hitting rock bottom…and going up (or down, depending on how you look at it) from there


heading back from diving near cape town – june 24, 2014

Whilst in South Africa, I was able to go diving. If you’ve read my blog over the past few years, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of diving and go as often as I can. So, this trip was a great opportunity and I had high hopes of seeing lots of sharks (which I did, although no great whites as the sea was too rough the day we were hoping to go see those), but not really the point of this post.

So, I did go diving and, while I do love it, since I started getting back into it, it’s been a bit of a love/hate thing. I love doing it, but there’s a lot of stress leading up to it because of my weight. I’m capable of doing it, but there’s always a question of whether they’ll have a wetsuit that fits me (my first trip in Okinawa, they did not…it was fairly depressing), how much weight I’ll need, etc, etc.

Well, Cape Town presented a new challenge: diving from a large zodiac with no ladder. Before even leaving the dock, my thoughts were already preoccupied with how I was going to get back onto the boat after diving. And those thoughts continued throughout my first dive. And I was worried with good reason. While none of the divers in the group could get themselves in without help (it requires a lot of upper body strength), I was the only diver that required two people to help me. And I looked and felt ridiculous as I got hoisted back into the boat. In fact, it was so bad that I seriously considered sitting the next dive out.

Of course I didn’t do that, but something clicked at that point. While I’ve always struggled with my weight, it had never interfered with my experiences in life the way I felt it did in that moment. It made, what should have been, an incredible dive something different. My weight was stealing my joy. This experience combined with not finishing the marathon earlier in the week was just too much for me. I sat quietly on the boat as we drove to our next dive site, closing my eyes, and doing my best to hold back the tears. I had hit rock bottom. In that moment, I determined that this would be the last time I would feel exactly like this. I didn’t know how I was going to change it, but I knew it was time.

A week later, I was in Indiana camping with my brother and his family and a bunch of our mutual MBA friends. My sister-in-law commented that one of those friends had lost a lot of weight. I had seen this friend very recently while she was visiting in Japan and she looked the same is I remembered her (prior to that, I hadn’t seen her for a couple of years), but apparently work travel had been rough on her and when I saw her, she’d already lost most of that weight, so I didn’t know any different. Anyway, we got to talking about how she’d done it and she told us she’d been using Isagenix.

Now, I’d heard of this product before because my sister-in-law had used it, but I’d never been tempted to do it (I didn’t know much about it and I’m totally leery of anything direct sales related). However, in that moment, both my sister-in-law and I decided we would do it together and we committed to starting as soon as my vacation was over.

I had another week left of traveling in the U.S. and my final stop was Arizona. While there, I went to the doctor to get some blood work done. In the process, I was officially weighed and tipped the scales at my highest weight ever. Higher than even my fattest time on my mission. While this could have been disastrous, I already had a plan, and this moment was all I needed to ensure that I stuck to it.

So, I got back to Japan on July 13th and the next day I started on Isagenix with my sister-in-law as my long-distance buddy. I started seeing results on the scale right away. Unfortunately, in the first month, I also remembered just how obsessive I can get about my weight and the reason I stopped weighing myself a few years back. Over the course of the first 17 days, I lost consistently except for one day. Yes. Only on one measly day did I see the number on the scale go up at all…but that was enough to put me in a bad mood for the entire day. I was discussing this with my sister-in-law, and she suggested that I stop weighing myself daily, so I did. I stopped on day 18 and then weighed myself again on day 30 for a total loss in my first 30 days of 18.4 lbs!

When I began month two, I was also connected with my friend, Aubrey, who’s an Isagenix distributor and coach, and I committed to myself and her and my sister-in-law that I wouldn’t weigh myself at all throughout the month, This was HARD! But it also meant that when I had a day here or there where I indulged a bit, I wasn’t beating myself up. And, rather than weighing myself, I started tracking calories.

While Isagenix is laid out really well, I had also really started back into exercising quite consistently, and for the first time in my life while trying to lose weight, I wanted to make sure I was eating enough. Such a difference from the past. You see, prior to this, I’ve never lost weight in a truly healthy way. I went through bouts of starvation and laxative abuse in high school and college, I tried Atkins in my early 20s, HCG in my early 30s. Weight Watchers was the closest I got to “healthy” in that I wasn’t starving myself, but even with Weight Watchers it was all too easy to continue eating junk (just a lot less of it…still a fan of the program if you do it in the right spirit). But this program…this lifestyle…is different. I can maintain this. It works with my life.

During my second 30-days, my body really started to feel different. And I was excited to exercise every day. I was getting ready to hike Mt. Fuji, as well, and was excited about the prospect of doing it with at least 18 lbs off of me. It’s not that I hadn’t been exercising before, but weight makes a big difference. My running times were improving. I was feeling great. When I got to day 60 (after conquering Fuji, which was incredible), I almost didn’t want to weigh myself because I knew I was still losing and I was feeling so good, but I also felt like I needed to have that number just as a point of reference for the future, so the morning of day 61, I got on the scale. Another 16.5 lbs down for a total of 34.9 lbs in 60 days!

10407731_10154608402915389_3834516360543429790_n The last three days, I’ve been in Okinawa for work and had the chance to spend Monday scuba diving. What a difference 34.9 lbs makes. This was a totally different experience than my trip in South Africa. I didn’t have to get the largest size BCD and hope that it would fit. I got a Large instead of an XL and it was actually a little big. I enjoyed every minute of the experience. I wasn’t the fat American. I was just the American.


post diving in south africa – june 24, 2014


post diving in okinawa – september 15, 2014


can you see how happy i am in this moment?!

Now, I still have a long way to go to my goal…not quite halfway there…but I have confidence that I can get there. In the past, whatever I’ve been doing has been so hard that I’ve wanted to lose as much as I could as quickly as possible because I knew it wouldn’t last. This is different. This is a lifestyle change. This is me giving my body what it needs to be healthy and strong. It’s not about being skinny (although I do love how I look with the weight gone). It’s about experiencing my life the way I want to experience it. It’s about being able to be the person I am on the inside because the outside of me isn’t an obstacle.

There have been some bumps (the business trip to Okinawa has been one…still figuring out how to break old habits), but nothing has devastated me. I know the weight loss will slow down, but I don’t doubt that it will continue, or that I will continue to feel great in the process. I’m reaching new fitness goals. I’m shrinking out of my wardrobe. Really, this has changed my life and I wanted to document it. And here are some before/current photos (not all labeled, but before is always on left and now is on the right) to capture this in images because I think it’s so valuable to see not just the difference in my body, but the difference in how I feel that you can actually see through these pictures. It really is amazing.


so, basically, this dress that required spanx and a careful consideration before wearing is now too big for me, which makes me sad because I love it…but not enough to do what I would need to in order to continue to wear it.


please don’t judge me for the socks i’m wearing on the left…i had boots on that day, but in true japanese form, i don’t wear shoes in my apartment, thus the polkadot socks. 😉

unnamed unnamed Note: While I am still not a fan of the whole MLM thing, I do get why this is sold in this way…you get great attention and coaching. I’m not trying to build a business, but I do love these products and, if you are interested, let me know.

ETA: Oh, and how could I forget my phenphen phase; best results ever…and I was a complete nightmare to live with/be around. Good times. Good times.

adventures in laundry

So, with this whole “let’s try and be more responsible with my money” thing, I decided to make another change. Since I moved to New York, I have not done my laundry (in the city) a single time. I mean, laundry has been done, but I’ve been taking it to the nice people right next door for wash and fold. Meaning they do it, not me. It’s not the most expensive thing in the world and I had told myself that, with as much as I make hourly, spending my time sitting in a laundromat was not cost effective. (I like to trick my brain into thinking that my justifications are very sound and logical, but the truth is, the time I would be doing laundry is not time I’m “missing” work…so my logic is crap.)

Which brings us to today and me sitting in a laundromat for a little under two hours doing my laundry. And all it took was one time for me to realize that I should really be doing my own laundry. First of all, it’s about half the cost of sending it out. Second of all, I can hang dry what needs to hang dry without paying an extra $2 per article (which, just so you know, I didn’t do…I would just wait to wash those things until I was in Utah or Arizona or Indiana…). Third, it’s some quality reading time. Fourth, my laundry smells good as opposed to smelling like the industrial laundry chemicals it is washed in I send it out. Fifth, I met some really nice people. And finally, because I was at the laundromat and there are places to conveniently fold my laundry, I actually folded it while I was there, so all I had to do was put it away when I got home.

One of my concerns was how crowded it would be and how long I’d have to wait for a machine, but apparently, my new workout regime is paying off in more ways than one since my new bedtime is usually before 10pm and I’m lucky if I can sleep past 7am, so no crowds. And my nice, new laundromat friend informed me that if I’m there early on Saturday, there’s never a wait. So, looks like that will be part of my new routine. And not only am I saving money by doing it myself, I think I’ll also be saving money by not having to replace certain things quite as often as I would given the wear and tear of industrial cleaning.

Look at me making fiscally responsible choices. And it only took me thirty some years to get here.

goals and sacrifices (as originally published on the other blog on january 1st)

I’m not really a believer in “resolutions” per se (although I’ve been known to make them). What I do believe in are goals and “give ups” (read sacrifices).

So this year my “give up”? Carbonation in all it’s forms. Yes, even (and especially) Diet Coke. Just so you know, I’ve done this with chocolate, so it’s not unthinkable or unbelievable, no matter how unlikely it seems. I’ve also considered sacrificing a few of my favorite words…but since I already used one today, it may be more than I can handle. It’s still under consideration, it just wouldn’t be for a whole year (1 day shy is all).

My goals for the year? I currently have one that I will be sharing publicly. I will be running another marathon (yes, just one…if two or three happen, great).

And I am still working on my word of the year. For 2008, it was kindness. I can’t say that I’ve been total successful, but definitely more aware. I’m considering patience, but I think that might be asking for it. Hopefully during my 14+ hours of travel tomorrow, I can figure it out.

the race begins

First, for a basic run down of the weekend, feel free to visit Jen’s blog to read her post. She’s included a few things that I will probably not post about, since she already did, but that are funny and note worthy (at least to me).

And now, on to more videos.

First, the start was not the white thing you see easily…that was just a banner where the DJ was. Second, can you hear what’s playing in the background? More importantly, can you name that song? I love the music they play at races.

So, a little race education. In races, they put the slower people at the back. Generally, there is some sort of chip timing (in the bigger races) so it doesn’t really matter because your time starts when you cross the starting mats, but this way, you don’t feel lame when a gazillion people fly past you. And, you really must know I love you, my readers, because this video is kind of gross (not content, but the angle of my face), but I still felt like sharing. Um…how much are you loving my headband over my hat? A lot, right?

This is the beginning of the race…and me singing a little Dixie Chicks. I sing a lot when I run distance races. A LOT. Anne could have vouched for me, but now you will have digital video proof (there’s more to come). Don’t you love technology? I know I do. Also notice the wardrobe. Still with the headband, still with a long sleeve shirt.

So, in case you were wondering, there are several schools of thought on how to run a marathon (or half) and my favorite one is the one that includes walking breaks. Not to mention the fact that the one video I did shoot while actually running makes me a little sea sick every time I watch it. Can anyone name the Eiffel 65 song?

Yes…there’s more, but I have to get to bed. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s final video journal (and some awesome training tips).

weekend adventures

My weekend starts today…at 4:45 pm when I get off work. How fun is that? And I get to go home…well, not exactly. I’ll be little in the city (as we always call it), but close enough. I can’t wait. We all know how much I love California. I can taste Caspers already. I don’t know how I’m going to fit everything in (and by everything, I mean all of my favorite shopping and food stops), what with being my sister’s “slave” and attending this singles thing. I’m a little nervous about the latter, but I’m going to do my best to have a good time…in any case, I’m sure I will have some good stories, and I get to take a cruise on the bay, which I have never done before. I must admit I’m feeling some pressure, since I received an email from my sister telling me that she fully expected me to find my husband at this thing, which would be most inconvenient since I have sworn not to get married until I’m done with grad school. Although, I guess I could meet him. I don’t have to get married. Oh, the things that living in P-town is doing to my brain!

Wish me luck!

Oh, one more thing. I went shopping last night (you know, because I’m made of money and thought it would be a good idea…actually, I was stressed out and retail therapy is my family’s drug of choice when it comes to mental health, since it costs about the same as regualr therapy, but you get to come home with clothes/electronics/cosmetics/toys, rather than puffy eyes). I started at the GAP because I needed jeans (yes, needed). I had the a salesperson help me and grabbed a bunch of different styles in my size. I ended up getting a fabulous pair of long and lean jeans. The best part was when I put on the jeans the first time and came out to look in the big mirror, both of the employees standing there said, in unison, “You need a smaller size.” It was fabulous. So I grabbed the smaller size, tried them on and decided to go for it. I’m not sure how I’m feeling about wearing jeans that “fit”, since I’m kind of a fan of loose and baggy, but when I showed them to Sarah later, she said that they looked good (and I don’t think she’d lie to me). Woohoo!