Monday, January 31, 2011

There is a fine line between dreams and nightmares

Cherish your visions and your dreams, as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.  ~ Napoleon Hill

If that is the case, I have a really screwed up future ahead of me...

I dream every single night.  And I remember a lot of what I dream.  I am sure it's because I toss and turn a lot at night and I wake up constantly (no wonder I'm exhausted all the time).  I've always heard you only remember your dreams if you wake up in the middle of them.  So for those who think they don't dream, they probably just sleep better than I do. 

People always tell me I should look my dreams up in dream dictionaries.  I can't really believe that certain items, colors or figures in dreams concretely mean something else in the real world.  Rob took a dream class in psychology.  They were taught to keep dream journals to see if your dreams over a period of time might have similar themes and feelings attached to them...basically looking at the bigger picture rather than each dream individually.

So, last week, I started my dream journal.  I am finding that I must be easily influenced by things.  Every single night, anyone that texted me close to bedtime made an appearance in my dreams (like Brynn and karaoke last Wednesday).  Last night, an item that was in a TV show I watched right before bed was in my dream (black widow spiders...ewwwwwww). 

I dream about all kinds of crazy things.  Sometimes they are adventure dreams.  Sometimes it's just about going to the store to pick up vitamin water.  I don't need to run errands in my dreams!  If I can't afford to go to expensive beach destinations, I want to be dreaming about that!

Here is one of my dreams from last week:

Sat. 1/29/2011:  Last night I dreamed about visiting Thailand. My Aunt Janet (who lives there) dropped me off at a Safeway (as if Thailand has Safeways) and told me she would meet me at the end by checkout. The store meandered. Lots of turns. Some people spoke English. Some didn't. At the end, when you checked out, you put your food on a conveyor belt but it was super complicated. Going up and down and around. But you were also standing on one so you were doing the same thing. At some point, it turned into a water park. You kind of sat on a conveyor belt to get to the top. At one point, you were dodging snakes. The couple in front of me were a fat older white couple. When we got to the end, the man sang a country song. He was really good. I went again. A girl was scared so I was carrying her on my back. There was a stopping point in the middle of the water slides. You would make some kind of craft before going on the ride. Andrew was working there. I finished the water slides and this time a young white kid sang. But people made fun of him and he ran away crying. I sat with his mom and brother because I felt bad for him and wanted to tell him he was brave for trying. I left the water slides and it was night. I was walking across the street and a silver car came racing down the street. It did a slide stop right in front of me. Two Asian guys started to get out. I was scared. I couldn't decide if I should run to my truck or back to the front door of the water slides. Then I woke up.

Somewhere in the dream, I was walking through a parking lot taking to Andrew. He was riding a cart or something, carrying his crafts. I felt like I was walking toward the water park but I'm not sure. I can't even place where it happened in the dream.

I also remember parking my truck in an inside garage. I had the feeling I was still in Thailand. But I was seeing mostly white people around me. The fat older white couple with the singing husband parked around me so I assume this was at the water park but I don't know. My mom was with me and we went into a room like a PO Box room to get mail. She wanted to go do fun stuff but I wanted to put the mail in my truck. I felt irritated.  I don't remember what happened next and she wasn't there in my dream at the water park.

There was also a part of the dream where people were on a conveyor belt like at the water slides. And there was a conveyor belt for dogs. But I thought Asian people don't care about dogs as much as Americans do so I felt like the dogs were being sent to their death. I saw my sister's dog, Timber and I called him to come to me. He did. I don't remember anymore.

I also vaguely remember a second or probably first, earlier dream. Just bits and pieces. Vacation. Beaches. Sun. Sand. Waves. I think Vanessa was there. I remember a row of doors like a hotel but I felt like it was something else. A cruise ship? I don't remember much from this one. I feel like we were flying or hiking really high up and looking down at pretty beaches. That's about all I remember.

(I got a couple of texts from Andrew right before bed.)

--------------------

So all you dream watchers...analyze that!!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where does my lard ass go when I lose it?

Have you ever wondered where the weight goes when you lose it?  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've heard how your cells get bigger or smaller as you gain or lose weight.  But where do the pounds GO?!  

I've always heard from Weight Watchers that you pee them out.  That's how they get you to drink your water.  The more water you drink, the more pounds you pee away!  But I lost 165 pounds at one point in my life.  That's A LOT of pee!

Rather than try to re-write all of the science stuff I found, I'll just post links and let you read along with me!


According to the site above, you BREATHE out most of your weight.  Thank-you-very-much...I will start hyperventilating every night!


The site above agrees with the carbon dioxide leaving the body via exhalation, however, it also sites urination and sweating.  I sweat A LOT.  So I should be SUPER skinny. 

More big words that seem to agree with the sites above:



The google question/answer is supposed to be in plain English, so I'll finish with this one:

This question is a combination of physics, chemistry, biology, and
fitness.  Taken in three related parts, it can be expressed as 1) If I
eat a pound of butter, I gain more than a pound of fat, so where does
the extra mass come from? 2) People talk about fat "changing" to
muscle, but muscle weighs more than fat, so where does that extra mass
come from? and 3) When I lose weight, is the mass burned for fuel, and
if not, what happens to it?  I would prefer a brief explanation with
links to some fitness or biology-oriented websites that explain these
processes (I already have plenty of sites about chemical reactions and
conservation of matter, this is specifically regarding biological
processes, and the person I'm trying to explain this to is not
satisfied with general chemistry and physics examples).
 
Answer 1:
 
I assume that what you are looking for is a "plain English"
explanation to answer your questions so you can explain them to your
friend.  I'll do my best!

I'll address your questions in order ---


1) If I eat a pound of butter, I gain more than a pound of fat, so
where does the extra mass come from?

This is a common misconception among dieters, but not true. Plain and
simple, you can't possibly gain more weight than the weight of the
food you eat. If you eat a pound of food (ANY food, whether butter,
carrots or a juicy hamburger), you will temporarily gain a pound, but
no more.  Then, as your body burns up calories, that initial weight
gain decreases.

The number of calories in the food versus the amount of energy you
expend will determine how much of the original pound of food you
retain.

For example --  a pound of fat equals about 3500 calories. A pound of
carbohydrates equals about 2000 calories. If you eat a pound of fat
you will retain the full pound. If you eat a pound of bread or apples
(mostly complex carbohydrates, the good stuff) you will only gain
4/7ths of a pound.

In any case, you can never gain more than the original pound you have
eaten. So, there is no "extra mass" gained.


2) People talk about fat "changing" to muscle, but muscle weighs more
than fat, so where does that extra mass come from?

Again, this is a myth. Fat does not turn into muscle. Muscle does not
turn into fat. Biologically they are two different kinds of cells. The
kind of cell you build, fat or muscle, depends on your exercise regime
and the food you eat.

Yes, muscle weighs more than fat. That much is true, so if the
calories you consume are converted to fat, you will weigh LESS than if
the calories you consume are converted to muscle.  This is why when
people begin a weight loss program that includes exercise; they often
gain weight, even though they look thinner. (Muscle takes up less
space than fat too).

So again, there is no "extra mass" gained. 

By way of further explanation ---

We are biologically designed to use food in the most effective manner.
 What we need we use, what we don’t need we store.

When we go from being chip-eating couch potatoes to diet and exercise
mavens, we change our body's priorities from storage to usage.

When we exercise, fat is burned first. Fat is our biological storage
unit for calories. It's where we "save food" for a rainy day.  When
sudden exercise kicks in, our body says "Whoa, I need more energy,
better start drawing on the reserves."  And we begin to burn fat.

Also, as a separate process, when we exercise we build muscle because
our body "notices" that we are now using our muscles so begins to send
energy there. The muscles are built directly from the calories we
consume. Again, we won't gain more than a pound of muscle for each
pound of food we eat. In fact, it will be much less since it takes
more energy (calories) to build muscle.

When we exercised, the calories we ate "went to" the muscles instead
of the fat because we are designed to send calories to the places in
our bodies where we need them most. Muscles being exercised a lot need
calories.

If NO muscles are being used, and no other biological functions (such
as pregnancy for example) require extra calories (beyond maintaining
the body), then we just store them as fat.

A brief aside on that topic, if we burn up all of our fat and then
continue to burn more calories than we eat, our body begins to shut
down non-essential functions and also begins to burn muscle mass. As
we continue to deprive our body of energy, even essential systems shut
down. This is the danger that anorexics face. Eventually the body just
can't sustain itself.


3) When I lose weight, is the mass burned for fuel, and if not, what
happens to it?

If, by "mass" you mean the mass of the food, Yes, because we are
talking about a calorie, a unit of heat or energy. When you lose
weight it is because you have expended more energy than you consumed.
This means that you have not only burned off all the food you just ate
(by building muscle and running other bodily functions), you also drew
from your reserves (fat). So yes, you "fuelled" your body with the
mass you consumed.

If you are talking about the mass of the fat we burn, the answer is
still Yes. Our bodies "burn" calories through metabolic processes, by
which enzymes break the carbohydrates (starches) into glucose and
other sugars, the fats into glycerol and fatty acids and the proteins
into amino acids.

These molecules are then transported through the bloodstream to the
cells, where they are either absorbed for immediate use or sent on to
the final stage of metabolism in which they are reacted with oxygen to
release their stored energy.

It helps here to understand the concept of the calorie ---- 

Often the misconceptions about weight gain (and loss) are a result of
people not understanding what we mean by a "calorie". They often think
a calorie is a little "thing" that has to be gotten rid of.   A
calorie is a unit of energy (or heat).  For food it defines how much
energy is needed to burn of a unit measure of a particular food.  For
exercise it means how much energy your body is burning.  So all this
means is that the more calories a food *has* the more energy it takes
to burn it up.


Here are some useful links from which I drew some of the previous
information ---------


"…they think that, if you eat a pound of chocolate, you can gain
more than a pound. I can't understand where the extra weight would
come from."

http://www.homestead.com/prosites-waynewatcher/Support_FatFact.html

A pound is a pound and no more.
http://www.myjanee.com/livelight/eat/weigh.htm

Fat to Muscle
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/homegym/fattomusrevb.html

How is it possible to lose inches but not pounds?
http://www.gymamerica.com/gti/magazine/magazine_qa/0,3291,1_cid_536,00.html

What is a Calorie?
http://www.howstuffworks.com/calorie1.htm

How food works
http://www.howstuffworks.com/food.htm

The Caloric Concept of weight control
http://nbaf.com/nbaf/feb7pgf.htm

How your Metabolism Really Works
http://www.metabolism.com/lifestyles/2001-05-22/

Metabolism - A primer
http://www.mayo.edu/comm/mcs/news/news_1608.html


I've put all of this in the simplest biological terms I could. The
links should provide you with more in-depth discussion. If anything
I've said is not clear, please feel free to ask for a clarification.

Thanks for the great question -

--K~

Search terms

"eat a pound" weight gain
"fat to muscle"
"what is a calorie"
"how we lose weight
"how metabolism works" 
 
Answer 2:
 
"If I eat a pound of butter, I gain more than a pound of fat, so where
does the extra mass come from?"

According to most sources, a pound of butter supplies 3200 calories
In order to gain a pound of body fat, you must consume 3500 calories. 
 
Answer 3:
 
I believe your answer is not correct.
See the USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
http://www.nalusda.gov/fnic/cgi-bin/nut_search.pl

Any of the oils contains roughly 123.7 Calories / .5 ounces or 14
grams
16 ounces in 1 lb
123 * 2 * 16 = 3936 calories
3500 calories in 1 lb of fat and for digestion / thermic effect of
food roughly 3% of calories are used (fat is stored more effeciently
then carbohydrates and protein)
so we have a net gain of 3817.92 Calories which is more than enough
for a pound of fat mass.

The same can be said of lard and other very fatty foods.  It seems
that the weight is not the issue but rather the energy contained in
the food.... the laws of thermodynamics are what comes into play. 
 
-----------------------
 
Okay, so if I understood all of that right, I should just breathe, sweat 
and pee more than usual and I'll lose lots of weight!
 
End of story! 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

You never think it could happen to you...

I have reconnected with so many old friends on Facebook.  It's been a lot of fun seeing how people are doing and what they've been up to.  Last night, after posting about Dan's fundraiser for the AIDS LifeCycle, an old friend sent me a message saying that they contracted HIV a few years ago.  They said a lot of people don't know so they asked that I keep their secret.  But I asked that they write their story down for me and I would share it anonymously.  Because, you never think it could happen to you and this is an example of how you never know what life has in store for you.

Please don't ask who the person is.  I will keep their secret locked up tight.  But I hope you can hear their story and then open your wallet to support Dan (who will help people like this).

---------------------

On February 2 it will be 3 years since I found out that I was HIV positive and my life as I knew it would change forever. I'm a healthcare worker, and have been for nearly 12 years. I had taken a job in a small town in the mountains so that I could enjoy life a little and help my dad out after his divorce from my mother. Was a normal day in the ER and I was helping with a patient that had fallen ill with an AIDS related case of pneumonia. During the packaging of the patient to send him to ICU, I grabbed ahold of some equipment that had alot of blood on it, and realized that I didn't have my gloves on.

I didn't really think anything of it. Washed my hands and went about my day. Three months later I thought that I had the worst case of flu ever known to man...lol. That month was my birthday and we were given a free lab panel blood screen test. On Feb. 2, they informed me that my tests came back Pos. for HIV. I lost my mind that day. There were so many emotions that I had never felt before. I instantly remembered the blood exposure and I hadn't filed any paperwork for workman's comp.

I informed my boss of my news, and was allowed to keep my job. For now. The hospital would not allow the work comp claim. I was on my own, with no insurance. With help from my cuzn I was able to find an HIV program that helped people out in need. There are many programs, grants, etc. to help, but do not last long. Again...so many emotions. Depression, Suicidal thoughts, and keeping myself away from people as I was afraid I would infect someone. My living in a small town in the mountains turned into severe isolation and hinderance. One day my friend called and said they had a dog dumped in their driveway in a box. I went over that night and found that it was an awsome Border Collie Puppy with a broken tail. I instantly feel in love with her and took her home. She gave me something to live for, and be happy about. I needed to be there for her. So a year goes by and my boss tells me its time to tell everyone that I was sick at work. So during a morning and evening staff meeting, I stood in front of the room and told my peers that I was sick. I wanted to vomit and pass out. Was the most embarassing thing ever. I had nowhere to hide. A week goes by and I was called into the office and was told I was being laid off. I knew why. I suddenly had no income, insurance and ability to pay for meds. The stress took its toll on my body and I got sicker...faster. I was placed on med. I was given the option of the typical cocktails that made you look sick, or one that made you feel crazy. I figured, I've always walked the line of crazy or not so I'd go with that one. $1,700 per month was the cost to keep me alive with the crazy pill.

The pill indeed made you feel sick, and crazy. At first it gave me the spins. Just as bad as a long night with Tequila. It gradually got better, and 2 years later I don't feel the side affects. One pill per night and thats it for now, as long as the virus keeps responding to it. I Have now had an ongoing lawsuit with the hospital that is stalled and will take a long time to finish. I was given inside info, I had indeed been let go because of my HIV status. During the 8 months of unemployment and continued searches for work, I was made aware by a potential employer that the hospital had told them I was HIV pos and not to hire me. I luckily found a full time job with benefits at the very time when my unemployment, and medical grants for my meds would end. I have been at my job for 11 months now and fear every day that I will be found out, and lose my job. Now nearing the 3 year anniversary which is 2 days after my birthday I am comfortable with who I am, and direction that my life is going. There have been a few side affects of the disease and medicine, but I've made it through with my dog at my side, and the support of a few friend.

---------------------------------------

I really appreciate my friend sharing this story.  Even staying anonymous, it was very brave!

Please watch my video or Dan's and put ONE DOLLAR in the mail to support AIDS research.  The life you end up saving may be your own!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oqay2UzULE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMVGXVN4gGA

Thank you!

The Pole Dancing Shop comes through again!

Last night at Twirly Girls, I did a lap dance for Andrea to raise money for Dan's ride.  The Pole Dancing Shop blogged my video!  They have 12,000 fans on Facebook alone!  I'm really excited and thankful that they are so supportive of us!

(P.S.  This is going to be a double blog day...I have a really intense story coming next...also related to this topic.)
---------------------------

http://www.thepoledancingshop.com/news/81/Pole-Dancing-for-Dollars-by-Lori-Myers.html

Pole Dancing for Dollars by Lori Myers

Posted on 27th Jan 2011 @ 1:42 AM

Lori Myers Pole Dancing1/26/2011: So today on Facebook, a few friends and I took a vague idea and ran with it. A friend is raising money to ride his bike in the AIDS LifeCycle event. He is only asking for people to send ONE DOLLAR to support his cause. ONE. You spend more than that on your morning Starbucks. So, we joked that maybe we'd offer dollar lap dances at the next drag show at Club 1220. That turned into stripping for dollars...and putting on 20 layers of clothes and asking people to throw dollars every time a layer comes off.

So tonight at Twirly Girls, Andrea offered me $5 to do a lap dance for her. I obliged. And actually walked away with $41! WOOHOOO! Thank you to Andrea and Bel for donating $20 each and to Rita for donating $1 (she already donated through the website so thank you for that!!!). I will make sure it gets to Dan.
Bel videoed my dance so I hope that if I post it, it will bring some attention to Dan's need to raise $3,000 for his bike ride. The AIDS LifeCycle event and Dan Jones did not exactly sanction my dancing for dollars scheme. So, please don't go off on how inappropriate it is. We are just having fun and trying to raise money for a good cause.

Keep in mind I'm not a professional and I'm still learning to walk in 8 inch platforms. So, if you loved my dance, hated my dance, or just want to support the cause, please check out Dan's video next:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMVGXVN4gGA

Then put ONE dollar into an envelope and mail it:

Aids LifeCycle
C/O Dan Jones
712 Bancroft Rd., #158
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

I know times are tough but it's only a dollar and it's going to support a great cause.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I WON! I WON! I WON!!

That would pretty much be me if I won the lottery.  But I'd be doing it silently in my head.

My neighbor won the lottery when I was a kid.  Something like $4 million.  Definitely ENOUGH money, especially back then.  They never moved or anything.  But I heard that every slimy family member they hadn't spoken to in decades came out of the shadows and their money was gone pretty quickly.

That won't be me.  This is not Bank of Lori.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely have a plan to share my money with friends and family.  But I won't go broke doing it.

I think people have a misconception of what winning the lottery means.  There was a HUGE jackpot recently -- I think $350 million.  With $350 million, you could do almost anything!  Suddenly, everyone you've ever known wants a million bucks because it's not that much money in the whole scheme of things.  However, after you break it down, you don't end up with nearly that much money.  And suddenly you have to start making decisions about who you want to support and who needs to get cut.

For ease of math, I am going to use $300 million.  If you won that much money, and took the cash payout, you'd get a little over $150 million.  After the government takes it's half, you have around $75 million.  Definitely still a lot of money, but $350 million it is not.

Now you want to start giving your money way.  Any gift over $11,000 (or so...I haven't checked the gift tax law in awhile), is taxed (TO YOU).  So if you're running around giving everyone a million dollars, you're going to get slammed with MORE taxes.  And you already gave half of your money to the government.

So, if I ever win, please don't call asking me for loans or gifts.  I definitely have a plan in mind for sharing some of the money.  I'd be happy to buy gifts and take people on trips.  But I am not going to give this government any more money than I absolutely need to. 

It just seems like there too many issues going on to just give money away.  If someone is on welfare or unemployment or disability, money gifts might mess up their benefits.  With the way the world is now, I could see someone taking the money, losing their benefits and then suing me to be taken care of because they blame me for their loss.  Screw that.

Just think...if you could invest $10 million with only a 5% return, you could live off the interest without ever touching the principal.  That's $500,000 per year you'd have coming in!  And your $10 mil is still sitting there!

I'd love to take some trips, buy a big house, a new car, new clothes, pay off debt, and maybe even pick up an entourage!  I'd get personal training.  Weekly massages.  There is so much I'd love to do if I didn't have to work or worry about money.  

I do play the lottery every week.  However, I pre-buy my numbers once a month so I am not running to the store all the time.  I only buy one set of numbers.  The chances of winning the lottery is so small (something like 1 in 175 million?) that they say your chances are not improved if you buy hundreds of picks for each draw.  But, as my statistics teacher in college used to say, the chances may be small but if you don't play, your chance is zero.  For me, spending $200 over a year is worth the chance.  I don't want to get into a situation where I'm playing $5 or $10 each pick and then suddenly I'm spending thousands.  I have chosen my own numbers and play them each week.  My theory is that two constantly changing numbers (the official lottery picks and your quick pick numbers) have less of a chance of matching up than one constantly changing set of numbers (the lottery's picks) and one set that stays the same (mine).  Statistics show that quick picks win more often but that may just be because more people use quick pick than choose their own.

For me, $4 a week (for Super Lotto and Mega Millions draws twice a week each) is worth the thought that maybe one day I will live the dream and win my millions.  It will happen.  The guy who recently won a large payout said he played every week for something like 25 years before he won.  I'll try to cut that down to 2.5 years.  But it will happen.  :-)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The takeover has begun...get branded

lolorashel THE brand...Brand Yourself!  It's out there.  My re-branding has begun.  World domination.  Building my evil empire (VERY tiring work, by the way).  Whatever you want to call it.  I picked up my own domain:  www.lolorashel.com.  We have designed a few shirts:  https://sites.google.com/site/lolorashel/home/buy-stuff.  We have started a Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Lolorashel/187874267907041/. 

What is my re-branding all about anyway?  I mean, when I first started the idea, I was mostly playing around...being silly.  I needed a positive outlet because I had been feeling super grumpy lately.  But when my friend, Heather, said it made her realize that she was ready to re-brand herself, it made *me* realize it could mean a lot of things.  

Lately, I have felt like I am stuck in a rut.  Unhappy at home.  Unhappy at work.  I hate my body.  I feel poor.  Hate being on meds.  Hate being off of them.  So, for me, re-branding is less about creating a clothing line or some product to sell, and more about re-packaging my life to present back to myself as a gift.  I don't have a bad life.  I have a caring boyfriend, a home to live in, a car to drive, a job with a decent salary.  I have amazing friends and family.  I have a healthy (although somewhat beat-up) body which allows me to go to the gym and have fun at Twirly Girls. 

For Heather, re-branding may mean something completely different.  I know she has been unemployed for some time and may be looking to get a job, or into a new field, or maybe even go back to school to change up her life completely.  Her outlook on life isn't bleak...she has the entire world in front of her and she can do WHATEVER she wants.  How amazing is that feeling?  

Yesterday, I spent a few hours at Twirly Girls.  First at Kenzy's lapdance workshop, then with Jimmy, Miguel, Michael and Rita in a taster class.  I was prancing around in a pink tu-tu and thigh high boots that have probably an eight inch heel.  I pulled off a couple of handstands.  A handstand...I mean, how long ago was it that I was just stoked to do a headstand?  And now I'm kicking up into a handstand?  WITH boots on?  

I am trying to be more positive and appreciative of my life on a daily basis.  So, that's what my re-branding is about.  I know that a lot of my friends are in bad situations with their homes or jobs, so I encourage everyone to join me in a re-branding and commit to reminding yourself every single day of one positive thing.  

I e-mail myself every morning with my list of things I am grateful for.  And today I am grateful for my friends and the outlet I have through this blog and Facebook.  Thank you to everyone who takes time of their day to read my rantings and musings.  :-)


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Creature Feature!

Jessica just featured me on her Weight Loss Surgery support group on Facebook!  :-D

You may recognize the story...I took it from an early blog post and updated it.  :-)

Featured Member - Lori

by Weight Loss Surgery on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 at 3:48pm
 
 I am six feet tall, so regardless of my weight, I've always been a "big girl."  I probably started getting chunky in my teen years.  My dad said he noticed it after he and my mom split when I was 12.  I don't really remember it that way.  I don't remember feeling "fat" anyway.  I remember at age 4, people sometimes thought I was already closer to age 8.  So I think I considered myself tall, not fat.  I graduated from high school weighing around 180 pounds, which was about a size 12.

Then college happened.

I was going to college and working full time.  I was eating fast food for all three meals each day.  I think my top weight was around 285 pounds.  When I was around 20-21 years old, phen fen hit the market.  I got down to 235 pounds.  I was around a size 22.  But after you've been almost 300 pounds, that feels pretty good!  I looked and felt a lot better than I had in years.  I suffered a lot of side effects, but I didn't care because I WAS "SKINNY!"  Unfortunately, after they took that drug off the market, I skyrocketed back up to 300 pounds pretty quickly.

I worked out a lot.  When I was overweight, I was sometimes at the gym seven days a week.  I did Weight Watchers.  I'd lose some weight, then put it back on.  My doctor made me try Overeaters Anonymous.  Unfortunately, when you're food obsessed, talking about it all day just makes you want to eat more.  So neither of those programs were for me.  They say that once you have so much weight to lose, you just can't do it on your own.  Only 1 person in 20 can lose such a large amount of weight.  The body fights you.  It thinks you're starving it to death, so it creates plateaus.  Most people give up and then they gain all of their weight back plus some bonus weight.

I was around 23 years old when I went to the doctor's office for my yearly visit and had hit 300 pounds.  The next year, it was 315.  The next year, 330 and the next I was 345.  I was easily a size 28 or 30.  No clothes fit well or looked good.  My feet hurt if I walked.  I was a sweaty mess if I did ANYTHING.  I was facing a life of health problems if I didn't change something fast.    And I was only 26 years old and I was looking at a lifetime of possible ailments: diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, sleep apnea...  I was also being monitored for heart problems due to the phen fen use.  I got bad news.  My heart valves were fine but my heart was enlarged.  This was due to the weight I was carrying around.  I needed to do something soon.

The year I went to the doctor and hit my top weight of 347 pounds, I begged her for help.  My friend had recently had gastric bypass and I hoped it would help me.  If I didn't have to THINK about food, I just knew I could lose the weight.  She agreed.  There were some bumps along the way (I'll spare you the boring details) but on March 17, 2004 (at age 27), I had my RNY gastric bypass surgery at UCSF.  I'm now a St. Patty's Day "baby."  I call it my new-birthday because it was the day I was re-born.  I lost 30 pounds before surgery.  I was 317 pounds on surgery day.

They attempted to do my surgery laroscopically but they ran into complications and had to open me two-thirds of the way through surgery.  It made for a bit of a difficult recovery, both physically and mentally.  When I opened my eyes after surgery, I was groggy and the nurse had me sitting up and bent over a table -- trying to put an epidural in my back.  I could see down the front of my hospital gown.  I saw train tracks.  Ugly staples all the way down my stomach.  I kept asking, "what happened?!"  The nurse just kept saying, "you had surgery, honey!!"  My brain could comprehend that something had gone wrong but my mouth couldn't form the right words.  It was a couple of days before I was aware enough to hear and understand the story.

The next year was quite the weight loss journey.  I never plateaued and, at around 9 months out, I started blacking out.  I was losing weight too quickly and my body was letting me know.  So my doctor made me force a plateau by eating more food.  I had low blood pressure and low blood sugar.  But I was, by then, down to around 190 pounds.  I was ecstatic.  And I also looked like a shar pei with my clothes off.  I have to admit that, because the weight was coming off so easily, I got lazy at the gym.  Why work out when you don't have to?!  Big mistake.  And I tell all potential gastric bypass patients that working out is the most important thing they can do after surgery!

After my body finally settled down, I hired a personal trainer and lost another 10 or so pounds.  My lowest weight after surgery was 179 pounds.  I was a size 12.  I was back at the gym, working with a personal trainer (this was in early 2005), but the skin just can't recover from that.  Eventually, I did suffer from the correction that most gastric bypass patients go through...I gained back 15 pounds.

In 2006, I had three rounds of plastic surgery to tighten and remove the saggy skin.  I had a lower body lift and breast lift/augmentation in February.  I had my arms and inner thighs done in June.  And then I had a little clean up work (the "bra overhang") done in November.  It was a difficult and painful year.  I don't think I stepped foot in the gym once.  I had 14 pounds of skin removed from my mid-section with the lower body lift (basically, a tummy tuck, but you are cut around the entire body instead of just the front).  I ended that year weighing around 195 pounds.  Strangely, though, despite the skin removal, I never saw that weight loss on the scale and I still wore around the same size...a 12 or 14, depending on the brand.

I started a medication in early 2007 that caused me to gain 25 pounds pretty quickly.  My top weight (post-gastric bypass) was now 222 pounds.  So in September of 2007, I headed back to the gym.  I signed up with a small group training class.  I am not a morning person but for six months or so, I met the group at 5:30 AM to train.  When I couldn't afford to pay for training anymore, I continued working out with a friend (at the same un-Godly hour).  I also eventually signed up for pilates reformer training.  I was in the best shape of my life.  In June 2008, my friend, John, took me to the top of Half Dome.  It was the most amazing and draining experience of my life.  I had gotten myself back down to 201 pounds.

In September 2008, my office went virtual and I began to work from home.  I tried to keep up the early morning routine but it is sometimes difficult when there is no reason for me to be up that early.  By February/March 2009, I couldn't do it anymore.  What a huge mistake.  Having a reliable gym partner is probably the most helpful tool you can have when trying to get in shape.  I would go into the gym later in the morning to work out but I was definitely not working out as hard as I was when I had someone pushing me.  The weight didn't start creeping up immediately, but two more medication changes/additions put more weight back on me almost overnight (with the first medication change, I put 15 pounds on in two weeks...that hurts!!).

In September 2009, I started commuting to my job, which created a two and a half to three hour round-trip commute each day.  So, skipping the gym was getting easier and easier.  My weight was creeping up again.

I started Twirly Girls Pole Fitness in December 2009.  I was edging up close to 220 pounds again by then.  I kept making promises to myself to lose weight, eat better, get healthy...blah blah blah.

It's now January 2011, and I was recently up to 235 pounds.  This can't be.  I refuse to be one of the gastric bypass patients who fails.  Nevermind that I am still down well over 100 pounds.  I don't want to be "fat" anymore.  In November 2010, I decided it was time to stop messing around and start taking my health seriously again.  Gastric bypass was a tool given to me to help lose the weight.  It's up to me to keep it off.  I have lost 8 pounds in the last month and a half and am down to 227.  My goal is to get back to 200 pounds, which is the goal set by my surgeon and is a weight at which my body is very comfortable.

I am doing spin (cyle), yoga, pole dancing, pilates and couch to 5k (running) to get back into shape.  I am planning to do Bay to Breakers (a 12k -- or around 7.8 miles) in May 2011.  I am using an iPhone app to track my calories and exercise.  And I am feeling pretty good about losing the excess weight (again) and keeping it off this time.  I think the biggest mistake that gastric bypass patients make when they start to gain weight is to alienate themselves.  They might be embarrassed and don't want to ask for help.  But that is exactly the time when we should be asking our friends for support.  I don't like admitting I almost failed.  But I am happy to say that I'm back on track and committed to being a healthy person.

Enjoy & follow Lori's Blog: http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/


How do you create a brand?

Who was Gloria Vanderbilt before she was a queen of jeans in the 1980's?  Do you remember what the Jolly Green Giant sells?  What was a "Nike" before it was shoes anyway?

How do you CREATE a brand?  How do you get people to NEED to buy whatever you are selling?  Whether it's clothes or food or even a service provided....how do you get people to see a product and think of your name? 

For example...what is a lolorashel?  How can I make myself a brand?  I don't know what I'd sell.  Poles?  Party planning?  Fundraising?  Nutrition services?  Clothing?  Fitness counseling?  Who knows?!  But whatever it is, how do I make people want me?

For those who have asked, lolorashel is just my name.  My first name is Lori.  Since I was a kid, when other kids couldn't say their R's, my nickname was Lolo.  My middle name is Rachel.  No, it's not pronounced "Rachel."  It's pronounced "Rachelle."  My mom liked how Rachel looked but how Rachelle sounded.  So began a lifetime of explaining to people, I know it looks like Rachel but my middle name is "Rachelle."  Ten years ago, I met my friend Rashel.  What a cool spelling!  And lolorashel was born. 

I use it for various log-ins and accounts.  It is, of course, my blog name.  I have a comcast account.  I use it on twitter and youtube.  I feel like I'm building a little bit of a lolorashel empire. 

So I am creating my very own brand!  I still don't know what I'm going to sell but when I figure it out, I sure hope you're buying!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Here's to new friends!

My blog mostly teeters back and forth between pole dancing and gastric bypass/weight loss issues.  Sure, I write about other things but those are probaby the two biggest topics.  Without the weight loss surgery, I wouldn't have pole dancing.  It's a big part of who I am now.  I am a huge advocate of post-surgery support.  I wish more people would get one-on-one therapy but I also think that online and in-person support groups are important.  I joined a Facebook group about weight loss surgery and ended up "meeting" a pretty cool chick.  She actually doesn't live far from me (about an hour and 15 minutes away) and we are hoping to meet in person this May at Bay to Breakers!

Meet Jessica Mowles Stockton! 

1. You started a weight loss surgery support group on Facebook. What prompted you to do that?

My local support group that I was attending through my hospital was not supported by any professionals. I was getting bored going weekly and hearing the same questions discussed and then answered by other patients. I knew I was done with that group, but did not want to drop out of the WLS world completely. Having WLS has been a life changing event and for me, I feel I need to keep it as something that's part of my daily life. I'm pretty much on Facebook all the time and thought it would be an awesome way to connect with other WLS patients. I searched for WLS pages or groups on Facebook, but did not find any that were really active or geared towards supporting each other, so I thought,"Hey, why not start my own!"

2. Do you participate in any other support groups, either online or in person?

I am on ObesityHelp.com almost every day, posting my support to others and just reading blogs or the message boards. I try and meet up with my WLS friends at least once a month to talk about WLS issues, but other than that, I do not attend any other groups.

3. What made you decide that weight loss surgery was for you?

I made the decision to have weight loss surgery in June of 2007. I was back up to my highest weight, 291 lbs, after another failed diet. I was 29 yrs old and already had hypertension. My family has serious hereditary heart disease and I knew that I was not far from acquiring heart disease myself, if I hadn't already. I am a mother and a wife and wanted to be around for my kids when they have their kids. I wanted to be the person I have always wanted to be. I knew if I didn’t take action I would be in my 40’s with hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, wishing I had had the surgery years before. I had considered having WLS a couple years before but wanted to try and do it on my own again. The deciding day was a day we went to Six Flags. I knew on that day I HAD to do it.

4. When did you have surgery?

I had laparoscopic RNY Gastric Bypass on February 12, 2008.

5. Where did you have surgery and do you feel like your surgeon and/or insurance gave you proper care and follow-up after?

My insurance is Kaiser Permanente. They do not have a local bariatric program, so I had to travel to Fremont, CA (almost 2 hours away) for all my appointments and follow up care. I do feel they gave proper care, however I do have a couple complaints. I feel that they should make it mandatory that there is psychological/therapy appointments for at least the first year after surgery. I also would like to see a professional run support group. There are a ton of people in the greater Sacramento area that have had surgery through Kaiser. Even though there is not a local bariatric program, they should make local bariatric professionals available to us.

6. Did you have any complications? Do you have any lasting effects from losing so much weight so quickly?

No major complications. A couple times I got dehydrated and had to go to my doctor's office for some IV fluids. Every once in a while I feel my blood pressure drop and I get a bit of a dizzy spell, but I don't think I have any major lasting effects from losing the weight.

7. How much weight did you lose? Do you feel like you met or exceeded your goal?

I have been maintaining a loss of 140 lbs. I did lose as much as 145 lbs at one point but had a little bounce back. I am very comfortable where I am at. This is beyond what I ever dreamt for myself. I am at my own personal goal weight, but have exceeded my surgeon’s goal weight by more than 20 lbs.

8. Have you had a difficult time maintaining the loss?

Just recently the weight loss feels like it's getting a little more difficult to maintain. I can tell I am getting hungrier more and am able to eat larger portions. I know that exercise and diet are always going to be a part of my life, even with surgery. As soon as I see the scale creep up a couple pounds I reel it back in and really get back to basics.

9. What has changed about your life since losing weight?

This is a very complicated question. Lots have changed, but then I like to think a lot has stayed the same. I am more the person I always wanted to be. I am more active, more outgoing, but I really feel my life is still evolving. I was morbidly obese for most of my life. Being of average weight is still something I consider new. Losing 140 lbs has been like peeling back 140 emotional layers. There are times I feel very emotionally raw. I am working on becoming the me I was meant to be and always wanted to be.

10. What was one non-weight related goal that you had after losing weight? (Maybe worded weird, but, for example, I wanted to start riding horses again after losing weight...of course I had stopped because I had gotten too fat but it was a goal I had that wasn't "I want to lose 100 pounds.")

I actually had forgotten about this goal until about 6 months ago. When I was obese I would get this urge to run. I would tell my husband "I just want to run!" - I attempted a few times but would only make it a few house lengths before I would begin to walk. About 6 months ago I started running. It wasn't until the first time I ran 3.2 miles that I remembered I had wanted and wished I could run when I was obese. I broke down in tears while I was running. It's those little things that mean the most.

11. What do you do religiously to make sure you are a successful weight loss surgery patient?

I don't drink soda or carbonated beverages. I don't drink 15 mins before, during, or up to 30 minutes after meals. I try to watch the amount of sugar in the things I eat and stick with protein first.

12. Do you exercise?

Yes! I go to the gym, but I prefer running outside. I did two 5k's in the last 4 months of 2010 and for 2011 I have a 10k, 12k (Bay to Breakers!!!), and two half marathon's planned! I will also be throwing in a couple of 5k's here and there.

13. What are some of the habits you fudge on? What's your guilty pleasure?

Ohhhh, the guilty pleasure... I curse you!! PIZZA!!! I remember when I was thinking about having surgery I thought I would never be able to eat pizza again and the thought really did cross my mind NOT to have surgery for this reason alone! LOL So yes, I eat pizza... I probably eat it once a week.... and I enjoy every single bite.

14. Did you have any plastic surgery? If so, did insurance cover any of it? If not, would you like to?

I think we, in the WLS community, obsess over this issue far too much (myself included). I have not had any plastic surgery. My insurance won't cover it. I will eventually have plastic surgery, but at this point it is not something I am willing to go into debt for. When the time is right I will go for it, but I am not going to let the excess skin hold me back or take away from my success. I actually wrote a small article on excess skin that is being published in the next issue of OH Magazine. :-)

15. What would you tell someone who was on the fence about having weight loss surgery?

I think that would depend on who the person is. I think that if someone has done the research and thinks WLS would be good for them, but they are just scared, to go for it! All I can offer them is MY experience with WLS. For me, it's been a very good decision. It has worked for me thus far, without complications. I know there are some out there that feel WLS was not the right decision for them so I would hate to try and sell somebody on it. But I guess, if I am being honest, every bit of me would want to yell at them "Do it!".

16. If you had it to do over again, would you still have surgery?

Absofreakinglutely.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I gave in...

...I joined Twitter. 

I never really "got" Twitter.  But it seems like a lot of funny stuff happens there.  So I figured I should get involved.  Plus, I have a long term master plan and it seems like I need to cover all bases. 

I am still trying to figure this thing out.  If you want to follow me, I'm @lolorashel.  Who do you follow on Twitter? If you are a company, do you use Twitter to promote your company? 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I inverted!!!!!

Three and a half months ahead of my scheduled goal, I INVERTED!!  Maybe not a good one.  But I went upside-down on the pole and did not fall on my head!!!

In fact, every single person in class last night inverted!!  That was the first time for more than one of us! 

There was a lot wrong with my invert.  My hands weren't quite in the right place (PROTECT YOUR COOTER!!!) and my legs weren't really gripping.  I was only staying up because I had the death grip on the pole with my hands.  But it was an awesome first try.  And I didn't die. 

I feel like the only place to go from here is UP.  Quite literally.  And I'm super excited to have started 2011 off right...by already meeting one of my goals.

Thank you to Bel, Daisy, Edna, Andrea, Rita, Mandy and Gina for supporting me last night!  That was so awesome!





This last photo is a failed attempt at a cross-ankle release and back bend.  But it was a start!!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Support the AIDS LifeCycle fundraiser

HIV has never had a face for me.  I was recently reading a friend's old blog on Facebook and found out he is HIV positive (and has been for a couple of years).  I was shocked.  Stunned.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  I'd never actually known anyone with HIV.  And then I felt stupid and selfish.  If I was feeling that way, I couldn't even imagine what he was going through.  He didn't look sick.  But now I had a face to attach to the disease.  And it could be anyone walking down the street. 

Then the stories started coming out of the woodworks.  It was like an awakening for me.  I found out one of my high school friends had a brother who died of AIDS in 1995.  And my very own childhood neighbor died in 1986.  I had no idea. 

You all know I'm down to support a good cause.  Some people also know I was brought up in the Mormon religion (and half of my family still attends church), which is an adversary of gay rights.  This should probably create a conflict in my brain, but it doesn't.  I don't want to debate whether it is morally right or wrong for gay people to be gay.  I don't care if they were born that way or if they chose to be that way.  I see people who are suffering and need help.  They are people.  Just like you and me. Besides, HIV and AIDS isn't a gay disease.  It affects everyone.  Gay, straight, male, female, black, white...  HIV and AIDS does not discriminate. 

I decided to write this blog to support my friend Lety's brother, Dan, as he rides in the AIDS LifeCycle Ride to End AIDS.  Dan needs to raise $3,000 and is asking everyone to send him only $1.  I already put my dollar in an envelope today and plan to donate more on the website.  I ask that you watch the video (and prepare to cry) and please send a dollar.  It's only a dollar. 



If you'd like to donate through the website, please do:

http://www.tofighthiv.org/site/TR/AIDSLIFECYCLE10/AIDSLifeCycleCenter?px=1119463&pg=personal&fr_id=1320
I recently attended a Christmas party at the Rainbow Community Center in Concord.  What an amazingly nice and warm group of people.  I've decided to start volunteering some time there when I can.  If you have time or money to contribute, please consider the RCC!   

As you know, my favorite drag queen is Stephanie Nicole Le Dream.  Check out her Facebook page.  She is a HUGE advocate of safe sex, HIV prevention and awareness.  Just call her Safe Sex Stephanie -- the Triple S (Love + Lipstick)!

Here is Jimmy's speech from World AIDS Day 2010:

Nearly two and a half years ago, five words changed my life.

“Your test came back positive”

At that moment, I could barely breathe… barely function. At that moment, my life was over.
But I was wrong. Being diagnosed with HIV didn’t mean that my life was over, but it did give me a new purpose. For all of my adult life, I have been involved with the fight against HIV. I have done my best to educate my friends and loved ones. I have fundraised to help fund HIV prevention and outreach. I have done whatever I could to remind people about the Red Ribbon… which is why, I am still here today.

Two weeks after my diagnosis, a friend took me to the Rainbow Community Center to get help. As I walked into that support group, I was scared out of my mind. Everything I had ever learned about HIV was forgotten the instant I got my results back… but luckily, there were dozens of men willing to share their strength and their stories with me. There were men who had lived with this disease for decades… it hadn’t been easy for them, but they were still here, willing to share their knowledge with someone they had just met… a total stranger. And it because of these men that I realized that I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon… and that I had a responsibility to educate others

Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with HIV. Even after all of the deaths, the memorials and public outcry… people continue to get HIV. During the 80’s and 90’s, people were very aware of the dangers of unprotected sex and sharing needles… but at some point, people forgot. Perhaps it was the vigils, perhaps it was memorials that made them close their minds and try to forget everything that the thousands of lives we lost to HIV meant. Maybe it’s this new generation of young people that don’t realize or remember what we went through… they didn’t grow up in a world where the red ribbon meant something. They simply forgot.

The statistics are staggering. Young people between the ages of 13 and 24 make up the largest percentage of people being diagnosed. Being young, we sometimes feel that we are invincible… that nothing can hurt us. We all know that smoking is bad for us… we know that drinking and driving is a really bad idea… and we know that we should always wear a condom… but, being young isn’t an excuse for stupidity.

The fact is, that HIV doesn’t care who you are. It doesn’t care the color of your skin. It doesn’t care who you love, who you sleep with, who you marry. How many friends you have on Facebook. HIV isn’t particular… it’s a real danger to everyone.

Here in Contra Costa, the numbers of people being diagnosed with HIV are on the rise… and unfortunately, funding is very limited. So programs get cut drastically, outreach is stopped due to budget cuts, people can’t get tested because their isn’t a place available for them… and eventually, we end up with more people living with this disease. The little money we do have, is focused on helping only select groups of people… but isn’t everyone at risk?

I was lucky to find a place like the Rainbow Community Center. It gave me the support when I needed it most… and now I have the strength to continue to educate and protest. There are so many resources available to those of you living with HIV… and there are still resources available to those of you who need to get tested. The important thing to remember, is that you are never alone… there are people that care about you and your health. The Rainbow Community Center cares… We all care… I care.

It’s would be really easy to just shut down and stop caring… to keep this disease a secret, a dirty little secret that nobody wants to hear about. But the fact is, that if people like you didn’t show up here tonight… didn’t remember what the Red Ribbon stands for… the cycle would never be broken. It is my personal mission to help fight this disease, to educate people about safe sex, to get as many people tested as possible… in fact, it’s my job now. As hard as it is to stand up here in front of all of you and speak of hope and strength, it has to happen. We need to continue to fight. We need to continue to remind people about the red ribbon. We have lost So many lives… We lost people that we care about… people like Chad. And we have to do it for them.

Will you join me in this fight? A fight to get people tested, regardless of their sexuality or the color of their skin? A fight to help those young people who are out their this very minute, making all the wrong choices? It’s never easy. But it has to be done. And I know that somewhere up there, everyone we have lost to this disease is listening and they are smiling down on all of you for being a part of this night.

Never forget the Red Ribbon. Never forget the lives we have lost. Never forget the people still here fighting for this cause, fighting this disease. Together, we can make every day World AIDS Day. And I will be here with you every December 1st until we find a cure… and even then, I will be here. My name is Jimmy Gale… I’m 26 years old… and I have been living with HIV for 2 years… and I’m not going anywhere. I’m still here.


This is a note posted on Facebook by my childhood neighbor, Mike.  I am posting this with his permission (although it was published previously already).

Struggle with Death

by Mike McClelland on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 8:00pm
 
Some of you who have known me all of, or most of my life, are very familiar with the events I wrote about when I was 18.  This article was actually published in May of 1988.  I hope that everyone will carry away something positive from reading this.  If nothing else, you get an insight into who I am.

Struggle with Death by Mike McClelland

As we walk back into the hospital, my sister Gaylene walks down the hall toward us and tells us that he is gone.  My heart sinks and anger strikes my chest.  As I enter the room, a scent of death is in the air and all I hear is weeping.  I walk over to his limp body and kneel beside him.  I forget that others are there in the room as I hold his hand and begin to cry.  I feel my father’s hand on my shoulder as he tells me, “I love you, Michael.”  I reply, “I love you too, Dad.”

I was 13 years old when my brother Stephen was shot and killed at the age of 26.   Now at 14, I find out that my 22 year old brother, Robert, is moving back from Miami because he is going to die.  I learned this in March of 1984 and at the end of May, he came home.  It was a good day for me because I hadn’t seen him for almost a year, yet it was also a sad day because it was the day that my brother came home to die.
I helped Robert unpack and move things into his room, and after we were done, we sat around and talked as we set up his VCR and stereo.  I had realized that he was going to die, but I didn’t want to think about it until I had to.  In school I never talked about him dying,  and at home I didn’t think about what the words meant.  When I said the words it was as if they were the names of food, or people.  I didn’t think about what I was saying.

My brother had a lot on his mind, as did we, but he had a lot of things that he intended to do before he left this world.  He needed to get his relationship with God back together and make things right with his friends and family.  Robert and I became much closer than we ever had been during this time.  Closer, because before, our age difference of eight years had been a barrier in our relationship.  He wanted to be good to everyone and he tried to make friends in any way that he could with the time that he had.

The disease that Robert had was incurable, but he tried to use drugs that would fight it.  Three times a week, our father would take Robert to San Francisco to get shots.  Over time the drugs didn’t help much and sores showed up on his skin, which he tried to cover with make-up.

As time went on and we all got closer and relied upon God and each other, Robert would do things for me and take me places so that we would become closer than ever before.  Eventually Robert became very close to God, and I would pray at night for that to continue.

I remember many things about Robert during that time, mostly trips to the mall, but most of all I remember the hospital.  A few times when he would get really sick, we would take him to the county hospital in Martinez where he would be treated.  More trips would come as time went on, and by November, 1985, he was put in for a couple of weeks.

Things went bad on Christmas Eve of 1985.  He had chest gas, so someone told him to drink beer to get the gas up, but the medication that he was taking wasn’t supposed to mix with alcohol and he had a bad reaction.  On Christmas he went into the hospital for the last time.

On January 14, 1986, he lost his ability to speak, but he still communicated with us using his hands and eyes.  My brother-in-law and our pastor took me to dinner, but all I could think about was Robert and getting back to him.  When we returned, my sister told us he had died.  When I entered the room, all I saw was pain and mourning and I began to cry as I knelt beside him.

On Friday, January 17, 1986, we buried him.  I think that day will be clear in my mind forever.  The pain and suffering that we experienced will probably dim in time, but I think that Robert would have wanted us to think about the good times, not the bad.

Now at eighteen, as I look back on the events that happened then, I realize that God decided how I would face my brother’s dying and maybe I wasn’t supposed to be there.  To this day, I always think about Robert and how his face had lit up in the sunshine just before I left him.  I believe that he saw heaven then and still believe it now.

I struggled with the fact that my brother died of AIDS and it was a struggle for everyone involved.  I’m getting over it now, but I still have had to call on God’s help to do it.

Addendum:  This was written during my freshman year in college in the Spring of 1988.  Since then I have also lost my sister Diane in 1993, my father Wesley in 1995, and both of my grandmother’s since.  My grandfather’s both passed before I knew them.

Facing the death of a loved one is a very difficult thing to do.  Hold to those friends and family that are there with you, facing it as well. 

------------------

HIV and AIDS affects us all so I hope that you will consider contributing to the LifeCycle link I provided above.  If not, I hope you at least walk away with a new understanding of the disease and appreciation for what people living with the disease and their families are going through.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I beat the odds...

Or at least that's what I'm telling myself. 

I hate statistics.  It seems like no matter what your agenda, you can find some statistic spun in the right way to back you up.  You hear that the "average American" gains 15 pounds over the holidays.  Sometimes you hear 8 pounds.  Sometimes higher.  Sometimes lower.  But you also hear what the "average American" gains over a year in general and it's usually lower than that.  I mean, if every American is gaining even 10 plus pounds every holiday season, we'd all be 500 pounds by now, right?

I guess that's where the multi-billion dollar diet industry comes in.  You gain your 5-50 pounds over the holidays and then spend an ungodly amount of money to take it back off over the next eleven months...only to do it all over again.  Except that most statistics will tell you that the diet industry is failing miserably and that most people don't end up losing weight permanently.  Americans are getting fatter and fatter.

Who cares?  I refuse to be the average American.  Or a statistic, for that matter (does that then make me a statistic?).  See, because another statistic will tell you that a good portion of gastric bypass patients gain their weight back.  Although I am definitely battling some weight gain, I refuse to let it win.  In November, I set a goal to lose 35 pounds.  I started using the Tap & Track app for my iPhone.  I track what I eat and my exercise.  I've actually lost 8 pounds this holiday!  And I only have 27 pounds to reach my goal.  I still hope to have lost that by April.  I need to be able to invert on the pole!

I started the Couch to 5k program yesterday.  It was pretty easy (duh, it's only day one).  Five minute warm-up.  Run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds for 20 minutes.  Five minute cool down.  Easy enough, although it was a reminder that I AM NOT A RUNNER.  I felt like an elephant pounding on the treadmill.  No matter how lightly I attempted to land, I just couldn't.  I am not light or airy, nor do I float like a butterfly (or sting like a bee, for that matter).  I wore an expensive sports bra but the girls were threatening to give me a black eye.  It killed my back but my back problems are part of why I need to take it up a notch and lose some weight.

On Monday, I did a boot camp through Sports Basement.  It was mostly P90X movements.  Not a mind-blowing workout but still decent and I'll probably finish the next six week series.  I also bought a Groupon to Forma Gym in Walnut Creek.  Twenty sessions of their classes, including yoga and pilates.  When that is done, I'll start pilates training at The Absolute Center in Lafayette.

I have a plan and I'm sticking with it!  I hate setting resolutions so my GOAL is to lose my weight and get healthy again!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to blogging for The Pole Dancing Shop

The Pole Dancing Shop has been amazing to me!  They sponsored the Twirly Girls calendar and they just allowed me to guest blog for a third time!

http://www.thepoledancingshop.com/news/76/Will-Pole-For-Charity-by-Lori-Myers.html


Will Pole For Charity by Lori Myers

Posted on 1st Jan 2011 @ 8:42 PM
Lori Myers Pole DancingIn April 2010, Twirly Girls Pole Fitness held a fundraiser to benefit the National Kidney Foundation.  One of our very own, the Lovely Rita, is a three-time kidney transplant recipient.  She does the NKF 5k walk in San Francisco each May and needed to raise money.  The studio happily held a day of classes, an open house, silent auction, raffle and dance recital to benefit the foundation.  We raised almost $3,000.

We decided to do it even bigger in 2011.  The Twirly Girls put together a calendar shoot, featuring students, instructors, and our supportive men.  We are planning to do another day of classes, etc. in April 2011.  We should easily be able to double or triple our donation this year.  We are asking other studios who are interested in getting involved to contact us to coordinate.  We can put you in touch with the National Kidney Foundation for fundraising materials.  It's a fun way to promote your studio and feel like you've done something good for the world.  [See my blog post:  http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2010/11/calling-all-pole-studios.html]

For me, the biggest challenge is getting ready for the dance recital.  Performing for people outside of my comfortable and supportive class is very scary.  I am doing a group number with the FEVER! girls.  But I am also doing a surprise (guess it won't be much of a surprise if Rita reads this...so I won't reveal TOO much here) number alone.  I had set a goal two months ago to lose enough weight and gain enough strength to invert within six months (which would be somewhere around April).  I have a goal of losing a total of 35 pounds.  I have lost 8 so far.  Sometimes I move a little slowly, but at least the scale is finally moving in the right direction.

I am planning to start the Couch-2-5k plan in January so that I can start preparing for the Bay to Breakers in San Francisco (it is a 12K over some difficult hills).  I am already doing 5k's but I mostly walk/jog them and I want to be able to run the entire way.  It won't help much with strength but it will give me a good cardio workout so that I can lose the weight.  On January 3, I am starting a 7-week boot camp that promises to kill us on Mondays.  While losing the weight, I also need to work hard on gaining strength so that I can actually haul myself up into an invert without breaking my neck.

Lori Myers Pole DancingI have already increased my yoga classes and am going to add pilates reformer classes next month to help with flexibility and core strength.  I also took a pilates class that incorporated ballet moves, so I am becoming more interested in using those moves to make me stronger and help with my fluidity.
So, that is my plan for the first quarter of 2011.  I hate setting New Years resolutions because they are so easily forgotten.  That's why I set my goals now and plan to keep them.  What are your goals for 2011?

Lori Myers
Student at Twirly Girls Pole Fitness Studio in Pleasanton, California
http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/