Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kickboxing.... 151 pounds and 6 months later

One of the interesting things that I've noticed over the past six months or so, as various people see me and react to the changes they've seen in me, is that a lot of people don't have a true picture of what it really takes to make the changes I've made in my life. I've written several times in this blog about my issues with the health and fitness industry, particularly how it preys upon unsuspecting and easily influenced people in search of quick solutions to complex problems. I think part of why people don't fully understand what it takes, is that the health and fitness industry would be happy to have most people believe that all they have to do to get into shape is to go for a 30 minute walk and they'll be fine. Now, I acknowledge that my journey started with my inability to sustain a 30-minute walk, and I do respect the fact that we all have to start somewhere. But what I find particularly intriguing is the fact that many people think that there's some quick-fix -- a little known secret that helps make this sort of transformation occur. A few weeks ago, I wrote about my secret to success: good old hard work, intense focus, and an unshakeable commitment to myself and my success. Many people I've encountered don't realize that I actually DO work out six days each week. I eat like a champ. I train like an athlete. Losing 151 pounds in just over a year and a half takes more than simply going for a walk for 30 minutes a day. This is tough stuff to do, and actually doing it has helped me to realize why so many people struggle with this issue. It's incredibly hard work. But it pays off.

You may recall my blog where I first wrote about fitness kickboxing that I've been doing with Sebastien. It was cool to punch and kick my trainer. It was very cathartic and an incredible way to decompress after a stressful day at work. It provided me with an intense cardiovascular workout that I never anticipated getting. And more than anything it was fun. It was even fun enough to record a video of one of our training sessions and share it with you! Take a quick peek and check out how I was doing 70+ pounds ago...

Since Seb first introduced me to fitness kickboxing, I've also started taking a weekly class with Shelley -- the manager at the gym, who runs a great group class that is an amazing workout. She has helped me to refine and hone my skills. My technique has been fine tuned, my cardio endurance continues to improve, and my confidence grows. It grew so much that Sebastien and I even started sparring. Yes, after several months of me kicking and punching him with training pads, Seb started kicking and punching back. And that was a whole different experience.

Punching someone is one thing. Being punched back is something completely different. I quickly lost my confidence with kickboxing because I not only had to focus on executing good technique on all my forms, but I also had to think about how to be on both the defensive and the offensive at the same time. Kickboxing with Seb became more of a mental battle than a physical one, and I started not enjoying it as much. So, we've not been sparring as much as we used to, but on the weeks when we do my assessment, we make sure we have some fun and get in a few rounds for kicks.

This past week, we made two recordings during our session. This first video is me going through some forms on the training pads with Seb. Remember, this is 6 months since the first video, and what I love more than anything is the sound of my fists and my legs hitting those pads... the crack! sound makes me very happy.

video.

This second video is Seb and I doing a quick round of sparring. Our typical session would be several of these rounds (each running about 2-3 minutes) with breaks inbetween. I was a bit hesitant to record this one, because sparring still feels foreign. Correction: being punched and kicked and having to punch and kick back still feels foreign. But after watching it a few times, I now realize how much I've improved and how cool this stuff really is. I also now see myself being physically aggressive in a
way that I never thought possible -- not only because of my personality, but also because of my physical inability to be so. Well, now I can. I can kick, punch, grunt and shout with the best of them, and damn, it feels good.

video

So, my regular training and kickboxing classes have brought me to this point. As of this week, I've lost a total of 151 pounds, and well over 70 inches of body fat. I can run 20K on the treadmill, and will being training for a series of 5K and 10K runs in anticipation of my half-marathon in October 2010. This past week, I also had a workout during which I did 1000 crunches. Why? Because I can. But getting here has taken intense hard work. This is not the result of daily 30-minute walks. Yes, that is where I started, but I quickly had to turn up the intensity to get to this point. And what keeps me going? What motivates me to crank out a 2.5 hour workout on a Sunday afternoon? What keeps me focused on workouts where I burn close to 1700 calories???

Remember the cracking sound from each punch and kick. Listen to my grunts and shouts and I punch and kick back. That's what keeps me going. The incredible feeling I get after one of these sessions keeps me motivated. The fact that I've come so far keeps me focused. And the prospect of what these videos will look like in another six months is what keeps me inspired.

This is what hard work looks like.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I smiled so much, my cheeks hurt.

This past week, I went to the annual conference of my professional association, the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS). The conference was a four-day event, hosted at my alma mater, the University of Waterloo. I have to admit, I was feeling a wee bit anxious about going, not only because these sorts of events have a lot of social time, and as such tend to produce a lot of anxiety for me, but also because this was going to be the first time I came face to face with a large number of people who have been following my journey either on Facebook, on Twitter, or through my blog. I thought it was going to be a little off-putting to finally interact with a group of people who now know more about me than they ever knew before. It was also going to be odd to interact with people who know me, but who haven't seen me in over a year and who had no idea what I've been up to over the past twelve months.

The conference began on Sunday afternoon, and I was a bit lazy in my preparations. I was doing laundry late on Saturday night, didn't pack until Sunday morning, and wasn't able to make it to the gym before I left town. A bit frustrated that I hadn't been better organized, I headed off to Waterloo a few hours before the conference was to begin. I figured that once I got there, I'd be able to quickly check-in at the residence, and then get an hour of cardio in at the gym. However, once I arrived, I quickly learned that the conference's events were to start only 30 minutes after my arrival, and some time at the gym wasn't in the cards. That said, I had to quickly come to terms with the fact that I was missing a workout. Remember that I've been working out 6 days a week for the past twelve months, and missing a day is a bit of a big deal. But once I gave myself a few moments to digest the fact that missing a workout isn't the end of the world, I felt better. That said, I did some last minute primping in the mirror and headed off to the opening reception of the conference.

Walking into the room, I was instantly greeted by familiar faces, most of whom quickly embraced me and congratulated me on my accomplishments. Some people stood back in a bit of amazement given the fact that the last time they saw me, I was about 150 pounds heavier. Others gushed about how incredible my journey had been to follow and that I had motivated them to make some changes in their own lives. Some people even paused awkwardly, saying nothing about my transformation, even though the pause indicated to me that they knew something was 'different'. Perhaps they didn't really notice exactly what that was. Maybe they didn't know how to tactfully say 'holy shit you're not fat anymore'. Or maybe they just paused for dramatic effect. Who knows? Regardless, the range of reactions was not only exciting and reaffirming, but also initially unsettling and uncomfortable at the same time.

As I've discussed before, I'm needing to grow more and more comfortable with the fact that the attention I now draw as a result of my physicality is not necessarily a 'bad thing'. I realize that I present very differently in the world now, and I no longer feel like people are staring at me thinking negative things about me. In fact, my therapist recently helped me to better understand my anxiety by coming to realize the fact that most people in the world really don't even care to notice me in the first place. But the people in my life who do care, do notice, and I'm quickly getting to a place where what I think is more important than what anyone thinks. It's a tough mind-shift, but it's happening.

So, as I moved through the room with a beer in my hand, I encountered more and more people who were thrilled to see me and who shared so many wonderful thoughts and compliments. I realized then, that putting aside my anxiety and enjoying the fact that so many people, in my professional circle no less, actually gave a shit about me. I work in a very caring profession -- surrounded by people who make it their life's work to care for and support the learning and development of college and university students. So, it's only natural that we care that much about one another. And it was interesting to me that it took this moment to realize just how wonderful my colleagues are, and what a caring community I am a part of.

Over the course of the reception, and the days that followed during the conference, I spent a lot of time 'coming out' again. This time I wasn't coming out as a gay man, but instead, I was coming out as someone who was getting healthy; as someone who had aspirations to run a marathon; as someone who finally learned to love and care about himself. Telling people more and more about what my journey has been like got easier and easier with every new conversation. Disclosing to some people that I was also dealing with depression and anxiety also became less awkward. Celebrating my accomplishments with people who have been following along with each new blogpost was exhilarating. Just as I noted in my last posting, telling my story and honestly talking to people more about what I'm doing helps to heal the wounds of my past, and give me more and more strength. I draw tremendous strength from the fact that people say things like:

"I am so proud of you for what you've done." "You're the person I wanted to see most at this conference." "It makes me so happy to know that you're healthy." "WOW!" "Your story is my own reality TV show. I've never missed an episode." "You have never looked happier." "Simply, you inspire me."

And these are just some of the comments I remember.

Granted, all of the attention was a bit overwhelming, and I did have to take a few moments to be with myself to re-energize. I found those moments early in the morning at the gym on campus, finally feeling like it was a place in which I belonged. I found them as I strolled quietly through campus, remembering that my alma mater is a place where I've always felt comfortable and at home. I also found those moments in quiet conversation with my closest friends, who knew of my recent anxiety disorder diagnosis, and wanted to make sure I was doing okay. Those were all some pretty wonderful moments, that helped me to be more and more open to powerful interactions with people who honestly could do nothing less than admire what I had accomplished.

This also became clear to me on Wednesday morning, when I had the opportunity to train with Shawn McCloskey, who I knew when we were students, a former professional colleague, and the partner of Pam, one of my dear friends from university. Shawn is a trainer, and when I knew I was going to the conference in Waterloo, I knew I wanted to train with him. I contacted him a while back, sent him my workouts, and was looking forward to training with him. I was excited about this, because one of the things that I've been struggling with over the past few months, is understanding how the context of my relationships have been changing. My friendships and relationships are no longer located in the context of shared meals, and food. They are becoming increasingly located in new experiences like long walks, working out together, or simply taking the time to relax. Interacting with Shawn in this new way was going to be exciting.

We met at 6:45 on Wednesday morning, and Shawn was going to put me through a leg workout. I chose a leg workout, because it's the workout that I'm most comfortable with. I told him to try new things if he wanted, and to put me through the paces. Other friends who knew I was training with him told me to expect a rough session. But I was up for the challenge.

Shawn told me we were going to do a bit of a paradigm shift in our training. Instead of working legs with machines and weights, we were going to use my own body weight to work my favourite muscle group. We did a lot of squats, jump squats, lunges, and jump lunges (a combination known as 'the crusher'). We worked with medicine balls and kettle bells. We truly did use my body weight to work my legs and at several points in our hour together got me to the point where my quads felt like butter and I wobbled from side to side. We even did some power cleans (which he was impressed with), and on a "jerk" or "snatch" lift, I knocked myself in the face with a 105-pound barbell. No worries though, no damage. The workout was amazing. It was great to see my strength materialize in a different way. It was also pretty cool to hear Shawn react to what I was capable of doing and comment on my endurance. Hearing that from yet another person whom I respect was pretty cool.

So, my time with colleagues and back at my alma matter was a bit of a whirlwind, but very memorable at the same time. What I remember more vividly than the reactions of my those around me, is that over the course of four days, I walked 'the tallest' in my life. I embraced people (literally and figuratively) with greater sincerity and warmth than ever before. I laughed with more joy that I thought was possible. And I smiled so much that my cheeks hurt. For the first time in a long time, I didn't feel like I wanted to crawl inside of myself and hide from the attention I was getting. I was proud to be the center of attention. I loved the fact that two people introduced themselves to me, not realizing that we have in fact met several times in the past few years. It all felt good -- so very very good. To a great extent, I think it felt good because I knew the attention was coming not only from people about whom I cared, but also from those who cared about me.

And it feels tremendous to know that so many people care.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Secret behind 33 pairs of jeans

So, I finally bit the bullet and decided to get some new clothes. Well, the decision was kind of made for me. My friend Alison has been trying to get me to 'de-clutter' my house (and my life), a big part of which included downsizing my 'big man' wardrobe. A few weeks ago, I decided to sort through all my clothes.

I took a page out of the home organization tv-shows and got out my big plastic bins. Putting four of them on my bedroom floor, I labelled them: Toss, Tailor, Sell on E-Bay and Give-away. I was pretty relentless and and got rid of everything that either didn't fit, I didn't wear, or had in fact, never worn before (i.e. the clothes still had tags on them). Tossing clothes out of the closet and dresser and into one of the four piles, it took only 20 minutes to downsize a lifetime of fat clothes to the only things left that fit me: 2 golf shirts.

Then it hit me: losing weight is going to be really expensive!!!

So, I haven't totally off-loaded the contents of the four bins, but I have since started shopping for new clothing. Last week, I decided I wanted a new pair of jeans. Again, it was somewhat
necessary given the fact that I could no longer tactfully cinch a belt in order to make a pair of pants that are 16 inches too big fit around my waist. Let's just say that the MC Hammer look isn't so cool.

I went to a store and ruthlessly chose every pair of jeans off the rack that were my size. Quickly I realized that this was not going to be as easy as I thought. All this time, I was looking forward to shopping at a 'normal' store and getting clothes off the rack. Easier said than done. You see, all of this working out has forced the true dimensions of my God-given anatomy to shine through. In other words, my quads are huge. I inherited my Dad's powerful legs, and even though I've lost tons of weight, my quads (which are pretty close to being 95% muscle) still measure close to 26 inches around. Yes, I admit, I have those power-lifter quads that a lot of guys would pay lots of money for. My calves are taking on a naturally sculpted look. And I love the fact that my legs are... well, hot. That said, not being able to squeeze these legs into a discounted pair of Calvin Klein jeans was not was I was hoping for.

About two hours later, I had tried on 33 pairs of jeans. At about the 20th pair, I was sitting in the changing room, almost in tears, on the verge of calling my friend Tony (who works nearby) to come and rescue me. Had I called, he would have come, but I decided to persevere
. And on the 33rd pair, I slid on a pair of Buffalo Jeans by David Bitton, and they fit like a glove. They hugged my legs, cradled my butt, and felt, well... amazing. Thank God they were marked down from $120 to $39 (I was shopping at one of those designer clearance/discount places). And I left the store happy.

But I still don't like shopping.

Since last week though, I've managed to take advantage of a few killer sales, and have filled my closet with shirts, pants, shorts, shoes, etc. that all finally fit. The difficult part is that they're not going to fit again in the next 6 months or so. But it's what I have to do. I have to get used to the fact that my body is going through a tremendous transformation, and that one of the most important parts of getting used to it, and feeling more comfortable in my new skin, is dressing the body that I now have.

And I have to say, I'm enjoying the attention I'm getting...

No longer are people saying to me, "You can really see your weight loss in your face." Now that I'm wearing clothes that actually fit, they can see it everywhere. I stand taller. I walk prouder (yes, I just made up that word). I turn heads more. I enjoy the attention. And enjoying this attention is not something I'm used to. But I'm growing to like it... seriously, I am.

Now that I'm attracting all this new attention, a lot of people are asking me how I've done it. What's my secret? People are asking Sebastien what he's done with me in the past year to get me to this point. In fact, he and I were at dinner last night talking about the very same thing. And I don't know if I can necessarily put it into words. But I'll try...

Sebastien is 'a good person.' And by 'good' I mean that in addition to being a very skilled trainer who knows his 'stuff' about how to help me transform my body, he has a soul and a spirit that are inherently good. He has unconditionally run, walked, and stood by my side over the past year, and helped me find that place in myself where self-determination, focus, and hard work come together to give me amazing results. He has never once judged me for who I was, or what I couldn't do. In many ways, he role modelled for me how to accept and embrace, unconditionally, the person I was and the person I am in the process of becoming. As I wrote in my first blog, in the words of the choreographer Li'l C:
"It's difficult to locate the avenue of gain when you're being chauffeured by loss." Sebastien, in his 'goodness' has helped me overcome "being chaufeured by loss." He's helped me find "the avenue of gain." And there's no real technique to that. I don't think they teach that in "personal trainer school." It's not taught in a textbook anywhere. My results are, in a large part, the product of the serendipity that brought Sebastien and I together in what started as a working relationship and has quickly become a friendship. My consistency in this journey is the result of him being someone to whom I am accountable on a weekly basis. My success, is the outcome of my determination to take control of my life and his unshakeable commitment to helping me to do so. And it's also the result of a lot of hard freakin' work.

Many people ask me what I've done. What's 'my secret'??? So here's a rundown of things I've done to get these results. This is what has worked for me. This is what Sebastien and I have learned, over time, with trial and error, what will give me the success that I've searched for for many years. This is a realistic look at what it really takes to lose nearly 150 pounds in a year and a half... without supplements. Without surgery. Without gimmicks.

This is my secret...

I eat really well. I use the basic principles of nutrition as I learned through Canad's Food Guide. I eat generous portions of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. I start every day with a breakfast full of whole-grains, fiber, and protein. I eat well-balanced meals. I eat lean proteins and healthy fats. And quite simply, I make sure I eat.

I eat decadent things in moderation. I deprive myself of nothing, but don't over-indulge or gorge on anything. One night a week, I eat whatever I want for dinner (it's most often an extra spicy veal sandwich with extra cheese). I treat myself to a creamy, sweet coffee on a Saturday morning. I've learned that deprivation feeds the desire to gorge and binge on crap. So I allow myself the time to eat crap. Crap, my friends, is sometimes good.

I gave up pop. I drink at minimum, 3 liters of water per day. Sometimes I drink up to 5 liters. I end each day with a cup of green tea. So yes, I pee a lot. But my body is well hydrated and healthy. And that's key when you exercise at my pace and intensity.

I lift weights three days per week. On those days, I do a combination of circuited resistance training (weights) using periodization, and some heart-pumping cardio activity. The workouts on these three days take me about 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours. That's a lot of time, but it's what I need to do. That's how I burn a minimum of 1200 calories in a workout. Sometimes I burn up to 2200. The general rule I follow is I workout at full intensity, elevate my heart rate up and keep my body moving even between sets of strength work. Building muscle strength and power helps keep my metabolism burning like a furnace.


I do intense cardio work three days per week. Intense = at minimum one hour of a combination of elliptical work, jogging, or time on the stationary bike. On the elliptical, I crank out 20 minutes at level 14. On the treadmill, I run at 6.0 km/hour at minimum. On the bike, I ride at level 13 at minimum. That's what keeps my heart pumping. That my friends, is what burns fat.

One day a week, I do yoga. I do a 30 minute routine on the Biggest Loser Yoga DVD in the privacy of my living room. I grunt. I curse. I sweat. I stretch. I bend. I grow stronger. Yoga, is good.

So there's my secret. I've got...
  • Someone who keeps me motivated (my trainer).
  • A well-balanced diet high in fibre, lean protein, and loaded with fruits and veggies.
  • A well-designed exercise routine that combines cardio and weight training.
  • Lots of opportunity to relax.
  • And also just as important: I talk about it. A lot. I blog, I write, I read, I talk. I share my experience as a way to make meaning of and better understand what I'm going through. And in an unexpected way, it has helped others to do the same.
So, when I think about it, what I'm doing isn't really much of a secret. It's all of the things that I've known for a long time, matched with the dedication and belief that I can actually do it. And I will admit, that was the most difficult part of it all. But, it's also the most incredibly rewarding part of it. There are days when I still well up with tears out of pride, elation and happiness knowing that I not only gave myself the chance to succeed, but that I actually believed that I could do so.

I think that's my true secret. I hope you find yours.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Crying into my quinoa

About two and a half months ago, I met my friend Liza for lunch downtown. We were sitting in a very packed Fresh Vegetarian Restaurant on Bloor Street, having a very healthy lunch. Liza knew that I had been in a bit of a funk then, and we decided to connect to chat. Of course, we spent time talking about all of this work I'm doing, and how at that point, and still to some degree now, I'm feeling a bit sad about it all. Even though I'm experiencing tremendous success, I was feeling sad and a bit dejected at times. I was really struggling with some of the guilt that I was feeling about not being as present in my relationships with friends and family because I was spending so much time at the gym. I was feeling really lost because everything I once knew was no longer certain -- the places from which I drew my sense of self (namely my career and my schoolwork) were no longer fulfilling me in the ways they once did. I was becoming a new person with newly found confidence, but feeling like I didn't have anything keeping me anchored. I was even feeling extremely guilty about not spending as much time with my dog as I should -- because I was spending so much time working out and working on 'me'.

And before I knew it, I was crying into my quinoa. Literally.

There I was, sitting in a packed restaurant in the middle of the day, crying because I was feeling so sad and so lost. Now Liza is an incredibly supportive friend, and she allowed me to be in that moment with my emotion. I felt like I had lost control of myself. I mean, I was sitting in a public place, bawling my eyes out feeling like I couldn't stop. And it didn't stop there.

In subsequent conversations with close friends, I also got very emotional as I spoke with them about the change I was going through. Every time I trained with Sebastien, I was happy to be there, but truly, I felt sad and kind of 'meh'. I didn't really talk to anyone in my family about how I was feeling, because I just don't go into that emotional terrain with them. But I sensed that even they knew how I was feeling. I would sometimes even cry in the car on the way to work -- in an odd experience where I was crying tears of joy because of how much progress I was making, but also tears of sadness because I wasn't feeling incredibly great. For someone who doesn't do 'emotion' very often, I am sure you can imagine how unsettling all of this spontaneous emotion was becoming.

My friend Tony put it quite succinctly by saying that my body could no longer hold onto the emotion it once did. I truly believe that the body holds emotion, and when you've spent most of your life eating through pain and sadness, you create more and more physical space for your body to hang onto the emotions. And the more your body hangs onto the feelings, the less you truly experience them. Now, I've lost over 140 pounds of body weight, and really, there are not many places for emotion to go. I don't eat to deal with eat. I exercise to address it to a degree, but I still have to let it out. And as much as I felt awkward about getting emotional when I least suspected it, I realized that I needed to simply let out what I was feeling, be it happiness, sadness, excitement, anxiety or whatever. I have to get used to truly saying how I feel as opposed to saying that everything is 'alright' and quietly finding a way to suppress all that emotion.

Furthermore, I was mourning. My body was mourning the physical being it used to be, and my soul was mourning the person who I once thought I was. This is not just a physical journey -- dealing with what's in my head is a huge part of the battle. And I have had to spend time getting to know and understand the new 'me'. That is, I have been trying to think realistically abotu who I am in this world, and how I take up a different space. Not only do I take up less physical space, as evidenced by the fact that my body physics is a bit out of whack, and I find myself bumping into things a lot, but also I take up a different emotional space. I no longer rely upon my professional and academic identity to define who I am. And not relying on my profesional identity isn't necessarily a bad thing, because things at work feel a little unstable anyway. However, I still don't really know what defines me. And for a person like me, who is a bit of a typical 'Type A' with self-acknowledged control issues (I don't like dealing with uncertainty), this is unsettling. And that feeling of uncertainty has the potential to throw me off balance.

Interestingly enough, every day in my work, I find myself speaking with students or other people in difficulty who experience a lot of emotional instability. My most frequent recommendation of course, is that they consider speaking with a professional counsellor or a psychologist. Now, I've seen counsellors before, but have never found them able to 'keep up with me'. I'm very self-aware and tend to intellectualize everything. As such, in order for me to fully understand myself I need to work with someone who can challenge my thinking in many ways. And I hadn't met a counsellor who was able to do it. But Liza strongly suggested that I consider seeing a professional. She got me a referral from a friend of hers, and after struggling with the decision to seek some professional help, a few weeks ago I met with a psychologist.

This was scary stuff. Not as scary as making that first call to Sebastien a year ago, or taking those first steps up the stairs at the gym for my first workout. That was almost debilitating. But in the week when I celebrated a full year since I made one of my life's most important decisions (the week when I first met Seb and started training with him), I decided to take that next scary step and meet someone else who could help me.

In my first session with Dr. R. (I haven't asked his permission to use his name here, so he's Dr. R. for now), I talked about pretty much everything I have been thinking or feeling over the course of the past year. And it wasn't easy. I was in tears withing the first five minutes, and had many a moment throughout our 90-minute session where my feelings were overwhelming. After a lot of talking and some initial analysis, Dr. R. came to a conclusion:

I have clinical depression.

Now, it's a fairly mild depression, but it has come on in the past 6-8 weeks as I struggle to navigate my sense of self and my changing relationships with friends and family. And as I am also prone to anxiety, with a predisposition to not liking uncertainty and lack of control, the fact that so much within and around me is changing so rapidly, is fuelling this depression. Even with all of the working out I do (which is tremendously helpful in dealing with depression), I still experience the emotion and sadness that accompanies this condition. I'm still learning a lot about both my depression and anxiety, but have already begun, as a result of working with Dr. R. to feel relieved and reassured that this sadness will eventually subside. Through regular therapy sessions (no medication), I'm learning how to better understand my feelings, appreciate how my feelings shape my thinking, and change the ways in which I allow my thinking to influence my behaviour. Using a technique called cognitive behavioural therapy, Dr. R. is helping me to connect many of the dots that I already knew were there -- again having a strong degree of self-awareness, I was conscious of many different dimensions of what I was expeirencing, but didn't truly 'get' how they all worked with or against one another to result in how I was feeling.

All that said, I not only continue to be a physical work in progress, but also an emotional work in progress. Sebastien keeps reminding me that 'this is big work' -- not just physically. And he has always tried to keep the fact that learning to be the new 'me' is something that I was going to have to deal with. And I finally am. And it feels really really good to do it.

So there you have it. A few months ago, I was crying into my quinoa, and now I'm beginning to understand why. It's not easy to do, and cognitive behavioural therapy is tough work. But I've managed to lose over 140 pounds... I think I can handle the brain work that's needed to help me lose what's left.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.

Next blog: "33 pairs of pants later..." Stay tuned...

PS. 'Quinoa' is an amazing superfood. Learn more here.

PPS. Thanks to my friend Patsy for helping me laugh through the title of this blog.