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, enjoying family, Exercise, Finding old friends, food and family celebrations, Friendship, Having fun, losing weight, love, Medical Weight Loss Program, optifast

Weight Loss and Life Updates :)

Ooooh, someone's giving a free gun show!
Ooooh, someone’s giving a free gun show!

Yesterday was my last training session for the wellness center’s eight-week, weight management program. I’m not finished at the wellness center, by any means; I’m just moving on to a different phase of the program.  Instead of meeting with a trainer twice a week for an hour, I’ll meet with a trainer once a week for thirty minutes to discuss my progress and make any need adjustments.  Now that I’ve graduated to this phase, I’m expected to be more responsible for scheduling my own workout times. I’m not worried about this, because I’ve already been coming in on my own two-three additional times per week beyond my two scheduled sessions. I know that the only way to get the optimum results from Optifast is to exercise.

Yesterday was also my weigh in day. I was really happy to find that I’d lost three more pounds. I’m almost into the 170s, which seems miraculous to me. It’s been years since I’ve seen those digits on the scale!

Beyond the scale’s reading, I’m noticing so much more. I look and feel so physically changed. My stomach is becoming flat, and my bottom shapelier. My legs have muscular definition and my daughters have told me they want their arms to look like mine. According to them I have “guns.” I’ll flex periodically in their direction to offer them a free “gun show,” just for laughs!

The physical aside, this entire experience is changing my life. I’m rarely just sitting at home alone. I’m always on the move; enjoying the company of people and the beauty of life. The wellness center has been a mecca for meeting new friends. I’m happier, more energetic, and more open to the possibilities that life has to offer.

Last night, my brother asked me if turning 50 has bothered me. Perhaps, a year, or even six months ago, it might have nagged at me. I might have seen it as the beginning of getting older and the ending of some of my potential. His question actually stumped me for a moment, because the idea of being let down by another birthday hadn’t crossed my mind. Turning 50 was a loving and joyous experience for me. My age has no part in the definition or execution of my goals. I pray he’ll feel the same in three years when his half-century mark rolls around.

I hope all of my dear readers are having a beautiful, happy day. I know I’ve said it before, but I can’t emphasize enough how important you all are to me! ❤

 

blogging, dealing with food cravings, emotional eating, Food Addiction, Friday Fixes, Having fun, learning, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, problem solving, Self-Soothing, sensory input, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal

A Soothing Series; Friday Fixes

Enjoying nature is a wonderful way of soothing yourself. (Photo by Fotolia)
Enjoying nature is a wonderful way of soothing yourself. (Photo by Fotolia)

Yesterday, I attended an amazing behavioral modification class at the bariatric center.  The topic was Self-Soothing, and I know many of you who suffer from food addictions, emotional eating, or just general stress in your life, will be interested in tips and techniques  to combat stress, as well as the desire to eat when you’re not really hungry.

Food provides a series of sensory experiences.  We hear it sizzling, bubbling, or simmering on the stove and smell it’s tempting aroma as it’s prepared.  We see its glorious shapes and colors and taste its sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or savory flavors.  We experience its consistency and texture as we move it in our mouths. Temporarily, it fills a need.  Momentarily its a panacea that soothes out anxiety or makes us forget something in our lives that’s missing.  Then, like most fleeting fixes, it leaves us  guilt-ridden and hungry for more. Because of the sensory nature of food, replacing it with another pleasurable sensory experience as a remedy for cravings when you’re full or when your daily nutritional needs have been met, is often very effective.

Over the next two months, I’m going to offer a series of well-researched posts each Friday that I’ll call Friday Fixes.  These posts will focus on sensory techniques to combat overeating, as well as mindful eating techniques and general stress busters.  As always, I welcome your topic ideas, suggestions, or feedback!  

******Next week’s topic will be Self-Soothing through Visual Sensory Input.******

Doesn't this image make you feel calmer? (Photo from Microsoft Images)
Doesn’t this image make you feel calmer? (Photo from Microsoft Images)

 

 

Disclaimer (as I have no desire to incite trouble 🙂 ): I am not an expert on behavioral modification or weight loss. However, as a licensed teacher and public relations specialist, I am research savvy and able to provide information from reliable, scholarly sources.

 

blogging, cats, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, Food Addiction, food and family celebrations, losing weight, Medical Weight Loss Program, optifast, Uncategorized, weight loss journal

Day 13: Adult Birthday Parties! YAY!

(This is yesterday’s post that I’ve just finished up this morning.  I was too sleepy last night to finish!)

I don't personally own chinchillas, but if I did, I'd dress them up in birthday hats!  (Photo exclusively by Melissa Wolff licensed by Creative Commons)
I don’t personally own chinchillas, but if I did, I’d dress them up in birthday hats! (Photo exclusively by Melissa Wolff licensed by Creative Commons)

I just realized that my title will probably conjure up some racy spam, but I’m not gonna change it.  Why should I?  Everyone who lives in my house is a full-fledged adult and we seriously do throw fabulous birthday parties for one another. It started a few years ago when my oldest wistfully mused that, “Birthdays are no longer fun once you’re an adult.”  I called BS on that and asked her what theme she’d like for her 23rd.  She jokingly requested a Ninja Turtle party, and that’s exactly what we had–complete with green ooze punch and cupcakes that I decorated to look like Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo.  Since then, there have been a myriad of themed birthday parties in our house; wrestling, modern art, steam punk, etc.

Today, was my oldest daughter’s birthday, and we had a “Famous Scientist” themed party where I served “Archimedes Meaty Meat Sauce & Pasta” and “Louis Pasteur’s Pasteurized Cheese & Crackers” for just a few of the food choices. Though I prepared the food for everyone else, with the help of my learning-to-cook husband, I had a chocolate Optifast and a delicious lime slushy that I made by putting two teaspoons of freshly squeezed lime juice in the blender with 16 oz. of ice and 8 oz. of water.  It was refreshing and gave me something to chew while everyone else was eating.  I took my counselor’s advice and concentrated on the social interaction of sharing and being with my family and friends, rather than looking at it as a time to gorge myself with food.  I was only minimally uncomfortable while I was cooking, but I am developing the habit of not tasting and nibbling while I cook. My propensity for obesity is a long-term, chronic situation, just like the asthma that I’ve had since childhood.  I have to view it in that way so I don’t become lax about following the guidelines that I’m learning to keep myself healthy.   Family and wonderful conversation aside, the best part of the evening was putting “safety glasses” on the cat!  They were attached to the drinking straws that everyone used.

"I beg of you, please take them off! I am not a scientist! " says kitty. (Photo by me)
“I beg of you, please take them off! I am not a scientist! ” says kitty. (Photo by me)

In other news, today was my weekly weigh-in at the doctor’s office.  I lost five pounds this week which makes drinking only 800 calories per day feel totally worth it!  Woo Hoooooo!  She also gave me some homework to do, which I plan to blog about later today.

Have an excellent day, all of my blogging buddies!  Do any of you do themed birthday parties even though you and your kids are grown?  Tell me about them in the comments below. 🙂

 

 

dealing with food cravings, Food Addiction, losing weight, Medical Weight Loss Program, optifast, weight loss journal

Day 11: Cracker Barrel’s Business Goes on Without Me

Cracker B, your high fat foods aren't for me!  (Photo by Ebyabe)
Cracker B, your high fat foods aren’t for me! (Photo by Ebyabe)

I took my oldest daughter to the hospital lab and then to the  infusion center this morning for treatment for her ectopic pregnancy.  Because it was caught so early, she was able to avoid surgery by a methotrexate injection.  My daughter and I love spending time together, but this was the most heart-wrenching  outing we’ve had together.

After her lab work, we had several hours to kill, and she needed to eat.  I offered to take her to her favorite breakfast spot, good ol’ Cracker Barrel. After all, buttery golden pancakes, smothered in genuine Vermont maple syrup has been known to have anti-depressant qualities.  She insisted that she could just grab something small through a drive through because she didn’t want me to have to endure a restaurant.  Today wasn’t about making me comfortable, it was about taking care of my daughter. I came prepared.  I had a premade shake in the car, and a baggie full of decaf tea in my purse.  Though food may be my drug of choice, it’s unavoidable and if I want to share  life experiences with others, being with them while they eat is part of that.

The hostess’s eyes gleamed with recognition when she saw me.  It’s been almost two weeks since the hubs and I grubbed out on a Sunrise Sampler.  Jenny, our waitress, who had probably placed at least a hundred pieces of bacon in front of me over the years, seemed suspicious when I only ordered hot water to make my decaf tea in (they only had Earl Grey in decaf, yuck!).

I’m not going to glorify things and say that my delicious Optifast shake made me so full that my stomach didn’t do a flip-flop when my daughter’s meal arrived.  I’m also not going to falsely state that the stress and sadness of the day didn’t trigger my desire to pig out, because it really, really did. I could have easily given in and rationalized and justified my eating high fat, high cholesterol comfort foods, but for today I didn’t.   I drank my tea and talked to my sweet daughter, and thought about things that matter. Sadness and discomfort aren’t things that can be fixed with food.

What motivates you to make better food choices?  Tell me in the comments below.

 

 

 

Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, Food Addiction, losing weight, Medical Weight Loss Program, needle felting, optifast, weight loss journal

Crafting to Beat Cravings

When I began this weight loss adventure, I knew I’d have to find some way to keep myself away from the pantry, so I asked my husband to get me some needle felting materials for Christmas.  I’d never needle felted before, or attempted any type of fabric art (other than using silk in a few of my mixed media art pieces).  I consulted the trusty inter-web and in no time I found enough materials and tutorials to felt my caloric dissonance away.

After completing a prepackaged kit to make an adorable bunny (sorry I haven’t taken a pic of it), I decided to strike out on my own. With no pattern to call my own, and What Does the Fox Say? ear-worming its way into my brain, I decided to give into its calling and felt a fox.

What DOES the fox say?  Sorry to put that song in your head! (photo by me)
What DOES the fox say? Sorry to put that song in your head! (photo by me)

Though the picture doesn’t show it, he’s about four inches tall,  2.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches in length from nose to hind quarters.  He took about 6-7 hours to complete and I poked myself with the very sharp felting needle about eight times!  My number one crafting rule is no food (but tons of water) while felting! Here’s a side view:

Oh, what a fine, foxy fellow! (Photo by me)
Oh, what a fine, foxy fellow! (Photo by me)

My next attempt was at the request of my eldest daughter.  She thought a sea turtle would be divine. My first step was to consult Google images for a good picture, however, my turtle isn’t 100% anatomically correct.  My second step was to buy more wool roving and a finger protector from Michael’s Arts and Crafts store (no, I didn’t just buy those two things–it is truly impossible to leave Michael’s with just a few items).  Next, I set to felting, but soon found that wearing a finger protector was like wearing a condom in a monogamous relationship, it just didn’t feel right.  Fifteen total hours and 30 finger pricks later, I ended up with this little lady:

Making her way from the depths of the ocean, the mother sea turtle will search for the perfect place to deposit her eggs. Actually, I'm not sure if it's a girl or a boy! (Photo by me)
Making her way from the depths of the ocean, the mother sea turtle will search for the perfect place to deposit her eggs. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s a girl or a boy! (Photo by me)

Here’s a different view.  It’s about six inches long, six inches wide from front flipper to flipper , 2.5 inches high and very solidly felted.

Look at that face! (Photo by me)
Look at that face! (Photo by me)

I’m not sure what my next felting adventure will bring; perhaps a Ninja Turtle or a gnome.  At least the hours that I’ve put into these two kept me out of the kitchen!

What do you do to keep your mind off of food when you’re trying to lose weight?  Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Also, any ideas of what I should felt next?

dealing with food cravings, losing weight, Medical Weight Loss Program, my family is driving me crazy, optifast, weight loss journal

Post One, Day Nine

"So you think you can lose 80 pounds? You'd better not forget to feed me!"
“So you think you can lose 80 pounds? You’d better not forget to feed me!” (Photo by me)

It’s day nine of my medical weight loss program to lose 80 pounds and control my food addiction. I’m supposed to be keeping a blog or journal to track my feelings and progress. I’m no stranger to blogging, yet because I know my tendency to worry about the placement of every word and phrase, I’ve decided to make this blog more like a private journal that I may make public at some point. Otherwise, instead of just writing down my thoughts, feelings, and impressions, I’d be constantly critiquing my writing.

My first week was a mildly difficult shift from eating about 2500 to 3000 calories per day to eating about 900-1000. The first two days I felt weak and had a headache (even though I still got in 30 mins. of exercise), but by day three I had more energy to do my normal, daily routine. On day six, I began transitioning to an all Optifast product diet of about 800-840 calories. The physical transition hasn’t been difficult and I haven’t really been all that physically hungry. My level of mental hunger has been somewhat difficult. Because I’m normally the one to do all of the cooking, this transition has been more work for my family. At the onset of this endeavor, my daughters promised their help in the kitchen, as did my cooking illiterate husband. Life has sort of gotten in the way of my daughters’ attempts to help me. My youngest, a December college graduate, was luckily offered a job that was way too good to pass up on my first day of weight loss. With her commute she gets home a bit too late to begin cooking. My oldest daughter, who found out she was pregnant a week ago is having symptoms that sadly point to an ectopic pregnancy and she and her husband have needed a great deal of my emotional support. My own husband has been gung-ho about cooking, but needs me in the kitchen to lead him through every procedure, needless to say, I haven’t left the kitchen like I was supposed to according to the doctor and cognitive behavioral therapist’s suggestions.

To top it off, on day five of my program, we got a huge dumping of snow and a polar vortex that necessitated my youngest daughter’s boyfriend to come stay with us so he wouldn’t be trapped on his home on the mountain unable to get to work or school. So here I’ve been, trapped in an 1,100 square foot home, with five other adults who need to eat. Also with my easiest method of exercise, walking, taken away because of the ice and snow-covered roads and the below 0 temperatures, I’m limited to where I can exercise. My treadmill went into storage when my daughter and her husband moved back in,  and our living area is really small.  Still, I’m finding silly ways to move, like doing crunches or hand weights during commercials when I watch TV, or running through the house to deliver clean laundry one piece at a time.

Having everyone home has been the toughest. Instead of having my five shakes at home by myself, I’m having to endure the sights and smells of fresh muffins baking, homemade vegetable soup (which I prepared) simmering on the stove, potatoes roasting, burgers grilling, and not to mention the fast food and ice cream that my daughter’s boyfriend has eaten in front of me.

Though it my seem like I’m crassly bitching at everyone in my household for simply existing, I’m really not. They’re merely doing the things that people without food addictions or weight problems do. The world doesn’t revolve around my thoughts or feelings. With the removal of traditional food, I have actually learned several things about myself:

  1. Everyone in the household is way too dependent on me for way too many things.
  2. While I’ve managed to learn to tactfully say “no” in the business and social realms of my life, I suck at saying no to my family, and often put my own needs dead last in the pursuit of caring for them.
  3. Any errand is a trigger for eating to me.  If I drop my daughter off at work (because her car sucks in bad weather), I would normally stop at McDonald’s for coffee, a bacon egg and cheese biscuit, and an apple pie.
  4. Any destination with my husband is a huge eating trigger because we normally couple any shopping or appointments with dining out.  We never go cheap when we go out either.  It’s always a full course meal at a nicer restaurant.
  5. I am naturally drawn to food by its smell and sight, even when I know that I don’t feel hungry.
  6. Anxiety, sadness, strife, boredom, and celebration are just a few of the things that drive me to eat.
  7. I have enormous self-control when I’m held accountable to an authority figure like a doctor, but very little self-control when it comes to self-accountability.
  8. I can drink far more water than I ever imagined. (100 oz. or more per day).
  9. Snow days don’t mean endless hot cocoa, gorging on carbs, and baking cookies,  I can craft, read, and, of course, shovel snow!

Have you ever lost a significant amount of weight and kept most of it off?  How did you do it?