blogging, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, grandparenting, Nana, sleeping baby, sweet baby, family, memories, blogging, Having fun, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Writing

Taking a Stand

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?

 

IMG_5823
Sitting, Nana?  Yeah, good luck with that!!  I’m Baby Coach C!!!

 

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, Guilty pleasures, Having fun, weight loss journal, Writing

Monday’s Musical Musings

I love music and can’t go through the day without taking the time to listen to it.  In spite of my affection for a wide range of genres, musically, I have no clear-cut talent, other than making a decent workout playlist, or dance mix for a party.

I had four, long, years of piano lessons, but can now only play the first few measures of Fur Elise and another song called Swans on a Lake, from my old John Thompson music primer.  My singing voice is mediocre after eight years of voice lessons from high school throughout college. Even though I managed to snag several handfuls of roles in my school’s musicals, the songs I performed were mostly campy numbers that were sung with more affectation than vocal prowess.

Oddly, I’ve always had excellent musicians around me.  My brother is a gifted pianist and vocalist.  My husband is an amazing guitar player and singer.  My eldest daughter plays several instruments with mastery, and both of my daughters have angelic singing voices and perfect pitch. Time and again, I’ve come to the realization that if our family suddenly had the chance to audition for American Idol, that I would be the one left without a “golden ticket” to Hollywood.  But, hey, that’s alright with me.  I still have a great time singing slightly off-key with my iPod and belting out tunes in my car with nearly as much enthusiasm and emotion as any Grammy winner.

Here are a few tunes that have been stuck in my head lately:

 

How about all of you?  What songs are stuck in your head lately?  Please, feel free to share them and have a great day! 🙂

 

 

 

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! 🙂

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. 🙂