Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Week 28, 189 lbs.

My diet coach, Caroline, took this photo of me with my "before"
pants when I talked at the Ideal Protein orientation seminar.
Thanks, Caroline!!

99 lbs.  99 lbs!!!  I am within one pound of reaching the 100 lb. mark!!   My fat percentage dropped a BUNCH this week, so I have a lot to celebrate.

At weigh in this week I saw a former boss of mine.  I worked for her several years ago as her executive assistant.  She and I have both struggled with our weight most of our lives and seeing her today reminded me of all the diets we tried together.  Each new year we worked together was going to be the year we got into shape.

There was the "Thin Tastes Better" diet - this one was a low carb number.  You could not eat ANY carbs all day, except for one hour during the day in which you could eat anything at all.   I do not recommend this diet for anyone with binge issues or a background of eating disorders.  Sure, I lost weight the first couple of weeks, but being given an hour a day to eat whatever I wanted was a recipe for disaster. 

We tried so many schemes and diets, but the craziest one we tried was the Cabbage Soup Diet.  We were so malnourished after a week on that diet that we were biting each other's heads off and acting crazy.  I think that was the most miserable I've ever been while dieting.  I pity anyone who happened to do business with us that week!

I could tell that my former boss-lady had dropped a lot of weight from the last time I saw her and I hope she's having the same positive experiences I am having while on Ideal Protein.  This is an amazing, empowering diet. 

Someone asked me this week for advice on how to make a diet work and keep the weight off after you're done.  90% of my success can be attributed to my mind set.  Long before I started this diet I had made up my mind to like myself, regardless of my size.  I also stopped talking down about myself.  I stopped calling myself fat.  All self depreciating comments and insults were removed from my vocabulary.  I did a lot of mirror work - I looked at myself in the eye while looking into a mirror and said nice things to myself.  (This may sound incredibly goofy, but you'd be amazed how hard it is to do when you've spent a life hating yourself.)

Then I found a diet that would work with my lifestyle.  The chemistry of this diet makes sense for me, especially since I come from a long line of diabetics.  (I'm a genealogist, I've tracked the diabetics in my family back to the early 1800s!)  When I signed on for this diet, I did it without doubts about myself and I did it with complete faith that the diet would work.  I believed that the diet would be easy to follow and that I would have great success with it.  The rest just fell into place. 

As for maintaining after I am done dieting, I will go into that with complete faith that I will maintain a healthy body weight for the rest of my life.  There is no room for self doubt or self defeat in my brave new world.  Nothing can make me go back to the old way of living - life as it is today is so much better than it ever was before. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Week 27, 191 lbs.

The "before" pants!  The photo is not the best,
it was taken with my cell phone, but you get
the idea.  It's amazing how far I've come!
Closer and closer!  I am nearly to the century mark!  My goal for the week is to blow past the 100 mark for Monday's weigh-in!

If I could travel back and time and tell my heavier self back in June what I would accomplish by December, I think I would have laughed hysterically at myself.  I was so fat for so long that I had resigned myself to always being the biggest girl in the room.  Today I am such a different person - alive with the knowledge what I am able to accomplish!

Yesterday at weigh in, Caroline (my Ideal Protein coach) asked me to give a brief testimony at that evening's orientation seminar.  I told her I would think about it .... and then went home, telling myself that I'd only get up there and talk if I found some old "before" photos to take with me.

I found some photos that were captured on my husband's game camera while I was watering the garden. They're pretty horrifying.  Then my husband reminded me of the Capri pants I kept.  The pants were too tight to wear in public when I started the diet and when I got too small for them I hung them in the back of my closet after my friend Michelle suggested I keep an article of clothing as a reminder of how far I've come.

YIKES!!  I've come a long way, baby!!
I hadn't looked at those pants since I put them in the back of the closet and I was stunned when I held them up in front of me.  I know in my head that I'm a lot smaller than I used to be, but it blew me away when I held up those pants and saw HOW MUCH SMALLER!!

Anyway, I went to the Ideal Protein seminar and was blessed to find a good friend, someone I love a great deal, in the waiting room.  Because of me and what I've been able to do she decided to give the diet a try, too!  I can't tell you how much it warmed my heart to know that my journey isn't just doing good things for me, it's touching the lives of others and inspiring them to make a change.

Seeing my friend gave me the confidence I needed to get up in front of a room of strangers, tell my story and show some really HORRIBLE before pictures... like the one I posted here at the right. 

I really enjoyed talking to the group.  I like giving others hope - to show them what is possible.  I remember the doubts I had when I started this program and the spark of hope that another woman gave me when she spoke to my orientation group. 

What a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward!  I hope I get the chance to do it again!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

UGH!! Sugar!!

I have been so strong, so sure, so determined .... and this week I've been torpedoed!!

I got one of those Keurig coffee makers recently and it came with a selection of flavored and non-flavored coffees in cute little cups - a world of coffee lay before me!  A couple of mornings ago I popped in a pod that said "cappucino" on the label.

It smelled divine and I drank deeply on the first taste.... and discovered a very syrupy drink!  The stuff was full of sugar!  Did I stop and pour the drink out?  Of course not!  I figured there couldn't be that much sugar in that little cup and I didn't want to waste the treat.

Well guess what!  That little cup of cappucino had enough sugar in it to start some nasty cravings. (I checked the nutritional information on the web and was astounded at what all was packed into that thing - tons of sugar and carbs!) The beast I thought had been conquered raised its ugly head and all I could think of was snacking on sweet stuff.  I was fighting a binge!

I got to work and a volunteer had brought in some Christmas cookies as a treat.  Christmas cookies are a serious weakness to begin with.  When I was a kid my mom was a wizard when it came to making cookies, especially around Christmas time.  I always looked forward to Christmas when I was a kid, especially when it came to mom's delicious, artistic culinary creations.

I found myself responding to those cookies at work on an emotional level.... and since I was already craving sweets, I crumbled (like a cookie) and ate two.

Ever since then I've been having a heck of a time staying on track.  I just want sweet stuff!  In the past when I've gone "off program"  I've still been very careful about my sugar intake. Something just told me that with my family history of diabetes, I should avoid anything with a high sugar or carb count.  Apparently my body chemistry doesn't do well when it comes to sugar.  When it gets a little it wants more, and more and MORE!!

I think about my beautiful, wonderful grandmother, who had adult onset diabetes and how we discovered a fridge full of sugary stuff after she'd had a crippling stroke. She knew how dangerous sugar was to a diabetic, but yet her fridge and pantry were full of sugar. Did she fight these horrible cravings, too?   This unfortunate body chemistry is probably the driving force behind the eating issues I fought in high school.

The old Lanza would have been defeated by this set-back, might have even given up completely on the diet in favor of a good ol' self-pitying binge!  The Lanza that exists today was able to step outside of the situation and observe the episode objectively and learn from it.

I now know my weakness. After being off sugar for so long it's interesting to see how my body has reacted after getting a hefty dose of it.   I can turn this weakness around and empower myself to avoid these horrible cravings going forward. 

My life as it is right now is so much richer, happier and more fulfilling than any cookie or sweet drink ever made me feel in the past.  I don't want to go back to the old way of living.

I am in control of my life and health - I take responsibility for who I am and what I eat.  I am stronger than any craving.  I understand my weakness as never before and am developing strategies in avoiding a similar pitfall in the future.  There is no point in beating myself up or giving into guilt over this episode.  It was an opportunity to learn and grow. 

It was also a wakeup call - I don't have any more excuses when it comes to sugar.  I HAVE to avoid the stuff as much as possible for the rest of my life.

Today is a new day.   I am back 100% on Ideal Protein.  I'm pretty sure I'll see an increase in my fat ratio when I weigh in on Monday and I won't be happy about losing ground - but I'll know the reason why it happened and won't repeat that mistake.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Week 26, 193 lbs.

Another four lbs. gone!  Hooray!

I have now shed 95 lbs. and am feeling amazing!!  That's a lot of weight I'm not carrying around anymore! No wonder I feel so good! I am STILL amazed with each passing day at what I've been able to accomplish in a short amount of time.  I cannot believe I am THIS CLOSE to the 100 lb. mark!

One of the things I worried/wondered about before starting Ideal Protein is something a lot of people are asking me about now: What happens to all the extra flesh that's left behind when you drop a significant amount of weight? Does your skin hang off your body or does it shrink back? 

Without being too graphic, I'll share my own experience.

So far it seems like my body goes through cycles.  I've had some weeks where the skin around my neck, upper arms and other places sags and dangles quite a bit.  For a while, when I bent over my makeup mirror in the mornings my face would do an alarming sharpei impersonation! And one time when I was doing laundry, my upper arms were so loose that they seemed to be moving independently from the rest of my body. The flapping back and forth startled me and had me scared of what I would look like when I finally reached the end of this journey.

Fortunately, the skin seems to be recovering and is bouncing back to where it is supposed to be but it is taking time for it to happen.  The skin under my chin isn't sagging any more and the underarm flaps (and other parts) are sagging less and less with each passing week.   It's not all going away... yet ... but I'm noticing improvement in areas that really had me worried. 

Even though I am 45 years old, I am hoping that my skin has enough elasticity left that the excess "baggage" will be minimal.  I have had some discussions with my doctor about this issue and have read a lot of information on the web.  The web resources told me that it would take about a year for everything to adjust to my new size and my doctor told me that it is very likely I'll need corrective surgery, that it is relatively inexpensive and may be covered by insurance.  After thinking over the information available I've decided to wait a year after I finish phase one before making any decisions about surgery.  I'd like to see how much I am able to recover on my own.

Until then I am praying that the genetics that gave me good teeth and a pretty eye color will give me some resilience and that toning exercises and regular cycling to work will help.  I am also continuing to drink tons of water, because along with helping me drop weight it will also help my skin and body stay healthy.

Speaking of staying healthy, I had another doctor appointment about a problem I was experiencing right about the time I started Ideal Protein.  The cause of the problem was my excessive weight. I have been checking in with the doctor fairly regularly on this issue to make sure it's clearing up and that there's no further treatment needed.  I am happy to report that as of last week, the doctor said there's no need to see her again until my annual check up!! 

My doctor was also amazed at how far I've come since my first visit with her.... she actually gave me a high five after reading my chart!!  She told me that not only is my blood pressure down into a healthy range, that by slimming down I've also reduced my chance of developing ovarian and breast cancer.

Have a marvelous week!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Week 25, 197 lbs.

Hooray!!  Here I am on the back side of Thanksgiving (and my 45th birthday) with 1 lb. gone! Not only that, my fat percentage dropped from 41% to 37%!!!  With my fat percentage in the 30s, it finally feels like the end of phase I is in the very near future!

I approached the holiday/birthday celebration with a strategy.  Before I headed over to the family feast, I decided not to overthink things.  I wouldn't be 100% on the diet but I would make an effort to stick to foods that were low carb.  I loaded up on turkey, ham, raw cauliflower and green beans instead of my favorites, stuffing and mashed potatoes.   

When it came time for dessert, my family surprised me with a big, decorated cookie.  I had a small sample of the cookie and sliced the rest of it up for the kids to enjoy.  I also took small samples of a cheesecake and pumpkin pie - just enough for a taste.

I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything - I wasn't deprived or hungry and I enjoyed what I ate.  The great thing was that instead of crashing into a food coma afterwards or numbing myself with drink, I was able to talk to a nephew about his favorite video game and visit with my brothers about what's going on in their lives.

I also helped my mom, who spends most holidays parked in front of the kitchen sink, washing dishes and keeping the kitchen from getting too chaotic.  It made me feel good to lighten the load of someone who usually takes on the whole burden without complaint.

To compensate for the non-diet foods I had on Thanksgiving, I stuck to non-restricted Ideal Protein packets for the rest of the week, instead of having the one restricted a day I am usually allowed.  I also bicycled harder than usual on my way to work Friday and Saturday.  I think these two activities are what allowed me to lose a pound AND drop several percentage points in the fat department.   Another thing that I think helped me was the amount of water I drank this week.  Because I knew I'd be eating off plan, I boosed my water intake to flush out the system AND keep me full so I wouldn't eat as much of the "bad stuff" as I normally would.

Prior to the holiday I heard all kinds of fellow dieters griping about the foods they couldn't eat or warning each other not to cheat.  I refused to take part in either of these activities.  I think both of these behaviors contribute to failed dieting experiences. 

If all you can talk about is the wine you're not drinking or aunt Mabel's fudge you're missing, then guess what - you'll be chowing down on fudge and feeling guilty in no time.  If you're focused on cheating by telling yourself and others "don't cheat" - then you are setting yourself up for failure.  Both of these behaviors are self-defeating and keep the mind focused on behaviors you're trying to conquer.

I went into the past week celebrating some huge milestones and was determined to hang on to those as tightly as possible.  Instead of being preoccupied with the possibility of cheating or foods I'd rather eat, I focused on how good I feel and how far I've come.  I am empowering myself to continue being successful. While I allowed myself small deviations from the diet, I kept a level head, enjoyed small portions and didn't make the whole holiday about food.  

I hope this makes sense, but I don't place judgement on deviations, either.  I don't consider it cheating or beat myself up for eating something I "shouldn't."  Why put a negative/naughty spin on something that I have complete control over and that only affects me?  It's my choice to eat something off diet, not only that, it's my choice to be on this diet (and it's not cheap). 

I don't want to be on this diet forever and I don't want to be a huge hulking mess ever again.  It's the responsibility I take for my actions that keeps me on target and keeps the deviations down to a minimum.  I think it's also what's going to keep me slim once I'm there.

So on rare occasions I may allow myself a deviation from plan.  That deviation is not a bad thing, but it is something that will slow my progress.  This time around the deviation DID slow my progress pound-wise.  However, planning ahead, boosting my activity level and cutting restricted proteins from my routine this week compensated for the indulgences and boosted my results in dropping the fat off my body, which is the more important number to drop!

I hope everyone had a lot to be thankful for and had a blessed holiday with loved ones.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week 24, 198 lbs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me at 288 lbs.                                           Today: Me at 198!!
Omigosh!!  I can't believe it!!

The reality of what I've accomplished has been sinking in over the past 24 hours.  If I could twirl around on a mountain top like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music, with an ecstatic expression on my face, I'd be there!!

Years ago I had resigned myself to being heavy.  I never thought I'd see a weight of a hundred and something ever again.  Over the years my weight crept past the 200 mark, then the 250 mark and at one point, even over the 300 mark.  The 100s were something I associated with my past - something I maintained in high school, but not something I could do as a full-fledged grown up.

I remember hearing some diet expert on TV ages ago saying "It's unrealistic to think you'll ever be the size you were in high school once you're in your 30s and 40s."  And we've all heard some diet expert tell us how hard it is to drop excess weight after you turn 40.

Those experts were giving a convenient excuse to old Lanza to give up, call herself a lost cause and settle for a growing waistline and poor health.

I wasted so much time in the wrong mind set.  Whatever you want to do to change your life, all you have to do is make up your mind that you're going to do it and stay the course - even when experts and friends tell you that it's impossible or offer you an easy excuse to give up.  What's important is what YOU think you're capable of doing.

The day I decided that I COULD and WOULD get my weight under control and stopped playing the victim was the day miracles started to happen.  And they're still happening!

Yesterday morning I woke up, stepped on the scale and saw something I once thought was impossible - a weight below 200 lbs.-  and this morning I zipped myself into a size 14 pair of pants!  This is the week of my 45th birthday and I can't think of a better present to give to myself than reaching the 100s. My husband saw me checking out my profile in the full length mirror this morning and said, "You don't even look like the same person."

To be honest, I don't even feel like the same person!  It's not just my body that's being transformed - my attitude is downright perky and I have a new sense of pride in myself. 

I still have a way to go.  My guess is that I'll need to get my weight down another 50-60 lbs.  It all depends on my fat ratio.  Whatever my weight reads, it's the fat ratio that determines whether I'm healthy or not. 

When I began the Ideal Protein Diet, my body fat percentage was 48% - nearly half of my bulk was fat!  Yesterday my body fat percentage was 40%.  The acceptable fat ratio is 31% and there are levels beyond that that are even more desirable.  Whatever it takes and however long it takes, I can do it and I'm committed.  I'll know the stopping point when I get there.

The week will present challenges with a family meal on Thanksgiving and a birthday celebration (maybe).  I face both knowing the difference between good and bad nutrition choices.  I may not be able to stay 100% true to program, but I'm willing to bet that I will still manage to drop a pound or two along the way. 

There's not a treat or indulgence on the planet that would tempt me to lose ground when I've come so far!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week 23, 202 lbs.

So close... so close!  I am almost under 200!!  I can't remember the last time I weighed under 200.  It must have been the late 80s or early 90s - the days of acid wash blue jeans and big hair. 

I got home from my weigh in about 45 minutes ago.  The weather has turned cold and let me tell you, I feel the cold like never before!!  I've been so well insulated for so many years that I never really felt the cold.  In the past I used to celebrate freeze warnings because that meant I would finally stop sweating.  Now, I'm bundling up and shivering!

When I got to the house I scrambled to my closet to dig out an old comfy sweater and a pair of pajama pants.  My old favorite green flannel pajama pants look like clown pants they're so big!  The drawstring won't cinch any tighter, so it's about time to retire these old friends. The sweater, which hasn't been worn since last winter is so big I look like a little kid borrowing an older sibling's clothes.  I had to giggle at myself when I caught sight of my image in the full length mirror.

I feel so good!  All week long I've been wearing size 16 pants that a friend gave me. I don't think I've ever been a size 16.  When I was in my early 20s, my weight started ballooning so fast that I jumped right over a few sizes before I landed on 18 and held fast.  From age 25 until age 38, I was a size 18.... and then I started REALLY growing.  I am now smaller than any of the "I'll hang on to these for when I loose weight" clothes that I've been hoarding in the back of my closet for decades.

I visited my brother in Austin this week and got to see my six-year-old niece, Scarlett.  Scarlett hasn't seen me in several months and when she first saw me she didn't know who I was.  She stared at me for a few long seconds before she recognized me. 

"You're doing your hair different!  That's why I didn't know you!"  she said. 

I told her I look different because I used to be really fat and now I'm not so big.  Her answer was, "I really like you skinny!"  

I like me skinny, too!   

My job as an art center manager keeps me in the public eye.  I work with several volunteers and people in the community and it's funny to see the reactions of the folks who haven't seen me in a few months.

Word has gotten out in the community about how much my appearance has changed and some people are even making pilgrimages into the art center to check me out and congratulate me.  I feel like one of the exhibits!  It's really strange to have five people standing around in your office, staring at you and talking amongst themselves about much younger/prettier/happier/healthier you look!! Today one of the volunteers said "I can't stop staring at you, you look so different!"

I've spent so many years hiding from people that I really don't know how to handle the new attention.  When people tell me how good I look, I've started responding with, "Thank you, I feel good!" 

So next week, if the world cooperates, I'll make a long anticipated return to the 100s!  I can't wait!  I think it's time for another photo comparison!  Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Week 22, 207 lbs.

My Husband and me on Halloween - Our Annual Pirate Show!
What a week!

The week started with a funeral out of town, then there was the annual pirate show my husband and I put on each year at Halloween and the week ended with a trip to the Texas Renaissance Faire after a six year absence.

This week I encountered some of the most difficult challenges I've had since the early days of starting Ideal Protein.

A couple of times I had to go off diet.  Being a guest in someone's home (more than once) and spending two days at a renaissance faire presents a lot of hard food choices.  The fact that I deviated from the program showed in my fat percentage, it went up a little, but I am proud of the fact that I was able to drop two pounds in spite of this week's chaos. 

One of the most frustrating experiences this week was dealing with a friend who was hyper-critical of the diet I'm on (even though my success is obvious) and worked really hard to derail my progress. I won't go into great detail about the incident, what was said or done - I'm not even sure she did it consciously.  The experience left me hurt and angry... and right now I am focusing on shrugging it off.  Staying angry at someone I love because they just "don't get it" doesn't do either of us any good.

What's important for ME right now is to stick to a program I know is right for ME!  It doesn't bother me if someone thinks another diet or another approach to health is better than what I am doing - More power to them! 

I know what is working for ME - another's uneducated, unkind opinion is just noise and says more about where they are than it does about me.

I have shed more than 80 lbs. from my frame.  I feel better than I've felt in years.  My knees don't hurt anymore, I have a general sense of well-being and I'm more productive than ever before.  There's no arguing with those results. 

The picture above was taken on Halloween night as my husband and I were acting all piratey for the neighborhood trick-or-treaters.  After this picture was taken I kept staring at it.  My husband asked me what I was doing and I said, "I can't believe that's me!"  He answered with "You look great!"

I wore the pirate bodice when I was a lot heavier. I tried to locate photos from "back then" but had no luck finding any.  The bodice has a lot of adjustable laces that I gapped open at the front and the back to get it on my growing body.  Last Halloween I had to find another costume because I was finally too big to wear my favorite bodice so imagine my delight when I was not only able to wear the bodice again this year, but lace it up completely in the front and back!!  I have NEVER been able to lace that thing up all the way!  Never!

I wore that bodice to faire one of the days we were there, too, and my husband said, "I've always had a pretty wife to take to faire, but this is the first time I've had a hot wife at my side."  or something to that effect.  I could have flown after that remark.

I ran into old friends at faire, some didn't recognize me at first.  One friend (Who follows this blog - Hi Pat!)  took a good look at me and said, "I don't think I've ever seen you this small and went on to tell me how good I looked."  It felt so good to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen in years and even better when they told me how happy or good I looked. 

 I got a lot of compliments on my costumes from passers by, which has never, ever happened.  To illustrate the difference in how I look now and how I looked the last time I went to faire, here are two pictures:
Me, about 2006 - the last year I went to
The Texas Renaissance Faire.  I probably
Weighed over 300 lbs. at this time.
A photo taken by my friend, Tony Goodman, this past
Saturday at the Texas Renaissance Faire.
No wonder Folks didn't recognize me!!

It's a dramatic difference!!  The only thing that looks the same is the little crown thingy I am wearing on my head!!

I love - LOVE - this diet!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Week 21, 209 lbs.

A pound of butter
When I hear people complain about "only losing one pound" I remind them to look at four sticks of butter.  That's a pound of fat! 

Today, I'm reminding myself of what a pound looks like.  I was hoping to have reached the 80 lb. milestone but instead am one mere pound away from reaching that goal. 

The old me would be discouraged but I can't be too upset with the results.  My fat percentage dropped a little more than 1 point .... and that's much more important than what the scale says!

I stayed on plan all week, didn't push boundaries or cheat and I feel like I am back on track. I could have exercised more, but life interrupted my cycling schedule.

There will be some deviations in the coming week with a funeral, Halloween festivities and the much-anticipated return to the Texas Renaissance Faire - but I am hoping the deviations will be small ones and that I will FINALLY reach the 80 lb. goal.... and beyond!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week 20, 210 lbs.

What a change!!  Left: Me at 288 lbs.  Right: Me at 210 lbs.
I'm over half way to my goal!!

I'm working my way, inch by literal inch, to the 80 lb. milestone!  I'm two pounds away and will probably be there before my next blog post, so it's time for another photo comparison!

Just 10 lbs. to go and I'll be under 200 lbs. for the first time since 1989 (I think).

I am still making up for the ground I lost last week by going off diet.  My fat percentage is up again.  The diet counselors and I were puzzled about the jump in my fat ratio - I didn't do any strenuous exercise and I was completely on plan all week ... so what happened?

It wasn't until we talked about the stuff I ate last week that it all made sense.  The fatty and sugary foods I ate last week added to my overall fat mass, so I am still working off those moments of weakness.  Two days of consuming cheese-stuffed jalapenos, sausage balls and assorted cookies off the art center's reception tables were not worth the extra work I caused myself.

The fat gain gave me a much-needed reality check. I needed last week's experience to show me, in no uncertain terms, how important my nutrition choices need to be from here on out.  A couple of days' worth of indulgence left me with two weeks' worth of work.  There will be a day, in the very near future, when I am no longer on this diet.  I want to keep the weight I've shed off my body for the rest of my life.  I can't go back to the way I was eating when I weighed 288 lbs. and more. 

I'm not going to say I am never going to touch fried chicken or cookies ever again.  That would be unrealistic.  I am going to say that those items will be extremely limited in Lanza's post-diet world.  I enjoy living so much more now with a healthier size and lifestyle that going back to who I was before I started Ideal Protein is unthinkable.

I am not going to focus on last week's blunder.  Instead I am going to focus on how I feel today and list some of the things that have changed in my every day life, the things that make each day a new miracle.
  • Bath time!  One of my favorite indulgences has always been long, hot tub baths.  In the past I was so heavy that getting into and out of the tub was a major chore. Not only that, the tub was not comfortable once I got in there.  I eventually gave up on them all together. I can now easily get into and out of the tub and relax with a lot more room to soak!
  • Public Restrooms!  I no longer have to do acrobatics to fit inside of the average public restroom stall!
  • Goodbye to the 2s!  My jeans size is a LOOSE 18.  No more twenty-something sizes or more than one X!
  • Stairs!  I can climb stairs quickly, without pain or without getting winded!
  • Who are you?  People who haven't seen me in a long time are not recognizing me.  When this happens it reinforces my determination to keep going because what I've done so far has already made a huge difference in the way people are seeing me.
  • I fit ... with room to spare!  Seat belts, movie theater seats, and chairs with arms no longer have the potential for embarrassment. Not only that, I can comfortably cross my legs again!!
Each day brings a new victory or miracle, it's impossible to list everything.  The biggest, most important change that has happened to me is on the inside.  I'm alive again -  an active participant in life, rather than someone who hides from the world around her. I have a sense of well-being. I feel good about myself and the joy I feel each day radiates to those around me.  I keep thinking of that scene in "The Grinch that Stole Christmas" where the Grinch's heart grows so big it breaks the little animated view finder.  That's what's happening to me right now.

Note:  For the next two weeks, my weigh-in will be on Tuesday afternoons.... so my regular blog posts will be either Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Week 19, 214 lbs.

Well, crap. 

I am not going to beat up on myself, but I am going to own up to making bad decisions this week.  I worked LONG hours this weekend.  I didn't plan ahead so I would have easy access to the diet foods.  Instead of waiting until I got home I ate what was convenient at work: foods that were full of sugar and carbs. I was hungry and exhausted and my reslove crumbled.

I knew what I was doing when I did it, but didn't think it would make a difference in the long run.  I cheated before and still lost weight, right?  The times I've gone "off diet" before I either lost a pound or two or nothing at all.  This is the first time I've ever added extra pounds and lost ground. 

Here's what I think made the difference:
  1. Because of rain and the after dark hours I was working, I didn't bike to work like I usually do. I wasn't doing anything to burn off the extra stuff I was eating.
  2. When I ate something off diet it was something that had lots of sugar, fat or carbs in it.
  3. When I came home late, I ate a restricted protein because it was convenient rather than an unrestricted - adding even more calories to my intake.
  4. I wasn't eating my 2 cups of veggies with the evening meal
So I made some bad choices and had to face the consequences when I stepped on the scale yesterday.  I know what went wrong.  I can't undo the bad choices I've already made but I can make darn sure I don't do it again.  Every day is a new day, after all!

Even so, the week wasn't a total wash!  My weight may have gone up two pounds, but my body fat ratio dropped a couple of points!  I think this is because I didn't go completely off diet.  There were two nights this week I indulged.  The rest of the week I was on track.  I am within 10 points of getting my body fat ratio into the "acceptable" level.  My aim is to get to the "healthy" level.

Something interesting I noticed during this week was how my body reacts to sugar.  This shouldn't surprise me since diabetes runs in my family and I've already noticed how much better I feel now that I am eating healthier, but it surprised me all the same.  I was surprised at how tired sugar made me after I ate it.  A lot of people I know will grab something sweet when they need a pick-me-up, and it probably helps for the short term....  but after the initial rush burns off it makes me sluggish and tired.  I didn't like the way I felt afterwards - it was kind of like a hangover! 

It's a good bet that I won't be eating a lot of sugar when I am finally at my goal.  As bad as eating it made me feel I know going back to it will only make me sick and slow again.  If I want to hang on to this feeling of being alive and happy, I need to put the right kind of fuel in my body.

Lesson learned!

The one "little victory" I experienced this week was when I was approved to take some time off to go to the Texas Renaissance Faire in November.  The faire used to be one of my favorite places on earth.  I had a closet full of costumes and would make a new outfit for myself every year as the "faire" season was getting started.  I even worked there as a vendor for a couple of years.

It has been six years since I've been to faire.  I've missed it but have lacked the energy to go.  I also didn't want people to see how HUGE I'd gotten.   Now that I have a sleek new shape and feel better I'm ready to return to my old stomping grounds.  I went through my closet to discover all my old costumes were too big for me!!  The only things that fit me are some of my really early outfits that date back to 1995-1998. 

This week I gave the old outfits away and treated myself to a fancy new court dress - the kind of dress I admired on others but never felt I could pull it off.  As one of my "friends" pointed out years and years ago at faire - my stomach stuck out further than my breasts.  Ouch.

Today my stomach is shrinking and measures smaller than my breastline, thank you very much.  The ordered dress arrived yesterday and I look fantastic in it, if I do say so myself! I am so excited about going I can barely contain myself!!

Have a great week!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Week 18, 212 lbs.

A photo taken by David Jackson during an event
at work this weekend.  This is the first candid photo
of myself that I've liked in several years!  Look! I'm smiling!
 And I have dimples in my cheeks again!
 Wahoo!!  I am within a few lbs. of getting my weight under 200!   I think I'll be there in two weeks! How exciting! 

The realization of what I've been able to accomplish is still sinking in.

I've been above the 200 mark since I was in my early 20s.  With the exception of a brief time during my 25th year when I had managed to loose several pounds, I have weighed over 200 lbs. (and then some) for what seems like forever.

I now weigh less than my husband.  I was heavier than this when we met nine years ago. 

My husband has never seen me looking or feeling this good.  (As if to prove that point, my wedding ring flew off my finger today because it was too loose. Gotta fix that soon!)

I managed to drop weight this week - six pounds - even though we had a huge event at work, which included long hours and nightly receptions when I wasn't able stay on the diet. (I tried to stick with the "healthier" options presented.)  I even had a couple glasses of wine at one of the receptions.  As a result of the non-diet foods and drinks I had during the week, my fat mass was up a bit, but even so, I was able to take 6 more pounds off my frame.

Winter Texans and art center volunteers who haven't seen me in a while said some really nice, encouraging things to me. A couple of people didn't even recognize me until I started talking. It wasn't all about my looks, either.  They commented on my improved attitude and "glow."  I think the glow came from all the praise I was receiving.  I could have walked on clouds I was feeling so happy!  It struck me how many people said they noticed a change in my personality.  

My job can get stressful at times and in the past I wasn't handling the stress very well.  I think part of it was because my body was already under so much stress due to the bulk I was carrying around and I was in an incredible amount of pain.  I didn't have the energy or resources to deal with a lot of situations in a healthy manner.  I also didn't have much pride in myself.  Let's face it, I was sick and dying. (And I was doing it to myself.)

Improving my health has perked me up in so many ways.  When you're hurting, sick and beating up on yourself, there is no way you can perform daily tasks in a happy, efficient manner.  I feel better both physically and mentally - so of course people are going to enjoy being around me more than they did in the past. 

I am also taking more pride in my appearance - keeping my feet and hands groomed, wearing makeup, dressing nicer, etc.  The changes in my life and attitude amaze me.  Every day brings a new victory.

I wish I could bottle up how I am feeling and share it with my friends and family. If there was a way I could make others feel like this, I would!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Week 17, 218 lbs.

A photo I took of the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum
Success is sweet ... and feels AWESOME!  I am now officially down 70 lbs!! 

Not only that, but I had my measurements taken for the first time since starting Ideal Protein and I've slimmed down a total of 51 inches!! The biggest reduction was off my hips, which are 9 inches slimmer!

I was concerned that I wasn't going to show much of a loss this week because I went on vacation with my mom and husband this week.  We drove to Fort Worth to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and then went to Dallas to see a glass art installation by Dale Chihuly. 

With hotel stays, restaurant meals and limited access to water I knew dieting was going to be a challenge. Luckily the two hotels where we stayed offered a breakfast bar and I was able to mix a chocolate protein drink into my morning coffee for breakfast, which is what I do at home. (I packed my trusty giant-sized coffee mug and mini-whisk with the protein packets to keep me on track.)  The other meals were mostly in restaurants and I stuck to menu items that were as true to the diet as possible. 

I do admit to having a sample of some really good flan at a Mexican restaurant and a couple of tastes of other "forbidden" food at a world-famous restaurant.  I didn't want this trip to be about my diet, nor did I want to pass up the experience of trying foods that presidents and national celebrities have enjoyed.  

Even so, my biggest desire was to keep from losing any ground - I was determined to show a new, smaller number on the scales at my next weigh-in. To keep myself in check, I took small samples of the things I wasn't supposed to eat and filled up on "legal" foods.

We did a lot of walking when viewing each exhibit, so I was able to justify the sampling by telling myself I was walking off the "bad" stuff.  Even with the exercise and more "good" food than "bad," there was a part of me that wasn't buying it and thought I might be kidding myself.

When I got on the scales this week I was shocked at how well I did!  Seven pounds is awesome progress - on or off the program!!  Not only that, but most of my loss was in fat mass!

What this experience tells me is that when I am back in the real world and off the diet, I have gained the decision making skills to choose foods that aren't going to pack the pounds back on my body.  I will be able to maintain my new and improved shape and health!

As I type today's blog I am wearing a bra size I haven't seen on my body since I was in my late 20s.  Yesterday I realized the latest batch of clothes I bought to wear to work are all starting to hang loose on my body and I squeezed into a pair of jeans that haven't seen the light of day since 1998.  The miracles keep happening!

The biggest miracle of the week was that I was able to enjoy two very physical days that involved stairs, long hikes and hours upon hours of standing.  This is something I was incapable of doing back in July.  I would have made some kind of an excuse not to go on this adventure and would have missed out on two very meaningful, life-enriching experiences. 

The life I am living right now is sweeter and richer than any dessert I could indulge in ... and it gets better each and every day! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Week 16, 225 lbs.

This is new. This week I showed no change on the scale.  At least the weight didn't go up - then I'd really be upset.

Tags from a current favorite outfit - jacket and pants.
Not only do I feel like I look really good when I'm wearing this, I get a kick out of the size (just an L)
 and love the motivational quotes the clothing line
includes  in its  labeling.

For some reason everything stayed put, even though I am seeing more changes in my shape.  Crystal, my diet coach, said not to get discouraged.  This just happens sometimes. 

Maybe it's hormonal.  Maybe I built some muscle through my bike riding and exercise.  Maybe I ate lunch too close to weigh-in (it was later than usual). Maybe my body just decided to be stubborn this week.  It could be anything.

This is just one week out of 16 and I have many more to go. In the grand scheme of things, this is just a small delay in my progress.  I can't let this one hiccup discourage me.

So..... instead of thinking something went wrong or beating myself up for something I should have or shouldn't have done, I am going to focus on the positives:

  • I am healthier than I was 16 weeks ago and feel fantastic.
  • My personal relationships have improved - not only do I feel better about myself, I have more energy to interact with my loved ones.
  • I have tons of energy I didn't have before.
  • There are clothes hanging in my closet that don't have an X in the size - and I am wearing them.
  • I can climb stairs without knee pain or getting winded
  • Wonder of wonders - I can cross my legs comfortably at the knee!
  • I am sleeping comfortably through the night.
  • People at work are treating me differently - in a good way.
  • My house looks better than it has in years
  • I am wearing jeans I haven't worn since I was in my 20s, and I feel better both mentally and physically than I did when I originally wore them.
With all that and more to consider, it's hard to be too upset about one week.  With my progress so far and the law of averages to consider, I know this week is an exception rather than the expected.

As long as I stick to the program, drink lots of water and live life to the fullest, I will keep moving toward my goal.  Right now, it is my intention to loose 83 more pounds. That goal may change as I continue forward and my shape continues to emerge from the rolls of fat I've been carrying around for far too long.  Whether it's 83 or 93 more pounds - I know I am well on my way to reaching the finish line!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 15, 225 lbs.

This week's message is: "Hey, Lanza!  Simmer down!"

There was some good news and bad news at the weigh in today. 

The good news was that I am down another four pounds.   I am so happy to arrive firmly into the 220s.  It won't be long before I am showing a smaller number on the scale than my husband.  This will be the first time since I married him that I will weigh less than him!

The bad news is that my fat index is up again.... by a lot.

The longer bike rides, house cleaning marathons, (low impact) exercise video and all the other active stuff I've been doing have been overtaxing my system. The low calorie Ideal Protein meals I've been eating haven't been enough to sustain my body now that it's more active. When I'm biking or getting some form of exercise my body has been consuming lean mass instead of fat mass.

The numbers don't lie. My fat index jumped up several points, so I am definitely doing something wrong.

So it's time to settle down, scale back and take it easy.  On the days when I bike to work I MUST work in an extra protein during the day and be sure that's the only exercising I do that day. 

With what feels like boundless energy, it is going to be hard to scale it back.... but I want to do this program the right way and get rid of the fat instead of lean mass (which includes bone, connective tissue, muscle, etc.... all the stuff I really need!)

And when I get really antsy and MUST find something to do with my energy, I'm going to do something like organizing and cataloging my karaoke CD collection - something that's been on my to do list for years that won't burn major calories!!

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Here's Scarlett!

Scarlett on her first day of school. I love this picture!
She's 60 pounds of Awesome!
This is my beautiful, talented and incredibly bright niece, Scarlett.

Why am I posting a photo of my niece on my blog about dieting?

Yesterday, when I was to my brother (Scarlett's dad) about diets and fitness, my latest milestone came up and he told me that Scarlett just had a check up and weighed in at exactly 60 lbs.

So I have shed the equivalent of a small person - namely Scarlett - from my body!

It made my day to have something tangible to look at in relation to what I've accomplished so far!!

I have to say, I love my brother for many reasons - but he really made me glow with what he told me yesterday!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Photo Update - 60 Pounds GONE!!

Left: My Starting Weight.       Center: 45 lbs. lighter.       Right: Taken today, 60 lbs. down!!

The scales at home are showing a new, smaller number today, so I am officially celebrating reaching the 60 lb. mark!  I told myself when I reached the big 6-0, I'd do another photo update.

Initially, you might not see much difference between the 45 lb. photo and the one I took this morning, until I tell you that the t-shirts I am wearing are the exact same style, brand and size.  I bought them on the same day.  The only difference between the two shirts is the color.  Look how snug the shirt was in the middle photo and check out the fit in today's photo!

There was a reception at work last weekend and people were finally commenting on my new shape.  Instead of perceiving a change and thinking it was a flattering outfit or my makeup, people are finally seeing the actual change.  I had to drop close to 60 lbs. for anyone to really notice - which is a testament to how huge I really was. 

Yesterday as I was walking across the galleries, one of the center's volunteers asked me about my knees.  She noticed I wasn't limping anymore and that I was walking without any trouble.  As a matter of fact, I was practically sprinting across the building to deliver a message.  She asked me what I did to cure my knees and I told her I took 60 lbs. worth of stress off them.  Her eyebrows shot up in amazement. I think she expected me to tell her about a knee surgery or pain pill I was taking.

I just can't get over how much my life has changed in the past 14 weeks.  I've gone from sedentary to active, from depressed to happy, from crippled to dancing, from just getting through the day to greeting each day with enthusiasm  .... I am a calorie burning machine!!

I still have a long way to go and several layers of fat to shed but I'm up and ready for the challenge!  I haven't felt this good since I was 19! 

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself that there's something special or unusual about me or that you could never do what I am doing, think again.  Anyone - ANYONE - can claim a healthier lifestyle or change their life for the better.  As I've said before the difference between success and stagnation is mindset.  To change your life, all you have to do is change the way you think.  The rest just falls into place.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Week 14, 229 lbs.

This week shows better progress than last week - three pounds down and a single pound away from the 60 lb. mark!

My size is changing dramatically so I am trying not to pay too much attention to the numbers on the scale right now.   And it's not just my shape that's changing ...  my activity level is crazy!!

On Sunday alone I cleaned several rooms in the house, biked 10 miles, took some time to leash train the dog, weeded part of the garden and did 20 minutes of an exercise video.... all before noon.   I just couldn't sit still.... to the point where my husband wanted to check the Ideal Protein foods in the pantry for illegal substances.  Anyone who knew me well in the past knows that this behavior is completely out of character.  What I was able to accomplish in one day this weekend would take me at least a week when I was heavier.

The combination of improved health and the cooler temperatures have me invigorated.  I have always loved the fall months and this year, I am spending more time out in the weather, savoring as much of it as I can.  I don't want to miss a moment of this beautiful, magical season.

I feel so good:  Happy, healthy and alive.   It feels good to be living life - instead of watching it pass me by.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inspiration from an Unexpected Place

Last night my husband called me into the living room to view a clip on Yahoo's "News of the Weird."  I had no idea what to expect but was pleasantly surprised to discover a source of inspiration on my husband's monitor - and I am puzzled as to why Yahoo would call this a weird story.

Here's a link to the video (the newscaster is annoying, but it's worth it to suffer through his antics to get to the story):

To summarize, a year and a half ago, a 400 lb. woman, Jeanette Colantonio, was stopped by a police officer for not wearing her seatbelt.  She was too big for her car's seat belt and receiving the ticket was the spark that ignited her determination to change her life.... and her size!  
Later, I read this interview and was impressed with what Mrs. Colantonio had to say about her own journey.  Here are the highlights:

 "...the battle is more mental than physical. If I had not decided that I could do this, I would not have done it. I am constantly conditioning my mind for success. I view and read success stories, I read a lot of health and fitness materials, and I continue to share my journey through my weight loss page. I believe it is vital to envision your success and to believe that it is achievable. If you believe that you can, you can. If you believe that you can’t, you are absolutely right."

"It is absolutely okay to change one unhealthy habit at a time. Sometimes when we go all in, we become overwhelmed.  Go at your own pace and remember doing something is better than doing absolutely nothing. Last but not least, bodies were made to move!! So get MOVING!!!"

Amen!  The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - so GET MOVING!!  Take a step!

We all have our battles in life to fight.  My battle was with food and alcohol - but the biggest fight was within my own head.  Your mindset is what makes or breaks you.  Whether you want to live a healthier life or find a new job, you won't get anywhere unless you change the way you see yourself.

Mrs. Colantonio never mentions what diet she's on but outlines some of what she's doing and it sounds like a different diet than Ideal Protein.  This only proves the point I am trying to make:  Whatever path you choose to reach your destination is the right one but you won't get there until you work on the way you look at yourself and your own abilities.

If Jeanette Colantonio had only felt defeated and hopeless when she received that traffic ticket, I wouldn't be talking about her today.  I can totally identify with the seatbelt issue - there was a time in my life when seatbelts wouldn't reach around me, either.  It's a degrading, painful realization when you discover you've gotten too big for seatbelts. 

I congratulate this woman on her strength and on her willingness to take a negative situation and turn it into a defining moment that changed her life.  What a victory!! I am also thankful that she shared her story for the folks out here who are looking for an inspirational boost!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 13, 232 lbs.

All things considered, two pounds is amazing progress.  I didn't loose any ground and the change in the scale's reading was in the right direction.

My husband's mother and sister came to visit this weekend and the house guest situation presented some challenges with my diet.

Before the company arrived I was having a great week, diet-wise:  I got into a pair of pants I wasn't able to squeeze into two weeks ago.  For the first time in a while I was shocked when I glimpsed myself in a full length mirror because my dimensions have changed dramatically.... again! 

I was sure before the weekend hit that I was going to have a five pound loss this week. 

Then the relatives arrived. We had a great visit and I enjoyed getting to know my husband's family better.  It was a wonderful weekend.

However, with eating out and playing hostess it was all but impossible to stick to the diet.  I had two days plagued with deviations from the diet that I couldn't avoid.  We took the family to the touristy-fun restaurants and, of course, many of those places didn't serve diet-friendly items.  I applied the food knowledge I've gained since starting Ideal Protein to pick the "skinniest" items on the menu.  There were also some treats offered that I didn't feel I could diplomatically turn down. All in all I am proud of myself for sticking as closely as I could to plan in spite of the difficulties.

Now that the company has departed and our lives are back to their normal rhythm, I am back 100% on Ideal Protein and moving towards a slimmer, healthier me! 

It did make me feel wonderful when my in-laws said nice things about the way I look now.  And I could have walked on air when my husband expressed how proud he was of me and gave me moral support/encouragement after the weekend was over.

This week, it is my intention to stay on track with no deviations, ride my bike, drink tons of water and reach for the maxium five pound loss!  I know I can do it!!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 12, 234 lbs.

Now that's more like it!!

With a good, old-fashioned scale that uses sliding weights, we're back on track.  I'm now officially down 54 lbs. ... and it's only taken 3 months!

This week my husband said he has trouble telling if I am still in bed when he wakes in the morning because I "don't make as big a hill" in the bed and he hasn't heard me snoring lately.

When I was heavier my snoring had gotten so bad that I was even waking myself up and I wasn't sleeping very well to begin with!  Insomnia, aching joints, problems breathing, and general discomfort kept me from getting the rest I needed.

I've been getting a better night's sleep lately and am waking up feeling rested. Today I actually slept until the alarm. I can't remember the last time that happened. 

My husband and me at a Renaissance Faire
shortly after we started dating.  I was 35 back then.
I am happier and feel better at 44!

Another observation my husband made was about my activity level.  He's noticed that I am having a hard time sitting still in the evenings.  Fifty-four pounds ago I was a zombie when I'd get home from work and did very little on the weekends. In the old days chores would be put off for another day and now they're getting done. 

I can tell my husband is proud of me and he's liking the changes he's seeing in my shape, too.  I can't express how wonderful I feel knowing how much happier we've both become as I've grown healthier.

My husband never complained about my house keeping, my growing size or the things I promised that I was never able to deliver. I think in some ways he was afraid of saying anything because he wasn't sure how I would react.  Let's face it, he had a wife who was morbidly obese, lazy, drank too much and had hormone issues - if I were in his shoes I'm not sure how I'd handle the situation.  Knowing that he stuck with me and loved me through the ugly years and married me when I was at my peak weight (probably over 300 lbs.) makes me appreciate and love him more than ever.

Today we're living in a nicer environment.  I am in the process of reclaiming our home and undoing the damage that six years of neglect have caused.  There are still a couple of rooms in the house that need work, but the rooms that have been reclaimed are staying clean, dusted and looking good.  In a way I see my home as a reflection of my health - as I get better, so does my house!!

This morning as I was getting ready for my weigh-in I realized that I am either right at the size I was when Larry and I met or maybe a little smaller.  This is the woman he met and fell in love with nine years ago - just wait 'til he gets a load of me when I am at the end of this journey!!

The Labor Day weekend approaches.  This weekend I will either be driving to the Texas Coast for a family gathering or hosting my mother-in-law and sister-in-law at my home.  Either way, I will be seeing people who haven't seen me since I began this diet.  I can't wait to visit with loved ones and be able to fully enjoy their company instead of feeling tired or self conscious about my size.

If I end up at the beach, I'll be running and playing with the children. This is the first time in ages I feel young and joyful.  I feel alive for the first time in too many years and have the energy to keep up with the little ones!  I even found an old swimming suit that's in good shape (it was hardly worn) and fits again!!

Because of the holiday weekend, my check-in post will be on Tuesday evening instead of during the day on Monday. 

Have a beautiful week,


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rocking the medical exam!

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal;
nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude
.  -Thomas Jefferson

As mentioned in a previous post, I had a doctor’s visit this week to assess a condition that has caused some concern.  The problem was attributed to my excessive weight so I was hoping that the progress I’ve made in shrinking my size and eating healthier diet have helped the situation.

The first glimmer of hope came when the nurse took my vitals.  After weighing me she looked at my chart and said, “Wow.  You’ve lost some weight!”  (At my last appointment in July I was 32 lbs. heavier than I am today!)  She also took my blood pressure and noted that the reading is in the healthy range rather than the “borderline high” reading I had last month.

During the exam, my doctor took a look at my insides with her equipment and said the condition that had her worried was clearing up and body functions will be back to normal operation in no time.

A capture from my application
video for a regional weight loss
reality program.  This was what
I looked like in April of this year.
Since I was in my 20s I have been overweight.  Up until the past year and a half I was never really concerned about the damage the excess pounds were doing to my body.  I was heavy and didn’t like being heavy but I was never that motivated to do anything about it because I felt I was fairly healthy in spite of my weight.

I don’t think I was being completely honest with myself.  Looking back at the previous years, I realize I could have accomplished so much more with my life if I had been feeling better and feeding my body healthy foods instead of junk.  Like they say, hind sight is 20/20.

It took an interruption of my body functions and crippling pain in my knees to get my attention, make me look at my out of control weight for what it was and do something about it.
A photo I took of myself this week.
I am still learning how to use my
cell phone's camera.

My growing weight was a slow form of suicide, fueled by a low self esteem and apathy.  Thank God I woke up and put that way of living (or dying) firmly in the past!  Each day I grow healthier, stronger, happier, and prouder of myself.  I am discovering how to appreciate myself and be grateful for the life I have been given and the people I am blessed to have in my life.

I had no idea how bad I was feeling until I started feeling THIS GOOD!  Now that I know how much better life is – and can be from here on out – I am facing the 100 or so extra pounds left on my frame with renewed vigor.  Nothing can stop me or turn me back to the old way of living.

That adage about old dogs and new tricks is a fallacy. You can change your life.  All it takes is a change of mind.  I'm living proof!

In other news, I am riding the bike to work again and it feels wonderful!  It’s amazing how much easier the task has become with 51 fewer pounds to carry around!  The cooler morning temps have me looking forward to the cooler commutes this fall – maybe I’ll even start going on longer rides!