Oh, but I fall into excuses, even when I promise myself, and my world, that I won’t. There’s one more hot dog, because it’s the fourth. There’s the giant crab cake sandwich, because I’m sick and the prednisone makes me so hungry. There’s frozen yogurt because, well, because it’s Sunday and I’m with my daughter who loves fro-yo, and it has protein in it.
There’s an extra cup of coffee with cream, because I got up so damn early this morning, and I have a headache from the cough syrup. I can keep going, but I know what I sound like. My real personal truth is that I like food and I like coffee and I like doing things that I like. I don’t want to practice self-control because self-control isn’t fun. Self-control is like being mired in dog shit in the middle of an amusement park.
My shunning of self-control would be awesome if it didn’t conflict with other things that I adore; like cute clothing and my underlying desire to fit neatly in the same box as most other people. In essence, my secretive shallow nature is in constant disagreement with my lack of constraint.
So, I have “start-fresh-Mondays” where I get out my food journal and log every calorie and nibble until they are all I can think about. As I shower, 190 runs through my head. I vacuum with 370 and watch Friends reruns with 860 on my mind. Is it too many, is it enough? Can I just have a cheese stick? Always that damn careful balance! I pray I can go to bed with the gnawing. I can picture angry little flesh-colored “pac-men” eating away my fat as I run my hand flat against my torso. Are those my ribs sticking out? I’ll look great in that skirt; no one will know I’m a fat girl on the inside.
I know I’m wrong, and different, but maybe not. It’s simply a caper against myself. We all have secrets, some salacious some mundane. I’m hoping to be somewhere in the middle; in that place where I don’t bulge out.
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!
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!
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.
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:
Forgive myself and cross my name off of the naughty list
Get out my measuring cup, measuring spoons and food scale–and use them.
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.
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.
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.
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!!)
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!
I promised a while back that I would post some pics of the resin crafts that I’ve been doing. I’ve also been doing a bit of needle felting. I’ve been having a heck of a time this morning with posting, so I hope this will work, since it’s my fourth try! I’m going to place all of my text together and then post the pictures.
The first few frames contain broken glass that’s either found, leftover from other projects, or purposely smashed bottles or jars that I decided to reuse instead of recycle.
The next frames contain glass stones that would normally be used in vases or with candle displays. Both of these types look really pretty either hung or propped in windows with the light shining through them.
My last picture is just a little snippet of the needle felting that I’ve been doing. My moray eel still needs teeth and some embellishments.
The best thing about crafting is that it keeps my hands out of the fridge and pantry and my mind thinking of things other than my next meal or snack! Luckily, it seems to be working because I’ve finally lost a little more weight; three more stubborn pounds!! Seven more pounds to go in order to have a BMI in the “normal” range.
I hope everyone have a magnificent weekend, and I hope you like my crafting. I’m going to hit “publish” whether, or not, the pictures post in the proper order that I’ve placed them in, because I’m really tired of this posting tool not working for me this morning! 🙂
Well, there you have it! What have all of you been up to lately? Happy Weekend!!
I’ve mentioned in other postings that my mother was very health conscious–especially when it came to food. We grew our own fruits and vegetables in our huge, pesticide-free garden that provided enough harvest for our immediate family, and my grandparents, for an entire year. Our meats were purchased from local farmers, and our eggs (often gathered by me) came from my grandmother’s chickens. Beverage consumption was simple; 99.9% of the time we drank water with our meals and when we were thirsty. On a rare, special occasion, my mother would make a huge stoneware pitcher of iced tea, sweetened with a small amount of sugar and laced with mint leaves from our yard. It was heavenly while it lasted, but it never seemed to last very long. Sodas, like ginger ale, Coke, or Pepsi were presented to us as medicinal and something we were allowed to indulge in when we had a stomach virus or fever.
My maternal grandmother, had a different philosophy about food than my mother. Though she, too, made everything from scratch, she was a lot more indulgent in her use of salt, butter, and sugar. This made a meal from her kitchen taste ten times better than anything I’d ever have at home (Sorry Mom). Creamy mashed potatoes, decadent gravy, sweet and savory barbequed chicken, and the best Cole slaw I’ve ever tasted are memories that I have from her kitchen. Cakes, pies, cookies, and homemade chocolate pudding were just a few of the treats she’d serve up for dessert. Without my mom’s watchful eye, I could honestly eat myself silly at my grandmother’s house. Like most grandmothers she relished in my overindulgence and scoldingly told my mom to let me enjoy myself.
Besides all things salty, buttery and sweet, my grandmother had another vice that I was dead-set on sharing with her; Fresca. Much to my mother’s distress, my grandmother drank this citrusy, delicious, calorie-free soda all day long. Back then Fresca was sweetened with saccharine, my mother’s equivalent to poison. She warned my grandmother countless times of the horrible death scenarios that would befall her if she didn’t give up her beloved beverage. My grandmother would roll her eyes, pull the tab, and take a long swig.
I knew how good Fresca tasted;several times I’d stolen a few clandestine sips from her unattended can. On the rare occasions that my grandmother would babysit my brother and I, getting an icy juice glass full of Fresca was guaranteed. “Don’t tell your mom I let you have it,” would be her words as she handed over the goods. I’d try to sip it and make it last. I’d roll it’s poison sweetness over my tongue and try to decide if it tasted more like grapefruit or tangerine.
This past Monday, as I entered a convenience store to pay for gas, I passed a cooler stocked full of icy sodas. In spite of my obsession as a child, I’ve not been much of a soda drinker as an adult. However, with the 90 degree temperatures outside, those fizzy bottles of refreshment looked tempting. When I noticed a calorie-free Fresca in the mix, I couldn’t resist.
Back at my car, I untwisted the lid and let the cold, bubbly, citrus memories fill my mouth. There was no one watching; no one monitoring my intake. “Hell,” I thought, “I could guzzle this down and go back for more.” Luckily, my inability to drink copious amounts of fizzy things saved me from myself and I was only able to finish one bottle.
Within twenty minutes, I deeply regretted my decision. By the time I arrived home, my stomach was killing me. By Tuesday it was worse. Wednesday, I was still suffering, and yesterday, I spent the entire day in the bathroom. Today, my stomach is still sore, and I’m living on broth and applesauce, hoping to feel well enough by the afternoon to visit the gym.
A small amount of research taught me that Fresca is now sweetened with Aspartame and another chemical sweetener, Acesulfame Potassium. A simple Google search showed me countess stories of Aspartame causing IBS symptoms. As a longtime sufferer of IBS (symptom free since Optifast), I know that’s exactly what’s been going on with me.
I remember when Aspartame use came into vogue, my mother insisted that it was just as poisonous as its predecessors. Though I know several people who use it, due to diabetes, and have no ill effects. I guess it depends on the individual. Since this reaction stemmed from my first try of it, I think my mom may have had a point.
Goodbye forever, Fresca! Hello water and plain tea!
Do you use artificial sweeteners? Do you think they’re safe?