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!