Night Owl Romance: Spring Fling – April 11-25 [Win a WATERPROOF Kindle Paperwhite and Amazon Gift Cards!]

Happy April, my Precious Readers!

The Night Owl Romance Spring Fling reader event is here! Ready to Win? I’ve teamed up with Night Owl Romance and other authors to bring you the chance to win a Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite (USA ONLY) & Amazon Gift Cards (Open to the World)!

During this event I’m going to help you find some great new books. Make sure to check out my novel my first book, Capture Me along the way!

Enter the giveaway at: https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Blog/Articles/Spring-Fling-2019-by-Night-Owl-Romance

Haven’t ready my books? Le, gasp!Here’s a blurb about my first book, Capture Me (a Roxy Summers Mystery #1):

Nothing ends a first date faster than finding a dead body.

Photographer and sassy Seattle-lite Roxy Summers swears off men after catching her ex-boyfriend, a.k.a. her ex-boss, in a compromising position. Newly single and facing eviction, Roxy puts all distractions (men!) aside as she begins her new job assisting an international fashion photographer and notorious playboy.

No one told Roxy her new job would entail dealing with her new boss’ fiery temper, his emotional girlfriend, his conniving ex-mistress, his partner who has a melt-the-polar-ice-caps blinding smile, have her stumbling over a body, become an amateur detective and find herself annoyingly attracted to Detective Charlie Bennett, who seems determined to put Roxy in handcuffs!

Not bad, eh?

I love participating in Night Owl Romance‘s Scavenger Hunts because I get to connect with readers like you, readers get to meet other readers, and you get to meet a ton of new authors.

Wishing you the best of luck in winning!

-KB

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Why is no one talking about “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase”?

Happy Sleuthing today, Precious Readers!

As most of you know, I am a Nancy Drew fan, and if you haven’t heard, there is a new movie in the theaters (right now!) with a modern twist to the character.

While I was concerned that in a seemingly whole world of sequels and reboots in Hollywood at the moment this one would be another disappointment, I was pleasantly surprised. While not going to win any awards, I found this to be a more authentic modernization of the Nancy Drew character. She still had global appeal, there was more diversity in the film (though the only Asian was in the move for 5 seconds at the beginning of the movie), and actually had some gasping jump-scare moments.

Part of the reason I think I enjoyed the film was because I went in with ZERO to LOW expectations. This was not 1930’s Nancy. It’s about a girl with exceptional reasoning and deduction skills, sassiness towards authority, and with the help of her friends try to figure out strange happenings in the small mid-western town of River Heights.

With that criteria, I believe they succeeded, including a positive message towards female empowerment and fighting the “mean girl” stereotypes. It also doesn’t hurt that it was produced by Ellen DeGeneres. (Whatever your opinion, I love Ellen.) I was deeply disappointed in the lackluster advertising for the film. The movie itself only played in 1 local theater and had a tepid launch. I firmly believe that if Ellen and other producers had put in more money for the advertising, it would have reached a wider audience. There were a few scattered attendees at the theater and while the film wasn’t great, it wasn’t bad.

You may recall a film back in 2007 starring Emma Roberts, but I have to admit I was sorely disappointed in that version. They made it like Nancy Drew was an old fashioned “freak of nature” trying to make life work in Hollywood, California. She was even considered absurdly old fashioned in her hometown of River Heights. I figure, if you’re going to have a person with 1930’s mannerisms, have them exist in a 1930’s world. This did not prevent me from adding the movie to my DVD collection, but I will be far prouder to have the 2019 Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase featured alongside it on my DVD shelf.

If you decide to watch the movie, take the little ones in your life, grab some snacks, and sit back to watch a pleasant family film.

I give it a solid C, but hopefully look forward to more being made. Maybe if a wider audience purchased more tickets to see it in the theater, it will encourage another.

This blog post is of my sole opinion. I have not been compensated in any way to review this movie.

Movie Review: Captain Marvel

I really, really don’t understand the backlash regarding Captain Marvel. As a lifetime fan of graphic novels and comic books, especially Marvel brand comics, (though DC Comic’s Batman and his villains will always have a special place in my heart amongst my Marvel Comics love), there are so many powerful and practical female superheroes who happen to be female.

In case you haven’t heard, there has been a massive backlash to Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson. (Seriously, Google “backlash on Captain Marvel“.) The website Rotten Tomatoes has let public reviewers to provide ratings before a movie has been released to the public.

Why?

What is the point of that? It makes no sense to give reviewers that power before anyone has had a chance to see it. As someone whose writing depends on *honest* reviews, there is a trust that someone will have read the entire book before commenting about it. It is completely unfair to rate something without having tried it. It’s ridiculous, pointless, trolling, and nonsense. If you’re not interested in a product, just don’t use it. Did you try it and it had fundamental issues with the results? Then review it.

I firmly believe that the pre-release movie review hatred of Captain Marvel prior to its release was simply misogynistic hatred of females not being in a comic for visual or sexual gratification. The idea that a female could be a lead character, not be hyper-sexualized in costume or looks, or be there merely as backup to men is still a difficult concept for society to accept. While it is 2019 and behavioral change about “toxic masculinity” is being addressed, the reduction of toxic masculinity and misogyny is still not the rare-experience. It is still the norm.

Recent ads (e.g. Gillette’s recent ad about real men) are targeting the dangers of men not stepping up against toxic masculinity, and are promoting the idea of all genders raising up and supporting women. Unfortunately, this is happening because this behavioral change is still needed. It’s sad that in this time of American history we still need this education. I am not a man-hater. I am all about equalism. Fe/Male, or whoever in between, if you have the knowledge and skills or readiness to learn, you are worthy of the work you’re dedicating your time to. If you treat other people like human beings, a tip of the hat to you. No gender or race is better or worse than another. We are all human.

For all ticket holders who have actually seen the film, I agree. It’s not the strongest Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film, but it’s certainly not the worst. (Iron Man 3 anyone? Does anyone remember anything about that movie?) My honest rating of Captain Marvel is a solid B-. Its oddly selected Jude Law addition to the cast, a blase, non-threatening feeling of the villains, and cookie-cutter origin story for its main character show that MCU still loves cranking out high-visual-effects movies as quickly as possible without adding much character development and substance to its films.
The acting of Brie Larson and her portrayal of Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel is to be highly, highly praised. I have never seen this Larson not deliver on her acting chops. I continually look forward to watching her career advance in Hollywood.

However, it is falsely being identified as man-hating. If anything, it is showing equality across all genders. The partners-in-justice vibe of this movie was the unexpected delight of the film, and I wish the marketing had been more focused on that. Nick Fury is not her guide, he is not her mentor. Carol Danvers is her own soldier and beacon of heroism. The banter between Danvers and Nick Fury inspire nostalgia of buddy cop films. They’re two leaders who focus on their mission. They are both pursuers of knowledge, truth, and delivering justice. Take away gender, and you get two well-trained operatives who know how to get the job done, and have fun while they’re doing it.

It was entertaining with decent fighting sequences, and a surprise small part played by actress Gemma Chan (who enchanted audiences as Astrid in Crazy Rich Asians) and pop-ups of younger and less-experienced versions of villains we would come to know in more present-time MCU films, and filled with ’90’s kids Easter Eggs (Blockbuster, anyone?) the film is adventurous eye-candy with friendship and bravery at the helm.

Go see it, have some fun, take the youngsters.

Reminder! March 28-31: LCC 2019 Whale of a Crime and Special News!

Hello Precious Readers!

A final reminder that at the end of this month I’ll be attending Left Coast Crime 2019: Whale of a Crime* in gorgeous Vancouver, B.C., Canada! It’s only a bit north of my home so I’ll be making it a mini-road trip for traveling there.

Left Coast Crime 2019: Whale of a Crime

LCC2019

I will be at LCC merely as an attendee. I haven’t been to this conference before as it has an annual, roaming location. Last year was in Reno, Nevada, next year will be San Diego, California. Lucky me as a Washingtonian, this year’s location is right in my backyard. Hoping to see you there if you’re in attendance!

From the website:

What is Left Coast Crime? Left Coast Crime is an annual mystery convention sponsored by mystery fans, both readers and authors. LCC is held during the first quarter of the year in Western North America. Conventions have been held from Anchorage to El Paso, from Boulder to Hawaii, and various locations in between.

Our purpose is to host an event where readers, authors, critics, librarians, publishers, and other fans can gather in convivial surroundings to pursue their mutual interests.

Left Coast Crime is an all-volunteer organization — neither the members of the Standing Committee nor members of each annual convention committee are paid for their time. LCC is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization. Each Left Coast Crime Convention raises money to support a local literacy organization with funds collected through silent and live auctions, and the annual Quilt Raffle.

Who Is Left Coast Crime For? Left Coast Crime is for fans of the mystery/crime genre: readers, authors, librarians, bloggers, publishers, editors, agents, and booksellers.

What Happens at a Left Coast Crime Convention? Our days are built around panel discussions and other programming on a wide variety of topics designed to allow interaction between readers and writers. There are typically three or four programs to choose from during each time slot. The panels can be humorous or serious, educational or entertaining, and are often a mix of everything.There are signings after each panel slot and a book room.

Several special events are included in your Left Coast Crime registration: Thursday Opening Reception, Friday Meet the New Authors Breakfast, Saturday Awards Banquet. Other special events vary by convention.

Connections between authors and fans are encouraged with activities like Author Speed-Dating, Author-Reader Connections, and Author-Hosted Tables at the Awards Banquet.”

I hope to see you there, and I can’t wait to report about this major conference after I’ve experienced it and had time to process what I learned.

Amelia Darnell: Secrets of Silvercrest Village

There is some new progress on the video game! I just received some of the first pages of the revised script late last week and already finished my edits. I’m excited about the new draft I’m seeing because it means our final version of the game will be even better than our awesome demo!

Haven’t played the demo of Amelia Darnell: Secrets of Silvercrest Village? Well, get on that! It’s 100% free to play, and is available for both Mac and Windows.

Also remember, the final version of Amelia Darnell will also be 100% free to download and play. I highly, highly encourage you to try the demo and let me or our team know what you think!

In more personal news…

There have been some major life changes over the last few months. My husband, Pilot got a new job at Washington-based big business, Boeing! This is, of course, a natural field for him to be working in. He’s loving it! I’m still plugging away at my daily life job at a school. Much of the country was laughing at Washington State due to the 2 weeks of snow we encountered in the month of February. Our home received 18 inches of snow! The East Coast tends to laugh at us West Coasters, but I find that a bit unfair. That amount of snow is highly abnormal for our area, so our towns and cities do not have have the same amount of plows or resources available to handle intense winter weather like our coastal counterpart. Grocery store shelves were ransacked and emptied, but for good reason. Washington is an incredibly hilly and still heavily forested, creating major pockets of immobility for its citizens and often leaving thousands without power for several days, sometimes weeks.

My in-laws, Honey and Silver Fox are out in the country at the top of a steep hill. Any time there is a wind storm/heavy rain, snow, etc. they always lose power, often for several days. There is a reason their home is naturally built-in with a wood-burning stove on each level of their home.

Alas, War Machine is no more as it died (over and over and over and over and over again) and had to be retired. We purchased a new (used) crossover vehicle, in a sharp blue, which Pilot has now lovingly dubbed Blue Steel. I call it Blue Streak. We’re still debating on the new name.

We are actually moving this month! We got the keys last week to a brand new Bacher Fort and will be spending the next few weeks moving in. I can’t explain how much changing from a dwelling with all carpet to a new place with hard-surface flooring is happiness-inducing to my life. It will make cleaning so much easier and help keep my allergies in check. I know a lot of people really enjoy carpet, but I hate it SO MUCH. Having hard-surface flooring will literally be life-changing. Less than 20 minutes to clean, I don’t have to worry about pet messes, it’s easier to move furniture, and so on.

This is good news because… Pilot and I are expecting our first child! That’s right, a Bacher Baby is on the way! The Bacher Fort is expanding, as well as my uterus. We planned this move because of us having 2 dogs and a wee babe-in-arms while running up and down stairs to take the pups outside is an incredibly bad idea. Especially when one half of our dynamic duo (meaning: me) is incredibly accident-prone, stairs + baby + 2 dogs on leashes = imminent death.

Baby Bacher is predicted to arrive end of July. This means as summer approaches my random blog postings may be even less frequent than they are now. It kind of depends on how I’m feeling. At least now, out of the first trimester, I’m no longer dealing with nausea.

Yes, I buried the lead.
Yes, you read that correctly.

In less than 6 months, Pilot changed jobs, our car War Machine died (over and over and over and over and over), retired War Machine, bought a new (used) car, found out we were expecting our first child, found a new place to live, am currently moving, and prepping for the arrival of Baby Bacher, ETA July 2019! Most of the time, the “experts” never recommend doing more than 1 of those things within the same year. We did all of these things in less than 6 months.

No sweat, right?
Well, no one ever said we were smart.

If you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, you already know that I’m not particularly sentimental regarding infants, nor am I a firm believer that every person is required to be a parent. Whether you choose to have children in your life or enjoy having a child-free lifestyle, I salute you. Neither is wrong, neither is better than the other. Success is only what you measure for yourself. I will not become one of those people who will inundate your inboxes with tons and tons of baby photos or videos.

Unless something particularly challenging or side-splittingly hilarious happens, most of our private life regarding Baby Bacher will be kept quiet. (Although as time goes by, I suggest keeping an eye on my Instagram for the occasional family photo.) I will never be afraid to answer any question you might have, so post your questions in the Comments section below. (Be prepared, I will answer you honestly.)

Yes, this means that if you take photos with me at Left Coast Crime 2019: Whale of a Crime, I will be sporting a baby-belly as well as my typical Michelin-man style fat rolls. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, people!

I wish you a happy end of winter/early inklings of spring and hoping this blog post finds you well.

*If you would like to attend, please note that pre-registration and fees may apply.


Haven’t read the Roxy Summers Mystery SeriesStart with Capture Me and meet Roxy in a case of cat-and-mouse for a grand Seattle adventure! Then, travel with Roxy to sunny Los Angeles for a food competition to die for in her sequel novel, Crush On You! Roxy’s third book, Missing You has Roxy and friends searching of her ex-boyfriend, lost in a blizzard-riddled Alaska, hoping to find him before time runs out.

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Get your copies today!
Katherine Bacher on Amazon
Katherine Bacher on Barnes and Noble


Are we connected? Well let’s do that!

Find Katherine Bacher on Twitter
Find Katherine Bacher on Instagram
Find Katherine Bacher on Facebook
(…and join her FB Group: Katherine Bacher’s Happy Hour! We have tons of fun over there)
Find Katherine Bacher on Trifecta Publishing House

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Last minute stocking stuffers!

Winter AdTrying to find the right gift for someone?

A book is a fantastic last-minute gift for cozying up by the fire for your loved ones! Give the gift of adventure today!

Did you know you can send e-books to other people? You can! Amazon has an oh-so-convenient feature where you can select an e-book, and THEN instead of “Deliver to” yourself, you select “Transfer via Computer” to another person! (But… don’t forget that extra copy for yourself!)

Give the gift of a Roxy Summers Mystery to someone today! Are you craving summer and warm weather? Consider Capture Meor Crush On You! Can’t get enough of the snow? Give Missing You a try!

It’s the perfect gift for the perfect someone!

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays!

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Guest Blog: Only Her Series by Olivia Stephen

Hello, Precious Readers!

I’m so happy to introduce you to another author, Olivia Stephen. She writes steamy contemporary romance and her Only Her series is a wonderful read for those who enjoy them.

Her first book, Watch Over Her (Only Her Book 1) released back in June, and her second book Hold On To Her (Only Her Book 2) just released last month!

Enjoy this snippet of romance and check her books out!

Watch Over Her (Only Her Series Book 1)

Watch Over Her ebook UPDATED (1)

When her first love abandons her, and a heart-wrenching accident takes her parents too soon, Raina decides it’s time for a fresh start.  In a brand new town, with walls planted firmly around her heart, Raina has given up on her happily ever after, deciding it’s easier to be alone than to risk losing it all.  For a second time.

When she meets Zane, the new bartender in the small North Carolina town she now calls home, the foundation of those walls begins to crumble.  Broody, irritable, and incredibly sexy, there’s something about him she just can’t shake.

As they begin to forge a connection together, Zane’s tumultuous past catches up with him and threatens to destroy any potential future they may have, leaving Raina to question all the decisions she’s made.

Watching over Raina is the hardest promise Zane has ever had to make. Sometimes love doesn’t heal all wounds and not all happy endings are meant to be.  But perhaps two tortured souls can find the peace they deserve, together.

Hold On To Her (Only Her Book 2)

WOH_teaser4 copy

When her first love abandons her, and a heart-wrenching accident takes her parents too soon, Raina decides it’s time for a fresh start.  In a brand new town, with walls planted firmly around her heart, Raina has given up on her happily ever after, deciding it’s easier to be alone than to risk losing it all.  For a second time.

When she meets Zane, the new bartender in the small North Carolina town she now calls home, the foundation of those walls begins to crumble.  Broody, irritable, and incredibly sexy, there’s something about him she just can’t shake.

As they begin to forge a connection together, Zane’s tumultuous past catches up with him and threatens to destroy any potential future they may have, leaving Raina to question all the decisions she’s made.

Watching over Raina is the hardest promise Zane has ever had to make. Sometimes love doesn’t heal all wounds and not all happy endings are meant to be.  But perhaps two tortured souls can find the peace they deserve, together.


Check out Olivia Stephen here!

Amazon links/free in KU –

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2K15fi4

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2K15Gcc

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2K3jNh9

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2JXEB9R

Status

No longer wearing my wedding rings…

rings

… for now.

Precious Readers, for the first time in almost a decade, I’m wandering the streets with no wedding ring anymore. Here’s why:

For those who haven’t met me in person, I’m a large, fat gal. Not being self-deprecating. It’s the truth. This topic has come up a few times over the last few weeks with my hyper-health-conscious co-workers. I figure, since I already share so much of my life with you already, that I should also address this issue:

Since childhood, I’ve struggled with having a healthy weight. Yes, another American cliché of being obsessed with my size, while also not taking care of myself and being clinically diagnosed as obese.

Now, before I get started, I’d like to disclaimer this post that sharing my childhood with you is not making excuses as to why I was unhealthy. It is merely stating what has already happened in the past and possible issues that may have influenced my life choices about my health.

As I’ve shared in the past, both of my parents grew up incredibly poor in Oregon on farms. This often led to limited budget and food sources. My parents, having grown up with this experience did not want their children to ever be without anything. They also were slightly above average age at the time of my adoption. My Mom was 38 and my Dad was 39. They also both worked full-time, I was put in daycare if I wasn’t in school, and they would come home exhausted after working a full day to take care of the normal household needs. My mom making dinner, my dad taking care of the lawn, etc. Without siblings, and with severe upper respiratory allergies, I was either playing gentle games in the car port or reading. I wasn’t as active a child as most of my time was spent trying not to sneeze, cough, get sinus and/or ear infections during the year while trying to get the right allergy prescription that helped my body allow me to, you know, be an actual normal kid. This meant that while fitness wasn’t ignored, it wasn’t a high priority in our home. They were mostly focused on keeping me breathing normally and from getting constantly sick.

As much as I loved my grandmother, she often focused on the weight of me and my cousins. She would pinch our wrists and our sides. Now, keep in mind, a full-grown woman who weighs 115 lbs will still have skin gather if it is pinched. My grandmother would do this to my cousins and me and skin would gather, and she would say we were getting fat. The earliest I remember her doing this to us, I was 5 years old.

You heard me. 5 years old.

For the rest of our lives, my cousin Car Guy*, Star*, and I would battle a lifelong issue of individually varying levels of body dysmorphia. Car Guy and Star participated in sports, but Star would fluctuate in weight (while still always thin) and it took all of us many years to move past it and just live our lives. I look back on childhood pictures, and while I had a rounder face than my family, I was definitely not a fat kid. Neither were they.

But, we thought we were, and that’s what we were told, every time we visited her.

In third grade, there was a classmate, I don’t remember his name, but would greet me every day as I entered the classroom with, “Get out of here, you fat cow. Everyone hates you, you stupid, fat cow.” Standing there, in the doorway as I’ve entered the classroom. My coat and backpack still on. Every single school day of my entire third grade year. This didn’t help my self-image at all. I was also being bullied emotionally and physically by several other students, so needless to say, elementary school sucked. It was literally a couple of decades later, and after being married to a special education teacher named Pilot-hindsight is 20/20 after all-that I remembered all of the work the teacher was forced to do with that student, how much he hurt others’ feelings. He had behavioral issues and only lasted 1 year at that school. Again, it took a couple of decades to realize it wasn’t me or my body he had an issue with, he was constantly calling everyone in the classroom something horrible. However, when you’re 7 years old, you don’t always understand these things happening around you. The horrible thing he happened to tie with my identity just happened to be weight-related. He didn’t realize how much more those comments affected me over something else he could’ve said.

As a teenager, I did gain weight, and my mom was so obsessed with clothes shopping–again, never wanting me to “be without” and it was out of love–that as I got bigger, it wasn’t a big deal. I’d just get the next size up and have more clothes. I never participated in school athletics, though I wanted to do volleyball and track. My parents were concerned that my grades would slip, so when I asked, I was told “no”. While I wasn’t a poor student, but I wasn’t great. I am a strictly B-average gal. I managed to score straight-A’s my last semester of high school and the first quarter of college, but those were the only times in my life that occurred. I was that stereotypical quiet, reading, anti-social, book nerd, but I wasn’t as smart as my friends. To be fair, I went to highly strict, private, high academic performance-based, college-bound schools, so my idea of “not as smart as my friends” might still be relatively skewed compared to an average Washington State school.

I digress.

As you can see, a compounded lifestyle pattern emerges. I’m already thinking I’m fat (even though in childhood, I wasn’t), thinking my body type will never change, my life had no physical activity, and athletics was not prioritized in my home. It was normal that I was “the fat kid” and I had accepted that I always would be. That was my role. I hated it, but I had accepted it.

Breakfast was never important to me. By high school, I drank coffee in the morning, no food until lunch. I got used to not eating in the mornings. Personally, I only started eating breakfast routinely in the morning about 1 year ago, and I’m now in my mid-30’s. My point was, I had already gotten into the habit of skipping meals.

When I got to college, as I’ve mentioned before, there was someone I loved and cared deeply about. We had been (what I thought of as) best friends since middle school, through high school, and both got into Central Washington University together and lived in the same freshman dorm. His mom had gotten sick during our junior/senior years of high school and went through a horrible ordeal. When we got to freshman year of college, he was away from home for the first time and was also grieving and processing everything that had happened to his mom and his family the last two years. He went from being the person I’d known and loved into a hard-partying guy. He quickly stopped talking to me and cut me out of his life, and I was completely heartbroken, confused, hurt, and depressed. When he tried to talk to me later, it was too much and I cut him out of my own life. It was too painful to relive all of those memories.

Now, by the time I reached my first year of college, I was obese. Weighing in around 178 lbs (yes, a real adult woman has shared her actual weight with you), I was unhealthy, large, and still not active. Navigating being away from home for the first time myself, not having developed great social skills, and now in a deep depression, I eventually stopped sleeping.

multi people

I also stopped eating… almost completely.

My days’ worth of food consumed ended up going from 2 meals a day reduced to ultimately: 1 water bottle and 2 soda crackers a day. That’s it. Well, for those who purposely starve themselves, you already know that you drop water weight, and your body starts pulling from the fat as energy. Because you’re literally starving yourself.

I dropped 30 lbs in 3 months.

I went from a size Extra Large down to a tight-fitting Medium. I hadn’t been Medium-sized since I was 11 years old. To be fair, now being at college, I was walking/bicycling everywhere instead of driving. (Ellensburg is a small town.) But, I was still not eating anything.

Now, here’s the kicker: With everyone who knew me growing up and in college, the response I got was incredibly positive. When I visited home, I was constantly greeted by my friends and family with:

“Oh my gosh! You look amazing! Whatever you’re doing, keep it up!”

“You’ve lost so much weight, you’re looking great!

My friend, Glamazon* greeted me with, “Holy cow! You shrank!”

Always followed up with the next question:

“How did you do it?”

I answered as any young woman who is being told that her body looks “the best it’s ever been” while dealing with severe depression and an eating disorder would.

I lied.

I told everyone it was because I was “eating better” and exercising. The truth was, I wasn’t consuming any food, barely staying hydrated, sleeping less than 3 hours per night, and in a clinically depressed state. I forced myself into focusing on my academics and no socializing (hence the straight-A’s my first quarter, but I wasn’t living a good life).

How did I stop? While I would love to credit my darling husband, Pilot, as while I was mourning an officially non-romantic, long-term relationship, I was getting to know Pilot who also lived in the same dorm. He, and the help with the few new friends I had made, helped me remember that I was still a human being trying to be a good and nice person every day. That my self-worth wasn’t tied to my body and appearance, but my personality. Some people have body dysmorphia to the point where they need additional help, and that’s good.

A separate note: Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that you are valued, you are loved, and the only person whose opinion matters about your health is your own. Screw everyone else. Mental illness should not be stigmatized, it is always good and important to ask for help if you need it. You are not alone.

After being rejected by someone I had loved for several years, I was reminded that I was still a funny, smart, generous, and movie-loving person. After a couple more months, I started eating again. I ended up hurting myself because I took advantage of that knowledge. By now, I was in a steady relationship with Pilot, had made peace with my life without the boy/man from my past, and was focusing on graduating from Central’s Communications program.

I took that knowledge for what it was, that it didn’t matter what size I was, because Pilot will always love me for me. And he will, and he does. That didn’t change the fact that I was ignoring a responsibility to myself to be healthy. I would never encourage someone to stop eating as a method to lose weight, in 100% transparency, I went back to old eating habits. While I often cooked my own food for dinner, and tried to eat healthy for lunch, I was still not exercising, and eating portions far larger than necessary for any human being. My sophomore and junior year of college, I gained all of the weight back… and more. I skyrocketed to 193 lbs.

Pilot was always an active kid. His brother and sister participated in sports. While Pilot never did sports, he was in marching band every single year, playing the drums. Miles of walking while also getting an arm exercise in, and he was active at home. When I realized my weight was out of control again, we started working out together.

I worked out 2 hours per day, every day, and never saw a single pound melt off. I couldn’t figure it out. After 2 years of working out consistently, nothing happened. I didn’t gain weight, but I wasn’t losing it either. When I graduated, I gave up on working out. Continued eating majorly over-portioned food 2 meals a day. After several years of me being large and Pilot and I still being in love with each other, even long distance, I realized he truly loved me as a person. Not as a “trophy wife” not as “a good looking woman” who happened to like him, though he finds me gorgeous and I do too, but loved me for who I was. Scars, bad temper, and all.

Ladies, I will always be the first person to tell you that your value is not in your appearance.

Again, Ladies: your value is not in your appearance.

As much as society would like to convince you otherwise, it is not. If you like to wear makeup, do your hair, dress stylishly every day — as long as you’re doing it for yourself and no one else — DO IT. Don’t let society, men, other women, or anyone else dictate to how you wish to be appearance-wise.

That being said, there needs to be a balance between being healthy and having confidence in one’s self versus your body image being what defines you as a human being. Health is 100% important. Without it, your shorten and/or ruin the quality of your own life. I have a massive stubborn streak. I got so caught up in the newfound confidence, I once again ignored my own health. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and stopped exercising.

I ballooned.

A few blog posts ago, I talked about the death of my Dad, my Mom’s severe orthopaedic injury, and the next bout of severe depression I suffered. While I deal with my depression and anxiety every day, this was an especially difficult time in my life. I was also working at desk jobs with a staff that didn’t care about me. At my heaviest, I unashamed, but badly peaked at 285 lbs, and hit my limit when I was encroaching a size 20 in women’s clothing. This was about 4.5-5 years ago.

Our parents are aging. As of this year, every single parent on both Pilot and my side of the family, extended elder relatives, etc. will all be 70 years old or older. Many of them are not in great physical shape and weren’t for most of their adult lives. Pilot and I don’t want fat and inactivity to be a factor of poor health for the majority of our adult lives. We want to know we’ve done everything we can to keep ourselves healthy and in decent physical shape so we have as many years together as possible for ourselves and each other.

food

I convinced myself that this time… THIS TIME, I’d do it right. I didn’t join a “diet,” I didn’t do a “miracle pill,” I didn’t agree to this new thing called “red light therapy.” (What the hell is that? I’m sorry, it sounds like a massive scam.) Starting 4.5-5 years ago, I started to exercise again, but didn’t kick myself if I neglected to do it every day. Guilt is a horrible spiral that backfires in your fight to be healthy. I don’t go more than 2 days without some form of major physical activity. I eat the best natural/nutritious food that I can afford or prepare for every meal, even if it’s store bought microwave meals, but I’m not “dieting.” If I eat badly, I don’t eat badly for more than 2 days in a row, and then balance it out with the remainder of the week with healthy-portioned healthy food, sometimes only veggie-based foods. (I’m still an omnivore.)

I don’t like the term “diet.” Diet implies “temporary.” A temporary solution for a life-long result. Does that make sense to you? Not to me. I was looking for lifetime change. A lifestyle change.

It started out with small changes like parking further away from entrances and walking across the parking lot more. I got dogs, which require me to walk them 3-4 times a day for at least 10-15 minutes each time. I drank waaay more water, stopped purchasing soda except for social occasions, limited alcohol intake to social occasions and 1 glass of wine twice a month maximum. Pilot is a candy FIEND. If there’s candy, sugar, or ice cream in the house, he will eat ALL OF IT. We stopped buying ice cream for the most part, or buy non-favorite flavors so it’s less tempting to eat it after dinner. If he gets candy, it’s in the mini-size so he can better track how much of it he’s eating. We eat breakfast so we don’t splurge at lunch and are less hungry for dinner. We eat 4 smaller meals per day. If we have a snack, it’s pre-portioned so we don’t mindless-eat snack or we can physically track how many small portions we’ve eaten. Since we both get up incredibly early for work, it’s hard to only eat 3 meals a day. I try to make sure a vegetable or fruit is a part of every dinner and/or lunch. I cut out caffeine. I’m sleeping more — averaging about 5 hours per night. I think I’m just one of those people who doesn’t need a lot of sleep in general.

In the short-term, I trained for my first 5K two years ago and finished it in under 1 hour. That was a major accomplishment for me, as I had never run on purpose before that training. (Sorry former PE teachers. I still hate running.) I do run/walk with Pilot in the evenings, but there is nothing you can say or do to convince me running is fun. I do it because it’s good for me, but I am hating my life every second I’m doing it.

In more of the long-term changes, Pilot and I agreed to start taking evening walks together while the weather was good to do so. We got up to 2-mile walk/jogs by the end of this summer.  While people think of my nerdiness as tenfold when I tell people I still actively play PokemonGo**, I am proud of it because it keeps me walking. Pushing that walk a little bit further to hit that Pokestop or catch an elusive Pokemon. I got Pilot to start playing it with me and we incorporated the game into our daily lives, separate from our evening walks. (Go Team Valor!) On bad weather days, or to catch up with my friends, we typically meet up at the mall. Not to shop (at least for me), but to walk the premises out of the rain. (Washington State malls are huge.) It’s a great aerobic and cardio workout, and has a food court if we need water.

I still enjoy the occasional sweet, I enjoy big meals, but it’s not every day, often not several times per week. Those are made special occasions such as my weekly dinner with my mom, a visit with Pilot’s parents a couple of times per month, or a special night out with Pilot. We eat a real, regular meal before going to the movie theater so we don’t eat at the theater itself. We go to the movie theater far less frequently. (That’s been good to our wallets too). We shop at Grocery Outlet** and have a more routine set of recipes that we eat. While I haven’t gotten out of my habit of cooking for an army, the recipes are healthier and we eat them several days in a row and make them last. Pilot and I are realistic about our lifestyle. We’re super-busy people working full-time jobs and each have our own businesses to run. We keep breakfast (if we eat it) and lunch simple, while dinner is more involved nutritionally. We hold each other accountable, not afraid to bust each other’s chops about additional snacking or sweets. (While we never hurt each other emotionally, nor sling mud at each other, neither of us is afraid of a little “good old fashioned ribbing.” We have weird senses of humor.)

The weight loss has been slow. Painstakingly slow. Snail’s pace slow.

The difference?

swirly shrink

I’m losing the weight in a healthy way, and KEEPING IT OFF.

No yo-yo-ing, self-inflicted starvation, no losing weight only to gain it back and double it. I’ve found when you lose a lot of weight quickly, it’s super hard to keep it off. Again, strict dieting and exercise works, but unless you’ve changed your life to make it a daily automatic part of how you live, it’s a temporary solution for a lifetime result.

In 4.5-5 years, I’ve lost on an average of 62 lbs of fat. I’ll let that sink in a moment.

SIXTY-TWO POUNDS OF FAT.

Back to why I’m not wearing my wedding rings: I lost enough fat that my rings were falling off of my fingers. I was literally typing yesterday at work, and heard this “clacking” noise. I looked down and realized my wedding band and engagement ring (not fused together) were loose enough to hit each other while I typed, and the rings were slipping off of my fingers. I don’t want to lose my rings or get new ones. (By the way, the rings depicted are not our actual rings. Sorry for the misleading headline, but this is where it all ties together. See?)

I had to take my rings in to Shane Company** last night to have them resized smaller. My ring size went down to a 9. I haven’t been a standard ring size… ever. (I don’t wear much jewelry, so I don’t know at what point in my life I stopped being a standard ring size for women.) I realized I could go to any apparel/accessory store and pick a size 9 ring off of the rack and wear it. I’ve never been able to do that before. I’m so proud of this, and it’s an accomplishment to me.

I still have a long way to go, but I’m ready for the challenge because I’m finally approaching it the right way. The safe way. The right way. Eating right, exercising every day (if I can) in different ways, eating less fat/sugar/salt, and burning more calories than I eat. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon (even though I still hate running). I don’t go by WEIGHT. I go with how my body feels and how my clothes fit. I have upper body strength where there was none for most of my life, and I’ve gained and toned a LOT of muscle, all from weight lifting and training. Weight lifting will not move the needle on the scale much. However, my pants have been falling off of my ass, my shirts are sagging on me, and my underwear didn’t fit anymore. I’ve had to buy clothes a smaller size each year around August/September. I’m not winded going up staircases anymore. I don’t have to wonder if I’ll fit in certain chairs, or trying to get past someone taking up space in a hallway. I don’t have to worry if a plastic chair will creak and groan with strain under me. I don’t have to worry about as much space I will take up in the movie theater or in the car.

I RUN.
NEVER did THAT before until 2 years ago. EVER.
(I still hate running.)

THAT IS SUCCESS FOR ME.  Weight fluctuates, sometimes hit plateaus. I still get strange looks from people when I talk about healthy eating and exercising methods because they only see me for my size right now, and see an elephant. They don’t see the lifelong journey I’ve been on and how much fat I’ve already lost. But I’ve gone from a size 20 down to, as of 2 weeks ago when I needed to buy new pants, a tight-fitting size 14. At losing 62 lbs of fat, you would think I’d be far smaller. I’m not. But, I’ve gained a lot of muscle and I haven’t been a size 14 since I was a teenager. I am now in my mid-30’s. Think about that. I weigh less from fat loss, but clothing-wise I haven’t gone down much on the clothing scale.  Again, it’s not about size ladies, it’s about how tall you are, your ethnicity, if you’re prone to certain conditions or diseases, it’s about your fitness and health. Not the size of the fit.

I am not skinny. There is a huge misconception that all Asian women are stick figured, waif-ish, short women. I am definitely a thick-thighed, big calved, curvy gal, and even if I was at a healthy weight, I will never be stick-figured boy-shaped. Many women of Korean descent still living in South Korea often get plastic surgery. It’s true. It’s not even called plastic surgery, they’re called beauty treatments. This includes calf muscle reduction (didn’t I mention I have huge calves? They’re super toned and big-muscled, not fat. Just huge) and eyelid shaping turning a monolid to a creased one like women of European descent. Many women of Asian descent are “skinny” or in healthy weight categories, but suffer from diabetes types I and II. It’s a DNA thing. Here’s a few articles to help with understanding:

Side Note: You need to eat nutritionally healthy and exercise the right way for your body. Everyone’s body is different and requires different nutrition either due to ethnicity, disease, health conditions, outdoor environment, etc. Do what’s right for your body. For example: I am lactose sensitive and other health conditions.

Someone once said to me, or maybe I read it in an article — I’m sorry, I don’t remember, I think it was Nerd Fitness**? — but they said “Health is 100% nutrition. Fitness is 100% exercise.” They’re not the same thing. You can have someone who only eats organic, plant-based, vegan lifestyles, but if they’re not exercising, they’re body isn’t physically fit and can still have health problems because you’re not taking care of your body.

The nutrition and health is there with how Pilot and I are now choosing to eat, but the fitness part is still in development. The plus side (no pun intended) is we’re already doing more fitness-wise than we were years ago, and continue to build upon what we’ve already established as a daily part of our lives. I am not skinny, I’m not sure if I ever will be “skinny.”

As the great Queen Latifah once said, “What size am I? I’m a size healthier.” That’s good enough for me.

Am I healthy? I’m far healthier than I’ve ever been. I can do push ups, I can run, I can run up stairs, I can walk/run farther in one go than I ever could, my food is more nutritious, I make better choices eating when I’m dining out, My husband and I are partners in this long-term health journey, I’m still flexible, I challenge myself. I may not be 100% healthy and physically fit–yet–but I’m much, much happier. I’m much, much healthier. I’m much more fit than I’ve ever been. Hell, I might even be able to do a pull up for the first time in my life soon, but I need to keep weight training my arms.

While looking at me now, no one would think I was “healthy” because of my size, believe me, but, this is healthier than I was yesterday. This is healthier than I was a week ago. This is healthier than I’ve been in years, perhaps my whole life. I’m doing my best, I’m doing it safe, and I’m doing it right. That’s good enough for me.

I’d love to hear from you. Share your journey or fitness goals!
What has worked for you?
Have you lost a lot of weight recently?

 

*Not this person’s real name. It has been changed to protect their privacy.

**Not a sponsor. I have not been compensated in any way to promote this brand.