Posts by lauraallen

losing AND winning

Posted by on Aug 27, 2012 in Celebration, Community, Connections, Conscious eating, Food and Drink, Intention, Weight Watchers, Wholehearted | 1 comment

When I began my weight loss journey I never envisioned myself as a Weight Watchers employee. I was focused on me and it never occurred to me that my leaders and receptionist had once walked in my shoes. I began as a substitute receptionist at the end of 2009 and I was thrilled to be able to give back to others ready to step boldly into health and fitness. Working on a team was good for me; adapting to working for a coorporation was challenging after being an entrprenuer for more than the past decade. The passionate people I work with and the members I support made the difference and created a smooth transition and a worthwhile endeavor for me. Last year I began as a part time receptionist and was responsible for several meetings each week. Our members say I inspire them but truly they keep me accountable and on track and motivate me to excel at staying on plan and active. Working for Weight Watchers is more than a job—its a calling. A call to action I am proud to step up for.   Weigh in pods   This month we closed two meeting room locations in our town and opened a brand new full time Weight Watchers Store—we will be open seven days a week. The store model is gorgeous—filled with bright colors and innovative modern-style private weigh in pods. The corporate team elicited and implemented feedback on design and services from members and staff to make these new facilities meet our present needs fabulously with room to grow into future possibilities. Our staff member's synergy and hard work during the move and set up have been contagious not only for current members but potential or returning members. The buzz is true: we're not your grandma's Weight Watchers! We're innovative,resourceful, educated, and stand behind our slogan: Believe. Because it works. My part-time postion now includes an honored role in the events coordianting team and we're kicking off our first event in only two weeks! The national Lose For Good® campaign runs from September 2 through October 12 as you lose weight you can help Weight Watchers donate up to one million dollars to Share Our Strength® and Action Against Hunger. Nationwide Weight Watchers Stores will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, September 15th, noon-2pm to receive donations of non-perishable food items to help fight hunger—our Ocala store donations will support Interfaith Emergency Services.  If you're local I invite you to stop in and see our amazing store! We'll have prizes, a special offer, and free refreshments. Bring a friend and a few cans or boxes from your pantry and meet our awesome staff—which I am privleged to belong to. Look for a Weight Watchers Store near you and make a difference on September 15th by joining in the possibilities which are win-win for us all when we Lose for Good!...

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on the shelf

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in Family, Learning, Wholehearted, Writing | 0 comments

The prompt for this poem was to show sadness… A patina of dustdulls the lace of my shawland fringe of my mob-cap.My bare feet poke outfrom faded yellowhand sewn cotton.Where are my shoes!Doesn’t she think howcoldmy feet must be?No—she doesn’t. I stare and see herpass by myline of sight.Let’s play, I cry.Her grown up earsno longer registerthe pitch of my voice.She walks by.Tears wellin mymoss green eyes.I long to blinkand let themtrail a streak ofgrime down myporcelain cheeks.Would she noticethen?Perhaps pick meup inonce miniaturemother practicinghands?Wipe my faceand smile downat mewith those samemoss green eyes?Cradle me on hershoulderand pat the dustfrom my dress? Months after her birth her mother saw my head—only that, in a display window. She told us she froze in place— the face on the head, (my head!) was the spitting image of her baby girl’s. Her mother said she waved her baby’s photo wildly —the clerk gasped. The cost was steep and so she chose a plaster body that would fit. My head. I was whole wrapped naked in a box. I was a giftshe longed to earn.I yearned for hertouch and watchedher grow fromafaron a similar shelf.When pudgy armsand legsshot into skinnycoltish limbsthe day came thatI was birthed,wrapped in swaddlingand laid in the armsof my newly bornMother.She christened meTammybut pretended I wasBaby Jesus.My lacy bonnetdoes not hideclose cropped hairfrom a scissorexperiment  gone awry.My bald china pate sportsa spiderwebof cracks frommany breaks.Fallswe took together.Elmer’s was awell used tooland Ibear the scarsof being loved. Years I waited.Watching from on high.And was rewardedwithnew dresses andhats and slippers.Tea parties,carriage rides, thentwirlingto loud music.Secrets. Stories.Shy smiles.Even lies andtears.And some daysyellinginterspersed withcurses.Peace prevailedbut our time togetherdwindled. Until now.I sit.Barefooted.Measuring thedustwith unblinking eyes.Achingly anticipatingthe moment her handswill lift me downlike a broken birdand swipe a softrag over my body.Erasing my pain.Her humming will falter,her voice willcrack likemy head—Oh baby, look atyou.Let’s clean you up!I’ve endured the ache ofbeingforgottenfor this moment.In her handsI...

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starting…again

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Conscious eating, Family, Food and Drink, Learning, Moving your body, Wholehearted | 1 comment

A week before my forty-eighth birthday I removed my rose colored glasses and looked myself in the eye. My upbeat and positive attitudes are a natural extension of the way I see the world and choose to live my life. Most of the time. I met my reflection in the mirror with a sigh. My journey to self-love would not have been possible without a conscious effort to release negative habits of self-sabotage or beating up on myself. Yet, as I squinted at myself in the glare of the overhead bathroom light I admitted that some of those old habits had slipped back into my life. Sigh. Once an emotional overeater always an emotional overeater. Releasing pounds and incorporating exercise didn’t magically erase that tendency in me. There’s no cure only free will. It’s a choice I make every day. Every meal. Every hour. Every minute.  And as my commitment to myself slipped so did my decisions. They were apparent in the scale and my lethargy and apathy—I was going through the motions of fitness. That’s all. I’ve been a CrossFit athlete for a year as of April and I gave myself permission to eat more and move less because I had worked so hard and I deserved a break and my muscles were so sore I could hardly squat to sit on the couch without being a drama queen—ooooowwww! And forget getting up and using my quads or glutes until I was direly close to peeing my pants! I never combined my CrossFit workouts with healthy eating and balanced activity the rest of the week. I did the workouts. I did not quit. I am stronger. I did not gain twenty pounds because I was doing CrossFit three times a week. I did gain ten, and no they are not muscles. I’d have to grow Mr. Universe type muscles to account for a weight gain from muscle mass! A pound of muscle and a pound of fat weigh the same but muscles take up less space, a lot less space under your skin. This is why muscles make your body look toned and firm instead of jiggly. I'm stronger but I'm still jiggly! The decision I made staring at my hopeful face was that I was done with being stuck; stuck in the cycle of feeling negative and eating to feel better and feeling worse and eating some more to feel better. It. Doesn’t. Work. I was done with being stuck and choosing to move forward. Again. Yes, again. And instead of seeing the negative aspects of starting again I chose to celebrate any step forward I was willing to make to get out of the quagmire. Serendipitously the timing of my self-talk coincided with the release a week later of ActiveLink from Weight Watchers. I don’t depend entirely on external motivators to nudge or lead me back on course because internal data is more vital to me: how I feel, my happiness quota, an increased energy level, craving protein instead of carbs! But I was excited by the challenge this tool represented and intrigued to see if it tracked as lauded. (We’ve been employee guinea pigs, reporting our experiences before it becomes available to our members.) After an eight day assessment Active Link labeled me an ‘occasional athlete’ and encouraged me to move more consistently throughout my day. I don’t earn activity points only for ‘workouts’ but for all my activity combined all day by using a technology similar to that used in a Wii controller to track movement. Cool, eh? The ActiveLink graphs show my activity...

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one word…three perspectives

Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in Creativity, Inspiration, Wholehearted, Writing | 0 comments

If you've been following my writing prompts I've written from the perspective of a bird, a cloud, and a snake. Then I wrote about my neighborhood—a lesson in seeing. This next prompt encorporated all my pieces and seemed daunting at first. We were to choose one word from our neighborhood piece and write from 3 perspectives: bird, cloud, snake. The word I chose was 'dandelions' and the form of a poem surprised me but it literally wrote itself: Nature Returns The weeds are tightly condensedlike a New York City block.Overhead the Ravenwatches intently, wings stretchedbut still.She circles like a kitesans string.People with theirdogs and machinesare long goneshe notes.The once verdant lawn lies abandoned.Nature returns.The dandelions swaynext to a few of their more colorfulcousinswho flit and flirtwith the breeze.The Raven aloft hasno interestin flowers.Her gaze seeks other. The cloud passingbyrecalls the once lush lawnshe happily shared herbounty with.Where once was new-shoot-greennow only burnt brownand grass turned to straw.The dandelions swayand smile in her shadow.She floats onseeking a hope seeded plotto receive her precious gifts. The serpent cannot navigatethe weed junglestealthily.The withered grass and weed trunkscrackle and whisperunder long belly.Mice feet freeze while the tiniestheart accelerates—Mice feet DASH.Serpent strikes,weeds settle.Nature returns. The dandelions swayas she passes.Only the Raven notes her...

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resisting my neighborhood

Posted by on Jul 6, 2012 in Challenges, Inspiration, Wholehearted, Writing | 0 comments

I was pleased with the bird, cloud, snake prompts even though at first glance I didn't see how I could write them. Writing them expanded me as much as my view. The next writing prompt was to walk our neighborhood (a quarter mile radius) and capture what we see. I resisted for weeks. Eventually I got over it by writing about my resistance: My quarter mile circle expands way beyond our neighborhood. I am glad. I do not wish to lace my sneakers and walk the aged asphalt roads littered with dark patched potholes like a carcinoma on freckled skin. I resist seeing the for sale signs on rickety posts with their hand lettered pleas swaying in the breeze. I ignore the encroaching weedy lawns with dandelions dancing carelessly in a once tended yard.  Either indifference spreads faster than weeds or the hardworking Joes and Janes have despaired of ever having the time to dream of freshly mown grass, children running through a lawn sprinkler, or backyard barbeques.   Mostly the windows yawn empty in tired walls under tin roofs browning with rust. Lost hope is a wildfire whose flames cannot be contained but must be doused before they ignite the very heart of our community. My neighborhood houses a melting pot of souls from college students to retirees on a limited income. We each eke out a home next to each other and offer a good morning when we wheel our cumbersome lookalike trash containers to the curb. We nod or wave at the postal center under its little A-frame roof—rows of four inch square metal doors concealing the next piece of paper that may be a family’s salvation or surrender. I do not want to see my neighbor’s worn faces in the early evening dusk or the smiles that do not reach their dull eyes as they suck deeply on a cigarette and sip from a brown beer bottle gripped in tired fingers aged well before their time. The city has encroached on our once hidden community and location is key for those who call my neighborhood home. They may need to bike to work or walk to the corner bus stop but most drive ailing cars which they back out of their driveway in a haze of gray exhaust gunning the barely idling engine and praying it will keep running on fumes one more day. My neighbors may bring you your meal on an oversized china plate and pass you a cloth napkin and inquire if you’d care for more wine. At home they use paper towels and share french-fries with their kids out a greasy white paper bag. My neighbors probably bag your groceries in colorful cloth bags and offer to push your cart to your car even though you are perfectly capable of completing this task yourself. My neighbors sweat in a factory  breathing in chemical solvents so that their neighbors have clean uniforms with a pristine name tag on the breast pocket ready to wear when they change your oil or jack your car up to remove a flat tire. Yet, look. There’s the cashier from Walmart  sudsing a late model car with soapy water in a blue plastic bucket, her older daughter, barely school age, sprays water from a bright green Kmart hose, her younger sister runs through the arc in a tiny pink bikini. Mini droplets of miracles rain down along with the peals of their laughter. And there—I spy a newly planted flower bed, filled with lilies and mums wearing hope in multi colored petals. Listen. I hear a lawnmower roar...

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