How do you measure up?

Quite awhile ago, I wrote a blog about my measurements. Or at least I think I did. This morning, for some reason, I decided to get the ol’ tape measure out again and measure three key areas – my  hips, my waist and  my chest/bust.

When people begin a healthy living journey, one thing I think they should always do, but almost never, ever do, is measure – as in using a tape measure, not the scale. People often gauge their progress just by the numbers on the scale. And sometimes, those numbers may not budge or they may not budge according to what the person wants. And if that happens, they often get depressed and think that they are not making progress. That is why measuring with a tape measure is so important.

So, my advice to everyone who is just starting this journey, is to grab a tape measure and measure your hips – yes, at the widest part – along with your bust/chest and your waist – at the narrowest part. Then, maybe every two months or so, measure again. See if anything has changed. I am betting the results will shock you. And, maybe give you that motivation you need.

I actually can’t remember the last time I measured, but I do have numbers from February 18, 2009 – nearly two years ago to the day. At that time, I had already lost nearly 16 pounds so my measurements weren’t accurate from when I actually started. But at any rate, my measurements on February 18, 2009 and my measurements today, February 21, 2011, are as follows: chest/bust – was 39 inches, is now 33 inches – a difference of 6 inches; waist – was 33.75 inches, is now 27 inches – a difference of 6.75 inches; and hips – was 44.5 inches, is now 38 inches – a difference of 6.5 inches.

In addition, my body fat back in February of 2009 was 37.9 percent. Today, it is 24 percent. That’s a difference of almost 14 percent body fat. CRAZY!!!!

My weight back on February 18, 2009 was 174.6. My starting weight, which was on November 19, 2008, was 190.2 and my current weight, as of this morning, February 21, 2011, is 136.8. The difference from when I started until now is 53.4 pounds. WOW! There are times I still don’t believe it. There are times when I look in the mirror and still see the old me. BUT, there are also times, when I see the new me and wonder, wow, when the heck did that happen? Who is this person staring back at me?

So, starting today, I would like all my readers to grab a tape measure and measure your success not just by what the scale says, but also what your body says. If you have done this already and would like to share your success, please leave a comment. I would love to hear about it. Or, send an email to confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com.

And, as always, you can find Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl on Facebook…just click here.

Adjusting

Well, I made it through my first week as a full-time Weight Watchers leader. It was a busy week and I am trying to adjust to the new schedule. I have to admit, though, I thought about the newspaper a lot this week. It was weird not having one single thing to do with it. Kind of sad, but kind of not.

My hubby now has to remember to bring the newspaper home so I can read it. Yes, I know, I can read it online, but seriously, I need the real thing. The actual paper. I need to see the lay out, the pages, the stories in print. Yep, I am one of THOSE people. I like to hold the paper in my hand while I am reading it. Although, again, it felt weird. To read the newspaper and not have anything in it. It is going to take some time, but I’ll adjust. (You know, it may have something to do with control. I might just have some control issues! No, really, I am quickly finding that out. Scary!)

So, I am finding that my new schedule is leaving me with a little bit more downtime. Meaning, there are a couple of days a week I have two to three hours between meetings and mostly, I spend that time at home. I am thinking this may be trouble. Yes, I do spend some of the time doing paperwork and such, but I am also finding I am spending TOO MUCH time on the computer and TOO MUCH time browsing through the cupboards and the refrigerator. I would love to know how many times I opened the doors to the fridge and the cupboards this week.

And then I would love to know how many times I actually pulled something out. My guess? TOO MANY times. I know I ate way more this week than I usually do. And I also know that those times when I was sitting on my arse staring at the computer screen could have been spent doing something a little more productive…as in training for the race I have coming up in about a month!

So, just like many of you out there, my motivation has flown out the window. AND I NEED TO GET IT BACK. NOW! I am giving myself a challenge next week. In my down time, I have to exercise at least 30 minutes…preferably before I even turn on the computer. By letting all of you know what my challenge is, I am hoping it will motivate me to do it. Actually, I know it will. I hope some of you who read this will ask me how things are going and if I succeeded at my challenge. I will let you know next week what type of exercising I did and how much time I spent on it. And that’s a promise.

So, there you have it. If any of you have a challenge to yourself, let me know about it. Post it here as a comment and let’s encourage each other. Let’s challenge one another. So, who’s with me? Are you in? I know I am and I hope you are, too! GOOD LUCK!

Oh, by the way, remember, you can find Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl on Facebook. Click here.

When one door closes, another one opens

I am going to share with you, my dear readers, my last column for the newspaper, which is in today’s issue, February 11.

Enjoy. Here it is:

As I sat down to my computer, fingers poised upon my keyboard, I was motionless, not knowing what to type, what to say, who to thank or how to put into words what I am feeling.

Joy. Sadness. Excitement. Nervousness. Eagerness. Confident. Inspired. Passionate. Determined. Tearful. Anxious. Fortunate. Thankful.

After nearly 12 years – or 11 years, 8 months and 23 days to be exact – I am leaving the wonderful world of print journalism.

I am not leaving because newspapers are dying or dwindling. Newspapers are alive and vibrant. And a necessary part of life; in my humble opinion anyway.

I am not leaving because of the company I work for, the people I work for or the people I work with. They are a great bunch of people (and no, I did not get paid to say that!).

I am not leaving because of the people in this community, either. No one made me mad or angry or upset. There wasn’t an incident that caused me to terminate my employment. I don’t think I can express just how I feel about this community and how truly wonderful it is. And I am not just saying that either. It is how I feel from the bottom of my heart.

So, if nothing is wrong and I am not disgruntled in any way, shape or form, then why am I leaving?

As many of you know, a little more than two years ago, I embarked on a healthy living journey. On November 19, 2008, I joined Weight Watchers. That one small step, that one little, but major decision, changed my life.

And now, I am hoping that I can do the same for others as my Weight Watchers leader did for me. Fortunately and unfortunately, I guess, I have found a new passion. A new calling. A new career. A new opportunity. I may have started my journey with Weight Watchers back in 2008, but the real journey is just beginning. I’ve now become a full-time Weight Watchers leader and my hope is that I can play a part in stopping the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our nation. I hope that I can be the shimmer of light, the glimmer of hope for those who are struggling with weight issues – just like I did and still do.

You can continue reading about my journey in my blog – Confessions of a [former] Fat Girl – at http://fatgirl.areavoices.com/.

Although my journey with the newspaper is coming to an end, I hope my connections – the friendships and relationships – I have made in this community don’t. I have met, interviewed and wrote about so many interesting people. I have covered intriguing, controversial county, school, community and environmental issues.

I have written about life and death. I have written uplifting and hopeful stories. I have written stories about sadness and loss and tragedy.

The Echo Press – and this community – has afforded me with so many wonderful opportunities. There are so many of them, I can’t even begin to list them all. Nor can I begin to thank those of you who had a part in providing me with so many unique and positive experiences.

I’ve been a firefighter. I rode along with Alexandria police officers and Douglas County sheriff’s deputies. I went tandem skydiving. I rode in a B-24 World War II bomber airplane. I did a 360-degree loop-de-loop in the world’s first ethanol-fueled MX-2 airplane. I rode in a Minnesota Department of Transportation snowplow.

I was rescued by a member of the Douglas County Dive Team when I “fell” through the ice. I’ve been tazed by a real Tazer gun, willingly, by law enforcement. I’ve been bass fishing with a pro. I tried to catch a muskie with an avid muskie fisherman. I took part in the Citizen’s Police Academy. I’ve spent time in jail – again, willingly.

My mind is filled with so many wonderful memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

I was recently told how lucky I am to have come across two things – jobs/careers – I love because many people in life never even find one. I am truly blessed.

Although it seems simple, thank you. Thank you for reading my articles and columns. Thank you for letting me share your stories. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life.

If you see me out and about in the community, I hope you stop and say hello. And if you do, I have but one small request, call me by my real name – Celeste Edenloff.

NOTE: In the newspaper, my byline was Celeste Beam as that was my name when I started. When my husband and I got married, we decided to leave my last name as is for the newspaper…for two reasons. One, it would have been too long to put on one line and therefore would have looked weird in the paper and two, my husband is the editor of the paper!

As many of you know, you can find me, Celeste Edenloff, on Facebook, as well as Confessions of [former] Fat Girl on Facebook. Click here for the link to my Confessions Facebook site.

Struggling

Alright, it’s time for a little confessing from the Confessions girl herself.

For the past couple of weeks, I have really been struggling. I have taken on an “I don’t care attitude” and now, I am struggling to get rid of it, to snap out of it and to get back on track.

To be honest, a lot of it has to do with when my sister’s health started to decline and then with losing her, it has only gotten worse. I know it shouldn’t. I know I need to snap out of it. I know she would want me to, but you know what, it’s really hard. Really. Hard. It hurts so much.

There is another reason, too. As many of you know, I have been working two jobs for quite some time. The last few months have been a whirlwind and I haven’t taken any time for me. I know that sounds kind of selfish, but I have admitted several times that I am selfish person. I need me time. It’s just that simple. Well, kind of. When I say I need “me time,” I mean I need time for me to exercise and I haven’t had that. Okay, it may sound like I am making excuses, but really, I am not. Well, okay, maybe a little.

I am hoping all that changes next week when I will only be working ONE job. As much as I am going to miss the newspaper…and let me tell you, I AM GOING TO MISS IT…I am going to be really happy to only have one job to worry about. AND to devote my time and energy to. For the last few months, I haven’t been able to give 100 percent of me to either job and that has been a struggle for me. I am not that person. I need to give 100 percent or more to what I do and I haven’t been able to do that. I believe that has also contributed to my “I don’t care attitude.” Why? I’m not sure. But it has. And to be honest, it sucks.

Since I made the decision to quit the newspaper, which was a hard decision, believe it or not, I keep telling myself that this insanity of a life I’ve been living will soon end. That is what has kept me going, although it hasn’t done much in the way of helping my eating habits or my exercise habits. When I got off track, I REALLY GOT OFF TRACK. And it has been a struggle to try and get back on.

My eating has been non-stop and my exercising has been non-existent. But I am going to get back on track. I am going to start eating right again. I am going to start exercising again. Yes, as most of you know, I have a race coming up. And yes, it is scaring the heck out of me. AARGH!!!! How did I let myself get so off track?

Okay, so this blog post has been a bunch of babbling and muttering and so it must end. Friday, February 11. I just need to make it until then. Well, actually, I have to make it through the weekend, which isn’t going to be easy. We are finally saying goodbye to my sister…her “Celebration of Life” service is Saturday.

I can do it. I can make it. I can get back on track. I will start eating right. I will start exercising. I will change. It’s a new day and only I can make it what I want to get out of it. If it’s meant to be, it is up to me.

I can. I will. I need to. I want to. Period.

Loss

I am going to write about a different kind of loss today. It’s not the kind of loss you see at the scale, but the kind of loss you feel in your heart.

Yesterday, January 31, I lost my big sis, Donna, to breast cancer. She was 58 years old. She is the oldest sibling in my family and I am the baby. There are seven of us total and although we are “happy” she is no longer suffering, we are saddened and hurt that she is no longer with us. She is gone. At least her body is gone. But her soul, her spirit still lives on. She will forever hold a dear, dear place in my heart.

My big sis, whom I have idolized since I was little, fought the battle for nine years. She was diagnosed right before her 50th birthday and let me tell you, I will never forget that phone call. It was like a knife was pushed right inside my heart and turned and twisted until I couldn’t feel it anymore. Donna, my big sis, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Not that I wish it upon anyone, because I DON’T, but why her? Well, it’s because Donna could take it. Donna was tough, strong, resilient and a fighter. She fought long and hard against this disease that eventually ended up taking over her body. But it didn’t take her soul. She never felt sorry for herself. She always saw the good in everything. She grabbed the bulls by the horn and gave cancer a fight like it has probably never seen.

Unfortunately, however, it – the God awful disease called cancer – won the battle. It took my sister. It took one of my best friends. It took my mentor. My idol. My hero.

When someone loses a loved one, there is this pit that hangs out in your stomach. Sometimes, it needs to be fed and sometimes, you want to feed it the stuff you THINK is going to make it go away. It doesn’t. It’s there. And I think it will be for awhile. But I know that I need to keep going. I need to forge ahead. I need to make the right decisions when it comes to my healthy living journey. Donna would want me to.

When I received the phone call that my big sis, my Donna, had passed, it was like that knife was there again, twisting and turning. Although we were “prepared” for her death, prepared to get that phone call, it still hurt. It still cut like a knife into my heart.

I know the healing process will begin soon, but I also know that it will take a long time. A long, long time. As I move forward without her, without my “big sis,” I will take all the wonderful memories, the cherished times we spent together and hold them close to my heart. I will think of her often and I will smile. Smile at the time – albeit too short – that we had together. I love ya, big sis. Rest in peace.

My sisters, Karen and Donna (middle), and me. No, the nose rings are not real....we put them in and took a picture to send to our mom!