blogging, Crafting to lose weight, enjoying family, finding balance, Finding old friends, fitness, following your dreams, Friendship, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, optifast, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Starting at Square Two

 

Being a stay-at-home Nana has been a joy 99.999% of the time.  I wasn’t able to stay home with my daughters when they were little, so it’s been amazing watching Baby C unfold from a tiny preemie to a big boy.  However, as triumphant as watching each milestone was, there was part of me that had to hugely adjust to being home with a baby all day.  After all, my daughter’s schedule as a resident physician can only be described as grueling.  Her 16 hour a day shifts, coupled with my son-in-law’s odd work hours, often left me watching him for much longer than a traditional work day. Things happened that I didn’t imagine.  Any sort of routine or self-care schedule that I’d established basically became non-existent. I became a greasy haired, yoga pants wearing woman, in an oversized spit up covered tee-shirt.  My food plan of five small high protein meals per day dissolved to grabbing whatever seemed semi-edible from my fridge or pantry  Exercise, beyond walking and bouncing a wailing baby, went out the window, as did, reading, blogging, hanging out with friends, crafting and most things that I’d used as a substitute for overeating.  I began speaking fluent Sesame Street  (not a bad thing) and forgot how to have an interesting conversation. Though my snuggle and love ratio increased, my weight management plan rolled out the door like a trashcan full of dirty diapers and I gained weight; 35 pounds to be exact.

I’d committed to watching Baby C his first year of life, however finding just the right daycare didn’t happen until he turned 18 months old.  As soon as he began his first week there, I scanned my closet for something non-grubby to wear and went directly to my weight management physician and to the weight management trainers at the wellness center. Last week, I entered a comprehensive weight maintenance program and yesterday my weigh-in revealed a 4.5 pound weight loss! I’m proud of making progress and even prouder that I’m catching myself before my weight spirals too out of control.  Having to lose 30.5 pounds sure seems more doable than my previous goal of nearly 100 pounds.  Fortunately, instead of starting at square one, I’ve glided on to square two!

Life is a constant recalibration to find the perfect balance. I’m still spending plenty of time with my awesome grandson, but it’s more quality than quantity.  I’m back to making glass art that’s more intricate than before. I’m back to having time to nurture my relationship with my husband and friends.  I’m also back to posting on WordPress and, oh-so-hopefully reconnecting with the wonderful friends I’ve made on here over the years!

So, friends, how have you been? 🙂 

 

 

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. 🙂 

 

 

 

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!

Appreciation, blogging, Building self-confidence, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, food and family celebrations, Having fun, learning, losing weight, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, memories, optifast, Thankfulness, weight loss journal, Writing

I’d Fight a Zombie for You

 

Last year, on December 16th, I attended an informational meeting about Optifast at our hospital’s bariatric center.  I was nearly 230 pounds and physically miserable.  My health was on a downward spiral of pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep apnea, depression, and limited mobility.   My spirit was in even worse shape.  In fact, shortly before my first bariatric visit, a silly family conversation about the Zombie Apocalypse* turned pretty serious as each family member was discussing their special skill in defeating the undead.  My husband’s years in the Army have given him amazing survival skills, coupled with a sniper-like aim with any weapon available.  My younger daughter is super fast, fearless, and strong. Her fiancé is resourceful and also an expert in survival and weaponry.  My oldest daughter is cunning, has expert medical skills, and extremely resilient, and her husband is wily, quick and strong.  After talking out a few scenarios that slayed more than a slew of zombies, my family turned to me,

“What would you do Mom?” my oldest asked.

“I’m fat,”  I replied, “I’d be your diversion.”

With that, their happy conversation ceased and I spent the next hour, promising them that I would get healthy.

Fast forward to yesterday.  My oldest I were happily dancing around the kitchen to holiday music with a few twerking songs thrown in, when she reminded me of last year’s Zombie Apocalypse conversation.

“What would you do now, Mom?” she questioned **

I answered with a high, karate-style kick that finished just inches from her head.

“I’d kick their asses!,” I replied with a smile.

With just one year of extremely hard work, I’ve gone from a Zombie’s holiday meal, to the undead’s worst enemy.  I’m nearly 100 pounds lighter, am no longer pre-diabetic, no longer have sleep apnea, depression, or high blood pressure.  My asthma medication has been cut in half, and I’m physically fit. I’ve met new, wonderful people through my gym and this blog.  I don’t fear life anymore, and I’m certainly not afraid of a few zombies!

I feel so immensely blessed this wonderful holiday season. I’m thankful for the love of my friends and family, for my health, and for all of the caring, sweet people that I’ve met here on WordPress.  I feel like I know all of you as friends and wish you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays! ❤ ❤ ❤


 

*Something that people who have years of advanced education tend to do, along with lengthy discussions of Star Wars, Star Trek, and other various super cool subjects!

**Once again, her extreme coolness coming out.

 

blogging, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, Having fun, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, weight loss journal, Writing

Holiday Hijinks, Maintenance Madness, and Other Happy Stuff

Hello all!  I’ve been really bad about posting lately, so I thought I’d play catch up today.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

Celebrating: Friday was my future son-in-law’s last day of college classes.  As soon as grades come out the week after next, he’ll officially have a communications degree in digital film making with a minor in graphic design.  Last night, we celebrated his accomplishments with a delicious spread of his favorites; fresh, raw veggies & dip, homemade guacamole and chips, and grilled, Korean chicken on a stick.  We had a film festival featuring most of the films that he made during his years in school, and then finished off the evening with an amazing chocolate mocha cake from a nearby bakery.  Don’t worry, I had far more grilled chicken and veggies than I did cake, but I did enjoy a nice slice.  The best announcement at our party is that he has a job interview this Tuesday for an editing position! (Keep your fingers crossed for him!)

He looks so sleepy and innocent, doesn't he?
He looks so sleepy and innocent, doesn’t he?

Holiday Décor vs. Kitties: I love the holidays!  We put our tree up the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the cats have been super-duper delighted about it.  So delighted that we’ve had to resort to shaking a can of coins at them to keep them from eating the branches.  They watch me pick up the can, and know I’m about to terrify them, yet they still can’t help taking a nibble or knocking off an ornament. 

Remember, the burlap garland I was making for my tree?  My other kitty decided that it was delicious.  So delicious that it now resides atop my oldest daughter’s fireplace mantle!  Those crazy kitties!

 

Maintenance:  My weight maintenance is still going well.  I’m hovering between 132-135 pounds and am continuing to work on my core strength and muscle-building.  With this being my first holiday season on maintenance, I’m trying to find a balance between enjoying the treats of the season and making smart choices. On thing I won’t be doing this year is making Christmas cookies.  I know that sounds Scrooge-like, but it’s in my best interest to not have dozens of delicious goodies in my house!  If I just look at it as 3-4 days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day) of eating away from my plan, it doesn’t seem quite as daunting.  If I’m working out and eating right, the rest of the month, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Goodbye Peri-menopause : This Wednesday, I’m finally having surgery to help with some peri-menopausal issues that I’ve had for nearly a year now.  It’s outpatient surgery and requires two days of rest and two-weeks of light exercise and no swimming afterwards. If my problem is solved, this will be the best Christmas present ever! 🙂  Please keep me in your thoughts on Wednesday! 🙂

That’s about all that’s been going on in my neck of the woods.  Hope all my readers are doing well! 🙂

blogging, losing weight, optifast, weight loss journal, Writing

I’ll be the one in the Khaki Shorts

I wish my closet looked this organized, but it's definitely looking better!  (photo from Rubbermaid)
I wish my closet looked this organized, but it’s definitely looking better! (photo from Rubbermaid)

Yesterday, I officially hit the 60 pound weight loss mark.  I decided to celebrate by a much needed cleaning and purging of my clothing closet.  Our house is really small and unfortunately, our bedroom becomes the “catch all” for any item that doesn’t have a place. It was time to clear things to make room for living space.

I began by evacuating the luggage and crafting items that were cluttering the closet floor.  Once I could finally enter, I stripped down to underthings, and began trying clothing on.  My daughter, who has decided to purchase a booth at a local outdoor flea market this weekend, waited, with baited breath, for me to place my rejected jeans, tops, skirts, and dresses in her open garbage bags for selling.  Eight trash bags later, I had more than enough room to begin hanging up my clothing that actually fits.  This didn’t take long.  My clothing inventory is as follows: 5 tee-shirts, 5 tank-tops, 1 pair of white capris, 3 pairs of shorts (two of which are khaki), 10 summer cardigans of various colors (I get cold easily), 1 skirt, 1 dress, and 1 pair of jeans that are a little too big.  I have more closet space than I’ve ever had in my life.  I also have zero winter clothing.  It feels so good to have what I consider so few clothing items and it certainly saves time on my morning quest of choosing what to wear.  Since the weather has been fairly hot, my usual choice is shorts, and most often my khaki ones.  So if you’re trying to find me in a crowd, I’ll most likely be the healthy-looking blond in the khaki shorts! 🙂

How are your closets looking?  Do you own a bunch of clothing, or are you happy with just the basics?