About Me

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North Lawrence, New York, United States
I can be described as lover of life, an animal lover, and lover of education. I am constantly striving for knowledge and learning opportunities. I've been around horses my entire life. I enjoy working with horses and their human partners through natural horsemanship philosophies, natural balance bare foot hoof care, reiki, red-light therapy, essential oils, aromatherapy, crystal healing, chromotherapy, flower essences, and more. I am a Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki Master Teacher who offers treatments for people, horses, dogs, cats, and other creatures great and small. I also teach Reiki classes for those interested in learning how to treat themselves, their loved ones, and even their animals! Natural Horse Lover Farm is located in Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and Adirondack Mountains. Heaven on Earth. naturalhorseloverfarm.com

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Years Resolutions - Should Be VERY Important to Make Them Actually Happen!

It is that time of year, the time we make resolutions to behave better, to save money, to spend more time with family, friends, and our horses. This year, I challenge you to make a resolution that will actually mean something to you, something you know why it should be done, and something that you will actually follow-through on.

Last year, my resolution was to become healthy again and I am well on the way! So this year, it is to get to my weight loss goal and complete my level Parelli 3 studies!

For those of you new to the blog, I decided to post my long story about my health, my horsemanship, and why I decided to do something. The big two whys are because it was necessary if I wanted to live and the second was if I wanted to live and enjoy my horses in such a way that I felt proud of my accomplishments and not guilty that I could be hurting or annoying them because I was too heavy (a constant thing that weighed heavily on my mind). My horsemanship goals are to get through all of the Parelli levels and someday, if I can find the funds, to become a Parelli Professional (in addition to my career as an Academic Director of Libraries--not giving up my career, no way).

I was never heavy, not as a kid, as a teen, or even in my early twenties. I was the intelligent, blond-haired, blue-eyed, girl with a 4.0 gpa, horses, her own car, boyfriends, etc. But, college, marriage, working, and eating on the run, living more sedentary than ever before, not realizing that I had to work at staying active, I just kept packing on the pounds but, was in total denial (and at the time, didn't realize it). It took several years to happen but, about 10 or 11 years ago, a colleague asked me to go to Weight Watchers (and wanted to pay my way) and I found myself insulted and then horrified that "my secret" was out, that my clothes were not hiding anything (crazy, I know). So, I did go to WW with her (and was thankful) and needed to lose at least 100 pounds to get to 150lbs (in my weight range at the higher end--I'm 5'6"--I was devastated but, motivated to do it--and at a loss for why I ever let it happen in the first place--the guilt haunts me to this day--when did I get fat--why did I let it happen?

So, I lost 50 pounds, looked good but plateaued at around 200 lbs and became frustrated and was not sure hot to handle it. I went to a work conference out of town and out to dinner with colleagues to a place where healthy anything was not on the menu. I ate, enjoyed, and started sliding off track ever since. My colleague stopped attending WW, then I did...long story short, fast forward to early 2009 and I was well over 250 reaching an all time high of 262.6lbs (ouch, that still hurts to admit but is important to acknowledge--the truth will set you free).

In 2009, I had two incidences that I attributed to major food poisoning but, they ended up being very serious gall bladder attacks (when they happened, I thought I was going to die, I could not breath and the later of the two, I thought I was having a heart attack--yet I never called 911--didn't want to bother anyone you know, lol). It took my husband's insistence to get me to the doctor's for a check-up (he saved my life). I'd find out later, these were indeed life threatening attacks due to a huge, 3.3cm stone rolling about inside me. In any event, that May, I had to have surgery to remove the stone and gall bladder. Prior to it, I was eating nothing but animal crackers out of fear of another attack that my doctor said, could kill me. (I did lose about 20 pounds through this.) I bargained, I was in denial, I felt guilt, and I was scared, no, terrified (thank goodness I have Rick in my life). At the hospital, I sobbed and was frightened to death, I wanted to run, flee, hide, anything...and when I went under anesthesia, I thought they (the health care professionals) were trying to kill me--I've never felt fear like this.

As I was waiting for the operation date to arrive, it occurred to me that I'd been showing symptoms for years but just attributed them to over indulgence, rich foods, and the like--and thought it was all normal. After the operation, I was unable to ride my horses or do much for months as I had to heal. I was devastated. Not only was I fat, my abdomen sagged from the operation and looked worse than ever. I missed my horse time, I wanted to play and ride! I also had to watch everything I ate to the extreme (post surgery), as just about anything, especially with a drop of fat, would set me off and make me very, very ill. Eating healthy was not difficult because not doing it made me want to die but again, it was scary. Everytime I put something in my mouth I worried about what would happen.

Fast forward to the fall holiday season 2009, and my family visiting. I fell back into many old habits, eating all kinds of junk, and was sick every day they were visiting (they didn't know-I suffered in silence) and gained the twenty pounds back quickly. Once they left and the holiday binges (typical of my family) were over, I told Rick (my husband) that I could not do it any more, that living as a glutton was not working for me, that I hated my appearance, hated feeling sick, and hated feeling embarrassed around horse people because of my physique and that I was going to seek out a Weight Watchers group (or do online) because I knew that my health and well being depended on it. (I also knew that restricting refind sugars, wheat, processed foods, and other triggers would be important.) I knew that I needed to take care of myself not only to live a long life but, if I wanted to enjoy the horses. Here I was, wonderful marriage, beautiful property, building a horse play ground and little farm, awesome career, and I could not enjoy them like I had in my younger years, not really, I had this looming fear of failure becuase of my health and it had to stop. The months of not being able to do much with the horses, and looking at photos of me with them, made me feel horrible. I used to be the girl who'd fling her leg over any horse and ride like the wind, mane in hand (tack, what tack), the photos showed something quite different and quite sad, I was lost in my own body and mind.

So, on January 9th, 2010, I joined Weight Watchers and by March 2010, joined the gym and started exercising regularly again. By May, I learned how to run (jog) on a treadmill and on the road, with my Great Dane, Morgan, I started doing my exercise videos and buying more to keep things interesting, and in September, learned about Zumba and became obsessed with it! And the rest, is history...one where my mind is clear and focused, where I am learning to love myself again, and one where I am feeling healthy again.

The photo above is the new me. A new look for a transforming girl!

I am still attending Weight Watchers and plan on doing so, for life, even when I am at my goal. I exercise about a million different ways, and love it. I eat healthy, cook all kinds of delicious, nutritious foods (with mostly homegrown ingredients), and am feeling like my old self again--perhaps even better really because I am becoming thin again but, a healthy, athletic person, not just a thin shell (there is a huge difference). I am strong and feel alive again! I've lost 67.4lbs to date and would like to lose a great deal more to get down to 130lbs (which is in my healthy weight range at the lower end - healthy range is 124-155lbs). I am in the 100's again, weighing in at 195.2lbs as of Saturday, December 18th, 2010.

My next Weight Watchers meeting isn't until January 8th, 2011. So, as you can imagine, getting through the holidays will take focus and planning, and so far, I am doing well. I am an online WW member do I can keep in touch with the materials that way as well. I also attended the last Thursday night meeting on December 23rd to get an extra boost of motivation and support. Although only a handful of people came, we all felt good for doing so.

In any event, if I can do it, anyone can. It is all about taking the time it takes to focus on "YOU" for a change, understanding that a healthy you means a great deal for those around you, including your horses, and that you are worth it.

A few key tips I think that have helped me thus far, besides knowing it was important to do is: menu planning, exercise every day, journaling everything (food, feelings, plans), support, eating whole-foods and steering clear of processed junk, keeping it fun & creative, and realistic goal setting, and remembering how you got heavy and why you want to be thin and healthy again (think horses--one of the best motivators). I am sure there is more but, at the moment, this is what I am thinking.

Best wishes to a healthier you in the new year my friends! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help! email: arabhorselover1@yahoo.com


Michele said...

Beautifully well written testimony of your journey, Michelle. I am so pleased to be along on this wonderful ride with you. It's been fun to see your transformation. I am excited to what the future holds for you. Only good things!

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Thank you, Michele, it is great to have you here. Hey--just updated my profile pic with the new me, check it out! I just love it. :)

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration! And we have so much in common, it's almost eerie. LOL

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Thanks, Regina. Too bad we are not closer--I think we'd have a blast!

Parelli Central said...

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. You are such an inspiration....
I wish you and your family - two and four-legged - a Happy New Year!

Petra Christensen
Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
Parelli Central

Michelle AKA arabhorselover1 said...

Thanks, Petra! May you and yours have safe holiday and Happy New Year!

strivingforsavvy said...

Very inspiring! Thank you for sharing.