Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, January 20, 2012

Managing weight loss

That's me, front, left - 50 lbs ago in 2006
Many of you may not know that I struggled with being overweight for most of my adult life. I yo yo'd up and down from my high of 194 pounds in the 1980s, to my current low of 130. I am only 5' 3 1/2", so 194 was obese for me. I did every diet imaginable: Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, the grapefruit diet, Atkins. I lost weight on all (except Atkins), but always put it back. Since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I decided to do it differently this last time. Instead of dieting, I hired a nutritionist to teach me how to eat. For me. With my particular food issues (i.e. I cannot do dairy of any kind, or soy). Each step of the way, she worked with me on how many complex carbs, proteins, veggies and fruit servings to have each day and taught me appropriate portion sizes. I went from 183 to my current weight and have remained there for 3 years now.
Me on Mykanos this past year

The reason I am writing about this today is that it is not easy. I have to manage my food. And sometimes that means telling friends I can't come for dinner because I've eaten out several times already that week. You see, I gain a couple of pounds every meal I eat that isn't in my control. Then it takes several weeks to take it off. If I don't manage it, it will be 2 pounds, then another 2 pounds, then another, and I'll be right back where I started.

At this point, I think my really close friends understand and actually admire me for what I've done. But it isn't easy saying no to dinner invitations, or going out to eat with friends and ordering a cup of tea. However, the way I feel about myself, which is better than I've ever felt in my life, makes it all worth while.

I guess it all boils down to a motto I came to understand a long long time ago: being willing to do whatever it takes. If something is really important to my growth and well being, that is the place I must come from in order to make it happen. Being willing to do whatever it takes.

Are you?


Tonja said...

That's good that you have supportive friends that understand. I have a hard time maintaining my weight unless I exercise regularly.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I had a weight problem then I read and listened to cds by Paul McKenna,I was living in Spain at the time and I lost over a peroid of time 3 stone. I returned to the UK and the weight gradually crept back on, but it is slowly going again once I started again with Paul, I do much walking......even walking around the apartment is good for you.Keep up the good work Karen.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's difficult, but you found the secret. You have to permanently change the way you eat. That's why diets never work.

L.G.Smith said...

Good for you for maintaining it for three years. That's that hardest part, isn't it? And I know you feel better, which is priceless.

Karen Walker said...

Tonja, exercise is still the hardest thing for me to make myself do. good for you.
Yvonne, isn't it great when you find something or someone that works for you?
Alex, yup
L.G. Thanks, and yes, it is.

Glynis said...

I am on the weight loss journey at the moment Twenty years ago I did the same. Then -as now- I was not in an active job. It is going well so far and I have lost 8lb since Jan 2nd. I have an awful long way to go, but am determined. I too have had to say no thank you, this week, but feel better for doing so.

I admire your discipline, Karen.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, add weird eating habits like being vegan and it really becomes a challenge!

Tracy Jo said...

3 years...congratulations! It is these type of situations that you truly find out who your friends are too. I admire your strength and perseverance! You inspire me, Karen especially because I can always hear in your writing how hard these changes have been. Have a great weekend!

Karen Walker said...

Glynis, good for you.You'll feel so much better!
Diane, yes, that would be difficult. I'd be began if I could do dairy and soy.
Tracy Jo, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for you, Karen. You look stunning. You have a problem with weight gain like I have a problem TRYING to gain weight, though for my size 89 pounds is okay. But I can empathize with your struggles when you eat out. I try to eat healthy to be strong, and it's difficult in a world where you're sometimes with people who are eating stuff with white flour and refined sugar that I don't want to eat! But I have no trouble saying no, because I've found that I feel so much better physically if I don't eat the "bad" stuff. "Being willing," as you say, is definitely the key.

And hooray. You found my comment link on my post today about Celery Tree. You live so close to Karen Gowen, I hope you two can one day get together.

I love this photograph of you on Mykanos. The scene, and you, are beautiful!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's wonderful, Karen! Kudos to you for not only doing it the healthy way, but for maintaining too.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I love that you've got such great willpower and are doing the right thing for yourself!

Great picture from Mykanos!

Karen Walker said...

Ann, you are so tiny. But I understand it's a similar issue. I get that. Yes, I found the comment button. And yes, it would be cool to meet Karen G. And thanks about the photo - it's become my favorite pic of me.
Jennifer, thank you
Elizabeth, thank you.

Belle said...

I admire you so much for what you have done. I am short and overweight and I know I need to do something, but I haven't. You are a great example for me.

Karen Walker said...

Oh, Belle, I know how hard it is, but if I can do it, you can do it!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

It does go on so much easier than it comes off, doesn't it? I've watched my weight all my life, but middle age has made it tougher for sure. I find now that it's more about getting plenty of exercise. Anyway, you do look beautiful and you've done very well.

Melissa Sarno said...

'Whatever it takes' I like that motto. You look great, Karen :)

Joanne said...

Wow, keep it up Karen, no matter what. I see such an amazing difference between the two pictures, even in your spunky attitude in the 2nd. You're definitely "owning" it.

Karen Walker said...

Melissa, thank you for that
Melissa, I love the motto, too - it serves me well.
Joanne, hmmm, spunky? Guess I am "owning" it.

Dafeenah said...

It's good you have supportive friends and the will power to stick to it. Will power is not my strong suit.

Siv Maria said...

You look great and I bet you are very proud of sticking to it. I am glad you get support from your friends, that is so important. I guess if something is that important we all find the will power.

Eve said...

What a fantastic, inspirational post Karen! I have also struggled with weight for most of my adult life. I gave up on gimmicky diets and the like, and researched fitness and nutrition. I started my plan on June 1, 2009..I was at an all time high of 240lbs! I'm 5'10"..still, that's waaayy too much to weigh..I had to do something because I also have lupus and arthritis, which are made worse by obesity...anyways, fitness and nutrition is now a passion of mine.
This past year it's been very difficult to stick to the plan, with my brother's suicide and all...I found myself gaining again,skipping the gym and eating crap.. like you said it happens a couple of pounds at a time...anyways, I realized that if I get big and fat again, it's not going to bring him back. I need to care enough about myself to keep this up...I'm back on track now, and still 70 lbs down from where I started, so that's good.
Sorry this is such a long comment, I just wanted to tell you how nice it is to know that when we struggle with these issues, we're not alone. Thanks Karen!

Karen Walker said...

Dafeenah, let me tell you it's not my strong suit either.
Siv, I've found if it's really important,I do find strength to do whatever it takes.
Eve, thank you so much for sharing so much of you story here. It is so very nice to know we are not alone. You aren't. And you do need to care enough to take care of you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. I haven't completely let go - thankfully ... but I must rein myself back a little ..

I'll be fine if I'm not running up and down visiting my mother - and will this year take to walking up or down the hill to the Nursing Centre - and perhaps that will help.

I'm getting there .. good for you - that's some resolve .. but totally admire you for it - and in Mykonos you looked great .. cheers Hilary

Susan Roebuck said...

I just found this post (better late than never). Just the spur I need because I've started on a nutritionist-led diet. Only five days into it but I plan to keep going. This post has been so helpful in giving me confidence. Good luck and keep that weight off.

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