Thursday, February 27, 2014

Week 9 Weigh In: Speaking Up

225.5 lbs

One pound down and I am not looking back.  I guess my body is making an adjustment, so who am I to judge? I judge, I admit it.  Sigh.

Well, onto to something more interesting.  Tonight's class was really helpful.  We discussed the difference between what we need and what we want.  My answer to what I need is for me to put my wellness in the forefront of my life from now on.  Participating in this program is giving me some practice.  On nearly a daily basis I am faced with adjustments to accommodate my fast - whether they are social or emotional.  I need to speak up daily so that I can stay on the program and reach my goals.

Our leader went over how we can ask for what we need.
  • Directly and concisely articulate our need
  • State why it is important to us
  • Explain what we need the person to do to support that need
  • Express what the positive outcome will be when we are able to get the need met. 
I thought long and hard about this exercise in relation to some of my needs.  I realized that the person I most need to have this discussion with is actually me.  So here is the conversation that I need to have with myself.

  • I need to achieve and maintain a healthy, normal weight
  • This will help me feel better, live more actively and stave off disease and mobility issues
  • I need to own my goals and make choices and decisions that will support the healthy lifestyle that will get me there
  • If I make the right choices I will feel more energetic, be able to have more fun, and hopefully feel better as I grow older.  I will also feel proud of myself and my self-esteem will grow.
The point of this exercise is that when we are not getting our needs met, we get stressed, and then turn to food for comfort.  It makes a lot of sense, and I can see how just a couple of unhealthy choices have led me to a slippery slope of overeating.  Or when I need more support from my family, and don't speak up, I can feel resentful and stressed and overeat to fill that void.

I always have lots to think about after these meetings.  This one cuts close to the issues of why I overeat, so it is particularly meaningful.  As for the rate of my weight loss, I'm not going to complain.  This program has been very effective for me, and the smaller loss this week is a reminder that I'm not a robot, and that I need to have patience with the changes happening to my body and let it adjust.

I hope all of you are having a great week.  Thanks for stopping by to read my humble blog.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Progress in Pictures

I'm not the most talented with these tools, but I'll do my best to add pictures to this slide to show progress over time.  I should mention that the first one is a "picture of a picture" and is the shot taken at the Optifast clinic.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 8 Weigh In


Officially 30.5 pounds down baby!

Tonight in our class, I wrote a break-up letter to a food that I find irresistible -- chips.  Acknowledging that chips are a food that I can't control myself around, I had been thinking of this break-up for a while.  I could have chosen a number of foods for this exercise.  Why not cookies, caramel popcorn, M&Ms and the like?  But I think I chose chips unconsciously because in my mind I can come up with a "plan B" around them.  Bring veggie trays everywhere and don't sit next to the chip bowl - sounds like a strategy. It's a great exercise, but I certainly couldn't give up every food that I compulsively overeat.  If I'm going to be able to maintain weight loss, I'm going to have to get down to the root of my compulsive overeating.  Yes there are trigger foods to avoid, but I also need to quit using those foods to make me feel good.  Food addiction is complicated since we can't just give it all up forever cold turkey.  I've given it up now for an important reason, and this break is giving me the space to explore my cravings, impulses and feelings around food.  But at some point I'll be forging a new relationship with food and face the temptations head-on.

Some people in the group couldn't bring themselves to write the letter.  Their food was connected to powerful memories of people they loved or gatherings that they enjoy.  Rejection of the food feels like a rejection of the person/memory.

I'm humbled by how emotional and complicated this journey is.  I'm thankful that I'm able gain deeper insights into my own feelings and issues by listening to my colleagues.  I appreciate this village of people who are being honest together.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Jumping for Valentines

Perhaps a little weight loss has emboldened me.  Approaching a 4 day weekend with my youngest son, while the rest of my family are out of town, I decided to take him to his favorite trampoline place last night.  He begged me to jump with him, offering to pay my way as a Valentine's gift.  How could I turn down such a heart-felt plea?  When we arrived I discreetly took one of the staff members aside and asked if there was a weight limit to jump, and she smiled and assured me that yesterday two 400 pound dudes were reliving childhood bliss.  So I went for it!

The smile on my son's face when I started jumping with him was the best Valentine's present I could have asked for.  In the past, with my aches and pains and self-consciousness, there wouldn't have been a question but I would have had to sit it out (though I wish I'd learned about those awesome jumping dudes earlier, or I might have done it sooner).  But just a little over 10% of weight loss has given me more self-confidence, and I had a blast!

There is nothing like the freedom of flying into the air doing twists and turns, arms flapping like a bird.  I even  got up the courage to play a couple of games of dodge ball with him, and got a big hug and kiss for doing that.   When it comes down to it, health benefits are great, but the FUN and JOY that I have now, and will keep having, is really what I'm in it for.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Week 7 Weigh-In


Tonight's weigh-in represents a big health milestone.  I've officially lost 10% of my starting weight.  It brings with it lots of health benefits.   My blood pressure is down to normal, my bum Achilles tendon is feeling much better, I have more of a spring in my step, and I'm not suffering anymore from sciatica when I walk down the hall.

I owe this to my body, which has put up with years of abuse and kept on functioning despite it.  I've decided that my body deserves better treatment.  It deserves to be nourished properly, exercised, taken in for check-ups now and then.  For year's it's been telling me how much it suffers, and I wasn't listening.  I'm listening now, and determined to give it the life that allows it to thrive, and in return, allows me to thrive.  There is a lot I want to do, and I can't do any of it if my body isn't feeling well.

I'm so glad that I didn't give up on losing weight.  At my age, I was in a situation where if it went on any longer, my body just wouldn't be able to sustain my weight without serious health repercussions.  Optifast isn't a magic bullet to weight loss.  It's incredibly effective and the impact on my health has been very, positive.  The real work will happen when I transition to food, but I'm going to be patient and try and learn as much as possible about controlling emotional eating, and showing my body the care it deserves.

Monday, February 10, 2014

One Month Into It

Today marks one-month since I started on the Optifast shakes.  I can't believe it because it seems like I've been on it for much longer! (haha)  I have been very happy with my results so far - 23ish pounds down and counting!  I feel it in my body -- it's less achy in the morning, I can reach things better, and fit into some of my smaller old wardrobe items.  I'm getting a bit of a waist!

I've never been part of a program that showed results so quickly, and it is very, very motivating for me.  When I've had 3 pound weight losses the past couple of weeks, I couldn't help but remember the million or so times that I tried Weight Watchers and would be doing cartwheels at a 3 pound loss.  That would be more of a "first week" weight loss in the olden days.

I don't do anything differently from week to week., now.  I exercise about 3 or 4 times per week, drink my water and take my shakes and sometimes broth.  I don't know why I would have a different result, but I'm relaxed knowing that I will probably have some sort of loss each week.  God help me if ever I don't!  I have heard that it happens every now and then.

Today I logged my food for the first time on, and I was surprised when it said at this rate I would weigh 213 lbs in 5 weeks.  We will see about that!  It sure would be fun, though.  Even though I feel like the rate of weight loss is largely out of my control, I do harbor a fantasy.  It would be the best birthday present in the world, if at the end of April, I could be in Onderland - even if it's first thing in the morning, completely naked.  I will cry tears of joy when that day arrives because it has been 15 years since I've been there.  I always stop short, but not this time!

Between drinking lots of water and exercising -- I wonder if anyone out there has added something to their Optifast program that was helpful in promoting greater weight loss.  If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them!  Thanks everyone and have a terrific week!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Week 6 Weigh-In

234.5 lbs

Now that I'm pretty much on auto-pilot with my Optifast shakes, my anxiety about life after the safe cocoon of fixed meals is starting to emerge in my thoughts and dreams.  Last night I had a strange problem-solving dream.  I was at a family gathering, sitting around a backyard table, with a basket of tortilla chips and bowl of guacamole in front of me.  I was thinking about how I have always had a hard time controlling myself with chips.  I just never developed an "off " button. What was I going to do now that I've worked so hard to lose this weight?  I remember telling myself that at future gatherings I will need to bring a veggie tray to put in front of me, if there isn't one out already.  Anticipating these scenarios is getting to me.

Coincidentally, my group tonight had us write down 3 parts of our life that we love, and 3 parts of our life that we don't love.  Then we marked whether these had a positive or negative influence on our weight.  The exercise was meant to get us thinking of small changes that we can make to help us cope with challenges to our weight management.  It was helpful.  With my dream in mind, I thought about taking charge and planning to bring foods that are healthy to gatherings.  Another intervention is to become more organized around the house.  I get stressed when piles develop and when I miss events or assignments for my children due to my disorganization.  It makes me feel guilty and fills me with anxiety, and I eat.  If I put my mind to it, I know I can develop a system of organizing these important papers and then I don't have to be facing this anxiety.  I can take charge of this, and when I do, I'll let you know.

I also know that I didn't become obese just from social gatherings.  My next challenge will be to figure out a motivation so strong that I'll be able to keep my daily portions and food choices under control.  Planning to pack healthy lunches with me, and snacking every three hours.  Right now it's just a dream and hope to me because I'm in the middle of the fast.  I'm just going to have to trust that with enough time and thought, my mind will re-set and I'll be able to approach eating with a new sense of calm and confidence.

On another note, I am LOVING that I can wear smaller sizes now.  This week I was able to fit into two pairs of pants and a very pretty sweater that I couldn't wear before.  I loved it and felt so attractive!  All of this, in addition to being 23 lbs lighter, is excellent motivation for keeping on the path!  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fooling Myself

A few of the blogs that I follow brought the program "My 600 Pound Life" to my attention.  I watched an episode yesterday that broke my heart on many levels, but also got me thinking about my own issues related to weight.  The woman they featured, named Penny, was bed-ridden.  Her husband cares for her 24/7 and they have a 6 year old son.  She expressed a strong desire to be able to live for their son, and that was her inspiration for getting weight loss surgery.

What followed was an examination of how her troubling delusions, along with her husband's inability to be a supportive leader in a new healthy life, kept her from successfully achieving her dreams.  Her lies to herself and others-- about following the prescribed diet, about her efforts to become mobile were both painful to watch, yet struck a somewhat familiar chord for me.  Since I have had a lifetime of being overweight and trying to change, I can see how I have harbored my own delusions about how hard I try or how faithfully I follow a healthy eating plan.  Then when I step on the scale, I am faced with a disappointing outcome.  This has happened over and over.

It's never comfortable to confront the lies we tell ourselves.  When I think back, I know that an evening of lasagna, wine, bread and dessert, NOT followed by more activity will result in weight gain.  But it was so easy for me to go on the next day, not willing or motivated to move my butt - ignoring the truth.  Time after time of this has resulted in where I am today.  This is exactly why I feel that weight loss is so much more than following a healthy eating plan.  Almost as importantly, we need psychological support to help us through the process.

Many chat boards, doctors and even the family and friends in our lives are puzzled by why we can't just eat less and move more to lose weight.  In the face of so much judgement from everyone, I have felt paralyzed by my own shame in not being able to follow through with what is necessary for me to become healthy.  So now with my Optifast group, while not a traditional group therapy class, at least I am exploring what is necessary in the company of others who are in the same struggle.  I don't have to have my defenses up, and can know that I'm not alone in this journey, and that I'm not an outlier in my behaviors.

Even as I write this, I'm not sure that I'll be able to re-enter the world of eating and be empowered to do it differently.  This scares me and is why I enjoy reading the blogs of people who have lost a lot of weight and are continuing the healthy lifestyle.  I'm going to keep reading and keep this in my consciousness as I go along with the journey.

So I think of Penny, not with loathing and anger, but with compassion for someone who hasn't quite gotten all the help she needs yet.  Her husband needs the same level of psychological care as well.  We are all a part of a family system, and if one person is out of whack, then it's difficult for all of the others in the group.  But with the right help, things can eventually change.  I believe that.

I will keep on this Optifast Adventure and explore new issues that I come upon.  I will seek new strategies that will support ways of thinking that are truthful and that reinforce the strength that I know resides inside of me.  I know that this will nurture the thoughts and actions congruent with the life I desire.