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! 

 

 

 

blogging, finding balance, following your dreams, Maintaining Weight Loss

Diving in the Deep End of Life

Howdy, blogging buddies!!  I’ve clearly been MIA  for quite a while now.  I’m certain that it’s because I’m still struggling to create that imperfectly perfect life balance of family, career, school, fitness, etc.!  Way, way back in December I mentioned  two of my New Years’ resolutions; connect on a deeper level with friends and find a fulfilling career.  My weight loss experience definitely taught me the power of being a doer as well as a dreamer.  Imagining and visualizing your success is extremely important, but at some point the imagination can only go so far before the body has to dive in, head and heart first, to make things happen.  I’ve been quite busy diving in the deep end of life, because that tends to be where all the good stuff happens.  (Remember when you were a kid and you couldn’t wait to be allowed to swim in that mystical area beyond the ropes?)

My dive began in January when my husband and I began making an effort to become more social.  Instead  of casually talking about places and events that we might go to and do in the future, we just started going and doing.  In addition to making new friends, I’ve recommitted to getting together more with dear, old friends. There’s a richness in friendship that I’d forgotten just how much I’d needed.

I haven’t been letting my career goals flounder in the shallow end either. Knowing that I need to brush up on my Excel skills, I’m taking a class at a local college. The assignments are lengthy, but it feels great to exercise my brain (and yes, I do have homework that I should be doing instead of blogging).  I’ve also been making some great connections in the world of PR and marketing, as well as doing some volunteer work in that area that can offer me some credible references. I’m confident that when I’m ready, the right position will come my way.

My fitness level and weight are doing well. I’m continuing to hover around 132 pounds and am still following the basic high protein, lower carb eating plan that my dietician recommends. I’m making it to the gym about twice a week, but I’ve found a plethora of activities to do on my own that are keeping me fit; hiking, treadmill, yard work, swimming, etc.   I mostly visit the gym to make sure I do a thorough weight routine twice a week. I feel like I’ve found a healthy balance.

My family is continuing to thrive! My oldest daughter graduates from med school at the end of this month and she and her hubby are expecting their first child. (I’m going to be a Nana!!) My youngest is finding ongoing success at her job, and her fiancé just landed a wonderful position as a documentarian, editor, etc. in his field (perhaps wedding bells are in their future).   We’re all heading to the beach after my daughter’s graduation. So, basically, it’s all cool in our pool!

I need to swim on over to my study area and get to work and then head to the gym. I hope everyone is doing well. I plan to peruse some much missed blogs soon!

Have a great weekend everyone!

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)
Appreciation, beach, blogging, Exercise, Having fun, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, weight loss journal, Writing

I’m Back!

We saw this little guy right before we left the house for the last time. (photo by me)
We saw this little guy right before we left the house for the last time. (photo by me)

Last night, my husband and I arrived home from the land of swaying palm trees, menacing alligators, lounging lizards, magical Spanish moss, and good, old fashioned Southern hospitality.  Unfortunately, as mentioned in my previous post, we were in Hilton Head, South Carolina taking care of things after the death of my father-in-law.

In spite of the dreary task of clearing out, cleaning, and preparing the home for sale, we managed, during our long work days, to seek out the good.  In fact, everything we set out to accomplish was completed, not only with the best of intentions, but with fate placing the best of people in our paths.  Here are some of the highlights–not in any particular order:

  • Spending one on one time with my husband, and confirming how well we get along and work together.
  • Unexpectedly ending up with the nicest, quietest room in the hotel we stayed at.
  • Our hotel being located right beside of the Okatie Ale House–they have the best food in town with lots of healthy choices (even though I didn’t always make the healthiest of choices)!
  • Picking and eating the last orange on the backyard tree.  Delish!
Right from the tree to our tummies!  Yum!! (photo by me)
Right from the tree to our tummies! Yum!! (photo by me)
  • Meeting, and getting to know, the new neighbors who lived beside of my father-in-law.
  • Finding the many letters and family pictures that my in-laws had saved. (Oh, my goodness, my husband was a cute baby!)
  • Visiting Beaufort, SC in between appointments, on our last day in SC.  What a quaint, artsy, beautiful city!
Could Beaufort, SC be any cuter?  The Spanish moss makes you feel like you're in a fairytale! (photo by me)
Could Beaufort, SC be any cuter? The Spanish moss makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale! (photo by me)
  • Finally getting a picture of one of the alligators residing in the neighborhood lagoon.
  • Seeing two anoles on the day we said goodbye to the house.
  • Getting lots of meaningful exercise while cleaning, climbing ladders and lifting boxes.
  • Eating ice cream at least 10 times while away and not gaining ANY weight!!
  • Discovering that everyone in Hilton Head dresses up and finding amazingly great sales at White House/Black Market (I’m talking $100 dress pants for $14.99!).  (I’d packed very quickly, and completely wrong, for the weather and area–now I won’t have to shop for Spring!)
  • Encountering lots of interesting, fun, quirky, and extremely polite people everywhere we went.
  • Coming home to my gorgeous family and sweet kitties!

Now, I’m off to finish unpacking and organizing the things we brought home.  We decided to each choose a special thing to keep from the house as a memory.  My husband chose some wooden carvings of sea creatures that were in his home from childhood.  I picked my mother-in-law’s everyday dishes (I’m not a fine China kinda girl!).  I’ve always loved them, and they certainly make me think of family dinners and good times at the beach.

I thought these would be a nice memento of good times shared with my in-laws.  (Photo by me)
I thought these would be a nice memento of good times shared with my in-laws. (Photo by me)

 

I hope everyone is doing well.  Thank you for your kind messages and well-wishes while we were away. 🙂

Finally, a shot of that elusive gator!  Can you see how well he blends in to the environment?  (photo by me)
Finally, a shot of that elusive gator! This is the smallest one.Can you see how well he blends in to the environment? (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, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, setting goals, weight loss journal

Thanks Gorgon! (I really mean it)

Winter storm, Gorgon, came whipping through my area early this morning leaving behind three inches of icy, glittery, snow, and two wonderful gifts.  The first, was that untreated roads caused my husband and daughter to have to stay home today.  The second, was the awesome, natural, workout that I got from doing ALL of the driveway and sidewalk shoveling, totally by myself!

Speaking of awesome?  Isn’t Gorgon a wonderful name for a storm?  This winter seems to have a great line-up of tempestuous names, as evidenced by this lovely link from The Weather Channel.  I’m particularly fond of Pandora, Sparta, Thor, and Zelus, as they seem to be quite apropos when it comes to blustery weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m only loving these storms’ names, not their wrath.  Feeling trapped inside so often last winter’s huge amounts of snow was quite enough!

In other nifty news, I had my first bariatric visit and weigh-in in two months yesterday.  I was a little nervous, due to the holidays (I had several days of eating whatever I wanted). Amazingly, my weight was exactly the same as at my previous visit; no gains–no losses. My heart rate and blood pressure were both on the low side of normal and my doc was very pleased all around.  My next appointment isn’t until April 6th, the day before my birthday!  I really like the option of checking in with my weight loss doctor periodically, as it gives me another layer of accountability.

So far, my New Year is off to an awesome, and active, start.  I hope all of you are having a great beginning to  2015, too!

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, public relations, setting goals, strength training, the law of attraction, Uncategorized, weight loss journal, Writing

Goodbye, Sweet Sugar and Thoughts on a New Year

The clock is ticking!  What are your New Year's goals? (Photo by me "The Hugo Clock" @ MOMA)
The clock is ticking! What are your New Year’s goals? (Photo by me “The Hugo Clock” @ MOMA

Stevia-laced coffee and a healthy bowl of Fiber One cereal; this is my usual morning.  However for the past three wake-ups, holiday elves (let’s blame it on them) have been treating me to slices of pie or Christmas cookies and a lovely coffee topped with whipped cream.  Those silly “elves” have also been sabotaging my other meals, too, and “forcing” me to eat Christmas dinner leftovers.  Yesterday, I called their bluff and took the leftovers to my daughter’s house.

The good news is, that three days of feasting hasn’t taken much of a toll on my progress or success.  I decided to not give myself any restrictions this holiday.  Restrictions make you feel like you’ve failed when a sugar cookie “accidentally falls into your mouth.  Truth be told, given carte blanche in the kitchen actually helped me this season.  I can’t pack it in like I used to, and didn’t really end up eating the copious amounts of food that I thought I would.  It takes the consumption of 3,500 calories to gain a pound.  Fortunately, a health metabolism burns those calories, and as of this morning, I only weigh 133 lbs.  Holiday victory is still mine!

Today, it’s back to the gym and “so long” to sugar!  Will I indulge on New Year’s Eve?  Of course!

Speaking of New Year’s, I began working on my new list of goals for 2015 last night.  2014 was such an amazing year that I expect 2015 to be even better!  So far, I hope to:

  • Find an awesome job
  • Rid myself of debt
  • Get  physically stronger
  • Create my crafting business

So what about you, dear readers?  Did you thoroughly enjoy your holiday treats?  Have you made any goals for 2015?  Tell me about it! 🙂