Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week 47, 171 lbs.

Hooray!  The weight is back on its way down!  I'm down two pounds since my weigh in last Wednesday, making a grand total of 117 lbs. dropped!!  I have a good friend who weighs 118 lbs. and when I look at her,  I am shocked to realize that I've removed the equivalent of a full-grown (skinny) woman from my body.

My fat ratio is still higher than it should be and the acne on my forehead is another blazing reminder of what a weekend food free-for-all will do to my body.  Lesson learned!  I think it will take me a while to completely recover from the unhealthy food fest! 

Considering the number of times I've fudged a bit and have been able to recover fairly quickly, I think it's good that I'm having to work harder this time around to undo the damage.  It is really sinking in how important it is for me to learn a new way of eating instead of returning to the old habits once I am off this diet.

I was at the grocery store yesterday after weigh in and saw two people who haven't seen me since last summer.  One was a former volunteer of the center who I worked with closely and he did not recognize me at all!!  The other lady, a woman I've known since high school, also didn't recognize me and never did figure out who I was, even after I addressed her by name.   I feel like I'm pulling a practical joke on people. 

Because of my success with Ideal Protein, many people in my family and circle of friends have also tried the diet (or other programs) to improve their quality of life and it makes me feel good to know I've been an inspiration to people I care about.

No matter who you are and what your current circumstances are, you have within you the ability to change your life.  We all do! Believe in yourself, in your own power and miracles can happen!  You are worth the effort!

Don't think about a diet as a form of torture or a deprivation that's keeping you from enjoying life.  Think of it as a tool, or a job you have to complete.  It is a means to an end and an opportunity to improve your life.  See yourself as worth the effort.

And when you do deviate from the task at hand, don't beat yourself up.  The past cannot be undone but you can get right back on the program and recover lost ground fairly easily. I think this mindset is what has made the difference from previous attempts at weight reduction and this time. 

I may have been off diet last weekend - it was a conscious choice I made and I learned some valuable lessons as a result. I learned that while vigorous exercise does help to undo the effects caused by excessive, unhealthy eating - there are still consequences I have to face.

Today I am a successful dieter who is stronger and wiser from the lessons I learned.  When I decide to treat myself in the future to something fatty or sugary, I need to limit the amount I consume.  Instead of eating a huge hamburger with all the fixings, including bacon and cheese with a pasta salad on the side and following it up with smores and a few glasses of wine, I need to select ONE of those treats and pick something healthier to go along with it. 

I also need to keep the "treats" to one meal, every once in a while, instead of three solid days of eating whatever appeals to me.  And to be honest, some of the stuff I chose to eat wasn't as good as I remember it being.  Somewhere along the way my palate has changed!  I would have been just as happy eating a salad loaded with fresh produce as I was eating that hamburger. I'm really starting to fall in love with veggies!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Calvin Klein is a jerk!!

Note to people with shrinking bodies:  When you go to a big sale at a department store and you're excited by your new size, do not try on Calvin Klein pants!  Those things run at least two sizes smaller than most brands!

I nearly had a heart attack when I tried those things on! Even the legs were tight! It looked like I was wearing tights with pockets!  Every pair of size 12 Calvins I had in the fitting room were obsenely tight!!

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I tried on another pair of size 12s in a different brand.  They fit muuuuch better.

Anyway, I just thought I'd share.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Week 46, 173 lbs.

A funny photo of me from the family camp out, eating a smore and drinking wine!I should have
stopped with that one indulgence!  It has been YEARS since I've been able to
wear that sweatshirt - and it's never been big on me before!!

 Three days of unrestricted, fat-laden eating and alcohol consumption this past weekend at the family campout not only put pounds on my frame (I was able to take a few off before weigh-in), it also bumped my fat ratio up an entire percentage point!  Even though I spent a lot of time exercising to "balance" out the indulgences - the food free-for-all left its mark on me and I have to face the facts. 

If I want to keep the beautiful new shape I discovered hiding under layers of fat, I can never, ever go back to my old way of eating.  You think I would have learned that by now, but I'm one of those people who have to test boundaries a few times before reality sinks in.

Not only did my weight and fat ratio increase, my skin looks like crap.  I have broken out in little pimples all along my forehead and jaw line.  I have fought acne most of my life and one of the first things people commented on when I went on this diet was how nice my skin looked.

Clean eating cleared up my life-long acne problem!  And there are a lot of health issues I don't want to revisit in the future.... so its time I got real, stopped playing with boundaries to see what I can get away with and focus on finishing phase one of Ideal Protein. Seriously, I've been in the 170s long enough!

I am not going to beat myself up over one weekend's worth of indulgence.  This is a learning experience and I didn't lose that much ground.  The experience did prove to me how important my food choices are going to be for the rest of my life ... and how important it is to keep my body moving.  Just think how much ground I would have lost if I hadn't gone on those mega bike rides and the hike!!

So today I am back on track, and the scale at home already shows a smaller number than it did yesterday. 

And maybe this is a petty motivator, but next month I'll be attending an event where I will be crossing paths with a former friend of mine and I want to look as good as possible.

In the past I used to have a number of friends I referred to as "Divas."  They were self-centered women who kept me around because I was good for their egos.  As long as they had me, a clumsy, obese sidekick with a low self-esteem, they felt good about themselves.  For a long time I attracted this type of friendship, often cast in the role of "pretty girl's fat friend."

This one friend in particular often said unkind things about the way I looked and ran me down  every chance she got in the name of friendship.  If I showed up in a new outfit I was proud of, she took on a tone of severe disapproval and ruthlessly pointed out the flaws in my body and why I shouldn't wear that outfit.  The weird thing about this friend's criticism is that she outweighed me by at least 50 lbs!!

She felt it was her duty to be "brutally honest" with me in order to help me improve myself.  She also played all kinds of mind games with me and our mutual friends and as a result I ended up in some bizarre situations that brought a lot of unwelcome drama into my life.

She was the last in a long line of Diva (yes, with a capital D) friends, and probably the worst of the lot.  One day about two years ago (when I really started working on my own self image) I realized that I was not very smart in allowing her to create the chaos in my life and how truly bad for me her friendship was. So the next time she started playing games with me,  I stood up to her, told her I would always care about her, wished her well and still considered her a friend, but that I was not going to allow her to use or insult me anymore.  I talked to her in a loving but firm tone, hoping (for some crazy reason) that we could maintain some kind of friendship but on different terms.
She ended our friendship, cutting off all contact on that day.

Even though I am on this diet solely for myself and not to look good for anyone else, it is going to be extremely gratifying to look this woman in the eye, say hello to her, and watch her face when she realizes who I am.  People who haven't seen me in just a few months aren't recognizing me....  a person who hasn't seen me in years and who never valued me in the first place is definitely not going to recognize me.

I guess I will find out if living well really is the best revenge.  I'm not sure why it's important to me to face her, I guess it's some kind of closure.  And once I am done saying hello to my former friend, I can return to having fun with the friends who have loved me regardless of my size or self-esteem issues and never dwell on her again.

Who knows!  Maybe my transformation will inspire her to get healthy, too!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Conquering the wild frontier

My bike on the trail to the river!
The bluebonnets were in bloom!
I don't have a weight to report.... yet.  Due to some upheavals in my schedule, my weigh-in is scheduled for 4 pm tomorrow.  I will post when I get home tomorrow evening.

This past weekend was the annual family campout and I had a lot of fun.  I was completely off plan during the weekend, but tried to stick (mostly) to low carb foods, limited my sugar and balanced the indulgences with lots of exercise.  We'll see how my strategy worked out.

This year's campout was a big improvement over last year.  I was able to play with the kids, cook and clean up after several meals, hike the trails and go on some looooong, hilly bike rides. After all that activity I still had energy to spare!  I felt good and happy most of the time.  The stuff that made me mad last year happened again this year and instead of flying into a red-hot fury, I felt minor annoyance and was eventually able to shrug it off.

Every once in a while I'd marvel at how much my life has changed since last year's campout.  I can't get over how good I feel - physcially and mentally.  At one point during the campout my mom looked at me and said, "I can't get over how much you've changed!  You don't even look like the same person!"

I smiled and said, "Well, I'm not the same person!"

The biggest achievement of the weekend was conquering the humongous hill on the road leading to the campground on my bike.  It's a steep incline that runs about a quarter mile and I was able to climb the hill not once, but several times, without having to stop and walk the bike!!

I've come a long, long way.... but there's still a ways to go.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Week 45, 172 lbs.

Okay, this is weird.  My fat ratio went way down but I went up a pound.  I will admit I wasn't 100% on plan this week, so I know I would have shown more progress if I had stuck to the program.  

The really weird thing is what I am eating when I am off plan.  I am mostly "cheating" with vegetables!  There were a few other items I ate that were off plan, but towards the end of the week I was making a huge salad with kale, mushrooms and pine nuts and eating it after I got home from work.  Talk about a shift in behavior!  In the old days I would have downed an entire bag of chips when I got home from a long day in the office!

I think the extra eating might explain part of why my weight didn't move in the downward direction but my fat ratio did!  I think I am also retaining water, because my water reading was high when my body mass index was taken.

I also ate/drank some items that had a high sugar content early in the week.  Along with touching off some major cravings, I actually FELT the sugar in my veins! It wasn't a good feeling, either.  I felt like my body was filled with sludge. This was a totally new experience.  The sensation underlines how serious I need to be about limiting my sugar intake, especially when it comes to highly processed foods.  My body chemistry doesn't work well with the stuff.

Enough with the what-the-heck happeneds.  I need to get things back in focus. To help me see the importance of staying on track, here are some celebrations:

I have my balance back! Yesterday morning I was in the shower and instead of propping my foot up on the side of the tub to scrub the sole, I stood firmly on one foot and brought the other up closer to my body to wash it!!  When I realized that not only was I easily standing on one foot, perfectly balanced and doing it unconsciously, I was shocked!  Then I also realized that I was doing some kind of yoga-type pose that would have been unthinkable several months ago!!

The annual family campout is this weekend.  Last year I was in so much pain that it kept me from participating in all the activities I wanted to be a part of.  I was also pretty cranky towards the end of the weekend, which I think can be attributed to both my old mind set and the misery I felt in my old body.  This year I face the family campout in a pain-free body with a happier brain and I'm ready to play hard!

This week I found an old bathing suit in the back of a drawer.  I bought the thing about 10 years ago without trying it on.  I just guessed at my size, and in my typical state of denial I picked a suit that was several sizes too small. So I tried it on, surprised that the elastic was still good.  If you ever want to give yourself a good laugh, try on a bathing suit that's way too big for you.  The fit was okay on the top but the bottom half drooped, sagged and looked so bizarre I crumbled in hysterical laughter!  Guess I'll be swimming in cutoffs this weekend!

When I lose my focus, I need to remind myself of each little celebration and how wonderful I feel today compared to how I felt a year ago.  I also need to remember that each deviation from the diet delays me from getting to where I want to be and this diet isn't cheap!  I'm wasting both my time and money when I go off program. I am more powerful than my cravings and I deserve the healthiest body possible.  I'm worth the effort!

I am approaching this week with renewed determination.  I am proud of myself for achieving a smaller fat ratio, but know I could have gone a lot father without the deviations.  I do have a planned deviation for the campout at the end of the week, but if I stay on plan the rest of the time, use my head when I am eating off plan and balance the non-diet foods I consume at camp with good old fashioned exercise, I'll be showing a much smaller number on the scale next week!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Week 44, 171 lbs.

It has been a long, stressful week and I think the stress shows in the numbers.  Everything stayed put!  So, to help me keep focused and remind myself how far I've come, here's a picture that was taken of me last July, soon after I started the diet (on a day when both my knees were hurting so bad I could barely walk):

And here's a picture taken of me this weekend:

I was dressed up for an awards reception at work on Saturday and got a lot of compliments on how I looked (which never used to happen).  I felt really good, too!  The best part of the day was that I never thought about my knees because they didn't hurt.  (The shoes were a bit tight, though!)

Something I've noticed in a lot of the testimonials put out by the men and women who are successful with Ideal Protein are the number of folks who express amazement at not being in pain anymore.  No more aching backs, hips, knees, feet, etc.

The first thought I had was that all of these people, like me, aren't carrying around a huge weight burden anymore and of course they're in less pain.  But something else occurred to me, too:  We're eating cleaner than we've eaten in the past.

Because I am towards the end of this diet, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how I am going to eat after I go back to the real world.  I've been reading books like Kris Carr's "Crazy Sexy Kitchen,"  Julie Morris' "Super Food Kitchen" and blogs like The Stone Soup.  I am learning how unhealthy my diet has been in the past and feel convicted to make some serious changes in my diet and lifestyle.

Highly processed foods, sugar, excess alchohol and lots of trans and saturated fats actually contributed to inflammation in my body and were putting me on the path to greater health issues. 

While I don't see myself becoming vegan or vegetarian, I've decided that it's time to get serious about how I will be eating in the future.  I don't think it's going to be very different from how I am eating while on Ideal Protein.  When I eat meat, it will probably be no more than once a day and in much smaller portions than what I ate in the past (5-8 oz.). Breads and highly processed foods will either be extremely limited or eliminated completely from what I eat.  Let's face it, those highly processed foods may taste pretty good, but they're loaded with additives like MSG and loads sugar that do a lot of damage to your health.

My diet is going to be more plant-based, focused on nutrient rich foods from now on and it surprises me how enthusiastic I am about making these changes and how much I am enjoying learning about eating more plants and the cool stuff they can do for your body!   

I can't ignore how good I feel right now, in this moment.  Both my body and mood are lighter.  I feel younger (and look younger) than I have in two decades!  I enjoy living life in my own skin and it's not just about the weight loss.  It's all those veggies I'm eating and the junk I'm not eating anymore that's making a huge difference in the way I feel.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Week 43, 171 lbs.

Size 24 to Size 12 in less than a year!
117 lbs. gone!
Size 12, baby!!

Yesterday on a whim I picked up a pair of size 12 jeans in a store and wondered, "What if?"

I took them into the dressing room, zipped them up and they fit!!  For the first time since high school I am wearing a size 12 comfortably!

At weigh-in my body fat percentage was 30%, well inside the "acceptable" range.  At that time, Crystal, one of my diet coaches, and I talked about how much further I need to go.

I'd like to get my fat ratio a little lower - more towards the "fitness" end of the acceptable range - and see if I can trim a few more inches off of my belly.  My stomach was the first place I started to gain weight when I was younger and it seems to be the most stubborn area when it comes to losing inches.

After visiting with Crystal I've decided to stay on Phase I for a couple more weeks, get my fat ratio down a couple more points and see what happens.  Before starting Ideal Protein, I thought my stopping point should be 145 lbs or a size 12.  Well, I've made it to size 12 but I weigh a lot more than I did the last time I wore this size.  Since learning about body fat ratios and what's healthy and what isn't, my mind is changing when it comes to what my "ideal" weight should be.

I feel great!  Every day is a celebration of living life! I feel so empowered achieving something I
Two 56-pound bags of potting soil
once thought was impossible. 

The latest celebration happened this weekend. I was working in my garden, marveling at how well my knees and back felt after a full day hauling pots of dirt around and hoeing up weeds.  Last year I was in so much pain I considered giving up one of my favorite passtimes because it was just too difficult to bend and stoop over the plants.

I was filling pots with garden soil and realized that the two 56 pound bags of soil I was working with, added together, weigh just a couple of pounds less than what I have been able to shed off my body.

It was a shock to pick up those bags (one at a time because I couldn't lift them both by myself) and realize that those two bags of heavy dirt symbolize what I used to carry around with me every day for years! 

No wonder there are some firm muscles showing up as the fat melts away and my joints don't bother me when I'm gardening - I was carrying around a serious weight burden!!

I hope y'all had your own celebrations this week!