Small habits lead to big changes

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Before I started losing weight I remember sitting in restaurants with my friends, my mother or my boyfriend, usually feeling self conscious and too big for the room. I wouldn’t make very much eye contact and I had already decided what I was going to eat the minute we decided where we would eat. I would order a pop, usually Dr. Pepper. I would always eat the bread, tortilla chips, or whatever appetizer was put on the table. I would eat everything on my plate until I was stuffed (usually something extremely high in carbs, lots of fried food, and of course smothered in cheese) and then I would hate myself for the next hour or so. I would feel full until the point of feeling sick and when that finally faded, I would plan my next meal. That was my life as a binge eater and that was my life at nearly 300lbs. My life was food. There is no secret formula to losing the weight. You are going to have decide that you want to make a change and then unless you’re getting a surgery or following a very specific and strict diet, you will start to make changes in your daily life. I suggest very small changes. I also suggest making them slowly and one at a time. I’m going to list some of the things I started doing and why I do them, more importantly than that I’m going to tell you why you’re not going to wake up one day and have healthy habits overnight and why you’re not going to stick to them 24/7. (Unless you’re incredibly badass.)

Trading Dr. Pepper for La Croix 

I know that sugary drinks are unbelievably delicious. I personally like Red Bull and Dr. Pepper. I like them very, very much. It was really hard for me when I started pulling those out of my diet completely. Actually, it felt pretty impossible. That is until I discovered fizzy water. To be clear, it is not a substitute for regular water. Drink your H20! Now there are bunch of different brands but what you want to make sure of is there is 0 calories, no sodium, no sweetener. I only buy La Croix or Perrier. Once you start writing down your calories and really committing to staying under a certain number. You’ll realize how fast the calories and sugar add up in drinks. Now when I have even a sip of a Coke at a movie or a taste when my husband has one. I cringe. It tastes like sugar syrup to me now. Just substitute fizzy water for your favorite sugary beverage for a week and I promise you will feel like a different person.

 

Why I eat on an appetizer plate 

One of the biggest hurdles for me was and is portion control. I could eat an ungodly amount of food in one sitting. When my mother would cook I would load up my plate and then go back for seconds or thirds if I felt so inclined. I was easily consuming 4000-6000 calories in one day. I had stretched my stomach out so far that it would actually hurt if I went too long without eating. Once I started educating myself on proper portions and even diving into macros, I knew I needed some help with eating too much of one thing. I started eating on small plates. Now this sounds too simple and most people say to me “That won’t help me. I’ll just get creative with how much I put on it.” Honestly? Then you don’t want it bad enough. There is no quick fix to ending a food addiction and there is definitely no quick fix with changing your eating habits. But I do insist that you try.

Now when I eat at home I always eat on our small appetizer plates. They are a little less than half the size of our normal plates and when I am serving myself I’m always aware that the only thing I can grab seconds of is vegetables. If you don’t have any smaller plates, run to Target and grab a small one on clearance for $1-$5. Try to use it whenever you’re even snacking at home.

Don’t eat out of a bag, don’t eat out of a container,
and be aware of what and how much you’re putting into your mouth.

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You will fail if your thoughts are negative 

Another thing I realized in the last year is how important your thoughts are and what kind of mind set you’re in. Diet is a very scary and silly word. You don’t need to eat zero carbs, you don’t need to only drink shakes, and you definitely don’t need to commit to never eating your favorite foods ever again. You’re living your life right now, you may be unhappy with your body but it is yours and you’re not going anywhere. Once I realized that the only thing that was going to work for me was time and willpower, it changed everything. When I wake up some mornings I want pancakes, some mornings I want to go the gym do some cardio, then come home and eat tuna and veggies. It is up to me to decide which one of those is going to get me closer to my goal.

Time is going to pass whether or not you’re eating well and working out. Think about where you’re at today and think about where you want to be. Whenever you’re faced with a choice do not beat yourself up if you choose the least healthy option. Sometimes you will need a margarita, or a loaf of bread, or some mac and cheese. Sometimes you’re going to feel motivated and enthusiastic about treating your body to a salad and a water. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t make your life all or nothing. Just be conscious of how you’re feeling and be conscious of why you’re making the decisions you’re making. Your situation is not helpless.

You do not have to accept the situation you are in and be a victim of poor choices. 

Being thinner doesn’t make you happier. Being hungry and thin is never what I wanted, I just wanted to be strong and healthy. I’m not where I want to be yet, I’m not at my goal weight. But I’m not sweating or breathing hard when I take the dog for a walk. I don’t plan every meal and think about food all day and I don’t feel disgusted when I look in the mirror or when someone snaps a picture of me. That came from personal growth on the inside more than my shrinking body on the outside.
Never hesitate to contact me for support, questions or help. About anything.
I love to hear everyone’s stories and I love to hear what works for you.

Stay Cheerful

-Dev

 

 

 

 

 

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Snooze AM Eatery, Boulder, CO

It’s been about a year since David & I have moved to Boulder and we have found some amazing places to eat. I always love going out to breakfast with my husband and one of my absolute favorites is Snooze AM Eatery. They have a few locations in a couple states and I am telling you that if you have one near you DO NOT walk to it, RUN. Or maybe drive.

Does anyone else hate waiting in restaurants as much as I do? Especially when it’s crowded. Ugh. I hate it. Lol I’m a suck, I know. I don’t have to deal with that here! I walk in, give them my name and number and then they text me when my table is ready. That means my husband I get to walk up and down Pearl St. until we are summoned back via text to hot coffee and and the most delicious eggs Benedict you will ever consume. The service is always above and beyond and the atmosphere is exactly what I love about living in Colorado. A little loud, a little quirky and always a lot of fun. Let me know if you will be anywhere near Boulder for any reason and I would love to give you about 3242344 recommendations on the best food in town. Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Stay Cheerful! 

-Dev

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Be careful when you book a flight with United.

 

Earlier today I had to contact United Airlines about an unaccompanied minor situation. My husband and I purchased a direct flight from Tulsa to Denver for my 15 year old nephew to come visit in a couple weeks. I purchased them like I would any other tickets, got the confirmation, and went forward with my week excited about seeing him.

Well I received an email about 3 days after I booked his ticket saying that any children ages 5-15 are unaccompanied minors and we have to pay an additional fee of $300 round-trip to even allow him to get on the plane. It’s funny that I received the email 3 days later, well after the 24 hour grace period for canceling a ticket.

The fee is to make sure he gets on the plane safely, has help putting away his bags, give him snacks, and basically keep any eye on him. Why is it a 15 year old can get his learner’s permit and drive a car but he can’t be an unattended passenger on a plane?  Now I appreciate this service for younger children and I appreciate it for any parents that feel like their child might need some help during travel. Especially during flights that are not non-stop. However, my nephew is fully capable of traveling alone and has done so before. How is this service not optional?

Now when I called United to figure out what was going on and how we could fix this, I got to talk to two people who were about as helpful and kind as an agitated grizzly. Immediately defensive they callously informed me that it was my mistake that I put 1 adult instead of using the drop down menu to select 1 child. A drop down menu that is pre-selected to 1 adult. In my past experience of booking 100+ flights I’ve never had to select anything else. I don’t have children and I’ve never booked for one before. Instead of waiting 3 days to tell me you think they could’ve let me know that the birthdate I entered on his passenger information was invalid and that there would an additional $300 fee for a 15 year old to travel alone. I really want to be clear about this, the fee to supervise my nephew costs MORE than his round-trip flight.

They were not willing to work with us in any way, shape, or form. They said if I did not pay the additional $300 my nephew would not be allowed on the flight. They told me I could apply for a refund, that sounded great. Oh except the refunds aren’t guaranteed and he informed me that their policy is clear and they don’t bend the rules for any customer. Essentially telling me to get stuffed. I was pretty much in tears after this exchange.

$300 is a lot of money for any family. It’s not enough that I give you my money willingly when I want to use your services?  You have to charge me for a service that I don’t want and wasn’t even aware of?  The airline with the most complaints per customer and an annual income of 4.5 BILLION dollars. A company that could’ve easily let me pay a fee to change the ticket, let me use it as a credit, or possibly understand that my 15 year old nephew does not need a babysitter on a non-stop flight. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around this whole thing. I hate confrontation, I hate being at someone else’s mercy. I hate being bullied. It seems like that is exactly what America stands for now. Stomp on the little people and cash in on your extra million. I’m just so tired of it. I know I made a mistake but I can’t believe how much United is actually making me pay for it.

-Dev

 

 

Image courtesy of Bloomberg.com

& these are just a few of my favorite things!

Just wing it. Life, eyeliner, everything. 
Words to live by. But I like a little prep & tutorial (;

 

I LOVE trying new products. I love the smell of Sephora and I love getting home and opening my bag. I’m always just dying to try new primers, eyeliner, mascara, and of course any of those tiny little test tubes that they put there just for people who like me will decide that yes, I do need 3 different kinds of travel primers and a blending sponge for $14.99.

So I decided to throw down some of my absolute ULTIMATE favorites. I did not take pictures of my products because my 10yr old make-up bag immediately turns most of my bottles a fun beige color. I’ll post where I got them, how much they are and why I 100% recommend you run out, buy them and tell me how much you love them.

 

I am not getting paid to promote these in any way, shape, or form. These are things I tried on my own and now are apart of my every day routine!

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Givenchy Beauty Women’s Acti’Mine Color Correcting Primer –
Sephora – $41
I cannot say enough how much this has changed my make-up routine. I of course suffer from oily skin, redness, and breakouts from time to time. This stuff is amazing. After I put this primer on my skin already looks great before I even put on my foundation and concealer. It is also surprisingly light and doesn’t weight me down. I would highly recommend this for someone who wants to get rid of some redness and uneven skin tone!

 

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Benefit’s Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Brightening Makeup
Sephora – $36

This magical foundation has quickly become one of my favorite discoveries. I decided to purchase it randomly when I saw it was almost sold-out and figured it had to be good! Man I LOVE this stuff. Keeps my face from getting that gross 2:00pm sheen I’m so accustomed to. Also minimizes my pores and keeps my skin nice and soft! A must try!

 

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Bobbi Brown’s Bronzing Powder
Sephora – $42

Man have I gone through about a billion bronzers. I use mine to bronze up, hide double chin, and occasionally shade my brows. This one right here is my repeat purchase. Lasts forever, doesn’t break me out, and gives me that lovely bronze.

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Tarte’s Cheek Stain in Blissful
Sephora – $16

This blush saved me from about 10 years of applying to much loose pink powder on my face and looking like a clown. Thank goodness. Lol. I promise if you give this a shot, you won’t go back to your regular blush. This stuff looks wonderful and gives you that mermaid dewey glow you know you’ve always wanted!

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Flower’s Forever Wear Liner in Onyx
Wal-Mart $6.98

I know, I know, with my light blue eyes I should branch out to some more brown and orange tones with eyeliners. But I don’t. I love love love this line. It’s not expensive and it’s incredibly long lasting. The color is bright and the quality is A+. I’d encourage everyone to try ANY Flower products. Thanks Drew!

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First Aid Beauty’s Face Cleanser
Ulta – 5oz – $20

I said before, I have breakouts. When I say breakouts, it can last weeks. It seems like my skin and go weeks looking and feeling wonderful then the first time I break down and cry, get stressed, or stand in the sun longer than 3 minutes. Boom. Painful zits and blackheads. This stuff keeps my skin so healthy.

It’s simple, it’s gentle and it removes ALL of my make-up. I do pair this with my Mia Clarisonic from time to time to get my exfoliate on but most days I just use this in the morning and at night. I use to be all about the 3-5 product systems, now I know better. I was seriously drying out my skin and being over aggressive. Try something simpler with your skin regimen if you’re feeling overwhelmed. You won’t regret it!

exgloBliss Triple Oxygen ex-‘glow’-sion Vitabead-Infused Moisturizer
Kohl’s – 1.7oz – $64

I did say I lived in Colorado right? So D-R-Y. My skin flakes, it gets red, it breaks out. I saw this in Kohl’s and honestly? I loved the packaging. I brought it home and I’ve bought it about 6x since. I won’t go to a different moisturizer. It is great. I wished it lasted a bit longer, but it probably would for me if I didn’t use so much. It just feels euphoric applying it after washing my face and a long day out in the elements. My skin has never felt better!

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Origins GinZing Eye Cream
Sephora – $30

Yes, this stuff is expensive for a small amount, but I promise – it lasts FOREVER. I barely use a fingertip of it on each eye before bed and when I wake up in the morning. I never have tired eyes and dark bags. I noticed about a year ago I started looking.. older around my eyes. Cringing. But this stuff has really helped me get a grip and look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning!

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Nars Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Sephora – $26

I have tried 50+ eyeshadow primers in my lifetime. This one doesn’t crease, doesn’t grease, lasts all day and is easy to apply. Plus, it lasts FOREVER. Trust me, it’s wonderful.

 

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Innisfree Skin Care Masks 
Amazon – $16.69 for 50

I had the pleasure of winning some of these in a giveaway and they are AMAZING. They go on like creepy little face mask sheets that smell and feel wonderful. So refreshing! You leave them on 20 minutes, pull them off and you DON’T rinse your face. It leaves this nice moisturizing glow for hours after you remove it. Try them all!

  • 1. GreenTea 2. Cucumber 3. Bamboo 4. Aloe 5. Manuka honey 6. Kiwi 7. Shea butter 8. mugwort 9. pomegranate 10. black berry 11. tea tree 12. bija 13. lime 14. strawberry 15. rose

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Tarte’s Tartelette In Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette
Sephora – $45

I haven’t needed to purchase any other eyeshadow since I’ve had this. It’s the only thing I use every day and always pack in my luggage. The colors are wonderful and go on smooth. All the range a blue-eyed girl could ask for!

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Blinc Black Lash Primer
Sephora – $26

I never thought I’d see the day that I hardly wear mascara anymore, but I don’t! The weather here in Colorado and my general routine with my lashes was causing them to break and fall out. I was actually crying to my husband about it one day. I always loved having healthy eyelashes and didn’t know what to do. One wonderful lady in Sephora directed me to Blinc and now I am a believer! My eyelashes are better than they’ve ever been. Strong, long, and dramatic! Sometimes if it’s a hot date night or an event I’ll put on Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascare to give them some pump but Blinc is definitely something you need to try. Plus, you can wear it TO BED. Think of the possibilities!

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Neutrogena’s Mineral Sheers Powder Foundation
Wal-Mart – $12

This is always in my purse. I’ve bought the most expensive powder, the least expensive, and everything in between. This keeps my shine at bay, lasts a long time, has great color and keeps me confident. I would suggest this for anyone who likes to lay some powder down before they go out for the day!

 

Well I think that’s a long enough list! Never be afraid to try new stuff. ALWAYS keep your eyes open for good deals and pay attention to your skin!! You’d be amazed how a little TLC goes a long way to feeling good without make-up.

Love yourself and stay cheerful!! 

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– Dev

 

For my Father

Thank you for being both my anchor and my sail.

When I was a kid I remember watching a lot of different fathers on television. Growing Pains, 7th Heaven, Boy Meets World, The Simpsons. Those are all shows that showed me what a modern suburban dad was. Coffee and a newspaper in the morning, 9-5 job, crack a joke, play with the kids, kiss the wife, start over. From a very young age, I knew my Dad was very different.

I have the same kind of memories a lot of people probably have from their childhood. My Dad napping on our couch with the remote in his hand watching the game. My Dad teaching me to throw a ball, ride a bike, or tie a knot. Those are pretty normal lessons every kid learns, but in my world. That was only one side of our lives. The other side was my father whisking us off on a plane to something spectacular.

I have memories of my father sailing a huge catamaran across the ocean with me sitting on his lap. Standing at the top of the Eiffel Tower when I was 5, in the same city he had lived many years earlier when he was in college. My father is a doctor by trade, but if anyone asked me to describe my father, that wouldn’t even be the first thing I’d say.

He’s an adventurer, a captain, a loyal friend and a fierce foe. He is a man who made something of himself, who fought for what he had. He’s incredibly successful, and incredibly generous. He taught me that memories mean more than anything I could purchase. He told to have pride in what I do and stand up for what I believe in. We don’t see eye to eye on everything, but in any argument we had, I learned something.

If you’re lucky enough to be sitting at a bar, a coffee shop, or anywhere with my dad, you should listen. That man has led the life of 100 men. Constantly going out into the world and making his stamp on it. I am in awe of the tenacity and hard work he puts into anything. I will never forget what he told me constantly as a child, “If you say you’re going to do something. You do it.” I’ve carried that with me into my adult life and took for granted what it really meant. In a world of people that will let you down, lie to you, or manipulate you he was telling me that words without actions were worthless. My dad worked harder in his life than anyone I’ve ever known. He missed out on a lot with his family because he was building a better life for us. I truly hope he knows how grateful I am for everything he provided for me.

My Dad is larger than life in every way. A man who fought to succeed in this world, traveled it, soaked it in. He didn’t tell me about the world, he showed me. I don’t know if I’ve ever thanked him enough for the knowledge and humility traveling gave me at such a young age, by the time I was 10, he had shown me the world. My father is retired now and travels the world with his best friend and my step-mother. I’m thankful every day he has her.

If you’re lucky enough to have a father in your life hug his neck and appreciate him.
There will be a day when all you will have is memories.

Losing weight, losing friends

Something I wasn’t prepared for on my weight loss journey is the cruelty it would bring out in the people around me.

When I was obese, people either stared at me way too long or not at all. I couldn’t possibly be a real person with real feelings. I was automatically labeled many things. “Lazy, gross, sad, pathetic, glutton.” Some of those were true, but buried underneath layers of fat I was still a person. A person with dreams and desires like anyone else, but I always felt ashamed.

I was used to being avoided, or judged when I was big, but I wasn’t prepared for the reaction people would have to me when I started losing the weight. It felt nice to get noticed again. It felt amazing to move from a girl who looked obese and sickly to a girl who looked curvy and athletic. I thought my enthusiasm would be infectious. It wasn’t.

There are going to be people in your life that don’t want you to better yourself. It may not even be malicious, but fear is a powerful motivator. A lot of people don’t lose weight and don’t purse their dreams because the people around them make them feel small or incapable. When I started to lose weight when we lived in Oklahoma, I actually had people mocking me for trying.

Are you gonna enjoy that salad?”
“We’ll see how long this lasts.”
“Why don’t you just love yourself?”

It took me a long time to realize the real problem. A lot of my friends were very overweight, even heavier than I was. They were taking me trying to improve myself as an attack on them. Maybe I should have tried harder to talk to them about it. Maybe I should have voiced how I felt. But I didn’t. Instead I just distanced myself, hung out with a couple close friends and made the gym fill up my spare time. I don’t think I dealt with it the healthiest way. I don’t even know what the healthiest way is. I just know that you don’t have to let people make you feel bad for wanting to change.

If there is one thing I’ve learned through everything it’s that you have to be enough. It may sound cheesy and a lot of people may say it, but you have to live with yourself the rest of your life. Positive thinking is so crucial.

You have to realize that your thoughts are incredibly important and being aware of them is the key to changing how you feel. Are you being negative? Are you being positive? Are you being cruel? There are times that I can actually stop and realize how awful I’m being to myself. All those voices telling me that I’m not enough, I’m alone, my husband doesn’t find me attractive.

Everyone has those thoughts, but you have to rise above them. You’re the one that is going to have to make the choices every day to get yourself to a better place. Whether that is towards weight loss or just a better you in general.

At any time, you can make your situation better.

Surround yourself with people that love you and add to your life.
But do not expect or demand them to make you happy.
Once you start depending on yourself to start bringing joy into your life you’ll wonder why you didn’t just do it in the first place.

Stay Cheerful

Dev

My journey with grief

This is not the most cheerful post, I promise almost all of my other posts will not be like this. But this story is what made me who I am and a big part of what drove me towards a life of positivity and wellness.
Thank you. – 

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In November 2013 I was furniture shopping in Tulsa, OK with my then boyfriend, now husband, David. We were having a good time, laughing with each other as we argued about a recliner with a loud floral print. I loved it, he didn’t. I was excited to be picking out furniture with him and to learn what he liked and disliked. Soon I’d be moving into a new apartment and living on my own for the first time. I’d have my own space and I could make it into whatever I wanted. But the momentary escape from my grief was ending. The pit in my stomach returned, before turning into the kind of full blown dread you can feel in the back of your throat. It was time to go back to the hospital. My father, brother, sister-in-law, and extended family would all be there, waiting for my mother to die.

My mother had been sick with rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and the heartbreak of losing her second child. Her “sweet boy” as she had called him over and over again. My big brother Matthew had died in a car accident 3 months earlier. One reckless stranger, one split second decision later–he was gone. The 16 year old driver of the mini van had hit Matthew head on and ended his life. My brother died that day along with several children from the minivan, who hadn’t been buckled into car seats. Matthew was 30 years old, attending radiology school, and had only been married for two years. He would have been a wonderful father. Every wonderful memory from my childhood has my brother’s radiant smile and warm presence. The world was a better place with him in it. 

The day Matthew died was the day my mother started slipping into her own grave. I couldn’t get her to eat or take her medications. Sometime in October she started having severe neck pain. Doctors stuck her with injections, put her on medications, and told her the arthritis was slowly crippling her. I remember one day in particular, where the pain got so bad that she told me she didn’t want to live anymore if the pain didn’t stop. I went to bed that night and thought: “God wouldn’t do this to me. I barely survived losing Matt. He couldn’t take my mother, he wouldn’t.” But I felt no comfort.

One morning in early November, I awoke to my mother’s screams. My 12 year old nephew was staying with us. I didn’t want him to be scared so I told him to stay in his room as I dialed 911. I tried everything to keep her calm but she was delirious, screaming “help me” over and over. I didn’t know what to do or what was hurting her. I remember feeling numb and helpless. Not knowing what else to do, I gathered her medications so the doctors would know what she was taking and how much. But when the paramedics arrived, they took one look at her pile of medications and the delirious state she was in, and dismissed it as an overdose. I remember the tone of contempt in his voice. The lack of urgency and lack of compassion. But they were wrong. I tried to tell them, but they brushed me off and assumed I was trying to save her embarrassment. For several weeks prior, I had been giving my mother her medications. I had timers set for the different pain and arthritis pills and wrote down every time she took a dose. I kept her medications in a drawer in the bathroom–somewhere my mother couldn’t have crawled to on her own in her weakened condition. At the time I just wanted them to help her, but my cheeks still flush with anger when I think about how ready they were to jump to the wrong conclusion.

I followed the ambulance to the hospital. The doctor quickly realized this wasn’t an overdose. The sense of urgency that I was feeling was finally shared by the medical staff. Realizing their error, the paramedics wouldn’t even look at me one their way out. I sat in a tiny plastic chair outside her room in the ICU for hours. Nurse after nurse and doctor after doctor went into her room. After awhile, my mother stopped screaming. They had given her pain medication and stabilized her. I like to think from that point on until the second she died, at least she wasn’t in pain anymore.

The source of her excruciating pain was an infection in her neck that had gone on too long and spread into her bloodstream. She was septic. The doctors did everything they could but nothing worked. After weeks in the hospital watching her slowly becoming paralyzed the doctors finally looked me in the eye and told me that my mother would die. I spent day after day with her in the hospital. She smiled when I walked in the room and laughed when I made jokes about needing a margarita. My beautiful radiant mother was trapped in a body that was failing. The last days of my mother’s life she was on a morphine drip surrounded by family, friends, and nurses whose only goal was keeping her as comfortable and as happy as they could.

 The night before she died I made a spontaneous decision to go back up the hospital in the early hours of the morning. I knew she’d probably be asleep but I just felt like I needed to sit with her awhile before we went back to the house. When I walked in I was so surprised. She was more alert then she had been in days. She smiled ear to ear when David and I sat down next to her bed. She didn’t seem scared, but I think she knew what was happening. At this point she was paralyzed from the neck down, she could only whisper a few words if I put my ear to her mouth. There was an urgency to her saying how much she loved me, she couldn’t hug me but I could feel the affection coming off her in waves. She was saying goodbye. I whispered in her ear that I would be okay and that it was okay to let go. I told her how much I loved her and what an amazing mother she was to me. David held me as I cried for hours that night. I felt like I would never be happy again.

The next morning my father, brother and his family were already at the hospital when I woke up. I called to check on her and they said she was unconscious. My dad said it would be anytime now. There was that dread again. I remember the panic I felt at the idea of watching her die. I couldn’t do it. I didn’t want to see her take her last breath. I was scared.

When David and I walked out of that furniture store and reached my car, my heart dropped. I looked at the sunset in the beautiful Oklahoma sky and I realized my mother would never see another one. When we were two minutes away from the hospital, my dad called. I was driving so David answered it. I knew right then. I knew it in my chest before my brain told me what had happened. David tried to keep an even tone, too even. He said “Alright, we’ll be there in a second.” I just had to park the car, I just had to stay calm, I just had to breathe. I couldn’t. By the time I turned off the engine I was losing it. “She’s dead, is she dead? She’s dead.” I cried, I wailed. The pain I felt was something I had never felt before. It was the kind of feeling that makes you feel like you’re drowning, like the air around you can’t keep you alive one more second. The fuzzy warmth in your ears and the coldness that numbs your toes. I had built my life around that woman. A woman who loved me fiercely, a woman who left a hole in my world when she left. I am an incredibly lucky girl to have had a mother and a brother who taught me what true compassion, love, and humor add to this world. A part of me died the day my mother did, but a larger part of me learned how to survive. I remember when I walked into that room and I saw her laying there that I thought I could wake her up. I kneeled by her bedside and I was shattered. I didn’t know what was left of me after they were gone. I was angry at the world, I was angry at myself, I was angry at everything.

The months after my mother’s death it seemed like I was walking a tight rope. With a smile plastered on my face and a gaping hole inside myself I made the decision that I wasn’t going to let this kill me. Whenever you lose someone people like to talk to you like there is some formula for grief. Everyone thinks they understand and everyone wants to help. It took me awhile to figure out how I could deal with the grief. It never goes away and it never gets easier. It hides under your bed like the monster from your childhood. One minute you’re in the present and thinking about groceries, or the weather. The next minute you’re curled up in a ball in the restroom with your arms around your knees falling apart. 

I wouldn’t have made it without my husband, my father, my brother, my friends. But especially my step-mother. A woman who patiently waited to be apart of my life stepped forward and gave me every ounce of her love without expecting anything in return. I am lucky to say I have been given two incredible mothers in my life.

I wanted to share this because I want people with pain and grief to understand that it does not define you. There are going to be good days and bad days, but the truth is most days are filled with both. You can lose someone you love but still find a moment of happiness in a furniture store. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. Life is short and fleeting and so many of us spend all of our time stuck in the past or obsessing over the future. That’s when time runs away. After I lost my brother and my mother I still had to get on a scale and face the fact that I had ballooned up to 275lbs. When I think back to being at my largest after losing everything. It was because of those dark moments that I found the light. Me, my happiness, and everything I put into this world is that light.

Grief is a very lonely journey. No matter how much someone could empathize with me, my loss was my own. Matthew and my Mother aren’t here anymore. I can’t call them to tell them about my day. They didn’t see me get married and they will never meet my children. Those parts are hard. But it’s not as hard as coming to terms with the fact that their love is gone. The love I had for them remains but their love that surrounded me vanished.

In that void, I had to step up and start loving myself. I had to love myself enough to stop binge eating, I had to love myself so I could be a better wife for David, I had to love myself because they would’ve wanted me to. I know how strong I am now. I know what I am capable of. I know that whatever life throws at me, it’ll have to put me in the ground before I ever quit. I will be on this earth treasuring every moment I had with those two amazing people and being thankful that I got to call them my brother and my mother.

I’m still here and I’m still cheerful.

Dev

Weight loss transformation –

the 1st weight loss vlog

I am not a doctor or a health care professional.
I lost over 100 pounds over about 20 months. My start weight was about 278

 

1) Do not take it day by day, take it meal by meal. Just because you wake up and eat a crap breakfast. Don’t call it a day! I was a huge fan of the “I’ll start Monday” camp. It didn’t do me any good. It kept me from making progress, and honestly it made me feel like a failure. Try to make every meal count towards your goal, but if you mess up. Whatever. Just make the next one better. Don’t give up.

 

2) Write down everything you put in your mouth. Yes EVERYTHING. This does not work if you cheat yourself on it. Write down the good, the bad, and the absolutely horrific. I use the internet or an app on my phone to not only calculate the calories, but the fat, protein, and carbs. I write that down next to it. This not only keeps me accountable, but it gave me so much knowledge about food. Just because it says “low fat” or “low carb” it can still be NO BUENO. Don’t be afraid to look! It could inspire you to pick a better option for your meal! I always look back at it to see how I failed, what triggered it, and what I can do next time to make sure I don’t do it again. It also helps me keep track of tasty recipes!

 

3) Healthy food does not have to be disgusting. You do not have to eat what everyone else does. Build your own menu! Do you like fried chicken? There’s a healthy recipe for that. What about pizza? That too! And with my diet, I can even indulge from time to time without planning ahead of time. I really like to eat Jello with a low cal whipped topping at night. Is that the healthiest option? No! But it keeps my butt away from my husband’s Oreos in the snack cabinet.

 

4) Telling other people about my plans was causing me to fail. Have you ever heard about that crazy thing where humans actually get satisfaction from telling someone they’re going to “go work out” or “pick up a salad”. I was doing that 100%. I would tell my husband about my big health plans for the day, get his praise, and then I would TOTALLY FLAKE. I finally had to stop doing that. I kept my mouth shut, worked out, ate my kale salad (I can only do it with a fatty poppyseed dressing) and then come home and cook us a nutritious meal. THEN I would brag about it! To him, to facebook, to instagram. Wherever! I just had to stop counting my chicken breasts before I ate them.

 

5) Exercise is not punishment I remember stepping on the treadmill at 278 pounds. I can actually make myself cry if i think about it long enough. I couldn’t breath, I felt sick and hopeless. But more than that. I hated myself. I had been an athlete in my teens and sometimes at night I could still dream about what my body had been capable of when I was healthy. I started walking for 30 minutes on a treadmill or working on a stationary bike for 30 minutes. Then my husband introduced some light weights into the mix. After about 50 pounds I was brave enough to try yoga and I found out that I LOVED it. It was exactly what I needed. A little peaceful moment in my day to make me feel centered. You have to find your own groove and what works for you. Like dancing? Do it in your living room. Like to run? Put on some music and run somewhere beautiful. Just find what doesn’t make you miserable. Find what brings you peace. Don’t let anyone tell you the right way or wrong way (unless you’re hurting yourself). You’re an individual! Try a thousand different things and hate 999 of them. But you’ll find something. – – I hope this helps somebody, anybody else. Because I felt really alone when I was doing it. If it wasn’t for my husband’s support. I’d still be binge eating and hating what I was doing to myself. It took me a really long time, too long actually to understand that this journey isn’t about getting skinny, or being able to wear that bikini, or even making people like me more. It’s about being the strongest version of yourself inside and out so you can face whatever life throws at you.

 

EDIT:

1) – Portion control is such a huge part, I actually bought small side plates about 1/2 the size of our normal ones to help eat smaller portions of things. It worked for me!

 

2) – I never used shakes or herbalife just because I wanted to have a diet that I could follow anywhere. Scratch that, not even a diet. Anything like those shakes 3x a day or pills or wraps will stop working once you’re off of them. You will gain weight back. Try to do something that doesn’t feel like a diet, do something that feels like a lifestyle. I’m not saying those things don’t work – I’m just saying you don’t need to spend money or spend more money to eat healthy and work out. Don’t let people tell you that you need to pay for programs or shakes or whatever the hot new trend is! I love you guys!!! Send me questions, stories, whatever!

 

If you’re feeling like you need some support, encouragement, or a daily dose of butt kicking to hit a goal, please reach out to me. Either on here or on FB. Find the weight loss group I created, Fight Chub. It’s a group of really great people posting their failures, success, and daily grind for health and fitness.