blogging, dealing with food cravings, Exercise, Feeling frustrated, fitness, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, problem solving, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wellness Center

New Opportunities

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Sometimes you’ve just gotta have red meat! This isn’t the meal I had yesterday, but it was a lovely meal nonetheless. (Photo by me)

This week has started with some new “opportunities.”  You’ll remember in my last post that I’m trying my best to approach any stumbling block in my weight control/management as an opportunity.  My lifelong friend asthma decided to make a sneak visit  three days ago.  I did my best to use albuterol to stave it off, but ended up at urgent care yesterday and am on a five-day burst of my arch-enemy, prednisone.  Old Pred, as I call it, does a lovely job of helping me to breathe, but does a horrible number on my appetite.  In other words, I’m starving!

I’ll admit that yesterday required something that I very rarely eat; a steak–a 6 once filet to be exact.  Once, or twice, a year I get hankering for a medium, grilled and well-seasoned filet.  Usually, when I’m particularly run down. So, for lunch I indulged on 3 ounces of steak along with a plain tossed salad and a few tablespoons of plain baked sweet potato.  I boxed the other 3 ounces, along with a small serving of sweet potato and had it for dinner with some raw cucumbers.  Today, I’ve managed to stay on track with my regular Optifast plan, though it has been tough!

The asthma has also left me unable to exercise for the past three days; yet another opportunity.  I’m not really great at sitting still or at staying indoors (the humidity and pollen count in my area are horrible), but I’ve managed to entertain myself with awesome Netflix and Amazon prime entertainment.  I finished up Ken Burn’s 2014 documentary on the Roosevelt’s; which was quite good.  Then I moved on to my guilty pleasure Ru Paul’s Drag race—I love me some Queens!

My next opportunity will be this Saturday when our neighborhood hosts an awesome block party with tons of food and treats.  We’ve been in our new neighborhood a year and so many new people have moved in.  It truly will be a great opportunity to meet everyone.  My plan is to eat before the event, keep a non-calorie beverage in my hand at all times to sip on, and concentrate on social connections rather than the food.  Did I mention that I’m slated to make cupcakes for this event?  I’m so tempted to get them from the bakery so I don’t have to smell them baking!

Tomorrow, I’m back for a check-up and hopefully, I can hit the gym afterwards since it’s a stone’s throw from my doctor’s office.  I’ll be the one in the waiting room in workout clothes!

How’s everyone doing?  Any “opportunities” in your upcoming week?

 

 

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? 🙂 

 

 

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?