Losing 150 Pounds Helped Me Buy a House

When I was 10 pounds away from my weight loss goal, my friend Kim Bensen asked me where I saw myself in 5 years. I said, “Living in Connecticut and working with you.” It just fell out of my mouth, but it’s how I felt. It was through her support, program and weight loss center that helped me achieve that goal.That was 2 years ago. Quite honestly, I didn’t know HOW I was going to accomplish this Olympian task. But I didn’t let that take away my dream or put out my fire in my spirit. I knew if it was meant to be, I could make it happen. Somehow. Heck, if I could lose 150 pounds, couldn’t I move to another state? I laugh now at how simple my thinking was about it.
When I hit my weight loss goal of losing 150 pounds, it opened up a new door for me. It was so similar to the movie The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy lands in the magical land and everything goes from black and white to Technicolor and she found her yellow brick road that led her to where she needed to be most.
It tore down the dark curtain that shaded my world with feelings of regret, apprehension, fear and anxiety. The light poured in and the colors of life itself became brighter, richer and more intense. I realized that a goal is simply a dream that you decide to go after with everything you have inside of you during your waking hours.
It crashed through walls of the house of mirrors that I allowed people to put up around me. Mirrors that distorted how I really felt, who I really was and how I thought I looked to people. It liberated me.
It also made me feel naked and exposed. It took away the layers and padding of excuses for being unhappy. So much of my misery and pain was attributed to carting around an extra 150 pounds. It was the “evil twin” that sucked the happiness out of my life by being the fall guy I could blame for everything from break ups, opportunities I was afraid to take, spontaneous things I wanted to do but thought I’d look silly. It was the reason I felt someone was looking at me the wrong way. Or it was the reason why someone was rude to me. It was the ultimate answer to the question of why I couldn’t achieve, do, be, get, have, etc. It was the looming thought in the back of my mind all the time. It was the monkey on my back, the elephant in the room I never wanted to discuss. In many ways I bound, gagged and caged that evil twin, but I’ve never killed her. I don’t think that’s possible. It’s part of who I am.
Losing weight gave me a voice for the first time in years. While I’m not known for being an extrovert, extremely social or overly talkative, I opened my mouth when I needed to get things done. Without fear. Without regret. Without guilt. I’ve learned that it’s not a bad thing to have the courage to ask for what YOU want. What’s the worst that can happen? The word “no”. And we hate to hear that word. It resonates with loss, restriction, failure. But I can’t be afraid of failure anymore. Even when I’m screamed at, even when I’m insulted, even when someone is trying to make me feel like less than I am. Even when they’re telling me to “shut my f—-ing hole”, it only shows they are afraid of ME, what I am about to say. That’s quite a powerful feeling to invoke such fear with mere words. And I’m not going to hold them back anymore. Because I learned a very important thing in this weight loss journey. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about me – not even my kids. What matters the most is what I feel about me and my actions at the end of the day.
I found my voice one day when a chapter of my life was ending. My job of over thirty years was shutting its doors forever and I said one sentence that changed it all. It wasn’t even a question. A statement. I said it without fear, without thinking and with total confidence. When the president of a multi-branch corporation said, “I’d like to talk to you about your future plans in the industry.” It took about 2 seconds for me to look up and say, “I’d like to talk to you about Connecticut.”
Within days, I went from wondering what the heck I was going to do for a paycheck to paving a road right up to the front door of my new home. I didn’t just push out of comfort zones, I busted through them like huge brick walls in my mind. I felt like Bruce Lee busting through these fears that held me back for so long. I jumped into the deep pool of the corporate world at almost fifty years old with only a high school education and life experience. I applied for a mortgage and against some very big odds, got it. Six years ago, I never thought I’d ever own a home again. But here I was, I house-shopped in a different state, two hundred miles away and had the support of women in the weight loss center I have come to know as friends and sisters. They scouted out neighborhoods and gave me their opinions of towns in the area. I tolerated an initial commute of over an hour each way for six months while in training in the Philadelphia area before my move. I made the decision to detach myself from everything familiar and start over brand new.
And wow, isn’t that a whole lot like losing 150 pounds? Detaching yourself from everything familiar and starting over. Reinventing and redefining yourself with courage, fortitude and wonderment. Against the odds. And what everyone else thinks. At whatever age. With whatever education and experience. Looking your fear in the eye and saying, “Look, could you just get out of my way for a while…I’ve got shit to do.”
So you see, when someone here in my new town tells me how amazing my story is on how I got to Connecticut. I say, “It all started when I lost 150 pounds. It showed me I could do anything.”

Don’t let anyone hold you back…not even you. It doesn’t matter if you failed before, it doesn’t matter what “they” are saying, it doesn’t matter if it’s impossible. It’s what YOU want. Get out there and show the world what you got! Remember in the first paragraph when I say I laugh at how simple my thinking was? Well…that’s what got me there. Not getting too hung up in the bad memories, overwhelming anxieties of looking at things as these monstrous events. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. How do you eat an elephant…even the one in the room that nobody wants to discuss? One bite at a time….


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It’s Not “Fair” or “Unfair” … It JUST IS!

How many times during our journey do we fall into the “it’s not fair” feeling? We are out to eat and over at another table is one of those horrible people. You know “them”. Ugh! They sit there and with no regard or care in the world just start eating…right there for everyone to see. No weighing. No measuring. No care for what she’s eating. Just eating. And stuff I can’t have. Doesn’t she CARE about what she’s eating? Oh it’s not fair. Why do I have to be so darn careful and she’s just sitting there eating. So I’ll throw her a dirty look…or mutter a little too loudly about “keep eating like that and it will all end up in your rear end one day and you’ll know what it’s like.” That will teach her. There, she saw me, just the look on her face tells me she KNOWS I’m upset and it’s all HER fault I’m on this sucky diet. She has no idea what it’s like to be on a diet.
No. I haven’t personally done that. But I know people who have. And recently I was on the receiving end of that comment. All because someone assumed. Assumed I was never overweight. Assumed I wasn’t very carefully calculating what I was eating to make sure it fit into my program for the day. Assumed that I had no idea what it felt like to go through all those emotions. It hurt.
For a few seconds, I wanted to defend myself, rationalize my actions and explain. Tell her that I knew all too well what it felt like to never try to sit in a booth because it would be too embarrassing to either not fit or be able to get out of it. Tell her that I felt like the world was laughing at me when I tried to eat in public earlier in my life. Explain that I had eaten very lightly all day to enjoy what I was eating at that moment and that I could tell her exactly how many calories I was consuming. Pull out my travel pocket food scale and explain that I just weighed every bit of protein on that plate to know exactly what I was eating. Show her that I knew of a program that was awesome if she’d listen to me for a few minutes. But I didn’t want to come off like the Jehovah’s Witness of dieting. Or scare her by getting up from my table, heading to her and having her think I was going to confront her. I guess someone more extroverted may do that. I felt guilty, I felt hurt and I felt CONFUSED! I didn’t do anything wrong! But in that moment I felt an empathy. I remembered being that person, that angry person that hated anyone who could eat anything they wanted and not gain weight. But how did I really KNOW that? In the case of a stranger, how would I know by LOOKING at them? How would I know they really could eat ANYTHING or NEVER had a weight problem?
I can’t know that for certain. I only know what I have gone through and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I’ve learned not to judge other people’s plates and tables in restaurants. That is their path and I have mine.
We can’t assume. For our own peace of mind, we must stop wallowing in the self-pity of “I gotta be on this diet” and start DOING things more productive. Keep to your path and keep strong. It isn’t fair or unfair that we’re “on this diet”…IT JUST IS. All our bodies are different. I have a set calorie count I must stay in or I will gain weight. Some people can eat more, some can eat less. It is what it is. Deal with it, put on those big girl panties and work with it and for your own sake….MAKE YOUR PROGRAM fun! If whatever program you’re on can’t be made fun…then you’re on the wrong program. I love the program I’m on and everything about it. (Options by Kim Bensen) How about you? Change your mind, change your life!

Interested in Options…check out Kim’s site at http://www.kimbensen.com

Check out my website at http://www.pamkaelin.com

And make that diet, lifestyle or whatever YOU’RE calling it…FUN!! 🙂 Just my thoughts for the night before I turn in….

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To Sleep Perchance To Dream…

The other night, I was feeling a little stressed about my impending move out of state and had that urge to stress eat. So I followed my friend, Kim Bensen’s advice and went to bed. I wasn’t doing anything overly important and I needed to catch up on some sleep after this Daylight Savings switchover.  My overactive brain caused me to have the following dream…

tigerI was in a  large building with some very important people in my life…my family, my friends, my coworkers and we were all trapped in this large room by a tiger that I felt had its eye on me. I was very scared. Someone said, “Just stand still” and we did. But I felt I should do something. Someone should DO something. I had a gun in my pocket and my father told me to kill the tiger if it got close to me. The tiger stalked me from the other side of the room, walking slowly toward me, weaving in and out of other people – never taking its eyes from me. There was a door behind me and someone standing next to me whispered, “I’ll open the door and then you can go get help.” The man opened the door quickly and I ran down the street. I kept looking behind me and the tiger was there me, chasing me. It was let out along with me. I was mad at the man for letting it out and wanted to blame him, but knew it wasn’t his fault. I wanted to look forward so I wouldn’t trip, yet I couldn’t stop looking behind me. In a silly thought, my brain said, ‘Thank goodness I lost weight so I could run farther.” But I couldn’t outrun a tiger, especially this one. My body exhausted, pain racked my chest from breathing and I had to stop. I cringed and waited for the worst. I could feel the breath of the tiger on the back of my neck as his mouth opened behind my head. mouth lionI felt my head almost encased in the tiger’s mouth. I could feel sharp teeth touching the top of my head, my heart pounded in my chest and then I simply turned around. The tiger closed its mouth and sat down in front of me. I walked 2 steps, it walked 2 steps. I gingerly reached out to pet it and it nuzzled me like a housecat. The people from the room ran down the street to catch up with me and were screaming at me to kill it. I looked up and said, “No. I can’t. I will keep it with me.” My father said, “You’ll never be able to control it.” I said, “I will take responsibility for it, ok?”

I woke up unable to sleep and sat with a hot cup of tea shaken with this vivid dream. It was so real, I could remember every detail. And I didn’t eat or drink anything strange before I went to bed. In fact I went to bed to avoid my cravings… or my demon. So it stalked me in my sleep. And that’s when it hit me. Our demons can take the shape of food cravings, stressful memories, non-supportive people in our lives and even our own doubtful thoughts. And no matter how far we run, our brains are always conjuring them up. There is no true escape, no matter how fast or far we run….even in our sleep.

It’s up to us to turn around and face these demons head on …even befriend them if we can (sometimes that’s not possible)…but at least learn to live with them walking side by side with us. Triggers will always be there. It’s how we REACT. It’s time to take responsibility and be proactive to the demons. We can cage them up, lock them up …but they always find a way to slip out of their restraints. It’s time to look in the mirror and say, “I take responsibility for it.” Situations will always stress us out. People will always get on our last nerve. Food will always be around us. No matter how far we have come in our journey…the demons will ALWAYS follow us. We can run from them or learn to live with them. They can encourage us to “screw up”…but it’s up to us to either listen to the demons…or listen to our heart. It’s not up to the world to adapt to our new way of eating… it’s up to us to adapt to the world…and to our minds and those demons that stalk us. It’s important to keep looking forward and knowing if we look to much to the past, it will cause us to trip and fall. Focus on the forward.

I hope this helped you on your journey! Feel free to share this post via email, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. Join me on my Facebook page by clicking here. And if you want to find a great program to lose the weight and get loads of interactive support, please check out the website of my mentor and friend, Kim Bensen at kimbensen.com

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It’s What’s Eating At Me That Makes Me Eat

Such a vicious cycle.

We start a new diet and things are going happily, perfectly, smoothly when times are good. But it’s inevitable… life happens.

We get stress.
We or a loved one gets sick.
We get money problems.
Relationship problems.
Someone in our house loses their job and it causes stress.
An in-law or parent needs our care or needs to move in with our family.
Our kid or a family member has a serious brush with the law or makes a huge mistake.
The neighbors are talking about us.
We have a life changing event such moving, divorce, career change, pregnancy, adoption, etc.
Family drama.
Custody issues.
Holiday stress.
Family or friends making us feel guilty for dieting and causing stress.
A huge snowstorm, hurricane or other weather related event that coops us up inside, destroys part of our house and causes stress.

Any of these and more do one thing in common….

It shoves all other priorities aside and brings itself FRONT AND CENTER into our life. It pushes everything to the background.  It’s all you think about, talk about, dream about. You can’t even sleep properly because you’re so distracted and consumed.  Consumed is a good word because it EATS AT YOU like a zombie you can’t shake. Your life is YOUR story. But now you’re just a stagehand sweeping up, cleaning up and running around after too many other actors and staying in the shadows. And seriously? I’m supposed to keep dieting and eating right when all this other stuff is eating me up inside???

Life changes. It happens. You can’t control that.

I could tell you a long boring story of some personal things that happened to me in the past 8 years that involve my divorce, my uterine cancer, my mother’s stroke, breast cancer and other medical issues, my six month bout with vertigo and my inner ear, my dating a criminal for a short time and not knowing what he was doing, having my 200 gallon fuel oil tank dump over in my yard with over a foot of snow on the ground, having M. Night Shyamalan film a movie right next door to me and the drama that caused in my neighborhood and in my yard for a summer, my constant ups and downs with my ex-husband and going to court, having a stalker that made me put up surveillance cameras on my house, closing down a 48 year long run family business, house shopping in another state and getting ready to relocate…I know I left at least a half a dozen things out of there….all the while I kept at losing 150 pounds to get to my goal.

Ok…. Get it?

There are a million things all grabbing at us like zombies wanting to own us, consume us, eat us up to the point we can’t ignore them. So we turn to food… why is that?

Well, I’m not a doctor or scientist, but I have my own theories

  1. We tend to use food like a drug to comfort us against the pain of reality. This starts young. My parents would joke about how they parked me in my high chair with a big bowl of chocolate pudding so they could get some afternoon lovin’ in. Yup, my eating issues started early. Perhaps this is why when I feel lonely or sitting home alone and feel…isolated…I want to eat. I don’t know. But it makes me feel “not so alone” and that pattern started early. Food was my drug, my “friend”, my babysitter. Or it’s a lot like when a doctor will give kids a lollipop or pretzels after they have a shot in the arm to comfort them. Sugar or food in general is used as a sedative or to get us “high” when life gets us down.
  2. It distracts us. Similar a little bit to #1 but slightly different. If we are “busy” eating, then we are too “busy” to deal with our problems in a proactive way. Sorry, I can’t balance the checkbook that I know is overdrawn right now because I’m busy eating. Sorry, can’t clean the house, it’s lunch time. Sorry, we can’t have that serious relationship talk right now, it’s dinner time.
  3. When we’re stressed out, it kicks up stomach acids. When we’re nervous and full of anxiety, our stomach will start to make noises. We confuse them with the growling of a empty stomach. The stomach is just overloaded with the overproduction of acids because we are upset! We hear the grumbling of the tummy and our brain gets confused and says, “Oh I must be hungry. I need to keep my strength up during this tough time.” And we eat. I know. I’ve done it. Just because your stomach growls does NOT mean you are truly hungry.
  4. Sometimes we’re in such a bad mood and our self-esteem is so low we sabotage ourselves. We buy that big container of ice cream and start digging in with a spoon. We know it’s bad. But we have all this bad stuff happening and we deserve to feel better. Plus with everyone else jumping all over our shit and making us feel horrible, we’re going to jump on that train too and pick on the fat chick because hey, we wouldn’t want to be left out of the “in” group that has all the fun. So we pick on ourselves along with everyone else.
  5. It’s an excuse to go off the diet. Inside, we’re rebelling because we don’t like the diet, the rules, the restrictions, the weighing, measuring, calculating, etc. Life is hard right now, we deserve a break from “this diet crap” and we start eating what we want and binge. Because we deserve it, right?
  6. We’re sometimes scared of change. Life changes constantly. But the taste of food doesn’t change, we know we can go to it and it will always be there, yummy and satisfying.  But life is changing and scaring me…I’ll go to what I know…food.

Between the stress of life around us and our rationalization of the stress binge, it robs us of our focus. It blurs the lines of what we know is right and wrong with our dieting. We start saying “I’ll just start again tomorrow.”  We “console” ourselves that we can just start up again another day. (psssst, that’s called sabotage) Yup, been there… and tomorrow is always a day away and before you know it..you’re so far down the rabbit hole, you just give up. Tomorrow just never gets here and you don’t care anymore.

So how do you grab back your focus?

The first step… and I know I’ve touched on this before, but you MUST listen to me… is being friends with yourself. STOP bullying yourself, STOP rewarding yourself with food and bad behaviors, STOP sabotaging yourself, STOP joining in the crowd that beats you up, STOP it. Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “Look, we got to get a hold on this. I got your back even if nobody else does. We can do this.” Yes, say it outloud. And if you feel silly doing it, then you really have bullied yourself up to this point.

Here’s a list of things I think you need to do to bring back the focus on YOU while life is going freaking crazy.

       –  Always preplan your food menu either the night before or the morning of your day. NOT tracking as you go or afterward. Kim Bensen taught me this and it revolutionized my diet thinking. (Go to http://www.kimbensen.com to learn more)

        – Learn to adapt. Whether it’s your food menu, your plans for the day or life. Change scares the heck out of people and you need to stop being scared of it and start embracing it. I felt like I was going to die when my husband asked me for a divorce. After a week of crying which did nothing for me, I got my head together and started goal planning. My father told me my attitude took a 180 degree turn and I became a warrior for my kids and myself. Instead of looking at everything in your life like a personal attack and drama, look for the opportunity to turn it into a great learning experience. My cancer taught me to value every day of my life after my surgery. My vertigo taught me to appreciate the times of calm and balance. My days of working only 20 hours a week taught me to be super thrifty and creative when money was tight. And when your food is all planned out and your plans change, take a few minutes, look around you at what you CAN have and fit it into your plan. Or eat very very lightly and have some of your planned dinner when you can get back home. Learn to roll with the changes of the day. Ride in the front seat of the moment instead of having the moment drive you mad.

        – JOURNAL!!! When you write down your thoughts on a day to day basis, you are doing some very good, very cheap therapy. You’re getting your thoughts out so you can read them. Some people hate that and feel vulnerable. I think it’s necessary for healing. Go back and read your thoughts a week later and read as though it was a letter from a friend. What would you tell this friend? What can YOU see that your friend isn’t seeing?

– When you’re stress eating, binging, zombie eating, whatever you want to call it try to stop yourself in a freeze frame moment. WHAT are you truly thinking about? Rarely is it about food. You’re not thinking about what you’re shoving in your mouth. You’re dwelling on some bad thought. WHAT got you to this point? An argument, a conversation, a phone call, something you saw, heard, a person… what is the REAL issue that has you doing this???

   – Remember that you are NOT the world’s policeman. You are not the world’s caretaker. You are not the world’s savior. And you are NOT a martyr that you need to victimize yourself for pity, attention or approval. You can only save yourself. Find that last bit of strength you thought you didn’t have and do that.

Take time to BREAETTTTTLK’OK’THE. All the stress kicks up our anxiety and it feels like things are going 200 miles per hour and it’s exhausting. I don’t care how many people you think you have to take care of or what your day consists of. You need to take SOME kind of time for yourself. It’s grounding. It’s focus. It’s healthy. Get your sleep in with an extra nap, take 15 minutes at lunch to walk, take an hour for yourself on the weekend to do something that you want to do, have coffee with a friend, do something for YOURSELF that makes you feel good (and doesn’t involve food).

        Keep your sense of humor. Ok, you may be looking at this like “You don’t know my life, it’s not funny.” Ok, If I can keep MY sense of humor (go ahead and go back to the beginning of this article about all the bullshit I’ve gone through) with a crazy ex-husband and his flavor-of-the-month girlfriends, a sibling stalker, cancer, relocating out of state and working non-stop than YOU CAN TOO!

– Stop looking for approval. The only approval you need is your own. It doesn’t MATTER what that mother, father, spouse, neighbor, mother in law, boyfriend or girlfriend, son or daughter, boss, employee, friend or enemy, club member, stranger, guy on the road staring at you at the red light thinks about you. WHO THE HECK CARES??? What matters is what YOU think about yourself and you better start liking yourself or you’re NEVER going to be happy!!! Trust me, when I learned to like myself….life changed. It didn’t get less crazy but I could really handle it so much better. I could look in the mirror or just say outloud to myself, “Wow, do you believe that just happened?” And then answer myself laughing with, “Really! What’s up with that?” Even just having those outloud conversations makes me feel “not so alone” in this world that I don’t have to run to my pudding for non-verbal comfort or “affection”. I have outloud words to talk out my feelings.

The bottom line is… it’s about control. You cannot and will not ever control life, the weather, cancer, death, or your crazy family and friends. But you CAN control what you put in your mouth. Life is a stage and we are all players. But you have to start being the STAR of your life and letting yourself take an active role instead of just being the stage hand that sweeps up and takes care of all the other actors.

If this has helped you, feel free to share it with the buttons below! Join us on Facebook! Check out my website at http://www.pamkaelin.com for info on me, my motivational videos, the program I use and recipes I use to keep on track!

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Releasing My Inner Swan

swanI received a most beautiful gift in the mail, a pewter swan. The following note was attached, “A gift from one who lives in Swanton, home of the Swanton Swans. Also symbolic of my favorite story and how the ‘ugly duckling’ became a ‘very fine swan indeed!’ As you have done!”

Step back for a second and flash back over the past few years of my life. In January, 2011, if you’ve been following the blog (and if you haven’t…start at the beginning!!), was when I started my weight loss journey into Onederland. By July 2012, after a rocky bit with my inner ear conundrum, I made it to goal.  Honestly, I thought reaching goal and getting my weight down would be a “cure-all” for so many things in my life.

I was confused when it wasn’t.

While a lot of people were very supportive, many people close to me were not.
I’ve come to bristle at the thought of dating anymore. Guys that knew me when I was bigger, complain that I’m “too skinny” and look too different. I’ve been called “boney” and “wasting away”. I’m not. I’m SO not.  Guys that have only known me since I’ve reached goal couldn’t understand the disdain for the way they joked about “fat chicks”. When I explained my situation, they’d say, “But that’s not you, so it’s ok to say that.” No… it’s not. I honestly thought dating would be easier. It’s not, for me.

I’ve had to pull back from the center of friends I’ve always had. There’s nobody in that group that can relate to what has happened to me physically, mentally, emotionally. They think the journey is “done now” and I can “eat normal”. It’s not done and their normal is not my normal.

So I had to dig deeper and tackle those core issues that needed fixing. Like needing other people’s approval. Like needing to be part of a “couple” – you know, being in a relationship and using it like a trophy or a measure of “making it”. Doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. Well, I’d rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t treat me with respect or love me for who I fully am. Let’s not forget bad self-esteem. Or needing to be liked by everyone. Being angry at others for flaws in my own self. I did journaling. Lots of journalling, meditating, walking while thinking, talking it out. Lots of positive self talk. Looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “Good morning, Beautiful.” And looking in the mirror at night and saying, “Good Night, Sweetie, pleasant dreams, you ROCK!”   I’m not perfectly fixed, but I’m perfectly flawed like Otep would sing. Cracks in antiques give them character, right? I don’t think we’re ever totally fixed, but I’m working on it and it’s made it easier!

On the up-side, I have found many friends online and in person through the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and through this blog.  I have found many kindred souls that have been through the same experiences, the same heartaches, the same victories.

And I have found my voice and my confidence. Albeit, not a roar, but it’s a flame getting bigger all the time. I’m not afraid to ask for what I need, to stand up for myself, to speak up when confronted. But I don’t need the drama of those around me. I’m recognizing the dynamic and the sickening soup that I’ve allowed myself to be cooking in because I felt an obligation imposed on me out of “loyalty”. There are times when we have to look at those close to us and recognize their relationship as being toxic and unhealthy.  So we have to find the courage to pull ourselves up out of the quicksand and climb hard into higher ground. For our health.

I was presented with two career opportunities that required my courage, strength and dedication. But it requires me to say good bye to so much that has been familiar and my safety net. It requires me to relocate into another state. Several states away.  It requires me to rely on a network of newfound friends that are incredibly supportive. It requires me to enter a very corporate job market at “almost 50”, as my Dad pointed out. It requires me to learn more about my profession using my high school education and experience through doing. I never went to college and was mocked by people throughout my life for not going. I’ve learned a LOT by doing it.  It requires me to take a leap of Faith and cannonball into the waters of Life.

A few years back, I don’t think I could have CONSIDERED doing such a thing. It would give me an anxiety attack. I would make excuses about why I could not do it. I would rationalize that it would be impossible to do this.  But after losing 150 pounds, it made me feel like I could DO ANYTHING.

But not everyone around me feels the same enthusiasm as I do. They point out my age. They point out the hard work. They point out that there are people who need me where I am now. They call me selfish. They call me foolish and crazy. And only a couple asked me, “Would it make you happy?” I look into my daughter’s eyes and she is excited and says that I am a role model for her and girls everywhere no matter the size. Tall order.

My story has really started to have that fairy tale kind of feeling. I thought it was Cinderella, but the only time I’m losing my shoe after midnight is when I’m just too tired from pulling too many hours awake, there’s no Prince Charming, no pumpkin car. It really is the story of the Ugly Duckling who became a swan and finally found where she belonged after all.  I even looked up the story by Hans Christian Andersen and I cried as I read it. It was way too bittersweet and familiar to me.

Sometimes where you’re born isn’t where you end up.
Sometimes, those closest to you can hurt you the most.
Sometimes not fitting in is a blessing in disguise, it makes leaving easier.
Sometimes break ups are the best thing that can happen to you.
Sometimes you need to break away from what you’re told to do and find what you WANT to do.
Sometimes the ones that claim to need you the most are avoiding doing for themselves.
Sometimes those late blooms in life are the most spectacular!
Sometimes you have to find the courage and strength to do something big (like get to goal), to show you just how powerful you really are.

And sometimes you have wonderful friends, like my Susan, to remind you of a child’s story that helps you cannonball into the next part of your life so much easier.

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Note to Self…I’m a BUOY!

4315699-fancy-cake-with-number-one-candle--decorated-with-ribbons-and-star-shapes-in-pastel-tones-on-black-bThe end of July is my official one year anniversary of hitting my weight goal and moving into a maintenance level. Yes. Wow. Hard to even imagine being able to say those words, let alone live them. ONE FULL YEAR of living it after doing it and STAYING there!

I’ve had my fair share of warnings from so many people along my journey.

I’ve been told:

        – Being at goal is harder than getting to goal.

        – You’ll gain your weight back. We all do at some point. It’s what we do. We’re food addicts and we can’t help it. It’s just the way life is cruel that way.

        – Now that you’ve lost all the weight, isn’t it fun to actually eat what normal people do again?

       –  I couldn’t handle hitting goal. It was too stressful. So I gained it back that way I didn’t lose my mind.

       – All I know is how to LOSE weight, I almost hyperventilate thinking about actually getting there. I wouldn’t know how to start!

   –  -Statistics show that most people gain their weight back.

       timey – “People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but, actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”

Now…unless you’re a Dr. Who fan, that last quote may have you scratching your head. It’s a science fiction television series about time travel. But, I have to admit, when I saw the episode where that quote was said about TIME, a light went off in my head. It was an “ah ha” moment.

We assume that our journey is this strict progression from Point A to Point B and then ta-da, there you are, it’s done, show’s over. Get off the train and pick up your luggage somewhere way over there. And we’re left with that feeling of “is that all there is”, “what do I do now”, “how DO I do this?”, “I’ve WON, I’m here, I can eat again”,  “I don’t have to preplan anymore, I’m thin now”, “I got where I wanted to be, now I can live my life again.”

But like my friend the Doctor points out… it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly. And we need to learn to wobble in order to maintain and keep our minds.

Still not getting it?

buoy old postcardLet’s look at it another way, while I was at the beach, I was thinking about buoys. BUOYS, not boys. They wobble in the water while the ocean tosses them about. Sometimes the water is calm and it’s easy to tread water, go along as we go along. Not much wobbling going on. But sometimes, the seas of life can get rough, REALLY rough. People, situations, events, stress, illness, life in general comes to slap us in the face and it knocks us down and pushes our heads under water. We get overwhelmed. We feel like we’re suffocating in drama and for some of us, that’s when we start eating. A buoy pops right back out of the water when you shove it down, it refuses to stay under. This journey is a lot like an ocean and I am now a buoy. I float, I bob, I wobble.

The program I follow through Kim Bensen and kimbensen.com is called Options and we talk almost endlessly about preplanning our each and every day of food. I call that my personal “to do” list for food each day. Since I’m a list maker, it gets me through. EVEN on a maintenance level, I preplan each and every day. It may be the night before or the morning of that day…but it’s planned at some point. Then when these things break lose, I’m not freaking out. I’m not making some crap food out of panic because there’s too much breaking loose to think about something healthy to make. Yes, there are some situations that prevent me from making my preplanned food, and I can talk about that at some point..but that’s not the point of today’s topic. You see, I never broke away from the preplanning. I don’t sit there and say, “Hey, I’ve made it to ‘Point B’. I’m done. I don’t have to do this anymore.” My mind set was, “Ok, I made it to my weight goal, why screw up a good thing?” So I kept on.

When I was about ten pounds away from hitting my goal in June of 2012, I admit, I was a little bewildered about it. How do I “do” maintenance? How is maintenance different from actively losing? So how do you ‘maintain’ your weight without losing your mind? How do you just “stop” losing weight? I had a bunch of questions. That’s where my program came in handy. Through Kim Bensen Enterprises, they also have a maintenance group. It’s an online meeting with video and chat. It’s interactive. Members can come in Wednesday night, listen, participate, ask questions. So that’s what I did. Pat and Wendy are two sisters that work with Kim and run the maintenance chat. I got strategies on how to maintain. On how to add back a little more calories into my day and how to do it and what to expect.

A couple of things hit me here. One – I was only afraid because I didn’t KNOW. I was afraid of the unknown. And two, I learned about creating a “range” or what I call in my fancy-schmancy terms… the wobble. I learned to give myself a wobble range. This is an intimate decision from person to person. I use 5 pounds as my “wobble range”. When I’m within 5 pounds (higher), I am still considering myself to be a goal. And I can be anywhere in that range on any week. But when I go beyond that…. I need to go into weight loss mode and pull back on a couple hundred calories a day, or take out some of those nibbles, to get back into that wobble range.

fear of the unknownThere. A plan. Not so scary. Nothing to be afraid of. When I had a solid plan of attack, hitting goal was exciting, not something to fear.

Because I’m a buoy.

lighthouseI need to remember to look beyond the waves and choppy surf of the situation at hand. I look to the shore. At the shore is a lighthouse, sending its light out to me. THAT’S my support group at Kim Bensen Enterprises. For me, at maintenance level,  Pat and Wendy (as well as Kim, herself) are my lighthouses. I can see them from the ocean and know that I can call out for help, advice, etc.  They are my light in the dark when the seas get rough. I can do the Wednesday night meeting or in an emergency, I can contact them for immediate assistance either through email or calling the Center.

The secrets to maintenance?

        Know and keep to your “wobble range” and allow yourself those few pounds to play with responsibly, without panicking.

        angels wing itPreplan out your days, don’t just guess and wing it. (only angels and birds can “wing it”, the rest of us humans have to preplan)

        FOLLOW your program, you’re never DONE eating healthy or  DONE following your regime. It’s what GOT you there, why would you stop?

        Keep with a support system, your meetings, a buddy, someone in the “like” frame of mind. Peer pressure can make or break your eating patterns. The internet is full of chat rooms, forums, etc as well as the program I belong to at Kim Bensen Enterprises – we do a ton of online stuff (did I mention I run a Sunday Night chat to help you get ready for the week? <hint hint> But it’s only available to members!) Honestly, my intention here is not to be a commercial, but I’m throwing it out there!

        Keep up with activity! Keep those good habits going!

For those of us that follow a program with meetings, you’re no stranger to the attention, little awards, little woo-hoo’s, all those things you get for every week you lose weight.

You’ll lose that when you hit maintenance. Let’s face that demon RIGHT NOW.  You will step back from the “lime light” while others get the big kudo’s, praise and pats on the head. There will always be a “new kid in town”, a newest success story with any good weight loss program, a new blog to read, a person who has lost more weight than you, who has more to lose.  What you have to keep in mind is…our journey is really a personal dynamic experience that is OURS. Nothing can replace that. I’m not going to purposely regain my weight… just to keep the attention of my weight loss group. Just to make sure nobody will forget me. Hey, I lost 150 pounds for ME and I’m liking this new body. I’m not going to spray paint my Mona Lisa just to keep cleaning it off again! (remember that analogy?)  It’s MORE WORK to get there than it is to STAY there. And I’m going to show you that I CAN and WILL keep it off. My weight loss group isn’t buying my clothes. My weight loss leader isn’t paying for my doctor appointments or medical conditions. My weight loss group won’t be there to help me out of my bed and put on my socks in the morning like I previously had my daughter do! I HAVE TO DO THIS!!

wwrewardsIt should not be about others’ opinions, our name in lights, praise and that glittery thing hanging off your keychain or anything anyone else can see.

It IS about that beautiful feeling you get when you shop for clothing and don’t fear it.

It IS about the wonder when you look at your OWN reflection in a mirror and don’t recognize yourself.

It IS about all the laughing you do when friends don’t recognize you.

 It IS about all that medication you don’t have to take for physical conditions that don’t exist anymore because you’re not fat anymore (think diabetes, high blood pressure, bladder issues, foot and joint problems, etc).

It IS about not needing an aisle seat at a concert or on a plane because you’re afraid to squeeze past people.

paminmirrorIt IS about not being afraid to eat in public – about not being judged by the masses about what you’re eating or having them look at you silently with “should you be eating that” written on their face (or we think it is).

It IS about walking past a group of people and hearing a snicker or a whisper and not assuming it’s about your weight.

It IS about walking into a crowded room and being able to be “invisible” because you don’t feel like the largest person all the time.

It IS about living our lives rather than being the one who stood back, took pictures and passively watched everyone else live and have fun.

THAT is what maintenance is really about. All those statements I was told in the beginning about maintenance don’t ring true for me.
It’s NOT harder.
I DO know what to do.
I’m NOT predisposed to be fat forever.
I do eat normal food, eating it in mass quantities does NOT make me normal.
I CAN handle being at goal.
I’m NOT just some statistic. I am ME.
I am NOT destined to gain my weight back.

keep calmI’ve learned to wobble. Coming from a person with balance problems…I just find that statement amusing.
Life is not cruel… so much of it is what we make it! We never get to Point B… until life is over.

So hey, if ya like the post, feel free to share it, pin it and give a little inspiration to whoever needs it! Check out my website at pamkaelin.com and be sure to join us on the Facebook page!

Please note these are my words and although I highly recommend Kim Bensen and kimbensen.com… they don’t tell me what to write and does not influence how I word the blog.


Categories: Weight Loss | 2 Comments

This Journey’s a Beach

at the beachI wrote this while sitting on the sands of Point Pleasant Beach, NJ yesterday…..

I had been looking forward to today. I love this beach, boardwalk, shops and everything about it. I had hoped Hurricane Sandy’s damage had been minimal and the people of this town were thriving. I had plans. I wrote it down, I thought I was ready for it. I was going to be here by 6 am to watch the sun come up over the water while I smelled the salt air and briskly walked the boardwalk back and forth. I was going to prepack all my food for the day and be cutely creative. I was going to wear a 2 piece bikini and rock it like I never thought I could do.

But by Friday night, my “oomph” for my beach day simply left and I wondered if it was worth the trouble at all. I had started to get the car ready. Then a phone call came in. Then an emergency came in. Then various phone calls from family members, my ex-husband, my daughter and others with all their individual dramas had me up until midnight and no closer to being ready. I was going to go to bed early.

I was gonna, I was gonna, I was gonna….and it was all GONNA go down the drain.

I hate it when I think I have something perfectly planned and then it goes to crap.

I was emotionally spent. The past few days I’ve had about 4 hours of combined sleep from phone calls, drama filled events and my own brain racing about my future. I had a very unplanned high calorie snack…and then some.. and then hated myself for it. I started crying. I wondered if I could do anything right. What if “they” could see me.  You know..the THEY that are always there from our past, our present, our mistakes and in our own head.  Questioned my value as a parent. Hated my aloneness and my life at that moment in time. I knew it was sleep deprivation and sugar talking. I listened to one more vent on the phone from the ex-husband with my eyes closed and wishing very bad things. Then Katie texted me telling me that she was sorry… for the texts and calls I was getting. And she told me how much she loved me. I cried some more and felt…I don’t even know if I have a word to describe the soup I felt in my head. (See, I describe things with FOOD!)  I fell into bed, unpacked, unprepared and hoped I’d hear my alarm at 5 am. And didn’t really care if I didn’t.

I did hear it. I hit the snooze. I got up and laid down again. I got up, dressed and put on jeans and a t shirt. Changed into a tank top and capri’s. Pondered the bathing suit that was hanging on my door still with the tags from the store hanging on it. No. Not today. Not in the mood. Still didn’t know if I was going to be able to get out the door and head to Jersey. My cat, Stella, meowed longingly at me as if to say, “You’re leaving me.” I snapped at her. Told her to just leave me alone.

I looked at the clock, shaking my head. I should have been on the road by now. I didn’t even have a full tank of gas in the car yet. I quickly and half heartedly grabbed my insulated bag and threw in a couple apples, a couple of yogurts and quickly stuffed 2 raw bell peppers with deli turkey meat and low fat Swiss cheese. It didn’t look cute, creative and only slightly palatable. I stuffed them in plastic baggies, grabbed a few ice water bottles from the freezer (I always have some in there), threw it all in. Consulted my list I made earlier in the week of what I wanted to take. Food. Towel. Chair. Tablet for writing,(I call it my i-tablet, I have pen, I have a tablet…i-tablet) a book I’d been trying to read for months. My reading glasses and some pens. I’m good. What more do I need, I’m a gypsy.

I looked at the kitchen and remembered my die hard rule that I always told my daughter, Katie. You don’t party or go out until all dishes and the kitchen is clean. I forced myself to wash the dishes and the mix of culinary disaster and food porn from the night before. Did I really eat all that? What the hell was I thinking? I don’t even remember MAKING THAT. Oy. That’s how it happens when the stress and emotions kick up and you’re on the phone and next thing you know you’re mixing sugar free pudding, fruit, cereal, frozen yogurt and other things in there. God knows, there could have been meat in there for all I remember. Not there’s anything wrong with meat. It just reminds me of binge drinking, it’s the same frenzied physical response. You just DO, you don’t think.

No weigh in today. I can’t face the scale today. It’s already blaringly obvious I’m up. Why beat myself over the head with it? I’ll do it tomorrow, maybe. But no later than the next day. I already felt like shit, didn’t need to reinforce it. Today, we’re going to try to cleanse the brain and restore my faith in life and humanity….and sleep.

Got on the road, begrudgingly got gas (ugh, gas prices) and hit Route 309 south. Immediately after getting on the highway, a car flew right past me, beeping. I was puzzled. I didn’t cut them off. Guess he’s in a hurry. Another one flew past me. I really didn’t care. I looked down and saw I was going about 7 miles under the speed limit. I didn’t care. Traffic was fairly light. They can go around me.

Why was I even going? Well, my sister, neice and a friend were meeting me at the beach and were expecting me to be there. That was really my motivating reason, I still felt apprehensive and down on myself for a lot of things.

I turned on the Sirius XM radio and put on my favorite electronic dance music to raise my mood. Like a psychic fortune cookie, a song by Skrillex came on called Bangarang. Katie hates this song, but I’ve always loved it and always loved how it raised my mood and it was coming to the rescue. I smirked… a little. I was getting my mood back.  When I got on the Jersey turnpike and saw the sign that read “Shore Points Exit 7A”, it finally became a full blown smile.

Soon I was crossing the bridge into Point Pleasant Beach and smelling the salt air. Already I could feel my brain being scrubbed of the negativity. I pulled into a very close parking spot at 7:48 and grimaced slightly. So much later than I wanted to start. But I was here. Now. Let’s rock and roll. I paid for my parking permit and started walking on the boardwalk before my sister called me. I looked around and saw the other walkers, runners, bikers, skateboarders (did I leave anyone out?) We were all out there wishing each other good morning. All ages, all colors, all body shapes and sizes. All of us in harmony doing our thing before the beach opened up for swimming. Nobody here knew I totally screwed up the night before. They didn’t need to know and they didn’t care. We were all out here TOGETHER.

Then it hit me… like it usually does… this whole thing was like my journey at times.

I started out feeling like garbage and so angry at myself for letting life and people get to me. I really didn’t WANT to do it, but people were counting on me. But the more you force yourself to clean it up, get in there, get serious and just DO IT right… it gets better. It gets good.

I met up with the group and I had already had several miles in on the pedometer. We set up our spot on the beach and it wasn’t a day of girlie gabbing. We were all there to purge ourselves of the yuck that was in our brain. This was a sisterly commune of taking in the vibrations of the sea and letting it wash us clean to start our week again with new life. I slept off and on for several hours (yes, I so needed that). I ate the food I brought. I didn’t feel like swimming but I wanted to get some sun. So I stripped down to my underwear knowing it could pass for a bikini and did just that. (Always wear pretty stuff in case you need to strip down! Like Mama said, always wear clean…and pretty… underwear… ok MY Mama didn’t say that but I AM saying to wear pretty underwear. Sigh…this is getting tangled…). After I woke up from a second nap and had lunch, I immediately starting doing some writing. I hadn’t done this in months and my brain was choked from lack of expression and it was screaming out my thoughts.

A guy on a trike even rolled past trying to get us to buy ice cream, soda and other crap. Nope, not tempted. I’m prepared… and so grateful that I was prepared.

I felt so clean in the brain again. I could think. I could process. I could laugh. The nightmarish conversations from the night before didn’t seem so bad. I didn’t hate myself anymore. I didn’t consider myself a bad parent, a loser in love or a food junkie that couldn’t quit her habit. I was me. In all my glory, perfectly flawed. Like that old photograph in the cracked frame, it’s got character and it just wouldn’t be the same if it looked brand new. That’s me. A few wrinkles from time and laughing. A few cracks from stress that make me… me. And I’m ok with that. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s why there’s different FLAVORS of tea! Yup, these are the thoughts that roll through my head.

We stayed well past sunset and I parked several blocks from my sister so I trekked down to my car. Thought about extending my parking and staying another couple hours or into the starry night on the boardwalk…but thought, no. My time here today is done. I’m tired and need to get home to prepare for my week. There will be other days.

On the way back, my “trusty” GPS really goofed and had me jump off the New Jersey turnpike early. If I hadn’t been tired, I probably would have questioned it and gone with my gut. But since I had no coffee today (believe it or not), I found myself in the back streets of Freehold,NJ. Lost. Really lost and turned around. The GPS got totally screwed up because there was massive construction on the turnpike too. So finally I stopped in at a franchise hotel and talked to a very nice check in clerk who gave me simple directions to get back to the turnpike and told me which way I should be headed. I didn’t panic. I didn’t yell at my stupidness and go all fifty shades of Pam’s Profanity. I just stopped. Breathed. Thought it out and asked for help.

Yeah…. You know it. So much of this day, like our journey. We will plan things out. We will think we got it all going right and then there will be roadblocks and stuff that falls in our path. Keep calm. Ask for help when you need it. It’s all about keeping our head. Like I tell my kids, nothing good comes of anger. We will make mistakes. We don’t know how to fix things if they never break. We don’t appreciate good times unless we have some bad. Life really is a roller coaster.

One day at the beach can wipe out weeks worth of damage. Sometimes we just need to take a little break from life, step back and then jump right back into the fray again.

Sometimes we start out for different reasons.

Sometimes we don’t even want to start out.

Sometimes we just don’t feel like it, but we gotta go through the motions.

Sometimes we get lost.

Sometimes we cry.

Sometimes people are going to pass us and we will feel sluggish and a failure. Keep on. We all have our own pace.

Sometimes…well, most times… it really doesn’t matter what THEY think. But what do *I* think of myself, my actions, my words?

But sometimes….we come out at the end feeling quite different and ONEderful.

and when I walked in the door, Stella meowed at me. I petted her and said, “I’m good now. The bitch just needed the beach.” And she meowed in agreement.

Categories: Weight Loss | 4 Comments

The Ledge and the High Dive

hitting a wallWherever we are in this journey, there are times it feels like we hit a wall.
We may still be overweight. I’m not talking by just a few pounds. But we hit that plateau, stall-point, or we just get bored, we get sloppy in the dieting, or we sabotage ourselves… or even worse… we start rationalizing and saying “I’m ok, I’m happy. This is where my body wants to be and I’m good with it.” It gets tough. You may not be able to quite put a finger on the “why’s”, but it happens to all of us. A friend of mine said, “Pammie, I’m hitting a wall.” And as I talked to her, it made me realize something I had hit something too.

During my travels I was given a bottle of absinthe by a friend. A friend who didn’t know my struggle and love/hate relationship with alcohol. In pride, in fear of appearing weak, I graciously accepted it. Inside me, my stomach wrenched tight to the point of feeling sick. Alcohol is something I try to stay away from for the most part.

I have several reasons for not drinking much – with losing weight, I  lost most of my physical tolerance for it – it don’t take MUCH for it to hit me anymore! I don’t feel very well the next day or two after a night of drinking with my friends. I feel it’s a waste of empty calories for the enjoyment of it. I have a slew of bad memories from my party days, both physical and emotional. I feel it’s just another addiction I substitute when I’m trying not to eat. I have a bad taste in my mouth for drinking, frankly speaking and pardon the pun.

So I put this bottle in a cabinet and made a “bargain” with myself. I told myself that if I lost 10 more pounds under my goal, I’d celebrate it by having a drink of this special stuff. (I am NOT skinny, so this would still be healthy weight loss.) Perhaps I thought I was putting the demon in the cage by putting that bottle in the cabinet.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I can hear you gasping from here. I went against one of my cardinal rules. I gave myself a “food incentive” or “food reward” to dangle in front of the scale. Hey, I’m almost a year after hitting goal. I’m (not so) large and in charge here. I can handle it.

Yeah…about that.

I hit what felt like such a huge wall in the past couple months. I worked incredibly hard going after this little goal. After losing 150 pounds, you’d think that 10 pounds is “no big deal”. I remember in my first weeks of weight loss I could POOP out 10 pounds without even thinking about it. I took my calories down, I put more activity in and I went after it as though I was going after the brass ring of my weight loss. The scale wasn’t moving. As I counseled others in their journeys, I looked at my own advice and got meticulous.  I made sure I was preplanning, I cut out my “bonuses”, I put in even more activity, tried to get more sleep.  Yes I was stressed (and still am) with a lot of stuff going on, but I refuse to let that hold me back. The scale started moving and I was elated. I could do this!

bingeThen as I got closer to a new number on the scale… I’d eat. Maybe not a whole lot to someone else. Sometimes as little as a few hundred calories. An extra helping of a healthy meal. Or a few drinks with friends. Or a bag of popcorn while watching a movie with my daughter on the weekend. It added up. I’d lose 5 pounds and then gain it back, and get frustrated. Not enough to affect my clothing, but this is a bad pattern I knew I had to get under control NOW!
WHY was I doing this? I knew the drill! I teach the drill for crying out loud!
Then this past week it hit me when my friend said, “Pammie, I hit a wall.” And I responded to her saying that she wasn’t in front of a wall, she was on a ledge and she was just scared.  She’s made it feel like a high ledge and it’s more built up in her mind than it really is. jumper ledgeShe needed to walk off the ledge in an act of faith and know that the step was not as scary as she thought. There’s an invisible path to freedom we can’t see until we step off the ledge. It’s excitement and exhilaration, NOT fear… or make it that way. She said to me, “I never lost this much before and I’m scared what’s next.”  So I asked myself WHAT AM I AFRAID OF WITH THIS TEN POUNDS? As I thought about this conversation another analogy came to mind.

boy_on_high_diveThis is where I am. The feeling of being on a high dive at the public pool.
Everyone is watching you. Everyone sees you on the high dive. If you step backwards and climb back down the ladder, everyone sees that you couldn’t do it. You got scared and gave up. You admit defeat. And there’s others in line for the dive that are willing to jump in front of you and show you how it’s done. But you have to do it YOURSELF to get your reward.  HOWEVER, if you go forward…. Running, laughing, jumping and throwing your arms in the air and JUMPING off that high dive who KNOWS what will happen? Maybe the water will be very cold at first. It may take your breath away at first. You may bellyflop and it may almost hurt a little. Or it may feel super refreshing. It may feel like the best euphoria you ever experienced. It may feel like the highest high. It may feel like the biggest victory EVER!!! But you won’t know until you ALLOW yourself to do it. And there’s the reward I gave for myself. And that’s when the epiphany hit…
Well, in my case, I knew what was waiting for me. A bottle. The demon in the cabinet cage loomed over me, watching me, waiting for me. And I think that scared the crap out of me to the point that I was sabotaging myself so that I wouldn’t get those extra pounds off. In fact, I was slowly going up on the scale. My own inner core of my mind knew I was scared of those past memories associated with drinking and it wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to happen. Memories of poor decisions made while drinking. Memories of my kids seeing me while drinking. Memories of losing control. We hate it when we lose control. We like to be in control of our journey.
absintheAnd so… I poured the bottle down the sink. I knew it was the right decision because of the way I felt when I did it. I felt like a rock came off my shoulder. I felt like curtain came away from my thoughts and I could clearly see the path from my own ledge. I had felt trapped on the ledge. I felt in spotlight on the ledge. Vulnerable. Where everyone could see me, that I wasn’t losing anymore. I am on that high dive. And what happens if I can’t do the fantastic swan dive and I have to crawl down the steps? Well…I don’t know, because I’m moving forward.
Well, I still have that inside goal of getting down to 150 pounds. But I took away that double-edged sword of a reward for it.
When you hit your plateau, your stall, when you jump into ONEderland and then everything goes awry… take a look at what you’ve promised yourself. With what you’ve put pressure on yourself. And take it easy on yourself! YES, push yourself to get to goal… but be very careful what you dangle in front of yourself. Ask yourself these questions when you get scared….
1) What is my incentive for losing weight?
2) For who am I losing weight?
3) Is the reward truly “worth it”?
4) Is the incentive enough to keep me at goal or is it a short term goal (such as a reunion, party, wedding, retaliation, trying to make someone jealous?)
5) Will I be truly proud of myself and my intentions?
6) Can I continue the same habits I am using to LOSE weight to be able to STAY at goal weight or is this a fad, harsh diet? Is this healthy eating? Will it cause health issues to keep eating like this?
7) What scares me most?
8) How does that affect or connect to the feelings of fear I’m having right now associated with losing weight? Do I feel my significant other won’t like how I look? Do I feel that I, myself, won’t recognize myself? Am I afraid of what OTHER PEOPLE will say about how I look? Am I afraid of appearing different?

magicIn order for change to be a true change, it WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE at times. But like always say…turn that sickly feeling in the stomach of fear into excitement and wonderment (or ONEderment). Take control of it and make it work for you.

wide openTake a step off the ledge.

We call create our own limitations in our minds. We have the keys to our cells and it’s up to US to figure out which key unlocks the door.

While helping my friend, I figured out my key. We all need to examine those many keys we hold on that mental key ring and get to the core of what makes us tick, makes us eat, makes us stress…. and then the future’s wide open! I’m slowly going downward on the scale again making up those couple of pounds and headed into new realms. And I’m feeling good about it…no looming anxiety, stalling or binges.

Those are my rambling thoughts for the day! If ya like it, pin it, share it on Facebook, email it to a friend, I’m all about that!

Check out my website at pamkaelin.com and my facebook page!

Categories: Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

My Juggling Parable

juggleA woman joined a circus and became a juggler. It wasn’t something she was trained for or born into, but she learned to do it on her own and enjoyed it. One day she was juggling her usual several balls. She wanted more of a challenge, so she added more balls. A crowd gathered. A girl said, “Can I add this one from my pocket? I don’t feel like carrying it around anymore.” The woman said, “I can try, give it here!” She added it to her routine with ease. A man said, “I have one I don’t feel like carrying.” And the girl said to him, “Give to her, she won’t mind!” So he did. The woman was able to add it to her routine. juggling many ballsOne by one, others added to the collection from their pockets, purses and backpacks. They were lightening their own load and watching her juggle higher and higher. Before she knew it, she was juggling so many balls of different colors, she didn’t know where they all came from.  Then the inevitable started happening. As people watched, she dropped a few balls. The crowd gasped and some began to walk away disappointed. Others still clapped and commended her on juggling as many as she did.  The girl in the crowd ran forward and grabbed a ball from the ground and angrily said, “You dropped my ball.”  The woman said, “But look at how many were going.” dropping ballsThe girl said, “Yeah, but you dropped MINE. You suck.” The crowd started scorning the woman for disappointing the little girl and most walked away shaking their heads and saying how the act was bad. The woman stopped juggling and went back into her tent. The Ring Master came to see her and asked her how it was going. “I started dropping balls, I suppose you want to fire me.”

He said, “Why would I do that?”

“Because I disappointed people.”

139 Winter QuartersThe Ring Master smiled and said, “It’s only through dropping a few balls we find out our limits. We don’t stop juggling. We just learn our limits. They only gave YOU the ball because they didn’t want to have the responsibility of carrying it themselves. You didn’t want to disappoint the crowd and you took on what they asked. But they don’t know the skill needed to juggle that many balls. They only know how it affected THEIR ball. It takes less energy to watch the show than to do it themselves. The circus isn’t about perfection. It’s crazy, mayhem and fun. It’s about the moment, nobody knows what’s going to happen next. Enjoy it! Appreciate what you can do and don’t condemn yourself for what you can’t. In time your skills grow. ”

And so it is with our journey.

We expect perfection.
We expect results NOW.
We take on other people’s opinions as our own and we can let it destroy us when we drop that ball.

blog tightropeMoral of this story:
Grab your balls and keep them moving. Yup, you’re gonna drop them a few times. Pick up them up and start again. It’s not all about pleasing the crowd as long as you can accept your own talents at the end of the day. Skills are not learned overnight, they are mastered over time. Your journey in life is not going to happen in one day or one week, it’s a lifetime. Enjoy the journey and grab your balls.

And THAT’S life according to Pam and I hope it’s yours too!

check me out at my website at pamkaelin.com

Categories: Weight Loss | Leave a comment

Emotional Dermatillomania…. Or Picking Our Mental Scabs

blog socially awkwardBeing a teenager is tough. No doubt. Being a fat teenager was extremely hard for me. I was very shy and hated being in rooms full of people I didn’t know. I was not social. It affects some of my behaviors today. There are routines and patterns that have been worn into my head like convoluted hiking paths down to my inner core. blog rocky pathThey are worn down so heavily, so many times, with rocks protruding up to make me stumble as I try to get to my inner most thoughts at times. These familiar paths and patterns hold me back from going forward other times. Take, for instance, the scenario of me being in a room full of people I don’t know. When I was much younger, it could bring on panic attacks for me. I’d hear a whisper, laughter, a “certain” tone of voice, and assume it was a negative attack on me. There were times it was true and I was the butt of some ill-based jokes. But so many times it was MY ASSUMPTION that I was being mocked. It was a Pavlov’s Dog reaction to being exposed to bullying, snide remarks and such as a result of my weight and my attitude that developed along the way.

Those insults and negative behaviors created a very large wound in my self esteem.

scraped kneeLet’s look at what happens when a part of our body gets physically wounded. I’m outside, walking and say I fall and scrape my knee open. Blood rushes to the surface.   As air hits it, over the next few days, it becomes hardened and the wound is encased in a scab. So I’m sitting outside. Bored. Looking at my knee and start picking at it. I wince because it hurts and it’s not quite healed. But I can’t stop picking at it. I flick away the scabs and watch as more blood comes to the surface. I say to my daughter, “Hey, look at this cut, doesn’t this look nasty?” She agrees and I get attention for it. Another day goes by and it has scabbed up again. I’m at work stressing over an issue and subconsciously start picking at the scab. It starts to bleed, a little heavier because I’ve broken new skin with my fingernails.  I clean it up and it starts the healing process over. Now, what if I keep picking and picking and tearing open that scab? Well, the skin around it will inflame and if enough dirt falls into it from my fingernails, it could become infected and then I have an even bigger problem. Now, being adults, you’re going to look at me and say, “Pam, would just stop picking at your damn knee and it will get better!”

You see, that’s what I did with the wound on my self-esteem and my thoughts for many years. There’s probably a thousand little insults I’ve heard in my whole life. If I keep going back over and over in my mind, and pull up all those times I was embarrassed, tormented, made fun of, bullied, stood up, dumped, etc….it’s like ripping the scab off that wound of bad self esteem everytime I do it. I’m never going to get over it and be able to move forward if I keep picking at that scab. I’m going to become a slave to constantly ripping that scab open to avoid getting over it. To give me a reason to be upset. And hey, it gives me attention to have that “injury” and wound to cry about.  To give me a “right” to be righteous about those who judge based on looks and size. I can point the finger and say it’s THEIR fault I feel this way, my father, my mother, my siblings, my ex-boyfriends, my ex-husband, the kids I went to school with, the public school kids on the bus who made fun of my parochial education, strangers in public, teachers that humiliated me, people I didn’t get along with, strangers in the clothing store, people in restaurants I thought were watching what I was eating, and how many other people I could blame!

Bottom line… it’s MY fault I feel bad because I keep thinking about it. I keep pulling up those bad feelings and continuing them.

It’s time to let the past pains scab over and heal. It takes soul-searching, journaling and some good quiet time to come to peace with these things. If you can’t do it on your own or without hurting loved ones, then it’s time to get professional assistance in this. Talk to a third party like a counselor who won’t take it personal when you need to get angry, but has the professional training to guide you in letting it all go.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. You’re never going to be truly happy and successful until you let go of all this ugly scabby damage.

I garden outside in the warm weather. I get scores of scratches, cuts and little wounds, it comes with the territory. But I wrap them up, protect them and then expose them to air and they get better, most times without a scar.

What happens when you pick at a scab repeatedly?

The area becomes scarred, mangled and the skin has scar tissue and is never the same.

That’s what happens when we keep picking at our emotional scabs. We become scarred, hardened, harsher and generally tough to manage. It gets in the way of living and happiness. You see that scar and you remember the injury and it makes you unhappy and the cycle starts again. blog gold appleYou can be the prettiest person, thin and healthy but your negativity can make you very ugly to yourself and others.

I am 48 years old. It doesn’t matter what a group of boys said to me back when I was 16.  I am not that scared lonely girl anymore. Time to let it go.  But what if I still am that scared lonely girl inside? Time to let her go. If repeated bad behaviors have made us feel crappy, lethargic, even suicidal at times…. Then repeated GOOD behaviors should do the opposite. I’m doing that.

We cannot stop people from talking about us, confronting us, trying to include us in their drama, or listening to the silly diary-like statuses on Facebook that annoy the snot out of me. And it annoys me MORE when they come from ME!!! That’s when I stop myself, unplug from the computer, back the hell away from Facebook and all that social media bullshit and go outside and get some fresh air!

We_Can_Do_It!But we CAN stand up for ourselves. We can be our own bodyguard. We don’t have to wait for a super hero to come along. We are our OWN hero! It’s never too late to stop the cycle. It’s never too late to adopt new patterns. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to correct the path on our journey!

It’s time for healing. Trust me, it makes the journey healthier, happier and easier.

rearviewmirror1Like I told my son years ago in the Rear View Mirror post… the rear view mirror is a reference to the past, it is NOT where we are going. If we keep looking in it, we are doomed to crash. However, if we look forward and have a positive attitude, I feel anything is possible! Not JUST weight loss, but with anything we set our minds to!

Now…. Stop picking those scabs, it’s time to heal!

Hey! If this helped you, inspired you, pissed you off, cheered you up, gave you that weird feeling in your stomach that you know it hit you right where it counts…then pin it, share it, email it, share the love!!!

Check out my website at pamkaelin.com  and follow me on Facebook!

Categories: Anger, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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