Category Archives: weight loss

Changes . . . and a benefit to help a Sheriff’s Deputy!

Recently, I needed to put together a two page scrapbook layout as a sample of one of our new Close To My Heart paper packets and Workshops on the go Scrapbooking Kits, which made me really realize just how far I have come from the beginning of my bariatric journey. I chose to use the Workshops on the Go Sarita Scrapbooking Kit, because I really like both the papers and the theme. I felt the theme, although shown in the idea book as a romantic layout, also perfectly fit the changes I have gone through over the past two and a half years, and since I’ve done very little scrapbooking about myself (because I so hated pictures of me), it would be fitting to use this layout to showcase what I have done, for me and for my health.

The left side of the two page layout shows pictures of me from January, 2011, the day before my bariatric surgery.

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And this one, which is the right side of the two page layout, shows pictures of me from Christmas 2011, and May of 2012, which is when I was honored at the Centurian Awards Ceremony held at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit MI, and received my Centurian pin, given to those who have lost at least 100 pounds and/or reached a healthy BMI. I had done both! 🙂

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If you click on the pictures, you can see them bigger than they are on the blog post.

I am so pleased with the difference this has made in my health, and in my physical abilities. With four special needs children, I NEEDED to get healthier, and I have. I am no longer taking two different versions of insulin, whereas before surgery I was on a short acting insulin shot before every meal and a long acting insulin shot before bed each night. I no longer take blood pressure medication or cholesterol medication. I am no longer restricted to shopping in plus size clothing stores, having gone from a size women’s 28 down to a Misses size 12 – 14, depending upon the style and manufacturer. I have lost 157 pounds, and I intend to never, ever go back to what I was when I weighed in at 320 pounds!

Now, after years of avoiding putting pictures of myself into the scrapbooks I love to make, I want to make one documenting my own journey from before weight loss to now. Close To My Heart is going to help me do that, with the beautiful, quality products available, which are extremely easy to use for anyone. Trust me, if *I* can stamp and not mess it up, so can you, and the CTMH scrapbooking and card making products are so beautiful, I know you’ll love using them as much as I do!

While you can, of course, use the Workshops On The Go Kits exactly as they are pictured in the idea book, as you can see by what I did, they are certainly adaptable to whatever theme you want to make them into.

I would love it if you would consider me for your paper-crafting wants needs. You can go directly to my CTMH website and shop to your heart’s content! There will often be a gathering listed on the site. If you click on the link by “join one of Lori’s gatherings”, you can join that gathering to shop. Even if there is no current gathering, you can still shop directly from the site and your products will be shipped directly to you!

There is currently a gathering listed as “New Idea Book Open House”, which will be closing as of this Friday, August 30, 2013. If you’re interested in purchasing from Close To My Heart, this would be the perfect gathering for you to join, because not only will you receive the yummy August Stamp of the Month Set “A Chocolate Affair” absolutely free with your $50.00 order, this gathering is actually a benefit for Deputy Shannon Key, a Deputy with the Bernalillo County NM Sheriff’s Department, who is a deacon in our church. You can read more about his ongoing battle with brain cancer here, in a series of articles and news stories.

If you order from the current gathering (New Idea Book Open House” on my Close To My Heart Site and get your order in by this Friday afternoon (August 30, 2013), then you will also be eligible for my prize drawing. With every $25.00 (pre-shipping/tax) on your order, you will have one entry in a drawing for your choice of a set of hand-crafted by me note cards (value $25.00), a retired paper packet (value $19.95) or a retired stamp set (value varies). The winner will be drawn by one of Deputy Key’s children, and will be able to choose which prize they prefer. If you book your own online gathering with me, and date it within the next month, I will give you an additional entry and set you up with E-Zinvite, so that you can invite all of your guests via email, and you can also make it an even on your Facebook page. Your party will have its own link on my site, your guests will receive their product shipped directly to them, and you’ll receive generous hostess rewards. What a win/win for you!

I hope to hear from you very soon, and I hope many of you will want to help Deputy Key by making an order on the current gathering “New Idea Book Open House”. All of my commission from this gathering is being donated to the Deputy Shannon Key Fund to help with the many costs associated with the treatment he must undergo, and to help his family during this time. Please consider this a worthy cause, and help out by ordering from this gathering. You’ll be helping someone who is very humble and deserving of your aid, and also making yourself more able to beautifully document the “changes” in your OWN life! 🙂

As always, I would love to have you join me on all of my “journeys through life” by following my blog. To receive a notice each time there is a new post, just go to the “sign me up” button at the top right of this page, click on it and enter your email. Hope to have you join me on “my journeys”!

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Filed under Bariatric Surgery, card making, changes, Close to My Heart, health, just me, scrapbooking, stamping, weight loss

Transitions Part 4: A 1700 Mile Adventure

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Well, I should have mentioned this yesterday, but I didn’t even realize it until I was going to bed last night! Yesterday, August 6, 2013, my kids and I had officially been here in NM for a whole year! Honestly, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a whole year since we arrived! It’s been a year full of change, and has had its ups and downs. My husband and I have, between us, gone through three surgeries, we found a wonderful church family, my kids and I got booted out of the first home-school group we joined (which turned out to be a good thing, but I digress!). Our first winter here was the best winter I’ve ever been through, as you can guess, having come from Michigan. We really do like being here! So now, let’s get on with our journey from Michigan to New Mexico, with our day in St. Louis, MO!

We had a very nice sleep Thursday night, in our beautiful room that my cousin Anne had gotten for us, and woke ready to have a great day in St. Louis! After everyone was showered and dressed, we went to the very good breakfast that came with our room. I think the hotel lost money on the breakfast that my boys had that day, lol! Then, while waiting for Anne to arrive, we went ahead and got packed back up and put our belongings back into the minivan.

When Anne arrived, we piled into the minivan and headed to the St. Louis Arch . . .

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Which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and is a National Park.

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We parked on what I *think* I was told is a levee, right at the river, where we saw this riverboat cruise boat.

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Stretched across the area where we parked were many of these very heavy chains. You can see in the picture of the riverboat that they are used for mooring. The boys found them interesting, and were pretending to try to lift them (they were, of course, way too heavy!)

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So, we walked along the river front to a point where we could get to the Arch, which is really quite beautiful, as you can see in the picture higher up in this post. There are a TON of steps to climb to get to the Arch!

Here is “The Artist” stopping on the way up . . .

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and here am I, with “Mr. Loquacious”

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I’m going to stop right here and tell you, I was really nervous about this excursion! My improved health from my weight loss was still relatively new, and I worried over whether I would really be able to handle all of the steps, etc. Well, as you can see, I did! I was also able to get through all of the little turnstiles inside, as well as fit into the tiny little carriers that we went to the top in. Here are pictures of each of us inside the one they have set up for photos . . .

First, “The Artist” . . .

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“Mr. Loquacious” . . .

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“The Batman” . . .

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“The Puzzler” . . .

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And me!

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Now, you can see how small those things are, right? Now imagine all six of us, crammed into one for the ride to the top. A year previously, I would never have managed, not at 320 pounds. I also would have been quite miserable upon moving to Albuquerque, where we are almost a mile higher in elevation than we were in Pt. Huron. The weight loss journey is one I am so glad to have taken, for many reasons!

Anne went and got our tickets to go to the top of the Arch, and then we had a little over an hour before our scheduled ride, so we used that time to walk through as much of the museum as we could. We really enjoyed it!

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All of the boys in front of one of the exhibits . . .

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all the boys with Anne . . .

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Anne and me . . .

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one of the views through the windows at the top of the Arch . . .

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After we had finished at the Arch, we drove back over to the hotel to pick up Anne’s car, and then went to eat an early supper at a restaurant nearby, for BBQ. It was very good, I’d never had BBQ done the way they do it! I don’t recall the name of the restaurant, but it was right across the parking lot from the hotel, and we loved it!

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After our dinner, we said our good-byes. Anne headed off to her home, and we headed on to Republic, MO, where we spent the night at a motel and then the next morning, Saturday, we spent the morning visiting with another cousin, Anne’s brother Ed and his family. Unfortunately, I forgot to have my camera with me during that visit, so I have no pictures. 😦

From Republic, we headed toward Oklahoma, where we would be spending the night at the home of a long time dear friend of mine, which I will tell you about tomorrow, if you come back! 🙂

As always, I’d love it if you would follow my blog by email! Never miss an update by just going to the top right of the blog and clicking on the “sign me up” button. Just follow the directions and you’ll be notified of new posts by email!

Meanwhile, please, hop on over to the main crew post to see what the other Summer Blog Hop participants are up to!

Summer Blog Hop

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Filed under 1700 Mile Adventure, Albuquerque, Blog Hop Aug. 5 - 9, exercise, family, health, Kids, Schoolhouse Review Crew Post, Transitions, Travel, weight loss

I Have Just the BEST Hairstylist in Albuquerque!

I know I posted a while back, when I first found a new hairstylist finally, after moving to New Mexico, and having to give up C.J., the fantastic lady who cut and colored my hair back in Pt. Huron, MI, but I’m writing about Jody Muniz again, because she has left the salon she was working for and gone out on her own!

Jody has moved from a salon where she was an employee to a salon where she is her own boss, and it appears that she could not be happier! I know that I couldn’t be happier, because I have someone again who understands my hair, and understands what I like.

I was finally able to get in to see Jody this past Saturday, July 20, 2013, after being unable to go for the whole time I’ve been recovering from surgery on five toes, and boy, was it beyond time to go!

Here I am before . . .

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As you can see, it’s WAY past time for a color and trim! Jody and I got right to work deciding what to do about color this time, and we decided to go with a lighter base, and stick with that from now on (probably), just changing up the accent colors that she puts in each time. That way, if I need to, I can go a little longer between appointments, because the golden blonde base will blend with any grey new growth. For the other colors as high and low lights, she used a chocolate color and a lighter blonde.

My hair has been really coming back nicely (finally) since my bariatric surgery, and as you can see, it takes a ton of foils to do the high/low lights!

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It’s more than worth it though, for the end results! Here is an “after” picture of me, with my wonderful stylist Jody!

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I’m so thankful to my husband . . . since I’m not yet driving after my surgery, he and the boys (all four of them!) took me to my appointment, which was at 9:30 a.m., meaning we needed to leave our house at about 8:45 a.m. (this is a BIG city, and you just never know about traffic!), and then he took the boys to McDonald’s, to get THEIR hair cut, and to a park while waiting for me to be done, about three hours later. Wasn’t that nice of him? 🙂

If you are in the Albuquerque, NM area, and want to have a wonderful, pampering, just for you time, and come out looking great, you can contact my stylist, Jody Muniz through Genesis Hair Studio, or you can contact her directly at (575)993-4972. I promise, you won’t regret it!

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Filed under Albuquerque, Bariatric Surgery, hair stylist, just me, weight loss

Hey, spring!

Welcome spring! Hear the sarcasm there? Spring officially began this past Sunday, and we had a winter storm last night. It is so beyond time for winter to give it up and move on.

On the plus side, I’ve lost about 30 pounds since my surgery, to add to the 20 I had to lose before the surgery. The other day I cleaned out a whole load of stuff from my closet. None of it fits anymore. I’m down from a size 30 to a 22/24 in most things. I did have to buy a couple skirts and tops, and am getting a new swimsuit so I can exercise in the pool at the Y, but I’m not buying much as it will be too big in a short time.

I’m off of most of my Meds now, the only things left are thyroid and cholesterol pills, and my night time insulin.

So, hey, spring, let’s see you here…like now!

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Filed under exercise, health, weight loss

Three weeks post-op

I know, I said I’d be better about posting once I was past my surgery, but at first, I really wasn’t up to sitting at the computer desk, and was just really tired. I’m feeling better now, about 3 weeks out from surgery, plus my husband Mike bought me an iPad when the tax refund hit, so now I can blog right from my living room, or wherever, and not have to wait until I have time to sit in the office at the computer.

So, about surgery… The day before I was scheduled to check into the hospital, we took our kids to stay at my dearest friend’s home with her and her 3 children, where apparently they had a wonderful time. They are something of a handful, though, and she’ll be getting a pretty good thank you gift just because we love her even more for doing this. Anyway, from her house, which is about 2 1/2 hours NW of us, we then went about the same distance SE from her, to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, because I had an appointment for my final weigh in before surgery so they could see I was still at or below the weight I was at my scheduling appointment. I was a bit below it, so I was good to go for the next day. We went down to patient services to see if we could find out what time surgery would be instead of having to continue waiting for the phone call, and since they were about ready to call anyway they went ahead and told me I needed to come check into the hospital at 5:30am for surgery at 7:30am. We had reserved one of the on campus apartments for the night, so after finding a store to buy me some broth, we went back to the hospital to check into the apartment. We’d gotten up SO early to drive the kids to our friend’s home that we were exhausted, and actually went to bed at 8:00pm, setting the alarm for 3:30am, so Mike could have something to eat, and we could both get showers. We were checked in at the surgical lounge by 5:30, and it wasn’t all that long before I was taken back for prep. Mike was allowed to be there with me, until time to go to the operating room. Once they took me there, Mike went and checked us out of the apartment, as he was staying in my hospital room with me until I was discharged. My surgery took about an hour longer than expected because of my previous hysterectomy, the surgeon said there were a lot of adhesions, but the surgery did go well. While inside, they discovered what appeared to be some cirrhosis on the liver, so they took a biopsy. At my follow up with the surgeon two weeks later, he said it came back yes, that it is cirrhosis, but very early, that at this stage I’d just be told to lose weight, which is what the surgery will help me to do. At my one week post-op with my primary care physician, me blood pressure had been so good he had me stop taking the meds for that, and my blood sugar levels were so much better that he took me off my daytime insulin and lowered the night time one from 28 units to 12 units, pending my next appointment one month later, at which time he can re-assess.

I was told not to step on the scale for a couple of weeks, that I’d just get upset, because they pumped me so full of fluids the entire time I was in the hospital that my weight would actually be up, but of course I did it anyway, and they were right. But the fluid weight is gone now, and I’m starting to lose actual weight. I had to go out the other day and buy a belt, so I could wear what I have longer, LOL! I had to buy it in the big men’s section at K-mart, but that will change.

I’m on the road to saving my life, and that’s a very good thing.

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Day 2…

Coming toward the end of day 2 of my seven day clear liquid diet for surgical prep. I can have sugar free jello (made with protein powder), sugar free popsicles, low sodium broth,crystal light for six days, then the day before surgury, just the clear liquids, no protein.   As you might guess, this is FUN!!!!!! It will be worth it though, during the surgery and after. I’m getting tons of support from my HFH bariatric patient support group on yahoo, and from my CCU friends (the best home education yahoo group around!). 

The other day we had the guardianship hearing for our eldest son, who just turned 18. He is developmentally disabled, and cannot be on his own. It went well, we now have full guardianship that doesn’t expire, and a back up guardian who loves him and will take him, should something happen to us.  Now we just have to get to work on the legalities of making sure our other kids will go to her as well if something happens.  This is the same wonderful friend (or as we told the judge, “chosen family”) who will be keeping our children while I’m in the hospital.  (better pray for her, LOL!) I don’t have a lot to say no, but will try to really write about this particular journey after surgery, the good and bad, the changes I make, etc.

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Getting closer!

Well, for all of my thinking about how it would be too long of a wait between my last consult when I received my surgery date and the actual date, it’s suddenly almost here! Of course, it was a long time to have to maintain the 20.2 pound weight loss, and of course I was not able to do it, so now I’m working on getting the last of it back off. My surgery is the 27th, with my weigh in on the 26th, and I’ve got 6.1 pounds to go, but I think it’ll be fine. I had more than that to lose a little over a week before my scheduling date and did it. All fast food is out of my life, and I’m buying a Ninja blender from Sam’s as soon as I can afford it, so I can make my own slurpees with my Crystal Light and protein powder. I like the Ninja because it’s not too large, and has several different functions. The one I will use for this crushes and shaves ice.

So, this past Monday was my oldest son’s birthday party. His actual birthday is on the 13th, but there was a museum exhibit he wanted to go to during his party which ends this Sunday, so we just did the party early.  For his party food, he chose chili dogs, chips, koolaid, and the chocolate/peanut butter cake for which I was a finalist in the Flint Journal Bake Off in 1995 (I think it was that year!). I pre-planned for myself so as not t self sabotage myself. I bought a Dole Salad Kit, & some individual sugar free jello cups. I determined ahead of time that I would have one chili dog, no chips, no cake or ice cream. Instead, with my one chili dog, I had salad, water, and for dessert I had my sugar free jello. And The following night when the kids wanted cake for dessert, I again did not have any. Yesterday was MY birthday, and I went to lunch at Olive Garden, where I had water with lemon, a stuffed mushroom appetizer, and the soup & salad special. No dessert. I asked Mike (my husband) if he and the kids would just please finish up the cake after their lunch while I was gone, though, because otherwise I might well have given in to temptation.  They had Dijourno’s Pizza for supper, and I had a salad with pecans & multiple kinds of berries in it. So really, two birthdays, and I did great, I think.

Today I ordered part of the protein powder I will need for the week before surgery (when I will be on clear liquid diet only, with protein powder for the first part of the week), and the month or so after, from unjury.com. I ordered the unflavored so I could use it in anything. I will have to order more, but couldn’t afford (today) to order all that  I will need. I ordered 4 cannisters, and will need at least 8 or 10 before being back on regular foods completely. I will need to take in at least 80 grams of protein per day.

I’m also re-reading the binder full of information I was given at the first meeting I went to about the surgery. Every time I read it I see something I missed the first time, so it’s a good thing to do.

Now that the actual date of surgery is so close, i’m feeling excited about it, and nervous about it, too. I’m not looking forward to that week before surgery, but I’m so looking forward to after!

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Filed under Birthdays, health, weight loss

Been a while…

So, it’s been a while since I’ve put anything on here. I often don’t really feel I have anything very interesting to say, so I neglect to come and just write.

It’s just past Thanksgiving, and we had a nice time. My cousin Kathy and her little boys came for the holiday, as is becoming a very nice tradition. Instead of doing all the prep and cooking, etc, my husband suggested I take it as a less stressful day and just order a pre-made meal from one of our local stores, so I did! It was very good, cost considerably less, and reheating everything took a total of two hours (turkey, spiral sliced ham, loads of sides). I’m thinking this may become a nice tradition, too!  I even bought foil baking pans for everything to help with clean up.

As I feared would happen, though, I have regained part of the weight I lost before my surgery consult, so I now have to get back on the wagon and be tough on myself. I have until January 26, 2011, which is my pre-surgery weigh in to get it back off.  I can do it, I did it before, it’s just tough. I’ll need to dump about 14 pounds. I’ll be doing the meal replacement protein bars and protein powder, lots of fruits and veggies that are mostly water, drinking tons of water, being careful again about my portion sized, etc.  And I need to get back on the wagon with the exercise DVD’s. It’s getting close. I’m nervous, but excited.

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Filed under family, health, Uncategorized, weight loss

I did it!!!

My surgeon at Henry Ford Hospital told me I had to lose 15 – 20 pounds before my surgery was scheduled, and I did it! Today was the day I went back for my second consult to schedule my surgery, and I had lost 20.2 pounds, plus my a1c blood test went from 11.2 down to 7.4, so he is very pleased that my diabetes is becoming better controlled, something that was necessary before scheduling. I do intend to lose some extra over the next few months just so I can have a “little bit” of leeway over Thanksgiving, though.

Of course, we knew that it would be scheduled for after the first of the year, because my husband has no more paid benefit days until then, but even if we didn’t have to consider that, the first opening the surgeon had was not until December anyway. So, I will be having my mandatory pre-surgery weigh in on Wednesday January 26, 2011, and my surgery on Thursday January 27, 2011.

There are so many things I’m looking forward to! I’m looking forward to having my diabetes be in remission. I’m looking forward to being able to stop taking all of my meds except for my thyroid medication (that won’t change). I’m looking forward to not needing the a/c to be kept as low as it is because the heat won’t bother me as much and I’ll be able to breathe better. I’m looking forward to being able to buy clothing in a regular size store instead of plus size. I’m looking forward to seeing a pretty crochet sweater pattern and realizing I can make it for myself and it will fit.

Things I will not miss…I will not miss giving myself a shot of insulin four times a day. I will not miss feeling exhausted from walking a short distance. I will not miss having my priority in clothing purchases be that they are big enough, regardless of style. I will not miss needing a seat belt extender whenever I wear a coat. There are so many things that I can’t even think of them all right now!

So, this is the next step to my new, healthy me, and I’m starting to realize I can do this, one step at a time. 🙂

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Crunch time!

My scheduling appointment at Henry Ford Hospital is fast approaching, it’s August 20. I have not managed to both lose the 15 pounds they want me to lose AND keep it off.  I’ve lost and regained it at least twice, which is discouraging, and is the reason I need the surgery in the first place! This is making me feel like a failure yet again.  My HAP nurse who calls me every Thursday is helping me. Today she went over some of my choices I’ve been thinking were OK and showed me why they aren’t right now.  She wants me to continue the exercise DVD’s, but only until the 18th, and to lay off cheese, pickles, lunch meat, anything with salt in it until after my appointment, and to try really hard to stay off the scale as much as I can, too, so I don’t get discouraged. Tonight I made spaghetti with ground turkey, heart smart prego, mushrooms and onions, which she said was a good choice as long as I didn’t put grated cheese on it (difficult for me, but I managed), and to weigh the spaghetti noodles to get a correct serving amount (2 ounces!), and check the serving size for the sauce (1/2 cup!). I did do this, and it was just fine, though as soon as we can afford it I will be replacing our dishes so the plates will have a smaller eating surface. So between now and the 20th I will be upping the amount of water I drink, taking my water pill EVERY day, eating breakfast,  replacing lunch with my cut up protein bar and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, a sensibly portioned supper, and a protein powder drink if I need something between supper and bedtime.

I’ve decided to become a Mary Kay lady. I really like the product a lot, and I feel so much better about myself when I use it. My self image stinks, and has done so for a lot of years, so it’s nice to have something that helps me in that area, and nice that my husband wants to support me in doing this.  I’m hoping to sign up within the next couple weeks.

Prayers for real success between now and the 20th would be so appreciated, I really want to leave my appointment with my surgery scheduled, even though we have to have it scheduled for after the first of the year due to time/money constraints.

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Filed under exercise, health, weight loss