It's not very often that I'm at a loss for words. Yet, here I sit, struggling to summarize what these pictures represent to me and my family.

It all started when my doctor looked me in the face and essentially said, "I can't help you until you lose the weight". I'd asked for help from my doctor (again) and was told (again): the weight is an issue. In my mind, I was still very capable with those extra 75 lbs. so this was a pretty lame excuse from my doctor. I finally wanted to be able to slap my hand down on the table and say, "I still have this issue!!! And, I'm not overweight!!! Now what!!!???"

When I was a teenager and young adult, my metabolism and activity level let me live an unhealthy lifestyle, but still feel good enough. I was an athlete, an outfitter (I packed mules and wrangled at a guest ranch for a couple of years), I trained horses. I'd never been a small girl, but I was fit and active. I did manage to get pretty tiny right before I got married, but I was also working 14 hours a day riding horses and taking 6 diet pills a day to do it. As soon as I stopped those, I gained it all back and then some.

Fast forward to 3 kids later, some serious post-partum depression and anxiety, a history of horrible eating habits, and I easily had 75 extra pounds hanging off of my 5'5" frame.

And let's face it, I wasn't really happy in my own skin. Sure, being a mom of lots of littles was rough in its own right, but having to pack around the extra weight - mentally and physically - was exhausting.

It was time to take my weight off the plate as an issue. One less thing to have to bother with - life is demanding enough as it is, let's simplify. In some ways, knowing I would have one less excuse for why I was upset or depressed or grumpy was scary. Being heavy is a burden to some; it was to me. If I got healthy, what could I blame my hang ups on? I would need to own up to what was really at the core of my issues.

I've always been good at whatever I try to do. School was easy. Sports were easy. Making friends was pretty easy. Public speaking was easy. I never shied away from a challenge. What I'm saying is, if I wanted to do it, I just did it. And pretty well for the most part.

But this weight thing had always owned me. I'd never, ever been able to talk myself off the ledge of emotional eating. I was so afraid of failing, I hadn't ever been willing to try. I don't fail. What if I did? Everyone would know that Traci is weak.

But, I was finally miserable enough to try. Quite coincidentally, I came upon this health coach person online and we talked. She "got" me. She knew me because she'd lived my life. She was real and authentic, but optimistic, while not being pushy.

I've dropped 95 pounds since I started the program. I could shout it's merits from the roof tops. I don't know of any other program (cause there's not) that is nutritionally complete, easy for anyone, encourages movement and exercise but doesn't demand it to be successful, is a no brainer guarantee way to lose weight in a healthy way. You just do the program and it works. No tracking, you don't have to measure, you can eat on the go, you can eat at the table, you can eat at a restaurant, exercise or don't - it works.

And to top it off, I've learned about my body, and how it works. I've learned what is best for me, as an individual. I've learned how I feel when I eat good vs. bad foods. I've learned how to educate my kids about health, and can teach them how to have a healthy relationship with food. I've learned how to deal with strong feelings without jumping off the food bridge into a bag of cheetos. I know that I can say no, and be better off for it. I've learned discipline which has had a ripple effect in my life - I'm more disciplined with my finances, my actions, my emotions. All the way around, this program has made me a better person.

When I look at those pictures, I can't really wrap my mind around it - did I really just do this? Only people on TV in those commercials or reality programs do this type of stuff. Not normal, weak, food slaves like me. And yet, I just woke up every day and did it. I made more good choices than bad.

I think that's what life is like, you know? You just make more of the choices that are going to lead you where you want to be and then, quite suddenly, you are there. Sure, there are some bumps and pot holes, probably a few detours, maybe a u-turn or twenty-seven, but you get there. When you stop to see where you've come from, you can almost hardly believe it.

I've found that people assume I've always been thin or "normal". They don't know how many times I've said no to fat and yes to lean. Or how many times my mouth watered while I watched my friends eat cake, knowing it was the better choice at the time, but my mouth still watered. We all do that. We see a person in their current state - good or bad - and make the ignorant assumption that this person has always been this way. What we don't know is what's lead them to this place. The blood, sweat, and tears they may have shed along their way. The triumphs and victories. Or the heart break and failure. We see a man who can dunk a basketball and we assume he's always had that skill. What we don't see is the hours he sprints to develop his calves and hours he lifts weights to improve his vertical leap and how he tries over and over and over again until his calloused fingers finally get above that rim. 

To be really honest, I kind of want to shout "I've lost 95 lbs. to everyone you see on the streets". Like, "Hi! How are you today? I LOST 95 LBS!!!!!!!!" Some might find it off-putting so I usually refrain, but don't think it doesn't cross my mind. 

There have been some fundamental behavior changes occur in my mind and heart. My whole outlook on life, and what I live for has shifted. Sure, I still have cravings and days when I want to eat food that isn't that great, but more often than not, I make the choice that makes my LIFE better. I'm not just content to bandaid the craving. I feel a great sense of peace knowing I'm armed to go forward, and be successful. I have all of the tools I need to make good choices, better choices, the best choices. I feel free from the burden of being consumed by food guilt. I feel empowered and liberated. I feel happy.

P.S. I just re-read this and it gives a strong "look at how awesome I am" vibe. Even though I do feel pretty awesome about it all, that isn't my objective here. My whole point, really, is that it's just been so worth it. That I really was a weak willed person when it came to food and somehow I managed to wrestle that weakness and learn that I'm in charge of me. That my success isn't situational. And mostly, that if someone like me, who was so vastly ill-equipped to start something so big and daunting, can do this - anyone can. Like training for a marathon. Or anything that takes a real effort and change. And I'm so happy that I did it. I mostly just want you guys to know that even if you feel like you will never, ever change the part of you that bothers you most - you can - if you really want and need to! You can do whatever you choose. That if little, old make-excuses-and-justify-it all-to-hell me could own up to what really needed to happen for this to work, that you (who are much better, I just know it) can do whatever it is that you haven't done yet for whatever reason. And you'll be super, duper happy too.

P.P.S. I just realized I completely forgot to tell you all what program I used. I did the Take Shape for Life program which is a division of Medifast. I've been on "program" for about 10-11 months now (Six before I got pregnant with the baby (our 4th girl, now 7 months old) and now another 5) so I do average just under 10 lbs. a month. You can actually check it out at www.riddle.tsfl.com.


Emmy has speech two days a week. Each session is 1/2 an hour long. This is an extremely inconvenient amount of time. Class is too long to just sit around; class is too short to allow for anything productive to actually take place.

The school is across the street from a marvelous park and walking path. I've decided the best use of my 25 minutes is to power walk.

I put Sofia in the car seat and snap it into the stroller so she can see me the whole time. Then, I put my ear buds in and turn up my favorite beats - loud.

What I think I look like:

And sometimes, I accidentally dance a little bit because I forget that I'm in public, and no one else can hear my music.

What I really look like:


Emmy 9.1.13

Here's an update on Emmy's speech progress:

(It's not really 6 minutes. I'm having a heckof a time using my camera to get videos published with Imovie. The actual video I shot is 3 minutes long - it plays twice. Sorry folks.)

About Me

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What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.