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, 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.

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, Exercise, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Self-Soothing, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Writing

Food Frenzy

Oh, no!  It's confession time?  Yes, it was me who chewed through the bottom of the treat bag! I confess! (photo by me)
Oh, no! It’s confession time? Yes, it was me who chewed through the bottom of the treat bag! I confess! (photo by me)

This post is my trip to the confessional, and you, my readers, are the priest.  Before my weight loss, I had a huge problem with bingeing.  HUGE.  My days were planned out by what I was going to eat, and my daily goal was to consume the food I was craving by any legal means.  In comparison to the other high achievers in my life, my goals were by no means lofty or important, and they certainly weren’t creating any positive changes in my world or anyone else’s.

Hiding cans of Pringles and bags of Maple Nut Goodies, making trips to Taco Bell or Chik-Fil-A, and making enormous carb-laden meals that were destined to yield bingeing leftovers, were all features in my daily routine.  Top my busy schedule off with a “healthy” dose of inactivity, and it’s easy to see how I topped the scales at 223 pounds.

I’ve made a plethora of positive changes in my life over these past seven months and I’ve come clean with my counselor, and family, about my secret food binges.  I’ve come to recognize that my feeding frenzies were fueled by anxiety, something that I’ve lived with most of my life, and something that I’m finally learning to manage.

I know that food is my drug of choice, and like every addict on Earth, I am not impervious to “falling off the wagon.” Because of this, I’ve created a set of guidelines to keep myself safe.

  • Keep only healthy foods in the house
  • Shun all fast food establishments
  • Substitute cravings with crafting, blogging, exercising, and doing activities with family and friends.
  • Keep my anxiety from getting the best of me through seeing my counselor, as needed, taking my medicine, and talking to trusted family and friends.
  • Go no more than two days in a row without exercising.
  • Hold myself accountable to family, friends, my doctor, and counselor if I fall back into old habits and overindulge.

99.9% of the time I follow my rules and the 70 pounds I’ve lost is my proof that it works.  However, a few times, I have broken my guidelines.  This weekend is a prime example.  I had a big birthday party for my younger daughter on Friday.  Even though she suggested all healthy food items; Chicken Satay, fresh veggie and fruit trays, cheese, olives, popcorn, and flavored unsweetened seltzers, I went a little crazy.  I mean, you can’t have a birthday without cake, and popcorn isn’t that exciting of a salty snack, and what’s a party without some sort of fruity drink?  By the time guests arrived there was an enormous tray of cupcakes with multi-colored frosting and sprinkles, bowls of honey roasted chipotle nuts, gummy bears, guacamole and chips, and a big vat of homemade sparkling strawberry lemon/limeade filled with fruit and plenty of sugar.  These extras were in addition to my daughter’s original requests.

I had vowed to eat only the healthy offerings, and I started out doing pretty well.  I even avoided the delicious homemade peanut sauce that went with the chicken.  Then, I made the decision to pop just one lemony yellow gummy bear into my mouth, my first sugar in months.  I wanted it to be too sweet so I’d hate it, but it wasn’t. It was magically delicious.  Soon, that damn gummy bear was like a psychedelic Grateful Dead Bear swirling me into the land of gluttony.  I ate a chipotle peanut; then I ate ten.  I grabbed a tortilla and scooped up a mound of guacamole.  I filled a 16 oz. cup to the brim with icy lemon/limeade and gulped the sugary liquid down as fast as my throat muscles would allow.  Before long, I was undressing a cupcake with lovely teal frosting and shoving it into my mouth like Honey Boo Boo at a pie eating contest.  By the end of the evening, I’d consumed three cupcakes, a handful of nuts and gummy bears, several servings of guac and chips, and another glass of punch.  I went to bed Friday night vowing that I’d hit the gym first thing in the morning.

Saturday morning, I was exhausted.  My head and joints ached and my stomach was killing me.  I felt far too bad to go to the gym, and spent the first part of my day parked in front of my laptop.  I attempted to eat healthy and began my day with a bowl of high fiber cereal topped with fresh blueberries and almond milk.  However, an hour after I ate, I began craving the leftover treats from the day before.  I began working on my glass crafting and tried to ignore the bag of gummy “gateway drug” bears tucked away in the pantry.  I drank water, made a shake for lunch and popped some Tylenol for my headache and drank more water.  I retreated to the patio to cut glass rings from bottles with acetone, string, fire and water.  This was not a successful venture and I ended up feeding broken glass to the recycling bin and then feeding myself another cupcake.  This led to a whole new binge and by the end of the evening, I’d messed up my eating plan, again.

Confession is good for the body and soul, and today is a new day.  I’ve had a healthy breakfast, drank a bunch of water, and am about to go put my workout clothes on to head to the gym once my daughter gets ready.   During this journey, I’ve learned that messing up isn’t permanent. I can stay on track and hold myself accountable for my choices.  I’ll probably always struggle with food, but I also have tools and guidelines that give me some measure of control over it. Today, I will:

  • Drink plenty of water and plain green tea
  • Exercise
  • Eat healthy lean protein, veggies, and fruits
  • Forgive myself for bingeing this weekend
  • Feel proud of myself for being in control
  • Enjoy the company of my family and friends
  • Stay away from the scale (far, far away!)

Do you ever binge?  How do you recover after a weekend of overeating?

 

 

blogging, Exercise, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, weight loss journal, Writing

Monthly Weigh-In Results

a measuringToday was my first bariatric visit in a month and it was met with excellent results; I’ve lost 9.5 more pounds!  I now have a BMI of 26.  Even though that’s still in the overweight range, it’s on the lower end of it.  Losing another 10 pounds will place me in a normal weight and BMI range. It’s good to know that I’m nearly normal! 😉

It absolutely mentally blows me away that I’m only 10 pounds overweight. I still see myself as obese most of the time, in spite of what the scale or my clothing labels tell me.  I think there’s a small part of me that’s afraid to get too complacent with my new size, just in case it doesn’t last.  Realistically, if I stick with the program I’m on and follow my doctor’s and trainer’s orders, I should be able to maintain my weight loss.  I’m estimating that in another 4-6 weeks I’ll enter the maintenance phase of my program and about 200 calories will be added to my daily intake.

Not much else is new in my life.  I’m still going to the gym 3-4 times per week and swimming and hiking in between.  I have a strength training and core session tomorrow with my trainer.  She’s tough, so I’m a teeny bit scared, but it’ll be great to change up my floor routine. Other than that, I’ve just been doing my crafting and housewifely things.  🙂

I hope everyone is having an awesome week! 🙂

blogging, Exercise, Food Addiction, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, weight loss journal

A Quick Trip to the Motivation Lost and Found Department

I’m usually not thrilled about being wrong, but today I’ve made an exception.  My doctor’s appointment yielded the good news of a 3.5 pound loss since my last weigh in.  Though I’m still not quite believing my success, I’ve learned that doing things right the majority of the time still brings results. I guess all of those beach walks added up to negate some of my overindulgence.

Today marked my 20th week on Optifast and the beginning of my transition to the Weight Wise program where for the next two months I’m monitored through bi-weekly visits and counseling, and am only using two Optifast products per day.  The best part of this transition was getting measured and photographed for my “after” picture.  Unfortunately, my scanner isn’t working, so, I’ve attempted to photograph the print out that I was given today.  Please excuse the quality of the photos.

Who stuffed an extra person under my sweater?
BEFORE: Who stuffed an extra person under my sweater?
I'm feeling much, much healthier in this picture!  I didn't realize that they weren't photographing my face, but I was wearing a HUGE smile!
AFTER: I’m feeling much, much healthier in this picture! I didn’t realize that they weren’t photographing my face, but I was wearing a HUGE smile!

All totaled, I’ve lost 53.5 pounds, so far!  I’ve also lost 11 inches from my hips, 12 inches from my waist, four inches from my chest, and three inches from my arms and legs!   My BMI began at 38 and is now at 28–that’s going to add a few years, or more to my life!

I also discovered today that my blood pressure is REALLY low. I had been on a 50 mg dose of blood pressure medication that was reduced to 25 mgs about a month ago.  Today, after three BP readings that averaged out to 92/67, I was taken off of ALL blood pressure medication!! (My energy level is sure to return soon!)  I also take medication for acid reflux that has been reduced, and my nightly inhaled steroid for my asthma is being reduced next month after allergy season ends.

After today’s results, and after seeing my “before” picture, I’m feeling so much more motivated.  I’m heading to the gym early in the morning to get a good start on my day.  I want to once again thank all of my blogging buddies for being such a huge source of support and inspiration through all of this.  I truly feel accountable to you all and I appreciate all of your kind words of encouragement.

Have a wonderful sleep (or maybe breakfast–depending on your time zone)!

 

 

 

 

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. 🙂