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I had been overweight to some degree really just about most of my life.  Around 9th grade and through high school, I wore a size 12 which was a "normal" size.  I say "normal" because during my whole childhood I wore the chubby girls size.  I vaguely recall it was something like 12x, etc.  At the time, only Sears sold such clothes.  So that's where we shopped for clothes for me.  While all the other girls at school wore clothes that I never even saw at the stores, so there was no way I could even sort of look like them, look like I belonged.

 

I remember seeing this photo of me from when I was in 6th grade.  I was wearing those sort of smock shaped dresses, which are really fine and age appropriate for little girls to wear to look like girls instead of totstitues  (young girls dressing like prostitutes) these days.  I am very pro-sex; I just also believe in young kids looking like and feeling like kids.  Well, I looked dreadful in that dress.

 

Jump ahead to 8th grade.  I remember my figured SHIFTED, I must have been eating better and getting a little exercise.  I wasn't an athlete and was never really encouraged to be physically fit.  I don't really remember WHY I was in better shape, but I was.  I could go to the mall (they were NEW then, still THRILLING to shop at the equivalent of Macy's without having to drive to Manhattan for it.) and shop for NORMAL size clothes.

 

I was finally NORMAL.

 

In college I remember my junior year trying out for the women's crew team.  There had been a flurry over the summer with the Olympics and the coach of the Smith team and the coach of the Mt Holyoke team had both been on the USA's Olympic team.  I took aerobics classes over the summer to which I also bicylcled.  The amazing thing was, I was probably in the best shape of my life then.  That fall I tried out for crew, jogged I can't remember how much daily, let's say 30 mins, weight lifted, rowed aka erged (rowing ergometer), and also took a fencing gym class and participated in a pick up Sunday soccer game involving students, faculity, and the community.  I hugged my friend Deborah when I was home on October break and she said something like, "Hey, April, be careful, you're really strong."

 

Indeed.  I was in the best shape of my life.

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I had muscles.

 

I was in shape.

 

It completely changed my sense of self, my self image.  My brother had always been a gifted athlete.  Not I.  But what I discovered that fall I had AN athlete within me.  I did not have to be varsity level to BE and DO this.  It was amazingly freeing and revolutionary for my life.

 

I didn't make the cut for the team, but my self image was forever altered.

 

I'll just jump ahead 20 years to avoid true tedium. 

 

My weight was at my all time high.  And a dear friend had had bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery, aka WLS).  She had lost all the excess weight she wanted to and was looking great.  Indeed, it HAD taken her a lot of effort.  Weight Loss Surgery clearly was an excellent tool which had seriously helped her to lose the weight she wanted and, more importantly, to keep it.

 

Here I was obese, but not fat enough.  I refer to myself with that label, "Fat," so any of you who are in that category, well you KNOW how I felt.  Fat.  Yes, here I was FAT, so fat I was indeed obese, but not fat enough to qualify for the weight loss surgery my friend had had.  "April, there are other kinds that work for people with less weight to lose.  You could be at your goal weight in 6-12 months." 

 

WHAT!

 

You mean, there was some hope for me?

 

Indeed, as it turned out, the surgeries I considered were the LapBand (LB) or the Vertical Gastrechtomy (VG).  These are the 2 which just reduce the size of your stomach.  Some people ask, "Is that stomach stapling?"  In a way, yes.  Stomach Stapling was the VG's predicessor. 

 

I had my VG surgery in January 2007.  I am now a size 10.  I have NEVER been a size 10.

 

I still want to lose 2 more dress sizes and will.  However, I am now at this tertiary stage.  I am at a healthy weight for me. 

 

After a certain amount of weight loss, say, the first 20 lbs, our energy level SKYROCKETS.  Formerly I would come home and veg on the couch.  Indeed, with WLS, it is recommended to exercise daily.  One of the best forms of exercise is indeed walking.  I would come home and have so much ENERGY that I HAD to go for a walk.

 

A few months later, I hit The Active Lifestyle Stage.  Obese people before surgery, even the ones who work out and make it to the gym, hearing about this stage somehow seems... unreal.  But indeed, what started to happen was I would try new ACTIVITIES, PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES and would enjoy them and then my body would start to CRAVE exercise.  I started going on 3 hour hikes on Sunday or Saturday afternoons.  I would use my leg muscles and my knees weren't painful from having done so like when I was morbidly obese.  I also started such activities as West Coast Swing Dancing.  This was not going to be a major calorie burner, but the point was, I was OUT and MOVING my body with other people and interacting.  I was no longer a couch potato. 

 

There is another stage.  The Stuff I Have to Work Through Stage.  This gets messy at some point and many of us will really rely on our support groups or counselors to learn and work through this stage.  You see, the over eating and keeping the weight on is a communication.  Once we let go of a lot of that weight, we no longer are stuffing those emotions.  Indeed we start to FEEL them.  But we often didn't previously develops ways to identify, articulate and communicate them in a healthy way.  Sometimes it would takes days after an event for us to even realize what our real feelings had been and to communicate them to others.  Changes our relationships.  All of that feeling is NEW.  And new tools for communication will need to be learned and practiced.

 

Now that I am in the weight fine-tuning stage, I have hit another level of the Active Lifestyle Stage.  I am trying new things for working out.  I KNEW for long term weight loss success I would need to develop more lean body tissue.  This meant:  weights.  I liked working out with weights, but that is a work out which men tend towards more so than women.  I had it in my mental filter that I was looking, and then my brother brought home these DVDs on working out with Kettlebells.  Kettlebells?  What on earth are they? 

Well one instructor in particular stood out head and shoulders above the rest, Steve Maxwell.  We would watch his DVDs, and I would actually (gasp!) get up and start trying some of the moves he was suggesting.  In addition, before I even had a kettlebell, I would try some of the moves with a 10 lb dumb bell.  I really admired Steve's work and had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to meet him.  My brother mentioned a training class that Steve was putting on in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I was interested.  Then he said, "Oh, and he's working out somewhere in San Bruno."  San Bruno!  That was only about 25 miles from where I live in Silicon Valley.

 

I found his website and emailed him, being that shy introverted type that I am (lol! if you haven't noticed by now!).  I asked about classes and trainings and introduced myself.  I just started working out with Steve and got my first kettlebell for my birthday (thank you Michel!).  I am LOVING this workout.  I am leveraging the strength I already have (when you are obese, you usually have strong legs...) and am building upper body strength.

 

Part of the JOY in doing this is working my muscles really hard feels REALLY good.  It's not just the endorphine high.  It's the WORKING the MUSCLE.  It feels good.  I don't know how else to describe it.  And the other is in realizing my personal potential physically.  I can lift and squat and hike.  This is FABULOUS.  I LOVE it. 

 

I hope and invite you to discover the Athlete who is within you as well.  Help her emerge.  You're going to LOVE being her.

 

 

Time for Love, Time for Money: Time Production System

Time for Love, Time for Money: Time Production System

 

 

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April is a brilliant giver. She shares her time, information and exhubrance. Her articles are cheeky and great fun to read, even if you are not a boomer. If you are a baby boomer, she's just the resource you need to get back on your feet when it comes to romance. Whether you have lost a spouse to death or divorce, she can help you heal that wound.

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April Braswell, Relationship Coach Par Excellence! I had been stuck in a relationship that was going nowhere with a man who did not love me and who did not make me happy.... April gave me the confidence to HOPE that there was someone out there who would love me and accept me for who I was. She held my hand thoughout the whole the experience, or I would never gone online....I was too skittish about the whole deal. In fact, I told her, "April, I have already met all the single men in the Metro area in my age agroup. There's no one out there for me that I am interested in!  But April's warmth, encouragement, and compassion challenged me to venture online. I did and enjoyed a number of good results. I had some good dates. This was good. But still...I had not met THE one. Then she encouraged me to try another service...and within several weeks...I was dating new men.  It was GREAT.   What a difference.  THANK YOU......I love you!!! Sonya L. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Dating Doctor that rocks! Whether you are looking to connect with another human being on a deeper level or just need help in rejuvenating your current relationship, April is the spark that will ignite your passion, your self-confidence and a greater sense of sexual success. April's advice is invaluable especially when she employs her tried and tested dating on the job resulting in many individuals and couples experiencing long term happiness. Overall, April is a must see , who has given me excellent solid advice and a greater clarity in knowing how to enjoy my personal life more!


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April is an amazing person...she has an incredible ability to connect with people and to make everyone she comes in contact with feel special.  

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What a motivator. April is definitely the obvious expert for all your questions about personal relationships! A superb dating coach, dynamic speaker that keeps an audience captivated with her utter charm, intelligence and wit.

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April is an expert in online dating.  This came through in her speaking presentation.  She had great advice that really work and that will make a difference in your online dating.  If you want to improve your dating life or are looking to start dating again, I highly recommend April's services.

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April, Great information.  I love your presence and sense of humor.  I have not laughed so much in years.  You are a great speaker, confident, at ease.  Thank you. 

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April is definitely the expert to go to for any one that wants to understand the nuances of dating and relationships.  She is a great coach and genuinely cares about those she works with and will gently challenge you to do the things necessary for finding the happiness and love we all deserve in life.  If you really want to get yourself out there and begin dating, contact April NOW!   

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April is engaging, savvy, smart and interesting.  She provides a realistic and non-threatening approach to on-line dating.  She makes a scary process fun and easy.  She's a must hire if you want to find a partner!

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I just met April at a conference in Philly.  What a vivacious, self-assured, beautiful and incredible woman!!  It’s obvious how her energy and passion are part of everything in her life and that she can coach you in tapping into your own life force to show the world the beautiful person you are and attract the type of man you want.

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April is very detail oriented and she listens and really tries to understand all aspects of a situation before dispensing her SOLID advice. Since most (all?) situations are more complicated than they first appear, this is a great skill to have!

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April is one of the most energetic and outgoing people I know, and has a great knack for social networking. You just can't go wrong working with her!

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Charm coupled with a sharp intellect and authentic confidence. April is a most fascinating person to know and to learn from. 

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