Finding True Happiness With Myself and Weight Watchers

Dearest Readers:

Like many women, there have been many road blocks and detours in my life. Marrying at a young age — much too young — I recognized that happiness does not come from marriage, or from living with someone, or from the temptations of food. I have battled with weight problems all of my life. You probably know the drill. Diets…Diets..and More Diets. I tried high protein diets…Lost weight, only to gain again. I found success for a while after going to a doctor. I lost weight, only to gain again. Over and over I found myself on an endless spinning wheel of weight loss and weight gain.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. My doctor suggested losing weight, and so I stepped onto that spinning wheel once again. Three months later, I went back to my doctor, discovering a weight loss of 14 pounds. “I’m eating healthier now,” I said, ever so happy of my weight loss and A1C levels.

“I’ve got this,” I whispered to myself on the way home. “I want to lose 30 more pounds.” Little did I know how difficult weight loss would become.

I remembered the last time I joined Weight Watchers without success. Going to the meeting, I saw a beige curtain, with a doctor’s scale. When someone entered the curtained area, they closed the curtain, weighed and hopped off the scale, but the number on the scale was still revealed. Yes, everyone could see the weight of the previous person. I was mortified. I went to one meeting, never going back. If my memory is correct, liver was one of the foods recommended to eat once a week. Since my family would not eat liver and we rarely ate in restaurants, I knew I could not be successful with Weight Watchers; nevertheless, I wanted to continue my weight loss.

On March 3, 2011, I turned the TV on, watching a new commercial from Weight Watchers. Jennifer Hudson was speaking about how she has lost 80 pounds with Weight Watchers. Staring at her, I was envious. I remember saying to myself, “I deserve to be happy, and I deserve to lose weight. Maybe I should go back to Weight Watchers. I want to be slim. I want to wear clothes that compliment my body instead of covering and hiding my body. I can be slim – one day –someday. Sitting at my computer desk, a voice spoke to me. ‘Go to Weight Watchers…Go to Weight Watchers…’ I Googled Weight Watchers, reading about how they had new programs – with ‘confidential weigh-ins.’ I was curious. Just what is a ‘confidential weigh-in?’

Confidential weigh-ins…I decided it was time to start the journey. Rushing to get dressed I decided…today is the day…My first day in a long time…I will be the REAL ME…the one who enters a building with a gigantic smile on my face. I will lose weight. After all, I am SOMEBODY!

At 9:45, I entered the meeting area of my local Weight Watchers. I wanted to cover my head with a grocery bag. I prayed I did not recognize anyone at the meeting. Never did I establish eye contact. The leader approached me, introducing herself as Kathy.

“I’m new,” I whispered. She reached for my hand.

“Welcome to Weight Watchers.”

I thanked her, found a seat in the back row, holding my head down. Listening to the meeting, the tightness in my body eased. I left the meeting a bit confused. Just what could I eat?

At home, I read the literature, discovering all I needed to do was track my food intake, making certain to have 26 points daily. “Sounds easy enough,” I said.

Yes, I am still a member of Weight Watchers. March 11, 2015 I will celebrate four years as a member of Weight Watchers. Have I reached my goal?

Absolutely not. I haven’t even discussed my ‘goal weight’ with my leader — Yet! For now, I am somewhat in limbo. Bouncing back and forth. The holidays were a nightmare for me. I gained almost 10 pounds and was so furious with myself, I missed meetings due to the holidays and a cruise to the Bahamas.

When I did force myself to return to the meetings, I discovered a weight gain of two pounds – not the 10 I thought I gained. I missed the meeting last week due to a stomach virus. Tomorrow is my regular weigh-in day. I think I have gained; nevertheless, if I have — I will face the music and get back on track.

Losing weight is easy for some people. For me, it is a struggle. Nevertheless, I am determined. I have changed my eating habits considerably and I work out every week – usually five days weekly. My exercise routine includes walking on the treadmill, inclined at seven degrees, with a speed of 3.3 for 50 minutes. By the time I finish, I am dripping wet! My goal is to incline my NordicTrack to 10 degrees. You must realize, I have asthma and if I push myself, I end up gasping for breath. After the treadmill, I do aerobics. My exercise routine is a slow progression. I must say, the inches are melting away. I am able to wear clothes I never thought I could. My shoulders are slimming down, and a few weeks ago, I discovered I actually do have ribs and collar bones! Rejoice! Eureka! “Yes, I’ve got this!”

If you are curious about Weight Watchers, go to the website, and read all about it. I encourage others to consider joining at a meeting, not online – however, if you are the type of person who can work alone and do it all by yourself, then online might work for you. When I joined in 2011, I started to join online. Fortunately, I listened to that little voice in my head, deciding to go to the meeting — just to see what ‘confidential weigh-ins’ are all about. At our meetings, the confidential weigh in consists of two small scales sitting on the floor. NO BEIGE CURTAIN! As I approached I thought — that can’t be confidential…all the people have to do is move a bit closer to the line up and read what he or she weighs.

Surprise! I was incorrect! When I got on the scales, I expected the scales to moan or groan, so I looked down to read the number – but –the number was not visible.

I glanced at the receptionist writing on my card. “Where’s the weight?” I asked.

“We’re confidential now. Only the person behind the desk can see the number.”

I laughed. “No beige curtains?”

“Nope…not anymore.”

Silly me. She was familiar with the beige curtains!

After almost four years with Weight Watchers what have I learned? Simple. I’ve learned so much it might take an entire chapter to discover all that I have learned. I’ve made friends — loyal, supportive, kind friends, and I’ve learned that all of us who enter the Weight Watchers meeting have felt the same way. The first visit, I recall walking in, just wanting to be invisible. I did not want others to discover what I weighed, nor did I want them to laugh at me. No one did. I’ve discovered all of us at the meetings, even those at lifetime, have walked in those same shoes. The dreaded shoes of weight gain, and together, we join hands to encourage everyone. When we see someone returning to the meetings after a few absences, we smile at them. Many times I embrace them, telling them I have missed them…and many times, they will hang their heads in shame. I smile and say, “But you’re back…”

Together we can do this. So for now, smile and welcome to Weight Watchers! Together we are on an amazing journey!

Friday Reflections…

Dearest Readers:

I’ve been just a bit quiet for a while, especially with stories about my Weight Watchers journey. Why? Simple…I’m still on the journey…managing to yo-yo back and forth with the same one to two pounds. I feel as if I am rewinding, but I’m not giving up! My body is getting smaller, firmer and I am excited at that discovery. At times I will glance into the full-length mirror I purchased last year — just to see — who is that person in that mirror? “Rejoice, silly woman…it is ME!”

Today is Friday – a Friday reflection if we must. Yesterday was my weigh-in day but I awoke (actually never slept) with another headache, so I chose to bury my head in the pillows and attempt something extremely difficult for me — the blessed sleep. I suppose my body never goes into the REM sleep mode since I find myself tossing and turning in bed. And — IF I do sleep — I have dreams — sometimes nightmares. I awaken either hearing my voice speaking in such a soft and slow mode I listen to see who is speaking – only to realize it is my sleep voice…a raspy, extremely soft and slow voice. Wish I could record it, but it does sound a bit seductive!

Today is Friday…a beautiful, sunshiny day in Charleston. I walk outside, just to smell the scents of Autumn and I must say, it is refreshing to finally feel the warmth of sunshine on me after one of the wettest September’s I remember! Today I start a new column in this blog — appropriately titled “Friday Reflections.” This column will be a reflection of my Weight Watchers journey. Enjoy!

Friday reflection — Like many of you deciding to lose weight and share what you have learned or experienced on this journey, I would like to share a bit about my childhood and the eating habits I learned while growing up.

As a child, I was lucky IF we ate healthy meals. My family consisted of four girls and two extremely strict parents. We were taught we must eat “everything on our plate.” Vegetables normally came out of a can. We grew up in the projects or in mill villages, so fresh vegetables were too expensive. If we ate anything fresh, it came from the farmers market, or the garden. When we had dinners at my maternal grandmother’s home, we tasted fresh vegetables, Southern fried chicken and homemade biscuits. I loved my grandmother’s homemade biscuits. They were soft, as light and fluffy as a cloud, especially with a pat of butter and jelly and I could not resist. As a young girl, I grew to be the biggest girl in my family, and my youngest sisters teased me until I would crawl into the closet and cry. I am pleased to say, they are much larger than me now…at least they were the last time I saw them — many years ago. I suppose revenge is so sweet. The table has turned in my favor, and I am happy about that. Yes, I could be cruel and repeat to them what they sang to me, but I do not like to ‘get even’ with them. I simply smile while knowing I am the best I can be!

After marriage, I chose to cook foods a different way — fresh from scratch. Nevertheless, I still fried foods until my husband had heart surgery in 1998. At that time, I bounced from the cardiac wing of Roper Hospital to the South wing at Roper Hospital. My dad was battling esophageal cancer at that time. Food preparation was the least of my concerns as I watched my husband slowly come back to life and my father fading away. While my husband recovered, I chose to cook healthier meals. I lost weight for a while, then my body adjusted and the weight loss refused to drop. In 1999, I lost my father. Words cannot describe how much I miss him!

Oops…continuing my journey — On March 3, 2011, sitting at my computer while listening to the Today Show, Jennifer Hudson was on TV promoting Weight Watchers. She had lost over 80 pounds and looked amazing. I Googled the Weight Watchers website, deciding for only one moment to join online. A little voice inside my head said, “No… go to the meeting.” At 9:30, I walked into the meeting, wishing I had a paper grocery bag to place over my head. Three years, and 35 pounds down later, I am still a member at Weight Watchers, still plugging along wishing and hoping to reach goal. Weight Watchers is my life now. When friends ask, “Are you STILL doing Weight Watchers,” I smile…take a deep breath and say, “Yes…I will NEVER give up my Weight Watchers journey, and I WILL make goal!” Daily I work out. Sometimes on the treadmill. Other times, taking a brisk walk and I do aerobics. For me, Weight Watchers motivates me. I’ve made “lifetime friends” at my meeting, and now I wear clothes in a small size. I’ve NEVER worn small in anything previously. Just the other day my husband said to me while glancing at me, “You are getting really small now!” He’s never said that before! Yes, my journey continues…and I am proud of myself on this beautiful morning filled with sunshine on my Friday reflection! Thank you, Weight Watchers for this amazing journey!

Stay tuned, readers. There will come a day that I share — Barbie made lifetime! Oooooohhhhh! I cannot wait until that day! And now, it is time to hop on the treadmill, to do my workout! Until next Friday…!

No One to Blame But Me — At Weight Watchers

Dearest Readers:

I confess, today is my weigh in day at Weight Watchers, only I am not going today. I’ve decided it is in my best interest to remain at home today — moping…groaning…arguing with myself…I’m certain you get the picture, especially IF you are working hard to lose weight. This week hasn’t been a user-friendly week for me, and I’ve managed to eat foods I shouldn’t have, along with birthday cake. Yes, I know, I have no one to blame but myself! I am the one who lifted the fork into my mouth and ate those foods, and I am truly (almost physically except it hurts to do this) beating my head against a brick wall for being such a weakling! According to my scales, I’ve gained four pounds this week — since Tuesday of this week.

Allow me to explain…This week, combined with the latter part of last week, have been the weeks from Hell for me. Too much stress…too many disappointments… If you recall from my postings in June and earlier this month, I posted the details of the lack of appropriate customer service from the scheduling department of Sears. The week of June 26 was an extremely demanding and busy week for me and when I finally found the time to do laundry, I loaded the colored clothing, placed the detergents and fabric softeners in the appropriate slots, only to discover my front loading Kenmore washer would not power up. I checked the fuse box, other areas that I knew to check, and phoned Sears. To make a long, pressurized story short, the earliest they could get a technician out was July 8. I was furious! I was told, and I quote, “we are overbooked due to the holidays.” Duh???!!!??? Did I HEAR the voice correctly? I ask you, just WHO plans for the scheduling of a repair due to the holidays? The first party I spoke with had one of those accents from India, or somewhere similar. Seems she offered to ‘walk me through some diagnostic testing?”

Are you not listening, India? The washer will not power up. I do have common sense and my common sense tells me that IF the machine is not powering up, a diagnostic test cannot be completed! Do I need an engineering degree just to operate a Kenmore front loading washer? ‘I don’t think so!’

Sears must think I’m stupid! I’m not. Julia Sugarbaker reborn? Perhaps!

After the incident with Sears I went online, finding the Blue Team at Sears where I could send an e-mail. Ha. Ha! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Yes, I sent an e-mail. I am not certain of the contents, but let us just say, my Julia Sugarbaker style kicked in — BIG TIME. A customer service rep from Sears phoned me, assuring me that when an earlier opening arrived, a service technician would phone me, and he did. I think he came to the house on July 1. I recognized him since he was the technician that repaired this same washer a few years back. Apparently the problem is the computer panel. As you all must know — EVERYTHING is computerized now so what once was a simple repair job is now a complete rehaul of the repair. A new computer panel was ordered. It arrived this Monday, July 7. The technician is scheduled to repair the washer tomorrow, July 11. It has been three weeks since I’ve been blessed to do laundry at home. I’m getting into the groove of going to the laundromat now. Fortunately, the laundromats in my neighborhood have been upgraded, so the characters I saw the last time I had the joy of visiting a laundromat no longer exist. Thank you, God!

Last week simply wasn’t my week. After Weight Watchers, I had lunch with friends and decided to complete birthday shopping for my husband. We were having storms and one thing retail outlets can count on is when it is raining like it does in Charleston, SC, people LOVE TO SHOP! Customers were coming out of the woodwork! After leaving Towne Centre, I started home, noticing a car so close behind me I could not see the headlights of the vehicle. Of course you can imagine what happened. When I stopped, so did she — right into my bumper. Fortunately, it was a minor fender bender; however, my bumper has a few deep scratches, so we called the police. I reported the accident to the insurance company and now I await their phone calls. I suppose I could continue listing the events of this week too, but it isn’t necessary. Just know, I need a break, and so today, after fighting with myself and shedding a tear or two, I decided to miss my meeting.

I forgot to mention yesterday. I went to a friend’s house to rehearse our songs for our show this weekend. After our fun rehearsal, we went to the pool and swam and soaked up a few rays. I was wearing my Fitbit One. It isn’t waterproof! I slipped (by accident) into the pool and ruined my Fitbit One. I have it drying out in a bowl of rice, but so far — nothing. Dead. What a week!

Repeatedly I have reminded myself that no one placed the food in my mouth. No one force fed me at all. My husband wanted to have his birthday dinner at P. F. Chang’s — one of my favorite places to dine. After looking up their entrees on Weight Watchers etools, I realized I should not eat one bite, but I did. Add to that, the birthday cake, and I recognize I am headed for self-destruction.

Nevertheless, today is a new day. Yes, the scale tipped upward of four pounds, but my new treadmill (Nordic Track) is laughing at me as I write this, so I must gather my thoughts to close this, turn on “Designing Women” and get moving!

I am so hopeful next week will be the beginning of a new and better, happier, less stressful week. And now, I am hopping on Nordy! Have a great week!

Weight Watchers Saga Continues…

Dearest Readers:

Today has been a busy, but beautiful day for me. The sun is beaming down baking the city of Charleston, SC. Current temperature is 92 degrees. Yes, a hot day – but oh such a glorious day!

This morning started off like normal. Today is my weigh in day at Weight Watchers. I have hit another plateau and at times, I am getting quite discouraged; nevertheless, I still go to the meetings. Why? I enjoy those meetings. We have an interesting group of regulars, and then, we have a few men and a few returning who were ‘missing in action.’ I say missing in action because they — shall I say — fell off the wagon. Today, two of the missing in action ladies returned and it felt like homecoming week. Hugs. Squeals. Small Talk. You get the drift I am certain!

I am pleased to announce another weight loss. Minus .06! Yes, you read correctly — only .06 pounds. As a member of Weight Watchers, I have repeatedly told myself “any loss is a loss — so be happy with what you are losing.” End of discussion there!

Another discovery I realized today is the beige pair of shorts I am wearing is much too big — and I do mean too BIG! Somehow, this pair of shorts managed to work its way to the bottom of the drawer. When I dragged them out, they were new – with tags still attached, so this morning I thought would be a good day to wear them.

While shopping at Walmart, I almost panicked. Raising my ever so short arms high to reach the merchandise I needed, these beige shorts slipped down. “Oh God,” I thought to myself. “Are my shorts about to fall off?” I touched the waistband quickly. “Sh-hhh…Close call!”

Why are you laughing? It wasn’t funny! Yes, I’m certain, here is this wild and crazy woman named Barbie about to moon someone at Walmart — and I’ve never mooned anyone in my life! I could just picture it, along with the descriptions. “Attention Walmart shoppers…whoever is mooning in the soft drink aisle, please stop it!”

I grabbed the waistband of the shorts quickly. Arriving at home, I decided it was time to remove these much too big shorts, wash them and place them in the Goodwills bag. Trust me, that bag to Goodwill is growing!

Why am I giving my clothes away? Simple. I do not plan to ever wear them again, and when they are too big for me, it’s time to pay it forward and give them to an organization that might benefit others. Never will I wear these shorts again!

So, today has been a good day. Now I must plan to get through the Memorial Day celebrations. I am so proud of myself. I do not care how long it takes me to get to my goal weight because I am taking Weight Watchers one day…one step…and one bite…at a time! This is my lifestyle now, and I cannot wait to hit goal. Have a great Memorial Day weekend while enjoying your celebrations with family, friends and everyone!

Free Writing 101…

Dearest Readers:

Today is a beautiful day in the Lowcountry of Charleston, SC. The welcomed sunshine is beaming brightly in my windows, especially in my breakfast room. Yesterday, May 4, 2014, I decided to work in the yard, cutting back the brittle branches of my Lantana, lace Hydrangea and other brittle branches needing attention. Normally, I do these gardening workouts in early February. February 2014 was bitterly cold and wet in Charleston. Every time I planned to go outside, either the weather did not permit, or my right eye was swollen and as red as a beet. My eye is not a vegetable! I do believe I have developed an allergy in my right eye. Of course my doctor disagrees, and I laugh. Silly doctor. She may have the medical degree, but I know my right eye fairly well! Like me, it is stubborn, opinionated and loves to do things on its terms – not mine!

I enjoyed working in my yard and I was thankful I had a pair of good gardening gloves – to protect my newly manicured nails. After all, a woman has got to look nice, even while gardening. Yes, my hair was styled. I wore shorts and a black top. It was a great day to be in the yard, bending, stooping, stretching, walking – working out!

If you are curious as to where this post is going – well, let’s just say – it is free writing, so I do not know where it’s going. According to Natalie Goldberg, the rules of free writing are:

1. Establish a time limit. I usually free write for five or ten minutes. Sometimes more, and sometimes less.
2. Do not edit, or correct your writing. Ooooh—h! That is a hard rule to follow, and those of you who know me recognize I always say, “Rules are made to be broken.” I taught that rule of life to my son when he was just a little guy, and later, I truly ate those words when we were in a discussion and I reminded him that he broke the rule. His reply to me, with his devilish little grin was, “Mom… You’ve always said rules were made to be broken.” I wanted to crawl through the floor because he remembered my words. Silly me. Sometimes being a mom to a small child can be a bit of a task. Those of you who are moms certainly understand.
3. Back to the rules of free writing – “If you get off topic…keep writing…” Didn’t I just do that in rule #2???
4. If you struggle to write when free writing just ask yourself if anything is bothering you while you free write. Anything bothering me? Not yet, but it is such a beautiful morning in Charleston just what could bother me today??? Stay tuned. You might find out!
5. When the time is up – stop. Excuse me. I am a writer. Sometimes the words just pour from my fingertips while my fingers dance across the keyboard!

Today, I have many things to do. For one, vacuuming! Last week was such a busy week I failed to do my household chores, so today is the day, and while I vacuum, I will turn on some Neil Diamond music and dance while cleaning. After all, cleaning is movement and according to my Fitbit One, movement is exercise. Yes, I will bend…and stoop…and stretch…just like I did yesterday…and when the vacuuming is done, I’ll do a bit of Zumba. Yes, today is a great day to workout. Tomorrow – I hear the beach calling my name.

So much for free writing. I must get busy with life. Next chore – styling my hair. Let’s just say, at the moment, my hair is ‘every which a-way but styled,’ looking more like I must’ve stuck my finger in an electrical outlet, if you can picture that. I hope you cannot! After that ritual is done, my makeup awaits, and I must find that silly vacuum cleaner. Yes, I know where it is, but I so hate to vacuum! There is too much life to enjoy!

More later, Readers. Enjoy this beautiful weather! And for those of you who are not having this glorious spring weather, just imagine taking a nice stroll along the beach. Your warm feet feel the soft sand underneath while the chilled ocean waters tease your feet. How I hope springtime will arrive for everyone soon, and all might enjoy the beauty of the welcoming, warm sunshine after such a bitterly cold winter.

Have a great week!

Sh-h-h…Listen to the Mesmerizing Sounds of Quiet, and Fog Horns…

Dearest Readers:

Morning has broken and when it did, I cringed. My head was pounding with another dreadful sinus headache. Glancing outside, I noticed this morning was covered with another blanket of thick fog. If you read my post from yesterday, you will recall I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge today. That will not happen. Charleston is expecting severe thunderstorms today, so I will not take a chance…not with these headaches. Today will be a treadmill day!

Listening to the sounds of quiet, I hear fog horns in the distance, along the harbor. Oh, how I welcome those musical sounds. The long hum…hum… Sometimes, there are five fog horns sounding. Other times, there are three. I can just picture the ships gliding along the harbor. Hum…Hum…Hum. Hum…Hum…Hum…Hum…HUM! Those musical notes are so delicious to hear.

Suppose I’ll hop on the treadmill now, to beat this headache out of my head. Have a great weekend, readers.

Inspiration on a Dreary Day

Dearest Readers:

This morning, I awoke before anyone in my neighborhood was up. At least, I say that because all houses within my community were dark. Not a light on anywhere, with exception of the street lights. I let the dogs outside to potty, reminding them they must be quiet. “The neighborhood is asleep,” I said. Sir Shakespeare Hemingway nodded, prancing off to find his special tree. Sandy Bear pranced around to find his spot. Prince Midnight Shadow danced around. Hank, my smallest schnauzer stood by my side. He does not like to be too far away from me, especially in the dark of night. I stopped to look outside. The skyline was extremely dark. I could hardly make it out, recognizing there was a thick blanket of fog outside. I stepped outside, walking around a bit, feeling the moisture of fog kissing my face, misting my hair. I listened hoping to hear my favorite musical sound of fog horns. The world outside was quiet. The dogs rushed to join me. They do not like the darkness of night, or the fog. Silly guys!

Another night of insomnia left me exhausted, so I rushed my special friends inside, telling them goodnight. Since it was still the middle of the night, I chose to go back to bed. My head was pounding with another sinus headache. Turning the television on, I replayed the events of the Sochi Olympics, hoping the sounds would allow me to drift off to sleep. Tossing and turning, I recognized I would probably miss my Weight Watchers meeting. I simply cannot cope when I have a headache and I am not exactly good company to anyone when a headache pounds like a hammer inside my head. When morning broke, I crawled out of bed, brewed coffee and decided to write for a bit. Instead of writing, I stared at the computer screen.

Seven days ago, the City of Charleston was cold. Many residents did not have power. We, within our community, were blessed. Never did we lose our power; however, today, I recognized I was fighting with depression once again. I could not process or organize my thoughts to write, and I was focusing on the darkness of a foggy morning while awaiting to hear the fog horns.

Later, I decided to write once again, rereading about 20 pages I’ve written this week. Looking outside again, I noticed bright sunshine and something I haven’t felt in a while due to the extreme temperatures we’ve had recently in Charleston. I chose to go outside with the dogs. The warmth of the brilliant sun hugged my body and I realized I was allowing depression to captivate me. I was not fighting like I do on most days. Depression runs in my family. My mother fought it all of her life and my grandfather was treated with several medications that our family refused to discuss. I suppose my family considered depression as a silent illness. I laugh now. Most of my friends fight depression. Maybe that is why they are my friends! Who knows.

Today, after a serious discussion with myself I realized that I had to find a way to accept depression, and to be grateful for life. Remembering the brilliant words of my grandmother, I recognized that I was focusing on the negative aspects of life, and not — LIFE. Right on cue, I chose to listen to life, hearing a welcomed sound of a bird chirping in a tree. I haven’t seen many birds lately. Normally I see mourning doves, cardinals and Carolina wrens. Lately, I’ve seen nothing.

Perhaps I haven’t noticed the beauty of nature lately because I’ve permitted myself to become incubated inside my home. On gray days, I’ve looked outside, deciding there was only grayness in life, nothing more. However, this afternoon, I discovered a much-loved and lost sight I haven’t paid much attention to, until today. Walking outside to get the mail, I noticed my tulip tree is blooming and the Carolina Jasmine is budding.

Yes, spring is in the air and I embrace it with passion. I want to wrap my arms around the freshness and beauty of springtime and never allow it to leave me. I cannot wait until the lawn dries out enough so I can rake the leaves, prune the Lantana and watch nature returning again. I haven’t walked on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge since September 2013. If tomorrow is a reflection of today, I will walk the bridge, finding the freshness of an ocean breeze kissing my face, the warmth of sunshine, and most of all, I will find inspiration again. After all, it is the little things in life than mean the most to me. The scent of aromatic flowers. Roses. Sunshine. Good, loyal friends. A stroll on the beach, and a long walk on the bridge. I can hardly wait to embrace my inspiration tomorrow morning. Life is around me. I must embrace it with open arms!

No More Christmas Cookies for This Chick At Christmas Time…No…no…NO!!!

Dearest Readers:

Yesterday was my D-day. D=DREADED! Yesterday, after missing three weeks from my Weight Watchers meeting, I dressed and told myself it was time to face the music. No, I wasn’t singing. The music I had to face was the dreaded, almost morbid type of organ sound…Dum…Dum…Dum Dum. You can probably imagine the tune. Definitely not a happy one.

“Just how many times have you eaten those stupid Christmas cookies, Barbie?” I asked myself. And — “Why didn’t you just say NO!” Duh. I had no idea. Yes, I kept hearing, “But it’s Christmas. You really should try these cookies. It’s the holidays!”

And so, I suppose you KNOW what I did. I confess. I ate the cookies. “Only one,” I said. Laugh. LAUGH. L A U G H! I kept going back. I simply could not say no, nor could I stop. The cookies were so beautiful. They tasted so moist and delicious. I remembered the years I baked cookies for Christmas and I was proud that I did not bake them this year, nor did I do my infamous chocolate pretzels. Why? Simple. I knew I did not have the willpower to ‘just say No!’

Arriving at Weight Watchers, I stripped my shoes off. I considered removing a Christmas vest, but kept it on. It was time. Time. TIME to FACE the music, the dreaded and sad organ type that shouts, DUM. DUM. DUM. DUM. Hopping on the scales I confessed, I knew I had gained weight. I was bad. A totally bad girl. I didn’t say no. I simply kept eating those beautiful, addictive Christmas cookies.

“How much?” I asked the leader. She wouldn’t say. Somehow I knew it was bad. According to my scales last week, I had gained seven pounds. This week, I had dropped about three, or so I thought.

The leader handed my weight card back to me. I glanced at it. “Four pounds. It’s just four pounds. I thought it was more.”

Furious with myself, I strolled back to my seat and shared the news. “Four pounds. I am so mad at myself.”

“It’s ok. It’s the holidays.”

I sat down, gulping down a large sip of coffee. “Thank God I am back,” I said, to myself. “If I quit, I know what will happen to me. One week it will be four pounds. The next week, three pounds, and on and on until I cannot fit into my clothes. Thank God I gave those old clothes to Goodwill, and thank God I found the courage to come back to Weight Watchers. I will never procrastinate about my meetings again and when I feel the urge to eat a cookie, I will recognize that there are times I am addicted to food too. I must also recognize that when people encourage to ‘eat just a bite…it won’t hurt you…’ they are pushing foods and TEMPTATIONS to me.

I must be strong. I must have the courage to say NO!

I will not have another Weight Watchers meeting until January 2, 2014. Keep reading, my readers, friends, family and fans. I will be happy to report a weight loss on that date. You just wait!

Meanwhile, to all of you, I wish you a Merry Christmas. I am sad to report my husband lost an uncle a few days ago, so added to our busy schedule is to attend his funeral and to visit with his family. The holidays are such a sad time when a death occurs, but one thing this teaches all of us is that life is precious, and just because the holidays are upon us, it doesn’t mean that there will not be death, sadness, divorce, pain, illness and so many disappointments as we live life. This reality teaches me how precious life is. Yesterday was my dad’s birthday. If he was still with us, he would be 99-years-old. I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. Words cannot express how much I miss him. However, I feel his presence inside of me every day and I can still hear his precious, encouraging words he shared with me as he battled esophageal cancer. He would walk me to the door of his room at the nursing home, when he could. He planted a kiss on my cheek and said, “Make it a good day. Live for the moment, and move forward with life, don’t look back!”

My dad was a wise man who looked for the good in life. When life gave him difficulties, he still smiled and strived to find the good in life, not the bad. Merry Christmas to everyone.

If you read my blog regularly, stay tuned for a report on January 2, 2014. I keep telling myself, “I can do this…!” There will be a weight loss! You just stay tuned. I will not reach for another Christmas cookie. I will run from the Cookie Monster!

Today Is A New Day — The Weight Watchers Way – Back On The Wagon Again

Dearest Readers:

Today is a new day, one that I will not go to my regular Weight Watchers meeting. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I have gained — again! I am so furious with myself that I could throw in the towel and give up, BUT — I shall not quit! While I am ashamed and furious with myself, I do not wish to share my mood or shame with others at the meeting.


I do not wish to fall off the wagon, but I have. According to my scales I have gained about three pounds. My husband asks how? “You eat like a bird, or a small child.”

True. Oh so true!

I am careful what I eat, but over the holiday, I baked a cake. My husband’s favorite cream cheese pound cake. I told myself I would not eat it, fearful that IF I took even a small bite, it would set me up for destruction. It did! Yes, I tracked my food — every bite, and many days, my power point count was over the top. I was ashamed. Furious with myself. I think I must have a conversation with my husband, telling him NOT to ‘save that last piece of cake for me.’ Of course, I ate several pieces of the cake. Afterwards, I told myself I was weak. A loser, but not in the Weight Watchers way. I was a loser to myself. Lacking courage or determination. I was a weakling. I might as well quit Weight Watchers.

OK self — you are headed down a road of self-destruction! I told myself I could stop this behavior. I have no idea where it came from. Last year at Thanksgiving I was stronger — emotionally, although I was physically ill with acute bronchitis. Food wasn’t an enemy for me last year, like it was this year. This Thanksgiving, Food was a monster to me. The cake echoed to me, telling me I was hungry and should eat, and eat and eat…. Thanksgiving does have the tendency to depress me. I am accustomed to sharing Thanksgiving with a household full of people. Friends. Family. That doesn’t happen anymore and I miss it. Maybe I should volunteer to cook for some of the organizations needing volunteers at the holidays. I scratch my head. Why didn’t I think of that earlier?

This Thanksgiving I was spinning on a wheel that wouldn’t stop and with every spin, food was the enemy.

What did I do?

I found a recipe for a chocolate cheesecake I wanted to make and I baked it. Two days later, I cut the cheesecake and ate one piece — a small piece — for breakfast. Headed back to the kitchen, I picked up the chocolate cheesecake and tossed it in the trash. I could’ve shared it with one of my neighbors, but I knew that IF that cheesecake remained inside my fridge until she came home, I would be tempted. Oh so tempted.

Today, I am angry with myself and I simply cannot attend the meeting. Tears drip down my face as I write this, sharing it with my readers and fans.

While today is a new day, for me, it is a day of self-discovery. A day to make certain I work out and eat properly, the Weight Watchers way. I will miss my meeting, but today, I am focused to get off this wagon of self-destruction and to move forward with the stiff determination and perseverance I must have to continue losing my weight.

Yes, today I am furious with myself, although I am confident I will achieve my goals. I must remind myself that this too shall pass, and I must repeat the words my father shared with me so often. The words of a poem by Anonymous, the title “Don’t Quit.” This poem is my anchor. It comforts me and gives me courage:


“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 are hardest hit.

It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit!”

These words anchor me, guiding, embracing me not to quit. Not in marriage. Not in my dreams and passions as a writer. Not in my life. Not with Weight Watchers.

“It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

Today is a New Day! Next Thursday is a new day…a new meeting! DON’T QUIT!


Losing Weight, the Weight Watchers Way

Dearest Readers:

If  you read my posts on a regular basis, you might recognize I haven’t written much lately about losing weight. Why? That’s an easy question to answer. I have been stuck in a plateau — for 12 months, bouncing back and forth, trapped inside a spinning wheel, my body refused to drop below a loss of 35 pounds. Inches lost? Many. Until about a month ago, I refused to measure! I worked out. I tracked my food intake. I was so careful; nevertheless, my body applied brakes, refusing to lose just one more teeny tiny pound. At my weekly Weight Watchers meetings, I listened to friends sharing their weight loss, while I sat in a corner near the back, so angry at myself that I contemplated quitting.


I missed my meetings. If my morning wasn’t starting on a positive note, I stayed home from the meeting, telling myself that the next week would be so much better because I was confident I would have a weight loss. Laugh. LAUGH. Laugh!

The next week, a weight gain. The week after that, a small loss…and so on. I read articles. I told myself that this too shall pass. I jumped on the treadmill. Maybe I could do ten minutes on it. When ten minutes got easy to this asthmatic woman, I chose to continue the treadmill, increasing the minutes from 10 to 20, then 30…35. A few weeks ago, I actually accomplished 60 minutes non-stop on the treadmill. Dripping with sweat, I screamed. I was euphoric! Oh…My poor four-legged children were not happy with my scream, but they did seem to appreciate their mommy working out while they napped.

I was certain the additional workout would do the trick. It did not. At my doctor’s office, I discussed my situation and how my body had simply stopped in limbo, refusing to allow me to lose any more weight. He nodded. Maybe you should try the Medical Weight Loss programs at the hospital. MUSC has one. I researched those options when I got home. I did not want to succumb to shots, pills or anything so extreme. For me and my self-worth, I wanted to accomplish my goals — shall I say it — MY WAY!


Today is November 21, 2013. Plans are all set for Thanksgiving next week. My husband and I are visiting a close friend for Thanksgiving so food should not be such an issue; however, today at the Weight Watchers meeting, our leader, Kathy, passed out paper plates. She had us look and select our chosen foods on a pretend buffet. I jotted my food choices down and went back to my chair to calculate the power points, discovering that the Thanksgiving meal would set me up for total destruction. My total power points for Thanksgiving will be a whopping 33 points. OUCH! I have decided that I will be most careful on Thanksgiving and I will only eat a bite of each food choice, and if I should weaken, I will simply tell myself that tomorrow is another day! That is one of the most important lessons we, the members of Weight Watchers learn…When we fall off the wagon, we stop. Regroup…and begin our journey once again. We do not beat ourselves up, or discontinue our journey. We move on! And On… AND ON! ONWARD!!!

Last week was a busy week for me. Phil and I were in Murrells Inlet, performing for the Elks Lodge. I think I had the correct mindset during our trip and I am happy to report that this week was the best week I’ve ever experienced with Weight Watchers. Much to my surprise, this week saw a decrease of 3.6 pounds for me, and a total weight loss of 36.6 pounds! Goodbye Plateau!


Beats the heck out of me. This week, much to the credit of severe insomnia, I have been too exhausted to work out. I have tracked my food intake faithfully, and I started calculating my calories. Yes, I know, Weight Watchers does not count calories, but I was desperate to break this 12-month vicious cycle! I found an App titled Lose It so I downloaded it to my iPhone.  Now, not only do I track my food on Weight Watchers, the Lose It program calculates the amount of calories I eat. At the moment, I calculate less than 1600 calories daily. According to this program, I could hit my goal in September 2014, based on my current history and my exercise routine.


Losing weight is such a tedious, time-consuming task and when we hit a plateau, we could easily just throw in the towel and give up. For me, that is no longer my style. I made the commitment to lose weight the Weight Watchers way and if I had to change things a bit to make it work for me, it is worth the struggles — at least for me. I have a goal weight established and I am confident today I will accomplish that goal. Today was filled with encouragement for me. Next week is Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for, including the weight loss, not to mention the inches and dress sizes I am losing. I have much to be thankful for. Good health. Family. My precious four-legged children who warm my heart daily. A devoted husband. OK…I admit he drives me crazy and he could cause me to binge, but now, I ignore his PTSD attitude and MOVE ON!  I have a few Good friends, and so much more. Much of this is due to Weight Watchers. The friends and acceptance I have made is to the credit of my first step into the doorway of a Weight Watchers meeting. I will never forget how devastated I felt, especially when slipping on to the ‘confidential weigh-in.’ I wanted to place a bag over my head so no one would recognize me. What I discovered is something I never imagined — acceptance and encouragement. Everyone at Weight Watchers has walked in the same shoes.  They have been just as discouraged and fearful as I was, and now, we take it one day…one week…one month…one loss…at a time. Regardless of how long it takes to achieve goal, we are still — WEIGHT WATCHERS.