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! 




Anxiety, Appreciation, blogging, Building self-confidence, cats, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, losing weight, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

Snowy Sunday

We’re under yet another winter storm warning, but I’m not complaining.  I think my husband and I need a day to relax. I’ve realized, since my weight loss, that I’ve become quite accustomed to my days being filled with a constant flurry (no pun intended towards the falling snow outside my window) of activities.

In fact, with my birthday being a month away, I was mentally comparing my life now to a year ago:

  • Nearly a year ago today, I was excited to be wearing a brand new pair of size 18, skinny, jeans to my birthday party.  This was a welcome change from the size 24 pants that I’d worn to my first weigh in at the bariatric center.
  • As only a  three-month veteran of my weight loss program, I cautiously approached every sip, or bite, of food that I ingested and monitored every calorie I burned at the gym.
  • My self-confidence was a newly burgeoning entity experiencing so much for the first time.
  • My main goal was to get healthy and stay that way.

Now, my life is vastly different.  As a fit and healthy person, I look at life through new eyes, seeing every bright possibility.  It’s not just because my body is fit, it’s because my mind is clear and my soul is free of the baggage of anxiety and food addiction. I love my life and the people in it so much.  I quite honestly never imagined being so happy.

I think the secret to life is as simple and pure as the snow gently drifting in my driveway; see life as a series of possibilities and believe that the odds are in your favor, because they are. Take care of yourself. Feed and exercise each part of your body, mind, and spirit with good things, because that’s exactly what you deserve.  Practice kindness, caring, patience, and love daily. It just feels right, and you’ll mostly always get each in return.

Deep thoughts on a snowy Sunday! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a phenomenal day! 🙂

My kitty says, "It's time to relax!"  (Photo by me)
My kitty says, “It’s time to relax!” (Photo by me)
ADHD, Anxiety, blogging, Having fun, learning

I Bring the Bling

My third grade teacher was just like scary  Miss Truchbull from Matilda! (photo courtesy of Tri Star Pictures)
My third grade teacher was just like scary Miss Truchbull from Matilda! (photo courtesy of Tri Star Pictures)

I was an exuberant child; quick-witted, smart, messy, noisy and driven by a very colorful motor.  In my earliest years of schooling, my inability to sit still and cease talking, often made me the naughty chair’s number one occupant.  Additionally, my bottom was more than well-acquainted with the class paddle.  My lack of impulse control regularly made me both the object of my peers’ delight ,when it came to completing their dares, and the blaring object of their ridicule because I was so clearly not cast from the same mold as them. “They” wouldn’t dare get out of their seat to pass a note during a lesson.  “They” wouldn’t dare make the noise of a train whistle as our bus crossed a railroad track on a field trip.  “They” would never moon someone out of a classroom window, or do a science report on the chemistry of boogers.  “They” seemed like dull, complacent control, to my sparkling, unruly chaos.  Because I seemed to rapidly zig when everyone else was zagging, as a young child, I usually felt like I didn’t fit in.

Then, came third grade, the worst school year of my life, with Miss Stooky.  Miss Stooky was a classic nasty of a teacher.  She could easily be compared to Miss Truchbull, from Dahl’s Matilda.   Her classroom was run like a tight ship and I was its loose cannon, a fact that she reminded me of nearly every single day.  The year was 1973, and teachers could pretty much get away with saying and doing whatever they pleased to make their young charges attend and behave.  Miss S took full liberties with this notion. She paddled me, hit my knuckles with a ruler, and made me an example of what not to do to the rest of the class–thus increasing my already nonexistent popularity. Her very favorite punishment was to send me to the special education room to spend the day.  This was back in the time when the physically and mentally impaired children were placed in a faraway corner of the school, separate from everyone, as if they didn’t exist.  Truth be told, I didn’t mind going there.  It was far more of a safe haven than a punishment.The special education teacher, Mrs. Campbell was a kind-hearted lady, who never seemed to mind having me as her classroom “helper” for the day.  I certainly didn’t mind helping to feed lunch to a boy with cerebral palsy, or reading stories to Sabrina, a girl bigger than me, who still didn’t know the joy of reading by herself.

One day, while I was helping to put away the large wooden beads that some of the children had been sorting into groups of colors. Mrs. Campbell asked me what my parents thought about me spending my days with her in the special ed. room.  I quickly revealed that my parents didn’t know.  Like I said, this was 1973, if you got in trouble at school, you got in trouble at home, as well.  I’d kept my days in special ed. a secret from my parents figuring that it was a “win-win” situation for me, as well as Miss Stooky.

A few days after that conversation with Mrs. Campbell, my mother surprised me by telling me that I was going to have a day off from school to visit a special doctor in the city.  I was delighted to meet Dr. Green, an educational psychologist.  Her office was full of interesting toys and she had a plethora of fun “tests” that were relatively easy for me to do.  At the end of the day, my parents had answers about my behavior and my situation at school was about to improve for the better.

I had a dual diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder and gifted-ness. Now at school, I would spend part of my day with the gifted teacher, some of the day a grade up in a fourth grade classroom, and only a small portion of the day with Miss Stooky.  I couldn’t have been more overjoyed.

Hyperkinetic disorder is now known as ADHD  (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)  and even as far back in the 1970’s its diagnosis was controversial.  Like today, in spite of neurological and genetic evidence, some people blamed it on poor parenting and deemed it an excuse for bad behavior. It’s estimated that 5-10% of the world’s population has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD.  Statistically, most suffers of ADHD are male, so I am a rarity.    Treatment in the ’70s involved the use of stimulants, as it does today.  My mother wasn’t comfortable with the contraindications of putting me on medication and preferred the use of behavior modification techniques which were somewhat effective.  Though I’m sure there are school teachers who blamed their gray hair or baldness specifically on me!

As I got older, self-consciousness sunk in, and I learned to better control my behavior in order to fit in and have friends.  I became involve in theatre and found teachers who fostered my love of reading and writing like never before.  I figured out things about myself academically and socially.  I learned to force myself to pay attention when I needed to, or to at least make myself look like I was attending!

Truth be told, most of the ways that I’ve dealt with having ADHD have been self-taught. I know I can’t stick with the same task for very long before my attention begins to wander.   I know that by changing activities frequently and doing a bit of something at a time, that I eventually get everything done that I need to.  I know I need to exercise to burn off excess energy and to improve my concentration. I’m also very aware that I can get “carried away” with silliness, in some situations, and I keep myself in check.

The good news is that ADHD doesn’t completely suck.  In fact, I think it makes me more interesting and adventurous.  I know it made me a much more understanding teacher when it came to helping children with my same disorder. My friends and family are in hearty agreement that my sense of humor and boundless energy give me an extra sparkle–and who doesn’t like a little bling in their lives? 🙂

(taken from
(taken from