Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Author Angi Morgan's Journey to Weight Loss

A few months ago when Award-winning Angi Morgan shared her call story, she failed to mention she'd accomplished something even more monumental. Angi took back her life. Today she's here to tell us how she did it. Please welcome Angi Morgan to the Five Scribes.

Thanks to the ladies at Five Scribes for having me back to chat again. I appreciate the opportunity, especially with a subject that I’ve become passionate about over the past 11 months: Getting Healthy. When Donnell asked me in December to chat about my weight loss journey over the past year, I thought sure, great, why not? It had been easy and why not share with everyone some of the things I’ve learned. Well, since the time I said yes and today, I’ve discovered a ton of things about myself. So I apologize for the lengthy post, but couldn’t cut anything. Before I begin I want to throw out a caution that you hear over and over: before starting any weight loss or exercise program, consult your physician, consult others on the program, get recommendations, keep good records, and most importantly ask yourself one question… What makes this time any different than before?

Obviously, weight loss is a very personal subject and you may want to know how (or why) I believe it goes hand-in-hand with writing. The things I’ve “learned” this past year actually are things I’ve “known” but hadn’t seriously applied. I’m putting these habits into play in all the facets of my life with all of my dreams. But a little about my journey first.

On March 16th of 2010 I emailed a proposal to my agent. I had time to breathe, had time check my Facebook status, and had just finished watching THE BIGGEST LOSER. I’m a fan. I admit that for several seasons I sat on the couch eating my nightly ice cream, not getting “it.” Then I felt like I’d been hit over the head: I was 3 pounds heavier than two women’s starting weights. I WAS BIG ENOUGH TO BE ON THE BIGGEST LOSER.

So chatting on FB with my cousin (an RN), I asked how her weight loss program had gone. She’d been successful and asked if I was interested in her program: Take Shape For Life using Medifast products. I said yes, but she asked a very important question: What makes this time any different than before?

She didn’t want me to start and fail. And until you know that answer…you know the answer, you really aren’t willing to change what’s failed. So what was different for me? I knew. I didn’t have to think about it, the list just poured out of me…all I needed was for someone to ask the question. For me:

I was 5’ 2” and weighed 233 pounds. I was big enough to be on the Biggest Loser. And no one knew it. I hid it well with lose t-shirts and sweats. I was attending a conference and bought a size 22.

My doctor had referred me to a cardiologist, my cholesterol & triglycerides were at dangerous levels, they couldn’t stabilize by blood pressure (normally around 140/110), I am allergic to statins (used to fight cholesterol) and I was on five asthma meds.

But two startling revelations: My 20 year old daughter had no memory of me healthy. Not to mention slender…just healthy. And since she was pre-med, not planning on having children for a while, and I was about to turn 50, I just might not be around to see them in 15 years.

WOW. Things had to change.

I began TSFL on March 24th. It was easy for me because it wasn’t about the weight loss. It was getting my life back. A life I’d lost because I was over-weight and very unhealthy. Starting weight: 233 pounds. I set periodic event goals which I met. Be in the 180s by my daughter’s party, be in the 160s by national conference, be in the 140’s by my birthday (barely made that one). On October 8th I weighed in at 149, I was a size 8 on my 50th birthday. I’d lost 84 pounds in a little over 6 months. I’d written a book, had my first book signings, knee surgery … life was good. Everyone was happy. And the unconscious sabotage began. “You look great.” “You don’t need to lose anymore.” “You’re taking this too far.” “One bite won’t hurt.” “Don’t deprive yourself.”

Then I stalled. No, not the weight loss. My writing. And when the writing became more difficult…I cheated on my diet for the first time. My editor wanted a proposal. I’ve had trouble writing it. I lost 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then disaster. They asked for the proposal again. I still didn’t have it. The week after Christmas I weighed 137 pounds. I was 4 pounds away from my goal weight. So, so, very close and so, so, very far.

I’ve gained and lost the same 5 pounds for the past three months.

The difference in Take Shape for Life and other weight loss programs: MY HEALTH COACH. TSFL is a program that walks you through not only losing the weight but keeping it off. Learning WHY you gained weight, but also learning about yourself and understanding what you truly want in life. Yeah, yeah, yeah…we ALL KNOW this. But I’d made a couple of mistakes after my birthday.

First: I let people sabotage me. They didn’t mean to, but their comments sunk in and let me detour…so I slowed down my weight loss. Second: I never learned to take time for me. Whoa…2010 was ALL about me. Right? Wrong. I strictly adhered to the TSFL program. I sold book 2 and wrote it in 6 weeks. Had knee surgery. Won the Golden Heart. My first book went on sale. I was totally all about me. Yeah, that’s what I thought, too. But honestly…nope. I never took half an hour and did anything for myself.

EVEN THOUGH writing was my life-long dream. EVEN THOUGH I was working at the job I’ve always wanted. It is still a job. The weight loss was to get healthy, to be there for everyone else. I never knew I was stressed to the utmost limit—I thought I thrived on stress. Get real folks…no one THRIVES on stress. Stress kills.

In January, we (my husband who has lost 37 pounds by eating right and exercise) began working out together. We have a goal: to be fit to travel and mountain bike. He was cyclist when he was younger and riding a bike is one of the few things I can do with my very cartilage-deprived knees. So we’re working out together most days and we feel great. I try to take (still feels selfish) half an hour to just play with my dog, read, enjoy something—look at old pictures, organize shelves or pictures or my office (yes, I know that seems like work, but it’s low on my priority list so it’s actually fun). Something just for me.

So there’s the weight loss journey. Oh, here’s where I get to mention that I’m comfortably in a size 6 JRS (can fit in a size four). I’ve lost 78 inches and a total of 96 pounds (you don’t get to count the yo-yoing). I’ve lost count of the number of people who have used Tim & I as inspiration to get healthy. Which has been a blessing, helping others.

How does all this apply to writing? Well, stalled both in the weight loss and writing because I hadn’t set an end-goal. Everything I’ve learned about weight loss, I knew from writing. It clicked and made sense because I’d learned it through writing. Set a goal, practice, get a support system in place, keep at it, don’t give up, keep track, celebrate the wins, find out what you did incorrectly, correct the problems, and keep going. Don’t stop. And most importantly BELIEVE. Believe in yourself, in your capabilities, in your goals.

So was I referring to weight loss or writing? Or any dream you might have?

I messed up in October in both areas: writing and weight loss. I needed a new goal. A new goal of writing: my proposal; and in weight loss: reaching 100 pounds. The proposal is next week. The 4 last pounds is March 24th. A lot’s happened in the past year. Life’s moving faster and faster and I’m finally taking the time to live it.

So my question to you: If you want to _____ (insert your desire, dream, or need), what makes this time different than any other time? And in the words of a very wise Jedi: “Named must your fear be before banish it you can,” & “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

Angi Morgan writes Intrigues where honor and danger collide with love. She combines actual Texas settings with characters who are in realistic and dangerous situations. Her Golden Heart winning Hill Country Holdup is still available and an RT 2010 Best First Series Book nominee. Her second Harlequin Intrigue, .38 Caliber Cover-Up, is currently available. Check out her website for rules and details on the 38 DAYS OF .38 CALIBER romantic suspense basket give-away on March 6th. You could be the winner of 3 DVDs, 12 books, and of course…chocolate. Cause even on the road to great health, everyone needs chocolate.


magolla said...

Very inspiring, Angi. I'm faced with a similar weight issue, though not 100 lbs. it is still a hefty amount.

I think it's time to take that first step.

Jean said...

You look mahvalous, darling! Keep up the inspiring story. I love it. Now to go find my elliptical. Very inspiring story and I've shared it already.
Good luck with the writing and keep up the healthy attitude.


Margie Lawson said...

Angi -

You personify steely self-discipline!

Your drive is as strong and impressive as your writing. :-)

Can't wait to see you at Dreamin in Dallas!

Donnell said...

Angi, I'm so proud and happy for you. Can you talk about what you plan to do for maintenance now; will this program supply you with a life coach once you stop paying? I agree with all the others. You do look mahvehlous, and you have steely determination.

Donna Caubarreaux said...

My wake up call was being diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. I'd just got back from a conference in New Orleans, and weighed more than I ever have.

So, since the end of September 2010, I've lost 46 pounds.

I'm eating less. I can now walk for a distance without sounding like a freight train going up a hill.
Life is good.

Wendy S Marcus said...

Your story is an inspiration. I'm forwarding the link to my daughter who struggles with her weight. Thank you!

Marilyn Brant said...

Congratulations, Angi -- your story is an inspiration. Thanks so much for sharing it with us all ;).

Donnell said...

Donna, I just have to do a shout of KUDOS to you!

Angi Morgan said...

Magolla ~~Thanks for sharing that you need to lose. The first step on the journey is always the scariest. Find your support and put it in place! Then take off. Best of luck,

Angi Morgan said...

Thanks for the wonderful words, Jean. I've promised my family never to be obese again. And more importantly, I've promised myself.


Angi Morgan said...

Margie, thanks for the steely reminder. Coming from a woman I admire greatly, it means so much! I'm telling myself to be steely today! No sidetracking from what needs to be done.

Hugs, but I can't wait to get them in person!

Angi Morgan said...

Getting to know you better over the last year has been an awesome blessing. I'm so thankful you're a part of Get Lost In A Story and that I have a reason to keep bugging you! LOL

You asked about Take Shape For Life... I'm going to send everyone to my Health Coach, Mayla Crawford.


Angi Morgan said...

I'm so proud of you Donna! Keep it up. 46 pounds is an entire suitcase of fat you've gotten rid of.

My husband travels...a lot. And when I'd lost 45 pounds, he brought one of his suitcases to me and said, "lift that." I did...not really understanding. But that was his realization of how much weight I'd lost at that point: an entire suitcase of fat. NOW, it's two.

So keep it up Donna !

Angi Morgan said...

Wendy & Marilyn, thanks for reading my very long post and all my best to your daughter!

Encourage great health for everyone in the family.


Cindy said...

Great blog, Angi! I loved the paragraph about what you learned in writing applies to weight loss, too. I hadn't put that together before. It's a wonderful visual for me, thank you.

And, most of all, thank you for being my inspiration. After watching your success, I finally took the leap myself, and signed up with Take Shape for Life. I have lost 60 pounds since November 12, 2010, and today my doctor cut my blood pressure medicine dose in half!

You, Take Shape for Life and my health coach saved my life!

Thanks for sharing!

Phyllis said...


Thank you for your inspiring story. I,too, have reached my heaviest and have lost 17 lbs., but it is a struggle.

Congratualtions on all your accomplishments. Go going, girl!

Angi Morgan said...

I might have inspired, but lady, YOU saved your life!

Congratulations on your success!

Angi Morgan said...

Hey Phyllis,
17 pounds is aweseome! Keep going 'til you hit a healthy BMI. You can do it.


Theresa said...

Hi Angi,
Welcome to the Scribes! You're story is wonderful and it's great to see you can still write when slender.

After having a RWA Chapter Xmas party in my house a dozen years ago, my daughter noted that I would never get published 'cause, apparently, one needs to be at least 50lbs overweight to be published. Out of the words of babes! A sad, but accurate observation at the time. So it's great to see you can successfully adhere to your writing regime while paying attention to your health.

And there's another lesson in there--one I learned way back in my 30's, and that is the benefits of being "selfish" and taking care of you.

Though if nobody is harmed by one stealing some time away to spend indulging one's joys--can it really be deemed selfish? I don't think so. I think that's brainwashed super-women thinking.

It's very important for every person--but especially women who are nurturers by nature, thus tend to put everybody else first--to make time, most days, to enjoy life and do activities that renew and refresh a woman's spirit and energy.

In the long run, you'll be much happier and healthier and so will all around you. Speaking of that, I'm off enjoy this beautiful day by walking our dog.
Thanks for sharing, Angi!

Angi Morgan said...

THANK YOU Theresa for the encouraging words. In half hour is about to begin. A bike ride on this perfectly gorgeous day!


Marsha said...

Your openness and honesty are a help to everyone, Angi. Thanks for sharing. Marsha

Angi Morgan said...

You're very welcome, Marsha !


Ellis Vidler said...

Yours is an inspiring story. You look great, and I admire you for doing it. Not to mention congratulations on the book. Hope you get that proposal in this time and have another one soon.

Angi Morgan said...

Ellis, Thank you so much... and speaking of the proposal... I need to work on that some more today.


Romance Odyssey said...

Very inspiring Angi! I'm proud for you with your success, personal and professional.

Donnell said...

Angi, you inspired a lot of people today, girlfriend. Thank you! Come back and see us!

Angi Morgan said...

Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by, it's always good to hear from you.


Angi Morgan said...

Donnell and the rest of the Scribes...

Thanks for having me and letting me tell my tale. I hope everyone has success and enjoys their life!

Great company today!

Regina Richards said...

Fabulous post, Angi. You rock!

Leslie Ann said...

Hi Angie,
Very honest and inspiring blog post. I loved the way you tied the two together; weight-loss and writing. So often I seem to fight the same 2 battles and have always felt they're tied together.

Brava, Angie.

~LA of the Scribes

Leslie Ann said...

Sorry about adding the "e" to your name...I'm at work :) and our manager is an Angi"e".
Forgive me?

Angi Morgan said...

Hey again Regina! Always good to hear from you and big hugs !


Angi Morgan said...

LA --
No apologies necessary. I go by everything. I can tell how long a person's known me --longer than 12 years and they call me Angela. LOL Angi's the name I went by when I met my husband, but then when he asked me to marry hiim he decided I was Angela. Totally confused his family.


And I really think everything we desire, want, need to achieve or accomplish still has to have the "want to" factor in there somewhere. Or it won't ever happen. You have to believe in yourself and set goals.

Take care.

Janet Johnson said...

Thank you for sharing your story! I am amazed at all your hard work. Very inspiring. :)