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New Weight Loss Blogs in 2013

If you started a new weight loss blog in 2013. I want to hear from you! Let me know where you are so I can give you support. You can either comment below or join the forum and post under the "New Weight Loss Blogs in 2013" 

Do you have a favorite weight loss blog that inspires you? Tell us about that here.  I would expect you to list your own there as well - because you are your own inspiration.  You knew that; right?

I'm here for support too! Follow me if you like the blog, I have so much more to say.  I'm going to really stretch my goals this year and work on 2013 followers.  Can you imagine what a thriving inspirational community this would be? Will you help me?

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Poochy Ponders: To Tell or Not to Tell

Poochy Ponders
That's today's ponder. While I am no Hamlet, debating on whether you tell people you've had weight loss surgery is a heavy subject.  Since my surgery, I've had six friends have one procedure or the other and the topic of telling people is always at the top.

I personally, share my story as I feel it's a way to Pay it Forward to the next person.  I've always been pretty open where no question is off-limits.  It's a personal decision.  I have in the last year encountered situations where I felt uneasy sharing my surgery story.  I've realized that you really have to trust the person.  When my wellness coach asked me to tape a testimonial for their website, I did it to Pay it Forward; but when I found out that they wanted to share it with the entire company I work for, I freaked out.  In that situation, I was able to figure out why.  I was afraid of what other's might think or how they would judge me or what they would say if they saw me eating a wrong food in the cafeteria.  I didn't want them to hold me accountable.  It took me a long time to work through the fear.  I knew that it was another test of how far I'd come and that I can be empowered by it rather than hindered.  They shared the video and I never heard anything from anyone except praise and kindness and those that were mean - I don't know about or care.  They have their own demons if they're worried about mine.

Recently, I was thinking about the future and flash-forward 10 years from now with new people that have crossed my path. Is there really a need to tell the story? Are you really still living in a fat-minded body by continuing to tell your story? If so, how can I continue to Pay it Forward if I stop the story.

I'm interested in what you think about this. Do you tell your story? Who do you tell? Who do you not tell. When do you stop telling? That is the question. 

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Top 10 Steps to a New You in 2013

Do you remember December 31, 1999 when everyone said the world would change at the stroke of midnight and all our technology would go to hell?   What about just a few days ago when the world was going to end, yet again? Well this year, 2013, I am going to stick my neck out on a limb and say this is the year you succeed!

Here are the top 10 steps I took in 2012 - I'm happier, focused and going to be even more successful in 2013.  You can be too!

1.  Find your happy and do it.  What do you truly live for? What gives you that tingly feeling?
2. Discover an exercise you really enjoy or look forward to.  If it's playing catch in the back yard or   dancing to your favorite music, do it!  Exercise doesn't have to be painful. As long as you're moving, you're burning calories.
3.  Quit looking for the "why" - the why doesn't matter. It can provide insight but the answer will never fix the problem.
4.  Choose your thoughts.  If you focus on the positive, your behavior will follow.  What you think affects how you feel and what you do.
5.  Find your comfort.  Food is not it.  As a child, I was comforted by my mother with food while my father would be raging drunk in the other room.  I associated food with comfort.  As an adult when ever I needed comfort, I turned to food.  It's a vicious cycle and a learned behavior.  Find other ways to comfort yourself.  If you're feeling alone, get with friends.  If you're angry, go for a walk and clear your mind.  Don't turn to food.  Food is not your friend and will never give you comfort.
6.  Love yourself.  No one will ever love you like you should love yourself.  Be kind to yourself.
7.  You only have to worry about today.  If that's too much do it by the hour and so on.  Sometimes the focus on "the rest of your life" can drown you.  As the days add up, you'll have created new habits and a new way of life,.
8.  Take responsibility and stop making excuses.  An excuse is only a way to permit yourself to have a certain behavior.  You're an adult - admit your shortfall and be responsible.
9.  Don't worry about what others are saying or thinking.  First, they're probably not thinking what you think they are and second, they're going to do it any way.  From now on, your give a damn is busted.
10.  Nurture yourself with what makes you feel good.  Is it make up? Is it jewelry? Maybe it's a long hot bubble bath.  Take care of you.

Remember, There is nothing selfish about taking care of YOU.  

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Pre New Year Challenge

Have you read this woman's blog? If you haven't, you're missing out. Holly had the same surgery I did, the VSG, and she looks amazing!  I know first-hand the struggles a 400 pound body has and if you haven't read her story, please do.  I know there are parts that I could totally pick myself out in and I'm sure you could too.  Holly wrote about a challenge called "Throw a Wrench in it" and how there are 7 days before Christmas and New Years. I can't give it justice so please stop over and read it.  It's powerful.  I'd been using this nasty cold as an excuse to not get off my duff and move and with Holly's inspiration I pulled out my "still in the package" Bob Harper Power Band and did the first set for beginner's.  Thank you Holly, I feel great! Are you using the same old excuse year after year to wait for the New Year? Come on throw a wrench in it and get off your duff!

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Find Your Happy

I spent a lot of years pondering the reason I was fat and why I abused food.  I blamed my alcoholic father, my dieting obsessed mother, the kids who teased me in school, the boy who broke my heart, and the list could go on and on and on.  Today, if I let myself, I could make excuses every time I don't eat enough protein, have an extra peanut butter cup, or miss my vitamins.

I always thought that if I figured out the "why", I could fix it.  I now know that the "why" doesn't matter. Once I gave myself permission to not worry about the "why" things started to click.  I abuse food.  I have to change that no matter why I do it.  I am fat. I have to change that no matter why I am.  Sure, I may have learned to binge to cope with problems or reward myself with food from my mother but at some point, I became an adult and I am now responsible for my own actions.

I also thought that if I could just reach my goal weight, I would be happy.  You can choose to be happy now.  If you're waiting for permission, you have mine. It's ok to be happy.

I've mentioned peanut butter cups a lot on this blog already and there is a reason for it.  My wellness coach helped me see that it's important to find out what makes you happy.  For him, an Olive burger from Smashburger does it for him.  For me, it's peanut butter cups. We don't eat them every day but occassionally, we do.  They make us happy.

Playing with my kids and taking them to events make me happy.  At 400 pounds you don't do much but sit on sidelines and watch life pass you by.  Having that kind of life did not make me happy.

I've learned that taking a walk around the block really helps me clear my mind and regain focus.  I don't go for a walk to exercise.  Exercise is just a benefit.  Walking makes me happy.

I've learned I love date night with my husband.  I no longer dread that energy it takes to get ready and be out in public.  My husband makes me happy.

I've learned that wearing make up and jewelry make me happy.  I wear it often as I don't feel happy without it.  It reminds me of my past when I didn't have the energy or the desire to pamper myself. Don't mistake this for it makes me feel pretty. I am pretty with or without make up and jewelry. :) Pampering myself makes me happy.

I've learned I love to make jewelry.  I took a class and plan to make more.  Being creative makes me happy.

I've learned that I love doing volunteer work.  Helping others makes me happy.

This winter I am going to go sledding with my son and rather than sit and watch from the car or stay home while his dad takes him, I'm going to go sledding down the hill with him.  If I break my leg, I won't be happy but I'll be creating memories that will make us happy for a lifetime.

I used to think that all food and great quantities of food would make me happy. It would fill the void of whatever was happening in the moment. Unfortunately, it hindered the happy in the future.

Figure out your happy.  You can be happy now no matter what weight you are or where you're at in this journey.  I can honestly say that if I never lose another pound, I am happy and love myself and my life. See, that's why this is working.  I wasn't fixing the right problem, and created another one in it's place.
Bottom line, eat less and move more.  If you need help, get it.  You have to put yourself first before you can do for others. You are worth it, you deserve it and you deserve to be happy.

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The Token Resolutions Post

The new year is fast approaching.  Everyone is in a rush to finish up the year or make their resolutions for next year.  I, too, have goals for the upcoming year.  Are you setting goals, making your lists and checking them twice?

I would like to quit smoking again.  I quit prior to my WLS surgery and continued as a non-smoker for 9 months.  I really thought I had the habit kicked and then I did a really stupid thing and tried an electronic cigarette. What was I thinking? I never associated it with being "like" a cigarette. I heard her say, "Try this, you won't believe how real it tastes!" I didn't associate it with how real it really would taste.  I fought the urge to go back for about two weeks.  Hubby had quit for 7 months and we were both being strong for each other until that 3rd Saturday when we'd spent the day at the beach with the kids. We got into the car and I said, "Let's do something fun like rent movies and smoke!" and that was all it took. Pretty lame story but that's what did it.  We spent the next week telling each other one more pack, one more pack. And then we bought a carton. I sit here struggling with a winter cold either my daughter shared with me or my father-in-law during our Christmas celebration and can't help but kick myself in the rear because I never had a cold all last winter when I was a non-smoker.   I know I can kick this again and I won't be a smoker in 2013.

My second goal is to go to Onederland in 2013.  To type that phrase is so surreal to me after weighing over 400 pounds.  I can't tell you when I weighed in at a number that started with a 1.  I know that I graduated high school weighing 208.  For years and years, it felt like impossible to even lose 30 pounds and I'm excited that I only have 80 or so to go.  I will be in Onederland in 2013.

Those are my goals for the year.  You will probably find me setting more as the year goes by but I find that I'm more successful setting small goals.  I need to see results fast to keep my momentum going.

Having that "I want it now" attitude can be a handicap and make it easy to "to throw the towel in".  For example, let's say you typically set a goal of 10 pounds a month.  That's roughly 2-3 pounds a week, which is considered a safe weight loss to have.  However, if your body isn't willing to lose that 10 pounds that month no matter how "on plan" you've been, it can be devastating to your mindset.  I suggest setting the goal for 5 pounds a month and if you reach 8 pounds in the month, imagine what the extra 3 pounds does to your mindset? Under promise and Over deliver!

What are your goals and how to plan to reach them?

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I Talk to Myself

What defines perfect? defines perfect as entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: a perfect apple; the perfect crime, a perfect 10

I will never be perfect.  And I'm all right with that.  After losing 150 pounds, my skin hangs in places that shouldn't.  Some days, my face looks droopy and my legs still look like clubs.  One thing I know though, I've come a long way, baby.  These "flaws" are all gentle reminders of where I've been.  What really matters is how my inner-voice defines these "flaws" today and the day after.  After years and years of negative self-talk, I've had to learn to retrain my thoughts because thoughts can become a reality if you let them.  Take advantage of your thoughts and think yourself perfect. 

These are some of the affirmations I use daily. 

  • I am beautiful. 
  • I am worth it. 
  • I treat people the way I want to be treated. 
  • I am healthy. 
  • I love to exercise and stretch my body. 
  • I bless people with my words. 
  • I love myself. 
  • I can do anything. 
I have a list of my affirmations at my desk.  I read them daily usually first thing when I come into work.  It helps shape my day.  You could also place sticky notes on your mirrors, your refrigerator or in your car or  make an mp3 of your affirmations to listen to at work or in your car. 

What do you say to yourself? 

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This Is My Story

My name is Mary and my alter-ego is Poochy.  I would like to say I was born fat but I left my mother's womb at a normal 7 pounds 6 ounces.  I didn't start to see an issue with my weight until I was about 4 or 5 years old.  I could safely say that I was one of the fattest girls in my class throughout grade and high school notwithstanding that little bout at the beginning of 7th grade when I'd lost weight over the summer.  It's funny how I knew the secret to weight loss back then and and still thirty some years later like to fight it. Eat less and move more. How boring, right?

I've tried a ton of diets even at a young age.  I think my first Weight Watchers meeting was around 10 years old and then there was TOPS and when Jane Fonda had me making it burn, I was busy analyzing if taking laxatives to lose weight was really that dangerous.

I have spent tons of money on diet products from hypnotists, Deal a Meal, books....OMG do I have books!  I never did diet pills much maybe once or twice and I never had my jaw wired shut because when I was researching that, I realized that I, too, could suck raw cookie dough through a straw if I really wanted to.

I'm now on this new weight loss surgery kick.  I had the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) in October of 2011 weighing in at 431.2 pounds and I'm down roughly 150 pounds.  It's by far twice the most weight I've ever lost.  I'm in the 2nd year with my opportunity to lose closing in and I need to make sure that I don't lose my focus.  You know that phrase I wrote above... Eat less and move more.

Some days I do really good and others well, I'm normal.  I like my Reese Peanut Butter Cups just like some of you do.  I definitely move more but I'm not a gym rat.  I am fortunate to have a wellness trainer where I work and he's so proud of me, he asked me to shoot a video for their website.  He's also the one that told me to buy the little black dress and to not give a damn what other's may think. Wow was he right!  I never had so much attention.  I felt like a million bucks.   I often tell him that I wish he was that little guy on my right shoulder shouting these things to me every time my inner-voice keeps trying to tell me the opposite.

The Little Black Dress
279 pounds December 2012
152 pounds lost. 

My goal weight is between 140 and 150 pounds but I really try to not concentrate on the number on the scale, there's so much more important things like Reese Peanut Butter Cups  living life and doing what makes you happy.  It really is important.  I've spent so many years trying to figure out what made me fat that I could write about it for the next 50 years or so.  If only I had concentrated on what truly makes me happy and then doing it.  I encourage you to do the same.  Dig down deep and find your happy.  I promise it will make your journey so much easier.

I should admit my downfalls... let's see you know about the Peanut Butter cups and no, I do not like them with my eggs.  Catsup or Ketchup is for eggs. I suffer from Squirrel Syndrome - dogs playing frisbee sees a squirrel and runs... that's me. It is also known as "something shiny syndrome"  I will try to stay on topic but I can't make any promises.  Especially, if Shameless is on Showtime or Jax does something on Son's of Anarchy, or I must rant or rave about The Biggest Loser.

I have a family.  A super, great family.  I am on my second and last marriage for the last 4 years.  He would have been my first, but he wasn't old enough.  That officially makes me a cougar. He brought to the marriage two wonderful children I have the pleasure of helping raise.  We are a normal family that fights one minute and loves the next.  My husband has a few television obsessions as well.  The Food Network being one. I fondly refer to it as Food Porn and the second, being Dr. Phil.  I haven't nicknamed this obsession yet, because I can't gauge how long it will last...

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Weight Loss Surgery Saved My Life

Weight loss surgery (WLS)  is a very personal decision.  It was a decision that I made that definitely saved my life.  There are many misconceptions out there good and bad.  I can tell you first hand that it is not the "magic pill" everyone wishes they had to control their weight.  It is not the "cure all" of life's problems.  Definitely, it is not the "easy way out".  After surgery, you still have to watch what you eat by monitoring your protein intake, your calorie intake, and you water intake.  Living after weight loss surgery is probably the strictest diet you've ever been on because it's a life-long process. Your odds of success are really no better than any other diet out there. Did you know that after 5 years, 50% of the people who have had weight loss surgery usually gain 50% or more of their weight back? Did you know that your opportunity to lose your most weight is in the first two years following surgery and then it's up to you to do it the old-fashioned way?

My journey prior to surgery began in February 2011.  I had decided to have the sleeve procedure done. This is also known as the VSG or Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. Twice before, I had attempted to have it done and both times would find excuses that would allow me to stop the process.  Something happened to me at the start of 2011 and I can't quite pin point what it was to make me do it this time, and really, the why, doesn't matter.  My insurance company made me jump through hoops as well as my surgeon. I had to have six months of physician monitoring, weight management classes, nutrition classes, and even visited a psychologist.  During this process, I ended up firing my regular physician, and found a new one that was on board with my wishes 100 percent.  As I reflect back on my journey, I can tell you I had many opportunities to throw the towel in again.  I am so glad I didn't.

My surgeon told me that I'd regret having the surgery at least three times.  Right after surgery, a month after surgery, and about six months after surgery.  I never did.

Right after surgery, I was just thankful to be alive.  My biggest fear was dying on the operating table and when I realized I had woke up, I was just thankful to have a heart beat.  I didn't have much pain either, which surprised me.  A month after surgery, I was feeling a little cooped up from being on medical leave but regrets? No way! Finally, at six months- I must not have because I was too busy living and loving life!

If you're considering weight loss surgery and have any questions, I'd be happy to share with you what I know from the patient prospective.  I am not a physician and certainly encourage you to discuss having WLS with your physician as well. You may email me here or join the forums here and post your question under "Ask Poochy"


I Once Weighed Over 400 Pounds

431.2 pounds to be exact.  To put it very simple, my life sucked.  To be serious, I was lucky to be alive.  I was lucky diabetes and high blood pressure hadn't attacked my body.  I was living on borrowed time and what a miserable life it was.  

I remember when the scale first read over 300 pounds, I brushed it off and thought, "no worries, you don't look like you weigh 300 pounds." Really? Who was I kidding.  

My weight had taken over my entire life.  Simple tasks were now painful ones.  

Going to work and getting to my desk was a daily fear I had every day.  Terrible thoughts raced through my mind as I would go to work.  "What if the elevator is down and I have to climb the stairs?" "Where can I sit and rest after walking the parking lot before getting on the elevator?"  The elevator that I had made a habit had now become a necessity.  

Going to family functions became a dreadful event.  I would often ask myself, "Where will I sit, Will the chair be big enough?"  "What will so and so say this time about my weight?"

Spending time with my kids became quality time on the couch in front of the television or playing  Wii sitting down.  

My errands became my husbands' errands as I could no longer walk up and down grocery aisles or go to the post office because it was just too hard.  

I began to distance myself from anyone including family.  Had it not been for needing an income, I would have been bedridden sooner than later.  A fear, I started to have daily.  

I can't tell you what made me finally take that step and have weight loss surgery.  Maybe it was the fact that choosing to have surgery was too painful because it meant admitting I couldn't do it on my own or worse yet, admitting I had a problem.  

When I  reached 300 on the way back down, my thoughts were different.  They were more healthy.  Is 300 pounds an acceptable weight? No, not for me.  However, I can live like I weigh 150 pounds.  

The difference in thinking is this, if you choose to ignore the problem, you're not facing it.  If you accept it, but keep moving on in a more positive direction, it will eventually fade.  

Thank you for reading, I'll post more on my past life at over 400 pounds and the new life I've found once I took control. 

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I am Poochy Ponders

There are several reasons I named my blog Poochy Ponders.  I had wanted to use the name Poochy, originally, because of the little bear I was given in the hospital before having weight loss surgery.  It was intended to shield the pain after surgery much like a heart patient is given to use.  I had named him Poochy after reading so many blogs about weight loss surgery and blogger's referring to their new pouches, a.k.a. their stomach.

Ponders was easy.  I ponder a lot.  I've spent many years mulling over the reason I was fat.  Should I blame my mother? My father? Did I have a thyroid problem? Was I just big boned? The reasons were endless.  Nowadays, I ponder how to make this my best life, sorting through the garbage in my head, and most of all doing what makes me happy.

After much thought, I decided that if I was going to use the name Poochy, I had better make sure it doesn't mean something outlandish or embarrassing.  Little did I know, it was the perfect name for this blog because the Urban Dictionary described me to a "T" in my past life.  Continuing to believe there wasn't a problem, only helped me reach over 400 pounds.    Can you pick out which definition I fall under?

 Definition 1: 

a not so fat but not so skinny person; usually they think they aren't fat and call themselves "big boned," or they make up some excuse that it's in their genes; sometimes referred to as "lards"

The poochy girl went to the nearest McDonald's and bought a salad, and a diet coke along with a big mac... and a double cheeseburger... and a double quarter pounder, then spent the night there feasting. 

Definition 2: 

To be burnt out after a big spliff

Man that joint made me totally poochy.

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