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Staying Motivated When Life Puts You on the Bench

DssButton125Dear Desperately Seeking Slender,


I’ve noticed reading your blog that you often had a lot of down time between your running events. How do you stay motivated to get back into the swing of things so quickly?

Dear Slender Seeker,

You’re right; I’ve had a lot of down time between my running adventures. I started running sometime around July of 2011 when I lost my Father due to a stroke nearly smack dab in the middle of my weight loss journey. I had lost 132 lbs.–about half of the 260 lb. total loss I achieved–and my Father had really been the champion of that weight loss journey for me.

72011Losing my Father was one of the hardest things I ever went through. I miss him daily, especially as Father’s Day, the day he passed away (July 5th) and his birthday (July 20th) approach.

When I got the call that my Father was passing away I was on a flight back to California that evening to make sure that whatever time I had left wasn’t wasted. I’ll never forget walking into that hospital room. I walked over to his bed and I took his hand and I told him “Papa, I need to know that you’re not in any pain.” He squeezed my hand and told me he wasn’t in pain and that he loved me.  As the tears swelled in my eyes I told him, “I have no idea how to say good-bye to you.” He shook his head at me and said “I never say goodbye, kiddo.”

It was true, during my entire life my Father had made a point never to say good-bye. He’d always say “I’ll see you soon.”

My Father’s desire to know that I was going to live a happy, healthy life and that I would not spend my life suffering from the comorbidities of obesity was the incentive that started the ball rolling in my decision to lose the weight.  I needed to know that even though he was leaving this world, he was going to be there to see then end of this journey with me.

269503_203160199734695_2270748_nAs a victim of childhood abuse, faith, god, or the existence of a higher power that never answered the prayers of a hurt little girl had been something I questioned and struggled with. But I told my Dad that day, “Daddy I don’t know what I believe in. I don’t know where we go after this. But the one thing I know for sure is that if there is a place that you can go where you get to look out after me and watch over me, you’ll be there. So I’ll make a deal with you Papa: I need to know that you’re going to see the end of this journey when I get there. So I’m going to believe that every time I exercise you’ll be there with me, listening and watching over me.”

Most of the times that I have been “benched” or had downtime during my running adventures have been due to reconstructive plastic surgery procedures that I have had to get my body back after massive weight loss. I’ve had a total of six different procedures since February of 2012 and each one has taken me out of exercise for 2-10 weeks depending on the intensity or complexity of the procedure.

In that same time frame I have walked one half Marathon, ran 5 half Marathons, ran a 17K, walked 20 miles for charity, participated in several 5Ks and ran several 5Ks and 10Ks as a part of routine training.

My motivation to get back into running, build my pace back up and get off the bench so quickly usually comes from three things: my desire to feel connected to my Father, my own desire to help motivate and inspire others, and the fact that I have some very amazing sponsors helping me do that.

IMG_5315In June of 2013 when I completed my first half marathon I instantly set out to give others the opportunity to have that same experience with the launch of my “How do YOU Celebrate Success” contests. Since then we’ve almost always been in a steady state of training for either the Tinker Bell Half Marathon or now, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Paying it forward and coaching others in their post weight loss running adventure has been a huge factor in keeping me motivated.

Finding those intrinsic motivators. the things inside you that propel you do to something for you, is quintessential to the weight loss journey. Finding these things along with finding the fun in fitness has been one of the key ingredients to successful weight loss and weight maintenance in my journey.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the very special sponsors of the current “How do you Celebrate Success” contest, #TeamSlenderSeekers and our current #WineDineC210kPrep Training Program; Ameriwell Bariatrics, Celebrate Vitamins, Kay’s Naturals, Wellese and BariMelts.


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

Team Slender Seekers Sponsors:


AmeriWell Bariatrics
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Celebrate Vitamins
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Kay’s Naturals
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#TeamSlenderSeekers would like to thank these early entry Sponsors

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The Recovery Phase – What To Do After You Wear Your Body Out

It’s been a while since you have heard from this WLS fitness enthusiast, I know. Let’s talk a little bit about what has been on my agenda and what I’ve put my body through in the last 4 weeks.

As you may recall, I left Portland OR on January 12th with three main goals ahead of me.

  1. Get to Anaheim, CA and run a half marathon.
  2. Get to Dallas to have some touch up work done on my arm.
  3. Complete a cross-country move to NC in time to start my new job on Feb. 3, 2013

I am happy to report that all three of these things were a success. Keeping up on blog writing and sharing the journey along the way; not so much. There were however several updates on my social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter (A good reason to follow me there).

1549549_10151838494477447_627482255_nWhile I will be writing more soon about the Run Disney, Tinker Bell half marathon experience, today I want to talk a bit about recovery. Understanding that when we put our bodies through something that is physically exerting or takes extra energy to do, something like say, running 13.1 miles or having surgery that requires our body work extra hard to heal, or even something as simple as a long extended car ride, it’s important to understand that we also need to give our body time to recover.

So you just ran 13.1 miles, you’re tired, you’re winded and your legs are exhausted. What do you do now? For some the answer might just be “Lie down on the ground and die.” But guess what, that is exactly the wrong thing to do. How you treat your body after pushing it, is just as important as how you treat it before you push it. Now is the time to walk around slowly, hydrate well, stretch out and grab a little something to eat. You’ll see lots of people doing just these things around you in the finishers corral if you are participating in an event. And of course, make sure you are eating and drinking the right things. Water, water, water, you can always use water additives like Mio, Crystal Light or other non-calorie products to spice things up if you’re not a water lover.

dreamstimefree_204955What you are putting in your face is just as important. Remember to choose foods that have a high pay off, bananas will help replenish potassium with 400 mg which is lost through sweating. But don’t forget they are high in sugar, have only 1 gram of protein and no fat whatsoever, so don’t overdo it. My go-to recovery foods are a half a banana and a protein bar. Replenishing protein after exercise is a must do for me, I need those muscles to recover fast and protein is essential to muscle recovery since it aids in the repair of exercise induced damage to muscle fibers.

So you just had surgery? Your body is recovering and what you eat can make a pretty big impact on how quickly your wounds heal, not to mention they can play a large role in preventing complications like constipation from pain medicine consumption. The best suggestion I can make for you when eating post-surgery, and I’ve done this a few times now, eat whole foods. Remember that whole food, which really means unprocessed foods, are higher in vitamins and nutrients. This should really be an everyday sort of thing but is especially important when your body is trying to heal. To prevent constipation, focus on food that is high in fiber like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. If constipation is an issue you want to avoid things that are dried or dehydrated, dairy products, things that are high in sugar and red meats.

QuestCPBKeep your protein intake up (Especially important for you WLS folks) with lean meats such as chicken, turkey, pork and seafood, or if you want a vegetarian approach, nuts, tofu and beans. If you are having problems getting that protein in remember you can always add a whey isolate based protein shake.

So you just put your body through something like a three-week long extended road trip. You’re stiff and sore and your body isn’t moving quite the way you want it too. What do you do? Staying in bed, staying still and letting your body rest might seem like a good idea, and you definitely want to get that sleep in; it’s essential to weight loss and weight management for sure. But you’d be amazed what a little recovery run will do for you. I’m not saying that you should run 5-6 miles on day-after-half-marathon legs, or even I’ve-been-sitting-in-the-car-for-8-10-hours legs, but movement is a good thing to loosen up muscles and speed up healing.  Until I hit Dallas where I had minor surgery on my arm and got put on “no-exercise” restrictions. I was doing 1 mile recovery runs whenever I hit a new state on my trip. Ever notice that when you are sore the moment you stop moving for too long it hurts more when you move again? Just think of it as your body asking you to keep the blood flowing and you’ll be fine!

Today I am three weeks post my half marathon, two weeks post my little surgery, and one week into being in North Carolina and starting my new job as a weight management leader, wellness coach and membership sales manager and today is the first day that I’m allowed back on cardio equipment. Can you guess where Coach Pandora will be after work today? Utilizing her new work environment gym facility! Now I just need to find a couple of Wilmington, NC Ladies that want to have fun getting fit with me.


Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.
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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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BariLife has decided to send me back to Paris to represent the WLS Community as I attempt to find my love of running again.
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