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WEGO Awards Finalist Cooper Institute Scholarship Recipient and Powell Pack Love

There are days when I really wish that the things that I had to share with you were more inspiring and less depressing; today is not one of them. ::Snicker::

I have such great news to share! So let’s go start at the beginning of the week and work my way down.

I had my 3-month post-operative reconstructive thigh lift follow-up appointment with Dr. O’Brien at the Waldorf Center and everything is healing well, I have the all clear to go ahead with the next stage of plastics when and if I decide to and, most importantly, I am cleared to run outside again! Until now I have been limited to a treadmill because they wanted me only running on absolutely level terrain.  I was getting a lot of questions about my scars the other day so I snapped a picture while I was in the doctor’s office. I’m very scar tolerant, so the scars don’t really bother me and I am hoping to tattoo over them, anyone know any REALLY good cover-up artists in the Portland, Dallas or LA area let me know, I am in all of those areas enough that they would be a doable place to find an artist.

Okay next up, back around December I think it was, I got a notification from WEGO Health that I had been nominated for one of their Health Activist Awards.  I had been nominated by a few of my peers for the Health Activist Awards – Best Kept Secret category. This week when they announced the finalists in each category, I had made the Finalists for that category. Please go check out their page, visit the pages of the other nominees and share some internet love in the form of Facebook Likes and Twitter Follows, WEGO Health Blog is all about Empowering Health Activists to help others and I am so honored to be one of the finalists among sites like,,, and Going through the list of Health Activists that they recognized it included Health Activists from all different backgrounds. People fighting against Cancer, HIV, Down Syndrome, Diabetes, MS, Lupus, Thyroid Disease, Arthritis. To be one of their selected Finalists representing the fight against Obesity in their nominations categories is such an honor to me I cannot even begin to tell you. To those that nominated me, thank you.

As if this honor wasn’t exciting enough, you all know me; Chris Powell is a personal hero of mine he has been for a couple of years now. His wife Heidi Powell, through my communications with them both on Facebook has become another of my favorite people and I adore them both. So when I have really exciting news, something I am really proud of, I instantly want to share it with them. So I headed over to their Facebook pages to share the my news. It once again made my day to have them both respond back to me.  Let me just say that I truly believe that Chris and Heidi Powell are two of the most compassionate and caring human beings I have ever had the pleasure of; I am at a loss for the right word here; knowing? Whether I ever actually get to meet them or not, they have become beacons of support in my life through their personal choices to communicate with me on Facebook.


HeidiPowellFBRn ChrisPowellFBRHeidiPowellFBR

I recently started re-reading Chris Powell’s book Choose to Lose. I had done so at the suggestion of Heidi Powell when she responded to a post I had written them asking for some guidance as to what exercises I should be doing outside of my cardio routine and she reminded me that Chris had some basic strength and toning exercises in the book that would be a good start. There is a part in Chris’s book that I really didn’t pay attention to the first time around when I read it; I was so focused on what I should be eating and what exercise I should be doing that I missed a lot of the mental and emotional aspects that the book discussed. I’ll be writing a review of the book when I am done and I will go into it a bit more. Chris talks about relationship dynamic during your weight loss journey and how important it is to identify some of the positive and negative characters in your personal support team. Chris defines “The Coach,” as the person who “Understands the hardships of the journey and gives guidance along the way.” This could not more accurately describe who Chris and Heidi Powell are to me. If I ever get the chance to meet them; I am going to give them both a big hug, and say “Thanks Coach,” and I will probably cry like a baby.

So in other news, you all know finances have me stressed out beyond compare right now. We won’t go into details, I will ramble on forever because it is on the forefront of my mind, but basically after the last two years of my WLS Journey my Family is a whopping $60,000 in debt and I am trying not to let us drown, while I still continue my personal WLS Journey, start a new career and continue to work in my current full-time job. In January I applied for the Susan J. Sterling Scholarship to the Cooper Institute in Dallas Texas where I am going to be going in June to take the Personal Trainer’s Education Course thanks to the generous $600 donation of one of my long time followers. They have several other courses that I could take while I am in Dallas; in fact, they have nearly 3.5 weeks of courses I could take. Well today I received the award letter congratulating me on being selected as the scholarship recipient. Right now the classes I want to take are going to cost me about $1325 on top of the PT Course that was already paid for and the exam itself costs $289. With this scholarship I have to come up with about $1100 by June to take all the courses that I can while I am there and hopefully pass the test and come home a Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer. \O/

My planned schedule right now would be:

Any WLS Friendly Companies out there that might be reading this, I’m looking for Sponsorship for my classes and I’m very loyal to the companies that support me. Just ask Northwest Fitness and Pacesetter Athletic; my local sponsors for exercise equipment and running shoes!

That is all the wonderful news I have for you all today. Time is moving so fast right now, HJ and I leave a week from Sunday for the Ohio / Washington DC Trip and from there my life is going nonstop until July. I’m excited to be sharing it all with you though, and even though the financial aspect of things has me freaking out on the inside, I am keeping it in check and remembering something very important.

“On your transformation journey, I can guarantee that you’ll encourage challenges of your own, such as financial difficulties, relationships problems, work worries or health issues. You’ll experience a wide range of emotions along the way: elations, anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, you name it. Bottom line: expect trouble to happen because it will. The question is how will you react?” – Chris Powell “Choose to Lose”

Chris Powell has helped coach a lot of people. He’s helped 8 people each season through ABCs Extreme Make-over Weight Loss Edition, if you watch his show, there have been times he has helped people pack their stuff and move out of their houses because their weight loss journey took them there. He’s changed people’s lives through is book, and he and his wife have changed my life through social media and Facebook, through their involvement with me on Facebook I can honestly say I can call Chris Powell my “Coach” and part of me feels like I could call the Powell’s my friends. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for either one of them and the more I learn about them and the more I find we have in common, the closer I feel to them. I had no idea Chris and I were about the same age. I had no idea we had grown up in the same general area of California. I had no idea that Heidi had lost her father so close to the time that I had lost mine. I had no clue that Chris was horrible with finances and had lived in his car at one point. It is amazing to me how close I can feel to two people I have never met and how much they can affect my daily life, help me, coach me, and be a huge part of my support system through social media, Facebook and Twitter.

With Chris and Heidi’s help and guidance I am working on remembering that each obstacle life throws at me, every problem it puts in my way, and every harsh experience it gifts me with is an opportunity for me to learn, to become emotionally stronger and to gain self-confidence and self-integrity. Thanks to Chris’s words on a Facebook Post Response, I am working on remembering that I am not haunted or defined by my past, that my body is mine and that what I see in the mirror is mine and mine alone, it’s the body I made, it’s all of my accomplishments. Seeking Slender doesn’t stop when the scale hits a number you are content with; it’s an ongoing journey and you and I are about to embark on the next chapter of my story.

“Thanks Coach.”

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Its All About Me

It’s all about me.

I know it sounds selfish, but let’s be honest. It’s the truth. I’m not the type of person to candy coat things and sugar coat it and make it sound better than it is, I’m just the type to call it like I see it, and the truth is, that right now, where I am in my life, it is all about me.

It’s been about someone else my whole life. Whether it was the Family I was trying to get along with, the guy I was trying to get to love me, or about the job I was doing to put food on the table, it was always about someone else, making someone else happy, and putting myself second, third or fourth on the wheel of importance.

Right now, life is about me, it is about what I want to do, what makes me happy, what my goals are and those that are in my life, realize that isn’t a selfish thing, it’s a necessary thing. Right now I have to do what I want to do, because if I don’t I am going to resent the hell out of anyone that gets in the way; that’s the truth of the matter.

Right now, whether it’s I want to weigh 150 lbs  I want to wear a size 7. I want to be famous.  I want to meet Chris Powell.  I want to be a personal trainer.  I want to run a half marathon. I want to buy a house. I want to go to Disneyland.  I want some new jeans, whatever it is, right now if I want it, and you are standing in the way of it or you try to talk me out of it, or you are not super supportive, then I want very little to do with you.

There are some of that will read what I am saying and understand it. There are other’s that will read it and judge me and think that I am one of those people who lost a bunch of weight and got a big head and a big ego and thinks too highly of them-self  That’s OK  The truth is, that I have never thought enough of myself to ever demand that I be a priority, not to anyone else, and most definitely not to myself.  Right now, I believe that I have made other people a priority for so long that I forget every once in a while it is okay to make things about what *I* need.

Just look at my travel schedule for the next few months. I’m off to Ohio to visit with HJ and her Family, and then I’m in DC for a week so that I might be able to do some stuff for the OAC. I am home for a week, then off to CA for nearly six weeks so that I can be there for an event that is very important to Tom, spend some quality time with him and do some work around his house for him. Then I am back in OR for a week before I head off to the Cooper Institute for my classes. I could have been at those classes a lot sooner than June, and the truth is, I wish I had been.  There is nothing I want more right now than to be back at Colin and Tora’s; to hold my niece for an hour or so in the evening before everyone settles down for the night; to take my nephew to the park and play baseball with him; to sit with Tora and feel that peace I have with her where no matter what I say she always understands it, and yet I postponed going there to make sure that I took care of what everyone else needed from me first.  I’m very excited about visiting with Heather’s Family, I’m happy to see Tom and spend some time with him, but more than anything I want to be in Dallas with my chosen Family, taking my classes, and getting ready to open the next chapter of my life.

There was a moment in my past where someone who I love deeply looked at me and said to me “I need this to be about me right now,” it was one of those moments where I thought, how selfish, and yet, I conceded. I realized at that moment, that what this person I loved so much was about to do was so scary for them, such a big step forward, such a huge leap of faith in us; that really, it wasn’t selfishness, it was fear. Now, I realize, that there are times, when what you are doing or about to do is so big and so important to you, that your world, your bubble, as I call it just needs to be about that.

That is where I am. My bubble has gotten smaller. My goals are more focused, more local. It’s taken me a few weeks of soul-searching and reflecting to figure it out, it’s taken me finding silence in both world and my mind, to get to these answers; but I have found them.

My Father told me that there were three ingredients to life’s happiness, my Mother, me, and the fact that he absolutely loved his job and enjoyed what he did. My Father set the precedent for how I wanted to be loved. He brought home gifts for no reason; took my Mom out to dinner once a week never missed a birthday, anniversary or day he should have bought a nice gift and brought home a card. He planned family trips, played sports with me, and always told me there was never anything I could do so wrong he could stop loving me. He taught me I was a Princess, and not in any sort of derogatory way.Right now, everything is about me, it is about what I want, what I need, and what I have to do to get there and the people who I am surrounding myself with are people who are as devoted to those things as I am.

He taught me that there is such a thing as a job that you want to get up for each day, look forward to doing, and enjoy, and I’ll tell you; there is a part of me that smiles at the realization as I am type this.  Most of my readers know, how connected I feel to my Father when I exercise, but most specifically; when I run.  These “talks” I have with my Father when I run, sometimes they are just exactly what I needed to figure out whatever perplexing situation life has thrown at me. How funny it is when you think about it really; my Father’s words to me lead me to Gastric Bypass, that lead me to exercise, which became so many things to me that I decided to make it a career as well. Seems no matter what, I’m always finding that these lessons my Father taught me end up being true in the end.

Right now it is all about me, about finding the ingredients to Life’s happiness; and that’s exactly where my perfectly imperfect self needs to be right now.


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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

This is #MyBariLife

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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