By Sheila Arkee

When it comes down to the nitty gritty of weight loss, it all comes down to two main factors: eat less, move more.

So, how am I doing with both of those factors?

1. I am definitely eating less these days. I’m keeping my diet mostly low in processed foods, fast foods, sweets, and white flour, which is what has worked best for me in the past few weight losses I’ve been through.

2. I’m moving a little more than in previous days, but not nearly enough. My goal in the next week is to figure out how to move a little bit more.

Baby step by baby step. We’re all in this together.


By Sheila Arkee

Last week I was watching an episode of MTV’s “I Used to Be Fat” for the very first time. Boy, could I relate to Marci who wanted to lose 90 pounds and turn her life around from one of fast food and isolation to being able to hang out with people.

Truth is, I really do need to lose 90 pounds myself, and in so many ways, I use my extra poundage as my excuse for not being more social, etc.

My body weight is my suit of armor.

It protects me, in a weird, dysfunctional way.

The truth is, I’m scared of so many things, I have so many fears in my life that hold me back from being my very best. I don’t want to live this way.

This morning, Sunday morning, I woke up at my parent’s house in some of the worst pain ever. The mattress I sleep on at their house is insanely terrible, and it’s something I have to live with for the time being. It took many hours for me to feel better again – walking a bit helped loosen up my back, thankfully. I can’t help but think that if I was thinner, the mattress might not be so horrible to sleep on. My extra body weight places a lot more stress on my spine as I’m lying on the mattress.

As I was in the midst of the back pain, I looked at my sweet little son’s face and thought – I have to feel better for him. He’s my motivation, my inspiration, my reason for getting back into gear physically.

So, what’s been holding me back for so long? Why did I let myself get to this place where I’m at my worst, physically?  A lot of it has to do with my fears, and my low self-esteem. You see, for three years I was in an abusive marriage with my son’s father. The decision to end my marriage was one of the most difficult ones I’ve ever had to make – family members were urging me to keep the family unit together, but in my heart I knew I couldn’t live in a relationship that was so toxic, it would potentially damage my precious son.

The night I told my ex-husband to leave, he stomped about and told me, “You’re going to be alone for the rest of your life. I’ll be re-married, and you’ll be miserable and lonely.”

I knew better than to take him seriously, but the effects of that abusive relationship left an indelible mark on my psyche. This is the way my brain processed the abuse – if I am thin and full of self-confidence, I will attract another partner who will only tear down my self-esteem again.

Sigh. This is a tough one to type out, but I have to be completely honest with myself and with all of you who are following along.

So, maybe I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. Maybe I’ll even meet a wonderful man at some point in time.  But that doesn’t mean that either of those options have to be terrible. If I’m alone, I’ll have the freedom to live my life the way I want it, with my son along for the ride. If I do meet a wonderful man, he could be the biggest fan I’ll ever have, supportive and everything my toxic ex never could be. Neither of these options mean that I have to destroy my body in the process!!!

What I know to be true is this –

1. I am living large, and it’s not fun. I don’t feel well and this is putting a general damper on my enjoyment of life.

2. I have a son to raise. I have to feel good in order to do this the way I want to.

3. I deserve to look, feel , and be good. I really do.

So, now, you have  little look in at my journey – it’s a challenge, but I’m in this for the long haul.

In my next post, I’m going to discuss my experiences of losing weight when one is not in charge of their kitchen – it ain’t easy!

And, just to share with you, my dieting saving grace is Swiss Miss No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa. OMG, it makes life so good!

By Sheila Arkee

Ok, so it’s been a while. A long while. And yes, I did let the indulgences of the holiday season get to me. Get to me meaning it was no holds barred for a good two weeks.

And boy did I pay the price.

Exhaustion, migraines, and generally not feeling well for the last few weeks led me to make a big change in my behavior a couple of weeks ago.

It’s so easy to put weight on, you know, but getting to the point where you’re really focusing on losing that physical burden is such a hard place to get to, but once you’re there … you know there is really no turning back. And that’s where I am right now.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been focused, I’ve been committed, I’ve been aware of my food-related behaviors and I’m DELIGHTED to tell you that my clothes are loose in a way they haven’t been in quite a long time.

I had a few wakeup calls recently, and that’s what brought me to my renewed focus in this fitness challenge:

1. Migraines. Oh, my GOD. I believe the women in my family are apt to migraines, but I have never felt them on this scale before. After experiencing my worst one yet last week, I knew it meant I had to get down to business here. No more excuses, because I don’t want to have to repeat that experience on a regular basis!

2. My blood pressure. Through the roof. A family member bought a machine and I tested myself for a few days with the results being that mine is sky high, and this is probably what’s contributing to my migraines. The solution? I need to take better care of myself.

Weird but true story – when I was in the beginning of my divorce 3 years ago, a Vietnamese co-worker read my Chinese horoscope. He told me I’m not going to have to worry about life in the long run, but I need to watch my health. I think this bad feeling I’m battling is exactly what he was referring to.

I HAVE to be healthy for my son, no questions about that, so the sooner I get on target, the better.

3. I’m not getting any younger. In the last week, 3 people in my social realm have passed away. One was 14, another my age, and the other 93.

Knowing that life is so unpredictable and that, really, any one of use could pass away at any given moment, it begs the realization that we all must enjoy our lives as much as we can. One thing I have to ask myself is this – am I enjoying life? Well, I don’t feel very well, so that takes a big chunk out of my enjoyment. I want to feel good, to look good, and although it’s a long process, I’m on board.

If there’s one thing about weight loss that I believe, it’s this – there’s no magic solution. It all boils down to eating well, and exercising. It’s going to take a while. But, I’m doing this, for the better, and I’m not looking back!

By Megan Murray


Checking in here! Yeah, I’ve been doing an abysmal job of it during the holiday season. Coming from the snack food capitol of the US the holidays are full of chips fried with lard, cakes made with ricotta cheese, fried stuff, and booze-a metric ton of booze.

I do a really great job of being delusional when it comes to my body during this time of year.

A woman on a ” how I got thin” video on one of the RA sites ( to be honest I cannot remember where it is) said something that really hit home with me : If you continue to treat your body like you are a kid, you are going to get old really fast.

Boy am I guilty of that!!

See, as much as I love being a mom I have a complex relationship with how the outside world treats motherhood. They say out of one side of their mouth that what you are doing is amazing, but with the other side of their mouth they pretty much tell you to go home and die now, you are irrelevant. Even women do it to other women and it is kind of sick. (this does relate to weight I promise) What I have been trying to do for so long is play the role of mother yet still hold on to that young excess. At times I drink a little too much, eat a lot too much, and not sleep so I can prove I am completely relevant, I can do everything, and look at me I’m still crazy.

Yeah, I am still crazy that isn’t going anywhere. But trying to prove to the world I can bring home the bacon, fry it in a pan, dance on tables, and still bake cookies is not being exactly kind to my body. I don’t take care of myself. I see dieting and exercise as punishment. I see resting ( despite having chronic pain) as a sign of weakness. I see slowing down and sleeping as letting people down.

The sad part of this is that I don’t ever have a problem losing weight if I can keep the food out of my mouth.

I am going to have to re-program myself to believe that taking care of myself does not mean I have lost my edge, it simply means I have softened the edge so it can go on much longer.

By Sheila Arkee

From Crunchydomesticgoddess.com

I don’t know about you, but this time of year is the most calorically tempting of all. This sweet-loving gal can barely take the sights of candy, yummy food, and cozy, sugary drinks that are pretty much everywhere.

So, how are you all doing? Myself, I’m doing pretty well. I have had moments of weakness (read: a relative’s homemade fudge and See’s lollipops), but for the most part, I’m living a life of awareness and mindfulness. Carbs are at the minimal, and this is a huge deal for me.

To tell you the truth, battling my wants for indulging in sugary foods is hard. Very hard. When my son is a little bit difficult to deal with (read: having a major tantrum), all I want is chocolate after I’ve finished calming him down. I know it will not be good for me, but at the moment it just feels like something sweet will make everything better. Fortunately, I have not indulged in sweets at those pivotal moments in well over a week – yay me! He will most likely be tantruming for years to come, so the sooner I can get off the sweets habit, the better for my waistline!

You know what’s helping with the sugar urges? A cup of coffee with cream and Splenda. In the long run, I hope to wean myself off of artificial sweeteners because I’m not all too certain they are all that good for anyone, but for right now the fake sugar is helping me through my day.

When I feel the need to snack, I’m noshing on raw almonds, or on a garbanzo bean salad I prepare in advance. I throw a can of garbanzo beans in with a can of black sliced olives (don’t judge, I love all kinds of olives!), mix with olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt, and it is pretty much one of the most savory snacks I’ve ever eaten. Love it! It keeps me full and satisfied.

If you haven’t yet, please read my interview with Shannon Hammer over on Painted Ladies today – she is so very inspirational!!!

For those of you who are looking for low-carb resources, here are a few website that I visit often. They’re chock full of great info and delicious recipes. Do you have any other web sites to share?

Linda’s Low Carb Menus – I have so, so many of these recipes printed out and placed in a protective plastic sheet in a binder.

Mendosa.com – David Mendosa’s information about the glycemic index of many foods has been such a valuable resource to me throughout the years.

The Sugar Busters Recipe Book – LOVE this book and the recipes within, which reminds me I really need to make their artichoke soup one of these days. It is SO very good – a bit pricey because cans of ‘chokes ain’t cheap, but worth the occasional splurge!

By Sheila Arkee

Early this morning I had a very intense “come to Jesus” meeting – with myself. Who the heck am I kidding with the food photos! If I don’t feel comfortable publishing them, I won’t. Seriously, I’d rather walk around Walmart in a bath towel than post pics of what I eat for the Universe to see. It might even get me on People of Walmart, which would be a hilarious thing to tell my grandkids.

I’m still going to journal, but I won’t regularly post my food photos because I don’t feel entirely comfortable doing so, and plus I don’t eat the most exciting food in the world. There would be a lot of cut, paste, repeat going on!

 I have to say, however, that in just the past couple days I’ve gotten a major grip of what exactly I’m throwing down into my stomach. It’s pretty shocking for me, and this is a good thing. Awareness is the first step towards progress, I’ve learned, and I HAVE to progress in this journey.

So, how’d I do today? Pretty darned good if I do say so myself. I was mindful of my intake, kept away from white flour, and only had a little bit of sugar when I had less than a teaspoon of caramel sauce. I had plenty of fruits of veggies, but took a little step backwards in progress when one of my sisters made this incredible pizza with roasted veggies, cheese, and a white flour crust. I ate 5 square shaped pieces. Damn. Portion control, I will conquer you at some point!

On the plus side, I did get some good walking in when I took my son to the park and did laps around the playground as he ran around. I really should do that more often instead of parking it on a bench and zoning out with my smart phone!

By Sheila Arkee

I have to confess that while I was in the middle of posting yesterday, I was fearful. Am I making a huge mistake? Food is such a personal thing, this airing out of my intake feels like I’m walking around naked! Really, it’s scary.

I’m still on the edge about the food photo, but I have felt a big change within myself since I’ve been photographing my meals. With my tendency to misjudge portion sizes, I’m never sure of what I’m actually consuming. The reality is scary!

A few updates:

1. I weighed myself and not sure how accurate the scale is, but I came in at 240 lbs. I was a little surprised because I don’t feel that big – at my largest I was about 250 and wore a size 22, and now I’m a solid 18. Perhaps because at my highest weight I did not work out whatsoever and had no muscle mass? These days I do work out pretty consistently (but still not enough), and I have a 35 pound kid that I haul around on a daily basis so I’m thinking that helps at little bit.

2. For the first time in a long time I felt HUNGER today. First, when I woke up, and then throughout the day. I was being mindful of what I was going to eat, so I didn’t run out and get fast food when the mood struck, but waited until I was able to get some halfway decent food.

3. My dad is so excited about Get Fit! He really is. He’s loved reading everyone’s stories and has been going between teasing me about my love for food, and giving me some advice on how to proceed.  One thing he shared with me has to do with “veggie-tables”, as he says. According to a recent study, eating a fresh vegetable salad with no dressing before and after meals helps with weight loss.

I can’t skip dressing, so instead of the creamy blends I’ve been using in the past, I’m mixing up my all-time favorite dressing again – olive oil, lemon juice, and sea salt. I eyeball the proportions over my salad and it is seriously the best dressing of all time. You really cannot go wrong here!

4. As mindful as I was with  my food today, there was a bit of slip-up. Whoops. We all have them. Best to power on and not let it happen that frequently!

Whey protein shake