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! 

 

 

 

Anxiety, Appreciation, blogging, Building self-confidence, cats, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, losing weight, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

Snowy Sunday

We’re under yet another winter storm warning, but I’m not complaining.  I think my husband and I need a day to relax. I’ve realized, since my weight loss, that I’ve become quite accustomed to my days being filled with a constant flurry (no pun intended towards the falling snow outside my window) of activities.

In fact, with my birthday being a month away, I was mentally comparing my life now to a year ago:

  • Nearly a year ago today, I was excited to be wearing a brand new pair of size 18, skinny, jeans to my birthday party.  This was a welcome change from the size 24 pants that I’d worn to my first weigh in at the bariatric center.
  • As only a  three-month veteran of my weight loss program, I cautiously approached every sip, or bite, of food that I ingested and monitored every calorie I burned at the gym.
  • My self-confidence was a newly burgeoning entity experiencing so much for the first time.
  • My main goal was to get healthy and stay that way.

Now, my life is vastly different.  As a fit and healthy person, I look at life through new eyes, seeing every bright possibility.  It’s not just because my body is fit, it’s because my mind is clear and my soul is free of the baggage of anxiety and food addiction. I love my life and the people in it so much.  I quite honestly never imagined being so happy.

I think the secret to life is as simple and pure as the snow gently drifting in my driveway; see life as a series of possibilities and believe that the odds are in your favor, because they are. Take care of yourself. Feed and exercise each part of your body, mind, and spirit with good things, because that’s exactly what you deserve.  Practice kindness, caring, patience, and love daily. It just feels right, and you’ll mostly always get each in return.

Deep thoughts on a snowy Sunday! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a phenomenal day! 🙂

My kitty says, "It's time to relax!"  (Photo by me)
My kitty says, “It’s time to relax!” (Photo by me)
blogging, dealing with food cravings, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, problem solving, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Anniversaries, Advice, and Ideas

 

Yum!  A tiny treat with 1/3 the calories of a small meal!  (photo from Ghirardelli.com)
Yum! A tiny treat with 1/3 the calories of a small meal! (photo from Ghirardelli.com)

Friday, January 16th, marks my one year Optifast anniversary.  While this is a great occasion to cheer, I have to admit that I’ve found myself slacking and lacking since the weekend.  Perhaps it’s the bitter cold weather and my primal urgings to bulk up against the cold, or perhaps I needed a break in my normally healthy routine.  Whatever the reason, I’ve been kind of naughty this week.  Saturday was my last gym visit, I’ve eaten several meals that certainly aren’t on my plan, and raided my daughter’s “hidden” stash of Christmas chocolates in the freezer.  (Did you know that just one Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Caramel square has 80 calories?  They look way too small to be that dangerous!)

Today, I’m catching myself before I fall into a sea of subs, burgers, fries, chocolate, and hopeless inactivity, because, unfortunately, it is easy to go there even after so much work to reach my goal weight. I’m determined to check myself before I wreck myself and here’s my plan:

  1. Forgive myself and cross my name off of the naughty list
  2. Get out my measuring cup, measuring spoons and food scale–and use them.
  3. Start packing my lunch, dinner, and snacks when I go out. Relying on finding something healthy at a restaurant isn’t working as well as knowing the exact calorie count and portion size of what I pack.
  4. Find some new ways for my husband and I to have fun when we go out.  (Any suggestions, blogging buddies?) Lately, now that it’s so cold out, our dates have all been in restaurants.
  5. Make an appointment with my trainer. While my weight loss doctor and counselor provide polite, verbal motivation, my trainer, Olivia will give me great advice while kicking my ass into shape.  Truthfully, sometimes I just need my ass kicked.
  6. Reduce the size of my nut sack.   I LOVE nuts and derive a portion of my daily protein intake from them.  However, I know I’ve been overdoing it with my nut grazing lately.  Instead of storing my daily serving in a sandwich bag, I’m switching to the smaller snack-sized baggie.  Even though it’s smaller, the fullness of the baggie makes me feel like I’m having a bigger serving. (Hooray for ample nut sacks!!)
  7. Get the junk out of my house.  I know I’m not good with resisting temptation when it comes to snack foods. My best bet in avoiding them is to not invite them into my house in the first place.

 

Speaking of anniversaries, my very first blog-iversary for The Ravenously Disappearing Woman is coming up on January 25th, and I’m trying to decide the best way to celebrate it.  Any good ideas?  Perhaps I could have a contest?  Maybe I could post some bikini shots?  (totally joking– I haven’t owned a bikini since the 90s!)  Maybe I could do a video post, or perhaps something crazier!  I welcome your good ideas–the more outrageous–the better! 

Now, enough of this fun; I need to go work out! 🙂

blogging, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, food and family celebrations, Having fun, Maintaining Weight Loss, organic food, Thankfulness, weight loss journal

Four Days of Pie for Breakfast; It’s time for the Gym!

pecan pie
Hi, I’m pecan pie. I’m sweet, delicious, and crunchy, but be warned, I’m almost half a day’s worth of calories!

To say that I had nice Thanksgiving would be an understatement. This holiday was probably one of the most splendid that I’ve had as an adult.  My husband will insist that I say this after every holiday, but this Thanksgiving truly upped the bar for my love of planning, cleaning, cooking and entertaining for family and friends.

We had a total of ten people between immediate family and friends.  I did the majority of the cooking prep the day before, in order to have time to be a proper hostess on the actual day.  My only holiday challenges were seating and table arranging in my small house, and figuring out how to prepare my first organic, pastured turkey.  I decided that rather than worrying about my tiny home, I would imagine that it was placed somewhere in Japan, where it’s size would certainly upgrade it to mansion status.  This gave me a much more positive outlook.  I consulted the Food Network, and used The Pioneer Woman’s instructions and brining recipe to make sure my turkey was juicy and delicious (and it REALLY was).

The combination of food, friends, and family was stellar and our day lasted well into the night, with games and chatter.  Though I sent people home with tons of leftovers, there were still quite a few high calorie treats left at my house.  (Did you know that a slice of pecan pie has 540 calories?)  I’m not sure of the caloric content of pumpkin pie, but I know that from Wednesday through Saturday, it was a part of my “healthy” breakfast, as were dark chocolate walnut brownies.

Today, I’ll begin damage control.  My short foray with sugar ended last night when I microwaved a piece of pecan pie and adorned it with three ample scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.  This morning, I had my usual Fiber One cereal with a half cup of almond milk.  I’m drinking tons of water, and soon as I hit publish, I’m scurrying off to the gym.  I may have overindulged, but I’m not afraid.  I know my winning formula of eating properly and exercising, will have me back on track before the week is over!

Did you overindulge during the Thanksgiving holiday?  Do you have a clear plan for getting back on track after going food crazy?

blogging, Food Addiction, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, weight loss journal

Like an Onion

Shrek and Donkey are property of DreamWorks Entertainment
Shrek and Donkey are property of DreamWorks Entertainment

Lately, the movie Shrek has been on my mind.  Not the whole movie, just the part where Shrek tells Donkey, in so many words. that “ogres are like onions, they have layers.” Shrek’s simple description of the complex stratum of his personality has felt quite apropos as of late, since I’ve been feeling fairly “oniony” myself.  (Please note that I said “feeling,” not “smelling”–I smell quite nice, according to my husband!)  The truth is, for many years, I was shrouded in a fairly ample “layer” of about 95 unneeded pounds (the size of your average 6th grader) of body fat.  That layer was so many things for me; my shield, my shame, my hiding place, my most loyal friend and my greatest enemy.  This bittersweet layer that was both my comfort and downfall was a  difficult one to let go of, both in terms of the hard work it’s required and in the anxiety of becoming a different person.

Now that I’m this new, shining, fit and healthy woman, nearly everything about my life is different. With my physically largest layer gone, I don’t take up as much space, but I feel like I have a more massive presence in my world.  With my anxieties managed, I see my future laced in possibilities, activities, and adventures.  Most importantly, without my mind obsessively thinking about my worries, and what I’ll eat to mask them, I’m capable of immersing myself in deeper thoughts and aspirations.  This has put me in a new state of “layer exploration.”

Call it a midlife crisis (the good kind without extramarital affairs or fast cars), but I have new interests and ways that I want to improve myself in order to have the happiest, most fulfilled and balanced life possible.  This notion brings me to my blog.  As you may have read, I’m in the maintenance phase of my weight loss program.  I’ve had calories added to my diet to halt my weight loss and allow me to stay at my target weight through eating properly and continued physical activity.  Keeping my weight off will always be a measure of work, but I’ve been given a manageable formula for doing so.  This is a topic that I will frequently write about, but I’d like to delve into other layers with deeper subjects like core beliefs, spirituality, and self-actualization.  I think with this new phase of my weight loss program, my blog needs some updating, and maybe even a name change.  What do you, my readers think?   Would you like to explore more topics along with me?  Want to join me in my positive mid-life crisis?    Let me know in the surveys and in your comments.

 

 

 

 

Bipolar II, blogging, Building self-confidence, enjoying family, Food Addiction, Having fun, learning, marriage, mental illness, Thankfulness

Gratitude: I’m thankful to be the best me I can be!

 

Life is awesome, and so is coffee, in moderation!  Yes, my hair really is that big! LOL!
Life is awesome, and so is coffee, in moderation! Yes, my hair really is that big! LOL!

Though I’ve had my share of  struggles, I’m a very fortunate person. Life has given me the privilege to meet, get to know, and live with several distinctly different versions of myself as an adult. The first version of me was the wild 18-22 year-old college student who often made terrible decisions based solely on what made the pain of a dying mother go away. Those decisions often involved rather risky behaviors and very little positive cognitive processing. If it felt freeing, fun, or dangerous, I was doing it with little thought of consequences.

My wild years, ushered in the next phase of my adulthood which reigned from 23-30 and involved the birth of two gorgeous daughters, one marriage followed by one divorce, and the joy of living below the national poverty level. (I’m not using the word joy in a facetious manner; an explanation is coming)

Next, came my years of single motherhood from 31-36. These years were marked with fun, adventure, frustration on many levels, loneliness and continuing poverty.

My single years ended when I met the man that I’m now married to. From 37-40 all of our lives became significantly better, fuller, and richer with love.

Then, just when things seemed to be flowing smoothly, my younger daughter’s first depressive episode surfaced when I was 41. Though my daughter was properly diagnosed with Type II Bipolar Disorder within two years of her first episode, and though she was properly treated and doing well, my years from 41-48 were dark. Anxiety and isolation were the central themes of my existence and I spent most of my time compulsively eating to quell my anxiety and waiting for the next episode to happen.

Now, at 50, the past two years of my life have been an incredible period of growth for me. I have two wonderfully healthy daughters and a fabulous stepson. I am married to the kindest man in the world. I have the freedom to be the person that I want to be and I’m finding that the true person that I am is loving, patient, kind, giving, caring, calm, healthy, at peace, and very awake to the possibilities that life has to offer. The amazing thing is, that I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without the contrast of the past “me(s)” that I’ve been. Had I not had a “wild” period would I have been naïve to what my teenaged children could have been up to?  Had I never experienced anxiety, would I now recognize peace? Had I not lived in poverty, would I now appreciate the little things, like having a dishwasher, or my own washer and dryer? Would I have figured out how to make something fun, or useful out of the limited resources that I had? I don’t think so. Had I not witnessed illness, I could now take my own health, or the health of my loved ones for granted.   Had I not known loneliness and lack of family, I might not hold my husband, and the family and friends that I have, so dear.

The suffering that I experienced in my past is only a memory that I can chose to dwell on, or learn from. I’m certainly glad that I’ve finally reached a point in my life that is no longer dictated by the past. Goodness is now and the days ahead are what I choose to create. Do I wish that I could have figured this all out sooner? Of course, but I think we all figure things out in our own time though our own life experiences.

What experiences have you learned from and have  made you appreciate the life you have now?

blogging, Daily Prompt, Food Addiction, Having fun

Whatcha eating? Um..er… I mean who’s playing?

 

What's at your concession stand?  (Logo taken from Wikipedia)
What’s at your concession stand? (Logo taken from Wikipedia)

Sports have never been a big part of my life. However, in my youth there were two things that would make me say yes to a well-timed invitation to a game.  The first was the social aspect of it.  As a true extrovert, I loved being immersed in a crowd and reveled in the electric connection of it.  It was inevitable that there would be others near me in the group happy to chat about anything  other than the action on the field. There would also be people happily engaging in my other sports associated love, and an indicator of my future food addiction,  the concession stand.  Though, I didn’t even tip the scales at 100 pounds as a teen, I probably enjoyed a defensive lineman’s portion of concessions and still equate ANY sporting event with the food served there.

Raised in a nearly sugar-free, organic household, the opportunity to indulge, and over-indulge, in field-side treats like hot

Don't hate me because I'm such a sweet fashion statement. (Photo courtesy of oldtimecandy.com)
Don’t hate me because I’m such a sweet fashion statement. (Photo courtesy of oldtimecandy.com)

dogs, burgers, nachos, and pizza, filled me with giddy glee. All of this fatty delights were washed down with a healthy, or perhaps not so healthy, bottle of strawberry, orange, grape, or cream soda, from the local bottling company right in my town.  After a super-sized entrée, it was time for dessert.  Jumbo Pixie Stix in grape, cherry, or lime filled me with just enough sugar to bound back to the line for more.  Reese’s Cups, Mallow Cups, banana taffy, cinnamon lollipops, and fireballs would be my next course.an  I’d also adorn myself in the occasional candy necklace.  For those of you who have never indulged in such a decoration, as an adult I’d tell you you’re really not missing out on much, but as a teen this creation that featured sugar beads on an elastic string, was candy and fashion nirvana.

The majority of my refreshment stand escapades were completed at my local high school’s football field or baseball diamond. However, once a season my father would load my brother and I in his truck and travel to nearby Baltimore to watch his beloved Orioles play.  My brother would don his black and orange cap and jersey and empty his piggy bank to purchase pennants and t-shirts.  I’d empty my own porcine money keeper and put on my loose-waisted eating shorts. Once there my brother would concentrate on catching foul balls with his well-worn Little League mitt. I, as usual, had little concern over the

Smells like pizza!  I guess he is sort of cute, too. (Photo courtesy of Topps)
Smells like pizza! I guess he is sort of cute, too. (Photo courtesy of Topps)

playing skills of Brooks Robinson or Boog Powell. My eye was on a different aspect of the game. With our diet not being a major concern of my father’s, I hit up the concessions for cheesy pizza slices bigger than my head and gigantic Coca-colas, disproving my mother’s theory that Coke’s only use was medicinal.

As I grew into still svelte womanhood, I still associated sports with food.  One college weekend when I participated in an event that required my spending time with Cal Ripken, Jr., back when he still had hair. My friends enviously wanted every detail of what he was like.  I remember him as being very engaging and nice, however, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to craving cheese pizza and a super-sized Coke the entire weekend.

Though I’m not much of a sports watcher, I’m delighted to see so much coverage of the World Cup on American television.  My husband and I both have friends and coworkers who have immigrated from countries where soccer/football is their most popular sport.  While I smile at our country becoming more inclusionary in its athletic coverage, I also must admit to finding delight in the pondering of what all of those mighty soccer fans may be ordering at the concession stand!