Welcome to The Beauchamp Family website. This is our home away from home on the web. This site is for our family and friends who live near and far to be able to keep up with us. We will try to keep you guys up to date on our goings-on. For anything prior to January 2006, please Click Here.

— Tom, Candy, Jamie & Cassie Beauchamp, Austin, TX

Tom & Candy’s 20th Wedding Anniversary

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 05-04-2013

On March 3, 1993, I got married to the true love of my life. We’ve been through a lot together – good, bad, better, worse. We’ve support each other through job and career changes, businesses starting and closing and many other things in between. We have two amazing (mostly) well-adjusted children. We are lucky to have each other and we know it. But, we work really hard at it too, it’s not all roses and lollipops, and we always make sure to take time for ourselves (both separately and together). We respect each other and truly feel that we’re soul mates.

Okay, mushiness aside… after losing all this weight I wanted to have some fun. We could have done some big romantic trip or something, but we really just wanted to spend some time having some real fun together. My sister (thanks, Marcy!) also wanted to come visit and have some fun auntie alone time with the kids. Talk about good timing! She flew out for a week to hang out with us and the kiddos and Tom and I jumped in the car and headed to San Antonio. We walked all over the Riverwalk and went to Six Flags, where we rode every roller coaster we could. We had an amazing few days and we had an awful lot of fun together, being silly and just being together in one of our favorite get away places.

On the Riverwalk, we took a boat tour, which was fun and it was great to get to ride around and learn a little more about the area. We stayed in the beautiful Drury Inn right on the Riverwalk and in my favorite area of it. We ate, drank, walked and had a fabulous time. At Six Flags, we rode Boomerang six times in a row, made sure we got the first car on Goliath and rode Poltergeist entirely too many times *laughing* I’d never really ridden roller coasters before this year and it was amazing for me to be able to do it!

And some photos (of course!)

Six Flags 20th Anniversary Trip
(Yes, we got to meet Taz!)

Six Flags 20th Anniversary Trip 4

(On the boat tour)

Six Flags 20th Anniversary Trip 2

(In line at Boomerang)

Six Flags 20th Anniversary Trip 3

(I don’t remember where we were in line at LOL)

I was also able to meet two online friends of mine from California that just happened to be staying at the Riverwalk at the same time! We met for dinner one night and ice cream the next (LOL, of course – we’re all weight loss folks – LOL!)

San Antonio Meeting Fun (1)
(Yes, that’s one lucky guy in the middle of two hot chicks!)

Here’s to 20 fabulous years and many many more. Thanks for being my partner in this crazy journey we call life, babe!

And here’s our photo from our wedding – yes, I did that on purpose to my hair. LOL!

Gosh, we look SO young!

Merry Christmas and year-in-review

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Holidays | Posted on 24-12-2012

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Wow, 2012 is quickly ending and today is Christmas Eve already! Above is our holiday card this year (yes, we really are dorks). I was sitting here thinking about this year and all the amazing changes and adventures we have had.

The whole family had an amazing time in Disney over the Summer. I think that will, likely, be the highlight of 2012, for sure. It was also interesting to watch the family change over the past year, we’ve completely changed our eating habits and what we choose to do. We’re all healthier and happier, for sure.

Cassie is now in 4th grade and doing amazing, of course. She carries all As and still has never had to move her clip (I’m seriously going to find out next year if they have a perfect behavior award and if they don’t, I’m making the principal make one up for her LOL). She’s a Daddy’s girl for sure. She can get Tom to do almost anything for her if she asks sweet enough. She has been doing an amazing job with her violin lessons and she loves her computer games and plays Minecraft a lot with her friends. She’s turning into such an amazing young lady right before our eyes. We are so proud of her and know she’s going to do amazing things in 2013.

Jamie is in 6th grade. Yeah. Middle School. He’s actually doing really well, all As and Bs. He is in the band and is loving playing his clarinet. He’s taught himself to play several extra songs on his own and we’re so proud of him. He’s a Momma’s boy and is always ready with a hug and kiss for just about anyone. He’s every bit of a pre-teen, though. I think it’s going to be interesting to see how he evolves over the next few years. Jamie is one of the most empathic people I know, he feels your pain and wants to do whatever he can to make you feel better. I’m constantly amazed by him and how much he cares for his friends and family.

Tom turned the big 4-0 this year. So, he’s an old dude now. He’s still working as a teacher (math interventionist) and loving it. It took him a little longer to figure out what he wanted to do when he grew up, but he’s definitely found the right path. He’s happier than he’s ever been and I’m proud to call him my hubby. (But seriously, you could not pay me enough to work with a room full of elementary – or any – children, I would go insane). He still loves to cook and is the comic relief for Cassie and I (who are known to take things too serious sometimes).

For me, this year has been kind of a whirlwind. The emergency neck fusion surgery really messed up my life for a few months, recovery kind of sucked. I, of course, reached my goal weight – losing 200 pounds – and decided to lose a little more. I figure I’ll know when I’m done. I’m still running OffAssist and still trucking along very well. I started playing violin, myself, and am having a great time learning – and spending time with Cassie (who is helping to teach me along with our instructor).

So, 2012 is nearly gone and onward we go…

Happy Holidays!

How I Lost 200 Pounds…

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 13-12-2012

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I’m not going to write a whole lot here… still kind of reeling that I made my goal. You can read the whole story of “how” by looking at my posts tagged with weight loss – the one in December 2011 explains the how (weight loss surgery) and the ugly (it ain’t in any way, shape or form easy LOL).

I’m a different person on so many levels. Physically, of course, I mean… I’ve lost TWO HUNDRED FREAKING POUNDS. But I think it also changed me emotionally and psychologically as well. I’m open with my children about my own childhood and the issues I had (to an extent, I think it’s important for them to understand the “why” of so many things in our lives). I won’t go into it here, but obviously no one gets to weigh 375 pounds because they were hungry for food. I had (and have) a lot of healing and work to do. Honestly, mental health, I believe, is THE single biggest missing component in the bariatric community. So many people don’t seek the help they really and truly need. I needed it. I got it. I’m working on me. It sucks sometimes, but I’m doing it.

So anyway… this morning, I woke up at 4:30, just couldn’t go back to sleep so decided to give it up at 5:15 and get up for the day. I got on the scale… and viola… my goal weight stared back at me. It’s wonderful and it’s fabulous and I’ve been on cloud 9 all day, but I also know my work isn’t done. At 5’6″, I’m still overweight – technically and in reality. So, I know I’ll want to go on to lose more. The 175 was a number I threw at the surgeon just to have something. I figured there was no way I’d do it. Ha!

Anyway. I did it. I reached the big bad wolf goal. In the process, I’ve pretty much eliminated a few big bad wolves from my life. It’s been a good 18 months.

A few people have asked why I share this so publicly and why I share my weight numbers. I think part of it is that it’s accountability issue. I have so many friends pulling for me and it keeps me motivated. But, also… I think it’s important for others in the position I started in to know that they aren’t alone. There is absolutely no way I ever thought I’d get to be less than 250. I figured that would be the best I could do. I think it’s important that people understand that those of us with major weight issues aren’t lazy, we aren’t stupid and we definitely aren’t clueless. It truly is an addiction and one that a lot of us need help to overcome. I needed not only surgical but also mental health help to overcome mine. But you know what? Much like an alcoholic, I think I’ll always be in recovery of some sort. Unlike an alcoholic, though, I can’t just throw out the drug of my choice and never look at it again.

Okay, getting too deep, today, though… I celebrate life and the extra years I’ve added to my own to enjoy.

And yes… a photo update:
December 2012 Comparison - 200 lost

Heard From The Morning Routine: Bones and Christmas

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat | Posted on 12-12-2012

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Tom and I are smart asses. It’s really no surprise we’re raising two smart asses, eh?

I have a morning routine. I get up, get dressed and go into Jamie’s room to put my socks on (his room is always snuggly warm and I can coax him to actually get up). Cassie sometimes comes in and gives me a hug and we talk about the day, etc.

So, this morning, I’m sitting on Jamie’s bed, putting on my socks and in walks Cassie. She lays down across my lap (cuz I have a lap now) and snuggles up against my neck and hugs me. She was being all sweet until she sits up, looks at me, and says, “Mom, you’re not as comfortable to snuggle because your bones stick me”. I asked where and she said “on your neck.” LOL. Stinker. I pointed out they are called collar bones and she had them too.

A few minutes later, Jamie, decides that we should open Christmas presents early this year… because the world is ending on 12/21 anyway. Too bad I told him I already had a plan for that situation. We’re just going to return all the gifts and go to Vegas on the 20th. We’ll leave them home alone. Cops will be too busy with all that Mayan stuff anyway.

Photos: Cassie getting her award for participating in the robotics competition and Jamie after his very first holiday band concert. The kids, they are growing up.

Happy 12th Birthday to Jamie!

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 17-10-2012

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12-years-ago today, this sweet little baby boy came into our lives and changed things forever.

Now he’s still changing things. BUT he still smells funky too ;)

And a little bit of a funny…

Last night, Jamie asked me what time he was born, so I bought up his photos to see . He asked about Cassie (who was HUGE compared to him) and then asked me if it hurt.

I looked at him and said, “You do know how babies come out right?”

“Yeah”….

“Well, what do YOU think”

… he just nodded and kind of walked away giggling nervously. I decided not to torture him with the whole 13 hour induced labor thought-I-was-going-to-die tale. I’ll save that for the first time he goes on a date or something.

First day of school… another page turns

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Posted by Candy | Posted in School | Posted on 27-08-2012

So, the alarm went off at 6:30 this morning. I squinted at my phone alarm and thought “oh, heck yes!”. Cassie is off to 4th grade and Jamie is off to 6th grade. That would be middle school! This is the first time they’ve been in separate schools. They will be together again for one year in middle and two in high school eventually. This means Tom is back to school too teaching. YES!

I think Cassie was a little nervous lately about a few things. I allowed them to walk home last year for the 2nd half of the year with another group of kids. She was really worried that she wouldn’t find friends and I wouldn’t let them walk, but we worked it out. I don’t let her walk in the morning because I just feel like it’s too early and that one big road they cross is too busy in the morning. But, I’m letting her do it with her friends in the afternoons. As long as there’s a group, it’s cool with me. I asked her if she wanted me to walk her in this morning, but she said it was too crowded with all the parents and she knew exactly where she was going so to just drop her off. I did, with a sigh that I’m not needed. LOL.

Jamie had his own plans with his friends and they are walking in the morning and in the afternoon. He was out there waiting for them 30 minutes before the appointed time they were to meet. *laughing* He’s excited and nervous. I’m excited to hear how his first day went.

Confession: I didn’t really cry when I dropped them at Kindergarten, but thinking about my baby boy in middle school just makes me want to bawl like a baby. It’s hard to believe how much he’s grown. He’s an amazing kid, really. And when I blink one of them does something so grown up that I’m shocked that these are the same children. It seems like yesterday they were 9 months old and giggling at peek-a-boo!

One day, before I’m truly ready, Jamie will be walking out of the house, out to college or on to his own personal journey with his own life. Cassie will be right behind him. It really does all go too soon, doesn’t it? (thanks to my neighbor for taking photos of the middle schoolers, I was told I wasn’t allowed to LOL – glad she snagged them!)

Major (!) weight loss update and a sleep update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 22-08-2012

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First, a really quick update on Cassie’s sleep… she slept ALL night last night. My friend gave me samples of some essential oils. I honestly have never seen another human being look SO tired in my entire life. Whether it was just down right completely exhaustion or the oils, I don’t know, but she says the oils helped so I’m going to buy a truckload of them if it continues to help. It felt SO good to check on her at 10:30 and see her sleeping like the little angel (coughcough) that she is.

I did it! The scale finally has a number 1 in front of it. This means that since my VSG surgery journey and having surgery 14 months and 1 day ago, I’ve lost over 175 pounds (Disclaimer: 20 of those were lost on the crazy pre-op diet you have to do, but I count it ALL darn it!). That’s just amazing to me. Even still! I STILL was getting on the scale amazed that it started with a number 2, a number 1 is just beyond my ability to comprehend. Getting under 200 has been one of those “yeah right” goals of mine. When I started this process at 375, my surgeon gave me the goal of 250. I will admit that somewhere deep down I never thought I’d actually hit that number. He asked me for my own personal goal and I threw out 175. That would mean a loss of 200 pounds and I liked the sound of that number. It almost feels like I can reach that number though. My next mini goal is 186.5. That will mean I’ve lost half my body weight and will also put me into the “overweight” category. According to the BMI charts (which I think are antiquated) my upper normal range is 155. I’m not making ANY goal decisions until I hit 175 though because I want to see what that looks and feels like.

So, that’s where I am. No tears today, I thought for sure I’d totally break down, but I’ve just been happy and smiling because I worked hard for this. Like I’ve said on this blog before, don’t EVER think this is the “easy way out” for anyone that has weight loss surgery. I’ve been lucky, no one has ever said that to me, but I am here to tell you that there is NOTHING easy about this. It really is just a tool to help you along. I did all the work. I took the time to really learn about food and nutrition. I worked my butt off at the gym. I choose to say no to sugar and carbs unless I’ve planned for them in my day. I went through all the mental issues that this whole thing brings about. *I* did that. Like I said, no one has said a single negative thing to me, but if you ever see someone that has done this, know that they are working harder than they have ever worked in their lives. Congratulate them, their achievement is no less important than someone that did it without surgery. Trust me. Obesity is a lifelong disease, I can still gain weight back. The real fight comes after I reach goal. Keeping it off. Part of me thinks that’s why I went more public with my surgery. It makes me be accountable.

I also shared a photo 75 pounds ago of me behind the steering wheel of the van. My stomach used to still graze it when it was all the way back. Today, I sit in the same space as my husband and there’s a LOT of room when I move the seat all the way back. Cassie can slide across my lap when we sit in restaurant booths (which I always avoided because I didn’t fit at all before). So, I’ll share another steering wheel photo because driving is the one thing that really does remind me of all the work I’ve put in. It’s kind of amazing even now (and look how freaking skinny my legs look! LOL!)

I am also taking time out to attend a conference that is NOT business related (stop gasping). I’m attending the Obesity Action Coalition’s (OAC) conference in late October in Dallas. There looks like there will be some really good speakers, and it really is a chance for me to celebrate myself. I do so few things that really are just for me that I’m excited to do this with a couple of friends.

Cassie’s Insomnia and Heard From the Kid’s Room: Needs vs Wants

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Heard From The BackSeat, Illnesses | Posted on 21-08-2012

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Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosOne of the things that they teach the kids in school is about needs vs wants. For instance, food is a need and a video game is a want. This is a big unit that they work on in 1st or 2nd grade. Cassie has been having MAJOR sleeping issues for the past month. We broke down yesterday and took her to the doctor who gave me about 30 ideas, 28 of which I had already tried. But we decided to go back to basics. One bottle of water with her, white noise machine is on, darkened room, chapstick on once. Usually none of this is an issue, but for some reason last night it was. I think she was anxious because the doctor ordered a blood draw (more on that in a minute).

Anyway, so the screaming started. “I’m not tired. I can’t sleep. It’s not fair. No one likes me. You’re mean. I need more water. I’m just thirsty. I just want more water….”

“The school says that water is a need and not a want!!! You’re mean and it’s not fair!!!!!”

Yeah. We cracked up. I ended up going in there and telling her to knock it off, it wasn’t fair to the rest of the house and I didn’t want to hear another word or she was grounded. She could read or whatever she wanted, just no screens. So, this morning all 3 of us had elaborately drawn apology letters. Sigh. No idea how long she was awake, but she apparently had time for that – and she said she woke up at 4 and drank more water.

So, we got up early this morning and headed to the place for the blood draw. She actually was a real trooper, I thought it was going to be a HUGE problem, but she held up really well. I was proud of her. Usually if someone gives her a shot or anything else, I have to dig her out of the dark corner of the examining table or it takes 3 or 4 of us to hold her down. She managed to sit on my lap, sob quietly, and it was over in like 45 seconds. Who knows if the blood draw will actually show anything. I don’t know if this is a rut we can’t get out of or what is going on, but I’m completely and utterly exhausted.

I’m sure everyone will respond again with 900 different ideas. Trust me, we have tried just about everything under the sun (my friend is getting samples of essential oils to me today so we can try that – LOL). We don’t think she’s worried about anything in particular. We can’t pin anything down. So, onward we go until we figure it out or I go insane from lack of sleep myself.

This is the letter she wrote me at who knows what time last night. It says

“To: Mommy, From: Cassie”
“Sorry for last night! I made these in my time cuz you said no screen so I wrote alpgies. I am veyr sorry about last night. I am very so please accept my alploze. PS I am using my best handwriting”

Sigh.

I’m obviously near the end of my rope here.

The Epic Beauchamp Family Disney Vacation

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Posted by Candy | Posted in summer fun | Posted on 05-08-2012

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Disney 2012Finally getting around to sorting through all the photos from our Disney vacation. In June, we loaded up the van, hit the road and spent 8 days in Florida and then drove up for a very quick visit with my family in Charleston, SC. I set up everyone’s phone to automatically upload photos to a dropbox and bought the somewhat overpriced Disney Photopass and took a lot of photos. There’s nearly 600 of them and you can see them on my Flickr page. Enjoy. I’ll share a few of my faves below…

It was QUITE the vacation. I’m SO glad we went through a Disney travel agent. She was free and she was available to me via text or phone. She went through things with me, answered my 900 questions and helped with the general planning. Even better, she watched out for discounts and ended up saving us around $500 by rebooking our vacation when the prices came down. It was pretty awesome. So I will give a huge shout out to Amanda. Email her if you’re planning a trip. I wouldn’t have been able to do this and not worry hardly at all without her. Her email is amandag@mei-travel.com. Trust me.

Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosOne of our favorite things was the Ohana character breakfast. Both of my kids are huge Stitch fans (especially Cassie). Getting to meet Stitch was truly a highlight. The food was wonderful and the kids were made to feel like royalty. Tom and I were able to relax, enjoy. I do wish they had more time with the characters. There was just enough time for them to walk by, pose for a photo and autograph for us. Not bad, but it did feel rushed at times. We did the photo package there as well and Cassie, of course, brought her stuffed Stitch (which she also carried all over the parks). They were so cute and made sure her stuffy got a lei along with the rest of us. That huge smile says it all!

Our favorite ride was the Peter Pan ride as a family. They did an amazing job with it. Really, all of the rides are total events. We also really enjoyed Soarin’ (which we did twice). I’m glad we did 8 days. We were able to do Magic Kingdom and Epcot for two days each and took a day off for a Water Park.

The really bad part was the quick service food. It left a lot to be desired. Very fast-food type and really not all that good, with a few exceptions. We had table service for dinners and that was much better and the food was really good quality. I had an amazing soup at Marrakesh, a Moroccan place in Epcot, but the rest of my party said that it was pretty bland, otherwise. We absolutely loved T-Rex in Downtown Disney, the food was really great and the atmosphere was amazing. We ate in the ice cave and it was really awesome. I have several food allergies and each time, one of the chefs came out to talk to me about them and made sure that what I ate was safe for me.

Disney 2012One of the things that Disney excels at is their set up for kids with ADHD and anxiety disorders. Jamie has a really tough time in crowds and we knew this vacation was going to be a challenge. I knew they would make accommodations, but I was floored by how far out of their way they will go to make sure the kids have a great time. We did several things right (and a few things wrong), but overall, it was amazing. I was expecting them to just save our place in the massive lines and put us somewhere quieter but… We brought a doctor’s note and they gave us a pass that allowed us to basically walk to the fast pass lines. It meant we didn’t have to get a fast pass and then try to get him back through the crowd again just so he could go on a ride. It really didn’t save us much time over anyone else being there because we also found we had to get him out of the park at least once per day and back to the hotel. The buses take a while so it was a good chance for him to decompress. We found the lunch food at the hotel to be tolerable, so we would eat there, go cool off in the room and then head back to the park in the late afternoon. We only had a few major freak outs with him (one was towards the end of the big fireworks in Magic Kingdom. I really wish I had asked about a quieter place for him because I think that ruined that experience for him a bit).

Disney 2012 Mobile PhotosMy biggest piece of advice for people heading to Disney is to come with a plan, but be prepared to toss it completely out of the window if needed. We tried to stick to our Touring Plan, but ended up ditching it except for the list of rides we wanted to try to hit. We just weren’t able to stick to a timetable with the other challenges we had. Also, bring blister bandages. My sister ended up with huge blisters  and I wish we had them in hand instead of having to go out searching for some the second evening.

There are also a lot of hotels. If we go back, and I hit the lottery, I would probably want to stay somewhere on the tram line. We opted to stay in a family suite at a value resort which was phenomenal though. We had a bedroom, a living area, a small kitchen and TWO BATHROOMS. With five people, it made it so much easier to get everyone showered and in bed at night.

Tom really wants to go back… like now. While I had a truly amazing time, it’s really expensive. We did the Disney meal plan and while I was reluctant about it at first, I’m glad we did. We didn’t think about food or cost or anything like that, we just did whatever we wanted. We ended up with plenty of leftover snack credits at the end of the trip and bought a bunch of Mickey ear rice crispy treats. The whole trip was just crazy expensive. Plus, I’ll be honest… eight days of the mouse and the happy happy joy joy will make just about anyone insane. Add that to the kids being afraid of certain rides and everyone getting hot and crabby and well… he’s been outvoted in favor of a relaxing beach vacation next year! *laughing*

Disney 2012Seriously… it’s the vacation everyone has to take. My kids were 9 and 11 and it really was the perfect age. Oh! That reminds me, careful if you do do the meal plan. Cassie was 9 so she would have had to eat from the children’s menu if we hadn’t have made sure to tell our planner to tell them she was 10. She doesn’t eat “kid menu” food so it was nice for her to also just eat anything she wanted. The portions are HUGE though, so we shared most of the time. We also found that you might want to order one vegetarian meal so that you got some good veggies for the table as well.

The crowds were light in some parks and heavy in others when we were there, although half of the US wasn’t even out of school yet. That whole “just go with it” is super important here. Taking that day off for a beach park day was also perfect. We did the park hopper and while we could have done without it, it was nice to be able to run into another park to check out a show or something if we wanted. We caught almost all of the nighttime light/firework shows and I’m really glad that we did. They were really awesome.

That’s it… we did end up riding most of the rides, we didn’t miss much and we’ll probably go back in a few years… but next year… lazy beach vacation :)

One year later – weight loss surgery update

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Posted by Candy | Posted in Misc | Posted on 21-06-2012

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If you would have told me a year ago that I’d be sitting here (cross-legged) blogging about losing over 150 pounds, I’d have laughed. One year ago, today, I had the gastric sleeve.  I won’t bore you with the surgery details. You can read about it HERE, but my life is so different. I started this crazy journey in March of 2011 when I had had enough. I weighed 375 pounds. I was tired. I was tired just from every day living. I couldn’t walk long distances. I couldn’t play with my kids the way I wanted to. Oh, I thought I could. Denial is a super morbidly obese person’s best friend. I know denial well. I was sick of living in denial and decided, with the support of the most amazing man on the planet, to take the step that scared me most. Surgery. I had tried everything (that cabbage soup diet SUCKS, by the way – let’s not talk about the watermelon and rice, k?). On June 21, 2011, I had surgery and I changed my life forever. For the better.

Today, I weigh in at 216 pounds. That’s 159 pounds, an entire person, gone from my body. Today, I’m “moderately obese”. Yes, I’ve still got a lot of work to do for sure. I’m not done yet. My starting BMI as 60.5 and is now 34.9 (just barely slipped into that moderately category, but it’s mine, dammit!). I’ve lost a person. I’ve gained a life.

I can cross my legs when I sit down. I don’t worry about restaurant booths. I can bend down without thinking about it. I can kick a little butt on the elliptical. I enjoy walking. I enjoy playing with my kids. I still enjoy food, but it doesn’t rule my life. I enjoy my time with my therapist (as much as I hate it sometimes too). I can buy clothes from regular stores. I STILL get on the scale sometimes JUST to see that number 2 at the beginning of the number.

I still feel like a faker though. I have this fleeting fear that the weight will come back. That I will wake up and this will have been a dream and I’ll be  375 pounds and miserable. I fear of going back to that dark place of feeling like I’ll never be normal. I spent 30 years being overweight/obese. Do I just get one little year of somewhat normalcy? I feel bad for people I see walking around like I was. I fear I’ll be like that again. I worry I’ll magically be able to eat an entire pie one day again.

I’m not sure that I’ll ever completely get past that fear. Nor the guilt. The guilt of being the fat mom. The guilt of watching others struggle through while I’m whizzing through the pounds and losing steadily. It’s almost like a survivor’s guilt of sorts. It’s really hard to explain. THIS is why I am very vocal about others seeking weight loss (surgery or not) to find a therapist. Most of us didn’t gain weight just because we like food a whole lot. There’s a lot of emotions that come into play when you get into that SMO (super morbidly obese) category.

So, here I am. 1 year later. To the day. I feel like I’ve come so far. Yet I look and realize how far I have yet to go. This is where the real work starts. This is where I have to show my body who is boss and that I will WIN this war. I didn’t pay someone to  remove most of my stomach to go back now. I can do this. I’ve lost 159 freaking pounds. I want to lose 41 more and then look to see where I am and where I want to go. There will be, of course, plastic surgery in my future. I have major skin issues. My arms flap, my thighs flap, my stomach flaps. Everything sags. But it’s mostly empty. It’s no longer full of fat. Oh, there’s still plenty there, but one day it will be totally empty and I’ll be left looking like a melted person. Then, I’ll talk to a surgeon about what I need to do to fix the damage I did over the past 30 years. And at the end of the day, I have only myself to blame for it. No one made me get that overweight. I did that all myself. I take ownership of that as much as I’m taking ownership of fixing the problem now. I could spend time looking back to how I got there, and I have. I’ve spent a lot of time. But I also have to look forward. Look forward to my kids having a normal sized mom. To leading a normal life. To living it to the fullest. That’s why I did this. I wanted to feel normal. I wanted to feel good about myself.

And I do. I do things now that I never thought I would. I walk 5ks. I chase my kids. I buy clothes from the rack simply because I can. I go to the gym. I work out hard. I enjoy my life and make sure that I’m grateful for everything I’ve accomplished and everything I will accomplish.

I post photos and people see me and they all comment on that part. It’s the part that they cannot see that really matters though. There’s still a little bit of heartache, a little regret for the years I wasted. But mostly, it’s the positive. It’s how I feel about myself. It’s about that feeling of finally being who I really, truly, feel like I’m meant to be. It’s that part that people DON’T see that is the real change. Yeah I “look great”, but my psyche is what has really changed. I think that anyone that says you don’t change internally with such a drastic external difference is lying. I know I’ve changed. I like to believe for the better. So, I’ll share photos below, but know that the part you can’t see is the real change here. I love myself. Obesity won the battle, but the war is mine to win.

To my friends and family that have stood by me, shared food in a restaurant so I didn’t have to take home MORE leftovers, hugged me when I cried, laughed with me when I did something silly, gave me an atta-girl when I needed it, reminded me why I did this when I was full of remorse, dragged me to the gym when I didn’t want to go, told me to stop wearing clothes two sizes too big, took me shopping and helped me figured out what to buy, called me when they sensed I needed a reality check, and loved me no matter what… thank you. They are the real heroes here. I couldn’t have done this without them. They all know who they are. I can never repay them for the kindness and support. They are my success.