The Next Ten…

August 3, 2013 — Leave a comment

I have about 10 pounds to lose and then I’m officially under the 200 pounds mark and into the 100’s.  Once I’m in the 100’s I’m going to start weighing in once a week.  I look forward to that at this point.  Days like this morning where I put on almost a pound in one day NEVER makes sense to me especially when I’m golden on my eating and exercise.  It always boils down to just three possible causes:  (1) Too much salt, (2) not enough fat, or (3) my body just doing some kind of adjustment.

I cut back on my fat intake yesterday because I wanted to see a bigger loss on the scale this morning.  You think I would have learned that this is NOT the way to drop weight.  I know better, but that crazy idea that fat makes you fat still floats around in my head sometimes.  This is sooooooo not true.

The next time I weigh in will be Monday morning.  I’m going on a mini-vacation to Saratoga.  I’m going with a friend to see Gladys Night at the Mountain Winery which is a gorgeous venue.  If you live and the area, you must go see a concert there!  Until Monday!  Have a great weekend people!

One of the MAJOR criticisms about the Paleo approach is that the lifestyle advocates NOT weighing, measuring, or portioning food. While it’s true, this is an integral Paleo principle, it IS possible to adapt a Paleo approach to food selection and still weigh, measure and portion your food. Paleo is a lifestyle approach, a framework. In fact Robb Wolf, author of the Paleo Solution advocates the examination of Paleo as a “STRUCTURE” within which you need to pick and chose what works for you, not a diet that requires absolute adherence. Naysayers of the Paleo plan will say that it’s impossible to lose body fat while on the Paleo plan because you’re unaware of how much you’re consuming.

If you’re a Paleo, or looking into becoming a Paleo, the following are tips for achieving fat loss while making the switch!!!

1. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN. The old saying goes: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Have a realistic goal and set specific targets for your week to reach that goal, with regards to your nutrition. Part of the beauty of the Paleo approach is that it’s so OPEN–you can virtually have any lean protein source, fresh veggies, and fresh fruit. If you’re out to eat, or get caught in a business meeting or other engagement, it’s SIMPLE to make good, adaptive decisions that will keep you on your plan and not derail your progress. As long as you opt for plain grilled items, veggies prepared plain, salads free of dressings, cheese, condiments, beans and grains, and/or fresh fruit options, you’ll be FINE!! It’s virtually impossible to over-eat while being a Paleo because there are built-in defense mechanisms with the food options available to you. Fresh fruits and veggies are full of filling fiber and protein boasts the highest satiety of any macronutrient–even fat! Think about when you’re at your hungriest…how many tomatoes, baby carrots or chicken breast filets could you eat? Not too many I’m sure…yet given the same measure of hunger how many cookies could you eat? EXACTLY!  Stick to the rules of Paleo as your basic framework and structure a plan within that framework. Have no fear of overeating, it won’t happen!

2. GET MORE SLEEP. Sleep does more than help your body recover from a long day — it actually helps you fight fat. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago reported that sleeping less than 7 to 8 hours can increase your appetite (forcing you to overeat), slow your metabolism (causing you to burn fewer calories) and make the body retain more abdominal fat. Lack of sleep also tends to increase our body’s response to stress, which has a domino effect on cortisol. The more sleep deprived we are, the more stressed we become, the more cortisol we release, AND the more cortisol we release the harder it is for our bodies to handle stress. Elevated cortisol disturbs our sleep, then we go into our day tired, which further elevates stress which further raises cortisol. You see the problem by now; disturbed sleep makes us more prone to stress, which raises cortisol, which suppresses immune function, elevates blood sugar levels, decreases sex drive and decreases insulin sensitivity. Whew, that’s one crazy chain of events! Once sleep gets out of whack, you’re REALLY in trouble. Think about it…for most of us, stresses that would otherwise be manageable become UN-manageable when we’re tired. Staying up too late, neglecting sleep quality, or not sleeping long enough can seriously affect your ability to handle stress. Here’s a fun fact: JUST ONE NIGHT OF MISSED or INADEQUATE SLEEP CAN MAKE YOU AS INSULIN RESISTANT AS A TYPE 2 DIABETIC.  Your physiology simply is not normal when you don’t get your zzz’s. Even if you work out and your food is pretty good, you can seriously undermine your health and add inches to your waistline by mismanaging the amount of hours you sleep each night. So try to sleep more.  Shoot for AT LEAST 8 HOURS of solid zz’s a night, and not on the couch with the TV on. Make sleepy time SLEEP time; dark room, quiet, no distractions, time for zz’s.  Need another reason to sleep more? Lack of shuteye is also associated with bad workouts. Do yourself a favor and get some rest. Your body will thank you.

3. KNOW HOW MUCH YOU ARE EATING. I know I know, this flies in the face of the Paleo (no need to measure) mentality but despite my making the Paleo switch I’m still an advocate of taking into consideration the calories in vs. calories out old school mentality. You need to know what your daily calories should be and if you’re hitting that mark (or close to). You don’t need to be a calorie zealot, within range is perfect, but for most of us, we GROSSLY underestimate the amount of calories we are consuming a day. Research has shown that most people grossly underestimate how much they are eating, sometimes by up to 50 percent! There are a number of ways you can track what you are eating, but whatever system you use the key is consistency and accuracy. I simply write it down in a food log which I made customized to my own needs (on my computer), but there are DOZENS of nutrition journals out there; both online and physical bound journals for writing down your daily intake.

4. SAY GOODBYE TO LIQUID CALORIES. This is the cold hard truth, most beverages out there in WaWa coolers and on grocery store shelves are chock-full of sugar, additives and other gross disgusting carbohydrate and calories.  In fact a recent study L done on 810 male/female subjects from Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Durham, and Portland found that liquid calorie intake had a stronger impact on weight than solid calorie intake. The results are going to be published in the April 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical NutritionNow when I say GOODBYE to liquid calories, I also mean RELYING on liquid meal replacements as well. Stop with the grab and go protein drinks, the store shelf smoothies, ALL OF IT. Say goodbye. Goodbye to sodas, fruit juices and other forms of pre-made drinks. Liquid calories do not satiate as much as whole foods, nor are they as nutrient dense and satisfying. Void of fiber, one of natures built in “over-eating” defense mechanisms, its easy to over-consume when you’re consuming liquid calories. Cut them out, even if they’re PALEO friendly. Look to whole, natural, SOLID foods to sustain you!

5. MAKE YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE. All of us, even the BEST of us, need support in our fitness endeavors. We live in a society that makes it HARD to be healthy…that’s a fact. Announcing that you’re making a change to those around you and inviting them to be a support system for you can make a WORLD of difference in your success. If you don’t think you’ll get the support you need from friends and family, extend your radar. Reach out for a coach or nutritionist. Maybe a personal trainer a few times a week. Join an online forum; there are SEVERAL out there that are Paleo oriented! There are even more that are weight loss oriented!  Join one, join more then one, the more support you have the better! Having someone, or multiple someones to reach out to on rough days, to cheer you on when needed, and to offer motivation and inspiration can often times mean the difference between success or failure on a plan!

6. VARIETY IN YOUR WORKOUTS. As with food, variety in workouts is extremely beneficial. This is directly in line with the Paleo lifestyle.  For a high-impact workout that will kick up your metabolism in a short amount of time, try alternating cardio and resistance training in a circuit. For example, start with 5 minutes of cardio (treadmill, bike, elliptical) immediately followed by a dumbbell circuit of cleans, cleans and press, lunges, military presses and bent over rows, where each exercise is performed for eight repetitions. By using compound movements you’re recruitig total body co-operation for maximal burn.

7. EAT MORE FAT. Did you know that the Institute of Medicine recommends that a diet be made up of 35 percent fat? Turns out, high-fat foods like avocados and healthy oils can help you lose fat faster than other diet approaches. Fat from healthy sources such as lean animal fats, coconut oil and raw coconut (chalk full of MCT’s), seeds, avocados and healthy oils are EXTREMLY beneficial in improving body composition and stimulating weight loss. Just remember that peanuts are a legume NOT a fat and peanut butter is NOT Paleo. Cut it out. Look for fats with good balances of Omega 3′s. Keep in mind if you’re REALLY trying to lose a ton of weight that nuts should be limited to no more then 4 ounces a day as they can hinger your progress. However if you’re already lean, you can eat more nuts especially walnuts which have a favorable omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Macadamias, Pecans, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds are great. Olives and avocados are good too. Also look for olive oil, walnut, and flaxseed oil. It is my choice not to eat any nuts.  For one, I want to lose weight and I have found nuts to work against me.  For more information on this, read my post, “Are You Nuts…

8. EAT MORE PROTEIN. Protein helps you maintain lean body mass (muscle, not fat), and increases the thermic effect of your diet. In order for your body to GET energy from the food you eat, it must expend some of its OWN energy. This phenomenon is called dietary induced thermogenesis (D.I.T) and protein has a higher DIT then body carbohydrates OR fat.  This can subtly contribute to the “calories out” side of the energy equation. As a bonus, eating protein keeps you fuller longer, and researchers have shown that it can reduce how much you eat per day by hundreds of calories. Look for healthy, lean protein sources; farm raised, cage free, grass fed if possible. Those types of meat have healthy ratios of protein to fat, such as 80/20. Look for skinless turkey breast, shrimp, lean pork tenderloin, lean beef tenderloin, skinless chicken breast, sirloin, lean ground turkey or ground beef, Omega 3 eggs, egg whites, cod, halibut, haddock, salmon, tuna (in moderation due to mercury), bison, venison, etc….

9. BECOME A HEAVY DRINKER. No I’m not talking about alcohol. While there’s nothing magical about water, the process of consuming lots of liquid can trick you into feeling less hungry. What’s more, when you’re dehydrated you burn 2 percent fewer calories per day, says University of Utah researchers. So if you struggle to control your appetite, drink up before your meal. Then drink some more. You’ll be more likely to fight off fat. Adequate water intake also aids in digestion and in the absorption of nutrients. It helps your body to flush and dispel waste and toxins and it lubricates joints and muscles for exercise.

10. TRY INTERMITTENT FASTING. Intermittent fasting is considered one of the more controversial eating habits. Intermittent fasting combines long breaks from eating (12 to16 hours) with a shorter feeding period (8 to10 hours), or fasting for 24 hours once per week. While the behaviors might seem extreme, research indicates that this method not only is linked to healthy weight loss, but also preserves muscle mass.

On Vacation…

July 27, 2013 — Leave a comment
A great place to have a run in the morning.

A great place to have a run in the morning.

So another crazy, busy week…especially since I had to finish up a great deal of work so I could take a short vacation.  I’m sticking to my Paleo diet, but I did decide to allow myself to have a glass of wine or two while on vacation.  I have two caveats to the inclusion of wine during this extended weekend.  I can only drink wine if, (1) I have less than two glasses per day, (2) the drinking of alcohol does not increase my appetite to the extent that I’m hungry when I shouldn’t be, and (3) I feel no adverse physical effects from consuming alcohol the following day.  If ANY of these issues crop up, I’m done and back to water and herbal tea only.  Last night I had a couple of glasses of wine and no problems.  In fact i woke up this morning EARLY and went for a long walk, sprint, hike from 7:50am to 9:10am.  Okay, it was more of a hike than it was a run.  I’m not conditioned…yet…to run or sprint up hills like these…Lord have mercy that was tough!

I’m here in Bodega Bay with my longtime grammar and high school friends.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary of our first annual camping trip back in 1993.  Well, this year we are not so much camping as we are renting a wonderful house in overlooking the ocean. It’s absolutely a blessing to have people in your life who you have known since you were kids.  They are extraordinary people who make my life journey so full and exciting.

Back to the diet.  Last night my stomach was a little upset.  Although I am sticking to Paleo choices, certain food items are creeping in that have proven to be problematic to my body.  It may be simple as there are too many non-organic variables in the food choices this weekend.  I’m better this morning.  No issues.  We’ll see how the weekend progresses if I level out or if my stomach continues to bother me.

It feels very odd not to be weighing myself each morning.  I’ve been weighing myself every morning for almost three months.  Today is Saturday.  My next weigh-in will be on Monday morning.  I would be happy to stay the same, but given that I’m sticking to Paleo and choosing to exercise each day, I would hope to have lost something over this 4-day vacation.  I’ll post more later.  We are all getting ready for a day at the beach.  Gotta go sunscreen up!  Here I go now…

I used a Garmin app to track our distance and time.  I wish it had the ability to give me our elevation...because we were high up!

I used a Garmin app to track our distance and time. I wish it had the ability to give me our elevation…because we were high up!

This past Sunday I went on my first hike in about two years with my friend Kevin.  I’ve always liked hiking, but really haven’t taken the opportunity to get out there and do it.  We hiked up from Indian Valley in Novato to the top of the mountain where the city cell and radio towers are located.  About two-thirds the way up the trial the difficult is minimal…but THEN you go off the main trail to a secondary “no man’s land” trail, as I call it, straight UP to the top of the mountain.  It’s a steep climb for most of the way.  It took us two hours to hike up the mountain and about two hours to hike down.  They say that the uphill climb is the hardest part, but the downhill venture was a battle in itself.  Sometime the path was so steep and rocky that you could barely keep your footing.  There was at least twice I had to run ahead of a potential fall.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  As you go trekking down a steep mountain and you begin to feel yourself slipping forward, you need to engage in a jog or run in hopes of regaining your balance.  I would have to say that going down the hill was a little harder than going up.  It really put a strain on my knees, but I was fine by the time the hike was over.  The next day I didn’t have any aches or pains.  The following day after that, my legs ached a little bit, but my knees were golden.  I have to say that my knees would have really hurt if I hadn’t been eating so well.  The cutting out of foods that cause inflammation in the body has been a godsend.

At the top of the mountain!  What a view!

At the top of the mountain! What a view! CLICK to enlarge!

I have to say that Kevin’s support during the hike was extraordinary.  He told me that we were there to enjoy ourselves and that we would only go as far as I felt comfortable.  He was committed to me having a great experience and not hating my first time returning to hiking.  His support was free ego and the pressing of his own agenda.  He held no expectations and was clearly present in the moment of what mattered: walking with his friend Mark in the beautiful outdoors…nothing more.

It’s so important to have supportive people in your life when climbing towards a goal.  Good support is unconditional without strings.  The supporter simply desires to offer encouragement and validation.  The key to good support is that the supporter has no investment in the outcome or result.  So many times our support may become tainted because we desire a certain outcome to occur for a friend or loved one.  We get so focused on them achieving the goal that we forget that it is their journey and not ours.  I’ve had friends in the past become “disappointed” or “sad” when a certain goal I was striving for was not achieved.  Their reactions varied from actual verbal criticism, to a silence and avoidance of the subject.  When such situations happened, I felt crappy. I felt as though I not only let myself down, but I let others down, even though my goals had nothing to do with anyone else.  A good friend supports you no matter what the final destination.  They are simply a cheerleader on the road with you during your journey…and no matter where you end up, they are there to bear witness to your effort and determination.

Now, when I’m talking about support I’m not talking about offering honest and truthful feedback.  That is very important in any relationship…to offer up the “things” that people don’t often have the courage to tell one another.  Just realize that what you might deem as reality is only your perception of the matter and not what actual is.

Down 40 pounds!

Down 40 pounds!

On another note, I have made it past the 40 pound mark!  Yahoo!  It feels real good to be down 40 pounds.  I’ve gone from a 40 inch waist to a 36…or have I?  Actually, I have made it into 34 inch shorts!  I was looking for my stack of 36 inch waist shorts the other day when I stumbled on a stack of 34s.  I thought I would try them on and see if I could tell how long it might take me to actually fit back into them…and they fit!  They fit perfectly.  On further examination I realized that my 36s were getting really loose.  It was like a free shopping day.  There was even a pair of European cut shorts (cut tighter in the hips) that I was never able to get on and they fit superbly!

I have just over 13 pounds to break under the 200 pound mark.  I’m anxious to get to that point but I will let my body do it’s thing and get let it get there when it wants to.  I mean, I’m not going to push it by cutting needed calories or go crazy with exercise.  I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing because it’s working.  As soon as a get into the 100s, I’m moving to weighing in once a week.  If I had to guess, I would think that I should hit that mark sometime in mid to late August.  I’ve enjoyed and needed to weigh myself in daily to learn how my body is reaction to my food and exercise regime.  I think I have a good handle on it right now.

A word that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

A word that I try to incorporate in my daily life.

A final note on my hike with Kevin.  When we got to the top of the mountain, I took a moment to take in my accomplishment.  I realized that it took something to get up that mountain; to push through any pain, discomfort and exhaustion and get to the top.  I didn’t make any demands of my body other than to have it push on.  I didn’t have any time expectations on how long it should take me, I was just going to finish.  At the top I looked at the beautifiul valley floor and gave thanks for my ability to make the trek to the top.  I gave thanks to all the people who hike the trail and take the time to make sure that it is clean and safe.  I took a moment to be grateful to all those people min my life that inspire me on a daily basis…and just before I headed down the mountain, I took a rock from the ground and scratched the word “inspire” on an old rusty sign post.  Here’s hoping that it will motivate others when they get to the top.  There are many things we can do for others in our lives; many gifts we can share.  One of the greatest is to be a light for greatness towards the betterment of life.  Simply put, we are meant to…we need to…inspire

POLL…

July 14, 2013 — Leave a comment

Well, I’m really not happy about my weigh-in this morning.  I went from 216.3 to 218!  That is almost 2 pounds in one day…in the wrong direction!  And if you are wondering, no I did not eat anything that wasn’t Paleo.  My only thought is that I had too much salt in my meals yesterday.  I don’t think I had 2 pounds worth…but that is the only thing I can think of.  Here’s is hoping that my body is gearing up for a big weight loss over the next few days. Urghhhhhhh!

IMG_3269

After I ran through the shadows into the light, I turned around and captured my journey…

The other day I went for one of my walk/sprints.  It was a beautiful day.  Almost a perfect day.  I had the music on my iPhone set to random.  For me, listening to my music in this manner is like listening to the radio.  I have so much music that I really don’t know what I have, so songs pop up that I have never heard of and many cases I end up liking or even loving it.  Case in point of the other day’s venture out for my walk/sprints.  I was just starting out when a song came on which seemed to be some kind of song about championing over the darkness of life.  The bridge of the song was “…wielding the shadows…” (The song I was listening to was Now And Forever by Tiësta) This was repeated over and over.  I had never really heard that term used before.  I took this phrase to mean that we should not only draw power from the light, but use the darkness (or shadows) in our favor.  In other words, don’t look at life’s negatives as negatives.  Things are only negative if we think they are negative.  Things are in the shadows because we often put them there…into the darkness we create.

So I’m listening to the song and I look out to a long stretch of sidewalk covered in trees which were casting shadows on the pavement.  At that moment I thought to myself, “You’re going to sprint faster than you have ever have before through the shadowed pathway until you come back into the light…”  And with that, I did a small leap into the air and when I came down I was in a full-out sprint.  The lyrics pounding loudly in my earbuds, “…wielding the shadows…”  My eyes didn’t leave the sight of the sunlight out in the far reaches.  I hadn’t felt this physically powerful in some time.  My body was performing like a well oiled machine.  For a moment I felt like 20 years-old again…for a moment.  I soon busted through the shadows into the light and I felt great.  I looked down at my feet and took some deep breaths and acknowledged my small victory.  And then I noticed it…it was gone…my stomach!  I looked down and nothing was protruding out.  The was a straight shot from my lower chest down to my feet.  I thought, “I don’t feel fat right now. I don’t feel skinny either, but I definitely don’t feel fat.”  THAT was a really good feeling.  I’ve accomplished a great deal in just over 60 days.  I’m 2.5 pounds shy of losing 40 pounds.  It took something to get this far.  I do have to say that I’m proud of myself.  I’m liking the man I’m seeing in the mirror.  THAT guy on the outside looks like the guy on the inside.

I’m so very excited to see what the next 60 days brings.  I’m committed to a life that is lived out loud!

Mark-Before-and-After-070613It’s another milestone to celebrate.  I have just made it past 60 days on a Paleo diet and I’m down a total of 35.5 pounds!  I updated my pictures and I can really see the changes now…much more than before…especially in my profile.

Let me continue this posting with some Q&A:

How was the second 30 days?  Did you have any new challenges?

The second 30 days was great.  I didn’t take a break after the first 30 days.  I just went right into the next month.  My weight loss did slow down, but my losses were somewhat consistent.  I think I really found my groove in days 31 to 60.  I came to realize what foods I really liked (grapefruit) and what foods I didn’t really care for much (fennel root).  I experimented less with recipes in my second round.  I repeated a few that I really like and that my body seemed to like in terms of responsive weight loss.

The only real challenge was keeping up with my food journaling / tracking…but not for any reason you might think.  I had trouble writing down what I ate because what I ate was pretty much always the same…well, it was always the same in terms of variety of what I consumed in the Paleo realm.  I really did eat 100% Paleo.  When I say I was perfect, I mean I was perfect…not even a sugary breath mint!  I think if I was 80% Paleo, I would have tracked my food to see how my body was reacting to certain foods.  However, I stayed consistent and just took notice of how my body was reacting to clean eating and weight loss.

Any significant changes to your body in this round?

Yes, a few.  Something I’ve noticed is that my posture has become much improved.  I have always tried to have good posture, but that becomes more difficult when you are carrying extra weight at your core.  A few people have mentioned that I look taller…lol.  Another significant change is that my sleep has just been stellar.  I haven’t had one sleepless night since I changed my diet.  As you know, you can’t cheat sleep.  A sleepless night means a weary and less productive day.  Getting great sleep has helped me with focus and productivity.  That alone is such a big win.

How have you been doing with your exercise regime?

I’ve been good but I could have been better.  To my credit, I have been exercising 5-6 times a week (spin class and walk/sprints).  That is huge and a great thing.  You can never underestimate the value of any exercise.  What I have been lacking is a commitment to weight resistance training.  I started to get on track with my friend and business partner Michael, but our schedules keep conflicting.  I am on track to work with him this week and I have several appointments lined up for the future, so I hope that this will kick-start my desired exercise plan.  To really lose body fat you need to build muscle.  Cardio will only get you so far.  Lean muscle equates to a lean body.

Are you going to do another 30 day challenge?

Yes, but no.  I can’t say I’m going to do another 30 day challenge because I plan on maintaining this Paleo lifestyle, in some capacity, for my the rest of my life.  Will I always be at 100%?  I’m not sure…hopefully.  I’ll take it day by day.  Each day I wake up and recommit to my pledge to living a healthy lifestyle.  In years gone past, I have tried various diets which did get weight off and allowed me to gain muscle, but I always struggled with hunger.  This Paleo lifestyle is the first way of eating that has completely erased my overpowering appetite and allow the weight to just fall off.

What’s next?

I will continue to post about my weight loss on this blog and share my journey with you.  I do post my weight everyday no matter what.  In that way, I am posting daily.  I would love to hear what YOU want me to write about.  Please send me an email or post a response here to let me know what topics you would like me to discuss or share.  If you have any questions, I will gladly answer them.  Just ask.

That’s it for now, I’m going to go enjoy this beautiful day and go take a long walk in the sunshine.  Okay, here I go now…

The world only becomes transparent to man when man himself is completely transparent, when he is what he truly is.

~Chao Yong

The world only becomes…

A Sense Of Pride…

July 2, 2013 — 1 Comment
The Statue of Liberty carrying the PRIDE America flag...in sensible pair of wedges...lol

The Statue of Liberty carrying the PRIDE America flag…in sensible pair of wedges…lol

The parade started with two balloon sculptures that read "LOVE WON."

The parade started with two balloon sculptures that read “LOVE WON.”

Sunday, I attended the 43rd annual San Francisco PRIDE parade.  It was a gorgeous day.  The weather in San Francisco could not have been better.  The feeling in the air was one of acceptance and equality like had never experienced before.  This parade was different.  It marched on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision which brought same-sex couples the same, federal marriage rights as straight couples.  The decision also led to the collapse of DOMA and Proposition 8 in California.  There is still a long way for the country to go.  The GLBT community won’t rest until all 50 states share marriage equality.  But I know that it isn’t a matter of if, but simply a matter of when.

INSPIRE. HOPE. CHANGE

INSPIRE. HOPE. CHANGE

So many people attending the parade from every ethnic and religious backgrounds were celebrating the unquestionable right to love who you want to love.  Most pride parades have a touch of rebellion tossed in the mix of celebration.  This year rebellion took a back seat to a full sense of equality and validation.  We, as a GLBT community, are finally and truly “the same” in the eyes of the federal government.  We are equal to and not less than.  A truly unbelievable concept for our souls to grasp.  So many years of living as second class citizens.  It’s still hard to believe that all the dreams and hopes I had as a child for myself…a the chance at a family…an opportunity for a real wedding…well, it’s all possible.  Simply life changing.  It doesn’t matter that I might be too old to start a family.  It’s the knowledge that I can if I want to and have every aspect about that decision validated by my country and state.

I don’t care how much weight I end up losing.  Nothing could have made me feel lighter than having the chains of oppression removed from my body.  It’s a brand new day.  It’s a brand new time.  If you should see me walking around and you think I happen to have a bigger smile on my face than normal…well, I do.

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