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before and after

Before and After… with or without Boy George!

Normally this would probably be a combination of embarrassing and humiliating with a touch of pride and, wow – go me!  But, some of these have already been seen on national television this summer so much of my visceral reaction has been permanently eliminated. I’ll include that crazy life story here because it too has been part of the journey.

Like I mentioned in my previous post, DO take a before picture – total body.  I didn’t really let myself be photographed from head to toe when I was at my biggest.  So doing a true juxtaposition of before and after was a challenge.  I don’t really have a photo of myself at my largest, but these are pretty close.

Another motivator for me was taking photos of my scale when I stepped on it and saw progress.  I still have many of them – and used the first below 200 pound shot for the party invites.  I don’t have them all, but here are some that kept me going.  Each goal attained within the larger one made it easier to keep moving forward.

Believe me each and every time I watched Biggest Loser or Extreme Weight Loss Makeover after the weight loss I’d kick myself and say…that could’ve been me. It never dawned on me to try to get on one of those shows – though I watched them for inspiration.  So karma caught up with me this summer on our vacation. I was raised in New York and miss home each and every day.  So as often as I can go back I do. This trip was particularly special because we took our nephews who had never been to New York before, and have grown up in Wichita Falls, TX (population: 104,898) There were three must do’s on their list (BTW they are 14 and 9):

  • Eat a hot dog from a vendor cart
  • See the Statue of Liberty
  • Be on television on the TODAY show

Now none of these things for a native New Yorker are unattainable, however I simply had no interest whatsoever in waking up around 4 AM to be at Rockefeller Plaza before daybreak to ensure a spot at the front for the TODAY show.  I don’t even watch the TODAY show, LOL – I am a GMA girl.  But, being the good aunt that I am – I made sure to work our TODAY show appearance into the itinerary.

During vacation preparations it came to my attention that a surprise concert was being held one of our mornings in New York – at the TODAY show – by Boy George.  Well, this changed my entire outlook on our 4 AM wake up.  As a child of the 80’s (and a member of the GLBT community) I LOVE Boy George.  Now I was equally determined to get there on time to be front and center so that I could see my teenage idol.  I pre-registered with the TODAY show to get the “special passes” to be closer to the front, the boys colored their home made sign, we rose bright and early and arrived at the crack of dawn that morning.

We were ushered right into the front pit where the stage was and had a spot up against the railings where the boys could rest their poster.  I was an AMAZING aunt.  After a long time waiting for things to get started the warm up band came out and began playing some of Boy George’s oldest hits.  The whole audience was singing and my nephews were like: “Who’s Boy George?”

Various NBC employees and affiliates were working the crowds – asking them if they knew the lyrics, etc. (I know all of them!)  There were two particular individuals who approached us with an entirely different question.  They asked me if I had heard of their Thursday Ambush Makeovers.  Not being a TODAY show watcher (which I certainly did NOT mention), I had not.  I was quickly informed that Thursday’s in the summer they come out into the public and choose two women for a head-to-toe makeover, and would I be interested?  Well, hell yeah I was interested in having a makeover.  I had just lost all this weight and it was going to be my 5 minutes of fame.  They told me to wait a few minutes and they would come back to me to let me know if I had been chosen. Well about 5-7 minutes later I was being rushed back stage to be interviewed and then completely made over.  Here is the link to my makeover for those of you who have not seen it.



Needless to say it was an amazing experience.  Here is the reaction shot edited by friends:

Jans reaction

This was all well and good – and I was thrilled with the results, BUT… I never heard or saw Boy George (the one reason I actually woke up at 4 AM).  But guess who DID get to not only hear him, but meet him and get photos?  You got it, my family…none of whom are the big fan that I am.  So if you are out there anywhere @BoyGeorge – I cannot believe that I missed you.  Maybe I’ll have another opportunity before I die.

Let me tell you how hard it was being in New York around all my most favorite trigger foods and having to stay focused on the comfort and pleasure I was getting from being with my loved ones and in the city I love versus the comfort and pleasure of a real bagel.

In New York it is MUCH easier however to eat a gluten free diet, but I had to forgo the vendor hot dog in Central Park, the pretzel, real pizza… the list goes on.  I have learned to make the company and the environment my focus and not the food.  It is not an easy transformation – it takes time and will power, but it is achievable.  It is more easily achieved when you have the support and encouragement of those around you.  Make it a point to surround yourself with people who will lift you up and help you move forward, not those that bring you down and/or sabotage your efforts.

In my next post I will include my thought process when making choices off of menus.  Just remember do not let one bad day, or one bad choice define you or break your will.  No one is perfect… even those whose bodies look like they are.

The Ass of Death

I used to work in an office where it was common place to blow off steam by having Nerf gun fights.  Yeah… this SOUNDS like fun.  But the bigger you are… the larger target you make – LOL! Believe me it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself.

Anyway it was another one of those Fridays when we were all at our wits end, and Nerf bullets were being pelted at any and every breathing target.  I had learned from prior experience that when a bullet came your way, it was in your best interest to keep it, hide it and begin hoarding.  This strategy proved profitable on numerous occasions, and enabled me to be a formidable opponent. Having little or no ability to aim, nor time for target practice, it came to quantity over quality.  Stealth movements were equally important.

While working away quietly at my desk (yeah – LOL), a bullet came flying into my cube and onto my keyboard.  Well whoever shot that one missed – I thought to myself with glee while I pocketed the ammo. Before I had the time to successfully hide the bullet three more came flying over my cube wall.  Well… that’s how you want to play this I thought….

I grabbed all available ammo and loaded my weapon.  I jumped out of my chair and Rambo style shot at everyone in sight hoping in the very least to frighten off the individual who had been targeting me.  Bullets were flying everywhere they came at me, from behind me…and the wounded began piling up.  I sank defeated into my chair because if memory serves me correctly not only was I one of the largest targets and ergo the most wounded but the least coordinated and hadn’t inflicted any semblance of a retaliation.

After the battle settled down, we all returned to work.  Needing information from a co-worker I rose from my desk to make my way across the office. Upon return to my cubicle – I find my then co-worker and now best friend hysterically laughing and holding up a bent and deflated Nerf bullet retrieved from the seat of my chair (politically correct way of saying – from under my ass).

From Wikipedia: Nerf foam is made from a solid, spongy cellular material. To produce it, polyester resin reacts with another compound in the presence of CO2 from another reaction. It is this gas that creates open pockets within the polyurethane that, in turn, make the material soft and light (and apparently permits it to spring back into shape).  With continued research I have found: Darts deform when the air bubbles in the foam get crushed. This happens when they are continually compressed. The longer they are kept in that state, the less “spring” they’d have when they are released. The scary thing was, I wasn’t seated for very long.  I also know very little about NERF bullets in general, but here is a chart in case you are curious, and I am uncertain which of these bullets I decommissioned – however it did started off looking like one of the NERF suction darts.

It ended up looking… well… let’s say nothing like a dart/bullet.  Hence my lovely nickname at work moving forward… “the ass of death”.  If I could kill a NERF dart, who knows what other damage my ass may have been capable of.  TALK ABOUT MOTIVATION!!!!

I still laugh, and this nickname continues to be lovingly used by my now BFF.  It’s also a great reminder of what was then and what is now. If you are embarking on a weight loss journey there are a few things I recommend at the outset:

  • Definitely take BEFORE pictures – full body pictures (not only will you want to have them for comparison when you attain your goal, but you will want them as a constant reminder to stay on course)
  • Take BEFORE measurements (your waist, your hips, your biceps, your calves, your neck, your chest, etc.) because even if you are not immediately seeing the pounds melt away seeing the measurements decrease keeps you staying positive.
  • Keep one pair of BEFORE jeans. Don’t keep them where you can potentially wear them, just put them in storage or give them to a friend to hold so that you can look back periodically and see your progress.  I could not believe that I transformed from a 2-3X to a size 6.  Now I wish I had kept just one of my old jeans as an additional reminder of just how far I’ve come.

Many people reading this blog will have already seen some of my before and after pictures.  In my next posting I will include a few – maybe this will help encourage those of you who have yet to see the transformation.


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