With just a few minutes before Baby C arrives to spend the day with Nana, I have just enough time for a coffee and a quick post. Lately, sitting down has not been a part of my daily routine; and that’s a really good thing! Anyone involved in health and fitness knows that being too sedentary increases the risk of cardiovascular problems (yes, dear husband, this post is for you). Since losing weight, I’ve really attempted to spend the day moving as much as possible. My grandson certainly makes that easy; especially since he seems to be seconds away from beginning to crawl! Another thing that’s helped me keep active is the fitness tracker that my hubby so graciously got me for my 52nd birthday. Most days I meet the American Heart Association’s 10,000 step goal before the afternoon. Often, my goal is achieved by doing a little extra of something I’d normally do; like taking Baby C for a walk or making a few extra trips up and down the stairs while doing housework. I also take advantage of Baby C’s naptime by doing abdominal workouts while he snoozes!
For those of you committed to staying healthy–what are some ways you add movement and exercise to your daily life? I’m always looking for ways to stay on my feet. For those of you who lead sedentary lifestyles, what would motivate you to move more?
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!
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:
Forgive myself and cross my name off of the naughty list
Get out my measuring cup, measuring spoons and food scale–and use them.
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.
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.
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.
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!!)
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!
As a life-long avid reader, I loved to raid my mother’s bookshelf when I was teenager. Trapped in a crummy marriage and riddled with health problems, my mother had an array of self-help books . Fortunately for me, a good majority of them were about love and positivity. Though I remember my mother as an extremely humorous and loving person, positivity and unconditional love from my father were elements that were often lacking in my dysfunctional household. Because of this, I held the words in purloined books like Dr. Leo Buscalia’s, Love, and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s, The Power of Positive Thinking, especially close and dear. While my classmates were devouring VC Andrew’s latest offerings, (which I’ll admit to also reading), I was a 16 year-old with a stack of bedside books by two older men who wrote about God, love and positive thinking. Being only slightly deeper that most other 16 year-olds, I’m not sure how much of their messages stuck with me. However, these books were written proof that all men weren’t Troglodytes and that there were people whose lives were changed by simply making the choice to love others, love ourselves, and to think positively.
I’m not sure what happened to my mom’s copy of Love, but sometime after her death, I managed to get her copy of The Power of Positive Thinking and it was often the book I fell asleep to during challenging times. At times I’ve thrived on Peale’s suggestions of visualizing success and replacing negative notions with positive ones. Other times, like all humans, I’ve put these thoughts and teachings to the wayside.
Back in 2006, a big deal was made on The Oprah Winfrey Show about Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret.I usually love Oprah’s book suggestions, so I bought a copy and skimmed it. 2006 was a chaotic year for us, with my daughter’s illness still not fully under control. The Secrets’ message of using positive thinking and the law of attraction to manifest the things you want in your life sort of seemed impossible to me at the time. My copy of The Secret was soon hidden away among my massive book collection.
Then, a few years ago, while scrolling through Netflix, I noticed the movie version of The Secret and decided to give it another chance. While parts of the film were a little campy, the basic message of positive thinking attracts positive elements in our lives reminded me of Dr. Peale’s teachings. I tend to be a positive thinker, by nature, and the film compelled me to not only gratefully reflect on the wonderful things that I already have in my life, but to visualize the things that I want as if I already have them.
My now 81 pound weight loss is proof to me that positive visualization and thinking puts the law of attraction into play. Before I even began losing, I began to see myself at a healthy weight. Day and night, I visualized myself easily climbing stairs and stepping lightly wherever I walked. I pictured myself not winded and my joints not aching from carrying my excess poundage. In my mind’s eye I was trim and svelte. I found clothing easily and when I put it on, it was flattering and comfortable. While exercising, I’d imagine that I looked fit and confident and that I was someone who inspired other people at my gym. Often when I found myself growing tired with still minutes to go on a machine, I’d inwardly recite my mantra, “I’m feeling fit, healthy, energized and beautiful,” over and over until it was all I was focusing on.
My positive outlook with regaining my health, attracted the teachers and people that I needed in my life: a supportive family; a wonderful, dedicated bariatric doctor; a caring weight loss counselor, and an awesomely positive trainer and gym environment. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see the person that I visualized all those months ago. When I run up and down stairs and workout at my gym, I feel the health and vigor that I once convinced myself that I had. The realist in me says my success isn’t a result of “magical thinking.” It was my own hard work at sacrifice that’s gotten me to my goal weight. That may be true, but without m positive attitude and approach, would I have lost my weight so easily? Would I have encountered so many awesome people? I don’t think so.
This past weekend my daughter and I decided to further test the law of attraction by making vision boards to help give focus to the things that we want in our lives. I began my board by making a list of “I am” statements that reflect the elements that I’d like to attract. Using an “I am” statement, puts things in the present and shows that you’re living as if you’ve already met your goal. It might sound a little silly, but it puts lots of good thoughts in your head to replace any negative ones that might attempt to slip in.
Here are my “I am” statements: (They’re not in any particular order of importance)
I am blogging several times each week and writing for pleasure and profit.
I am enjoying continued physical, emotional and spiritual health.
I am enjoying eating healthy foods and exercising.
I am a loving, giving partner in my happy and fulfilling marriage. (this one’s already very true!)
I am showing compassion to others and making a positive change in my family, community, and world.
I am living a life of honesty, and am able to freely express myself.
I am earning more than enough money to enjoy life and responsibly take care of our needs and wants.
I am keeping a balanced budget and spending wisely.
I am finding ways to continue my education, both formally and informally.
I am using my creativity, talents, and people skills to have a stress-free career that feels like a hobby.
I am living in a 3 to 4 bedroom, 2 to3 bath home, that is at least 1,400 or more square feet, with a pool, in a safe flood zone, in the Outer Banks of NC.
I am surrounded by the beauty of nature.
After completing my “I am” statements, I created a board with pictures and memorabilia that reflect my words. Morning and evening, I read my statements out loud and imagine myself in each situation. I’ll wrap things up with some pictures of my board.
What would some of your “I am” statements be? What would you like to manifest in your life? Do you believe in the law of attraction?
This post is my trip to the confessional, and you, my readers, are the priest. Before my weight loss, I had a huge problem with bingeing. HUGE. My days were planned out by what I was going to eat, and my daily goal was to consume the food I was craving by any legal means. In comparison to the other high achievers in my life, my goals were by no means lofty or important, and they certainly weren’t creating any positive changes in my world or anyone else’s.
Hiding cans of Pringles and bags of Maple Nut Goodies, making trips to Taco Bell or Chik-Fil-A, and making enormous carb-laden meals that were destined to yield bingeing leftovers, were all features in my daily routine. Top my busy schedule off with a “healthy” dose of inactivity, and it’s easy to see how I topped the scales at 223 pounds.
I’ve made a plethora of positive changes in my life over these past seven months and I’ve come clean with my counselor, and family, about my secret food binges. I’ve come to recognize that my feeding frenzies were fueled by anxiety, something that I’ve lived with most of my life, and something that I’m finally learning to manage.
I know that food is my drug of choice, and like every addict on Earth, I am not impervious to “falling off the wagon.” Because of this, I’ve created a set of guidelines to keep myself safe.
Keep only healthy foods in the house
Shun all fast food establishments
Substitute cravings with crafting, blogging, exercising, and doing activities with family and friends.
Keep my anxiety from getting the best of me through seeing my counselor, as needed, taking my medicine, and talking to trusted family and friends.
Go no more than two days in a row without exercising.
Hold myself accountable to family, friends, my doctor, and counselor if I fall back into old habits and overindulge.
99.9% of the time I follow my rules and the 70 pounds I’ve lost is my proof that it works. However, a few times, I have broken my guidelines. This weekend is a prime example. I had a big birthday party for my younger daughter on Friday. Even though she suggested all healthy food items; Chicken Satay, fresh veggie and fruit trays, cheese, olives, popcorn, and flavored unsweetened seltzers, I went a little crazy. I mean, you can’t have a birthday without cake, and popcorn isn’t that exciting of a salty snack, and what’s a party without some sort of fruity drink? By the time guests arrived there was an enormous tray of cupcakes with multi-colored frosting and sprinkles, bowls of honey roasted chipotle nuts, gummy bears, guacamole and chips, and a big vat of homemade sparkling strawberry lemon/limeade filled with fruit and plenty of sugar. These extras were in addition to my daughter’s original requests.
I had vowed to eat only the healthy offerings, and I started out doing pretty well. I even avoided the delicious homemade peanut sauce that went with the chicken. Then, I made the decision to pop just one lemony yellow gummy bear into my mouth, my first sugar in months. I wanted it to be too sweet so I’d hate it, but it wasn’t. It was magically delicious. Soon, that damn gummy bear was like a psychedelic Grateful Dead Bear swirling me into the land of gluttony. I ate a chipotle peanut; then I ate ten. I grabbed a tortilla and scooped up a mound of guacamole. I filled a 16 oz. cup to the brim with icy lemon/limeade and gulped the sugary liquid down as fast as my throat muscles would allow. Before long, I was undressing a cupcake with lovely teal frosting and shoving it into my mouth like Honey Boo Boo at a pie eating contest. By the end of the evening, I’d consumed three cupcakes, a handful of nuts and gummy bears, several servings of guac and chips, and another glass of punch. I went to bed Friday night vowing that I’d hit the gym first thing in the morning.
Saturday morning, I was exhausted. My head and joints ached and my stomach was killing me. I felt far too bad to go to the gym, and spent the first part of my day parked in front of my laptop. I attempted to eat healthy and began my day with a bowl of high fiber cereal topped with fresh blueberries and almond milk. However, an hour after I ate, I began craving the leftover treats from the day before. I began working on my glass crafting and tried to ignore the bag of gummy “gateway drug” bears tucked away in the pantry. I drank water, made a shake for lunch and popped some Tylenol for my headache and drank more water. I retreated to the patio to cut glass rings from bottles with acetone, string, fire and water. This was not a successful venture and I ended up feeding broken glass to the recycling bin and then feeding myself another cupcake. This led to a whole new binge and by the end of the evening, I’d messed up my eating plan, again.
Confession is good for the body and soul, and today is a new day. I’ve had a healthy breakfast, drank a bunch of water, and am about to go put my workout clothes on to head to the gym once my daughter gets ready. During this journey, I’ve learned that messing up isn’t permanent. I can stay on track and hold myself accountable for my choices. I’ll probably always struggle with food, but I also have tools and guidelines that give me some measure of control over it. Today, I will:
Drink plenty of water and plain green tea
Eat healthy lean protein, veggies, and fruits
Forgive myself for bingeing this weekend
Feel proud of myself for being in control
Enjoy the company of my family and friends
Stay away from the scale (far, far away!)
Do you ever binge? How do you recover after a weekend of overeating?
Yesterday, was very special. I hung out with my best friend, helping her do some shopping for her mother who is in the beginning stages of dementia. She’s the same age that my mother would be if she were still living. I haven’t shopped for a mother (other than myself) for 30 years, and it was difficult to hold back tears while watching her mom’s face beam with delight as she put away her new supplies.
There are some things that are “nevers.” I will never, in this life, care for my elderly mother. I will never brush her hair, never buy her new clothes, and never get beaten at Gin Rummy by her again. Never.
Please don’t think that I use the example of my mother morbidly, or to make anyone sad, myself included. I use this example to illustrate the monumental gravity of the word never. Anyone who’s lost a loved one knows that death equals some weighty and permanent nevers.
After, visiting with my friend’s mom for a few hours, I headed to the gym to get the rest of my day’s 10,000 steps in. The padded track is on the second floor where the exercise studios are located. As I walked on the inner “slow lane,” I couldn’t help but notice the runners gracefully sprinting past me in the outer “fast lane.” Their well honed muscles, their fluid movements, and their oneness with the track, made me yearn to be like them. As I passed the classrooms, I saw people dizzily spinning at speeds that I couldn’t imagine reaching. I watch a core class doing TRX Training that looked virtually impossible. I spied men and women in an X-treme Aerobics class moving with a pace and steps that seemed unreachable. Then I found myself thinking a dreadful thought–one that I’ve work so hard to shut out of my mind’s recesses; “I could NEVER do that!” I didn’t just think it once; I had a never for every activity on that second floor. In fact, I walked and entire lap lost in my own personal Neverland!
Luckily, I mindfully “checked myself before I wrecked myself!” The next lap, I changed my way of thinking. “I can’t do that yet, ” I thought, as a runner flew by me. “I can’t do that, yet,” I mused, as I passed some impressive, suspended push-ups happening in the TRX class. “I can’t do that yet,” I said, as I glided by the sweaty spinners. “I can’t do that yet,” I inwardly smiled, as I shuffled past the lithe aerobic dancers.
“YET” is a power word. It’s imbued with hopefulness and magnificent things to come. It implies future successes, the meeting of goals, and the crossing of finish lines. On this rainy Wednesday, in my corner of the world, I implore you to change your weighty, dead-end, final nevers to glorious, hopeful, anticipating YETS!
What exercise goals are you working on? What will you be able to do physically in the future? Tell me about it! 🙂
Do you believe that you can follow a healthy eating plan? Do you trust that you can dedicate yourself to maintaining the amount of exercise that your body needs to stay lean and healthy? If you answered yes to both of these questions, chances are that you have a fairly good level of self-confidence.
Self-confidence is the feeling that you have a sense of control over your actions. Having self-confidence, and believing that you have the ability to follow a healthy dietary and exercise plan, is a strong predictor of weight loss success.
Building confidence takes work, however, each positive experience that you have will show you that you’re capable of handling whatever comes your way. If you feel yourself lacking the confidence that you need to change your eating and activity habits, you may benefit from trying some of these suggestions that I’ve learned in my Lifestyle Education Classes at the bariatric center:
Take care of your needs: Remember that only you can make yourself happy. Just as it’s not your job to solve the problems of others, you can’t depend on others to make things happen for you. Set goals that are based on the things you need to do for yourself and make those goals happen.
Become self-reliant: The more you handle things on your own, the more competent and capable you’ll see that you are. In turn, knowing your capabilities builds confidence.
Recognize your own uniqueness as a person: Begin seeing yourself as special and worthy, because you are! ❤
Love and accept yourself: Be introspective; get to know yourself and why you think, feel and act the way that you do. List all of the things that make you unique and special. Keep the list somewhere that you can read it frequently, especially if you’re feeling down.
Don’t fight change: To change the way that you feel about eating a healthy diet and exercising, you have to give up your old habits in order to develop new, healthy ones. Even though change can be difficult, you’ll feel such a sense of pride in yourself when you do make positive changes. Don’t fight it! Ride the pride!
Surround yourself with positive people: Positive people build you up and make you feel energized. I’ve found some wonderfully supportive friends through my classes at the bariatric center, through my gym, and of course, here on WordPress! 🙂
Make a list of positive affirmations and say them to yourself regularly: There’s nothing wrong with talking to yourself every once in a while, especially if you’re saying nice things! As I work out, I tell myself over and over, “You’re getting healthier and more fit!” Give it a try!!
Imagine your best you: Create an image in your mind of the person that you want to be. Visualize how you want to look and feel. Then tell yourself that you’ve reached your goal. Feel how you would if you were that person.
Use good posture and keep a smile on your face: According to my almost doctor daughter, not standing up straight can stimulate the chain of nerves on the sides of the vertebrate which can trigger a sympathetic nervous system response (aka fight or flight) causing feelings of stress in the body. Using good posture makes you feel better, and a winning smile makes you more approachable.
Before I began my weight loss program, my confidence wasn’t the greatest. My past weight loss failures weighed heavily against my ability to commit to eating right and exercising. The good news is, that all it took was a spark of hope to start me on my way. That hope was simply my imagining myself healthy and strong, and able to do the things I want to do. With each week of success, my confidence has grown exponentially. Give these suggestions a try and see how they work for you!