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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, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, food and family celebrations, Having fun, Maintaining Weight Loss, organic food, Thankfulness, weight loss journal

Four Days of Pie for Breakfast; It’s time for the Gym!

pecan pie
Hi, I’m pecan pie. I’m sweet, delicious, and crunchy, but be warned, I’m almost half a day’s worth of calories!

To say that I had nice Thanksgiving would be an understatement. This holiday was probably one of the most splendid that I’ve had as an adult.  My husband will insist that I say this after every holiday, but this Thanksgiving truly upped the bar for my love of planning, cleaning, cooking and entertaining for family and friends.

We had a total of ten people between immediate family and friends.  I did the majority of the cooking prep the day before, in order to have time to be a proper hostess on the actual day.  My only holiday challenges were seating and table arranging in my small house, and figuring out how to prepare my first organic, pastured turkey.  I decided that rather than worrying about my tiny home, I would imagine that it was placed somewhere in Japan, where it’s size would certainly upgrade it to mansion status.  This gave me a much more positive outlook.  I consulted the Food Network, and used The Pioneer Woman’s instructions and brining recipe to make sure my turkey was juicy and delicious (and it REALLY was).

The combination of food, friends, and family was stellar and our day lasted well into the night, with games and chatter.  Though I sent people home with tons of leftovers, there were still quite a few high calorie treats left at my house.  (Did you know that a slice of pecan pie has 540 calories?)  I’m not sure of the caloric content of pumpkin pie, but I know that from Wednesday through Saturday, it was a part of my “healthy” breakfast, as were dark chocolate walnut brownies.

Today, I’ll begin damage control.  My short foray with sugar ended last night when I microwaved a piece of pecan pie and adorned it with three ample scoops of vanilla bean ice cream.  This morning, I had my usual Fiber One cereal with a half cup of almond milk.  I’m drinking tons of water, and soon as I hit publish, I’m scurrying off to the gym.  I may have overindulged, but I’m not afraid.  I know my winning formula of eating properly and exercising, will have me back on track before the week is over!

Did you overindulge during the Thanksgiving holiday?  Do you have a clear plan for getting back on track after going food crazy?

Appreciation, blogging, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, Maintaining Weight Loss, weight loss journal, Writing


Happy Fourth of July to my American friends and Happy Friday to my friends in other places!  (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Happy Fourth of July to my American friends and Happy Friday to my friends in other places! (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

We celebrated the 4th yesterday because the majority of my family will be at work or the beach tonight. Plus, as of yesterday afternoon, today’s weather forecast looked pretty grim (though it’s turned out to be gorgeous).

I created our first official cookout of the season, and made the best of plans to not go too food crazy. I made a veggie tray, a huge bowl of watermelon and cantaloupe, baked beans, low-fat hamburgers and hot dogs, and my daughter made guacamole that was served with reduced fat tortilla chips.  We had water or naturally flavored seltzers to drink.  I even splurged and got my family a box of their favorite ice cream bars for dessert.  Our old celebration, before my weight loss, would have had many of the same foods with the added bonus of homemade macaroni and cheese, bacon-laden green beans, and my famous homemade potato salad, plus potato chips, and homemade cream cheese brownies and a cake of some sort.  Of course, there would have been soda and plenty of sugary iced tea or lemonade to drink.  The good news is, I didn’t miss any of those old dishes, at all!

I’ve had a very busy week of exercise, and have even had more than one workout session per day several times this week.  In addition to the gym, I’ve been exercising with my best friend, and with my youngest daughter.  After so much activity, I felt like I’d be just fine eating what I wanted, in moderation, last night.  I had a burger with just the bottom part of the bun, a small serving of beans, plenty of veggies and fruit, and for the first time in six months, I had a serving of tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa.  I even joined my family in having an ice cream bar.  Yes, I went way over my 200 calorie per meal/snack allotment, but I don’t feel a bit guilty.  The last time I overindulged was during my vacation over a month ago.  I’m learning that I’m in control of myself; that one day of not following my plan, doesn’t mean I’m going to shun it the next day.

Today, on our country’s birthday, I feel very free and independent of the guilt that I used to associate with food.  I’m happily back on track and excited that the rain has stayed out of our forecast, so I can hit the hiking trail and burn off last night’s extra calories!

How are you celebrating this wonderful day?



blogging, Exercise, Food Addiction, food and family celebrations, optifast, weight loss journal

Disappearing While on the Road


Early Monday morning, my adorable hubby and I left the great state of West Virginia to visit my father-in-law in Hilton Head, South Carolina. This is where we’re spending the first week of our two-week holiday.  We decided to split our drive into two days, so we wouldn’t be so exhausted when we arrived.

I’d prepared myself fully for a very different kind of vacation. Though most of our trip will be full of wonderful adventures, a part of it will be filled with some very sad tasks.  The saddest being to clean out my mother-in-law’s closets and donate her clothing and some of her other items to charity. She passed away in October 2013 and visiting my in-law’s home isn’t the same without her welcoming presence in it. The other thing I’ve been prepping for is sticking with my exercise and meal plan while on vacation.  These past three days have been a little hard, but I’m doing it!

Vacation for my husband and I is usually a full-blown food-fest with us eating out for every meal, and snacking heavily in between.  Exercise has never been an element of vacation for us.  However, this trip is completely different from any we’ve had before. While on our way, we walked laps at every rest stop we visited. We spent Monday night in a lovely Hilton in Columbia, SC and took full advantage of their fitness room and pool.  Though the outdoor pool at our current hotel isn’t open, it does have a fitness room, and we’ve been mightily busy helping out at my father-in-laws.  My mother-in-law was an amazing gardener and created such beautiful landscaping in their yard.  Today, my husband and I spent the day weeding all of her flower and ornamental beds; and boy, are we tired! It was a perfect activity for feeling close to her.  Kneeling where we knew she’d knelt to artistically place each plant was a cathartic experience, and one that we know she’d appreciate.

Meal time is definitely a change for us!  I’ve packed my shakes, and soon as we arrived I hit the grocery store for veggie burgers, fruit, salad items, and plain Greek yogurt.  I’m a cheap date on this trip, as we’ve only eaten out twice and both times I had a small grilled chicken breast and a tossed salad with no dressing. We are going to get seafood one evening, because I can have fish and crab meat, which I dearly love. Today, I made a huge lasagna for my father-in-law and husband.  I packaged 10 containers of leftovers and popped them in the freezer for him to have once we’re gone.

Tomorrow, we’re going to do some cleaning out of things at my father-in-law’s house and I’m going to make his requested meal of meatloaf, baked yams and broccoli. (I’ll freeze those leftovers for him, as well).

We did go to the beach yesterday evening for a short walk, but the parking is so difficult to find here, that may be our only beach time this week. Saturday, we’ll be heading to the Outer Banks for a much more romantic getaway!

I miss all of my readers, and I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!  I hope to feel more creative next week, for now I just feel tired from the 90 degree heat, but very happy to be here helping out! 🙂

blogging, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, Girl's Night Out, Having fun, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, Uncategorized, Writing

Girl’s Night Out; Optifast Style!


Not us, but close!  I haven't loaded my pics yet!  (Photo by Alamy)
Not us, but close! I haven’t loaded my pics yet! (Photo by Alamy)

One thing I’ve been avoiding during my stint on Optifast has been going out.  This has been especially difficult considering the fact that my best friend and her partner own an event house that hosts many wonderful monthly activities.  Friday night was their first “Girls Night Out,” an occasion featuring summer cocktail and hors d’ oeuvres tutorials from their Iron Chef, a photo booth with props, and a slammin’ DJ playing all the latest hits. Since this was the brainchild of my bestie, she was really worried about it being a success.

My oldest and I got there early and were honored to be her guests for the night. As the doors opened at 6:30 my friend’s fears were quickly dispelled.  The house was at full capacity in no time. Normally, the thought of crispy, sweet and savory appetizers and fruity drinks would be the main focus of my evening, however, I’d prepared myself. Before arriving, I’d had a lovely salad and a veggie burger to fill me up, but I’d also reserved the calories of one shake and a fruit and vegetable serving for my evening out.  This worked out perfectly, and allowed me to sample a few healthy, bite-sized fruit, vegetable, and protein hors d’ oeuvres without feeling guilty. Though there were some amazing cocktails served, my friend made sure that there were plenty of frosty carafes of ice water available to me and other non-drinking guests.

Besides several hours of incredibly awesome, calorie-burning dancing, a very special part of the evening was the connections that we made with other women.  Even we extroverts often have difficulty in meeting new people and making new friends due to our particular stations in life.  It was lovely to meet other women my age, younger, and older who were eager to get out for a bit and make connections.

My daughter and I met a wonderfully interesting woman who has spent her life as an international healthcare provider.  Though most of her career has been spent in African countries, she’s now helping children in the US.  She was the awesomely energetic, fit type who could tear up the dance floor at 70 years of age with moves just as savvy as any 20 something hottie.  I truly want to be like her when I’m 70!  We’ve already made plans to sit together at the next event.

Aside from seeing that I can easily attend a social function that includes creatively fun finger foods and seasonal cocktails, without going calorically wild, I also realized how much we girls need to get out of the house every once in a while and let our hair down.


Tell me girls, and guys, do you get out enough?  Do you feel like you make enough meaningful connections with people of your own gender?  Do you have any great girls, or guys, night out activity ideas?








blogging, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, learning, losing weight, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, Writing

Surviving my First Holiday on Optifast

Hooray, for healthy foods! (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Hooray, for healthy foods! (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

When I started my weight loss program, I made sure to begin it after the Christmas holidays.  Knowing that I would be giving up solid food, after my first bariatric appointment, on January 16th, I went gastronomically crazy in the weeks prior. I hit up Famous Dave’s barbecue place three or four times. I ate McDonald’s twice–even though it made me a little sick afterwards. I made it to burger night at Glory Days Grill three Monday’s in a row. I munched on potato chips, Doritos, and candy like they were going out of style.  I also cooked all of my favorite comfort foods; chicken pie, roast beef, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, mac and cheese, and had more desserts than you could count on both hands.  I thought my food frenzy would bolster me in the weeks ahead, as if food could possibly be the solution to my problems.

Three months,and 40 pounds later, this weekend’s Easter holiday was celebrated much differently than usual, and it was far more satisfying.  The “Easter Bunny”–yes, he still visits my adult kids–brought tiny packs of organic jelly beans and movie theater gift certificates instead of mounds of chocolate.  Instead of cooking Easter dinner solo, I had my husband and daughters’ help.  In lieu of the normal carbohydrate and sugar laden foods I’d usually prepare, we had baked, low-fat, unglazed ham, fresh green beans sautéed with shallots and garlic, fresh asparagus and tomato salad, and baked yams with assorted, healthy toppings on the side. Everything we created would be permissible on my eating plan.

Since I’m still drinking shakes, I flavored a vanilla one with coconut extract, made a huge cup of unsweetened cinnamon apple tea, and joined my family for dinner conversation.

After dinner, I took a took a very brisk, two-mile walk and did some arm and ab work.  It feels amazing knowing that I can survive a holiday and that my family is even happier with healthy holiday foods and treats.

Hope everyone’s weekend was great! 🙂  Happy Monday!