Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 5 Weigh-In

238 lbs

I'm down three pounds for the week - moving in the right direction!  I'm starting to notice my clothes are baggier, and people at work are starting to notice some changes.  At my group tonight we talked about nutrition, and the leader said something that stuck with me.  She said that fat is stored energy that is waiting to be expended.  Stored energy.  I never thought about it that way and I guess it makes a clearer picture of what happens when I consume more calories than I burn.

Today was my youngest son's birthday - so I cooked his favorite foods including pancakes and lasagna.  We also bought dozens of cupcakes for his class and for the snack after his soccer game.  A day full of temptations, but I survived.  Have a great day/night wherever you are in the world!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

New Family Experiences, Now and In the Future

My family are the most important people to me, yet can be the source of some of my most painful experiences as an overweight person.  As a fat child, family gatherings were frequently embarrassing, shameful and filled with self-consciousness.  My siblings are all normal weight.  They are active, exercising, eat-in-moderation types of folks.  I didn't get the memo on that. As a child, I had a family member who was cruel about my weight, and caused a lot of stress for me when family gatherings took place.  They thought they were helping me, "telling it like it is", yet it made me feel small, weak and ashamed of my inability to take control of my weight, even at such a young age.   I remember hiding in my room, crying in bed the night before they were due to arrive.  It took me years to get comfortable with this person.

As an adult, I have grown more confident, and gatherings in the last few years have been filled with laughter, Scrabble, coffee, cheese, wine and dinners prepared with love.  My siblings have been very loving to me and have accommodated me when my mobility kept us from taking long hikes or attending summertime kayaking trips. I still suffer pangs of guilt and shame over this.  When I look at how those family gatherings could have been, they are a reminder that there is a lot more that I want to be able to do with my life.

This weekend one of my sisters came to visit me - my first house guest while on Optifast.  She was wonderful and supportive and we had a blast - without the cheese, wine and snacks.  We went for walks on the beach, we completed an art project, and just enjoyed a terrific time together.  I can have fun without all the snacks and alcohol, and Optifast is making me feel more comfortable making choices that support  my health, even when others around me are imbibing.  I don't have to eat what's in front of me, and the party will go on.

This weekend, we planned an amazing summer adventure to celebrate my sister's 60th birthday and my new healthy life.  Here's what's on the agenda:

  • Clothes shopping
  • Stand-up paddle board lessons
  • Zip lining at the San Diego Safari Park
  • 2 day trip to the Channel Islands National Park, traveling by train and boat, with a day hike on Anacapa Island.
  • Dive-in movie at my house when I host the big family shin-dig
This is the prize that I'm envisioning this year.  It's her birthday, but it feel like it's my birthday too.  Today as we drove to the airport she expressed how proud she is of my journey and how family gatherings are going to be much less about food and alcohol in the future. 

As I move in this new direction, trying to learn new habits, it will be interesting to see how my family dynamics change.  Right now, I have a goal in mind and many rewards awaiting me.  This journey brings up some painful memories, but they are surfacing in the spirit of learning new skills and coping strategies.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Week 4 Weigh-In

241 lbs

Down six pounds for the week!  I feel like my body and mind are moving in the right direction, and I'm going to take a moment to enjoy this feeling because I know that I have been through times of frustration and uncertainty and will probably experience these again.

Tonight in my group we learned about using relaxation and visualization during times of cravings.  I enjoyed the sensation of breathing and will try this for sure. Now it's time to visualize sleep :-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Setting Myself Up For Success Means Making New Choices

I made a pretty big decision over the weekend, and it goes along with my goal of making healthy choices to achieve good health and well being.

It all started when I began a new workout routine before work.  This was 6 months ago.  Now I may seem like a mild-mannered university administrator, but my job involves event planning, individual counseling sessions with hundreds of students, presentations to large and small groups, and maneuvering and surfing the politics and pettiness that exist in every workplace, mine included.  I built my department, and it has turned out to be very strategically important for the school.  My bosses have been very appreciative of my work, and it felt great.  So I have been given more and more responsibility, and very little additional personnel to help. We run on a shoe string. I have been so thankful that I started working out, because it has helped me manage the physical and mental ramifications of my work stress.  That was BIG LESSON #1  and an ah-ha moment.

When I decided to make a serious commitment to my weight loss and health in November, I felt a shift occur inside my mind.  No longer was I willing to sacrifice my health and time with my family in order to keep growing my department at work.  I began to scale back my operation a little bit and really look at the things that are most stressful and try and figure out different ways of approaching the task.  I think this has been a great learning experience  -- slowly shifting my priorities so that I can achieve not only wellness but well being.  I'm beginning to understand that even small changes can make a big difference.  BIG LESSON #2.

I also scheduled some vacation time little by little each month.  Instead of charging through the worst of it without taking a break for months, I put in for one or two days per month until the end of the semester.  My anniversary, the days my kids have off of school (that was always stressing me out to find care for them), my birthday.  Addressing those things that give me stress, while also taking some time to recharge.  It isn't my employer's fault that I haven't been doing that - it's mine.  It's my choice to try and make my life happier on a more regular basis.  BIG LESSON #3.

So back to my big decision.  I've decided to leave my job at the end of the term.  We can financially swing for me to have some time to regroup and see what my next adventure is.  I have a couple of business ideas that I can develop, or the universe may open some doors, now that my eyes and heart are also open.

I know that everyone encounters workplace stress, and that it's tough to be a working parent.  I have the world's best husband who has given more than his share of time to help keep this family running.  We are a good team.  But perhaps I can find an opportunity closer to home (instead of 40 minutes away).  It's the little things that add up and if I can reduce a few, I know I will be healthier for it.  I've already scoped out a Y near my son's school so that I can continue my morning exercise routine.

As a career counselor, I've broken a few rules here.  You're never supposed to quit a job unless you have another one.  Well, it's okay.  At least I know how to look for a job  or maybe even create one for myself.  Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Creating a Positive Vision of Success

I figured out how to ignore my rumbling weekend tummy today.  I worked on a vision board assignment that we are supposed to complete for my Kaiser group.  That was a fun project!  Who knew there were so many memes and blogs devoted to diet motivation?  I scored some tools for my toolbox for sure.

I came up with images of outdoorsy fun, joy, adventure!  There is also a flirty and casual stylista deep within, and I look forward to expressing it.  As much as I have joy in my life now, I can't wait to try new things.  I want to live life to the fullest both now and when I'm older.  Looking at the vision board, I know it's not perfectly straight or lined up - I'm not a graphic designer.  But I think I captured what was in my heart pretty well.  Hopefully after a few months, I'll be uploading images of ME doing these things.

But first I will have to get through the temptations of the weekend.  Tonight I have my first big social gathering with my book group.  A terrific group of ladies who I love, and who I know will understand and respect this new path I'm on. I'm bringing some sparkling water, a shake, and a soup packet so that I can enjoy dinner with everyone.  I hope you all are staying strong and having a great weekend too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week 3 Weigh-in


I can't tell you how happy I am that I started down this path.  I am 5 pounds lighter than I was last week, and 10 pounds down from two weeks ago.  I have a LONG way to go, and I'm trying just to take a deep breath and tell myself that I am going to nourish my body in a different way, and I can do this.

It's natural to want to try and project how long it will take to lose the weight.  I know it's a fool's game for me and I've gone down that road many times before.  I have 17 weeks to go for this first group, and a whole interesting journey to look forward to, no matter how long it takes and how many groups I join.

So with a wink to my little Milestones chart, I have officially met my first goal today!

Weight loss Progress and Milestones to be Reached


1/3/14:  257 lbs. (Starting Weight)
1/9/14:  252.5 lbs. (-4.5)  started product on 1/10/14
1/16/14:  247 lbs.  (-5.5)
1/23/14:  241 lbs.  (-6)
1/30/14:  238 lbs.  (-3)
2/6/14:  234.5 lbs. (-3.5)
2/13/14: 230.5 lbs. (-4)
2/20/14: 226.5 lbs. (-4)
2/27/14: 225.5 lbs. (-1)
3/6/14:   223 lbs.  (-2.5)
3/13/14: 219 lbs. (-4)
3/20/14:  214.5 lbs (-4.5)
3/27/14:  214.5 lbs (0, zippo, bupkis)
4/4/14:  210 lbs. (-4.5) - I'm in the "countdown" to onederland!
4/10/14:  207.5 lbs.  (-2.5)
4/17/14:  202.5 lbs.  (-5)
4/24/14:  200.5 lbs.  (-2)
5/1/14:  199 lbs.  (-1.5)  ONEDERLAND!
5/8/14:  197 lbs . (-2)
5/15/14:  193 lbs. (-4)
5/22/14:  192 lbs. (-1)
5/29/14:  188 lbs. (-4)
6/5/14:   183.5 lbs. (-4.5)
6/12/14:  182 lbs. (-1.5)
6/19/14:  179 lbs. (-3)
6/26/14:  176.5 lbs. (-2.5)
7/2/14:  174 lbs (-2.5)  Early weigh-in due to holiday vacation.
7/10/14: 172 lbs (-2)
7/17/14: 169 lbs. (-3)
7/24/14: 167 lbs. (-2)
7/31/14: 164 lbs. (-3)
8/7/14:  162.5 lbs. (-1.5) - lots of travel until next weigh-in
8/20/14:  157 lbs.   (-5.5)  100 pounds down!
9/4/14:  155 lbs.  (-2)  GOAL!
9/18/14:  156.5 lbs (+1.5)
10/5/14:  153 lbs (-2.5)

  • 10 pounds down - Achieved 1/16/2014!
  • Wedding ring not tight anymore - Achieved 2/17/14
  • Saying "no" to food at a big social situation- Achieved: 1/19/14, 1/25/14, 2/1/14
  • 20 pounds down- Achieved 2/6/14!
  • Saying "no" to myself when I really, really, really want to cheat   Yes - 5/14/14 
  • Losing 10% of my initial weight- Achieved 2/13/14
  • First change in pant size - Achieved:  1/27/14 (size 22);  2/4 ( size 20)
  • More changes in sizes - size 14 (5/26), size 12 (6/24)
  • Fit into my new, cool watch - Achieved 3/21/14
  • First time someone notices weight loss:  Achieved:  1/24/14  co-worker
  • 30 pounds down:  Achieved 2/20/14
  • First time my youngest son can hug me with arms all the way around:  Achieved 2/21/14
  • 50 pounds down  Achieved 4/17/14
  • Riding on an amusement park ride:  6/27/14 Walked around in a bathing suit all day at a waterpark, swam and played with my son.  Unbelievable - not a hint of self-consciousness.
  • No need for seat belt extender when flying.  Feeling more comfortable in seat. Achieved 3/7/14
  • Onederland!  First a.m. sighting 4/17/14!  Evening weigh-in 5/1/14
  • Fit into original wedding band  Did it!  5/23/14
  • Buying first piece of clothing at the normal size section:  Achieved 3/1/14  (XL and L shirts!)
  • Wear shirt tucked in:  7/17/14
  • Wear a belt:  8/4/14.  My skirt was too big and I got to use a new cute belt.  I was amazed that my stomach looked okay/"normal".  I love feeling "normal sized"
  • 75 pounds down - Yay!!!  6/12/14
  • Reaching  below 170 lbs and the "Overweight" BMI :  7/17/14 
  • Wearing something sleeveless in public - Yes!  6/5/14
  • Wear a sundress - Yes!  6/5/14
  • 100 pounds down! - 8/20/14!!!!!
  • Start PFEs (Progressive Food Encounters):  8/25/14  at 155 lbs. morning weight :-)
  • 155 lbs. Gooooooooooaaaaaalllllll!!!  9/4/14
  • Overcoming a cheat during transition:  During the fast 6/22, during transition 8/30
  • Completing full Optifast Program from beginning to end - big reward for this one.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Week of "Firsts" on Optifast

Hello, just checking in with some thoughts during my first week on Optifast.  Overall, I'm feeling good (despite a very bad cold), and I feel like my body is adjusting well.  The first night I fell asleep at 7:30pm and slept 11 hours!  But it was interesting to go through several firsts this week, and for the sake of those who may be starting Optifast, I thought I'd write about a few.

  • First week of family mealtimes:  This has been a daily experience, of course.  I cooked, but mostly my husband is taking over those duties.  I've been helped a lot by my cold, which has diminished my sense of smell.  But I won't lie -- smelling burgers is never easy.  I've asked my hubby to use the grill more :-).  I also had to take my son to Subway one evening, and watch him eat a meatball sub.  I found that I needed to distract myself with my phone.  All of this is only a "head" issue, and not a hunger issue.  
  • First weekend:  Weekends are typically challenging for me in terms of eating mindlessly and out of boredom.  I have a standing Starbucks date with my youngest son - a fellow early bird- but it went very well.  Just a nice black coffee for me.  The weekend went well though, and I got out of the house a few times for errands, and I think that helped.  Since I slept in a bit, I saw the challenges of a later shake intake.  It put me taking my last shake at 8:30pm, which isn't a typical eating time for me, but we'll see how future mornings go.
  • First meeting with a friend for coffee:  I got my large iced green tea and proceeded to sit facing the window!  It was a bread and salad restaurant and the smells were strong.  I told her about my new adventure and she was incredibly supportive.  I think next time we'll meet for a walk, instead of at our usual restaurant.
  • First work week:  My system of making three shakes the night before and then putting them in a small cooler with ice in the morning has worked very well, and I'm sticking with it for now.  I work in a student-facing position at a university, and right now they are on break.  I set up a recurring reminder on my work calendar to remind me to drink (like my stomach doesn't do that - LOL.)  But it also helps me avoid scheduling appointments at that time if at all possible.  We will see how all this works when I get really busy, but so far so good.
  • First workout:  Here is where it got tricky.  On day 4 of the fast I completed my first morning workout of water aerobics - 50 min.  I have a routine of working out at 6:30am every morning before work, at a gym that is near the university.  It was a particularly challenging resistance routine that morning, and it left me a bit dizzy when I was getting dressed for work in the locker room.  Another issue is that I drank my first shake too early in the day, and so my last shake was 5:30pm, and that just didn't leave me feeling satisfied.  What I learned is that I really need to stick to a 6-9-12-3-6 schedule apart from weekends.  I'm also taking the rest of the week off to recover from my cold and let my body adjust.  Next week I'll probably cut my times in half, and then resume full-on workouts the following week.  I'm in it for the long haul and I don't see the point in pushing myself in these early days.
Today I really think my body is adjusted, though I don't feel a huge burst of energy as others have written about -- again, I'm sick.  I know I can do this and I'm fully committed to succeeding.  I don't know if any of you saw the Biggest Loser last night, but I actually got a lot out of it.  I needed to hear the message that success is hugely a mental process.  As someone who has dieted many times in the past and gotten within 10 pounds of "onederland", only to crumble, I am not going to turn back this time.

I'll check in soon to report on my first weigh-in.  I'm really looking forward to it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Day 1

Well I'm 4 shakes and 1 broth into the proverbial first step of a 1,000 mile journey.  It feels really, really good to finally start.  I rather like the taste of the chocolate shakes.  I've not been hungry today, and drinking the shakes at work seemed to turn out fine.  I made up three the night before and brought them in a little cooler filled with some ice. I'm a little afraid that I might be drinking too many liquids.  Is this something I should really be worried about?  I'll probably have to come up with a strategy for measuring them if it is.  Apart from feeling very tired (I am also struggling with a bad cold), I have to say that I'm fully on board and looking forward to seeing the changes in my body that will follow.

Today I'm fantasizing about the summer, when I'll be looking much better in a bathing suit .  I'm going to treat myself to kayaking for sure.  I'm also going to take my boys boogie boarding, and we'll catch some waves together!  I'm hosting my sister's 60th birthday party in August, and I wonder if my arms will be sleeveless?  There is so much to look forward to and it all begins with the choices I have made today and the choices I will make tomorrow, the next day and the next.

I also survived cooking for my family tonight.  Opening the freezer was weird, like encountering an online form that forbids you to fill out certain sections by making the ink lighter.  It's a strange analogy, but I don't know how else to describe it.  I saw the food, but couldn't make a connection to it. I have drawn a boundary.

It has been such a help this past week to find some very inspirational blogs to read, of women who have walked my walk and are continuing to share their wisdom of weight loss, transition and maintenance.  I'm linking to them on the right, whenever I come across them.  I'm so fortunate that I can look ahead through their eyes, and click back to what they were thinking at the start of their healthy adventure.  Thanks ladies.  And thanks to anyone who might be taking the time to read my little blog.  I hope I can add something to the dialog.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week 2 Weigh-In: Here I Go!

252.5  (down 4.5 from last week!)

With a mixture of excitement and slight anxiety, I am going to begin my fast tomorrow morning.  Tonight was our group meeting with an orientation to the shakes and a discussion of various medical questions.  It was neat to see the people in my group -- us first-timers buzzing with anticipation, and those who have tried this before, approaching this in their own lighthearted and hopeful way.  After the meeting I had my last meal.  I had hoped to go to a very nice little sandwich place to get one of my favorite (and somewhat healthy) platters of sandwich and salad.  Instead, with it being 8:30pm, I opted for a fresh Subway turkey sub with lots of veggies that I enjoy.  Twice this week I ate my favorite Thai food, so I don't feel so bad that Subway was the final food for a while.

I've set aside a place in my kitchen for the blender and have a container to put all my packets in.  Already, I have mixed up three shakes and put them in containers, in the fridge, to bring to work in a little cooler.  I will have to play around with this to see what works best.  I heard many good suggestions on how to have your shakes at work and throughout the day, and I may have to try a few until I know what is right for me.   I also put four packets in a ziplock in my purse, along with a chicken broth packet, just in case I get stuck somewhere.  I'm trying to plan and anticipate so that I don't mess up.  With so few calories a day, there is not much room for error.   Happy, healthy New Year everyone!  Cheers!

Monday, January 6, 2014


I haven't even started fasting yet, but I'm already struggling with resistance.  My only Optifast job this week is to log my meals. It's a familiar feeling for me -  I know what I'm suppose to do but just keep putting it off.  Then that feeling of dread is mixed with guilt.  It reminds me of the Switchfoot song that talks about the war between "how it is and how it should be" and "who you are and who you could be".
Why do I do it?  I wonder if I'm afraid to acknowledge and take ownership of my diet, or if I'm resisting for other reasons.  It is something I need to think about over the course of the next few months.  There is also the issue of integrating a new habit and discipline into my life.  It is almost a "before" and "after" maintenance challenge.  Hopefully when I'm through with the fast, I will have worked out this self-imposed obstacle.

Time to get focused and get caught up.  If I'm going to be successful, I need to jump all of these hurdles and stay on track without falling on my face.  Resistance is futile.  I want to push through it and not let it derail my goals and dreams.  I'm thinking about kayaking, cute clothes, lower cholesterol, more energy, outdoor fun, fitting comfortably into an airplane seat. Okay, now it is time to get off of this computer and face the music.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Week 1 - First Group Meeting - Off I Go

257 lbs.

I had my first Optifast group meeting last night.  I had been counting down the days for this program to begin and now I'm officially started on this journey.  It had that "first day in a new school" feeling, knowing that I would be getting to know these people very well over the next 20 weeks.  There is also the fun of knowing that most of us are going to look very differently in a few weeks.  That's cool.

A few of the members were veterans of a previous 20 weeks, looking slim, but for them, needing to lose a few more pounds.  They shared their tips - Torani Sugar Free Syrup is a must- and reassured us that this phase of the program is do-able.  Their number one tip -- never, ever take that first bite while on the fast.  It will always lead to more, and will make it very difficult to re-commit to the program.  When I think about it, this is the most risky proposition for me.  I'm sure I will be tempted and tested many times.  I just hope I can stay strong when the time comes.

So now I will be recording my foods and feelings this week.  My official starting weight now, on last night's scale is 257 lbs.   So that's what I will consider the beginning weight going forward.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cultivating the Soil - The Playlist

I feel like I've been cultivating the soil in anticipation of starting my Optifast program.  Tonight is the big night -- my first meeting with my group.  I get to meet the people I will go through this adventure with, and I'm sure we will get to know each other very well over the course of the next few months.  This is exciting!

When I joined the Y near my workplace and started working out every morning before work, I created an inspirational playlist on my iPhone that has really carried me and kept me on track.  It's not upbeat workout music, but rather more on the "music therapy" spectrum. When I listened to it on my way to the gym this morning, I wondered how the words of the songs might mean something different to me as I begin to confront my addictive eating and take on that challenge.  Here is the playlist in case it's of interest (I usually shuffle it):

  • It's My Life - Bon Jovi
  • Right Now - Van Halen
  • Dare You to Move - Switchfoot 
  • Star - Bryan Adams
  • Working on a Dream - Bruce Springsteen
  • The Rising - Bruce Springsteen
  • Where the River Flows - Collective Soul
  • True Colors - Cyndi Lauper
  • The Age of Worry - John Mayer
  • Learn How to Fall - Paul Simon
  • Learned My Lessons - Jenny O.
  • Shadow Days - John Mayer
I learned about the Switchfoot song when I Googled "Inspirational Playlists" and this is THE SONG that I think captures my journey the best.  I have no idea what else this group sings, but they nailed it with this one.

So this week I'll be recording my foods, drinking lots of water and basically getting ready for the fast that will follow in another week.  I'm scared, but ready.