Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hoghead Cheese and Gumbo

Scratching your heads right now, aren't ya?  Many will know what gumbo is, but when they hear the words "hog" "head" and "cheese" together, they get a bit flustered.  And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like:  cheese made from the head of a hog.  Sounds gross, but it's SO GOOD.

I was born and raised in the deep south.  I'm talking gator farms, crabbing at 3am, mosquitoes, boudin balls, jambalaya and red beans for dinner deep south.  If you're from here or have ever visited here, you know the food is fantastic.  Anything and everything you could eat here is great with one exception:  nutria rat.  I have never and will never eat a rat.  No, thank you.

Since my mother and her mother were also born and raised here, they are two of the best cooks in the world.  I don't care what they're cooking, it's good.  Like slap ya Momma good. (Note:  If you're ever in the south and something is slap ya Momma good, PLEASE, for the love of God, do not slap somebody's Momma.  You'll get your ass kicked.) They cook the best fried chicken, pork chops, roast and gravy - and we eat pretty much everything with gravy.  It's a food group.

In addition to being delicious, food is also cooked differently here.  We'll take anything healthy and make it unhealthy.  All you need is some Crisco, butter and flour.  For example, when we get fresh vegetables, we don't just slice 'em up and throw them in a salad.  No, sir.  We batter and fry those bad boys.  Do the same thing to fish, shrimp, soft shell crabs and even bread (hushpuppies).  If we're not frying it, we're covering it in salt and Tony's (Tony Chachere's Seasoning).  You can make anything better with enough Tony's.

Knowing all of this can help y'all understand just how incredibly easy it was for me to get as big as the side of a barn.  Because not only is the food delicious, every single public event that goes on down here involves some form of food.  Festivals are named after foods.  Parties involve either BBQ or a crawfish boil.  Church get-togethers include potluck dinners (Oh em gee can old church ladies cook!).  Hell, they even serve snacks at the polling booths on election days.  I'm telling you, life in the south revolves around food.

So,  27 years of weekly Sunday dinners at my Mawmaw's house with roast, rice and gravy, homemade macaroni and cheese, broccoli casserole, squash casserole (a vegetable isn't edible unless it's fried or in a casserole of some sort), cornbread and the likes, on top of my mother's daily wholesome dinners (she cooked enough for a small army - every single night), combined with the bad habits of any kid/young adult - fast food and junk food all the time..... God, why was I even surprised when that scale read 283??

Once I got married and moved out, my eating habits didn't worsen, but they surely didn't improve.  I wanted to cook dinners every night, but with being a student and working full time and a house to keep up, many nights I would just throw chicken nuggets and fries in the oven.  I would cook some vegetables for the kids, but my husband and I would eat large platefuls of nuggets and fries with ketchup AND MAYONNAISE mixed together.  That started around age 8.  At 27 I was still eating mayonnaise and ketchup mixed together with fries and basically any meat - chicken, pork, even steak.

I'd plan on being good and bring a can of soup or a small pack of crackers to school or work, but as soon as I got in my car to go home, the first thing I wanted to do was pull into a Sonic or Raising Canes or Taco Bell. From Sonic I would order mozzarella sticks, cheddar poppers and a large chili cheese tots.  Every single time.  From Cane's I would get the largest combo with an extra sauce - no coleslaw for me.  Taco Bell would be a stuffed burrito with either a Mexican pizza or a quesadilla.  Every once in a while I would stop by Popeye's and get a 3-piece chicken with red beans and rice and a biscuit.  I would eat ALL THREE pieces of chicken, all of the red beans and the biscuit.

I'm mortified to be sharing this with y'all, but I know that being honest with myself and everyone else about how bad I let myself get is the best way to motivate myself to continue this new path I'm on.  Since I've started my lifestyle change I haven't had any fast food or junk food.  An entire month with no junk food is a milestone for me.  I don't know how Sonic is going to pay their light bill anymore.

Hopefully soon I can share with you guys some of the lifestyle changes I've made in regards to what I eat.  A lot of it has to do with being conscious of what we put into our bodies, and how it will affect us.   So, the next time you feel the urge to pull in to a fast food joint for a "quick bite", take a second to think about how long it will take to work it off.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Food, food. Glorious food.

Hello again. B at your service, and today we're talking about food. Not the kind of food that I eat when I want to lose weight, but the kind that turned me into the balloon woman that you know now. Bad food in all it's gloriousness is the topic of discussion today.

I have to say this before I say anything else. This entry was extremely hard for me to write. It's bad enough to admit you might be just a little bit out of shape, but to admit what I'm about to tell all of you? This would so not happen 5 years ago. But, I've grown up a little, learned a little bit more, and I realize that reflecting on your eating habits is the only way to a true healthy self, so I'm ready to spill the beans on my bad eating habits in order for some of you to take a look at and analyze your own.

Here we go with that.

Now, I admit that there's some defect in me that doesn't like to cook all the time. Some women love their time in the kitchen and can razzle dazzle some delicious food, but to me, the kitchen was like Mars. I could turn a burner on, but most of my food ended up that way. Burned. But I could make a ramen soup that would make you slap. yo. momma.

In my ignorance of all the different sorts of food out there, I became a picky asshole, and I refused to eat it if it wasn't deep fried or came with a bun with cheese and bacon.

Since I can't cook, and it wasn't possible to Harry Potter a spread of various delicacies without putting in too much effort, most of my eating was done at restaurants and fast good joints. My personal favorite was Culvers. At my fattiest, I could put a major dent in my wallet at Culvers. And it was about a mile down the road from my house. Score! Easy freakin dinners all the time. But at what cost?

For me, an average meal at Culvers consisted of this:

1 Bacon Butterburger deluxe (double), fries and a large diet dr pepper (LOL at the Dr Pepper, by the way. Like that means anything.)


1 Vanilla Concrete mixer and another small order of fries.

Fries were my addicition as you can tell. And, despite the fact that I want to drop a few pounds, I still crave them like mad. I have a pang for them almost everyday. Weird, huh?

Anyway, since I started to diet, I got a food app on my Android (Calorie Count)that listed all the nitty gritties of my eating. Fat, calories and all. Since I just gave you an example of a typical meal, I'll also give you an example of my typical intake. Fat and all.

1 bacon butterburger deluxe (double) is 751 calories, 50 grams of fat, and 34 grams of carbs.

1 large order of crinkle cut fries is 495 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 68 grams of carbs.

1 vanilla concrete mixer is 682 calories, 40 grams of fat, and 67 grams of carbs

In total, that one meal is 1,928 calories, 112 grams of carbs, and 169 grams of fat.

So, if I had this meal more than once a day, I pretty much fucked myself with every single bite. And rest assured, I did have this meal once a day. Sometimes multiple times a day depending on how lazy or tired I felt.

You guys, it's no wonder that I had a meltdown. This is horribly, horribly bad for you. I ate like this multiple times a day with almost no second thought. It's a wonder to me that I'm not even bigger than I am already, or just plain dead.

When I finally decided that enough was enough, I made some changes. As hard as this was to post and as embarassed as I am to be putting this up for everybody to talk about, this is the only way for me to wake up, and to hopefully wake up some other people too. And if I have to embarass myself a bit in order to get it into my head (and yours) that I need to stay home and cook, so be it!

What have I done since the discovery of the baaaad that I was doing to myself? This:

I opened up my wallet: I always bought processed food that was quick to make and made excuses when confronted with choosing something healthy over something fast. I make more of an effort as far as cooking and buying healthier food. I also take stabs at making food for the family. You know, by trying not to burn it.
Even my burnt food is healthier than the stuff I mentioned earlier in the post.

I stopped drinking soda: This one was really difficult for me. Where I work has a free soda/fruit program, and it is so easy for me to go to our cafe and grab a 32 ounce cup and fill it up with fizzies. However, for the past 3 weeks, I haven't done that. I'm proud of myself because cutting out the consumption of Dr Pepper (or as I call it, crack in a cup) has saved me 388 calories everyday. And let's not forget the 32 grams of sugar that I'm no longer consuming either.

I exercise: There's no way around it. I have to work out in order to drop the weight. At this point, I'm doing 30 minutes of cardio and 45 minutes of weight exercise 3 times a week. It should be everyday, but I work hideous hours, and this is all I can make time for at the moment. As I get deeper into exercise, I will most likely end up modifying this.

Make small changes, show some big results! (Hopefully)

Thanks for reading my story today.

Until next time.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


I don't feel the same way about my body that other (not all) overweight women do. I've never been the kind of woman who hated herself for being fat. I love my body. I feel sexy and lush. I love my curves. I love my breasts. My hips. My bottom. My thighs. I never turn off the lights when I have sex. I spend as much of the day as I can in as little clothing as possible. I own SO MUCH LINGERIE!

It helps that I'm married to a man who has always found me incredibly sexy. I've probably gained close to 100 pounds since we started dating 21 years ago and HE NEVER NOTICED. He seriously never even noticed.

Maybe because he's always like, "Push those boobs back in my face!"

So why am I trying to lose weight? I know you're all clamoring to know!

Health. I'll get into this more in my first real entry.

I'm supposed to be introducing myself here. AHEM!

I'm 40. Married. No children. I think I'm a dink? Double income. No kids. I've been with my husband for 21 years (as of Mar 2).

I've never been thin. Although I was as a teen. I was a regular normal sized teenager but I didn't know it because I was raised by a woman (my mom) whom I love but she was/is an OCD anorexic.

If there ever was a recipe for raising overweight children, that was it. How about 3 overweight children and 1 chubby one. 2 of my siblings and my father have diabetes. 1 of my brothers has had gastric bypass.

So here I am at 40. Changing my entire life. It's scary and wonderful.

Friday, January 27, 2012

What had happened was...

I’m Jess. I am a Fatty McFatterson and I am miserable.

Recently, with the helpful motivator that is B, I have decided to do something about it. I’ve struggled with  my weight my entire life. When I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade I weighed in at 209 lbs and was 5 feet 7 inches tall, same height that I am now. That’s a lot for a kid, it’s a lot for an adult male. I didn’t have a lot of friends growing up, I was pretty shy and no one wants to be friends with a fatty. Kids being kids and all that.

So at 12 years old I started taking Phentermine. It’s pretty much speed in a capsule. I was living in Alabama and once a month my mom would drive me over to Mississippi to get it from a less than legit doctor. I went from 209 lbs in August of that year to 144 lbs right after Christmas break. That’s 65 lbs in 4 months. That’s not healthy guys when you just take a pill and there's no exercise or healthy eating to back it up.

I loved the pill. It made you have tons of focus and energy and not hungry at all. My grades impoved and I forgot to eat. For days at a time. Literally. One day when I was at school walking up the stairs to go to my science class I passed out on the stairs. I came to with my best friend holding a muffin in my face and the history teacher, Mr. Boatwright, cradling my head. My friend was shouting at me “EAT SOMETHING! THIS IS RIDICULOUS! YOU MUST EAT!”

I eventually got down to about 125 lbs and could wear a size 6. I was kind of skeletal and not cute. My parents got worried and made me start eating. I evened out at about 140 lbs. That suited me. I stayed at that weight until I moved here to NC. Where I apparently ate myself and expanded at an exponential rate. It started because my weekends consisted of me eating Ben & Jerry’s and a frozen pizza and part of a tube of raw cookie dough while I read Cosmo and lamented about all the sex I was never going to have (I was also 15 and in my head I was slutty and in life I was extremely pure). I didn’t have friends, I had to entertain myself-don’t judge.

Even after I got friends I still spent a lot of time eating fatty foods. My parents never really cooked fresh veggies and stuff. It was always sloppy joes and spaghetti. Frozen pizza and fast food. So I got bigger and bigger. By the time I was 18 I was in a size 14 and less than 2 years later a size 18 wasn’t fitting anymore. Now, at 28 I am a size 22/24 and weight ...a lot.

I wish I had unique reason to have gained so much weight, but I don’t. If I’m bored I eat. If I’m sad I eat. If I’m happy I eat. If I’m stressed I eat.

The only good thing about this, is that as much as I LOVE baking treats for friends and family, I’m not a big sweet eater. I love fruit and veggies. The problem is, I am lazy. It’s so much easier to go out and pick up Chinese or a Whopper on the way home than it is to cut, sautee, simmer, and puree your way through the dinner making process.

Weight loss is a life-style change. A very hard one. Finally, I am committed to changing my life in order to better it. I am tempted to find a doctor and request a prescription for Phentermine again. It's very very tempting for me. First though, before I resort to that I want to change my ways. You can't just take a pill and expect your life to change. If I were to get on it, I couldn't be on it my entire life. So I have to change my daily habits first.

I’m going to make mistakes. I am going to back slide. I am going to question my resolve. I am going to cry, whine, and make my husband go crazy. I am also committed to succeeding this time too. Also, with the help of this blog, I will have a support group. Women who are going through the same thing that I am. I’ve never had that before. So let’s get started.

Oh and you can find my non-weight loss blog over at Simple Musings

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Andie: Been There. Done That. Got the T-shirt but the T-shirt No Longer Fits.

Well, I guess I should get the formalities out of the way.  I am called Andie and I am aka'd as Yandie, Goddess of Pickles when I blog at my regular blog at Inspiration Strikes. In The Kneecaps.  I'm a 30ish, musically inclined, vaguely eccentric Canadian single mother of two girls who has struggled with body issues for most of my life.

Gross, right?  I know.
(God, I was such an idiot.)
I say "body issues" rather than "weight" because in retrospect, I think the "weight problems" I had as a child and a teenager were grossly exaggerated.  I equated being bigger than my peers with being fat.  I also spent a lot of time internalizing my parents concerns with my shitty nutritional habits as more evidence that I was terribly fat.   Considering where I found myself years later, I have to reiterate that my fat concerns at the time were more than a little unfounded.

The nutritional concerns on the other hand? Totally Not Unfounded. I'll be dead, straight, spit-in-your-face honest when I say that for the first 25 years of my life I was probably the pickiest eater imaginable. I don't mean that I had a sophisticated palate. No ma'am. Picky like a five-year-old. Kraft Dinner (that's Mac 'n' Cheese for those south of the 49th parallel), grilled cheese and Zoodles were my staples. Vegetables were not a part of my vocabulary. To this day, people can list the individual ingredients of hot dogs to me and my response is still likely to be a Homer Simpson-esque "mmmm... Reconstituted pork hooves" complete with drool. Heck yes, I loves me some processed shit.

So what got me onto this health kick? For starters, some severe health issues that reared their ugly heads just after my 18th birthday. These issues, that include some occasionally severe colitis and multiple blood clots, and their various medications also resulted in my weight fluctuating wildly for the next ten years or so. Second, the realization at the age of 27 that no matter your feelings on the beauty and diet industry, when you wake up with 230 lbs on a 5'5" frame and your legs hurt every day, well, son, there's nothing cool about that AT ALL. Third, the idea of dying young didn't appeal to me at all and I became concerned that may be a very real possibility.

myself, early 2007, at 232 lbs
I started Weight Watchers in 2007 and over the next four or so years managed to lose 65 lbs. Yeah, I'm kind of a veteran with this stuff. I started eating better getting more activity and ended up about 20 lbs shy of my goal. I left WW due to disillusionment with the rampant corporatism and within a year I had gained back 20 lbs.

Which is why I am here. I've got a lot of pants that I'd like to wear again and a pretty vested interest in not getting back to my unhealthiest weight. Pretty clothes are pretty and no meds is all kinds of awesome.  I recently signed up at www.myfitnesspal.com which basically uses the same 'calories in, calories out' ideas that are used in Weight Watchers but without me having to shell out my hard-earned cash.  I'm looking forward to writing with these lovely ladies and keeping y'all up to date. I may also touch on subjects such as HEAS (Health At Every Size) and how the media affects our body image and self-worth. Did I mention I have a background in sociology? So yeah I kind of get off on analyzing such things.

Not literally, of course. Ew.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hi! I'm Mrs. One Day and I'm a Food-o-holic!

I'm gonna be 40 in May. 40! Geez, I can't believe I'm already at that point in my life. I mean, it really seems like I was just a 20-something woman with a size 8 body and the world in the palm of my hand. Now I look at that size 14 or 16 label in my jeans and get teary eyed. I've been disabled since 2008 and I see no world in my palm. That saying makes me smirk at the irony actually. You see it's my left hand/arm that have the problem. 
God I hope that's true.
I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), sometimes referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). Quite a mouthful isn't it? If you aren't familiar with CRPS, check out this excellent information on the oh-so-helpful bandbacktogether.com, http://bandbacktogether.com/complex-regional-pain-syndrome-resources/ . Because of this, and several other, medical issues, I have a hard time with exercise. My pain is excruciating at worst and annoying as hell, at best. I have a grocery list of medical problems that I won't bore you with now, but suffice it to say, I'm a sickly chicky. It sucks and I've written about it in my personal blog, onedayimgonna.blogspot.com, which is weird because it's a humor blog. Every now and then I get a little bit intimate over there, but mostly it's about the laughs.
So, I guess you get the general picture here. I developed CRPS in 2008 and have since gained about 40 extra pounds that I hate. I'm thinking of naming each one so that when I lose them, I can shout, "Fuck you, Ira! Off you go!" Doesn't Ira totally work as a "pound" name? Maybe I'll make a list of their names and post it. Maybe not. It's weird right? Let me get this train back on the track now. Alrighty, so I am trying my best to get rid of Ira and his fatty friends. How, you ask? Portion control and dancing which masquerades as exercise. Yay! I find that I'm having so much fun I sometimes forget that I'm working out and the next day my butt, legs, arms and back are sore as hell. That's how I know I actually did something productive for my body. Woohoo! 
We've all been here, no?
Bottom line is this. I have very little will power...very little. I'm a caver. I'm a rationalizaton-er. I'm a word maker upper apparently too. My tendency is to eat several things that seem "not-so-bad" throughout the day, not thinking of how they add up. I rationalize it by saying, "But it's only 50 calories!", which would be okay if it were just the one 50 calorie item. It usually isn't. I'm pretty good about the working out because, like I said before, it's fun dancing around the house!
At least THAT'S not us right?
I need this blog for support from my fellow contributers (who I adore by the way), and from readers like you. I promise to do my best and share all of my ups (and downs), if you promise to do it with me. Kick me in the ass if I need it (and I will). Give me a high five when I deserve one and dammit let's get rid of Ira and all the rest of them!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The story of the chick who got so fat she had to have an anonymous blog...

Yep, that would be me.

Hey y'all, Bea Beautiful here.  I'm 27, married, a mother of two, a college student, a part-time worker and I have spent the majority of my life being the funny fat friend in the group.  It's okay, I earned that title one quarter pounder at a time.

As a child/teen I was very active, and played sports year-round.  I was really good, too.  For some strange reason around eleven I started gaining weight with no obvious reason.  Concerned, my mother brought me to my pediatrician who soon figured out that I have hypothyroidism.  (Basically a really ridiculous term that means my metabolism is always in panic mode, ie: WE MUST STORE EVERYTHING NOW! EVERY CALORIE, EVERY FAT GRAM!  STICK 'EM ANYWHERE!) Thus began the pill-a-day regimen since age twelve.  Now, to be clear, there are millions of people in the world who have this condition, yet they manage to keep their weight at healthy levels.  I used it as a scapegoat.  The larger I grew, the more I informed people of my backwards metabolism.  It was easier to blame my ever-expanding waist line on a faulty body part than my inability to turn down McDonald's or Taco Bell.

Luckily for me, God created a man with a short in his brain somewhere, and as such he finds me unbelievably sexy.  I jumped on that bandwagon and married this man.  I'm no idiot.  Honestly, my husband is funny, kind, smart and sexy as hell, and he was good enough to see past the weight.  We have been married for five years now, have two beautiful children, and his biggest concern with me losing weight is that my boobs will disappear.  God love him.

I've always hated being the fat chick.  I hate walking into a room full of people for the first time, because I just know they're all thinking something along the lines of Damn, she's fat. As a defense mechanism I've always made it a point to joke about my weight.  I make comments about being SO sexy, and everyone laughs like it's the funniest damn thing they've ever heard.  Me sexy.  Hysterical, right?

Despite the insecurities and having to buy old lady clothes, I have had a really happy, blessed life thus far.  That's why I think I was able to just push my weight to the back of my mind.  Try not to think about how my knees ache when I walk up or down stairs, or how much I hate summer because it doesn't matter how flattering you make a swimsuit look, 3 yards of bathing suit is not pretty.

One morning back in December I had a doctor's appointment and decided to step on the 'ol scale in my bathroom just so I wouldn't be shocked at the office when they made me weigh.  283.  Two hundred and eighty-three.  I weighed more than most NFL defensive linemen.  How in the world had I let myself get so big?  I guess I could have gotten depressed there.  I could have given up and said screw it, I'll just eat myself to death.  Instead, I got mad.  I got mad at myself for being so damn lazy.  I got mad at myself for not making sure I'm around for my kids.  I got mad at Popeye's for making such good fried chicken.  Getting mad was the motivation I needed.

I decided I would make changes right then.  No dieting.  I would make permanent lifestyle changes.  Cut out the bad stuff.  Exercise regularly.  Drink water.  Lots of it.  No more fast food, no more junk food.  So on December 21, 2011 I began these changes.  I decided I needed to blog about it to keep myself accountable and maybe make some friends and encourage others along the way.  That is exactly what has happened, and why I'm introducing myself to you now on this group blog with these other wonderful people who understand, support and encourage.  I am 23 pounds down, and though I have a VERY long way to go, I know I won't be making this journey alone.  Hope you come along with us and enjoy the ride.

God Bless!

Monday, January 23, 2012

B and the meltdown that changed everything.

It began like any other day. I woke up at 4 am, stumbled around my room looking for my work clothes and the light switch. I turned on the light and looked in the mirror.

I don't know what some people see when they look in the mirror, but I hated the way that I looked. Every glance was another reason to pick at myself or put myself down. So I learned to avoid doing that. But I didn’t do that on this day. That look in the mirror had a different feel to it. Unbeknownst to me, I managed to become even heavier than I already was. I took a good long look at myself and hated what I saw. A stomach covered in stretch marks. A pair of arms that were sagged and sad. And again, I felt that twinge of self hate.

At that moment I remembered that the most physical thing I'd done up to that point was opening and closing doors. I remembered that the last time I ran without wanting to passing out was over 5 years ago. I was unhealthy and I knew it. But I still wasn't ready to accept the truth. I continued with my normal routine of brushing my hair. After I got dressed I turned off the lights in the bedroom and rushed out of the house.

As my day went on, I couldn't stop kicking myself in the ass for my fatness. I was irritated that I allowed myself to get so heavy. I spent half that day at work still hating myself and wishing to be in skinnier body. I contemplated if the problem was as severe as my mind was making it out to be. Then it happened. I went to go get lunch. As I sat there in front of my food, I could feel the tears coming. "I'm so sick of this." I thought to myself. "What am I doing to myself?"

What I was doing at that particular moment was getting a burrito with sour cream, huge gobs of meat. There was not a healthy thing in that Burrito. I figured it would cheer me up. Not on this day. Burritos have always been my favorite food, and I especially love them when they’re smothered in cheese and some kind of rich sauce. And since I never really learned how to cook at home, eating out became 2nd nature. I usually hit a restaurant everyday on my way home from work. I had dessert every night too. I had huge helpings of cheesecake, pies and ice cream. Everything that's bad for you, I relished. And I was happy to do it. I called it a treat. I don't even think puppies get rewarded as much as I "rewarded" myself for doing things normal adults do.

I was clearly unhappy with body and I’d been that way for awhile. But at that moment, I was more miserable than I’d ever been. Overwhelmed with my own diet failures, I went into a bathroom stall at work and bawled my eyes out. I'm not a crier but I sobbed my eyes out that day.

After I finished feeling sorry for myself, I headed straight to the gym facility at my job. I found a scale and on it for the first time in years. It said I was 250. I hung my head in shame for a little while, but then I held my head up and went back to my desk. "I’ve had absolutely enough of feeling sorry for myself.” I said. "I'm not staying 250 pounds forever."

I went into my cubicle, opened up a webpage, and went to Google. I sat there for hours looking up different exercises. I made a promise to myself during my research. I made a vow to be 70 pounds lighter by January of next year. I will not go to my 29th year at my current weight of 249 pounds. I just can't do it.

Somewhere in the midst of weight loss and the motivation to try to lose weight, I decided that I needed to write about my experiences. My personal blog was not the place where I wanted to get into the seriousness of my weight loss woes. I thought about it for awhile and came to the natural conclusion that a weight loss blog is a necessity for this step in my life. But I also knew that I didn't want write alone. Having support is so vital in the quest to lose weight. That and being alone is boring. Who do you high five when you've lost 5 pounds in a week? The air? Exactly.

I needed people who inspired me to begin my process to stay there with me. I needed to hear their stories and be on the same playing field. I also knew who would be up for the challenge. All the women contributing to this blog are honest and amazing people. I hope you'll be inspired by our stories of trying to lose a few pounds. We're on different paths, but we hope to end up at the same destination: Lighter and happier and without achy knees.

We will all reveal our hurts, hopes and dreams in these entries. I hope you'll stick with us as we get on the path to better health.

Until next time.