Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 8, 247 lbs.

A picture I took of myself to put on
my FaceBook profile.  In the past I've
avoided putting up a current photo of
myself on FB, but I am finally recognizing
myself again and ready to face the world.
41 Pounds!
Let me say that again.
I lost SIX pounds this week!  I am still stunned each week at how fast the weight is falling off!

Not only that but I have now reached the 240s and am eligible to give myself another reward!  I'm thinking it's going to be another mani/pedi. I've been having a lot of fun keeping my nails painted and looking nice.

This week a friend I hadn't seen in a few months stopped by my office and as we were talking she kept looking at me funny.  Finally she said, "I'm sorry, I keep trying to figure out what's different.  Have you had work done?"

I told her I was down 40 pounds (at that time I only suspected that I'd hit the big 4-0!)  That led to a discussion about Ideal Protein and what the program involved.  She has recently gained a lot of weight, is frustrated that it came on so quickly and thought she might try it, too.

As I explained the program, it was funny to watch her reaction.  She could see the changes in me and that the diet was doing wonders (I've been obese as long as she's known me) and while she was supportive of my own efforts, she was really indignant about the structure of the diet.  She didn't like the idea of drinking lots of water and the 2 cups of veggies with the noon and evening meals. 

"Yuck! Salads!" she said.  I tried to tell her there was more to eat than leafy greens but by then she had already shut down.  Even though she knows she should be drinking more water (we've discussed it several times before) she says she "hates" water and refuses to find a way to keep hydrated.

She also didn't like the idea of giving up her favorite treats and came up with several other reasons to down the program. Finally, I said to her that I didn't think the diet would work for her, that even though she wants to loose the weight, she's not in the right frame of mind to go on a routine like mine.  If she doesn't want to drink water, eat veggies or change any of her habits, then she'd better embrace those pounds she's gained and get used to carrying them around.  I think she was surprised at my response to her.

I am not going to listen to someone trash a diet that I know is working miracles for me, especially when that person doesn't know the first thing about the program, nor is willing to listen to any in-depth explanations.  While I know my friend wants to loose her excess weight and that she would benefit greatly from the program, she hasn't gotten to the point where she's willing to give up the habits that have added pounds to her frame.  It's not up to me to change her mind.  That's her job.

So, fast-forward to today:  The diet counselors I am working with at the center, Caroline and Crystal,  are both people I have known for a good portion of my life. I consider them friends and their support has been amazing over the last 8 weeks.  It took both of them to lift a 40 lb. vest onto my shoulders so I could feel the heft of the weight I've lost so far.  When they put that vest on me I couldn't  believe how heavy it was.

40 lbs. is huge!  I'm surprised my knees worked at all when I was at my peak weight!  When I felt the reality of that weight back on my body, I can understand why this early into the program I already feel so much better.  I am walking with less pain, I have so much more energy and I have an all-around sense of well-being.

I truly believe in letting myself grow obese, I was playing with fire.  Diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure run in my family.  My father died at a young age from a stroke.  With that kind of genetic history, paired with some recent health issues and knowing how bad I was feeling 41 lbs. ago,  I know Ideal Protein is saving my life.

As I stated at the beginning of this journey, I joined Ideal Protein for nobody else but myself.  What others think or feel about the program is their issue, not mine.  My results speak for themselves.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Memories of Me

Me before the diet

Me Today - See the difference?
Today I got up from a chair in my office and walked across the galleries without limping!  The knee was stiff but the pain that usually accompanies my getting up after a long sit wasn't there.  The idea that I will soon be walking with a normal gait instead of hobbling around like an 85 year old keeps me motivated.

As a matter of fact, there are a lot of 80-90 year olds that I've met through my job who get around a lot better than I do!  I will never forget the time I had to unplug a lamp from under a table in the center's entryway and a 95 year old man (YES, I said 95) offered to help me.  Before I could even get down on the floor (which usually takes some major manuvers on my part - and getting up is pretty labor intensive, too) he had squatted under the table and jumped back up with the plug.  You could have picked my jaw up off the floor.

When I think of how much of my life I've spent in an overweight body and how much better I feel after losing the first 35 lbs.  I realize how much of life I've missed out on. 

  • The times I told friends I couldn't go out and have fun because I "didn't feel well"
  • The hundreds of days and weekends I wasted vegging out in front of the TV or sleeping in instead of doing something fun or creative
  • The times I told a niece, nephew or another child in my life that I couldn't play with them because I was too tired (or hurting)
  • The chores and projects that were left undone
  • The friendships I let slip away because they were just too much work to maintain
All that and more because I was too tired, in too much pain, too self conscious about my weight or whatever to LIVE LIFE.  I've been in hibernation, operating through a sugar and weight induced fog. 

I got to thinking about what kind of memories the young ones in my family will have of me in later years.  Will they remember me as someone who left a mark on their life and influenced them in a positive way, or will I be that embarrassing, fat aunt who always overindulged at the family gatherings who would eventually pass out and start snoring loudly in an easy chair?  

A photo my sister in law, Jenni, took of me and my nephew
at the family campout.  I spent a lot of time sitting and
resting the knees.  By the way, all the clothes I was wearing
that day are too big for me now.
Back in April I organized a campout for my family.  My mom, brothers, sisters-in-law, their children and my husband were all part of the gathering.  I had grand plans to play with the nieces and nephews, hike and bike with the family, and just play hard with the ones I love.  While I was able to do a few things and had fun, my aching knees and worn out body held me back . 

I remember standing at the top of a flight of stone steps, trying to work up enough gumption to bend my knees, just to get down the hill.  I was so embarrassed at how out of shape and handicapped I was. 

I think that moment was the final straw that got me to thinking about changing my life and what eventually led me to this diet. 

Losing this weight is doing more than changing my body.  The improved health is transforming my life as well. I am looking forward to my next 44 years on this planet as a productive, vital woman who has energy to spare!

This morning I got up at 4, like I normally do.  Up until yesterday, I would spend the early hours lounging in the recliner, watching TV, cup of coffee in hand, snoozing, until it was time to get ready for work.  Today and yesterday I got up, drank my coffee and then cleaned a couple of rooms in the house. 

Anyone who knows me knows that behavior is totally out of the norm.  Even I'm surprised that I got up and got working before the sun was up!  

The world is opening up for me.  I feel great and get better with each passing day.  I am loving life again and am planning to lead a well-lived life from here on out. 

The lyrics of a Dolly Parton tune, Better Get to Livin', are running through my head, and I think they're appropriate to end this post:

Your life's a wreck, your house is mess
And your wardrobe way outdated
All your plans just keep on falling through
Overweight and under paid, under appreciated
I'm no guru, but I'll tell you This I know is true.
You better get to livin', givin'
A little more thought about bein'
A little more willin' to make a better way
Don't sweat the small stuff
Keep your chin up Just hang tough
And if it gets too rough
Fall on your knees and pray And do that everyday
Then you'll get to livin'.
The day we're born we start to die
Don't waste one minute of this life
Get to livin'
Share your dreams and share your laughter
Make some points for the great hereafter.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 7, 253 lbs.

The weight keeps falling off!  Another 5 pounds are gone, bringing me to a total loss of 35 lbs!!

When I started the program I had a body fat ratio of 47.67%.  Today my body fat ratio is 44%.   ( 24% is considered fit.)  People are finally noticing the changes.  Most of the clothes in my closet are too big.  The pants I bought two weeks ago are loose, even though I purposely bought them too small.  My right knee continues to improve and I am hoping within the next week or two the pain will be a thing of the past.  (I did climb a flight of stairs this week without being aware of my knees!)  I feel so good, energetic and am still stunned every time I step on the scale.

Even though I did loose 5 lbs this week, I have to be honest about something I'm not too proud of:  I cheated.  I did a favor for someone and they thanked me by giving me a big plate of locally made petit fours (small square cakes).  At first I did the right thing and put the treats in the breakroom at work so other people would eat them, but later in the day I had to pass by the kitchen and there were several beautiful cakes left. I ate two.  The inner defiant child rose up and said, "Those were given to ME!  I should be able to enjoy them!"  As we all know, temper tantrums only hurt the person who throws them.

I was so mad at myself for eating those tiny treats after all these weeks of hard work. Why torpedo myself now, after I've come so far?  For a while I was able to rationalize and tell myself that they were small treats.  They couldn't do THAT MUCH damage, right?  Well, the truth was in the numbers this week.  I lost more lean mass that fat mass this week, meaning the body was consuming muscle mass instead of fat to create energy.  That little bit of sugar was enough to cause my pancreas to wake up and start storing fat on the body again! 

Come to think of it, the day I ate the sugar I was exhausted after work and took a long nap the minute I got home.

Those little cakes were not worth it.  I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would, they didn't make me feel any better and the two days worth of guilt and frustration are something I don't want to revisit. 

So I am back on track.  Today is a new day and as of 5:06 pm, I have stayed true to the program and to myself.  Once again, I am a successful dieter!

By the way, I did give myself my 30 lb. reward.  Not only did I get a pedicure, I got a manicure and had my eyebrows waxed, too!  Except for having my eyebrows yanked out, it was bliss!  With my shrinking body and painted nails, I feel like a building undergoing renovations!

I have to start thinking about my next reward.... at this rate I'll reach the 40 lb. mark by next week!!  (Especially if I stay away from the sweets!)


Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 6, 258 lbs.

When I stepped off the scale this afternoon, I actually gave a hearty "Wahoo!" - I realized that not only had I dropped six pounds this week, but I've lost a total of 30 lbs. in six short weeks!! 

30 lbs!!!!  It's still sinking in.  I've lost the weight equivalent of a small child!  This is the most I've lost on any diet.

The capri pants that were too tight for me when I started this blog are now falling off me and today is probably the last day I'll be able to wear them without suspenders.  I have a friend who lost a great deal of weight several years ago and she suggested that I keep an item of clothing in my closet from when I was my beginning weight so that when I reach my goal I can see how far I've come.  The capri pants are the pants I'm hanging on to.

I feel so much better than I did six weeks ago.  One knee has stopped hurting and the other feels better, but still gives me fits.  It's easier to bike up hills and I have so much more energy than I used to have. 

I've also fallen in love with vegetables, especially roasted cauliflower and broccoli. I am also enjoying discovering vegetables like bok choy, that I never had tried before. I know that when I reach my goal and am off the diet, my eating habits are going to be very different than they were before I started Ideal Protein.  A whole new world is opening up for me.

I was in the grocery store this afternoon and eyed the snack aisle briefly.  In the old days, there was nothing I loved more than a salty, greasy bag of chips.  I could eat an entire full-size bag in one sitting - by myself.  I  really don't crave them anymore. 

From here on out, I plan to reward myself at 10 pound milestones.  The clinic where I weigh in gave me a certificate for a 30 minute massage after I lost my first 20 lbs.  I haven't redeemed that certificate yet - I'm saving it for mid-August when I get past this incredibly hectic and busy month at work.  The certificate got me to thinking about how I should celebrate my progress.

So at this 30 pound mark, I've decided to find a salon that does pedicures and treat myself to some pampering.  Now that I can see my feet better, I realize it's beyond time to do something about them..... really, they're a nightmare.

I wonder how far along I'll be in another six weeks?  Stay tuned!! (I feel like I can accomplish almost anything today.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

There was a photo of me in the paper this week...

....and I didn't flinch when I saw it!! 

My picture ends up in the paper a couple of times a year.  I am the manager for a local art center, serve on the Historical Commission and am an officer for the local downtown business association.  As a result, I am quoted or photographed in regards to various events and I usually am horrified by the results.

This week I have been busy coordinating a huge exhibit in the Art Center for the Kerr County Historical Commission (which is why you haven't heard much from me this week).  Reporters from the local paper came out to interview me and the two gentlemen who helped me put the exhibit together.  As we were answering the reporter's questions, a photographer was busily snapping candid photos and this is the result:

It is not a flattering angle.  I wasn't posed or ready to have my photo taken.  Frankly, I would have "sucked in" and stood up straighter if I knew this shot was being taken.  Even considering all that, I didn't mind seeing this picture on the front page of the Lifestyle Section this week.  The photo shows that I haven't been kidding myself.  I really DO have a waistline again, my stomach is smaller and the 24 lbs I've lost have made a difference in the way I look!

Today something happened that made my day.  One of the center's volunteers called to say she had seen my picture in the paper and said that both she and another volunteer noticed I had lost some weight.  The funny thing is that the other volunteer is an elderly woman who has said unkind things about my weight in the past. (Not directly to me, usually through the gossip chain or where she thought I was just out of ear shot.)

When one of your biggest weight critics takes notice of the change and has a compliment to go along with the notice, rejoice in the moment.  That's what I chose to do, anyway.  I try not to take the barbs from the center's volunteers too personally.  A lot of these ladies have adopted me as a surrogate daughter or grand daughter and I know their earlier comments about my weight was coming from a place of concern about my health.

That was the first time someone said, "You're loosing weight" instead of asking "Are you loosing weight?"  Most of the comments I have been getting are about how good my skin looks or that they like what I am doing with my hair (which hasn't been cut in way too long) so I know people are seeing a change, but they don't know exactly what it is.

Tomorrow is the reception day for the history exhibit.  I need to study the closet and see if there's something extremely flattering and fun to wear.

Now, if only I could figure out what to do with all these chocolate bars people are giving me all of a sudden!  I need to get them out of my desk.... I have will power and have been strong so far, but a large size gourmet chocolate bar would test anyone's resolve!! 

None of the people who have given me the chocolate know I am on a diet and I didn't have the heart to tell them. But it figures that the month you start a strict diet is the same month that folks decide you need to be showered in chocolate!!

Have a wonderful day,

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Week 5, 264 lbs.

Three more down!

It has been a big, busy week, so I weighed in a day later than usual.  

Remember the Capri pants I mentioned in an earlier blog?  They're now hanging loose on my frame!   

You know how when you move a big piece of furniture that's stood forever in a certain place and for days afterward your eyes keep going to the spot where it used to be, because it looks like something's missing?  I'm having a similar experience when I look down at my thinner wrists and thighs.  

Every day brings a new miracle! People are noticing the change in my shape.  I have better mobility, tons more energy and I just feel happy.  Oh, and for the first time in I don't know how long, I have a waistline again!  (The pot belly is still there, but is a shadow of its former self.)

This afternoon, when I went to weigh in, I saw a woman who talked at the informational seminar before I started this diet.  She has been on the diet and her top weight was what I weigh now, but she was several inches shorter than me.  Her "before" photos reminded me of myself.  Today (about 18 months after she started) she's a trim size 12 and looks fantastic.

Today I thanked her for talking to the group.  I told her that listening to her talk was what gave me hope when I came to learn about the diet.  It's the first time in my life I felt that it was possible for someone like me to get back to a healthy shape.

I was reminded the time I tried another diet program.  I'll never forget how discouraged I was during one of their pep talks.  A woman got up to address the group.  She was trim, beautiful and looked great.  She talked about how hard she worked and how long she dieted to get to where she was.  Finally, it came out that she had lost 28 lbs.

28 lbs. is great!  I am not belittling what the woman was able to accomplish, but while I was sitting there I couldn't help but think to myself:  "She's been working almost a year to loose 28 lbs. and I have over 100 to get rid of.  I'll be on this diet forever at that rate!"

The night after I went to the Ideal Protein seminar, I went online to research the program and I am amazed at how many morbidly obese women, like myself - many who outweighed me by several pounds - have shed huge amounts of weight relatively quickly.  

Peggy Stratton, who's blog is posted in the sidebar on this page, has been a huge motivator and inspiration in keeping me going.  Seeing how far she's come and how much she's changed inside and out is empowering and I feel so blessed that I stumbled across her blog as I was beginning my own journey.

Anyone with the determination to reclaim their life and their health can do it!  A couple of nights recently, I've had dreams of eating something fattening but when I awake I am not experiencing cravings or tempted to cheat.  When I told my husband about the dreams I've been having about sneaking food or cheating on the diet, he laughed and said he had similar dreams about cigarettes when he quit smoking.  I guess my brain is working through the changes taking place in my diet.

I do miss the foods I've been dreaming about  .... but I don't miss the 24 lbs. I've lost so far, and that's enough to keep me going!

I'm hoping to loose more than 3 lbs. this week!  Right now, not many people in my life know about this blog or the diet, but as the changes in my shape become more dramatic and I drop more pounds, I will be letting more folks in on my secret.  Even so, I am surprised at the number of hits this blog gets. 

I hope that this blog will one day serve as the kind of inspiration that I received from Peggy's blog.  If I can do this, stick with it as long as I have and get these kind of results, believe me, ANYONE can.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Week 4, 267 lbs.

Well, I was hoping for a bigger loss this week, but a 3 pound loss is still progress in the right direction.

The biggest disappointment was in knowing I could have done better than I did this week.  On Thursday I grabbed a restricted item (something I am supposed to limit to once a day) and had eaten it before I realized I had already had a restricted item for breakfast that morning.  I think that deviation most likely hindered my progress.

But I can't beat up on myself for a single transgression.  I am back on track, discovering the joys of healthy eating. (Who knew I'd love roasted cauliflower as much as I do?)  Today I've stuck to the plan without deviation so that makes me a successful dieter now - and what matters is what's happening now. The thing I need to remember is that I still lost weight and 3 lbs. is nothing to be ashamed of.

My goal for next week is to beat this week's weight loss and I am positive I can do it.