blogging, learning, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, perfectionism, self improvement, self-esteem, self-worth, Writing

An Acceptable Title

I’m having a hard time titling this post.  The reason is because I’m a perfectionist.  I want a title that draws in readers; a title that’s clever and impressive; a title that makes people think, “This girl really knows her shit.”  The truth is I don’t know my shit.  At 53, I question my shit daily.  I overthink, and rethink, edit and over edit, and spend 99.999% of my time working to make sure that other people are happy.  I eat things that aren’t healthy for me (I just ate a doughnut). I skip exercise. I struggle for the right words to say to say to everyone and constantly worry about what people think of me.  I clean and re-clean my house. I pray that no-one at a get together asks me what I do for a living, or notices the extra weight I’ve put on. I say yes when I want to say no.  I do this all because I doubt myself and question my worthiness.  I’ve done this since I was a very little girl.

Self-confidence, or my lack there of, is the number one thing I’m working on with my weight-loss counselor. I’ve learned how to eat and exercise correctly.  I know the “magic” formula for conquering my metabolism and maintaining my weight.  I’m introspective and know why I feel so worthless, yet my whole life I’ve not been able to drop the events in my past, or the words in my head, that have made me feel like I don’t measure up to others.

A few weeks ago, my counselor recommended an amazing book by Dr. Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.  Brown is a researcher  at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who has spent her career studying vulnerability, shame, worthiness, and courage.  I skeptically ordered it and for two weeks it hung out on my bedside stand.  My thought was that this was going be yet another book full of psycho-babble that would end up on my overflowing bookshelf collecting dust.  No so!  When I finally cracked the cover last week at the beach, I found that it was full of simple truths that have begun to cause me to challenge my lack of worthiness, my perfectionism, and my constant need to please others. There were literally mere sentences that flipped my way of thinking.  For the next few weeks I’m going to write about my thought processes and progress as I digest, and hopefully, put into practice the information in this very worthwhile book.  In the meantime, here’s a short clip, courtesy of YouTube, of Brown speaking about her book:

 

PS–I decided to gift myself a break and not worry about a perfect title!

Please only answer these questions in the comments if you feel comfortable doing so.

  • What self-esteem issues do you suffer from?
  • What do you think the cause is/was?
  • What do you do to bolster, soothe, or celebrate how you feel about yourself?

PS–I decided to give myself a break and not worry about a perfect title! 🙂

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? 🙂 

 

 

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, 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. 🙂 

 

 

 

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.