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)

 

 

Appreciation, love, marriage, memories, Writing

Why the Disappearing Woman Disappeared

My father-in-law’s sudden passing has caused us to be temporarily situated in a golf and beach community in South Carolina.  I’d love to share that we’ve been gallivanting about, via  golf cart, wearing funny pants, and attempting to be under par, but we’ve not. I’d, also, like to tell you about sand between my toes and shells in my beach pail, but I can’t write about that either.  We’ve been doing the sad task that many 50-somethings must do after their last parent passes; settling an estate.

My husband is the only surviving sibling, so the two of us have been handling all arrangements, attending to all legal matters, and sorting through the home that is proving to be a time machine into my husband’s past. I’ve seen has birth announcement, hand written by my mother-in-law 58 years ago.  I’ve read a letter from his sixth grade teacher, telling of his kindness and brilliance.  I’ve held the picture that won him a beautiful baby contest; a story my mother-in-law often referenced when bragging about how good looking her son was–and still is!

Though this task is in its beginning stages, I’ve sorted through what feels like a million papers and boxed up a plethora of things for donations, sale, and haul away.  In spite of the sadness, there’s been a measure of  joy in getting to know another side of my in-laws.  I’ve read ancient letters from friends, throughout the years, who complimented their ability to laugh and find fun in nearly every situation.  I’ve viewed photos of them in their late teens through their early 80s, taken at the various homes they lived in and  places all around the world that they visited. No matter the scenery, their smile and their loving gaze was a constant. I’ve shuffled through business plans and product prototypes to discover that they were brave risk-takers.  I’ve held my mother-in-law’s wild costume jewelry earrings from the sixties up to my own ears and tried to imagine the crazy parties that she may have wore them to in her younger years.

Oddly, there is a healing in this unavoidable process and a deeper wisdom. In the end, there are things that remain that will tell our stories; most are simple pieces of paper with words or pictures marking milestones, successes, failures, events and memories.  There are other things, silly things, like favorite sweaters and worn-out slippers, or eye glasses near a favorite book, or even half eaten bags of potato chips that remind us that we’re all so damned human and habitual.

Love the people you’re blessed to have in your life and reach out to those around you.

We may be down here for another week or so, tying up loose ends before we head back to the cold weather of West Virginia.  One of the many silver linings of this entire trip has been enjoying weather in the 70s in February.  I wish I could ship some of the sunshine to my northeastern blogging buddies!

As for my disappearance from WP lately, please don’t give up on me!  I plan to reappear as things settle down.  Hope everyone is doing well. 🙂

 

 

 

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. 🙂 

 

 

 

blogging, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, setting goals, weight loss journal

Thanks Gorgon! (I really mean it)

Winter storm, Gorgon, came whipping through my area early this morning leaving behind three inches of icy, glittery, snow, and two wonderful gifts.  The first, was that untreated roads caused my husband and daughter to have to stay home today.  The second, was the awesome, natural, workout that I got from doing ALL of the driveway and sidewalk shoveling, totally by myself!

Speaking of awesome?  Isn’t Gorgon a wonderful name for a storm?  This winter seems to have a great line-up of tempestuous names, as evidenced by this lovely link from The Weather Channel.  I’m particularly fond of Pandora, Sparta, Thor, and Zelus, as they seem to be quite apropos when it comes to blustery weather.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m only loving these storms’ names, not their wrath.  Feeling trapped inside so often last winter’s huge amounts of snow was quite enough!

In other nifty news, I had my first bariatric visit and weigh-in in two months yesterday.  I was a little nervous, due to the holidays (I had several days of eating whatever I wanted). Amazingly, my weight was exactly the same as at my previous visit; no gains–no losses. My heart rate and blood pressure were both on the low side of normal and my doc was very pleased all around.  My next appointment isn’t until April 6th, the day before my birthday!  I really like the option of checking in with my weight loss doctor periodically, as it gives me another layer of accountability.

So far, my New Year is off to an awesome, and active, start.  I hope all of you are having a great beginning to  2015, too!

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, public relations, setting goals, strength training, the law of attraction, Uncategorized, weight loss journal, Writing

Goodbye, Sweet Sugar and Thoughts on a New Year

The clock is ticking!  What are your New Year's goals? (Photo by me "The Hugo Clock" @ MOMA)
The clock is ticking! What are your New Year’s goals? (Photo by me “The Hugo Clock” @ MOMA

Stevia-laced coffee and a healthy bowl of Fiber One cereal; this is my usual morning.  However for the past three wake-ups, holiday elves (let’s blame it on them) have been treating me to slices of pie or Christmas cookies and a lovely coffee topped with whipped cream.  Those silly “elves” have also been sabotaging my other meals, too, and “forcing” me to eat Christmas dinner leftovers.  Yesterday, I called their bluff and took the leftovers to my daughter’s house.

The good news is, that three days of feasting hasn’t taken much of a toll on my progress or success.  I decided to not give myself any restrictions this holiday.  Restrictions make you feel like you’ve failed when a sugar cookie “accidentally falls into your mouth.  Truth be told, given carte blanche in the kitchen actually helped me this season.  I can’t pack it in like I used to, and didn’t really end up eating the copious amounts of food that I thought I would.  It takes the consumption of 3,500 calories to gain a pound.  Fortunately, a health metabolism burns those calories, and as of this morning, I only weigh 133 lbs.  Holiday victory is still mine!

Today, it’s back to the gym and “so long” to sugar!  Will I indulge on New Year’s Eve?  Of course!

Speaking of New Year’s, I began working on my new list of goals for 2015 last night.  2014 was such an amazing year that I expect 2015 to be even better!  So far, I hope to:

  • Find an awesome job
  • Rid myself of debt
  • Get  physically stronger
  • Create my crafting business

So what about you, dear readers?  Did you thoroughly enjoy your holiday treats?  Have you made any goals for 2015?  Tell me about it! 🙂

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

I’d Fight a Zombie for You

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

**Once again, her extreme coolness coming out.