I never thought I’d be liberated from the cellulite prison I was bound to for more than three decades, but here I am down 120+ lbs. living the life I dreamed of every time I started a diet.

Shedding the weight has freed me from belt extenders on airplanes, hideous plus-sized fashion, and judgmental glances at all-you-can eat buffets. I don’t need to use my inhaler after going up a flight of stairs any more, and the thought of going through a turnstile no longer brings on an anxiety attack – can I get an Hallelujah from the choir?!

I walk, and sit, and sleep, and twist, and run, and jump, and Cha Cha with ease. I look forward to exercising – I never thought I would say that! Boxing? Bring it! Weights? Spot me! Jogging? Love it! Heck, I run now even if someone doesn’t shout, “SHOE SALE!” I even get my Namaste on and downward dog with all the bendy girls!

You would think that I’m finally happy in my own skin, right? I would be if it wasn’t loose and saggy. I didn’t realize how much damage I’d done to myself until I deflated. The fat may have melted, but the loose skin, remnants of my former self, will never let me forget my self-abuse.  With clothes on, I can get away with looking “normal”- garments act like sausage casing keeping me together. However, in my birthday suit, I look like Dali’s melting clocks all wobbly and oozy, or like the dough that spilled over the sides of the bowl when I added too much yeast.  Embarrassing!


Perky has left the building and droopy now takes centre stage. There’s so much flipping and flopping, wiggling and giggling, I get motion sick taking a shower. I wear goggles when I take my bra off at night – the girls hit the floor and ricochet from floor to ceiling. Still can’t envision what I’m talking about? Picture Slimer from Ghostbusters, or Jabba Da Hutt from Star Wars – THAT’S what under my Size 8 Calvin Klein’s.

Sorry to be blubbering about my blubber, but it is sucking the joy out of my transformation.  Now that I’m nearing the end of my search for my after photo, I’ll be setting off on a new quest in search of a plastic surgeon!

To find out how much weight I lost last month, click here.

When Scales Fly

When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, mood rings were all the rage. I wanted one so bad, but my parents couldn’t afford frivolous spends, so I bummed a read from friends that had one. If you’re not familiar with mood rings, they would change colour based on… you guessed it, your mood.

I’m not sure how accurate they are, but as a kid, they were the gospel truth. I remember working myself up into a tizzy to see if I could get it to turn black, or think about my crush to see if it would turn violet. How dumb… the only thing more colourful than a mood ring, was me!

Other tools we relied on to predict what kind of day we’d have were: Magic 8 balls, horoscopes, and the long dead biorhythm in the Toronto Sun. Thankfully, I don’t depend on those hokey devices anymore, but there still is one mystical gadget I faithfully turn to, that will not only predict what kind of day I’ll have, it will set my mood as well: my bathroom scale.

If it registers a number lower than I expected – I’ll have an awesome day! If it’s the same as the last time I stepped on – I’ll have a lackluster day. But if it’s higher… look out ‘cuz I’ll be in a foul mood! I realize many variables affect the read-out, like retaining water, or building muscle, but there is nothing more frustrating than not seeing results for your efforts.

I remember years back when I was married and the kids were little, I was on one of my countless diets. I deprived myself of anything delicious for months on end and I exercised daily. Every morning, after going to the washroom, and before having breakfast, I stepped on the scale. This was my daily ritual. At first I saw results, but over time, the losses were minuscule. Eventually, the darn needle on the scale played possum. No up. No down. No nothing. I figured I was on a plateau, so I went hard core for a few weeks – I took in less than 1,000 calories a day, revved up my workouts, AND I put the scale away. I felt that a watched pot never boils, so I vowed not to step on the scale for at least 2 weeks.

It felt like Christmas morning when I got back on again… the anticipation was palpable. I stuck to the plan 110% and since I hadn’t been naughty, I expected to be rewarded with a well-deserved surprise. I sure got one when I stepped on Carnac the Malevolent! That diabolic scale of injustice didn’t budge. I was soooooo mad, I literally picked up the scale and threw it out my bedroom window! I honestly and truly flung it out my second-story window like a discus thrower. I watched it propel through the air until gravity took hold and it shattered on my driveway below, spilling its lying guts about for all to see.

 Flying scale - c

I calmly walked downstairs and into the kitchen, where I buried my face in a plate full of Eggo waffles slathered with Nutella, marshmallows, and maple syrup. When I finished my glorious stupefied binge, I picked up the broom and dustpan, and walked outside my front door in my slippers and PJs, happily greeting my perplexed neighbours, as I swept up the disembowelled device from the driveway. Coils, springs, and numbers, oh my! It felt awesome!   Our home remained scaleless for many years after that.

I may have overreacted, but I felt like I studied for the exam and still got an ‘F’. It’s one thing not to see progress if you don’t do the work, but quite another when you do EVERYTHING “right” and don’t get the results you think you deserve. I guess by pitching my scale, I was contesting my mark.

Fitness experts keep telling me that I shouldn’t rely solely on the scale to measure my progress. Frankly, I don’t care how loose my clothes feel, or how much energy I have, I want to see the number on the scale say, “Hey chickie, you’re in the normal range now.”

I still can’t break the habit of stepping on the scale regularly… okay, okay – daily. The sum is not a prediction – it’s fact. I’m fixated on the numerical output that quantifies my resolve. It’s like when I got into size 14 pants on my last quasi-successful diet. I know that’s still huge for a lot of people, but after sporting a 22 for eons, I wanted to wear the pants inside-out so everyone could read the label.

Who knows what I’ll do when I reach my goal weight? One thing’s for sure, I won’t be pitching that scale out the window! Perhaps I’ll have it bronzed and display it alongside my collection of mood rings.


To view my Week 15 food journal, go to the 12 in 12 tab at the top of the page and select 4. March 2015 from the dropdown menu.

A Mathematician, a Muppet, and a Curvy Girl walk into a store…

Weighing portions. Taking measurements. Tallying Points. Calculating gains and losses. All this math got me thinking about one thing. Flirting. Yes, you heard me right… flirting.

I don’t date much as a 50 year-old, single, curvy gal, and by ‘much’ I mean, never. After breaking up with my boyfriend 4 years ago, it took me a while to get back up on the proverbial stallion. I tried online dating for precisely one month and I met four interesting men. I didn’t hide my size, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked out. The Harlequin romance part of me was hoping to be swept away by a shirtless Fabio, but the plus-sized part wondered, what’s wrong with these guys?

Each date was over coffee at the local Starbucks, and before I finished my skinny-vanilla-latte with lactose-free milk, I was ready to pull my eyelashes out one by one. One guy was ready to pick out china patterns before I got halfway through my overly priced cup-a-joe and it freaked me out, so I closed my account that night, and made a list of pros and cons of being single:

Pros and Cons of being Single

About a year after my online dating fiasco, I needed to earn extra money for a family trip, so I took on a part-time job at Urban Barn, a contemporary furniture and home décor store, in addition to holding down my 9-5 at the office. I had a lot of fun working at the store – it allowed me to be creative and meet a lot of nice people. This was during my last hard-core effort at weight-loss and I was hovering around 180 lbs., so I was starting to feel better about myself physically – I stopped wearing the plus-sized gal’s uniform: black head-to-toe, and dared to wear a splash of colour… only from the waist up. Hey, it’s a start.


I worked with a bunch of 20-somethings who were encouraging me to start dating again. Maxi dubbed it the “Get-Mare-A-Man-Plan.” They taught me the things to look for when a man walked in the store alone: (1) check for a wedding ring, (2) determine if he’s gay… most of our male customers were – they know fabulous décor when they see it!, and (3) ask subtle questions about the space he’s buying the furniture for to determine if he lives alone or not. Funny, my criteria had always been, (1) does he have a pulse. End of list.

During a busy Saturday shift just days before Christmas, I was on the floor schmoozing with a customer when Maxi came up and nudged me, “Silver fox at 3 o’clock”. I turned to 3… “Your other 3,” Maxi chimed as she turned me by the shoulders and pointed me in the direction of our accessory wall. I spotted a Clooney-esque gent wandering around the store looking a bit confused. Often husbands are dragged into the store by their wives and they’re left to roam, looking out of place.

“Remember what we told you,” Maxi whispered in my ear and launched me in his direction.

Ring. Gay. Size. Errr – size of living space. I rehearsed as I approached him. I’m sure glad I wore my leopard print top today – roar! I greeted him and asked if he needed any help. He said he was looking for Christmas gifts. I glanced down at his ring finger – nothing – good start, but sometimes men don’t wear them even though they’re married. So I deviated from the script a bit. I was about as subtle and stealthy as an ox in… well… a contemporary furniture and home décor store. “For your wife?” I asked.

“No. I’m not married,” he replied as he picked up one of our Dijon plaid throws.


“No. My parents,” he continued as he picked up our plush wine blanket.

Now to check to see if he was gay.

“Do these go together?” he asked.

Ding-ding-ding-ding! No gay man would pick out that hideous combination!

I’ll spare you my salesperson shtick and take you to the cash where I convinced him to buy a decorative bowl the size of a microwave. Maxi and the other girls were circling around speaking volumes with their glares. My manager was on cash ringing him through as I helped wrap the gift. He asked if we could box it up, but all we had appeared to be too small. He took a box and in a David Copperfield move managed to get the ginormous bowl in. I was impressed.

“You must be an engineer.” I said.

“Mathematician,” he replied.

My boss grinned and kicked me behind the counter. The girls on the floor circled in a bit closer to hear me ‘close the deal’. All of a sudden I started to feel self-conscious and when that happens, I do one of three things: (1) clam up completely, (2) start to babble senselessly, or (3) try to be funny. Guess what I went with?

Now, in all fairness, I can be really funny, but sometimes the jokes bomb… allow me to give you a play-by-play of one of my most humiliating flops:

As my boss rang up colour-blind Clooney, I carefully wrapped the mammoth helmet, and as I started putting the tissue in, I wanted to make a math joke. Instead of channelling someone like Newton, I tuned into someone more at my level… Count von Count from Sesame Street.

With each tissue I put in, I said: “One, ah-ah-ah! Two, ah-ah-ah! Three, ah-ah-ah!” He stared at me like I sprouted a nipple on my forehead. My boss stopped ringing in the purchase and stared at it too.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

“It’s… the… Count,” I stammered, my eyes darting back and forth between them.

They continued to stare at my forehead nipple.

“Ahhh… forget it. It was a joke.”

“I don’t get it,” he said dryly.

“The Count… from Sesame Street.” I tried to dig myself out of my 180 lb hole.

I must have sprouted another nipple because he stared more intently.

“I was trying to make a math joke.” I explained.

The word ‘math’ broke his gaze and he started grinning. “I’ll tell you a math joke,” he exclaimed. “Descartes is on a plane.” He stops and looks me in the eyes this time. “You know who Descartes is, don’t you?” he asked.

Yikes! Time to redeem myself, “Ahhhhh… yeah – Old. Dead. French guy?” I replied, more of a question than an answer. Shut up, Mare! Stop talking!

“Mathematician…. I think, therefore I am,” he stated.

Now I was staring at his forehead nipple.

He started to get animated. Geesh, this guy gets turned on by numbers – I should have given him my weight in kilos and pounds – that might have closed the deal.

“So, Descartes is on a plane. The stewardess asks, ‘Do you want a drink?’ Descartes says, ‘I think not’, and poof, he vanished!”

Smarty-pants starts cracking up – I mean he loses it. Now I  wanted to vanish.

“Get it, I think not – and he vanishes!” he continued laughing.

My response?

“Four, ah-ah-ah,” as I added the last tissue in the box.

And that ladies and gentlemen was this curvy-girl’s last attempt at flirting.

Count von Count