Losing, the Weight Watchers Way!


Dearest Readers:

Today is always the day — for my ‘weigh in’ with Weight Watchers. How did it go? I suppose since I am totally exhausted from lack of sleep — again — awakening at 2:00am, turning the television on, thankful that I can now record “Designing Women” and the “Golden Girls,” I watch several episodes while Father Time ever so slowly ticks, ticks, tick-tocks, the night away. Last week I did not go to the meeting. I was much too tired due to lack of sleep and another migraine headache. Let’s just say, I’m not a fun person to be around when I have a headache.

Recognizing that if I do not get myself to the meeting I will have the tendency to slack off, I force myself to get to the meeting. This has been a good week, not just because I anticipated a good weight loss. It’s been a good week because I am working out more often, walking on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge and I am using the treadmill. So, this week, life has been good.

Arriving at the meeting, I hop on the scale. Minus 1.8 pounds this week, and I have finally broken that silly plateau that I was on — for seven months. Those seven months were a true test for me. Was I really determined to stick it out and continue following Weight Watchers?

The answer is Yes! Even when I didn’t lose, or gained a bit, I kept telling myself —
This I Do For Me!
Even If I Gain, I’m Still Following Weight Watchers
I Am Making New Friends – All to the Credit of Weight Watchers
Healthy Eating, the Weight Watchers Way is The Only Way!
Just Move – Walk…Use The Treadmill, Work Out…Simply Because — IT WORKS!

This week, while cleaning my husband was home. As he watched me doing the household chores, he kept looking at a part of my body – only this time it wasn’t my chest. “You know,” He said, “Your butt is getting smaller!”

I placed the dust cloth on the table. “You mean, you’ve actually noticed?”

Coming from him that is truly a compliment. He is quick to look at other women, especially when their booties, or boobs attract his eyes.

Turning back to the housework while my husband continued to be a couch potato, I was pleased that he noticed, a bit annoyed that he never offered to help with housework. Yes, my husband is from the old school — the Archie Bunker school, I might add!

No wonder I am such a feminist!

I have come to terms with the reality and pride of what I am accomplishing with Weight Watchers, and my Thursday morning meetings really start my day (and weekend) off with a bit of strength and newfound confidence! I am proud that I practice a completely new lifestyle now, and I’ve discovered that when I share with others that I am doing Weight Watchers, they are supportive. That was another reality check for me.

When I joined Weight Watchers, I did not share the news with others. Two weeks after joining, I finally announced it to some friends, and they are always asking me how it is going…am I still doing Weight Watchers…how much have I lost…and does it really help to join Weight Watchers?

I have had a couple of friends who joined after I did. One lost weight quickly, but then she lost interest. I haven’t asked her if she has put the weight back on. I strive to be sensitive to those issues, recalling the many, many years when I was so sensitive about my weight gains…losses…gains…haven’t we all struggled in that respect. Another friend joined Weight Watchers On Line. At first, she lost quickly, then she stopped. She confessed to me that she had given up and was cancelling her membership.

Perhaps I persuaded her to go to a meeting. At first, she was apprehensive. “I don’t want others to know how much I weigh.”

The meetings are confidential. No one can read the scales. You don’t have to be ashamed…we have all been there!

She went to a meeting, and I do believe she is still going to the meetings. She lives miles away from me, so we don’t get to see each other in person.

Today, it felt good to return to Weight Watchers after missing last week. Soon, I will tip the scales with a 40 pound weight loss. I’ll be so happy when that day arrives. I will probably meet with the leader then to decide what my goal is. I have a number dancing inside my head, but I’ll not share it — yet! Just know, for me — and perhaps for others, Weight Watchers is truly the key to losing weight and keeping it off. “Weight Watchers, because it works,” Jennifer Hudson says, and for me, I can truly relate to those words. As I watch the pounds, inches and clothing sizes decreasing, I finally gave myself a gift I haven’t shared with anyone.

Stein Mart recently had a full-length mirror at a special price. All of my life I have wanted a full-length mirror. Each time I thought about buying one, I talked myself out of it, because I had too many bumps on my body…I didn’t want to see myself in a full-length mirror, but this time, I found the courage to buy it. One afternoon while dressing to go to karaoke, I tried a new short skirt on. I looked in the floor-length mirror. Much to my surprise, I heard a voice say, “Girl…you’re looking good!”

Is that really me in the mirror? For the first time since losing my father in July, 1999, I felt proud of myself and the image looking in the mirror. I cannot wait to reach goal and see the image again!

For me, Weight Watchers is my new lifestyle change. I am eating healthier now. I actually enjoy fresh fruit again, and I have learned that when I am fulfilled, I stop eating. My husband says I eat like a bird now…compared to his appetite, I suppose that is true.

Next Thursday is the Fourth of July, Independence Day. Regardless what I eat on that date, I will enjoy every taste of the delicious foods and fruit I eat. Weight Watchers will be closed on that date, and I doubt that I will attend a different meeting. I’ve gotten to know the people at our meeting and I enjoy chatting with them. Who cares if I don’t attend a meeting next week. I’ll still be loyal to Weight Watchers.

“Why?”

Simple…because Weight Watchers Works, for me…and for millions! And now, I’m off to attempt a nap. If sleep fails to captivate me, I’ll just hop on the treadmill, and fight with my mini-Schnauzer, Hank. He totally believes the treadmill is his big toy.

Enjoy your week, readers and remember — “Weight Watchers, because it works.”

So…You’ve Got an Opinion — Paula Deen


Dearest Readers:

This has truly been a melancholic week for me, first with the loss of a classmate and friend, Becki Vinson Matthews. Circular thinking has danced inside of my head, remembering how happy, energetic and full of life Becki was at our class reunion in April. Gone too soon, much too soon. I confess, I do have a difficult time with death. One moment we are laughing with a friend, making plans to ‘do lunch or shopping,’ only to awaken to the reality that the friend is no longer with us. Poof. In the blink of an eye…gone too soon.

Yesterday, while listening to the morning news, I hear about Paula Deen. “What’s going on with Paula Deen now?” I ask, clicking on Google to read. By now almost everyone has an opinion about Paula Deen and her dreadful comments. Some of the reports on the Internet expressed that Deen said the N-word in 1986. Of course, I am not a believer of “if it’s on the Internet, it must be true.” Everyone can post things on the Internet, and sometimes they are hurtful and damaging, especially to a celebrity; nevertheless, I believe that IF you are a celebrity, you must conduct yourself in a respectful, moralistic manner. Celebrity status takes a while to achieve, and when reached, there must be a commitment to treat the public with respect and decency, not with disrespect.

If you are one of my regular readers, you understand I grew up in the South, during a time when separation and segregation existed. I recall seeing two water fountains and separate entrances in many locations in the State of Georgia. Once, when I was extremely thirsty, I rushed towards the “colored” fountain. Quickly, my grandmother grabbed my hand, moving me back to the line. “But, I’m thirsty and don’t want to wait in line…”

Grandma was persistent, so I reluctantly went to the other line. Later, I wanted an answer to the question still rushing in my mind. “Grandma, why couldn’t I drink water from the ‘colored’ fountain?”

“You never mind…you just follow the rules and stand in the proper line.”

“Rules are made to be broken,” I whispered, under my breath.

So began my life in a racially separated, but definitely not equal mill town. Bibb City was a lovely little mill village in Columbus, Georgia. A tiny town where everyone knew everything! Many times people shared with my grandfather that I was questioning things. I didn’t understand how the mill workers could hire beautiful black women to clean their homes, but the black men who worked in maintenance could not live in Bibb City with their families, simply because — they were black. Many of the people did not describe them as black, African-American and such. They used the “N” word in a tone and demeanor that left me cringing.

On one occasion I stood firm. I was a little child, but I could still place my hands on hips and share in the belief that I had…that we are all created equal, regardless of our skin color. After all, I believed that God was representative of all of the colors of the rainbow – not white!

During one summer while I stayed with my grandparents in Bibb City, I was ‘caught — playing with that little colored girl — the one who cleans the houses in Bibb City…’ Shameful, wasn’t it! There I was, playing with someone who did not say the “N” word and did not care about the color of skin. We had so much in common, until that afternoon when my papa came home from his shift at the Bibb Mill. He called me into the house and I knew I was in BIG TROUBLE this time. Papa had a switch waiting for me. When I walked inside, he swatted that switch on my bare legs, telling me over and over again that I had shamed him again. “You are not to play with that colored girl again…ever…not while you’re in my house.”

My leg was bleeding. I rushed outside, screaming, crying, refusing to understand what I had done that was so bad. Didn’t Papa want me to have friends…good “Christian” friends?

Flash forward many years later. America has grown to accept that everyone is equal. OK, we still need work on accepting that women are equal, and it is my belief that all men AND WOMEN are CREATED EQUAL, regardless of the color of skin.

We have an African-American President. Women and blacks are in Congress, the Senate, and South Carolina actually elected a woman for Governor — Governor Haley. That was a total surprise to me, and I admit, she appears to be strong-minded and a good governor. Living in South Carolina, and growing up in the South, I still hear people whispering about the color of skin, and how ‘women belong in the home, taking care of the children.’ In many ways, the South is still stuck in 1950! Yes, I hear people in the South say the “N” word. Many times I have stepped up, reminding them that we are all equal, regardless of the color of our skin. We should not judge others, just because their genes or skin colors are different from ours.

I recall on one occasion when I was in high school. I had joined the USO group and was active. The soldiers at Fort Benning in Columbus visited our events on weekends. I was broken-hearted from a recent engagement break up so I decided I could heal my wounds by dancing. My weekends were spent at the dances at the USO. On one occasion, two black soldiers asked me to dance. The GSO would not permit black girls to join, but they were quick to allow soldiers, of all colors, to attend the dances.

I danced a slow dance with both soldiers. Never did we move together bonded tightly as one. Their hands were in their proper places. Never did they make a play for me.

After dancing, the President of the USO tapped me on the shoulder. “Follow me to my office, please,” he said. “I need to speak with you.”

Reluctantly, I followed him. He closed the door. “We do not allow our girls to dance with the black soldiers. Don’t do it again!”

I shook my head. “What?” I shrieked. “You’re telling me that it’s OK for you to take their money, but as a white girl, I cannot dance with them? They can fight our wars in Vietnam, but a white girl and a black soldier who is brave and ready to fight for our country and treats me respectfully — you are forbidding me to dance with them?”

“That’s not the way I would put it, but yes. I forbid you to dance with the black soldiers ever again!”

I burst into tears…so stern and cold, just like my grandfather and mother. I rushed out of the room. Five soldiers were standing near the doorway. I knew every one of them. I suppose they knew that I was in trouble. I rushed by, opened the front door and left. I called my mother at the pay phone.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder, dressed in military uniform. “What happened in there,” Larry asked.

“Nothing.”

“I can see it on your face. Did they tell you that you cannot dance with a black soldier?”

“How did you know? It’s not right,” I said, wiping my tears. “They can go off to fight our wars and we cannot dance with them. You know they don’t allow black girls to join, but they certainly don’t mind collecting a black soldier’s money.”

My mother arrived and I left.

Days later I had made the decision to resign from the GSO girls. Larry phoned me at home, telling me that he and five of the soldiers had met with the President. “You’ll be getting a phone call from him this week.”

“Why? I don’t want to talk to him.”

“They’ve changed the policy and they are not accepting your resignation.”

Sometimes being an advocate has just rewards, even at the age of seventeen!

Now, it is 2013, and we still hear people being so judgmental and prejudice. One would think our world, along with the citizens, would not be prejudice. No longer do we see ‘colored’ written on water fountains or entrances. No longer are blacks required to ‘move to the back of the bus.’ We have Rosa Parks to thank for her courage to stand alone and be heard.

As for Paula Deen? I lost respect in her when she announced she was Diabetic. She was still cooking with all of that butter, and sugar and such fattening ingredients. I quit watching her show. My belief is we must step forward to be an example, and she was not.

Now, I hear that Food Network has cancelled her contract…not renewing her contract…http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-207_162-57590532/paula-deens-food-network-contract-wont-be-renewed/

Much of this controversy occurred after Paula Deen flew to New York to appear on the Today Show, only to cancel due to ‘exhaustion.’ Please, Paula Deen and her staff, do you actually believe America is naive enough to believe that?

Perhaps Paula Deen has simply forgotten where she came from and how she became a star, all to the credit of the Food Network.

Yes, she made a video with an ‘apology.’ I’m not believing it at all. Last night I unsubscribed from her e-mail newsletters. I suppose I am taking a stand to vocalize that we in America need to stop the segregation we are still living in many ways. We must recognize that while it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a country to fight bigotry, racism, segregation, and downright hatred.

This week was a reminder to me that life is short. Today, we awaken to life. Let us all pay our life forward, to give back to those who we might have judged, ridiculed or hurt. We must not back away or criticize simply due to the color of skin. I’ve had many friends in my lifetime who are black, Latino, or gay. All different but precious. I still cherish each and every one of them. Life is to be lived in the fullest every day. Let us conduct ourselves in a manner where we can look in the mirror in the morning, smile and look into who we truly are. Don’t let us judge, just because we are different, or our skin color is of a different color.

As for Paula Deen? She has a lot to learn about living her life as a celebrity!

In Memory of a Friend…


Today is Monday, another beautiful day of life to enjoy and make the most of our day. After I awaken, let the pups out and pour a cup of coffee, I hop on the computer, to hear the latest news in the world, then I click on Facebook.

Reading a few posts on Facebook, I am shocked, stunned, broken-hearted. Why? I have lost another friend – a friend I knew in high school. A woman who always spoke to me in school. A woman I reconnected with at the high school reunion held in April 2013.

Becki Vinson Matthews looked beautiful at the reunion. Life and age had been good to her. I recognized her on the spot. Others, well, I didn’t recognize so easily. At the Friday night function in Uptown Columbus, we rushed outside to ‘dance in the street.’ The band was too great to ignore inside a bar atmosphere. Additional classmates — mostly girls — joined us as we danced, and danced, and danced. We chatted a bit and I listened to her chatting away about life, and grandchildren. On Facebook, we read posts and made comments after the reunion.

I was truly shocked to read that she is now an angel in Heaven, no longer with us. I confess, at the reunion, as I looked at the Memory Wall, recognizing most of the 60 classmates now deceased, the curiosity of a writer danced in my mind…curious as to who would be the next high school photograph to add to the memory wall.

It is unfortunate that our generation has reached a time in our lives where death will occur more frequently. Still, there are so many illnesses and deaths that will attack our bodies. Apparently, Becki died from a massive heart attack. Someone wrote that she was having chest pains before the heart attack. At our class reunion, she looked like the picture of health. Dancing. Smiling. Laughing. Catching up with each of our lives. She was a member of the “Sister Chicks” a group of high school friends still connecting, dancing and sharing life together. She and a few others wanted me to become a ‘sister chick.’

I am still in shock that she is gone and I am happy that we purchased a memory book from the reunion. Hopefully, when the day arrives and I receive my copy in the mail, Becki will be the first person I look for. She was so kind to me, telling me at the reunion that “I had no idea you could sing so well, Barbie!”

I laughed. “Yes, I suppose my secret is out now, isn’t it!”

Before we left the reunion I hugged Becki, thanking her for her warmth and thoughtfulness. Never did I realize that would be our last hug together.

Rest in peace, Becki with that contagious smile on your beautiful face and warmth surrounding you. Our classmates will miss you terribly.

To those of my class who are reading this, and to all of my readers, I would like to share a bit of advice. Heart disease is on the rise in America. Please visit the website, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp
to learn more about the guidelines for a heart healthy life. We are told to eat healthy, move and exercise regularly and to get a physical yearly. At my last physical, my doctor ordered an electrocardiogram. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ekg/

I am happy to report mine was — as my doctor expressed, “Perfect.” I was so pleased since my husband had a quadruple heart bypass in early 1998. I am constantly nagging him to exercise more and to watch what he eats carefully. He ignores me. Please, if you are reading this, make a pledge to yourself to take care of yourself, and please understand, Becki looked like the picture of health in April. Slim. Trim. Active. Energetic. We never know when something might occur to take our health away, but I am a true believer in living life to the fullest every day. And, when tomorrow comes, we must do what we can to protect our health. We hear of people dying quickly from heart attacks and many of those people did not know their heart was about to stop. Becki complained of chest pains before her death. Please, let us all make a pact today that if we have any of the symptoms of heart disease, or if we simply do not feel well, let us get to the doctor or hospital, to make certain we are well.

Symptoms of a heart attack:
Chest pains
Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach,
Shortness of breath
Nausea
A feeling of lightheadedness or fainting
Cold sweat
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health//dci/pods/trans_heartatt.html
Call 911 to get immediate treatment, please.

In memory of Becki Vinson Matthews – a classmate, mother, wife, grandmother, sister chick and a dear friend. Rest in peace, beautiful Becki. We will miss you!

All to the Credit of My Father


Not that we are grown, we all know how influential our parents are to our lives and success — the good and the bad! As a child, my father influenced my life. He was the first to criticize and punish me when I misbehaved — and there were many times I misbehaved. I was a bit ‘too independent for my own britches…’ I asked too many questions. I danced to my own music, and wanted to do things, “My Way!” 

I suppose you get the picture. Whenever my grandfather said that women belonged in the home, and I might as well give up on my dreams to sing, because I would grow up to marry a mill kid, since I lived in a mill village and that was what all the girls in Bibb City did. My reply, “I think not…I’ll never marry a mill kid!” 

Heck – I would not date a mill kid, or a high school boy! Living in a mill village I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I would break away from Bibb City. And I did. Yes, I was a feminist as a child!

But — this isn’t a story about breaking away from Bibb City, or my life as a feminist. Today is a reflection on Father’s Day and how my dad guided my way. I was eight-years-old when I recall writing my first story. A teacher assigned the students to write a story about science fiction. Since we were studying the planets, I chose to write about Saturn. The title was “My Visit to Saturn.” 

Never did I realize I had a talent for writing until my dad went to the PTA meeting. The science teacher approached my dad about my story, telling my Dad I made an A+. “No big deal,” I said…”I always make an A.”

Months later, I came home from school. My dad greeted me at the door, carrying a magazine. “Barbara,” he said, his voice stern, his eyes bright. “Look at this magazine. Your story is in it! At the age of eight-years-old, you are a published writer!”

I glanced at the magazine, saw my story, and tossed the magazine on the couch, cluttered with laundry for me to fold. Till this day, I do not recall what magazine published the story. I was a child…it didn’t matter to me that I was a published writer at such a young age. I had bigger dreams. I wanted to sing on stage!

Years later, when my dad was frail and wasting away from his battle with esophageal cancer, his eyes opened as I sat next to his bed in the nursing home. “Barbara,” he said, his once boisterous voice barely a whisper. “Do you remember your first published story – “My Visit to Saturn?”

I laughed. “Oh Dad, that was such a long time ago.”

“Yes, it was. Do you remember it? I still have it.”

“Yes…that was such a stupid story!”

Dad smiled. I touched his freezing cold hand. My mind was elsewhere, as Father Time slowly ticked away for my precious father.

A few days later, my dad died. Losing him felt as if someone had pulled my heart out of my body. How could I live? How could I breathe? How could I enjoy the sunset, and the robins without my dad?

Somehow my life continued. In September, 1999, I decided it was time to sort through my dad’s belongings. The many scrapbooks. Diaries. Picture books. Sorting through the many pages, I opened a section that appeared to be a bit thicker than the other booklets. 

Folded in half was a stack of notebook paper. I opened it, noticing the handwriting of a child. “My Visit to Saturn,” I read. Oh my goodness. This is my story. My handwritten story. How did Dad get this? Why did he save it? Oh my goodness. Tears streamed down my face as I read the story, Dad had treasured it. He saved it — all these years later, and I had the first story I had written, all to the credit of my father.

I still have that story. Friends have said I should preserve it, maybe frame it. My first story – published!

All of this is to the credit of my father – Walter Perkins. He believed in me when no one else did, and throughout his life, he still believed in me. Happy Father’s Day to a man who lead me down the path to become a writer. 

Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Dad — thank you for saving and preserving my first published story, “My Visit to Saturn!”

“Stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit…
It’s when things seem worse — you mustn’t quit!”

On Father’s Day


Good morning, Readers:

Another beautiful day filled with sunshine for Father’s Day 2013. This day is special to all who were close to dear ole Dad. As a child, I remember babysitting or cleaning, just to get a bit of money to buy my dad, and my papa, a Father’s Day gift. For both, I bought ties, since Papa wore ties to church on Sunday morning, and Dad wore ties to work nightly. Papa was a mill worker, a loom fixer at the dictatorial Bibb Manufacturing Company. Dad worked in the hotel industry as a night auditor. I respected both of them, striving to always please them.

Over the years, as I grew older, Papa became highly critical of me, refusing to accept that I was growing up, and as a teenager, I loved rock and roll music, singing, dancing, and wearing makeup. As for my dad, he encouraged me. Yes, he had a quick hand and would swat us when we misbehaved, but he encouraged me to sing and to ‘move forward with life…don’t look back.’ Those wise words taught me lots about life. I practice those words in my daily life whenever I make mistakes, or someone hurts me. I look for the sunshine in tomorrow, not the rain that has fallen around me in the past.

Papa died from Alzheimer’s Disease in the late 1980’s. The last time I saw him, he resided in a nursing home, strapped to a wheelchair, looking out the window at birds in the trees. Perhaps a metaphor for his younger days, when he was gentle and kind and loved to fish. On my last visit to see Papa, he did not know me. When I touched his shoulder to give him a hug, he screamed at me. He didn’t know me. I thought he had disowned me since he disapproved of me many years ago. Later, while working on research for a story about Alzheimer’s, I recognized the reality was, deep inside Papa’s eyes, he rejected me not because he did not love me…deep inside his brain, he didn’t know much of anything…His brain could not process that I was his granddaughter. Perhaps a hard thing to accept when we are young, rebellious and no longer the ‘apple of my grandfather’s eye.’ I’ve written about Papa many times. An award-winning screenplay titled, “Not My Papa,” is based on my grandfather’s life as a textile mill worker in Bibb City, Georgia.

My dad lost his torrential battle with esophageal cancer on July 6, 1999, while I was opening the door to his room in a nursing home. Losing my dad tore my heart out for a long time. I had difficulty understanding how the sun could set, and rise again the next morning when my dad could no longer see the sun setting. “How can life continue when I no longer have my dad…I’m an orphan without him.’

On Father’s Day, I take a moment to reflect on the significant men who helped guide me into the life I live today. My Dad…My overly-strict grandfather, and my husband. All of these men have guided me — sometimes with a controlling hand — leading me on the path to becoming the woman I am today.

I hope they are proud of me. For most of the time, my husband, Phil, says he is proud of me, although there are times I see his eyes rolling upward, as if to say, “There she goes again!”

Regardless – I would like to express how much I have cared for these men. As children, we watch the actions of our father, sometimes, they lead us to doing the same behaviors they performed on us. As wives, we watch our husbands, hopeful they are proud of us and will love us until the end of time.

Life is truly a challenge. We awaken daily, hopeful of ‘making this a good day…’ And so we live, without looking back…moving forward…making the most of each day. We hope for tomorrow, only to recognize that tomorrow might bring challenges, heartbreak, or disappointments, but we must remember to follow the words of advice our dads gave us as children. “Don’t look back on life…move forward…”

Today, I can hear my dad saying those words to me. I thank him for his wisdom and his love.

Happy Father’s Day to our Dads…and thank you for guiding us along this path of life.

There is a passage I say to myself almost daily. I suppose it is my anchor:

“Stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit…
It’s when things seem worse — you mustn’t quit!”

Happy, Happy Father’s Day!

Today is Weight Watchers Weigh-In Day…


Dearest Readers:

Outside the windows by my desk, I see beautiful, welcoming, beaming sunshine, and bright blue clouds. My mimosa trees and oak trees are dancing with gentle strides as the mild wind brushes the branches. Another beautiful day, in beautiful Charleston, SC. Opening the back door to let my precious four-legged children inside, my body feels the unbearable heat of summertime in the City of Charleston. But wait…it isn’t summer yet! According to a weather forecast it is currently 102 degrees outside now. Thank goodness I had my heating and air system serviced a few weeks ago! The air outside is stagnant!

Today was my weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. For over seven months I have dreaded weigh-ins. I confess, I hop on my bathroom scales daily — every morning, after awakening. This morning, my scales indicated a loss. I dressed quickly in anticipation of having a good day at Weight Watchers.

Arriving early, I said Good Morning to several members, found my membership card in the box and stepped up to weigh. I felt confident that today would be a good day. The scales at Weight Watchers are
‘confidential’ — after you step on the scales, if you look down to see what the weight is, you cannot see it, nor can others. So, for those of you curious as to how weigh-ins are confidential at Weight Watchers meetings, trust me when I say they are CONFIDENTIAL! No one, with exception of the Weight Watchers receptionist assisting you will know what you weigh. In anticipation of another weekly weigh-in, curiosity was getting the best of me so I asked…’did I have a good week?’

The receptionist smiled, folded the booklet, and said, “You’re doing great, Barbie…” She handed me my pocket-size weight record. “Six-tenths of a pound — down!” I whisper… What, you say? Only six-tenths of a pound???

To those of you who are reading my Weight Watchers saga on a regular basis, you understand I lose ever so SLOWLY! Six-tenths of a pound is a good week…in fact, ANY WEEK that I lose is a good week. I’ve battled with a plateau for over seven months. My friends are surprised that I have ‘stuck it out…’ and If I am truthful, so am I. After suffering with a dreadful illness of acute bronchitis for three months, I began to excuse myself from Weight Watchers…I was too weak…too tired…too sleepy…or too busy for my Weight Watchers meetings… During this time, I saw the scales escalating again. I became depressed. Who cares if I lose weight, I told myself. Only to answer — Hey silly girl…You Do!

To those who read this and are so encouraging of me while I am walking along this journey of weight loss, I must stress, it was hard to go back, after missing so many weeks…It was difficult to admit that I was so weak, I stopped caring – for a bit.

As we, the Weight Watchers, and those who wish to find the courage and strength to join Weight Watchers, say — losing weight is truly a challenge. I have been on a yo-yo with weight loss since my childhood. My family made fun of me, telling me I was too fat to be ‘so pretty…’ They said I had a ‘pretty face, but I wasn’t pretty.’

I let those words echo back and forth inside my mind for years…many years. I grew up thinking I was an ‘ugly duckling, or a pig,’ nevertheless, I did my best to look my best, wearing my cousin’s hand-me-downs, wearing makeup and styling my hair. Still, I felt ugly…ever so fat and ugly!

Somehow, on March 3, 2011, I found the courage and strength to open the door to Weight Watchers. Now, I say to anyone wishing to lose weight swallow your pride, and take that first baby step to Weight Watchers. You will not hear anyone gossiping or ridiculing your decision to join. What you will find is friendship, encouragement, and pride. Even a small weight loss, such as ‘six-tenths of a pound’ is a weight loss. Weight gains? We all have them. I’ve certainly had my share, and at the moment, I must say, since I am working out regularly and moving regularly, I am losing many inches. No, I haven’t measured, but my clothes are fitting better than ever, and the sizes are getting smaller, and smaller.

When I use the treadmill, three days weekly, or more — I have to fight with my mini-schnauzer, Hankster, the Prankster, to have my time on the treadmill. As soon as I lower the treadmill, silly little Hank barks. When the treadmill hits the carpet, Hank hops on. If I don’t turn it to an acceptable speed for him, he barks until I do! He walks on the treadmill for five to ten minutes, hops off, as if to say, “OK…it’s your turn, Mom!” Who would think a small dog would intercept a grown woman’s work out!

Do I owe all of my slow-moving success to Weight Watchers? Yes, I say. The leaders at Weight Watchers say I owe myself the credit. “No, I owe it to Weight Watchers, the leaders, friendships and strength given to me at the meetings. Without Weight Watchers, I would’ve quit by now…”

On this beautiful sunny day, I will share the treadmill with Hankster since it is much too hot to attempt walking the bridge today. Tomorrow — perhaps! My goal hasn’t been reached yet — all in time…all to the credit of Weight Watchers… This I truly do FOR ME!

Losing Weight — the Weight Watchers Way


Dearest Readers:

Yesterday, I wrote a bit of a monologue about my struggles with weight loss. Today is Thursday — my weekly ‘weigh in day’ at Weight Watchers. Arriving at the meeting, I shared the poem that I mentioned yesterday, “Don’t Quit”:

“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be nearer when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse you mustn’t quit!”

After weighing in, I asked our leader, Kathy, if she would like to share the poem at the meeting. I explained to her that this passage was something I could relate to. “Many times it has given me strength while guiding me through the darkness of my life.”

Kathy smiled. “That is your anchor, isn’t it.”

Yes, definitely! I cannot tell you how many times I have read and re-read that passage just to lift me out of the darkness. While my dad battled cancer, I read it as tears streamed down my face. When my mother died, unexpectedly, I read it – giving me strength to forgive and forget the bitterness we shared. During fights with my husband, I read the passage, reminding myself “Don’t Quit…It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

Receiving rejection letters from publishers, producers, agents, I held the passage in my hands, reminding me I must continue this journey. Now, I’ve suddenly realized that passage is so appropriate for Weight Watchers. Just ask yourself — how many times have you wanted to throw in the towel? With weight loss, marriage, kids, or life? I’ve lost count!

Yes, these inspiring words are my anchor. They have served as a guiding light for my life, my desires, my dreams and my passions. Today at Weight Watchers I walked inside with the strength of confidence on my shoulders, a bright smile on my face. I was so ready for those scales to encourage me. This was a good week for me. I truly stuck to writing my foods in the journal, tracking, and I used the treadmill during the dreadful storms. A new Weight Watchers friend and I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, but the storms would not stop so we could ‘hit the bridge.’ So, I fought with my mini-schnauzer and let him walk on the treadmill for a bit, then I turned it off, so he would hop off and I could walk for thirty minutes. Then, I did side bends, arm and bicep exercises and I patted myself on the back for doing something for me. After all, when I joined Weight Watchers my slogan was, “This I do for me!”

How did I do this week? I inhaled and exhaled, held my breath and tried to watch as the receptionist wrote the number down. She smiled, handed my booklet back and said, “Congratulations. Two pounds!”

Yes, some of you will say — ‘oh, big deal. You only lost two pounds…in a week.’

If I wasn’t a Weight Watcher, just imagine what I would weigh today.

What will I do next week? Will I accomplish another loss? We are under tropical storm watches in Mt. Pleasant, but that isn’t going to discourage me. This I can do for myself. I suppose you’ll just have to stay tuned to this blog to read what this writer and singer is doing, and if she is successful. Until next week:

Don’t Quit:
“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be nearer when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse you mustn’t quit!”

Workout Songs for June 2013


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

The Top 10 Workout Songs For June

Fort Wayne, IN – June 1, 2013 – With summer approaching, the mood–both on the radio and in the gym–has changed. While winter brought with it an eclectic bunch of workout tracks, this new batch is all about fun. As evidence, consider David Guetta’s latest (“Play Hard”), Fergie’s contribution to The Great Gatsby (“A Little Party Never Killed Nobody”), and the collaboration that J. Lo and Mr. 305 debuted on the finale of American Idol (“Live It Up”).
Here’s the full list, according to votes placed at Run Hundred–the web’s most popular workout music blog.
David Guetta, Ne-Yo & Akon – Play Hard – 130 BPM
Jason Derulo – The Other Side – 128 BPM
Jennifer Lopez & Pitbull – Live It Up – 128 BPM
Robin Thicke, T.I. & Pharrell – Blurred Lines – 121 BPM
Emeli Sande – Next to Me – 95 BPM
Taylor Swift – 22 – 105 BPM
Porter Robinson & Mat Zo – Easy (Radio Edit) – 128 BPM
Maroon 5 – Love Somebody – 121 BPM
Fergie, Q-Tip & GoonRock – A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – 130 BPM
Carly Rae Jepsen & Nicki Minaj – Tonight I’m Getting Over You (Remix) – 126 BPM
To find more workout songs, folks can check out the free database at RunHundred.com. Visitors can browse the song selections there by genre, tempo, and era—to find the music that best fits with their particular workout routine.

Contact:
Chris Lawhorn
Run Hundred
Email: Admin@RunHundred.com
###

Losing Weight — My Personal Journey With Weight Watchers


Dearest Readers:

I would like to personally thank you for the comments you’ve shared with me about losing weight. The more comments I receive, the more I realize I do have a following now with my blog. I sincerely appreciate each and every one finding the courage to share their thoughts with me about ‘losing weight.’

Today, I am starting a new journey with weight loss, by sharing my experience, success, and struggles, here — on my blog.

No, I will not share how much I tipped the scales when joining Weight Watchers. If I’ve learned anything at WW, I’ve learned that never do we share how much we weighed when joining Weight Watchers; however, we do share the success of losing weight.

If you are reading my blog regularly you might recall my experience on the first week, after starting Weight Watchers. On that morning, I felt energized. The entire week, I counted everything. According to my scales I had lost about three pounds. Slipping on to the Weight Watchers scales, my weight loss was recorded, the booklet handed back to me. I read it and screamed. “.06 of a pound! I’ve only lost .06 of a pound???!!!???”

I grabbed my handbag and shoes and stomping my feet, I quickly darted towards the door. My leader, Kathy, stopped me. “Don’t be upset,” she said. “It’s a loss. Please don’t give up and leave.”

I have an expressive face. My mother always ridiculed me because she could read my actions just by looking at my face. She used my actions to her advantage. As hard as I tried, I have never been able to shake wearing my ‘heart on my sleeves.’ My eyes always reveal my personality. Kathy knew how I felt. As we spoke, she calmed me down, encouraging me to stay, and not quit. After all, it has only been one week!

Now, two years later, I am still attending Weight Watchers meetings. For a few months, I started missing meetings because I was sick. From October 2012 until January 19, 2013, I was sick with acute bronchitis. As hard as I tried to get well, my body refused, so I missed several weeks of meetings. I didn’t gain weight during this time. Whenever I am ill, I do not eat properly because food tastes strange and I struggle. Weight Watchers sent me several “We miss you,” cards…signed by all of the receptionists and my leader, Kathy.

Returning to Weight Watchers, I was greeted warmly. I felt as if I had returned home. Much to my surprise, I had only gained two pounds during my illness. I confess, when I was so sick, the only thing that tasted good to me was a Wendy’s Chocolate Frosty. It was so soothing to my dry, scratchy throat. I didn’t record much in my online journal, and exercising or walking on the treadmill left me breathless. It is hard to stick to any program when you are so weak and ill!

During my Weight Watchers journey, I have learned so much. I cringe when I hear people say “You can lose 20 pounds in 20 days.” Just what orbit are these people on? Losing weight is a lifestyle change, not the latest, and greatest(??) weight loss trend. When I began my journey with Weight Watchers, I had considered going to a medical doctor specializing in weight loss, and I had considered the weight loss program at the Medical University of South Carolina [MUSC], deciding it was best to swallow the last of my pride and join Weight Watchers — not online — but the weekly meeting type.

The journey of weight loss can be overwhelming. Humiliating! Depressing! I should know…I’ve tried MANY of them, including the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, special weight loss programs with doctors, the Cabbage Diet, and others that I simply cannot recall. After my diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes, I watched carefully what I ate, losing fourteen pounds in three months. My doctor was thrilled and so was I. In early 2011, nothing was working anymore, so I chose Weight Watchers. My inspiration was Jennifer Hudson.

In April 2013 my husband and I went to my class reunion. Approaching the registration table, I must say, I felt proud of the woman I am today, especially after looking at my senior picture name tag. Gosh, was I ever a wallflower — in fact, I was downright ugly! At other class reunions, I simply wanted to blend into the woodwork, like I did in high school, but this year, I was determined not to be a wallflower again. I have a new confidence in myself. Over the years, I have changed – for the better! This class reunion taught me that I can accomplish my goals, regardless how difficult.

To those who struggle with weight loss, I sympathize. I understand your pain. Depression. Disappointment. I have walked in those shoes, and still do; nevertheless, at Weight Watchers, I find encouragement. I’ve made new friends and together we encourage each other. We share tidbits of knowledge we’ve discovered on our journey. I carry a journal to each meeting. It’s amazing how much those little words of encouragement have guided me to continue.

I must share with you, readers, Weight Watchers is not compensating me for writing about my journeys. I pay the same fees as everyone else, with exception of those who are lifetime members. Achieving lifetime status is my goal, and I will achieve that goal. On the day that I do, you, my readers, will celebrate with me.

I hope you will continue reading about my success, my struggles, and my determination to accomplish the goals I have established. If you are seeking weight loss, please consider joining Weight Watchers. We, the members of Weight Watchers, understand your pain and disappointment. All of us had to find the strength to open that door, walk inside and weigh. Together, we can accomplish our goals…if we believe in ourselves and are determined to battle the scales on a weekly basis. During the weeks that a weight gain occurs, we simply step off the scale and strive for next week to be a better, more successful week. We have learned not to beat ourselves up, or to beat our heads against a brick wall. For us, the word – failure – does not exist. Life has a way of bringing us down, and when we are down, we must learn to pick ourselves up and keep moving. For me, it has been a battle lately, but I keep telling myself — “It’s okay. This too shall pass…You will break this plateau…just believe in yourself and continue the journey….”

I confess, as a writer and singer, I am my worst critic. Sometimes I find it easier to just let life bring me down, only now, I dust myself off because I know that if I don’t I will stop this journey, and when (or IF) I stop, I will be lost while the scales continue to escalate. Gaining weight is not an option now! I remind myself to practice what I preach — “It’s okay. This too shall pass…You will break this plateau…just believe in yourself and continue the journey….”

Famous last words, but I do believe and I am proud that I’ve lost weight, and so many inches.

I have the poem “Don’t Quit,” hanging on my office wall and I read it constantly, especially:

“Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are.
It may be nearer when it seems afar,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit.
It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

As a child, my dad quoted this poem to me once, when I wanted to quit something. Maybe it was writing. I cannot recall, but I do remember him quoting “It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit…” to me. I connected with that passage and have used it to remind me to continue my journeys in life. Those of you who know me personally might recall my childhood, the difficulties, the tears shed, and the fears of what my life would become. Happy to say, those words encouraged me to believe in myself, even when I am ‘hardest hit.’

Will I accomplish my goals for Weight Watchers, and weight loss? Yes Ma’am, I do believe I will. Why not join me? I’d like to share with you something I tell myself…We should never be ashamed of the person we are today. Each day of life is a blessing. Each breath we take gives us strength to continue. Each journey leads us somewhere! Together, we can accomplish our goals and lose the weight. Weight Watchers…because it works!

Meeting the Chefs…


As a writer, I targeted this story to many publications, only to discover the restaurant is no longer open for business. Hope you enjoy the read!

MEET THE CHEFS – TRACY ADLER, OWNER – CAFÉ ON THE SQUARE

Café on the Square, Asheville, NC

Located at One Biltmore Avenue in downtown Asheville, Café on the Square offers appetizing American food in a non-smoking atmosphere. The restaurant opened in 1989, targeting casual, fine dining customers. Artwork, provided by local artists, is on display, complimenting the interior decoration and theme of the restaurant. The lighting is soft. The décor is pleasing to the eye. Tables and chairs are plush and comfortable. Café on the Square is just the place to have a pleasant family lunch or dinner.

Owner, Tracy Adler offers something unique at Café on the Square. After the birth of her second child, Tracy discovered a unique way to snack by using a small four-ounce bowl for snacking purposes, choosing to name the bowl a “Yum Yum Dish.” Promoted on the web site, http://www.yumyumdish.com, the set of four dishes are colorful and safe to use in the microwave, or dishwasher. The Yum yum dishes are great for snacking and dieting since the dishes will only hold four ounces of snacks. Tracy has a passion for children and contributes a portion of the sales from Yum yum dishes to Louie’s Kids, a non-profit organization providing obese children from low-income families an opportunity to attend camps to help them lose weight.

The menu at Café on the Square contains a variety of tempting entrees and appetizers including Cajun Eggplant with Andouille Sausage, Encrusted Chicken with Whiskey Dijon Glaze; Sesame Seared Tuna with Wasabi Vinaigrette, Mountain Rainbow Trout, and a Spinach and Artichoke Au Gratin dip appetizer, served in a Yum Yum dish you get to keep.

According to reliable sources Cafe on the Square is no longer open for business; however, the website, http://www.yumyumdish.com is still available. Visit the website today and purchase the yum yum dishes. They are the perfect size for tasty desserts and snacks.