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A Wow Moment in the Gym


When I first started this blog my intention was to be brutally honest with people out there about some of the parts of the weight loss journey that people don’t talk about.

As I started getting deeper and deeper into the journey myself I started to realize why people don’t talk about some of these things honestly and openly; because they are embarrassing. Because they are things that we don’t particularly like to admit are issues. Honestly before my most recent surgery, I would not even consider showing before and after pictures of my surgeries to my Family and Friends. But once I had this last surgery and I could see the difference I was a lot more open to sharing that with those close to me so that they could see too. Even now though, I can’t imagine sharing those photos with the whole world.

Excess skin is something I don’t think gets talked about nearly enough and it is one of the toughest mental challenges I faced during my weight loss journey, worryingly about how I was going to get the skin removed from my body so that I could move forward with my life was a big issue for me.

So far to date I have had two of three, possibly four reconstructive plastic surgeries to fix my body due to excess skin after massive rapid weight loss. I can tell you that today I feel a lot better about my body, but a year ago, I was feeling like I was 35 going on 85 with what I was seeing in the mirror. The only thing worse than looking in the mirror and see that “fat girl” looking back at me… was looking in the mirror and seeing the remnants of her looking back and me and realizing just how much I resented what I had done to myself. Seeing that reflection in the mirror was honestly more deflating to my ego than what I saw when I weighted 420lbs. At 420lbs I could say, I had a horrible childhood and I survived it, and who are you to judge me if I turn to food to make me feel better, I am damn well entitled to after what I had to go through.” At 195lbs with (so far to date) 13lbs+ of JUST skin hanging off me, my internal monologue was much different. It went more like… “No matter what I do, what I accomplish or how hard I try, there is always some part of how much some people damaged me left behind.” It was the moment that I first heard those thoughts in my head that I decided that I would do whatever it took get that skin cut off me.

So in the gym on Monday I am on the Elliptical, and I realize that I’m moving along quite nicely and getting a good workout and suddenly I think to myself, “I wonder if I can let go and just balance on this thing.” I have no clue what possessed me to try, I have no idea what made me think that it would be easier after my surgery, but I let go of those bars and there I was, running in place on an Elliptical.  For a moment, just the fact that I was doing that was a huge adrenalin rush. But suddenly something else occurred to me. Here I was, running in place on and Elliptical, arms swinging freely beside me and… what.. the… gosh! My stomach wasn’t jiggling. My belly wasn’t shaking. My boobs were not bouncing all over the place and my arms were not swinging around like I was a bat. Suddenly I just wanted to go faster and faster. Next thing I knew my 33 minute “Weight Loss Workout” program on the Elliptical was over. But I wasn’t done yet, the rush and the high I was on was a little too amazing to stop. So I reset the workout to do a second time. Not that that is at all unusual for me mind you. I usually do two Elliptical Workout Programs and one 30 Minutes Interval Running on a Treadmill or vice-a-versa on a normal day for my Cardio workout but so far last week was my first week back in the gym post op skin removal surgery #2, so bumping it up to an hour on Monday was a pretty big deal to me. I was quite sore Monday night and Tuesday morning, we’ll see how I feel in the gym today though. I plan on doing a 33 minute Elliptical workout program with interval resistance and then another 33 minutes on a Treadmill for a nice paced walk. Then I’ll head home to get the boys and take them to the dog park, and by boys, I mean those two furry four legged boys of mine.

So between this WOW Moment in the Gym and my WOW Moment yesterday when Chris Powell responded to my Letter, Getting the first Sponsor on our Fundraiser, it is all so exciting I just can’t take it.  Oh! On a funny note, I had Chinese food last night and once again retained my fortune while giving away my cookie.  “You need a new environment. Go on Vacation.” I guess it is a really good thing we have that San Fran / Oakland Trip coming up. I’m going to get to see some very special people in my life for the first time since I lost all my weight, I can’t wait to take Alex and his stroller on a jog with me! I can’t wait to drag all of the Hatcher Family out on walks. I can’t wait to sneak away for a few days at meet Heather’s friend Rachel, and I can’t wait to find a couple of days to go Visit Tom and I’m totally jazzed about Introducing Heather to California San Fran / Oakland / San Louis Obispo Style. So far on my to list is a day in San Louis Obispo, and definitely we want to sign up for the Alcatraz Tour because I just can’t be in San Francisco again and NOT go to Alcatraz. But that’s a story for another day, right now I need a few hours of sleep before I get up and head to the gym… oh the hours I keep and how the will change when I have a job that doesn’t allow me to be nocturnal anymore.


Chris Powell Responds to my Letter

I was going to write a blog today about this amazing experience I had in the gym yesterday…. But then I woke up this morning to A Letter from Chris Powell, and well, I will just have to share that amazing gym experience later, but it’s now on my list of things to blog about!

Imagine my surprise when the first thing I see this morning when I log into Facebook is…

Chris Powell commented on my link!

Chris Powell commented on my link! My heart started racing… so I went to see what it said…

Another click and my heart stopped as I realized that Chris Powell had PERSONALLY responded to ME! To ME! To little old insignificant x-fat girl ME! But when I read what he had to say…. OMG I started jumping up and down, screeching with excitement, going “HE said I’m AMAZING! HE said HE is proud of ME! OMG HE actually wrote ME back!”  I mean with someone like Chris Powell you expect that they will be able to touch your life the way they do others, but you NEVER expect that you will be able to touch theirs enough to get them to notice you and to get a response like this…

Chris Powell's Response to my Letter

Chris Powell’s response to my “Letter to Chris Powell”

About two and half years ago when this journey began I had never watched Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, I didn’t really know anything about Chris Powell, and honestly as far as famous trainers go, I knew Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels from watching the Biggest Loser a few times and that was about it.

Once I had my Gastric Bypass and my life became so focused on Weight Loss, being healthy and exercising, I started watching a lot more shows. I watched Ruby, I watched the documentaries on people that had had Gastric Bypass and Skin removal surgeries on cable and I started watching Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition with Chris Powell.

From the beginning I just saw Chris Powell as someone that stood out among the masses. The way that he dealt with people, there was genuineness there that I didn’t see on a lot of other shows about people that were morbidly obese and trying to lose weight.  The one thing I noticed more than anything was that Chris seemed to key in on not just the food and exercise aspect of weight loss, but the emotional journey that it is as well.

That’s one thing a lot of people don’t understand about extreme weight loss. For me losing the weight wasn’t just about losing the weight and being healthy, it was about reclaiming my life as my own. Once I realized that my weight was a huge self-defense mechanism to make sure that people didn’t hurt me, I realized that it hadn’t really protected me at all. In fact, hiding behind weight got me hurt a lot more just in the way people’s eyes bugged out when they looked at me, or the shock on their face as they walked by me and realized how big I was. Not to mention the rude comments from people in cars driving by you when you are walking down the street. And from a health standpoint, it never did anything but hurt me. Diabetic and taking insulin 3x a day in my 20s, Sleep Apnea, High Blood Pressure, Sever Edema, Skin Disorders, rashes and yeast infections in the crevices of my body that I couldn’t keep dry… the medical complications were endless.

Exited about Chris Powell response

My text to my BFF and Soul Sister Debby Aka “Tora” about Chris Powell’s response!

But once you get all that weight off, you are faced with whole new issues. The excess skin issues I honestly feel are even more emotionally hard to deal with that the fat was. In fact I’ve heard of women that purposely sabotage their weight loss when they start to face the excess skin issues because they decide they would rather be big and tight that skinny and wrinkly and saggy. For me, the skin wasn’t so much about how I looked; it was about not being able to truly see what I had accomplished. It was this feeling, that even after fighting so hard to lose all that weight, the people who had abused me enough to make me turn to food and being heavy as a means to protect myself still seemed to have concurred me. For me, reaching the end of my journey, being able to look in the mirror and see a Healthy, Fit and Slender me, meant I was reclaiming control of my life from the people that once took it from me. I have one more surgery left to go, but I feel that goal is nearly accomplished now. One of the hardest parts of the last year for me has been that my Father was not here to see the end of a journey I began to help put his mind at ease about my Health. I wanted my Father to know that I was going to be OK. The fact that he had to leave me before I finished and that he wasn’t really in any condition to understand how much I had truly achieved even when he saw me after the first stroke had hit him in January. It was just hard for me to never have my Father be able to say to me, “I’m proud of you,” – There have been a lot of people that have said those words, Tom, Jason, Heather, my Mother, My best friends Debby and Ashli, and while they all mean so much to me, it never was quite the same as having my Father say it. In fact right after I woke Heather up to tell her and  Jason a text to tell him next I sent a text to my BFF and Soul Sister Debby AKA “Tora” to tell her! After that I called Ashli to tell her but of course she didn’t answer her phone as usual. Next I posted all about it on Facebook, Twitter, Updated my “Letter to Chris Powell” Page with his response. And later called my Aunt Bev to tell her about it too!

Today when I read Chris Powell’s Letter to me it brought tears to my eyes. I think that having Chris Powell himself tell me that I am amazing and that he is proud of me, is probably about the closest thing to having my Father say it to me. And you know, I do believe that my Dad is still out there somewhere, watching over me, anytime something amazing to me happens I always find myself wanting to go for a run and talk to my Father and say, “Thanks Dad, for still looking out for me from wherever you are.”

Today was a pretty amazing day for me. All around. I feel inspired, I feel like I am headed in the right direction. Everyone once in a while Heather and I will eat Chinese food. It’s a good healthy option for me once in a while as long as I stick to something like green bean chicken or mushroom chicken. I have to make sure the protein is lean, not breaded and that it’s cooked in healthy oils. Anytime we’ve had Chineese food since I’ve decided to move forward on this buiness I have kept my the fortune in my cookie and let Heather eat it….  So far I have….

“Fame and Fortune are coming your way.”

“Your Confidence will lead you to Sucess.”

I don’t care about Fame or Fortune, but today I definitely feel like I’m headed towards success. Who’s coming with me?

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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