Seems like it's been forever since I wrote last. The gaps between journal entries is getting far too long and I intend to put a stop to that. I don't think I need to write every single day (although I probably should for my own mental exercise if nothing else) but I certainly do need to write far more often than once every 20 days. Way too much to catch up's hard to know where to start.

I guess I'll start out by saying that I just finished a totally killer workout. I'm actually trembling a little and it's hard to type. I got a Jillian Michaels workout DVD (of Biggest Loser fame) and man is it good! Tried it for the first time yesterday and only got not-quite-half-way through it. My mom called and I used that as an excuse to rest a minute...which turned into more than a minute... Still, even that much was a lot more than I'd been doing. Today I finished the entire program. There are some exercises I have to modify to be able to do them, but that's ok. One of these days, I'll make it through the entire DVD and do everything just like she does. That's a personal goal. It's an amazing cardio and upper/lower body workout without any equipment at all...just you and your TV and a mat if you need one. I highly recommend it.

My sister had gotten me a beginner's Pilates DVD for Christmas this year. Last week I tried that out. Geeze louise, there's nothing like Pilates to make it very clear how old and fat you've become. That's another someday be able to complete those exercises as well. But for now, I think I'll set that one aside until I've lost more of this extra padding and gained some more strength and flexibility. The calendar may continue to march forward, but someday I WILL be not just leaner, but much younger in body as well.

Which leads me to my next topic...just how much padding have I lost since I last checked in with you guys? Through the Christmas holidays, I pretty much held steady with zero loss and zero gain. Not bad for Christmas and I'll be very happy to repeat a no-gain Christmas next year. The first week of January, I dropped another 1.5 pounds. But then the next week (a very rough week I'll explain in a moment) I bounced up about 3 pounds. This is a journey...and every journey has its speed bumps and flat tires and missed turns. This was one of them. But as discouraging as it might have been, it also served as a much needed wake-up call to get back on track. I've still got a LONG way to go and can NOT allow myself to get all poopy-faced about a little setback and sit down on the side of the road like a pouting child. I gritted my teeth and got back on the right path and kept moving down it. And this week lost 5.2 pounds!

That's a total of 30 pounds shed since I started this journey with you guys. (And no, I'm not going to do thirty little dancing dudes...but I thought about it! )

So, if you've made it this far into my ramblings, you may be wondering what exactly happened to me since New Year. Because I not only dropped the ball on this journal, I actually vanished off the face of the earth (well the Internet Earth, anyhow) for awhile. I wish I had some really good reason to share, but I don't. ......actually, I'm glad I don't have such a good reason, because it'd likely be something awful or tragic and who wants that? But yeah...there's no simple explanation. Things just sort of the tracks until I felt utterly stuck in a ditch.

The week that our family was visiting with us for Christmas, the slide started...just a little bit. A few bites of chocolate while filling Christmas stockings. One meal out at a restaurant where I ordered just what looked good without worrying about what was in it or fussing with modifications. And I did make an effort at those times to eat very carefully the rest of the day. But still...little choices. And, of course, I never seemed able to get on the ball with a regular exercise routine.

After that, it just seemed like after-holiday blues. The first part of January is always hard on me anyhow, because my father passed away just after the first of the year 16 years ago. Even when I'm not consciously thinking about it, that time of year still manages to throw me through a loop, emotionally. And this Christmas, I seemed to be missing him more than ever, so maybe that conscious awareness of his loss coupled with the time of year made it even more daunting than it usually is. I gave into a strong need for some comfort food. Twice, I had McDonald's meals...and not the salads either, or the grilled chicken. But the really fatty, salty stuff that I used to love. And once I gave in and had a full meal of pepperoni pizza. As well as some chocolate and cookies and chips along the way. All this was spread out over almost three weeks of wasn't all back-to-back. And I still tried to eat lots of fresh fruit and veggies. But my heart was definitely not in it.

The further I slid, the worse I felt. It seemed like circuits of my brain were flipping off. I couldn't think very well. I couldn't focus on anything that required more than 2-3 brain cells to compute. And I found it more and more difficult to make the right choices for myself on a daily basis. I also slept....a lot...during this time. I don't just mean getting into a rut of afternoon naps that make it hard to sleep at night so that you feel like you need a nap again the next day....I mean I slept. At it's worst, I'd get up early and get the kids off to school, then go back to bed and not wake up until lunch time. I'd get up and stay up for the afternoon...make sure the kids all got home safe...and then take a nap for 2-3 hours....get up and fix dinner for everyone...and then back in bed by 9pm.

So, with the slipping up of food choices, combined with so little's no wonder at all that I had a week of bouncing back upward.

Why? Why did it get so hard? I was getting pretty concerned...especially with the excessive sleeping and the inability to focus even on simple things. I was seriously considering a trip to the doctor (which I HATE doing and only do when I'm really, really sick). But at the same time, I was also ready to pull myself back on the right track. I gritted my teeth and made myself make the right choices for meals. Back to basics...fruits and veggies. And within two days, I was feeling much more alert. I had a night of serious insomnia...which is normally annoying but was a huge relief this time because it seemed to indicate that I'd finally had enough sleep. I got up that next morning feeling alert and ready to take on the day. I got out that Pilates video my sis gave me. And after that, I went shopping for some comfy work-out clothes and got the Jillian DVD. Making the right choices got easier again...although I'm now dealing with more intense cravings than I was in the first three months of this program. I'll deal, though. And I finally began to feel myself again. part, a combination of post-holiday blues mixed with a more intense than normal mourning for my Dad....but what I believe really messed me up physically was falling so far away from the healthy foods. I learned that it really doesn't take much. Yes, I can allow myself treats from time to time...but such things need to be very carefully considered and worked with and never given into spontaneously.

And now I'm ready to add in the physical exercise for real. Five days a week. And walks on the weekends, weather permitting. I'm committed. And it feels really good to be able to tap into that commitment and feel that strength. It didn't desert me over the last few weeks...I just withdrew my own connection to it. I can't say that will never happen again in this journey...because stuff does happen. But I have learned that losing the feeling of that commitment doesn't mean it's just means I have to make the conscious effort to plug myself back into it. A flat tire or missed turn doesn't mean the journey must just means a little extra effort to fix it and get back on track....and always moving forward.

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...
- Hebrews 12:1

Until next time...which won't be such a long stretch, I promise!
-- Judy