Meet January: Her journey began at 244 lbs. A year and a half later she is a size 8, at 155 lbs. She enjoys her new lifestyle and finds her passion in cooking up new healthy foods to share with others.
Mushing raw egg in with the hamburger meat, brown sugar and oatmeal… “keep mushing January”, “I am Daddy, I am”. 5 years old, on my Geoffrey the Giraffe step stool, I was making meatloaf! I learned my passion for cooking and great food!
My Grandmother explained to me why she was particular about her cooking and her kitchen. Grandmother never used recipes, and only positive energy was allowed in the kitchen. When my cousin asked her how to make his favorite stew she promised to write down her steps the next time she made it. That is how I have carried on the tradition, cook with positive energy, from passion, and make it great!
The family moved when I was 9 and things started to change, two more mouths to feed and more bills to pay. Dinners soon became cold cut ends, noodles, and cream of mushroom soup. Seeking to make a dollar stretch further my father went to the Hostesses outlet store and almost overnight there was a tall freezer in the dining room FULL of 5/$1 pies, mini donuts, Twinkies, Zingers, snow balls, cinnamon raisin loafs, and some pot pies! We were allowed one soda a day, a treat for an afternoon snack, after dinner topper, mid-morning craving filler, and there were popsicles for hot summer days.
Nintendo was just released, duck hunt was a passion, bike riding was good, the park was close and my roller skates were soon out grown. I went to the neighborhood pool and was having a wonderful time playing and soon a ball was being thrown around in the pool… It came my way and when I hit it back someone started laughing and I soon noticed they were pointing at me… and laughing at my hairy arm pits. I went home mortified. I would soon discover that hairy arm pits were not the worst. Junior high was starting soon and it was time to find a pair of pants, maybe a shirt or two. Everything was odd looking and didn’t quite fit. I had a school physical the next week and the nurse called my name, complimented me on it, took me to the scale and said… “hmm… 61… 2-1-4… ok, let’s get you into your room” I couldn’t figure out what those numbers meant… trying to figure out how tall 61’ 214” was seemed like tough math. My father looked at me and said “huh, well, you’re not growing up anymore, you’re growing sideways.”
I panicked… it was then that it hit me, I was two hundred fourteen! The rest of that week was a blur. I was focused on how to lose weight. I looked at myself and finally saw how ‘big’ I had become and I had no idea. I promised myself I wouldn’t eat until I was under two hundred and I kept that promise with the exception of a few bites when my stomach cramped. My family would eat at buffets and have competitions of ‘dirty plate stacking’ eating the most meant you won. My brothers were 60-85 lbs overweight and my father topped the scales at over 400 lbs.
I struggled with weight for the next five years however always managing to stay just under 200. I stayed with my aunt when I was 20 years old and she cooked the most amazing meals, always healthy and I walked Lady dog every night, and waitressed full time. I was soon shocked to see that my 200 was 185. I soon was off to college and the rest would be up to me.
I spent the next six years living off lattes and take out, working full time and often part time jobs while going to college full time. I worked out, rode my bike, thought lattes were healthy and creamer coffee mornings were the fuel of college students everywhere! I smoked rather than eating and followed a good grade with an apple fritter or chocolate donut box! At 30 I was slowly climbing past that 200 mark and clothes were getting snug… depression set in and I gave up. I quickly climbed another 30lbs over the next two years.
I looked down one day while leading a clinical therapy group and saw my stomach hiding my clip board. I could not take my eyes off it! I struggled to focus the rest of the night and went home and cried. Another ten pounds soon comforted my depression and after a work injury I was at the doctors and stepped on the scale to see… 244… It couldn’t get worse in my mind. 5’10” 244, it was official, I had 100 lbs. to lose, no longer a manageable 30, I felt like the titanic had my heart and I would never be salvaged.
My injury would prevent me from the exercise needed to lose the weight and I had a friend on the diet that had told me that she couldn’t exercise. I wanted to know more. Others were more excited for me to try the diet than I was and after watching my friend lose 32 lbs. in 40 days I was calling for an appointment! Quickly it was discovered I had a thyroid concern and I was put on thyroid medication and given a follow up appointment. When I returned 6 weeks later I started the diet.
It was Aug 04, 2009 when I took my first pill. I placed it under my tongue, waited for it to dissolve, and took a sip of coffee! Immediately I was told, “No, nothing to eat or drink for 30 min!” Oops, already I was off to a great start! Round one and I was off to Costco to buy chicken and apples… I had started my journey. The 40th day came and I stepped on the scale 203.8! More pills, round two ended at 186.6, round three 174.8, round four 165.8, lord give me strength… round five day 40 weigh in 154.8! How did that happen? Day after Valentines, what a gift to myself, I was under my goal weight and ready to start my life as a new me. It was not easy, no breaks, no stops, no rests. I did cheat on Christmas, New Years, and my birthday (I’m human after all).
I refused to let my significant other to talk to me about my weight, I nearly bit his head off. There were days he would sneak into the kitchen after I was asleep to eat so as to not upset me. I would cry and I would get mean smelling the sausages and chicken at Costco. There were weak moments of course however there were moments of AH HA! I hit the 185 I had remembered so well and dug out my boxes of clothes I had saved for 15 years, promising myself I would one day get into those amazing sexy hot red pants again! And I did, and they fell off! I took out the bathing suite I had bought as inspiration for weight loss… it fell down and hung around my waist… the 44dd sports bras were out the window and I had returned more clothes than I can count as I kept shrinking and losing weight. I had to promise to never do marathon
return shopping again!
I had my nose in the book and on the computer for hours a week reading and researching recipes, success stories and blogs for inspiration. I started to worry about saggy skin, how to keep it off, and is 155 enough? Regardless of the changes from 22 to size 8, rings of 9 to 6, shoes of 11 to 10, sports bras to lace… I still looked in the mirror and I was fat.
People that hadn’t seen me in months walked right on past me without recognizing me, men stared and still I didn’t believe. I knew then that skinny would have to come from inside. Happiness and loving me would have to start growing from within. I decided to shed the layers, clean out the old closet, toss out memories, throw away past memories, journal my paths, talk to my higher power and put myself in another’s hands, having trust in myself and in faith.
I spent twenty years hiding under layers, avoiding crowds, sitting at the table in the club watching the purses embarrassed to dance on the floor, tossing out 100 pictures keeping the one or two that looked okay, shopping for hours to find one piece of clothing that only looked ‘okay’. Twenty years drawing lines on my skin with my fingers imagining what the ‘real me’ looked like inside. Twenty years crying and living Janis Ian’s ‘At Seventeen’. Those twenty years have passed and today I have a new found love for myself. It is not due to the jeans or the stares, it’s because I now walk tall, I sit straight, I smile every day, and I love every moment of life, feeling blessed to be alive! I am again expressing myself in the kitchen, pulling up my sleeves, getting down and dirty in the mixing and cleaning. Now I cook in healthy ways, always with the positive energy and love of life I had been taught to put into every meal and hearing my father saying “keep mushing January, keep mushing!”
Enjoy this delicious Phase #3 Recipe straight from January’s Kitchen:
Cauliflower Rice with Chicken n Onion stir fry
Using a cheese grater, grate your cauliflower, you can use frozen or fresh however not cooked. 1/2 C cauliflower grated
1 tbs coconut oil
2 oz cooked chicken breast
2 tbs onion
*on Med heat melt coconut oil in a pan, add onion and cook till onion starts to clear, add ‘rice’ and stirring to avoid sticking/burning, cook for approx ten min or until ‘rice’ is cooked and doesn’t stick together. Adding cubed chicken, continue to cook for another 2-3 min, adding any dry spices you like, seasoning to taste (garlic powder etc). You may double and triple recipe as needed, great meal, tastes just like chicken fried rice! Yum… try using shrimp, celery, and more!
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