blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, finding balance, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, The Daily Prompt, Uncategorized, weight loss and deprivation, weight loss journal, Writing

In that place where I don’t bulge out…

via Daily Prompt: Caper

Oh, but I fall into excuses, even when I promise myself, and my world, that I won’t.  There’s one more hot dog, because it’s the fourth.  There’s the giant crab cake sandwich, because I’m sick and the prednisone makes me so hungry.  There’s frozen yogurt because, well, because it’s Sunday and I’m with my daughter who loves fro-yo, and it has protein in it.

There’s an extra cup of coffee with cream, because I got up so damn early this morning, and I have a headache from the cough syrup.  I can keep going, but I know what I sound like.  My real personal truth is that I like food and I like coffee and I like doing things that I like.  I don’t want to practice self-control because self-control isn’t fun. Self-control is like being mired in dog shit in the middle of an amusement park.

My shunning of self-control would be awesome if it didn’t conflict with other things that I  adore; like cute clothing and my underlying desire to fit neatly in the same box as most other people.  In essence, my secretive shallow nature is in constant disagreement with my lack of constraint.

So, I have “start-fresh-Mondays” where I get out my food journal and log every calorie and nibble until they are all I can think about.  As I shower, 190 runs through my head.  I vacuum with 370 and watch Friends reruns with 860 on my mind.  Is it too many, is it enough? Can I just have a cheese stick?  Always that damn careful balance!  I pray I can go to bed with the gnawing. I can picture angry little flesh-colored “pac-men” eating away my fat as I run my hand flat against my torso.  Are those my ribs sticking out?  I’ll look great in that skirt; no one will know I’m a fat girl on the inside.

I know I’m wrong, and different, but maybe not.  It’s  simply a caper against myself.  We all have secrets, some salacious some mundane. I’m hoping to be somewhere in the middle; in that place where I don’t bulge out.

Anxiety, blogging, emotional eating, Exercise, finding balance, fitness, Food Addiction, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, optifast, problem solving, Tips fot weight loss, Uncategorized, weight loss journal, Writing

The Ups and Downs of Weight Management

It’s been a very long time since I’ve given an update on my weight loss and fitness levels I know those of you on Optifast are probably wondering how successful the program has been more than a year beyond the original use of the product.  I know it differs for everyone, but here’s my experience.

I began my weight loss journey January 2014 at 230 pounds.  I’m small framed and am 5’4″ tall, so that was quite a bit of weight to be carrying around. I had a myriad of health issues; prediabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and asthma.  I used a CPAP to sleep at night and took a pile of medication each day. My rock bottom came one night when I was lying in bed attempting to read and realized that my own neck fat was cutting off my air supply.  The next day I called my doctor.

I completed 18 weeks of a medically supervised Optifast program (800 calories a day/5 shakes).  During this time I took weight loss classes and participated in cognitive behavioral therapy to change my binging and general eating behaviors.  I also enrolled in a weight management program at our hospital’s wellness center and worked out 5-6 days per week.  After the Optifast products, with the aid of a dietitian, I transitioned to a high protein/low carb diet of 1200 calories.  This diet is much like the diet that those with diabetes are instructed to follow.  Within approximately six months my weight was down to 131 lbs. (a 99 lb. loss).  All those medications and the CPAP were things of my past.

Once the weight was gone, the tough part began; MAINTENANCE!!! Instead of weekly check-ins with the doctor, I began seeing her monthly, then quarterly.  I also was in charge of eating real food in the real world.  For the first year, I religiously stuck with the program and stayed around 135 lbs.  My doctor kept telling me that a 10-15 pound gain would be normal during maintenance, but I refused to believe her.  I was determined to not go over 135lbs.  Then, sometime this past fall, I began, as the Pentecostals would  say, “back-sliding.”  I could blame it on being too busy to follow my meal plan, or on the holidays approaching, but truth be told, I made the choice to fall off the wagon.  For the past six months, I’ve pretty much eaten what I’ve wanted, when I’ve wanted it and I haven’t made fitness a priority.  I’d love to say that miraculously I’m still fitting quite comfortably in my clothing from last spring and summer, but I can’t.  My recent weigh-in shows a gain of 15 pounds.

The good thing about gaining 15 pounds is that it’s ONLY 15 pounds.  When I was staring down the barrel of 230 lbs. with nearly 100 pounds to drop, weight loss seemed daunting.   Now, with the proper tools and knowledge, it’s not so scary. My doctor and I made the very realistic goal of dropping ten pounds by the end of July.  I’m back to seeing my weight loss counselor. I’ve purged my pantry of sugary, carb-laden treats and I’ve dusted off my gym equipment.  I know that weight maintenance doesn’t end when the last pound of your goal has been lost.  I have to keep on keeping on.

How has everyone on Optifast or other weight loss plans been doing?  Updates, please! 

 

 

 

Bipolar II, blogging, emotional eating, enjoying family, losing weight, love, marriage, Medical Weight Loss Program, memories, mental illness, optifast, Self-Soothing, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

To Dispel the Shininess of the Aha Moment

Years ago, Oprah Winfrey popularized a nearly century-old phrase first coined in a 1939 psychology text-book; the “aha moment.” By 2012, this locution had became so popular that it was officially entered into Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as:

 “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.”

I somehow pictured the great epiphany of the aha moment to occur in a flash of terrific fanfare and deep connection with the Universe.  Little did I realize that my aha moment would occur in the small hours of the morning, in the pitch-dark of my bedroom.

It was November 12, 2013, and I couldn’t sleep, though I certainly didn’t lack the general feeling of exhaustion. Every joint in my body ached and the only thing more pronounced than the rapid pounding of my heart in my ears, was my labored breathing.  At nearly 230 pounds, I was the heaviest I’d ever been.

The past decade had brought a barrage of changes and strife that began with appearance of my youngest daughter’s bipolar symptoms; psychosis, depression, hypo-mania.  Because she was too ill to attend school and had to be constantly supervised, I took leave from my job of 16 years to care for her. For six months, other than for medical appointments, I only left my home, once every two weeks, go to the grocery store.  There, I would fill up my cart with an oxymoronic combination of extremely healthy foods for our meals, mixed with a plethora of high calorie sugary snacks for me. In those horrible days, food was my replacement for all of the pleasures that it felt like life had taken away; sanity, personal freedom, healthy relationships, and general happiness.  In truth, my youngest daughter seemed like a stranger and my oldest was acting out. She’d shaved her head, pierced her tongue, and even threatened to quit high school.  My husband, who, at that time, had limited understanding and experience with mental illness, was constantly out of sorts.  Add the financial burden from me no longer working, my unexpected isolation as an extrovert, and a family history of addiction into the mix and it’s no surprise that I reached for food as my drug of choice to numb chaos of my situation.

Eventually, our tribulations passed.  My daughter was properly diagnosed and medicated.  Within two years she was back to her old, sweet self. Looking back it seemed that in the blink of an eye she finished high school, then college, and found the perfect job.  She also found a terrific guy.   My oldest, thankfully, decided to stick out high school, then college, and finally medical school; in five months she’ll graduate to be a family doctor. Last year, she married her high school sweetheart.  My husband and I joined NAMI (the National Alliance for Mental Illness) and attended their support groups. The hub became much better educated about mental illness and its effect on the family.  He’s not only one of my daughter’s biggest cheerleaders, he’s my complete partner in our happy marriage.

With the deviation of my tale passed, I return to the night of my epiphany with the thought that perhaps the old adage is wrong.  Perhaps things don’t feel brighter after the storm has passed.  Maybe the storm tosses us about a bit too long and makes us confused about who we are, and what we want, because on the night of my aha moment, I was certainly at rock bottom.  I tried one last time to finagle the mound of pillows behind my head, only to find myself unable to breathe from my suffocating neck fat.

“I hate myself. I can’t live like this anymore!” I mouthed in the dark, as hot tears exited the corners of my eyes and pooled in my ears. I covered my face with my hands to stifle my sobs. I wiped my eyes with the sheet and grabbed my tablet from the bedside table to type this:

THINGS I MUST DO TO CHANGE MY LIFE:

  1. Lose 95 pounds
  2. Regain my health
  3. Find something I love to do

The next morning I called the bariatric center to register for an informational session about Optifast on December 12, 2013.  After that session, I took their first available appointment.

January 16, 2014,  my very first day on Optifast, was the beginning of my new life.   The days, weeks, and months that followed were full of work, discovery, and living.  Nearly a year later, my days are exponentially as filled with happiness, harmony, and health.

My aha moment didn’t occur on the day that I’d won a great prize, or made a deep connection with the Universe, as I’d once suspected it would.  It happened under the shroud of night, on a pile of tear-stained pillows and twisted covers. In spite of my lofty visions of enlightenment, crushingly uncomfortable neck fat was my tipping point, my catalyst, and my spur.   I realize now that aha moments aren’t often those that sparkle.  They’re messy, dirty, gritty, painful, and even, fat. It’s that split second directly after an epiphany that life begins to twinkle, and once you set your change into motion it begins to shine.

Have you had an aha moment that’s changed your life for the better?  If you’ve lost weight, what was the catalyst that set your loss into motion?  Tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂 

 

 

 

dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, Exercise, Guilty pleasures, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, weight loss journal, Writing

Monthly Weigh-In and Other Monthly Things

This is what my hunger feels like, but I DON'T have to listen to this nasty green guy!
This is what my hunger feels like, but I DON’T have to listen to this nasty green guy!

I had my monthly weigh-in with the bariatric doctor yesterday.  This month I’ve lost a total of 5.5 pounds.  I’m getting very close to my original goal; so close that I’m actually only one pound away!  However, I’d like to lose a total of six pounds to be at 140.  These last pounds are dissolving pretty slowly, but the good news is that I have all the time in the world to get rid of them.

In other news, I’m really struggling with hunger this week.  It’s right before my period (sorry for the TMI, guys)  and I feel like I want to devour everything in sight. I had to grocery shop today, and I almost began crying in the car on the way home, knowing that I had to make dinner for my family.  Sometimes I feel like an alcoholic sentenced to a life of bartending when it comes to being around and preparing food.  Luckily, my oldest daughter pitched in and helped me by doing the side dishes while I grilled chicken.  On days like today, I feel like the only way I can control my desire for copious amounts of food is to have only the blandest items in my house, and to only cook for myself–not the most realistic of solutions.

Though I’m fantastically happy with my healthier body and lifestyle, yesterday was just one of those days that I wanted to sit on the sofa with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and a bag of chips while watching trash television.  Today, I’m proud that I didn’t give in to yesterday’s desires.  I worked out at for 90 minutes and made healthy food choices.  I’m slowly learning that I don’t have to give in to my cravings and desires, but I also don’t have to stifle them. Feelings are there for a reason and slathering them with poor food choices and a sedentary lifestyle won’t make them go away.  I’m equally proud of myself for asking for help yesterday, and proud of my daughter and son-in-law for happily giving it to me.  At 50, I think it’s time that I learn to ask for help when I need it, rather than always attempting to be general manager of the universe!  The one craving that I did succumb to yesterday was the trash TV.  However, I drank plain mint tea as I watched the inane antics of the girls on MTV’s Teen Mom 2. At least my love of television garbage is a calorie-free vice!

How do you deal with cravings?  Do you feel accomplished at asking for what you need?  Tell me about it. 🙂

blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, love, marriage, Writing

Good News Mixed with Soggy Waiting

"Does this car make my penis look too big?" (Photo from askmen.com)
“Does this car make my penis look too big?” (Photo from askmen.com)

I just got the call from my doctor’s office that my endometrial biopsy was normal!  Yay!! The ultrasound that I had yesterday, was also void of anything horrible, other than an ovarian cyst, which nicely explains the pain in my lower left quadrant that I’ve been having.  The good news is, that it should resolve itself.  Now with no signs of cancer, I’m just waiting on my surgery scheduling and the results of the blood work that I had last Thursday to measure my hormone levels. I’m more than certain that my hormones are fully off track.  I spent all day yesterday fighting back tears and finally allowed the dam to break once my husband got home.  This is so, so, so not like me, but everything, including sentimental television commercials, has me feeling sappy and weepy.

Today, I’m seemingly recovered from my sadness, but am punished with swollen eyes and a slight headache that always seems to accompany crying.  My husband IS, without a doubt, the sweetest, most loving man on the planet.  He took me for a drive in “the country” (meaning some back roads in our suburban sprawl) while I boo-hooed about everything from missing my mother to wanting massive quantities of frozen yogurt, to being frustrated with where I am in life.  Like I said, this isn’t like me.  I’m so often the comforter, not the one needing comfort.

Luckily, the sun, my best girlfriend, and the pool are beckoning me today, as is the possibility of visiting Starbucks with her.  It’s difficult to be melancholy knowing that I’m fortunate enough to have such good things in my life. Yet, I still wish that mid-life for women just consisted only of the undying urge to buy a sports car, get a toupee/wig, and flirt with younger guys–instead of menopause! Trouble is, I’m far from balding, I love my husband, and I’ve never been taught to drive a manual transmission!!

 

Hope everyone has a sunny, gorgeous day!

 

blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, Exercise, Food Addiction, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, optifast, weight loss journal, Writing

Wednesday Weigh-in Woes

This little fellow has absolutely nothing to do with this post.  He hopped up in front of me last week!  Luckily, my camera was on.  (Photo by me)
This little fellow has absolutely nothing to do with this post. He hopped up in front of me last week! Luckily, my camera was on. (Photo by me)

Well, tomorrow afternoon is weigh-in and I’d be fibbing if I didn’t admit to being a little worried.  After two weeks of vacation, and being off of my regular eating and exercise schedule, I’m pretty certain that I won’t be experiencing a major weight loss this week. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I haven’t gained a pound or two.  Though I did tons of walking and swimming during my time away, I didn’t do the intensive exercise that I normally do at the gym.  I also ate a few regular meals, put non-dairy creamer in my coffee a few times, and had fat-free, sugar free frozen yogurt twice.  I know these aren’t the worst of eating offenses, but knowing my flawless capacity to gain weight, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a higher number on the scale.

So, what happens if I have gained weight for the first time since December?  My old method of operation would be to say, “What the hell,” immediately give up my weight loss goals, and break open a bag of chips.  I’ve never once started on a diet decline that ended well.  Once I’ve gained a little, I’ve usually gone on to gain a lot more back.  I can’t let that happen to me this time.  I have too much invested physically, emotionally, and financially.

Transition from my Optifast shakes to regular food hasn’t been easy and my two weeks away, without monitoring and motivation from my doctor, dietician and trainer, has made me lose a little bit of my vigor with my weight loss program.  Drinking the shakes was easy.  I didn’t have to make choices, or control my portions.  Now that I’m eating real food, some of my issues with food addiction are returning.  I’m experiencing constant cravings, and find myself thinking about when and what I’m going to be eating next way more than I should be. Though I’m back on track with my meal plan, I still have a feeling of being out of control. I’m happy that I’ll be meeting with my doctor and dietician tomorrow because I certainly plan to share my concerns with them. I also plan on making a one-on-one appointment with my trainer for some extra motivation.  Now isn’t the time to keep quiet and ruin the progress that I’ve made. I want to be fit, healthy, and feeling good.

I’ll let everyone know how things go tomorrow!  I’d better get to bed! 🙂

  

 

blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, enjoying family, Exercise, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, optifast

Feeling Good!

Apples are awesomely delicious! :)
Apples are awesomely delicious! 🙂

The mental storms have subsided and after talking to the doctor and dietician yesterday, I’m feeling more stoked about my transition to food. I was assured by my doctor that my fears of returning to my old ways of thinking and eating are pretty standard among her patients. She said she would be more concerned if I wasn’t worried. Her only concern right now is my continually low blood pressure. I’ve been slowly going off of my beta blocker and am down to 12.5 mgs per day. By next week, I should be fully off of it and will be praying to not feel the annoying pre-ventricular contractions that my heart so loves to do! On, or off of, the beta blocker, my heart still does its flip-flops; the beta blocker just aids in masking the feeling, which triggers my anxiety.

The dietician reviewed my food journal, and was pleased with how well I was managing with adding protein and vegetables to my diet. We also went through the rest of the transition plan. This week I’m adding ½ cup, or 60 calories, of fruit to my diet each day. I love apples, so ½ cup of gala apple slices was my first addition. They were delicious! Next week, is the addition of dairy. I have to be careful about that one with my lactose intolerance! After that, I add an additional protein and vegetable, and finally a carbohydrate. By the time I’m finished, I’ll be having only two Optifast products per day and the rest real food. All total, it will be about 1,000-1,100 calories per day with everything.

I think the thing that made me feel the best this week was the loss of another three pounds!! That proves to me that I can eat real food and still lose weight. The formula of portion control and exercise doesn’t fail me. (Thank goodness!) Another amazing thing about exercise is the number of inches that I’m losing. They actually make my body look smaller than the number on the scale reads. Anyone out there trying to lose weight-don’t dismiss the wonderful benefits of physical activity!!

I’m taking a rest from the gym today and staying home to clean my house and get an oil change for my car. My stepson is coming for a visit this weekend and I need to get things in order and go to the grocery store to get his favorite foods. I’ll have a happy, full house this weekend.

I hope everyone has some great adventures planned for their upcoming weekend. Tell me about them in the comments. 🙂

More award posts coming up this weekend!