The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Straight from the Woodshed -The Fat Monologue

Tonight’s the night! I’m going to do my first ever reading of the “Fat Piece” in front of a live audience – ever. I am reading as part of “Story Jam”, a story-telling live music show produced by singer, performer, writer Stephanie Rogers and held at The Wilmette Theater. I’m a bit frightened in an excited way. I’ve been working on this particular piece off and on for decades, steadily for months. I have had invaluable guidance from solo show writer and scholar Arlene Malinowski who has been helping me for years. But this version is still kinda raw. Well, it’s as raw as a piece can be that has been written and edited for years! Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Showing Up Is Half The Battle

I didn’t think about it. I knew I had to go. Even as the pain in my back and knee hampered my every move in bed, I got up slowly, cautiously. I thought to myself:

“How the Hell am I going to the gym? I can’t even go to the toilet!”

In the old days, I would have cancelled this session and stayed in bed all day.

Still I had an appointment with Trainer Jeremy and I said to myself:

“One day my pain may keep me from it, but not this pain, not this day!”

The folks at the Spa at Trump Chicago reception desk looked up at me with concern as I slowly hobbled past them to the locker room. As usual I have the locker room to myself so no one sees my slow labored movements. I know I look far worse than I feel as some of the pain has lessened since I got up this morning. This gives me hope that the work out will help even more.

Trainer Jeremy sees me coming and as always I can see him noting my gait and posture. Usually he is smiling with encouragement when I do my arthritic version of a breezy skip into the gym. But today his brow was furrowed with concern. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Documenting My Weight Journey for My One Woman Show.

I’ve been up for ages this morning writing the hardest piece ever for my show. It has always been the one story that I knew I had to tell yet the most difficult to complete. The topic of weight is so multifaceted for me. There are so many approaches I can take. Every time I think I’ve nailed it I find yet another level to explore. My fitness program has led to yet another approach to the telling of this story.

Do I keep the story as is with the fitness thing as a mere mention, or do I insert how this new venture in my life has changed my view on weight and weight issues? Do I flesh out that aspect of my vision or keep it as a footnote? I was going to just keep what I had (it was almost done) but now I see that to tell the truth I have to incorporate this new attitude into the piece which means a whole new set of rewrites.

That’s life – it’s always changing and when you’re writing a piece that’s autobiographical you gotta report the journey. And my weight has always been a journey that keeps evolving. It’s a challenge to document it all in one cohesive monolog but I won’t give up! It ain’t easy!

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Feel The Burn And Don’t Throw Up!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is one way to describe my session today with Trainer Jeremy. This is the first time in nearly seven weeks that I actually want to say:

I have to stop! I can’t do this one anymore!

But I don’t say it and I don’t stop.

The day starts off innocently enough. I hobble down the long hall past all of the windows and the beautiful city views to the fitness center at The Spa at Trump – today known as the Chamber of Torture. And we get right to it. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: In the Groove, Feeling the Positive Effects of Moving My Body.

I’m in the groove.

Six weeks of fitness and there’s no sign of me stopping yet. I have been hauling my ass to The Spa at Trump every week, for one hour, three times a week of intense fitness training – intense for a fat broad who hadn’t moved her keister in about six years! And I am accountable to my giver of this great gift and the 3000+ Facebook followers who have been tracking my progress. At first I wasn’t going to tell anyone. I thought:
1. Who Cares?
2. I didn’t want to be one of those people who announced their daily work out. How annoying!
3. If I quit no one would know.
Continue reading ›

Celebrating the Life of Tahir Koylass.


I met Tabatha when she was a 20 year old college student. She was a beautiful aspiring dancer. She spent the Summer after her junior year as an intern at a prominent dance company in Chicago and she lived with me during that time in my studio apartment. Folks wondered how we managed: two women in a one room apartment. But we did more than managed, we thrived and became dear friends.

After she graduated she moved back to Chicago, danced professionally with the Joseph Holmes Dance Company, met Gerry and got married. I sang at their wedding. We lost touch, never completely out of each other’s life but we had not seen each other in ages. Years went by and now 25 years later I was asked to sing at another momentous occasion: the funeral of their beloved son Tahir. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Eating and Moving and the Fear of Knee Pain.

I am committed to making this work. But I am afraid that my knee pain will kick in and make this activity a living Hell.

My new relationship with fitness is a month old. If this was a love affair I would be cautious. I wouldn’t call it a “real relationship” yet. I would wait until three months to see if it had legs. Will my knees hold up and let me stay with it? Is it a committed relationship, or am I just having a casual fling?

There is no choice in the matter. I’m in it for the long haul.
Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Results and Gratitude.

312.2 LBS

How could this be? I weighed 324.8 pounds three weeks ago. I sat on the floor and looked at my weight scale. I turned it over, checked the new battery, calibrated it per the instructions. I cautiously step back on the scale and there it is again. Like Magic. I am shocked, pleased and mostly suspicious. It’s like some result from The Biggest Loser show. I used to watch that show and marvel at the beastly trainers as they ladled out the expected weight loss for the contestants:

Next week you must lose four pounds.

So I know that it is possible to lose four pounds a week without dying but the workout regimen and diet was pretty stringent. I have embarked on a fitness regimen of my own thanks to the thoughtful and generous gift of a dear friend. I have been working very hard at my sessions with boxing, weights, numerous stretching and movement and my food intake has changed dramatically. Gone are the nightly 3k calorie filled binges. I have been practicing my mantra daily: moderation and consideration. But the true Litmus Test was my performance last night in which I never hit the wall of exhaustion that I have experienced for the past six years and the last three in particular. I knew results would appear, I knew that my body was responding to this newly generated energy but I never expected this weight loss. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Do I Have To Go?

Good morning! I have to go to the gym. I have no choice, I have an appointment and someone who believes in me is paying for it. This is a good thing or I sure would be keeping my sorry ass in the bed this morning. It was a late night. No, I wasn’t partying! And no excuses! I have to eat a good breakfast or I get lightheaded and shit when Jeremy kicks my ass. I’m just saying.

Then I remembered my trip up the stairs Wednesday night with no pause to catch my breath. That’s why I am doing this. No excuses. NO EXCUSES!
Time to get fit and strong!

P.S. Just had a great conversation with a dear friend whose spirit and cheer energized me! She has offered to make me a low-calorie, low fat and healthy bunch of food for a week! Am I blessed or what? Today’s session is for Fred and for Rita and for me of course!

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Boxing, No Prisoners.

I’m taking no prisoners – mainly because I don’t have the energy after another heart-pumpin, keister-moving session with Jeremy the Trainer. I’m calling him “No-More-Mister-Nice-Guy” Jeremy because he is making me work my patootie off. He’s always smiling and ever so gentle as he pushes me to go further than I thought possible. And I’m taking baby-steps. Continue reading ›