Happiness

Hello readers.  I realize that it has been awhile since I have blogged.  I’ve been caught in finding time.  A lot is going on in my life, and the weight is still coming off.  I still have weight to lose, but I know I will.  I have surrounded myself with amazing people and I know with their encouragement and support that I will finish.  For me of course, and all those that have been cheering.

So I wanted to touch a subject that I think is so very relevant to weight loss.  That is happiness.  So many people in life are looking for happiness.  When I weighed 589 pounds, I wasn’t very happy.  I was so lost in life.  There were days that were happy, and things that I did that made me happy.  When I look back at my happiness, it was typically when I was at work helping my co-workers or when I was at home helping my Mom. Those were the things that made me happy.

People ask me if food made me happy then? I didn’t know how to answer until recently.  No it didn’t make me happy at all.  It was selfish to eat the way I did.  It was selfish to sit on a couch and not really move and watch TV.  Think about it?  To sit on the couch and watch TV, you are not out meeting people.  You aren’t talking to people.  You are just sitting there deep in your own thoughts.

I really started to think about what makes me happy after February.  For those of you who don’t know me, that is when I helped a gentleman who was being attacked by dogs.  In the process got attacked myself.  Someone asked me did it make me happy to help the man? No, it didn’t make me happy to help him. But, I did feel happy knowing he was okay.  He was hurt, but the dogs didn’t take his life. I was happy that I could do something.

It really hit me hard at that point.  Happiness is not something that is about me.  It is something that is given to me when I give back to others.  I am happy when I can give my nephew a toy, time with his Aunt to play and run around, or even just to listen to him talk about Blue Angels.  I am happy when I can give to someone in need.  I am happy when I can talk to someone wanting to lose weight, and they say I have inspired them to move forward.  I am happy when I see my cousin water ski anytime he wants too, knowing he loves it.   I am happy when I help someone at work achieve a goal.  I am happy when I give back to others.

I remember going to a local restaurant once with my Mom.  I watched an elderly couple enter the restaurant.  It took him nearly 30 minutes to walk 100 yards.  He sat close to us and I listened into the conversation. I KNOW I know.. That’s rude.  But, I did listen.  His wife said, you didn’t have to come today. We don’t have the money for this.  You really need to be in bed, your back is bad.   He said, this is our 45th wedding anniversary.  We need to be out and I want to be here for you.  She said, you always know how to make me happy. The simple act of going, and doing something was so beautiful.  She realized it.  He realized it would make her happy too.  How beautiful.  No the story doesn’t end there.  I paid for their meal, a tip, and anything they wanted.  I didn’t tell them who did it, or who it was from.  I just watched them smile together.  THAT made me happy.

Happiness wasn’t about something given to me by me.  But something given to others by me. Love that thought!  The greatest gift you can give your family and friends, is a healthy you! Mind, body, and soul!  Don’t buy fast food for yourself thinking it will make you feel better.  It won’t.  Take the time, the energy, and expense and give back to someone in your life.  Reconnect, let them know what you are doing to better yourself, and ask them to cheer you on and support you.

Have a wonderful week everyone!! Be happy!  The greatest reward in my life is when I see a smile on the faces of my friends and family.  It is the best gift I have ever received and it always leaves me truly happy.

The Joy Of A Click!

Hello all–Sorry I missed a blog or two. But I was travelling to Chicago to Participate in the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3 Day 60 Mile walk.

So what does the title have to do with Susan G Komen? Absolutely nothing.  The title is a celebration.  This time in travelling I sat in my plane seat, and fit.  Much to my excitement, not only did I fit, but the seat belt clicked without an extension.  This is the first time travelling in a long time that I didn’t need an extension. Small victories equal big celebrations.

This is a short post, as this lady is sore.  SO just a tip.  Count your calories as you eat, not after. Make sure you are getting 1800 calories or less (depending on your activity level).  Make sure you are being honest with the count. If you don’t, you’ll constantly look at the numbers and know they are off.

Have a great Tuesday! Will post something else when I recover from the weekend!

Shannon

Balance

Bal*ance

Noun- mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.

As I have been chatting openly about weight loss.  Many ask if I struggle. In fact, when they find out how much I have lost, they say WOOOOOW how did you do that? YOU must have an iron will.. YOU must be so strong. YOU must have everything figured out.

Truth-I did it by asking for help.  I surrounded myself with people who keep an eye on me. I am strong in many ways and learning in others.  I don’t have everything figured out! I wish I did.  The hardest thing that I struggle with now is balance in my life. You know, this is a subject I am not at all good at talking about.  Probably because it is the one thing I struggle with the most.

This past weekend I listened to a very smart man talk about a juggler.  That we can juggle only so many tennis balls before we have to have an assistant throw some more into the mix.  But, what happens when you start to drop some of the tennis balls because you can’t possibly take on more?

How can I keep the most important tennis balls up in the air and take on more? How do I say no to things that are not that important, or re-prioritize them?

In the past the tennis balls I juggled were work, television, food and family.  I had television right up there with family. Where was God/Faith? Where is my social life? Where is taking care of me? Where are friends? Health? I thought I was doing good by being a caretaker to my Mom.  I was always there for her.  Yet was I there for me?

Now I juggle God/Faith, family, friends, social life, school/creating a company, work, healthy eating, work outs, and reading.  Now I have a lot more on my plate, but what is on my plate is more nutritious for the mind body and my soul.  It has taken me awhile to change my lifestyle.  Truly I have no idea what is on TV, and strangely I don’t care to know. However, I find myself still struggling to juggle.  When one of those tennis balls, which are all important to me, takes more of my time it threatens the others.

That is where my support group that surrounds me comes into play.  You see, I have a group of people that I surrounded myself with who act as a clearance committee.  These are people that I fully trust that will always be honest, sometimes brutally honest, about how I am doing. They ask me tough questions, even when I am not ready for them.  I make mistakes. I’ve even dropped a few of those tennis balls.  But, the people around me won’t let me falter. Well, for too long. I need to learn from each time I get out of balance.  It is important for me to know what I need to improve on.

Recently I have been learning about the foundation that lifts me up.  It allows me to juggle. The initial confrontation about me losing weight was a question asked to me. Shannon–You work tirelessly to help us to improve. You do anything to help us. What do you do for you? I want you to know that I love you, this team of brokers loves you, the manager loves you and Shannon God loves you.  Do you love yourself?

When I am juggling my greatest assistant is yes a group of people.  But my foundation is God.  I love myself now, my way in life, and even my hope in life.  I know God loves me. To accept that love, I had to see what was worthy in me to love. In the past I didn’t care if I lived or died. I thought happiness was taking care of my Mom, and letting me go.  In a way sacrificing me, for someone else.  I will always have that willingness to help someone in need.  Yet, I won’t let it consume me.  My life has a strong and solid foundation now.  I have a nutritious plate to feed my soul.  Most importantly I have the right balance in my life.

DO I struggle? Yes-I will forever be fallible. Yet I will try to be in balance more often than not.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone! Thanks for peeking in on my journey!

Pray for wonderful weather, cool mornings, and for strength to all the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3Day walkers in Chicago this weekend.  I will there!

Balancing For Core Strength-Me at 230 lbs down.

Inner Voice

Have you ever wanted to set out to do something so bad that you just pushed yourself to the brink sometimes?    That is my weight loss.  I want more than anything to be finished with the weight loss journey so I can get on with the next part of my journey, and focus on just being an active woman.
Yet my struggles today still, are the same struggles from when I started.    We each have those inner voices.  The strong and courageous one that says you can set out to do anything, and make it happen.  We also have that other inner voice that robs our spirit, and constantly states,  I can’t do it anymore,  I want to quit, I want to give up.   Perhaps you are like some that have that negative voice that also says, I’m not worth it.    My journey the last four years has been about controlling that negative voice. Turning it off, and listening to the courageous inner voice.
It sounds like a simple plan, but it has been the hardest part of my journey.  Surrounding myself with the “right” people has been such a blessing.  For each person I hold close are those people who mirror that positive inner voice and push me. I have been open about my life and my story, and it has brought me the most incredible people into my life.    Today, that inner voice is loud.
I have been hanging out with my friend “LA” for a few months now.  He knows my story, my challenges, and even the fact that the negative voice held me in darkness for a long time.  Yesterday he and I set out on a hike.  It was the most challenging hike I have been on.  Yes, even more challenging then my failed attempt at Bierstadt (a 14k foot peak in Colorado).  The hike was only 5 miles round trip, but it was up hill.  In my head I started to hear the excuses, my foot, my knees, my conditioning for cardio because of the injuries, and I just can’t do it.  I was slow, because I kept panicing, and getting my heart rate up.  My heart felt like it was in my throat.  I wanted so much to give up.     I kept moving forward telling “LA” that I wouldn’t quit. I wouldn’t give in.  I am fighting myself that was my biggest struggle.  I was sore, my knees were holding up alright.  But, my spirit-that couragious voice was failing me. I started to panic again.
“LA”-He stopped, and waited for me.  Hollaring down, just 100 yards up. Just 20 yards. Set goals, take aim, walk and keep moving.  He wouldn’t let me give in.  I would sit down, and he would push.   I would falter, and he would be concerned, yet he wouldn’t help.  He knew this was my struggle. This was me, not against a mountain.  This was me against this darkness that held me down so long.     I walked over a ridge to see “LA” and his dog at the summit, over looking Longs Peak (a goal of mine).  I wanted to cry, but all I could do was smile.      Now the trek downhill wasn’t easy (because it was at a pretty serious grade).  I am sore today.  But, my spirit?? Wow, is the voice loud.  I can do anything I set out my mind to do.  I have worked hard to get stronger, and *I* am strong.  I can rely on the people I have surrounded myself with to be there for me when I am at my worst.  Most importantly, no mountain is too high for this Lady.  Weight loss is nothing compared to the hills I will climb.  But *I* know I will climb them all with a smile on my face.
I am truly blessed!
Let me know if you have any questions about my journey and my goals.  I’m brutally honest with what I have done to lose weight, exercise, and even my struggles! Let me know how I can help you!
Sitting at the top.

I made it-Slowly, but I got there-Thanks "LA"!

Choices and Forgiveness–It is all your Choice!

Wow what a difference 3 years makes. 300 pounds down, and I am still losing weight. Sometimes I am angry that I am not done yet. Other times I am awe inspired by my journey. Then again, I just get tired too.

So what does weight loss come down too? Choices. You know in life we are born with the ability to learn. Part of that is learning the choices that we make are good and bad for us. How did I get to be 589 pounds? Because the choices I made for myself were typically the bad choices in regard to food and exercise/activity.

So how do you change? You have to change your mind set and realize that you, yourself are making the choices that effect your life every day. You yourself have the power of influence to change your lifestyle. What if you thought of those bad choices as the ultimate deception of your spirit. The ultimate deception of the person who you want to be tomorrow?

Truly what clicked for me was, I am accountable to the person I want to be tomorrow today. Every choice I make, effects the person I want to be tomorrow today. That was my quote when I lost 100 pounds and I started to think now what? I worried that I would revert back–That quote came to me. I’ve been living by it since. How amazing is it that I control the ultimate outcome to my story?

People wonder if it is as simple as that? YES it is. But, the other key to weight loss or making any change in your life, you must remember that people are fallible.  We make mistakes.. In fact we are apt to make bad choices. What happens when you make those bad choices? In the past if I ate a cookie, had a pizza, or missed a work out. I would say, oh well–I messed up so I can mess up all day long. I’ll get back on track tomorrow.

When tomorrow came, well… I guess I can start tomorrow…. Those are MORE bad choices. What if….. In one instance you ate that cookie… You know that oatmeal, cinnamon, buttery goodness of a cookie, that is bigger then your hand… What if you ate that? Then said.. Wow, I know that was a bad choice.. I forgive myself for this instance and *I* OWE myself more good days and more good choices than bad. What happens??

Rather then making excuses… Acknowledging the bad choice and forgiving yourself. This gets you back on track immediately. You accept you ate the wrong thing. You work harder to not do the same thing again.

Can weight loss be this simple? CAN you truly find solace in forgiving, acceptance, and moving forward? I simply say this…. It is your *choice* to try!

YOU CAN do it!!! I CAN do it!!! Stay healthy everyone!

Shannon

Frequently Asked Questions

Hi all–

SO, I have 10k+ emails in my email box and in my Facebook account.  I can’t possibly answer every email, and for that I do apologize.  I’m going to do my best to answer questions on this blog. If I miss something-Please comment on the blog!

What diet did you use? 

Well I hate to tell you this–THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET… There is no easy prescription. There is no easy road. There *IS* no diet. I started eating less then 2k calories. The last year I have been focused on the quality of those calories. I eat brown rice, egg whites, chicken mostly, turkey, lots of veggies, complex carbs (potatoes, whole wheat breads), fruits, and oatmeal.  I *CAN* eat anything……….Within reason! (Which means within the calorie count).  Every year I have learned more and more about the quality of the calories I intake.  I am learning about the importance of clean foods now.  As I get better and stronger, I continue to tweak how I eat.  BUT again—NO diet!!! Diets don’t work!!!!

When you started how often did you work out then? 

At 589 pounds walking was painful–Did I immediately hit the gym hit weights and work out? No… I worked out alone and didn’t want to work with a trainer then.  So I joined the gym.  Bought a swim shorts, and shirt.. I bought swim shoes. I would go to the pool an hour a day every day and just walk.   Back and forth. I hate the pool now by the way. I hate being trapped indoors now.

When did I start walking outside?

I started about 9 to 10 months after walking in the pool.  I felt strong enough at that point.  However my back and legs were not ready.  I’d walk a park that had a loop. Thank goodness benches around it as well.  I’d walk 50 to 100 yards at a time. Than sit and rest. I went back everyday.  Seven days a week walking the park alone. Yep……. Alone! You have to realize you can not count on someone being there.  You have to count on YOURSELF!

Why did I hire a trainer?

I hurt my knee doing a 5k. I ended up in physical therapy for the knee injury.  Worked through it, but didn’t trust my knee or feel good about my knee.  My Physical Therapist told me to hire a trainer.  For every exercise she gave me, I accomplished more than she asked me too.  She said being as competitive as you are, and how hard you work for perfection—–HIRE A TRAINER!

How much is a trainer?

Depends–SHOP AROUND!!  I interviewed 7 trainers before going with Matt Ellison at 24 Hour Fitness in Broomfield, Colorado.  I buy packages of sessions.  I believe it is a bit over $57 a session for my trainer. (I really budget it in and just pay it… He is worth every penny and I find a way to pay it). Some outside trainers cost far less, some more.  I stand by the fact that no matter the cost, you need to hire the trainer that fits your personality.  Matt is the best trainer for me and has been a blessing to my life.  I can never repay him for his kindness and friendship.  Yes, I do realize I pay him to be there. But, I don’t pay him to really be a true friend.  Yet I count him as one.

Alright–That is my first set of FAQ’s.. I will continue to post them!! I hope these help. I’ll also post some of my favorite snacks AND those snacks I count on when I am craving bad foods.

Shannon

Straight Talk About Weight Loss

I’m excited to share with you my story and journey.  I started out on a journey 3 years ago to lose weight. At the time I weighed 589 pounds.  I’ve since lost 300 pounds in 3 years. I’m in my 4th year of my journey, and am hopeful that I will reach my goal this year! I have been featured on the local news stations in Denver http://www.thedenverchannel.com/health/28034920/detail.html, as well as on Good Morning America.  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/amazing-weight-loss-woman-sheds-300-pounds/story?id=13803154

 

This blog will be dedicated to those who wish to learn about my story.  I will update my progress, what I am doing, and how I am continuing to make my lifestyle change to keep the weight off and to stay healthy. I will answer your questions as well.  Thank you for your interest in my journey.  It has been an amazing few years and I can truly say it is a blessing to have my life back!