Tag Archives: Success

And The Winner Is . . . .

Close up of Caucasian female legs standing on the floor scalesThere are only a few things that intimidate me. One is being in a situation that is completely new to me. The other is what anyone who has a weight issue has—body issues. So, when I got a phone call a month ago telling me that I won an honorable mention in a contest and they wanted me to come for a professional photo shoot, it raised my anxiety level through the roof.

IMG_0040All my life I have struggled with my weight. I look at photos of my youth, and I wasn’t really that big, but what is in our head and what we hear other people say, can burn itself in our brains. My brain said I was overweight and unattractive, and no matter what I did, that wouldn’t change.  Food was a part of our culture.  Our family ate to celebrate, we ate when we were feeling blue, we ate to entertain guests, and we ate just because we could!

I had my first child at 23. I gained more weight than I should have during the pregnancy. dietsSo, in 1973 I joined Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers was nothing like it is today. There were restricted foods, and we were supposed to eat liver once a week and fish twice a week. Regardless, I lost 28 lbs. but, of course, like many, I did not stick with Weight Watchers to make lifetime membership. Three babies later, my weight started inching up with each pregnancy. I became friends again with Weight Watchers, The Diet Center, Calorie Counting, Jenny Craig, Atkins, you name it. I was always somewhat successful, but never down to where I wanted to be before I got bored, hungry, or whatever else the excuse was. Once again, my weight would inch up.  Almost ten years ago I started walking. I found that helped me keep my weight in line, and I even lost a few pounds. Of course, the weather got bad, I got really busy at work, or something would cause me to stop walking.

The funny thing is that I never saw myself as large as I actually was, and yet, those voices saying I was overweight and unattractive still rang in my head at the same time. A couple years ago, I started to not feel well. I wasn’t sick, but I sure didn’t feel great. I went to the doctor to see what is wrong with me. All my blood tests came back within normal limits. The only thing that was discovered was that I had mild sleep apnea. When I went online to learn about sleep apnea, I learned that all the symptoms I had fit right into the sleep apnea list. What surprised me is that it also listed weight gain. So, getting a bi-pap machine relieved my digestive issues, and the headaches and fatigue I felt, but it didn’t take away the extra weight.

I began another diet. My husband joined me.  He lost 20 pounds, and I lost only a few pounds, I got frustrated and quit. I needed something to give me a jump start. But what was that going to be?

One day my husband was on his computer surfing the internet, and he said he ran across something he thought I might find interesting. It was a balloon doctors put in your stomach to make you feel full. It sounded really odd, but I was desperate to do something to make me feel well and healthy. I went to the website, and it said if you wanted more information, to complete the form, so I did. I got an email from a doctor’s office that they were having an informational meeting about these intragastrial balloons. I signed up to attend the meeting.

We drove to St. Louis and attended the meeting. I knew this procedure would not be a magic bullet, but maybe it would give me the jump start I needed. The procedure was noninvasive. They insert the balloon though an endoscopy (down the throat to the stomach). It takes about 10 minutes under anesthesia. The balloon can only be in place for 6 months, and then it is removed. While the balloon is in place, I would be under a doctor’s care, have a nurse practitioner, a dietician, and a behavior coach working with me for not only the six months the balloons were in place, but for another six months after that. I immediately signed up for the procedure.


Dr. Kushner & me

In May of 2016, I underwent this simple medical procedure to help me lose weight. It was called ReShape. The dual balloon made of silicone was placed inside my stomach though an endoscopy procedure. Once the balloons were in place, they filled them with a saline solution. These balloons remained in my stomach for six months while I dieted and exercised. My goal was to lose 60 pounds in six months. I thought it was crazy goal, and one I couldn’t do in the past.

At the end of 6 months, the doctor removed the balloons the same way he inserted them (by endoscopy). I had continued support by this medical team for another 6 months as I worked on the skills to maintain my weight loss.  I have to say, I loved the process. I was so encouraged by this team, and my husband and family. I went from being pretty much a couch potato to walking at least 3 miles a day (dependent on the weather).

This method of losing weight was not magic. I had to diet. I counted calories and made sure I got in the protein required daily. I was one of the fortunate ones who did not feel sick and nauseated the first few days of having the balloons inserted. I was tired but not 21016100_10213730862403475_4873716014703469212_onauseated. If I ate too much, I would feel sick. My goal to lose 60 pounds in that six months became a reality. I was amazed when that happened.  Exercise also became part of this routine.  My husband and I are retired, and we live in the country.  If we walk our whole neighborhood, it is a 3 mile walk from walking out our door to returning.  I wasn’t up for that much walking in the beginning.  It was so bad that I started by walking around the swimming pool three to four times.  As the summer moved on, I started walking the neighborhood.  I would wear my swim suit under my shorts and tank top.  I walked the three miles, back in my front door, out my back door onto the screened-in porch.  I took off my walking clothes, and in swim suit, walked to the pool, jumped in and swam a few laps.  I’m not a great swimmer, but the cooling off in the pool was just what the doctor ordered–well, at least it was what make me feel good and refreshed!  

half_splitplate_bluefade1aI learned new little tricks. One was sharing meals at a restaurant rather than eating the whole entrée myself. If I didn’t have anyone to share a meal with, I asked for a container before I started eating and put half the meal in there to take home. If I didn’t ask for the container immediately, I found it was very easy to slip into old habits and nibble away on the food until it was gone.  I kept my calorie count on “My Fitness Pal” on my computer and as an app on my iPhone. The doctor also gave me a Fitbit scale, and my weight also fed into this app, so I could look at the graph of my weight going down!

Weight loss came, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard. The hard part is keeping the weight off. In the informational meeting, the doctor told us that statistically only 25% of those who lose weight keep it off for five years. I want to be one of those 25%. I don’t want to go through all this work and later have nothing to show for it.

It has now been a year and a half. My weight is stabilized. I do a lot of walking. My goal is to walk 10,000 steps at least three times a week, and at least 5,000 the other four days. I have been successful at that, usually getting the 10,000 steps in more often if the weather is cooperating.  I feel good. I love being active again. Some days are a struggle—a struggle eating the right things or exercising. I do not beat myself up for those tough days. I just set the next day to be better than the bad day before.

The company that manufactures this balloon has a website for all those who are using the procedure. We can log into this site and share our experiences with each other. One day on the site I saw that they were offering a contest for us to write our success story. I thought this might be a good thing to do, but I waited to enter. Actually, I waited until almost the deadline time, because I wanted to know that I had control of my weight before I bragged about my success. I completed the online application and included my story.

In December 2017, I got a call from a representative of ReShape, who asked that I come IMG_4138to California for two days for this photoshoot. My first response was that I was on vacation in Florida on the dates they wanted me. Heidi said they would fly me from Florida. It wasn’t that easy to me. The dates they wanted me was when I was in Panama City Beach, but the next day we were to drive to Fort Lauderdale. No problem to them—they would fly me from the one location and deliver me back to the other.


My Glam Team – me, Debra (my wardrobe guru), Merri (my hairdresser), Terri leading the project, & Amber (my interviewer).

I left Panama City Beach at noon, and I arrived at Orange County (John Wayne) Airport at 6:30 pm on Thursday. By 8:00 pm, I was in the suite in the hotel getting a fitting for clothes to be worn the next day in the various photoshoots. The first dress Debra had me try, was totally wrong for me. I hated it on the hanger, and hated it even more on me. Now I was really intimidated by the process. Then she handed me this blue dress, sleeveless on one arm, and a shawl-like sleeve on the other. I loved the dress. it was unique and beautiful. Through the fittings, the team from the advertising agency selected three outfits for me—pin-striped slacks with a blue top, the blue dress described above, and a purple dress. I was done for the evening.


Clothes used for all the winners.

Friday morning started at 5:30 am, with hair being styled, and makeup applied. By 8:00 am, I was in outfit #1 and whisked away to a small boutique for the video shoot and interview. The party dress that was selected was hung on the rack with their other dresses. The camera crew was busy moving clothes racks, setting up lighting screens (for lack of a proper knowledge of their technical names). This process was a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Then I was given the instructions to walk around the rack of dresses, stop, look through them one at a time, stop at the designated dress, pull it out, hold it up to myself like I am admiring it and thinking how great it would look on me (all of how I do not shop)! They took the first shot and said, “great,” then they said, “do it again.” So funny—they were all great but I had to do several retakes. This is Hollywood!

Now the dress is selected in the video. Scene #2: Stay in the slacks and top. Sit on the stool and do an interview about my experience of the ReShape medical procedure. Now they are moving racks of clothes around, deciding if they want to use stools or chairs to sit on, moving all the camera equipment around. Then comes the young man with the clapperboard. He put in right in front of my face and says, “Take 3, soft sticks.” I had no idea what the “soft sticks” was all about, but they began filming at that time, until the director would say, “Cut.” Yep, this is real Hollywood-like! Amber was my interviewer. She would ask the question, and I was to reply by answering the question using the question as the beginning of my sentence. Sometimes, I would start to answer, and then forget the what the question was! Most of the time, I did okay, and once again, Hollywood-like, they will tell me it was great and then ask me to say it again!


Heidi with me.  She was the one from ReShape who called me to tell me I was a winner!

Once the interview was finished, they instructed me to change into the party dress. Now was the time for this non-actress to make her Loretta Young entrance! Okay, I didn’t have a winding stairway to float down, but I was to open the curtains of the dressing room, walk out, pretend to look at my husband to show off my dress. I think I took at least six takes on that one! Of course, before all that happened, racks were moved out of the way, lighting screens were moved around, test shots were taken. It was “hurry up and wait” once more!

Now during all this filming, Debra, my wardrobe guru, was tucking, pulling, lint rolling, double taping bra straps not to show.  Cassie, my makeup artist, was constantly retouching my face. If I needed a drink of water, she was over immediately to touch up the lipstick. Mary, the hairdresser, was constantly moving, spraying, keeping each hair exactly where she wanted it. What a crazy ride—having these folks making sure the look was perfect! We spent almost three hours at the boutique filming before 00 STILLSthey were all satisfied with the work. I changed out of all these clothes, put my jeans, shirt, and sneakers on, and was put back into a car and whisked back to the hotel for a quick lunch.

Once I had lunch, the process started again. A new dress, a pair of heels, hair retouched, makeup retouched, and down 12 floors to a conference room for a photoshoot of still shots. This team was fun. Maybe I was finally more relaxed. I had all these photos taken in front of a white screen. They were teaching me how to pose. I do not envy any professional models. “If it doesn’t hurt, you are not posed,” was pretty much the mantra for that session! I spent 90 00 MORE STILLminutes with this delightful team. I think we laughed our way through this shoot. They were so nice, funny, and we worked hard.

You would think I would be done by now, but no, one more thing to do. Fortunately, I was handed a pair of hotel slippers so I didn’t have to wander the halls in heels all day. Now off to another hotel room with three ladies from a marketing group that handles the social media. By this time I was exhausted, and just glad they gave me a comfy chair to sit in. It was another interview, and I just went through pretty much the same questions I got from the early agency team. This interview, though, was a lot more casual, and we just chatted.


A few more of the folks in another interview.

Finally, I was finished. It was 5:30 pm. I had just done 12 hours of dressing, filming, interviewing, filming, and interviewing. I had a wardrobe person, makeup artist, and  a hairdresser. I lived a day of “Hollywood.” By the way, I got to keep the two dresses, slacks, shirt, and two pair of shoes! I got to fly from Florida and back. I got to meet a ton of interesting people. I got to be treated like a star.

It went by so fast, I feel like I kind of missed savoring the moment.  I would have loved to have spent more time getting to know all these great people.  I will probably never see any of them again. I am grateful that I won this honor. Yes, I also got a financial prize along with all the clothes. They say I will receive the photos—I don’t know when that will be.

What I am most grateful for is that I was finally successful at my weight loss.  For me it was not about being thin–I am not “thin.”  I am healthy. I am physically active now like I have never been before. I have met so many wonderful people, from the doctor’s office, to my “Hollywood” friends. I am a lucky girl. Who would have thought that this kind of thing would happen to a little girl from St. Louis, Missouri? Who would have thought that this would happen in her senior years? Who would have thought she is so blessed to have wonderful husband of only 4+ years who has been her cheerleader through all of this? God has truly blessed this girl from the Midwest. From my roots as a first generation American on my dad’s side, 2nd generation on my mom’s side, all the challenges I have had in my life, and this week it was a Cinderella story.

I am grateful that I had this medical tool to get me jump started. I am grateful for the new learning and the support I got from the medical staff, and especially my husband, who went along for the ride of eating healthier and working out.

P PigThis is not a one time and “that’s all folks” kind of thing.  Watching my weight, keeping it in control, and exercising regularly must be an ongoing activity of my life.  This is my lifelong struggle. I know that.  When the few pounds inch up again, I need to remember to remove it from the “denial” part of my brain, and stop it in its tracks. This is my new reality.  It’s one I think I really like.002 Clapperboard

What Does Your Future Look Like?

I hired a coach 2011. I did it on a whim, and it turned out to be a very impactful decision. My coach sat in Toronto, Canada. I met with him weekly on the telephone. I didn’t need him in the room to get the coaching. In fact, I sometimes think that having the coach in the room could be distracting. I had no idea what he looked like. I just knew his voice.

One of the tools we used is called the Wheel of Life. It covers several areas of our lives and we give a score according to our satisfaction with that area, with 10 being the highest and 0 the lowest. These areas were spokes on a wheel, and the 0 was the center of the wheel, with 10 being the outer rim. When we were complete, we would draw a line from score to score. Obviously, we weren’t 10’s on everything, so our circle became lopsided—the wheel was no longer round. That gave us insight on areas we may be coached in to help our wheel smooth out and roll.

One day after a coaching session, I sat down and wrote what a score of 10 would look like in my life. I discovered this document the other day. Here is my list and  what my life looks like six years later.

Physical Environment
00House6 years ago – My physical environment will look similar to what it is today. It will be comfortable as my current home is. My hope and dream is to live by water–pond, lake, river, ocean–don’t really care. I want my living environment to be calm and peaceful, full of joy and laughter.
Today – When I wrote this I had no idea where I would be living just two years later. My home today is bigger than the home I had then, but it is equally comfortable—and it is on water—I have a small lake in the back yard and an in-ground swimming pool. I live in the country in a neighborhood where the properties are large and wooded. It is calm and peaceful here. Our large home is perfectly designed for us to entertain folks. We have had many gatherings, inviting friends and family to enjoy each other and the peaceful atmosphere of our place. This home is full of joy and laughter.

6 years ago – My spiritual life will have me continually in my “God Spot” where I know how much I am loved and cherished by the creator of the universe, and nothing or no one can harm me. I may go in and out of the “cave” but it will be for learning and reflecting.
Today – The term “God Spot” is a term I made up in one of my coaching sessions when I tried to describe my best place to be—knowing even in my hardest challenges, if I remained in my “God Spot” I would remember in spite of these challenges, that God loved me unconditionally, and nothing could harm me. The “cave” reference is when I am questioning so I may not feel the warmth of the “God Spot”, but sometimes I need to be in a quiet place to reflect and learn. This is still big in my life today.

00LearningPersonal Growth
6 years ago – I want to be a life-long learner. I want to continue learning more to expand my personal horizons, and to continue my ability to affect and impact others.
Today – Just because I am older and retired, doesn’t mean I cannot learn. I am a horrible student in the fact I don’t like homework. I am a creative sort, so I love learning with my style. Since that was written, I have made quilts, continue to write so I get better at it. I have traveled a lot and seen many places and learned a lot of history behind them.

Significant Others/Romance
6 years ago – Once I figure this all out, I think I would like to be in a loving and fun committed relationship. The ideal is to find that special someone who I spend the rest of my life with, but I am open to a strong significant relationship without marriage.
Today – I don’t know why this is such a surprise to me. I was really hoping for a strong significant relationship, but what I got was that special person with whom I get to spend the rest of my life.  I, in a million years, didn’t think that was really a possibility. I had to put myself out there to date, It was frustrating and challenging, but it did happen, and I am extremely grateful for my wonderful husband of 4 years.

Friends and Family
6 years ago – I will have a balance when it comes to friends and family. It will be relationships that I can rely on for help and support, both ways. No one sided friendships and relationships.
Today – I have had many one-sided relationships in the past. You know those where you have to make all the initiatives to have the friend—you do the phone calling, you make the plans, you are there in their needs, but they don’t do any of these things for you. It is never a perfect 50/50 balance, but I have relationships with those who can also give and take, not just take.

00BeforeAfter6 years ago – I will be physically fit, no trouble moving or getting up and down, and continue to be medication-free. My nutrition and exercise and fitness will all be very positive.
Today – I was surprised when I saw this one six years later. I am still medication free, with the exception of trying to get rid of dry eyes. I have no health issues, but in the past my nutrition, exercise and fitness were on and off, but mostly non-existent. That really changed over a year ago. I lost 60 lbs, and started moving. My goal is 10,000 active steps. Almost daily I walk my neighborhood of 3 miles. I do this regardless of the weather. I have done this in almost 100 degree weather, and I have done it in freezing weather. I hydrate well before going out, and fortunately, in the summer, I walk into the front door and out of the back door directly into the swimming pool. I am not a great swimmer, but I swim a few laps anyway. My new love is my Apple watch, which is water resistant, so it counts my lap swimming (a great motivation for me)! My nutrition has also changed. I share meals with my husband at restaurants, and I make the “bad stuff’ on rare occasions if we are having guests. The leftovers either go home with them, or into the freezer for the next set of guests. I don’t feel deprived that way, but I don’t let that food linger in the house calling my name!

money6 years ago – if my retirement could feel as good financially as I am now, that would be a big ten. It should not take the same salary as I now have. I do not want to worry if I will have enough money to do the things I enjoy doing, and to be debt free.
Today – Money was a real issue when I was a single mom. I had none! By the time I retired, I was earning an excellent paycheck, but the fear of retiring with no paycheck was scary. A couple years before I retired, I put aside a fair portion of my income to see if I could live on less. I realized that I could do so comfortably. I do not get into debt, and I have enjoyed life. Yes, being married has helped this, but I did prepare to do it alone if I had to.

6 years ago – This is the hard one for me. What is a ten? I don’t really know. I am thinking its being a consultant. Inspiring others to greatness. Don’t know where, don’t know how.
Today – I had no plan to retire when I wrote this. I was in a job I loved, but working for a new boss I didn’t love. I knew he didn’t like me from the day he took the role, and I knew I needed to move on. So, the job ended for me at the time I met my husband. I continued looking for a new position, but it just wasn’t happening. My relationship with my future husband was growing. I am now married to him and retired. That has not changed my desire to inspire others to greatness. I work as a Human Resources Consultant and a Life Coach on occasion. I also write this blog. Hopefully, they are all ways to inspire others to be more than they think they can be.

So, why is coaching helpful? As a coaching client, I am able to move forward at a faster pace than I am able to on my on. Yes, I probably could get to all of this on my own, but a coach walked beside me, encouraged me to go out on a limb and do things that I was afraid to try. My coach encouraged every idea I had, and gave me the space to act on it.

decideWe have self-limiting beliefs. “I cannot do this because ___________.” You fill in the blank. We limit ourselves so often. We are afraid to go out on a limb. We know what we need to do next, but something in our head tells us to stop. Coaching can help walk along, encourage, support, and help knock down those self-imposed barriers to whatever it is we want to accomplish.

For those of you who are wondering, what is a coach:

  • A coach does not tell people how to get to their goals (that’s a consultant).
  • A coach does not try to figure out what happened in the past that has them stuck (that’s a counselor).
  • Coaches know their clients have the answers inside of themselves.
  • What coaches do is ask the powerful questions that cause the client to think beyond where they are.
  • A coach will help you get past your self limiting beliefs. They will encourage you to go the direction your were afraid to go.
    • We are our own worst enemies. We have self-limiting beliefs. “I can’t do that because . . . I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m not smart enough, I’m not popular enough, I’m not _____ (you fill in the blank).
    • A coach will walk beside you, even if you decide that is not, after all where you want to go.
  • The coach does not set the agenda—the client does—it never works to tell someone what or how to do something—it has to be authentic to the person. The coach helps them discover a way to overcome what they thought were overwhelming obstacles.

Because of this great coaching experience, I chose to go through coach training. It was an intensive training program. It was every other weekend for 5 weekends, starting on a Friday at 1:00 pm, and ending on a Sunday at 5:00 pm. I attended these classes in Chicago. It was a nice get-away. There were approximately 20 in the class. We coached and challenged each other at our training sessions practicing what we were learning. I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) with The Coaches Training Institute, and received my ACC (Associate Certified Coach) certification with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

What I like about becoming a coach is that I don’t have to know all the answers. I just need to know how to ask the questions so you can find your answers.

What are you wanting to accomplish that leaves you stuck in fear or doubt? What are some of the tools you need to move forward?

Would you like a free sample session

or more information about coaching?

Let me know.