Ok then…YOU WILL

August 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

13 months ago, my brother asked me a question

He said “Do you think you can get out of this hospital chair and walk to the end of the hallway and back?”


I weighed 417 pounds

I had just had major surgery

And so I answered him with no hesitation.


You know what he said ?


Excuse me?

Didn’t I just say “NO, I CAN’T“??

So I repeated it

He smiled at me

And said “OK….I hear you…..now let’s go!”

I remember thinking back then

I really love my brother BUT

I’m not so sure I like him right now

But you know what?


I got up out of that hospital chair

And I rolled my IV pole with me to the door

THERE….I said….Good enough?

He laughed but I knew

He wasn’t going to let up

That is the longest hallway I’ve ever walked down

Walking at 417 pounds is painful anyway

Your feet are always swollen

Your back always hurts

The weight in my stomach is always trying to pull me over

And add to that major surgery

I complained

I told him halfway down the hallway that we needed to go back

He just looked at me and said

“OK I hear you….Now let’s go”

When I made it home from the hospital

He told me to pace the hallway

30 times back and forth


Ok it’s a small hallway but really???

Maybe I had expected he’d be a little easy on me

I did just have surgery after all, right?

Yeah I know what they tell you in the hospital

To start walking right away

But walking hurt

Walking always hurt

My life hurt

Being alive hurt

Before surgery and after

Being me was painful

Breathing was hard….walking was hard….living was hard….

Just existing was exhausting

I could be sitting in a chair doing nothing

And be totally and completely exhausted

When you’re 417 pounds, your body has to work so hard just to keep you alive

Getting out of a chair is like a marathon to a super obese person

The only problem with telling my brother these things

Was that he already knew

He had been over 400 pounds too

He had lived my life

But this same man

Ran a Triathlon yesterday

For the second time

So he just looked at me and smiled saying

“OK…I hear you……Now let’s go!”

So I paced my hallway 30 times

And the next day he told me to do 50

A few days later, he said

“We’re going walking outside”



It’s Texas…and it’s JULY

It’s HOT

I’m over 400 pounds

I can’t even wear shoes because my feet are too big

And you expect me to walk OUTSIDE?

In the HEAT?

In flip flops?

Where people can see me??

He smiled

“OK…..I hear you…..Now let’s go!”

So out the door I went

To the mailbox and back

It was exhausting

The next day we went one more mailbox

You know the rest of the story

Because I started with the hospital hallway

And I made it up to 5 miles

Over the next few months, Lee would come out to visit me

And every time he came I dreaded it!

Because I knew he’d throw something new my way

Remember that day I wrote about Rocky?

When he had me walk further than I had ever walked?

And when I wanted to give up

He busted out his phone and played the Rocky theme song!!

Lee is always making me do things I don’t want to do

And when I tell him I CAN’T do it

It just doesn’t seem to matter to him

He smiles at me and we end up doing it anyway

The funny thing is that you think you know yourself

I thought I knew ME better than anyone

But in the past 13 months, I’ve done things I never thought I could do

I just really didn’t think it was in me

That I was capable of it

Until he pushed me into trying

My brother left this comment for me the other day


I think we all need to keep this in mind when we’re struggling

Because one of the reasons I would always quit diets

Or quit working out

Was because it was hard

And I struggled with it

And somehow I thought that meant I was a failure

So it became easier to just NOT TRY

It became easier to just GIVE UP

I stopped believing in my own abilities a long time ago

Probably right about the time my husband walked out the door

Right about the time he said “I don’t love you anymore”

Right about the time he told me that I was the reason he could not live in the same home with his children

Because I was just too awful to be around

Too awful to look at

The only thing I ever really wanted to do

Was be a good wife and a good mother

And he told me that I had failed at both

I knew right then….at that very moment

That I was a failure

And that’s when I stopped trying

I stopped caring if I lost weight

It didn’t matter anymore

I was no good

I was a failure

So who really cared if I gained another 100 pounds anyway?

And I did

It was hard for me to make the decision to have this surgery

Because it cost a lot of money

Out of our own pocket money

And I didn’t think anyone should waste a dime on me

On someone who was always going to fail

On someone who wasn’t worth it

But my family convinced me otherwise

They told me that I was worth a second chance

And that no matter what happened

They loved me anyway

That long walk down the hospital hallway

Wearing the hospital gown and rolling the IV beside me

It was the first tiny glimpse of victory that I experienced

Because I did not believe I could do it

My brother did

But I didn’t

Until I made my way back into the hospital room and realized


30 paces in the hallway seemed too much

Until I did it

Counting mailboxes in the Texas heat was an impossible dream

And when Lee had to fly back home

I was alone

But something had changed

A tiny drop of confidence had begun to grow inside of me

And out of that came curiosity

What can I do if I choose to believe?

What can I do if I believe there is still hope for me?

Not long after that, I made my way all the way around the block

A victory to this day that is so sweet I can still taste it

My kids would throw ice packs on my legs when I returned

But the smiles on their faces proved that what I was doing had purpose

It had meaning

I wasn’t the only one being surprised

They were too!

The excitement at watching me do things no one ever thought I could do

Became exciting!!!

And now here we are 13 months later

And I’ve done something I never ever thought I would do

I joined a Crossfit Box

After a conversation with an old friend who told me how it had changed his life

I said these words

“I wish I could do something like that”

And he said


Oh no…not ME….I could NEVER do Crossfit

And he said to me

Yeah ok….I hear you…..DO IT ANYWAY

He told me what he couldn’t do when he first started

And that the whole point of Crossfit

Is doing YOUR best

Can you do YOUR best?

What if your best is just getting off the couch?

Because that was MY personal best 13 months ago

That tiny bit of confidence that was birthed inside of me during my hospital hallway walk

Had grown big enough that I walked into a Crossfit box last month

And started a whole new journey

And let me tell you what I could NOT do

One month ago, I could not lift the bar at Crossfit AT ALL

The bar by itself weighs 45 pounds

Without even putting any weights on it

And I could not lift the bar AT ALL

While everyone around me was adding weights to their bar

I wasn’t able to even lift it—PERIOD

So instead I had a PVC pipe

I actually cried the first day I had to do this

Because I felt embarrassed

Here I am lifting a PVC pipe…and kind of struggling to be honest

While everyone around me is packing weights on to a bar that I can’t get to move an inch!

But by the next week

I was lifting the BAR!

And I was ecstatic

I still didn’t have any weights on my bar

But I was lifting it at least!


I’ve arrived!

And I never expected to go any further to be honest

I thought that the bar itself was probably going to be my biggest accomplishment

But today my coach, Diana, ย asked me a question

“Do you think you could lift it with weights added on?”

I was wondering if she was talking to ME

I mean….come on….last month I could only lift a PVC pipe, right?

Can’t we be happy that we’ve gotten this far?

Surely you can’t be serious??!

Besides….I know what I’m capable of, right?

And without hesitation

I said


NO I cannot lift that bar with weights on it!

To which SHE replied

“OK then….you will”

And she walked away to go get the weights

I stood there for a moment thinking to myself

Excuse me?

Didn’t I just say “NO, I CAN’T”??

So I repeated it

She smiled at me

And repeated “I heard you….You will”

I’m not sure I like her anymore


She’s starting to remind me of my brother

She added the weights


I DID IT!!!!!

13 months ago, I weighed 417 pounds

And I was sitting in an attorney’s office

Drawing up a will

Because I was ready to die

I could barely breathe

And life was too physically painful

I just didn’t believe that there was hope out there for me

And I wasn’t sure that it was even worth the effort to try one last time to change things

Sometimes we need people to ask us the question

“Do you think you can do it?”

And when we say “NO…NO I CAN’T”

They look us in the eye like my brother

Or like Diana did today

And say

“Well OK then…..YOU WILL”

Diana was right

I was able to lift the bar with weights on it

And if Diana had not told me I could do it

I would never have tried

Do you have someone in your life who can do that for you?

If not, let me be that person

Let me be the one to ask you

Do you think you can do this??

If you just said no

Then let me quote my brother and Diana


And I KNOW you can

Because if my brother can be told by a doctor that he has just a few years left to live

Because of his severe obesity

And this same brother can text me pictures of his 2nd Triathlon yesterday

If Merrily can do what she has done in only a few months time

If I can go from the brink of death


To being a member of Crossfit

Then you can too!

Don’t fool yourself

This is a battle

And the Father of Lies will tell you

That you CAN’T do it

But trust me when I tell you

That this is one battle you CAN win

I would never have known that

But for the people who have stood beside me

And said


You really are stronger than you think!

Do you know why I know this?

Because of my son, CJ

It’s funny the conversations my two little ones have sometimes

They were in the backseat talking

I had just shown them the picture of me lifting the bar with the weights on it

Charlotte said to CJ…..”Mama is getting strong”

But CJ replied…”No Charlotte. ย Mama was always strong!”

And an argument ensued

“No she wasn’t, CJ! ย She could barely walk before!”

And CJ got angry!

He said….

” Mama was always strong!

Her “strong” was just on the inside

Where you couldn’t see it

Now her “strong” is starting to show

On the outside

That’s all

There was silence

And then finally Charlotte said

“Ok…I think you’re right”

And then their conversation changed to more important topics

Like Peanut butter and jelly

And whether grape was better than strawberry

But I drove on down the road


And tearing up a bit

Because my son believed

That I had always been strong

It’s just that my “strong” was on the inside

Where you couldn’t see it

And now

My “strong” is showing up on the outside too

You know what?

He’s right

He’s right about me

And he’s right about YOU

Your “strong” may not be evident to the world

Maybe it’s not even evident to you

But to some people out there

Like my son

Like my brother

Like Diana

Like Merrily

They see the “strong” in you

And when you say “I CAN’T DO IT”

They say


Because they know

They know your “strong” is in there

And when you believe it

It will slowly seep out of you

Until one day

The “strong” on the inside

Shows up on the outside

I told CJ when we got home how happy I was that I had lifted those weights today

And he said “Mama…quick!! I need to take your picture fast!”

And I said “Why?”

He said…”Because you’re so happy! I can see it falling out of you!”

So he snapped a picture of me!

And I thought

Wow….isn’t that a great way to sum it up?

The way you feel when you’ve accomplished something you never thought you could ever do

And then there you are

With the happy falling out of you!!!





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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Kuil August 14, 2012 at 11:13 am

Kids’ wisdom never ceases to amaze me. And you’re right, our inner voice is such a Negative Nelly!


annamarie August 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

OMG…such a touching soul your son is and eveyone around you. I am so happy for you that you have such caring and loving family and friends.
thank you so much for sharing, this really has brighten up my day. Now if I could only stop the tears falling from my eyes.


tz August 14, 2012 at 12:24 pm

your brother is amazing…you are amazing! I agree everytime you accomplish something you have proof that you can do and the more you do the more proof you have!
tz recently posted..Day 1 – C25KMy Profile


Elizabeth August 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I am so happy for you and your brother. I know saying it’s not easy is a HUGE understatement, I know from experience how much work is involved. But I’m so glad you both stuck it through and have accomplished so much!!! ๐Ÿ™‚
Elizabeth recently posted..Not So Fat Friday…On Friday!! ๐Ÿ™‚ On Being Accepting of MyselfMy Profile


Lady Amanda August 14, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I started tearing up in several places…..CJ is soo sweet. I am soo happy for you. You are doing an awesome job! Love the recent pictures from the gym. AWEsome!!!


Amanda August 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Well, it’s been a couple weeks but here I am…tearing up. ๐Ÿ™‚

You WILL. It’s goes so much further than just “you can,” doesn’t it? Hubby believes I can do anything I want to do but doesn’t push me to do it. I don’t have anyone pushing me but me. Sometimes we REALLY need that outside force to say, “I hear you… let’s go.” Thank you for that. ๐Ÿ™‚
Amanda recently posted..Finally Caught UpMy Profile


joy August 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Ah great post!! Not only are you doing this for you, but you are also doing this for your kids. They are watching a miracle!

Keep up the great work and stay focused!!!!


Liz August 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Wonderful post! My kids are my biggest cheerleaders too. Sometimes I don’t think people give children enough credit. They think “They’re just kids, what do they know? They don’t understand” But children are a lot smarter and a lot more perceptive than we think. It never ceases to amaze me some of the things that come out of their mouths….
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Steelers6 August 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Aw that CJ….so precious! ๐Ÿ™‚ I love
his comments.

May I ask if LEE had a cheerleader for
himself? He knew just how to
encourage & push you; & I was
wondering if someone did the same
for him. ๐Ÿ™‚



jennxaz August 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

great post! so motivating because you are right..the biggest battle sometimes is ourselves…we don’t believe in ourselves! love the pic at the end–beautiful!


EmDub August 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Oh my gosh that made me tear up. What a lovely bunch of kids you are raising!

And when you said she was going to put weights on the bar, I was imagining little weights. Those suckers are huge weights!!! Congratulations strong mama!
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Trish @I_am_Succeeding August 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm

I love it.

I really need someone like Diane and you brother in my life. That is me…pushing and encouraging others around me. It’s really hard…at least to me…to push ones self.
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greenie August 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm

This made me have a tear. Seriously! Your story and the beautful way you write it is soooo touching and inspirational. Even though I didnt have the amount of weight to lose tbat you did, all the same feelings and internal struggles apply.

So happy that your happy is falling out of you. Your kids are the best! You should have a reality show. It would inspire the nation.


Carrie August 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm

What a great, great inspirational thing to read!

You go girl…keep moving forward! And thanks for taking so many of us along with you!
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Yazmin @ A Pretty Rock August 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Amazing how your posts can bring me to tears. Your son touched my heart with his belief in you. <3
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suzanne August 15, 2012 at 12:08 am

Out of the mouths of babes!
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Tanya Doyle August 15, 2012 at 1:44 am

Your posts are so incredibly touching and inspiring. Thanks for continuing to share your story.
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Jojoba August 15, 2012 at 3:57 am

Pardon my French, but your husband is an asshole! A person can fall out of love,but to call you a failure as a parent before walking out the door is the most assholish move I have ever heard of.

God bless you. You deserve every bit of happiness.


molly August 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm

We all do it. We let ourselves believe lies that stop up in our tracks. Why do we do that? Maybe it is easier to be the victim. Then no one expects anything of us, especially us! A favorite saying of mine is “Not failure, but low aim is crime. Aim high!” You have hit it our of the ballpark…no one can take that away from you, but you. Living well is your best revenge. You have a wonderful ministry here, and each time I need just that something to help me get through the day, you are there. Thank you. You mean the world to a lot of people and what you have done is nothing short of a miracle. Look for the good. I find it in you! Blessings to you and yours.


katie metzroth August 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. Every time I read you, you inspire me all over again.
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Sheila August 15, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Great post (as always!) And I adore hearing about each of your kids, but today CJ takes the cake and is wise beyond his years. Thanks for this!
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Chandra August 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Oh Holly!

I’ve been absent all summer, and I’ve missed reading you! I just love your kids and the comments they come up with! Thank you for sharing your life.



AimeeWrites August 26, 2012 at 5:24 am

Holly, wow!! Way to go on the extra weights! Strength training is SO EMPOWERING!!!

Also, I love how your experiences lead you to blog about exactly what I need to hear. I have some challenging rowing coming up this fall, and there’s a voice way in the back of my head that I’ve been trying to squelch…you CAN’T row 5.5k at a race pace…you will be so slow…it will be embarrassing. Sheesh, shut UP already, little voice that doesn’t know anything! THANKS, as always, Holly. I’m going to have YOUR voice in my head as I push toward my goal.
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Crystal @ Serving Joyfully January 5, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Wow…what beautiful wisdom from your son!
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