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! 🙂

Appreciation, blogging, Exercise, fitness, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, strength training, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

I’ll See Ya Tomorrow!

I haven’t written much lately about my weight maintenance.  I have a bariatric doctor visit this afternoon, so I figure that now is the perfect time to share how things are going.  I weighed in at the gym yesterday for a “Turkey Burn” contest that they’re having the entire month of November.  For every five gym visits you receive entry into a drawing for a $100 gift card.  On your tenth visit, you get a nifty tee-shirt, and if you lose any weight during the month you get additional prizes.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ll do just about anything for a prize, so I’m super stoked about my gym’s event this month!

Yesterday’s weigh-in showed that I’m still slowly losing weight even though I’ve significantly increased my calories.  With clothes and shoes on I’m at 134 lbs., so that most likely means that I’m around 130-132 sans apparel.  Today, I’m having my metabolism measured to get a clearer picture of just how many calories I’m burning at rest. This should aid in creating a plan of how much I should be eating and working out.  It seems to be a fine balancing act, but I guess I should be happy that my metabolism has substantially increased.  I remember when it was nonexistent!

Right now, I’m eating about 1600 calories per day.  As far as exercise is concerned,  I continue to do 30 minutes of cardio per day for heart and lung health, but the bulk of my workouts have centered around strength training.  My focus has mostly been on my core and legs. After having a rather substantial pectoral pull about a month ago, I’ve done only arm work that won’t agitate my nearly-healed left pec.  I need to meet with my trainer again soon for an updated plan.

So far, I’ve found maintenance be relatively easy.  I owe this ease to the habits created through following the advice of my doctor and weight loss counselor at the bariatric center.  I’ve been at this for eleven months now, and my way of eating and exercising has become second nature.  I do remember months ago wondering if it would ever feel easy, and happily, I know that it eventually does.  Of course, as human nature dictates, I still have days, here and there, when I feel lazy and unmotivated, but I forgive my indiscretions and move on.  Here are a few things that help to keep me in check as I maintain my weight loss:

  1. My wardrobe–  I’ve donated ALL of my “fat clothes.”  If I regain weight I literally won’t have anything to wear (not even underwear!).
  2. My fridge and pantry– These two holders of nutrients shelter absolutely nothing but healthy foods and I feel no guilt for this.  My kids are grown, my husband has high cholesterol, and I don’t need the temptation of snack foods. You live with me and you want to eat junk, then do it elsewhere! 🙂  I actually crave healthy foods now.
  3. My husband and kids– Nearly everyday they tell me how proud they are of me and I think that’s the most awesome compliment ever.  I can’t let them down.  I strive to stay healthy for the people I love!
  4. The nice lady who checks me in at the gym– As I leave the gym, I always tell Sandra, “I’ll see you tomorrow!”  Just knowing that she’ll be expecting to check me in “tomorrow” makes me want to keep my word and go.  So far, I haven’t let her, or myself, down lately!
  5. Our three requested waitresses at Carrabba’s– My husband and I eat out about once a week and we always go to Carrabba’s Italian Grill.  Their food is made fresh to order. There are healthy grilled items and steamed vegetables on the menu that are delicious.  They honestly have the best grilled chicken that I’ve ever eaten. Darling Mandy, Racheal, and Denise have watched me shrink over these past eleven months, and they’ve carefully consulted the kitchen staff to make certain that my food has no added oil.  Just knowing that they expect that I’ll be eating healthily holds me accountable.
  6. This picture
    Who stuffed an extra person under my sweater?
    Who stuffed an extra person under my sweater?

    I’ve shared this shot in the past.  It’s me at the bariatric center, on the day that I first began Optifast.  I thought I was rockin’ that animal print sweater, but now I see that I looked like a baked potato with legs.  I felt even worse than I looked; tired, short of breath, anxious, and sick.  I never want to look, or feel, like that again.

I’ll post my results from today soon.  What motivates you to change or maintain?  Hope everyone is having an awesome Thursday! 🙂

 

Bipolar II, blogging, marriage, mental illness, setting goals, Thankfulness, the law of attraction, thoughtfulness, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Using The Law of Attraction to Lose Weight and Other Good Things

 

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?

05visionboard
Put the things you want in your life on your vision board! (Photo by me)   
(Photo by me)
Reflect positively each day on the things you want. (photo by me)

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

01vision board
Imagine that these things are already true for you! (Photo by me)

 

 

 

blogging, Exercise, problem solving, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Zen and the Art of Octane Acquisition

Oh, glorious Octane, coveted above all other machines, I praise and glorify your calorie burning abilities!
Oh, glorious Octane, coveted above all other machines, I praise and glorify your calorie burning abilities!

I’ve written previously of my love for the Octane machine at the gym. (Who wouldn’t love a machine that can burn a day’s worth of calories in an hour?)  I’ve also mentioned a time, or two, that it is the most coveted machine in all of

the Wellness Center kingdom. I’ve, additionally, written about “Grumpy Guy,” who likens himself Prince Joffrey* from the realm of Octane.  Every, single, freakin’ time I hit the gym “Joffrey” and his band of merry Octane hogs seem to be occupying my favorite machine.

Yesterday, I tried a brand new technique.  Instead of worrying and having a dumpy, yet aggressive, disposition about getting “my” Octane, I tried to concentrate on the other machines and exercises that I could do if they were occupied.  I could use the treadmill, the elliptical, or I could simply run the track.

When I walked past the floor to the locker room,  all of the Octanes were being used,

The Octane that you seek will forever be mine!!
The Octane that you seek will forever be mine!!

as I’d imagined.  However, I kept my chill attitude.  It was no big deal, there were other things I could do.  I changed into my workout gear, strapped on my iPod and found my favorite play list.  I took my time putting my gym bag and street clothes away, and then sauntered out to the floor.  Low and behold, there was an empty Octane just waiting for me

Keeping my cool worked for acquiring my favorite machine.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier!

We don't acquire the Octane.  The Octane acquires us.
We don’t acquire the Octane. The Octane acquires us.

 

*This is a Game of Thrones reference.  I watched two episodes with my husband yesterday.  I seem to be the only person on the planet who doesn’t love it.

Happiest of Sundays, everyone! 🙂

blogging, food safety, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

I Should Have Listened to my Mom!

 

You stay on that shelf, Fresca, I'm finished with you!  (Photo from Wikipedia)
You stay on that shelf, Fresca, I’m finished with you! (Photo from Wikipedia)

I’ve mentioned in other postings that my mother was very health conscious–especially when it came to food.  We grew our own fruits and vegetables in our huge, pesticide-free garden that provided enough harvest for our immediate family, and my grandparents, for an entire year.  Our meats were purchased from local farmers, and our eggs (often gathered by me) came from my grandmother’s chickens.  Beverage consumption was simple; 99.9% of the time we drank water with our meals and when we were thirsty.  On a rare, special occasion, my mother would make a huge stoneware pitcher of iced tea, sweetened with a small amount of sugar and laced with mint leaves from our yard.  It was heavenly while it lasted, but it never seemed to last very long.  Sodas, like ginger ale, Coke, or Pepsi were presented to us as medicinal and something we were allowed to indulge in when we had a stomach virus or fever.

My maternal grandmother, had a different philosophy about food than my mother. Though she, too, made everything from scratch, she was a lot more indulgent in her use of salt, butter, and sugar.  This made a meal from her kitchen taste ten times better than anything I’d ever have at home (Sorry Mom).  Creamy mashed potatoes, decadent gravy, sweet and savory barbequed chicken, and the best Cole slaw I’ve ever tasted are memories that I have from her kitchen.  Cakes, pies, cookies, and homemade chocolate pudding were just a few of the treats she’d serve up for dessert.  Without my mom’s watchful eye, I could honestly eat myself silly at my grandmother’s house. Like most grandmothers she relished in my overindulgence and scoldingly told my mom to let me enjoy myself.

Besides all things salty, buttery and sweet, my grandmother had another vice that I was dead-set on sharing with her; Fresca.  Much to my mother’s distress, my grandmother drank this citrusy, delicious, calorie-free soda all day long.  Back then Fresca was sweetened with saccharine, my mother’s equivalent to poison.  She warned my grandmother countless times of the horrible death scenarios that would befall her if she didn’t give up her beloved beverage.  My grandmother would roll her eyes, pull the tab, and take a long swig.

I knew how good Fresca tasted;several times I’d stolen a few clandestine sips from her unattended can. On the rare occasions that my grandmother would babysit my brother and I, getting an icy juice glass full of Fresca was guaranteed.  “Don’t tell your mom I let you have it,” would be her words as she handed over the goods.  I’d try to sip it and make it last. I’d roll it’s poison sweetness over my tongue and try to decide if it tasted more like grapefruit or tangerine.

This past Monday, as I entered a convenience store to pay for gas, I passed a cooler stocked full of icy sodas.  In spite of my obsession as a child, I’ve not been much of a soda drinker as an adult.  However, with the 90 degree temperatures outside, those fizzy bottles of refreshment looked tempting. When I noticed a calorie-free Fresca in the mix, I couldn’t resist.

Back at my car, I untwisted the lid and let the cold, bubbly, citrus memories fill my mouth.  There was no one watching; no one monitoring my intake.  “Hell,”  I thought, “I could guzzle this down and go back for more.”  Luckily, my inability to drink copious amounts of fizzy things saved me from myself and I was only able to finish one bottle.

Within twenty minutes, I deeply regretted my decision.  By the time I arrived home, my stomach was killing me. By Tuesday it was worse. Wednesday, I was still suffering, and yesterday, I spent the entire day in the bathroom.  Today, my stomach is still sore, and I’m living on broth and applesauce, hoping to feel well enough by the afternoon to visit the gym.

A small amount of research taught me that Fresca is now sweetened with Aspartame and another chemical sweetener, Acesulfame Potassium.  A simple Google search showed me countess stories of Aspartame causing IBS symptoms. As a longtime sufferer of IBS (symptom free since Optifast), I know that’s exactly what’s been going on with me.

I remember when Aspartame use came into vogue, my mother insisted that it was just as poisonous as its predecessors. Though I know several people who use it, due to diabetes, and have no ill effects.  I guess it depends on the individual. Since this reaction stemmed from my first try of it, I think my mom may have had a point.

Goodbye forever, Fresca!  Hello water and plain tea!

Do you use artificial sweeteners?  Do you think they’re safe?

   

blogging, dealing with food cravings, Exercise, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, weight loss journal, Wellness Center

Hooray, I’m Overweight and Nearly a Star!

Wednesday’s weigh-in was surprise.  I’m down by another 2.5 pounds, despite my wonky workout schedule .  Now with a BMI of 29, way down from my starting BMI of 38, I’m considered overweight rather than obese.  I never thought I’d be so happy to be “just” overweight! 🙂

This is my third week of transition to food.  I’ll now be using only 3 Optifast products per day and adding a dairy serving.  I’m finding all sorts of ways to jazz things up.  My favorite things so far are adding frozen berries and ice to my strawberry shake mix to make an awesome smoothie; veggie burgers with all of the fixings–sans bun; and all veggies in general.  I’m a bit nervous about my dairy serving because I tend to be lactose intolerant, however, I can usually eat non-fat plain Greek yogurt without symptoms. If I split my fruit serving in half and put a few berries in it, it’s even better.

In other news, I was approached by the head trainer at the gym today.  He asked if I’d be willing to speak with a local newspaper reporter about my success with the wellness center’s weight management program.  I happily agreed, but warned him that I’m heading out-of-town on Sunday. Then, when I got home, the hospital’s PR department called to ask if I would b willing to appear in a TV commercial for the wellness center!  Unfortunately, it’s being filmed this Tuesday, so I had to decline.  Still, it’s nice to know that the trainers have noticed my hard work enough to suggest me.

I’ll probably spend my weekend getting ready for our trip. Tonight, my best friend and her partner’s  business is having a “girls night out,” so my oldest daughter and I are attending. She’s had a rough week and is eager to have some fun.  This should be interesting because their chef is giving a lesson on summer hors d’oeuvre’s and cocktails–all things that I don’t eat or drink.  I’ll be enjoying the heck out of water with a lime slice!

Hope everyone has a good night and enjoys their Friday!

By the way, is anyone else having trouble adding media? Pretend this post has a picture of a very frosty glass of water with a lime slice. 🙂

 

blogging, enjoying family, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

A Crazy Week!

This is my brain on busy!!  (Fractal art by me!)
This is my brain on busy!!
(Fractal art by me!)

Today is weigh-in and though I’ve been following all of my eating rules, my normal exercise routine has managed to elude me this week.  Though I’ve made sure to do some lap walking in my neighborhood, to the tune of about 2.5 miles per day, this is nothing compared to my usual, high intensity, calorie burning workouts at the gym.  Sometimes the business of life just gets in the way of our personal plans, and that’s okay.  It doesn’t mean I’m giving up.

Being a mom often means being a source of moral support, and I’ve certainly spent a majority of my week being my eldest’s sounding board as she’s navigating a tough surgical rotation.  This has meant many late nights and very tired mornings. I’m running so far behind this morning that my workout might have to be after my weigh-in.  I’m not expecting a huge loss, especially after the daily addition of a fruit serving, but that’s alright.  I’m certain I haven’t made any gains.

My husband and I are getting ready to go on a two-week vacation.  The first week we’ll be visiting my father-in-law. (Luckily, he lives in Hilton Head–which is beautiful.)  The second week we’ll be heading to our normal spot in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This will be the third year that my hubby and I have vacationed without the kids.  I always have a great time when the entire family is present, but having alone time with my husband is certainly needed and appreciated.

I’ve research the gyms in both areas and am taking ample workout clothing and equipment with me.  I’ll have access to a pool and my own kitchen in both of the places that we’re staying, so I know I’ll be alright.  I’m also bringing my computer and camera, and have high hopes to do some blogging by the sea.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week!  I’ll update my weight loss results shortly! 🙂