changed her life. This was in November 2013.

By the fall season, my old pants were falling off me. When I walked into a store in late October and purchased three new pairs of dress pants that did not have a “w” next to the size, I was elated. I was now one size away from my goal. When I would walk by a mirror and look, I would quickly think, who is that? It had been more than 15 years since my stomach was smaller than my chest. I started belting everything I wore to work until I was ready to start taking in my professional clothes to get tailored. The defining moment was when I tossed all of my bathing suits in the trash. Next summer, Momma’s going to need a smaller size for sure. Then I set aside summer shorts and shirts for donations. Elation. I can’t describe it any other way.

When I walk into a store, I have to remind myself that I no longer need to shop in the plus size section. My knee high boots are no longer tight. In fact, there’s so much more space around them, that when I replace them, I will need a smaller calf size. The weight loss has impacted every part of my body and for the better. That said, my annual checkup blood work in November revealed that the Take Shape for Life plan has positively influenced what’s inside and out. My numbers haven’t looked this good in years.

So, here’s what I have learned these last six months:

  1. I am an emotional eater. Stress and boredom do me in.
  2. I can survive, and be healthy, on many less calories than I was consuming before as long as they provide good nutrition and sustain me until the next small meal.
  3. When I eat out, I can choose where I eat and what I put into my body.
  4. The visual reward of being healthier lasts much longer than the food I eat.
  5. This is not easy, but a support system and encouragement from my coach, family and friends is tremendously motivating.

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I know how hard this is. I am Italian and German. If you think we don’t love food, then you are mistaken. I grew up with a Mom who cooked and baked like a professional. But if I can do this, anyone can. Really.

If you want to change your life and your health, please make a move. Do something. You will not regret it.

Women of Privilege: Stop Writing about Working Moms

Written By: Kim - Sep• 19•13

I sometimes read books on business strategy. I do not read advice or self-help books. I will not entertain reading any books by women or men who tell me how I can (or can’t) have it all because I am a working mother.

The business community and women in general have been in a flutter this year over Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” as if we’ve never had anyone, man or woman, write about a woman’s career path. I honestly did not understand the fuss.

Now the President of Barnard College, Debora L. Spar, is telling women it’s ok to be second best. Her publisher, Sarah Crichton Books released “Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection” today. Why do I know this? Not because I care what’s on the best seller list or that she was profiled in the New York Times, but because a working mom friend shared the article on Facebook.

ckhaghcutiesI do not need a woman who made over $500,000 simply by serving on the board of Goldman Sachs telling me that I am going to settle because I am a working mom who is convinced that I must be perfect. First of all, what in the hell would she know about settling? According to a Bloomberg News article posted on June 16, 2011, Debora L. Spar made more money from serving on a board than most Americans will ever see in an annual combined salary between two working parents. This half a million dollar figure does not include her salary and benefits she receives from her employer or any other income she makes.

Second of all, working moms do not need women who spend their annual salary on a nanny, personal chef or chauffeur to tell us how to be a better working mom or to forgive ourselves for not being perfect. Well, thank you very much Ms. Jesus Christ, but I don’t need your pontification to feel better about the job I am doing as a working mom. I am also not seeking your forgiveness because you believe I am not doing it all and that I should be ok with that.

If you would bother to walk among the average American Mom, which clearly you do not, here is what we are doing:

  1. We pay thousands of dollars annually in day care juggling works schedules in order to pick our children up on time before we get charged for being late.
  2. We are dropping off our children exactly when the daycare opens at 6:30 am so we can get to work on time. When I think of how I had to drag my two-year-old son out of bed to be at daycare that early, I cringe.
  3. We rely on family who might live near us to help us either watch our children at no cost or for a much lower amount than a center or in-home daycare would cost. For families like mine, we are SOL because our families live out of state.
  4. If we have teenagers and younger children, we are relying on them to watch their younger siblings often at their cost of juggling school work, sports, other activities and social time.
  5. We rely on our network of other moms to help us out in a bind. I thank God every day for the stay-at-home Mom friends I had whom I leaned on over the years when my children were younger and I was in a bind.
  6. We rely on our network of working moms who’s children do the same sport or activity as ours so we can carpool to and from practices. And yes, the Dads step in as well.
  7. We are telecommuting or flexing our schedule when our employer permits it. And, we are on our knees every day thanking God we have that option.
  8. We take our children to our office’s onsite daycare because we get to spend more time with them on the commute, even when that commute is hellish and lasts over an hour each way.
  9. We are not seeking promotions or other career opportunities because we may not have the flexibility we enjoy with our current employer.
  10. We are sometimes leaving our older children at home with our younger ones when we have shift work. You see, your Starbucks barista, local dry cleaner worker or nurse, no matter how great the company is, still cannot afford day care for their children.
  11. We are serving whatever we can for meals that is somewhat nutritional and quick. Crockpots get used often. Do you even know what one is? Briner (breakfast and dinner) might be used weekly. While it may not be Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon (which I make on the weekends when I have the time), we grin and bear it. Unfortunately, there are more nights than we care to admit that include fast food or sandwiches.
  12. We are squeezing in exercise when we can but not nearly as often as we should.
  13. We are volunteering in our community and profession.
  14. We are worried that we are failing our children.
  15. We are drinking wine. Sometimes a lot of it.

So, I am asking the women of privilege to stop writing about working moms. We are managing. It is never perfect, even if we had the money that you do. Find some other woman’s issue to focus on. Seriously. You have a voice that people listen to. Please change your message.