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!