Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Wait?? What?? You're gonna POST your weight number...like the scale...with your feet (that desperately need a pedicure but that's another story).  Yup...out of the comfort zone....WAY OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE.

It's no secret that I have struggled for the last two years with my weight. Since the death of my Mom and injuries from training for triathlon plus the fact that I am now 54 (and I told you my age...but then again...they write that on the back of my leg all the time in a race)...weight loss is suppose to be impossible...

That's Bull....

I am not going to tell you it's easy.  There is no magic pill..magic drink...magic anything that is going to make you weight less.  It is pretty simple.  Good solid healthy food + Good solid healthy exercise = weight loss.  It's painfully slow...painfully frustrating at times...but it happens...if you can be patient.


But this new journey has forced me to be and I am learning so much about me that I didn't know before.  Three weeks ago, I was truly inspired by one of my athletes that left it ALL on the course in her first complete Half Ironman.  No, she didn't stand on a podium but she did what she said she would do...and to say I was excited for her is the understatement of the century.  She inspired so many on race day...and in her journey to that day.

God gives you people in your life that can TEACH you about your own issues and I would be a false coach to say that I do not have my own demons.  Food has been used in my life to comfort at times of sadness and to celebrate joy.  Food has always been there for times when I was lonely or angry.  It can be a constant companion.  When food takes over...it diminishes the REAL you and you hide away..you disappear....the real you becomes nothing.

For two years...I have been that nothingness.  I have tried and failed at training and nutrition.  The one thing that did bring ME back was helping others achieve their goals of racing triathlon.  It brought new life to my saddened soul.  It was God's intention...and now I stand as a changed person...maybe not totally BETTER...but stronger...coming out of the darkness of sadness and depression and seeing the light of the real ME again.

So that scale shot is a 9 pound weight loss.  No big deal for some but the real story is that it represent consistency, healthy boundaries and food used as nutrition instead of food used for abuse.

I have big dreams...big goals that I thought may have died...but they are still there...they are real...they are who I am...and I am determined to get there....with some sweat, some determination and some love of self.

I use to say Ill keep you posted...but when you hide from the world...the last thing you do is write in your blog...

Im not hiding anymore....and I WILL keep you posted.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Getting the "BAND" back together

Last year, I decided to try a new blog called "The IronAthena Chronicles" to focus more on my triathlon and less on my weight loss.  What I found was that the blog really didn't "fit me".  Ever have that beautiful dress that you couldn't resist at the store...bring it home...wear it once and just not feel comfortable?  That was what that blog "felt" like to me. So her I am...back in my "blog dress" that feels good for just about any occasion!!  If you are going to follow my journey...you will find my words here!!! The "Band" blog is back!!!

What will you find here?  Honest commentary on all that is health, wellness, exercise, triathlon and...well.... me.  Watch for new updates as things are changing in my world (Not HUGE changes...I'm keeping the Captain and the dog) but changes that need to occur to continue my journey...

More soon....ONWARD.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Dear Mom...part two

...The hardest part wasn't losing you...
It is learning to live without you...

Dear Mom...

Closure is what everyone told me I probably needed to move forward from you death.  It has been 154 days since you left this earth and this last weekend, we said our final goodbye.  

You had told all of us that you wanted your ashes spread into the waters off the Abaco Islands and on what would have been your 62nd wedding anniversary, we said goodbye and committed your ashes to the sea.  I had to laugh as they opened the bottle to let the ashes go...and the ashes would not exit the glass container.  I told everyone that, even in death, you never liked getting your hair wet.  

I spent the weekend with many of your friends, my brothers, my father, my husband and my sisters in law.  If I told you it didn't have its moments of pain, I would be lying, but all in all it was full of the fun that I remember growing up in the Bahamas part time.

When the weekend was over and our plane was leaving Abaco, I looked back and I cried because I felt like I was somehow leaving you behind.  It was a very emotional moment for me...it was very final for me...and I believe it was the closure that I have been searching for.  You are at peace.  You are in a beautiful place.  My memories of you on the boat, on the dock, cooking conch fritters and loving our family are permanently etched in my mind and in my heart.  It was so what I needed.

This doesn't mean Im going to forget you...but it does mean I will move forward from this day to now focus on taking care of me.  I have lost that focus and my body and life has taken a toll for it.  I have put on 12 pounds since you were hospitalized and my body screams for health.  I promised myself that today is the day that I begin to put myself back into shape...into racing...into health...and into happiness.

I am pretty sure that you would still not want me racing Ironman...but I am also very sure you would want me to be happy in my life as I move forward.  Being an Ironman has been my dream for many years now and being at a healthy weight is also my goal.  I plan on moving forward on both those things today.

I love you Mom...be my guardian angel...be by my side as I race my next half marathon, train on my bike and work as a Divemaster at Disney.  I know you will...and I know you will keep an eye out for all of us

And .. by the way... the conch fritters were really good this weekend...but not as good as yours..

I love you


Friday, October 30, 2015

Dear Mom...

Dear Mom...

It's been 46 days since you left this world to be with our heavenly father.  I knew this day would come.  I knew I would have to deal with grief of losing you but it happened so fast..and so not the way I thought it would.  We always thought Dad would go first...and with the length of your mother's life and her siblings...I often thought you would outlive me..

It was not to be.

I have watched others deal with the grief of losing someone they loved and I always thought others handled it with such grace.  I don't feel graceful now.  I feel like I am stumbling through life.  I feel like I can't focus on things for long...I don't sleep and everything reminds me of you.  I walk into the house you shared with my father for decades and I feel like you will appear around the next corner.  I am having a hard time accepting that you are not here.  How could you be gone?  You were just here...shopping with me in NC and planning a trip to New Orleans.  How could you be an angel now? We were just talking about how it would be great to attend the first wedding of one of your grandchildren.  How can this be ??

And as we as a family go through the house and gather up your things, everything I touch has a memory.  I try to decide what to keep that will help me not lose the memory of you...but its so hard to choose.  I play the moment you left this world over and over in my head and it hurts so much i forget to breath.  Someone told me that losing your mother feels like you are having a heart attack all the time..and that is so very true.  My heart aches. My heart hurts.  My head can not believe you are gone.

We had our moments of utter frustration.  You hated that I loved being a triathlete but you tried so hard to be proud of me.  Your little girl wasn't always into makeup and polished nails...but into getting sweaty, dirty and tired over miles and miles of pavement and water.  This was a life you didn't understand but when I would return from a race, you listened to the details with great attention and loved me regardless.  You would hug me goodbye, give me little notes and we would go shopping because that is what we both enjoyed.

I always wanted to take you to a nice lunch in the mall but every time we went shopping, you wanted Honey Chicken from the little Chinese place in the food court.  Ugh...gross take out Chinese food but you loved it.  So we would share a plate and talk about shoes and clothes and scarves and life.  There were moments I was so frustrated by this..but I would give anything to do that one more time with you...just one more time.

How do I do this Mom? How do I honor your memory? How do I take care of Dad as you did? I am lost...but know that I will do the best I can to be the best citizen of the world because you raised me right.  If only I could have the heart and sweet soul you did.  You were amazing.

Miss you...no...I miss you more...And I love you...so very much.

Your loving daughter...Your daughter who survived when the others did not..


Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Emotional Roller Coaster ..

Caregiving is a series of small acts of care 
that alter the course of someone's life…

Im very blessed that at almost 52 years of age, I still have 3 of my 4 parents…my mother, my father and my mother in law.  Last October, we said goodbye to my husband's father Robert…and it was one of the toughest things I thought I would ever have to do.

But what is tougher is being helpless in the care of elderly parents.  We all know that the aging process brings slowness of the body, weakness of the mind for some and eventually the end of our days but what sometimes we are not told is how difficult is it to watch a loved one in pain.  

In the last two weeks, my mother and my mother in law have faced some serious health challenges.  My mother is dealing with heart and breathing issues.  My mother in law in the last 5 days has undergone a full knee replacement.  It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I would have given anything to switch places with either one  of them so that they would not have had to endure the pain, discomfort and the general "fear of the unknown" that both of them have had to go through.  Both of them are tough women…both of them have lots of support from their family and friends.  They are blessed beyond measure and, we believe, in the end, both will be in pretty good shape after the procedures that they face.

But at the end of the day, I have come home an emotional mess.  It has been an interesting journey for me to see how food plays a role in stress relief in my life.  For YEARS, I would use food to calm me down….to remove the stress in my life but in reality, it simply just made it worse.  Increased weight and the effects of weight on my body only made things more difficult as the pounds piled on.

Being in Destination Boot Camp and following the State of Slim Program with Anchutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado has taught me that the better way to deal with stress is with a different mind set.  This has not been an easy transition and these two weeks have proven that I have a long way to go to remove food from the list of stress relievers in my life.  

In these two weeks, I have cried a lot and let my emotions out instead of holding them in.  It is almost embarrassing to me to admit that I cried this much.  In my family, we really never showed emotion in this way.  I was taught to never cry in public…to never let the world see you vulnerable. The only way I could find to deal with the emotion was to eat…stuff it down…and keep it hidden.

Writing this blog is just one way I am learning to deal with the emotion and stress of seeing family in pain and being powerless to change the situation.  I have done what I can..hug them…kiss them .. listened to doctors..made doctor's appointment…do daily chores when needed…and cried…a lot.  I hope I don't sound like too much of a mess in all this but I am slowly finding my way in how to take care of me…and take care of those that mean so much to me.  It is a learning process.  I am sure I will trip and stumble in that process but I will get there..and I will be better for it.  Hopefully they will be better as well.

At the 2 month mark from my week of boot camp in Colorado, I have lost almost 22 pounds.  I can wear a pair of size 12 pants that I wore the night before my Ironman attempt in 2013 so I know I am getting close to that magical weight which is the lowest I have ever been in my time since my gastric bypass. If my scale is correct, I have lost 3.5% of body fat in 2 months (those sensors are always kinda iffy) and in my right thigh alone, I have lost almost 2 inches in 2 months.  I am grateful for all of these things but I am especially grateful for the changes in my emotional health and my mind set towards the world.  The work is not completed…but I am moving in the right direction to be a better daughter, a better daughter in law, a better wife, a better friend, a better athlete and a better citizen of the world.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's not about perfection

Strive for Progress….Not Perfection…

It's a mind set that I have struggled with most of my life.  Things are black….or white.  You either do it RIGHT or not at all.  Perfection is the goal…

But a weight loss goal is NOT about perfection…it's about the journey….and this weekend proved that to me.

I attended the Daly/Maloney/Aaron/Cooley family reunion in Westminster MA. outside Boston over the weekend and it was amazing to see all of Steve's cousins, aunts and uncles.   The irony of the weekend  was that Steve helped plan this reunion but his work schedule kept him from attending.  The magic of technology brought him into the party via FaceTime and Skype…but it was tough to be there without my husband.  All of the family made me feel very welcomed…but it's just not the same when I am not on Steve's arm.

A party such as this calls for celebration and in this Irish family…that means food and drink..and lots of it.  I came to Boston prepared to stay on program with my nutrition…but was overwhelmed by the food choices at the party.  The amazing Cupcakes, New England Clam Chowder (that's "chowdah" for those that need a lesson in the New England accent…like me), French Toast Casserole, snack food and more won the battle that I have been really good at fighting since June 15th and Destination Boot Camp.  I didn't go totally crazy…and I even had an "Indulgence Meal" planned (that is a meal I have once a week that can be literally ANYTHING I WANT)…but even with that…the eating and snack ball was rolling and I found it hard to stop.

The old me would have had a pity party.  I would have told myself that eating off plan was the end of this attempt at losing weight.  If I wasn't PERFECT with my food and nutrition….all hope was lost.

This time…it has been different.

I traveled to North Carolina on Sunday to pick up my car and my dog that my friends had graciously taken care of during my time away and decided that dinner on Sunday was where the "gravy train" stopped.  We ate healthy and got me back on track.  My friend Martha and I talked a lot about my "all or nothing" view of food and weight and nutrition and I learned a lot from this experience.

The irony of all this: I finally lost a good amount of weight when I stepped on the scale this morning and broke though to a total of 19 pounds lost.  I'm not losing weight at a rapid pace…but like in many of my races, I'm not racing the rest of the world…I am racing my best time..my best pace…and my best "me".

This journey has shown me that I have so much to learn about how food affects my life and that the true "progress" of it all is knowing it won't always be perfect.


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Food Serenity...

“From food addiction to food serenity - freedom tastes great!” 
― Vera TarmanFood Junkies: The Truth about Food Addiction

Don't say those two words…what will people think of you?? You're NOT a food addict…there is no such thing.

Oh yeah there is….

Everyone has their thing..whether its the glass of wine you have that turns into a bottle as you cook dinner to the person who has to get those 3 hours a day of workout in…all of us have SOMETHING that maaaayyyybe we take to an extreme. Workahlolic, Alcoholic, Meth head or Nicotine freak…the human animal sometimes finds comfort in the "feeling" of overindulgence….

But when you find that path that works to keep your life in balance…..Wow…it's golden…it's special…and you wanna hang on to it for the ride of your life.  It is the ride that can change your life and change the course that you thought was set in stone.

The "me" that writes this now…and the "me" that got on a plane and headed to Denver looking for answers to the ever pressing question "Will I ever get to my goal weight" are two TOTALLY different people.  Can 30 days really make a difference? I can tell you it can..and it has.

I walked into the Anshultz Health and Wellness Center with a spec of hope and a lot of pessimism.  I was at the end of my rope thinking that this weight was just a product of age and genetics.  I figured I would give ONE more thing a shot to help me get to this goal weight that was set years ago but may not be attainable.  I have even had doctors tell me that I should be happy with the huge weight loss that I have maintained for 16 years…but when you are still considered "obese" by the charts and "morbidly obese" for your height, there has to be a way. There is got to be a way to get healthy.

After 30 days…Im still on program.   If you had told me that I would be able to type that 30 days ago..I would have laughed.  I have never been in this position before EVEN after my gastric bypass..I cheated.  But today…I tell you..I am in a very wonderful place and I pray it continues.

Maybe this is suppose to be my time.  Perhaps I hit the "rock bottom" that we hear about in so many recovery programs.  Maybe…just maybe…I found the answer.

I can tell you that yesterday I ran my 65th Triathlon and did incredibly well but the big "success" of my month was the scale is down 16 pounds…and I am still on track…

God is good.  Life is good.  May I be blessed with many more days of this feeling of "Food Serenity"!