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, 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, enjoying family, Having fun, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, weight loss journal, Writing

Holiday Hijinks, Maintenance Madness, and Other Happy Stuff

Hello all!  I’ve been really bad about posting lately, so I thought I’d play catch up today.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

Celebrating: Friday was my future son-in-law’s last day of college classes.  As soon as grades come out the week after next, he’ll officially have a communications degree in digital film making with a minor in graphic design.  Last night, we celebrated his accomplishments with a delicious spread of his favorites; fresh, raw veggies & dip, homemade guacamole and chips, and grilled, Korean chicken on a stick.  We had a film festival featuring most of the films that he made during his years in school, and then finished off the evening with an amazing chocolate mocha cake from a nearby bakery.  Don’t worry, I had far more grilled chicken and veggies than I did cake, but I did enjoy a nice slice.  The best announcement at our party is that he has a job interview this Tuesday for an editing position! (Keep your fingers crossed for him!)

He looks so sleepy and innocent, doesn't he?
He looks so sleepy and innocent, doesn’t he?

Holiday Décor vs. Kitties: I love the holidays!  We put our tree up the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the cats have been super-duper delighted about it.  So delighted that we’ve had to resort to shaking a can of coins at them to keep them from eating the branches.  They watch me pick up the can, and know I’m about to terrify them, yet they still can’t help taking a nibble or knocking off an ornament. 

Remember, the burlap garland I was making for my tree?  My other kitty decided that it was delicious.  So delicious that it now resides atop my oldest daughter’s fireplace mantle!  Those crazy kitties!

 

Maintenance:  My weight maintenance is still going well.  I’m hovering between 132-135 pounds and am continuing to work on my core strength and muscle-building.  With this being my first holiday season on maintenance, I’m trying to find a balance between enjoying the treats of the season and making smart choices. On thing I won’t be doing this year is making Christmas cookies.  I know that sounds Scrooge-like, but it’s in my best interest to not have dozens of delicious goodies in my house!  If I just look at it as 3-4 days (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day) of eating away from my plan, it doesn’t seem quite as daunting.  If I’m working out and eating right, the rest of the month, I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Goodbye Peri-menopause : This Wednesday, I’m finally having surgery to help with some peri-menopausal issues that I’ve had for nearly a year now.  It’s outpatient surgery and requires two days of rest and two-weeks of light exercise and no swimming afterwards. If my problem is solved, this will be the best Christmas present ever! 🙂  Please keep me in your thoughts on Wednesday! 🙂

That’s about all that’s been going on in my neck of the woods.  Hope all my readers are doing well! 🙂

beach, blogging, Exercise, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, weight loss journal

A New Look & A Little Bit of Relaxation

 

0relaxAs promised, I’ve made a few changes to my blog, although the one big change that I need to make is to actually get back to writing more!  I’ve had the time, I just haven’t felt much like writing. I’m back to having some of the same health issues that I blogged about a few months ago.  I have a doctor’s appointment with labs on Friday and I’m hoping that I’m not on the fast-track to a hysterectomy.  Like most people, I’m not a fan of being in the hospital and I fear the down time from exercise will cause me to gain back some of my weight.

On to much more pleasant matters…  Yesterday, I went with my best friend to a class on conscious relaxation and stress management.  It was held at a nearby university, but was sponsored by a local wellness facility.  We did several relaxation activities that included progressive relaxation and guided imagery.  Usually, when I do guided imagery, my “go-to” image is me relaxing on the beach.  Yesterday, I still chose the warm, sandy beach as my relaxation spot, but instead of lounging, I imagined myself effortlessly running as the sea breeze whipped against my face and through my hair.  It’s interesting that I’ve changed my concept of what’s relaxing.

I did learn two facts about stress relief that I wasn’t aware of.  Some of you may already know these! 🙂  The first, is that sleep is not nearly as much of a stress reliever as conscious (meaning while we’re awake) relaxation.  Who would have thought that being securely snuggled down in my cuddly bed, snoozing away, isn’t REALLY relieving my stress as much as meditation, progressive muscle relation, or guided imagery?  The second fact is that we can’t relieve stress passively.  So, when you get home from work at the end of a rough day and just want to unwind in front of the television, physiologically, it’s not doing much for you in terms of stress relief.  Active engagement is required for true relaxation.  Participating in a favorite hobby, exercising, or using conscious relaxation techniques are much more soothing choices.

I have a weigh-in appointment today with my bariatric doctor.  This will be my first weigh-in since I’ve been on maintenance.  My doctor told me that adding the extra calories will cause me to gain back a few pounds before my weight levels off, so I’m eager to see where I’m at.  The gym scale is showing 137, only a one pound increase, so I hope the doc’s scale says the same!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!  My hubby and future son-in-law have promised to create my new header soon, so more changes in my blog’s look are to come.

 

What’s your favorite way to actively relax?

 

blogging, Building self-confidence, Crafting to lose weight, enjoying family, fitness, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, weight loss journal, Writing

Bringing Sexy Back

I’m going to share a few thoughts on maintenance, but, first, I want  to thank everyone who voted on Monday’s polls.  The results show that I shouldn’t change my blog’s name, but that switching up my subjects from solely weight loss related posts would be perfectly acceptable.  After some thought, I’m rather happy to be keeping my name, as I’ve grown rather attached to it!  I do plan to change my tagline and to switch up the look of the blog just a bit.  Long ago, my future son-in-law (the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop wiz) offered to make me a custom header.  My husband also offered to do some cartoon work for it. (He draws a really cute cartoon version of me). I need to re-ask them both if their offer still stands for when they have the time. So stay tuned for a few changes! 🙂


00roadrunner

Now, onward to maintenance.  I read a fantastic quote the other day from Optifast Blogger about maintenance. In her wonderful post about the things that keep her working hard to maintain her weight loss, Optifast Blogger admits that “losing weight is ‘sexier’ than maintenance.”  I read those words shortly after tallying up my last calories of the day, and they hit me like an anvil in a Roadrunner cartoon.  Maintenance is why some of the air has leaked out of my excitement balloon.  Its distinct lack of va va voom-iness is exactly why I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to write about lately.

In fact, the exhilaration of actively losing weight is much like the giddiness of being in a new relationship.  The beauty of it, is the person that you fall in love with, or re-fall in love with, is you.  It’s magical to work hard and see results.  Peering into the mirror and seeing the person that you’ve imagined yourself to be is awe-inspiring.  The feeling of completing physical challenges that you never before thought were possible is breathtaking. You run into people that you haven’t seen for a while and they notice how trim you’re looking.  You go shopping for new jeans, because all of your old ones are too big, and you find yourself slipping easily into a size 8.  You’re on top of the world!   Then one day, you step on the scales at your doctors office and she tells you that you’ve arrived.  You’ve reached your goal weight.  She slaps you a quick high-five and hands you the diet plan to maintain what you’ve lost.  Then she says. “This is the hard part; keeping it off.”  You leave the office happy and determined.  You have a formula that works for you, and you work your formula.  Then one day, after your 100th cup of yogurt at exactly 11:00 am, the same day that no one has asked, “Did you lose weight?”  you realize that the honeymoon of weight loss is over and that maintenance is the marriage.  It’s a good solid marriage, but it takes lots of effort. It needs the infusion of a few fluttering butterflies in the stomach and a few sparks to zap it back into the exciting status that it once had.  Luckily,  it doesn’t take a gastro-etymologist (I made that one up) or a generator to get the butterflies and sparks that we need.  We can do it ourselves with a few happy reminders.  This is my list of things that bring the “sexy” back to maintenance for me:

  • I don’t have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease.  How hot is that?
  • I can run–fast.  This means I’m no longer brain-bait during the zombie apocalypse, and that my legs are really toned and flexible.
  • I’m strong–In addition to knowing that I could fight off the undead, I have more poise and confidence because of my physical strength, and nothing is sexier than a little bit of swagger!
  • I have a nice fitting butt.  I’m not talking about how cute it looks in my size 8 non-mom jeans, I’m referring to the fact that it actually, truly fits in the places that I need it to; bus, train, theater, and restaurant seats needn’t shudder when I squat!
  • I’ve found positive replacements for  compulsive overeating.  I can craft, write, hang out with friends and family, or I can ask my husband to distract me–and actually not care if the lights are on!
  • I’m potentially adding additional years to my life by continuing to eat right and exercise–Knowing that I’ll be here longer for those I love puts the very biggest spark into my maintenance program.
Yo Roadrunner, I've got this!
Hey, Roadrunner, I’ve got this!

So what do you all think?  Is losing or maintaining your weight more difficult?  What are some things that you do to keep “the sexy” in maintenance?

 

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! 🙂