My First Guest Blogger…

28 02 2011

I’ve been blogging now for over a year. It’s pretty awesome to be able to put down emotions and feelings on a constant basis and know that it’s helping to save your own life. It’s another to know it’s also helping to save the life of those around you. I’ve had the fortunate and humbling  opportunity to Guest Post for some amazing people (Mizfit, SeattleRunnerGirl, BradGansberg, HalfofJess, StellarPath) and yet I’ve never thought about having someone guest post for me…

Because I never thought I was worthy enough.

I mean I guess I felt that my words were important for other people and I’ve always felt a twinge of “but you know it’s me you’re asking to guest post for you right?” but to have someone put THEIR words on my blog…well that means my blog means something to enough people that I can start asking other people to come here and lay their words of wisdom on all of us.

This is my first Guest Blogger Post!

Brad Gansberg and I haven’t known each other very long. We’ve never met face to face. We’ve only spoken in a limit of 140 characters. You can’t say too much in 140 characters but Brad has started a movement on Twitter that can only be described as awe-inspiring. He is the mastermind behind #7daychip / #30daychip. What began as a small group of people supporting each other as we battle whatever demons happen to be on our shoulders day in and day out, has become nothing short of phenomenal. Everyday the numbers grow as we band together and move forward to taking control of our lives…

One day at a time.

He’s a quiet man. But don’t be fooled. He is powerful in his words, his actions and above all his ability to bring people together, because he knows it is in the people of #7daychip that we all succeed.

Thanks Brad!

Interested in learning more about the #7daychip movement?

Start Here

Because like the question poses…

What have YOU got to lose?



What are your labels?

25 02 2011

Smoker Non-Smoker

Meth Head Recovered

Lost Found

Confused Living in Clarity

Morbidly Obese Fit

Toxic Clean

Inferior Equal

Scared Facing my fears

Depressed Lifted

Sad Joyful

Afraid to let go Learning to forgive

Abused Survivor

Should Have Going in head first

Introvert Learning to find comfort in others

One An army of many

Frenzied Calm

Self Hatred Self Loving

Cold Warm

Anxious Peaceful

Inattentive Mindful

Sluggish Energetic

Trivial Vital

Worthless Valuable

Negative Positive

Weak Strong

Dead Alive

what are your labels?

Nothing more powerful than a picture…

23 02 2011

I can’t believe I got here…

22 02 2011

100+ pounds overweight.

No one wants to look in the mirror and know that in order to be what is considered a medically healthy weight, you have to lose a triple digit amount of fat That’s three numbers!!! That’s intimidating. That’s depressing. You might as well color me a failure before I even get started with the idea of having to lose not 25 pounds, not 50 pounds not even 75 mother fucking pounds.

In order for me to go from MORBIDLY OBESE (my BMI was 41.1) to Normal (24.9) I had to get down to a weight of 163…You do the math. No wait, let me do it for you.

107 pounds.

I have friends that weigh less than that.

I know that many people will argue not to look at BMI as a measuring tool for what you should or shouldn’t weigh but let’s get honest here; It’s what most of us use when we first start out on this journey. I googled “what’s a healthy weight for me” and after a few clicks on my keyboard, I was ready to quit before I even began.

You felt the same way didn’t you?

I just wanted to close my eyes and pretend that I only needed to lose 30 pounds. I’m not trying to down play anyone’s weight loss journey, but having to lose over 100 pounds just to be “healthy “puts us in a league of our own.

You know what I’m talking about.

So here I was, stuck with this number…this TRIPLE DIGIT NUMBER. I cried. I cried a lot during the first few days after I decided enough was enough. I had to take a long hard look at myself and decide whether or not this was going to be the time that I stood up and drew that line for the LAST TIME. Oh I’d done it before…lost the weight. Twenty pounds one time, gained thirty-five. Lost thirty pounds (which was the required amount before I would be approved for gastric bypass) but then when I decided that gastric bypass was not for me, I quickly gained the thirty back plus an additional twenty. Then over the next few years I would slowly gain more and more weight until I weighed 270 pounds.

I needed to be a triple digit weight loss loser.


I took that triple digit and changed the way I thought about what needed to be done to be successful and to make sure that this time it would be life-sustaining. I didn’t change everything I was doing. I changed one thing at a time. Instead of going cold turkey (mmmmm turkey!) with my soda intake, I replaced one can of pop with one glass of crystal light and then consumed the rest of what I normally would. Then it was two glasses of crystal lights, then three…it took a few weeks but soon enough I was down to only drinking crystal light. Then I replaced one glass of crystal light with one glass of water and proceeded the process over until I was just drinking water. It’s been over a year since I’ve had a carbonated drink and I don’t miss it one bit.

Instead of going cold turkey (mmmmmm) on my food choices I picked one thing to work on at  a time  First it was staying within a certain calorie range. I ate crappy foods but I was learning to stay within a range. Once I got comfortable with logging my food, I changed what I was eating. Not everything. Brown rice instead of white rice, more veggies instead of starch, a lighter salad dressing instead of gobs of ranch.

I changed my snacking habits one at time. Chips and donuts made way for microwave popcorn and sugar-free popsicles which in turn made way for fresh fruit which in turn made way for very little need for snacking.

I didn’t balls to walls with my exercise. I got on the wii for 5 minutes…then 10…then 20. Then I took my ass outside and walked. I took more stairs than elevators. I parked farther and farther away from where I worked. When I joined a gym, I swam a few lengths of the pool and then slept for hours out of exhaustion. The first time I ran it was 1/2 a block. Then it was for 30 seconds…60 seconds…three minutes…five. I went to the gym once a week, then twice a week, then three times a week and when I was ready, I got a trainer.

If my weight loss journey had been about that triple digit, it never would have began. Took look in the mirror wearing the 270 pound body that I carried for so long and know that it would need to shed over 100 pounds was too scary to even think about. I took that triple digit and broke it into one single digit:

5 pounds.

I didn’t need to lose 100+ pounds. I just needed to lose 5. When I got down to 265, I just needed to lose 5 pounds. When I got down to 260, I just needed to lose 5. My entire weight loss journey has been done in 5 pound increments. There wasn’t ONE goal to achieve to feel good about my weight loss. There were 22 goals to look forward too.

Are you looking at the daunting triple digits and thinking it’s never going to happen?


Pick one thing and work on that. Make goals that are achievable. Stop setting yourself for failure. Set yourself up for success and sustainability. Each goal acheived building onto the next. Each one helping  you believe in yourself. Know that even the smallest steps brings you closer to the finish line then never taking a step in the first place.

Believe me.

I know.







Dear Tara…

20 02 2011

Dear 270 Tara;

We don’t know each other very well. In fact, we’ve never met. I mean, I know who you are. You’re famous round these parts. Everyone knows you. Everyone knows you were struggling to enjoy life. You didn’t think very much of yourself and had gotten yourself in a dark space and had little hope that it was going to get any better. Everyone remembers the day you decided that the life you were living was no where near your potential and you were going to make a difference, even if it was the smallest of changes.

I heard the stories.

The 260’s didn’t take any pictures because they remember you were too embarrassed to even make a public statement about how much you weighed. But with small changes and moving even just a little bit you lost enough weight to think that this journey might be a possibility. They remember how you used to walk up a flight of stairs and had to take a break in between each floor because it hurt to breath. But they remember how you kept at it until you could walk up three flights of stairs without stopping. They remember how you cried when you wanted a diet coke but instead drank a glass of crystal light or how you used to say “my stomach doesn’t care what I put in it, it’s my brain that needs to be retrained” during your lunch break in order to get through those 30 minutes without shoving chocolate or a random doughnut in your mouth.

The 250’s tells me that this is when you started running. They remember that crazy day when you were walking the dogs (and I think by this time you were up to walking 2 miles a day with them – congratulations!) and for some reason you decided to move a little faster. It was early enough in the morning and not a soul was around. You ran for half a block and by the end of it you were so out of breath you actually got sick. We get a good laugh out of that around the water cooler.  They were pretty sure you wouldn’t last long in the running department but you showed them. You found this thing called couch to 5k and began running before the sun came up because you were sure everyone was staring at you. It was slow going but damn if you didn’t keep at it.

The 240’s have a lot of stories to share. They say this picture was taken when you got yourself down to about 245 pounds and this was the first time you actually ran for 5 minutes straight. There was talk that this journey might be serious but there was still some trepidation. They fondly remember the day you decided to go public with your weight loss and was born. P.S. Happy belated blogiversary.



The 230’s say this is really when you planted your feet firmly in the ground and proclaimed this LCJ was for real and not going any where any time soon. You did something you never thought you do: You signed up for your first 5k! Then you went and did something even more crazy: You joined a gym. Yhea we didn’t see that coming




The 220’s celebrated a milestone: 50 pounds lost. Hard to believe that 5 months previous to this picture being taken you weighed 270 pounds. You didn’t see much of a change in your body but you started to notice that your neck was smaller and I think I remember them saying this is where you discovered your collar bone again. They say this was also about the time you realized that this journey wasn’t just about losing the physical weight but that you had to really look to your past to get to your future


The 2teens remember the day you signed up for this 5k. It wasn’t the original one you signed up for (that was coming in June) but you couldn’t pass up the opportunity when it was offered by your friend Elizabeth. It was super scary. But you crossed that finish line and that was the day you called yourself a runner. But that wasn’t all you did in your 2teens. You walked your first half Marathon and then you went and did something down right crazy: You signed up for your first triathlon! They fondly remember you thinking that you might actually like being an athlete and couldn’t wait to see what you came up with next! But it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns. This was by far the most stressful time during your journey. The 2teens remember the day you got the call that your brother was in the hospital due to his alcoholism. This would mark the first time there was a gain in your journey. You started to realize that stress was a big factor. You pushed too hard physically, you were too hard on yourself emotionally and you got hurt.




The 210’s remember you coming to many crossroads during their time with you. You took your first trip away from home. It was good but it came with a few emotional bumps and bruises. You were fired from your job (and saw the second gain on this journey) and learned that staying in the moment was harder than you ever imagined. But the 210’s also remember when you ran your first solo 5k, learned the importance of NSV and met The Godfather for the first time.



The 190’s are really proud of the stories they have to share. They like to reminisce they day you almost DIDN’T run your first 10k because you were scared. They like to tell the rest of us about the day you decided that building an army behind you was just as important as building a strong body. The best story they like share is when you decided to join Team in Training and begin training for a HALF MARATHON. Yhea, they didn’t see that one coming either. Way to pull the carpet out from under them (by the way they are very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this journey during the summer months!)

The 180’s think this is your shining time. You spent a lot of time looking in the mirror. You were really getting used to the body you were living in. It was 90 pounds smaller. NINETY POUNDS!! It wasn’t always easy to look at the the person looking back at you. You were still fighting your demons (and still do today) but even your 270 pound mentality couldn’t deny that you were happier and healthier than you’ve ever been not only in your adult life but in your ENTIRE LIFE. This is the time you began to call yourself an athlete and knew it to be a true label.

The 170’s has a lot of bragging rights. They should. This is where you spent the most time. You spent a couple of months here. But you didn’t just sit around and wait for 170 to come knocking on your door. You went after it like a wild fire. You have the Triathlon medal to prove it. You also realized to reach that goal you not only had to drop the physical weight, you had to drop the emotional weight. You realized there was fear in making goal weight and when you began to listen to your heart, you realized that it was time to take that physically fit body back to church. For a little over two months you pushed forward. Slowly watching the numbers on the scale move downward. The day you started this journey you were medically labeled Morbidly Obese. Finally in the middle of November you stepped on the scale and became medically labeled as Normal.

Yep, that’s you. Yep, that’s a half marathon. Yep, you did it 103 pounds lighter. You’ve continued to work harder than you ever give yourself credit for. Over the last year, you’ve ended some relationships, started some awe inspiring relationships. You made a birthday wish come true and set up some serious goals for the next coming year. The one important thing you learned while living through these stories is that life isn’t going to change unless you change. You didn’t want to be depressed or reliant on medication to get you through the day. You didn’t want to sit around wondering what it would be like to be an athlete, you went out and made yourself more of an athlete than you ever dreamed. Even on days you feel like giving in and giving up you realize there is perfection in your imperfections.

You’re probably wondering who I am.

I mean I’ve written you this long letter and I didn’t even introduce myself. I’m the one you NEVER thought you’d see. I’m the one that’s writing the new stories from here on out. The stories that are not only going to continue to change your life but the lives of those that you touch. I’m the one that has been waiting patiently. I’m the one that has been cheering for you for the last 14 months waiting so that I can wrap my arms around you and tell you that you are loved. You are strong. You are beautiful.

I’m the one here to tell you…


My name?

My name is 160.

It’s nice to meet you.








Making an appearance (guest posty goodness)

18 02 2011

If you’ve been following me on twitter (which you are right? @tidbits_of_tara) then you know I’ve joined the #7daychip movement.

Brad Gansberg is the brains behind this idea and it has taken off like a wildfire. Today I’m giving my perspective on what it takes to succeed on your path to the #7daychip and beyond…

What you need….

The earning of a #7daychip (and starting over…)

15 02 2011

I earned this.

Then day 8 came and it didn’t go so well.

I let the negative thinking get the best of me.

I let it control my emotions.

I let it control my mindless eating.

It doesn’t however control me to the point that I can’t fight back and that’s what I’m doing. Fighting back. Allowing myself to see me as others see me. Looking in the mirror and refusing to let memories of my past control how I walk towards my future. Learning to be patient and kind with myself just as I would any friend that leaned on me for support.

So I start again today. I’m going to be changing the parameters of what it means to earn a day under the #7daychip challenge. I’m going to be focusing on not eat mindlessly (no random snacking without first making sure I’m hungry), eating consciously ( I will thank my food for keeping me strong and making me healthy), not panicking over my food (or thinking that there is a lack of food) as well as working on combating the negative thoughts that seem to invade my mind more often than not. I’m letting go of the water, chocolate and vitamins aspect of the original #7daychip goal as I’ve gotten those down to pretty much a science now (Thanks Brad!).

I made it to day 8

Even with this kind of day.

I will make it to the #30daychip!

Believe that.

Time to make a change…o

13 02 2011

Life Changing Journey

That’s really what this is all about. Oh sure I wanted to lose weight (and A LOT of it) but more importantly I wanted to find the life that I deserved to live.  When I started down this path of getting healthy I didn’t know what to call my blog. I picked the easiest name I could think of and part of me wanted to put my weight in there as a proving point that I could lose it.

I’ve grown to love my blog and have become very attached to the name 263andcounting but it doesn’t fit anymore. I’m not 263 pounds. I’m far from it and will NEVER see that number again. I’ve wanted to change the name for a long time. It’s a hard process. It’s almost like changing the name of a beloved pet, your best friend or even you car (I know you named your car – we all do). I’ve spent months waiting for the perfect name to come to me. I didn’t want to jump the gun and use the first thing that I felt fit or that sounded clever. I wasn’t going for a play on words or anything that had to do with weight loss as the main focus of the name.

Losing weight is not my focus any longer.

I’ve been using the acronym LCJ for a long time now. It has begun to spread throughout the blogging community and has become the foundation for my success in not only losing weight but with living life to my fullest potential. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner but like I said I’ve been waiting for the perfect name to come to me.

A Life Changing Journey (.com)

I’m ready to take this journey to the next level. So many ideas are bouncing around in my head I can hardly contain them. I’m excited to see where I’m going. I’m excited to take you with me. This is not about the destination…

It’s about the journey.


The face of Bulimia…

12 02 2011

The topic of bulimia is one that is rarely  (if at all) talked about in a public realm. I understand that this post may be difficult for some people to read (triggers) but before I begin let me be very clear: This is my journey. I have suffered from bulimia my entire adult life (my first purge happening in high school). It goes without saying that while I’ve been on this LCJ for over a year and successfully lost over 100 pounds in a healthy, stay in the moment kind of way (I never reverted to purging to lose weight – though I did suffer isolated episodes) I carry this behavior in the depths of my being. If you feel that this topic is a trigger for you, you may want to skip over my words. This post isn’t about the act of bulimia but working through the urge to resort to a  behavior I know isn’t appropriate to a successful (life long) weight loss journey. Today I’m here to put a face to bulimia…

That face is mine.

A few days ago, I woke up and felt great. It’s was day 4 of Brad’s #7daychip and I had a guest post over at Mizfit’s blog and it was received better than I thought it would be (Don’t Compare). I had a great early morning workout with Godfather. The sun was out. I looked good, I felt good and I was going to kick the ass of this fantastic Thursday morning.

It was such a great day I took a picture of myself and posted it on twitter.

A few hours later I would take the following picture:

What causes someone to go from feeling good about who they are, feeling strong, feeling confident and head held high to sitting in the car having an emotional break down and feeling defeated, weak, and confused? It was because I was fighting the urge to give up the food in my stomach. I had just eaten lunch (teriyaki) and instead of stopping when I was full (about 1/2 way through my meal) I continued to eat. The triggers began to happen:

*There won’t be any food later.

*What if you’re hungry again too soon.

*You must clean your plate.


When I begin to panic over my food and can’t stop consuming a very quiet (yet extremely powerful) voice begins to whisper in my ear. The voice tells me it’s okay to eat beyond control and comfort because there is an easy way to fix the pain. An easy way to take control. An easy way to continue eating to diminish the fear that I will be left without food…

95% of the time I can get through a meal by talking myself “down”. While most people are thinking about how delicious their food is, or thinking about textures, temperatures, and what not I’m usually having an internal conversation about staying calm, chewing my food, staying in the moment. It’s not the best way to enjoy a meal but I’ve worked really hard to get to a place where I can go unscathed and in the end actually enjoy my relationship with food.

Some days it doesn’t go so well.

The urge to let it go was so great I refused to get out my car and spent the next hour letting myself feel emotions that I didn’t want to feel. I took pictures because I wanted to see my face. I wanted to see the pain and frustration. I know what I feel like on the inside when the urge is here but what does it look like on my face?

I didn’t care that I was having a break down.

I knew that if I went into the house, I’d give in.

It would be the easy fix.

It would be my secret.

No one would know that I’d let the comforting voice take control.

But I would know.

I am my greatest ally.

This is my life.

I refuse to live in secrets.

For an hour:

I prayed.

I listened to music.

I talked with friends.

I put a face to my disease.

That face is mine.

I worked through a plethora of feelings over the course of that hour. In the end, I was able to leave the safe confines of my car and move forward. It was painful both physically and emotionally to force myself to stay in the car instead of taking the “easy” way out. It was hard not to just say “Well Tara, if you make yourself sick you can always just start again with good decisions”. Bulimia is NOT the easy way out. Making good decisions is not a precursor to making bad decisions. I never thought of myself as having food binges. I never thought about the amount of food I was eating because I was always looking at the end result. As soon as I get uncomfortable with my food intake I go immediately to the only way I know how to fix it.

Fuck that.

I fixed it the hard way.

I win.










Taking my post to the world of Miz

10 02 2011

Yep, you heard right. Today you’ll find me slamming down some words of wisdom (or just some words) over at Mizfitonline

I won’t lie.

I’m nervous about playing with the big kids on the proverbial playground but Carla is someone who I’d kick it on the merry-go-round ANYDAY!

Thanks Mizfit!!!

Without further ado: My Guest Post