Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Story (Part 3) The Finale!

Fill 'er Up!

June 2010
As you can clearly see, blood transfusions are a LOT of fun!!!  Okay...NOT!  Seriously, I didn't feel anywhere near as happy or as perky as I look in these photos.  I'm just a HAM and definitely HAD to photo document this moment.  I was actually quite scared and physically drained.  I also honestly thought that as this life giving fluid was pumped into me that I would start to feel strong and powerful.  I figured I'd want to leap tall buildings and all that.  But you know what the truth is???  I threw up pretty much non stop all night!  Fun times!  Don't tell me I don't know how to par-tay!  By the way...that RED stuff is blood!  Bwahahahahahaaaa!  Does this make me a vampire?

Asta La Vista Baby-carriage!

Shortly after getting my tank topped off, my doctor and I discussed what to do next.  Did you know that a uterus has only one function?  Yep.  Its a unitasker.  Don't tell Alton Brown.  He hates unitaskers.  Its only function is to be a baby carriage.   That's it. age 51...I wasn't planning on using that carriage again...EVER!   I also don't take kindly to body parts that are bound and determined to kill me.  So since it was kill or be killed...the carriage had to GO! 

On June 30, 2010 my 19 year old, youngest son, Ben took me to the hospital.  He was so awesome!  He brought a game for us to play while we waited for what seemed like forever!  I was given one of those OH SO stylish hospital gowns and we sat and played games for a few hours.  Eventually the anesthesiologist came in to give his schpeal.   Talk about a pep talk!  He listed all the things that could go wrong.  Ben told me that really scared too.  So Ben asked to say a prayer with me.  Awwww!  I absolutely LOVE that boy!

Oh!  And how about that medicine they give you to make sure all your insides are totally clear of last night's dinner??!!!  Yeah!  It's a SCREAM!!!

Eventually they wheeled me down the hall and parked my gurney.  They made me hop off, walk across the hall and into the operating room and get my exposed fanny on another table.  SHEESH!  I didn't realize there was going to be a physical fitness part of the spa treatment.  Once I got situated I started to feel like I was suffocating.  I absolutely couldn't breathe.  The anesthesiologist had warned me I'd feel like that.  He told me not to panic but to relax and let him breathe for me.  I said a quick prayer and then let go.  I wasn't totally sure I'd wake up in this life or the next. 


Quite honestly, it seemed like I had only just closed my eyes when I was waking up again.  More than 4 hours had passed!  But I had the most amazing experience that I really want to share with you. I felt like I was wrapped in a cocoon of love.  You know how the Holy Ghost is often called the comforter?  Well, I felt like I had been wrapped in a big, warm comforter filled with the most amazingly pure love.  It genuinely felt like angels were hugging me.  All I felt was love and gratitude.  My first thought was that the anesthesiologist and my doctor had done a great job.  I was so thankful for them.  I was grateful to be alive!  I was extremely thankful for my husband and sons.  I love them so very much!  I was grateful for every person in that room who assisted me that day.  This was a super powerful feeling and I felt right from the beginning that it was something I should let everyone know...not that just I was loved but that we are all loved that fiercely.  One of the nurses later said this love I felt was drug induced but I have to tell you all right here and now, after a year and a half, I have a firm testimony that it was NOT from the drugs but from our loving Heavenly Father.  God loves us all so very much!  Though that loved feeling began to fade in a few hours, the memory of it lives within me.  Its something I will never ever forget.  It was also another confirmation that my life is worth living to the fullest.  No more eating myself into oblivion!

You Know What To Do!

The next morning my doctor showed up.  She talked to me about my surgery and how there were a few problems though nothing she couldn't handle.  She totally ROCKS!  Its a very weird sensation to have someone literally and actually look inside my body and tell me how very healthy all my body parts are besides the tons of fat in there that kept getting in the way of her instruments.  I figure she could have helped a girl out and taken a vacuum to all that excess fat but she didn't. She left that job for me.  Then she got all serious and said that I had been given a second chance at life. I agree whole heartedly!  She really didn't want to see me back there in another year with heart disease and full blown diabetes because of my obesity.  And I gotta tell ya, I'm SOOOO done with hospitals! 

I asked her what I needed to do.  She told me I know what to do.  Uh...HELLO!!!!!  If I knew what to do, don't you think I'd be sitting there in size 4 jeans???!!  I mean REALLY???  That's the best she's gunna give me??? 

My doctor thought about this for a moment and then offered me 2 choices.  2 is perfect.  Not too many to choose from and not too few so the choice is still MINE.  I could either go on the Mediterranean diet or the Biggest Loser diet.   She felt they were both excellent diets to start with.  She said both were sound and neither was a fad diet.  I didn't know anything about either diet and I had never seen The Biggest Loser on TV but I knew I could probably find the most stuff on that diet.  So I got several Biggest Loser books and began reading almost as soon as I got home from the hospital. 

Ben took a week off to take care of me.  I was allowed to sleep, walk to the bathroom and into the living room to sleep again on the couch.  NO STAIRS!  Not one stair for at least a week.  Ben cooked me anything I asked for.  He and I watched all 3 extended versions of The Lord of the Rings.  AWESOME!  They're really great watching them like that only I think I killed a spot on my bum sitting like that for so long.  Just sayin'.  We also watched all 3 Jurassic Parks and after that its a blurr. 

On about day 4 staying home I got up and exercised.  I started out with about 10 minutes of VERY SLOW walking in place to a Wii Fit game called Walk It Out.  I still use that game a lot only now I run on the treadmill while playing it. 

The Nuts and Bolts

So, here's basically what I did.  The Biggest Loser has an easy to follow formula. 

1.  Step on the scale.  Don't be afraid.  The bigger the number, the more you get to eat.YAY!

2.  Multiply that number by 7.  So I weighed 218 when I got on the scale.  Times that by 7 and I got to eat 1526 calories that day.  Not too shabby.

I started out eating what ever I wanted.  I just stopped at 1526 calories.  When I ran out of calories but didn't want to go to bed hungry, I ate a rice cake (about 35 calories) with a huge glass of water.  That always filled my tummy. 

Another tip: I literally ate Subway daily.  I stuck with Jared's lower calorie favorites on whole wheat.  I packed these sandwiches with tons of veggies, NO cheese, mayo or oil.  Just vinegar, salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and oregano.  I lost 40 pounds while eating Subway almost daily. can be done!  I only got the baked chips or the apples and only diet soda.

One of the things I think made this formula work for me is that as I lost pounds, I had to cut calories out of my day.  This meant I had to think about what I was eating.  Suddenly, that 300 calorie small bowl of ice cream had to be rethought.  I switched to Skinny Cow ice creams. 

Later, I began removing all the empty calories from my diet.   These are foods that still left me hungry after eating them.  I got to where I couldn't waste what calories I ate each day on something that wasn't filling.  The best part of this was I made this choice.  I ate the foods.  I knew what foods were filling and what weren't.  I decided what would go and what I would keep.  I also kept a food journal.  A really good one is at

I continued on this weigh and multiply formula until I got to where the calories were so low I just couldn't eat that little.  This is when I added more exercise.  I started with 1 hour a day and kicked it up a notch to 2 hours.  One in the morning and one in the evening.

I should mention that after major abdominal surgery, I had to take it easy for a while.  But as my body healed, I was able to work up to a full hour or more of exercise a day.  On Black Friday, 2010, Jack went out and bought a treadmill.  So I went from walking in place to walking on an incline on the treadmill.  I still continue to push myself to walk and even run faster.  The incline helps to really engage your legs. 

After I had lost 40 pounds, Jack and I joined a gym.  A friend of mine taught Zumba in a gym and she said that I was more likely to work out harder and longer at a gym.  There are so many distractions at home and too easy to step off the treadmill or turn off the DVD for a distraction.  She was right.  I love working out at the gym.   I also hired a personal trainer.  She got me reading a book called, The Eat Clean Diet by Tosca Reno.  I highly recommend her diet.  By the time I had lost 40 pounds I was ready to to make a bigger commitment to myself.  I still watch the Biggest Loser show. I find it very inspiring.  I own most of Bob Harper's work out DVDs.  He rocks!  But I was ready to significantly change my lifestyle.  I also learned that weight lifting is very important.  The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn.  Well, who doesn't want to burn more calories while they're sleeping?!!  I SURE DO!!!

So that's really it in a nutshell.  I push myself to exercise twice a day.  I work at eating clean and I lift weights regularly.  Lately, I've had to hide my scale.  Well, Jack's hidden it for me. I began to stress out a bit about how fast this weight is NOT coming off.  Did you know that stressing releases a hormone that causes your body to hang on to fat?  Yes!  That's SO NOT what I want!!!  So I had Jack hide my scale and I've been focusing on a new approach to weight loss. 

Here's my new philosophy: 
I've gleaned it from my yoga teachers and several books I've been reading lately.

First its all about what you eat.  If you eat healthy and fully nutritious foods that are filling, you are less likely to over eat and calorie counting becomes unnecessary.  Now, this means giving up foods that are deemed "Anti-foods."  These are foods that are high in calorie, have little to no nutritional value, are not filling and are actually damaging to the body.  Most if not all of my former flavorful friends fall into this category.  Its difficult at first to give them up but in a very short time your body will feel so much better without them that it will complain when you indulge in them.  I've found I don't crave them any more.

 Me! December 2011
So, it starts out with filling our bodies with healthy, nutritious and filling foods.  Then add cardio and weight lifting to your day.  By the way, Yoga is amazing for strength training!!!  When you are doing everything you are supposed to, in time, your body will become its most ideal self.  If we put a number on that, we may choose a number that will force our body to become smaller than it's ideal.  So, I'm no longer looking to become a certain number on the scale or a certain pant size. My body still has more fat on it than is its ideal however I intend on continuing this way of eating and exercise for the rest of my life.  The big pay off is in how good I feel!  In time I'll be at my body's ideal weight.  I just need to Keep it up, keep it off and be patient. 

I continue to look for alternative choices than food to celebrate and console myself.  The other day I hit the blues particularly hard.  In the past I would have plowed through a giant bag of M&Ms but this day I pulled out my iPod, plugged into all my favorite up beat music, tuned out everything else and scrapbooked.  I had such a wonderful time!  I was dancing and feeling really good after a few hours.  Best of was calorie free! 

I'm ever on the look for alternative things to do with friends rather than get together to eat.  Its a real challenge but its my new mission in life. 

What is the best thing ever?  Being able to tie my shoes.  Okay...not just tie my shoes anywhere but ON A PLANE!  Yeah!  That feels pretty doggone good.  Also being able to synch in that airplane seat belt.  Ahhh!  Not long ago I saw someone struggling to get their shoes on and tie them on the plane.  I remember how that felt.   I wished I could say something to them but I also know how it feels to have someone thoughtlessly tell me to lose weight.  All I can say is I feel better now in my 50s than I have in the past 20 years! 



  1. Wendy~ you look fantastic!!! Way to go :D What a life-changing experience you've had. Thank you so much for sharing :D


  2. You are amazing Wendy! Loved reading your story! Well done!!!

  3. I'm so glad you are feeling so much better and sharing it with others- especially me!!

  4. What good advice, and such an inspiring story, Wendy. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! You are amazing!