Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Week 54, 164 lbs (29% body fat!)

Hallelujah!!  My body fat percentage is in the 20s!! 

Yesterday, at weigh-in, my coach and I talked about FINALLY ending Phase I and transitioning into Phase II (which only lasts two weeks).

I wanted to get my body fat ratio down to about 27-25% and I'm close to being there.  I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and feel pretty happy with the size I'm at now and the cute clothes I have hanging in the closet.

I also would like to do some more intensive bike riding and exercising and can't do that while I am in this super-restrictive phase of Ideal Protein.  So after talking it over with my diet coach, I've decided that if my body fat shows a significant drop next week, I am moving to Phase II and will start moving the body more!!

As I exercise more, my body fat ratio should continue to shrink .... we'll see what happens!

I'm so excited I can barely stand it!!!

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week 53, 164 lbs.

A picture taken of me at this weekend's
reception in my new summer dress.
That "glow" is from sweating like a
racehorse under the track lights!
The past week was grueling. The air conditioning at the art center died a dramatic death - so dramatic that fire engines came to the rescue!

All of the art and people in the center were fine.  The thick, noxious smoke in the basement was due to a freon leak and didn't spread to the galleries upstairs.

Unfortunately, the HVAC system at the center is proving to be difficult to fix and as a result I've been working in an office with little ventilation and summer temperatures climbing outside.  My office gets so warm during the day - or should I say blazing hot - climbing close to 90 degrees in the afternoon!

We ended the week with artists' reception - the lack of air conditioning, blazing track lights and press of bodies made for a sticky, humid event!  Somehow I made it through the reception without melting.

I keep thinking about how I would have fared this week if I hadn't dropped the 124 lbs. over the past year.  Last year, any temp. above 75 degrees had me complaining about the heat and sweating.  This year I am more tolerant of the climbing temps.  75 feels cool and I don't get REALLY uncomfortable until things climb to the upper 80s (even then, I can tolerate the heat with strategically-placed box fans to keep the air moving.)

As I swelter in my office, I am so thankful that I took charge of my out-of-control weight and did something about it.  While the heat is oppressive and makes a long day at work a lot longer, I can only imagine how much more I'd be suffering with 124 extra pounds to carry around!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week 52, 167!

Well, it's official!  This week is my one year anniversary on the Ideal Protein program.

In spite of the family reunion and a stay at my mother-in-law's house that involved lots of "illegal" foods and very few leafy green veggies, my fat ratio dropped significantly during vacation. (Avoiding carbs and taking a lot of vigorous walks during the family visits helped me maintain my weight and get rid of some fat!)

Over the past year I've dropped 121 lbs.,  86 of those pounds were solid fat!  My fat ratio has dropped from 48% (at risk) to 30% (acceptable).  My jeans size has dropped from a tight 24W to a loose size 12!

I had my measurements taken yesterday at weigh-in and found out that I have lost a total of 100.75 inches from my body.  My waist has shrunk from 48 to 32 inches!  My thighs went from 38 to 22 inches!  (This is a weird observation, but my waist is now smaller than my thighs were when I started Ideal Protein!)

As the summer temperatures climb I notice that I have a new-found tolerance for heat.  In the past if the temps went above 78, I was sweaty, out of breath and irritable.  This weekend I worked comfortably and happily in the garden with temps approaching 90!  My female cycle, which was seriously out of whack, has regulated and my knees operate without pain!  I feel and look younger than I have in years.  (One of the cousins at the reunion said I look like a teenager and a close family friend told me that I look better than I did when I was a teen!  How about that?)

It has been an amazing year of self discovery and triumphs! I still stare at recent photos of myself because I can't believe that's me in the photo!! 

The body goes through some crazy changes when it drops a lot of weight and even though I've addressed some of those changes in earlier blogs, I am going to mention two of them here because I've been getting a lot of questions about them lately.

Hair:  During the first few months of this diet I was finding an alarming amount of hair in my hairbrush and shower drain.  It seemed like my hair was coming out in clumps and I started to freak out about it a bit.  My hair was thinning out at an amazing rate.

If this happens to you, don't freak like I did.  The hair will come back (and in my case a lot healthier looking and less grey than before.)  The initial hair loss has to do with hormone levels and your changing size.  Once your hormone levels balance out to suit your new size, you'll stop losing hair and it will grow back.

Skin:  As you drop sizes there will be some bagging, but it does improve over time.  During the first few months I was alarmed by the way my face looked when I bent over the makeup mirror in the mornings.  The skin on my upper arms was really loose, too!   I find that the bagging seems to go in cycles.  My weight will shift and all of a sudden things start hanging loose, then over time the bagging will shrink up, or it has in my case.

I think it all depends on the elasticity of your skin.  My stomach, thighs, upper arms and neck have all had me worried at one point or another.  The skin on my neck and arms have firmed up a lot and are still improving.  My stomach and thighs are pretty baggy right now, but I think both areas will improve.  I've been doing a lot of reading and more than one source says that my skin will continue to adjust to my new size for as long as a year after I am done dieting.  I'm hoping that the bagging on my stomach and thighs (the biggest parts of my body back when I was obese) will eventually shrink up or improve.  We'll see.  Oh, and surprisingly, my breasts didn't deflate or flatten while I they were getting smaller!

Two things that I think helped me keep from getting too baggy was my fluid intake (I drink a ton of water during the day) and moderate exercise.  The gentle bike rides to and from work, occasional walks and gardening have kept the body moving.  Because phase one of Ideal Protein is so restrictive, you are discouraged from doing any strenuous exercise (activities that get you breathing heavy) so I haven't been doing aerobics or marathons, but a good bike ride or brisk walk keeps me flexible, works the muscles and probably encourages my skin to stay springy.

I have never been one who enjoyed exercising in the past (I was a confirmed couch potato), but I am finding that my body craves movement now that I am doing it regularly the way it used to crave chocolate!  Weird, huh?  I actually had bike withdrawls during vacation!!

I wish you tons of success in your own journey and wish I could spread the joy in my own heart to yours .... everyone should feel this good!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Almost a year!

A trail in Arkansas I hiked on while on vacation last week.  The last time I visited
this trail, I was on a four wheeler and that exhausted me!  This time, I traveled
using girl power and if it hadn't started storming, I would have gone for miles!
In ten days, on June 14, I will have been on Ideal Protein for a full year!

When I started this program I thought I'd be off the diet by now and I would have been if it hadn't been for some boundary-pushing and deviations during my journey.

While it is taking me longer than I anticipated to reach my goal, I can't complain.  I feel so good and life has changed (I HAVE CHANGED!) so much for the better, that I really don't have anything to gripe about. I appreciate, so much, how far I've come.  I take responsibility for the times I got in my own way and realize that there's no right or wrong in the process. It's my journey, my own path to take and I'm responsible for the progress I make.

This past week I visited my mother-in-law in Marshall, Texas and then stepped over the Texas-Arkansas border for a family reunion. It was wonderful to see everyone and yes, lots of people commented on the way I looked.  I have been heavy for so many years that some folks didn't even recognize me at first, including the cousin who made fat jokes at my expense year after year.  My cousin has grown ancient since the last time I saw him and the years have robbed him of so much that I don't think he even knew who I was (and I didn't clue him in).  For the first time in my life I was able to look at him with empathy in my heart and realize that the nasty comments he made towards me, and so many other relatives, were just the way he related to people. He never knew how to talk to others in a loving, caring way.  How sad to live to be so old and never learn how to relate to family in a way that doesn't hurt or piss them off ... and to have old age rob you of the opportunity to make amends or find a new way to relate to the world!

Another cousin told me I looked like a movie star, which made my day!

The biggest change in the family reunion experience is how open I allowed myself to be.  In the past I kept a low profile and stayed in the background or hung out with the relatives I already enjoyed close relationships with and didn't go out of my way to get to know others very well.  I stuck to the folks I was comfortable with and kept myself to myself. 

This time around, I won't say I traveled outside of my comfort zone, because there was never a time when I was uncomfortable.  I just hung out and talked to whoever happened to be in front of me.  As a result, I was able to talk genealogy with a cousin from a younger generation that I didn't know very well and had a blast getting to know her.  She also taught me a crazy card game that was a lot of fun!  I also took a long walk with a favorite cousin I hadn't seen in a couple of years and had a chance to catch up with her (A long walk would have been unheard of in the past.)

Below on the left is a picture of what I looked like the last time most of my relatives at the reunion saw me.  The picture on the right was taken of me a couple of weeks ago while I was at the Scarborough Renaissance Faire.  The photo on the right blows me away - I can't believe that's ME!  (Thanks to Paul at Photography on the Run for taking such an awesome photo!)

Changing your life isn't hard.  It's changing your mind about what you're capable of achieving that's hard. If I hadn't had the faith in myself and faith in the One who walks beside me every day of my life, I don't think I would have gotten very far. Once you get your mind in the right place you can work miracles! 

Spending the past year of my life on a diet has been one of the most powerful, empowering experiences of my life.  It has been a year of learning about myself, getting to know who I really am and iI have had so much fun along the way! I wouldn't trade this past year for anything!  It has ALL been worth my time - because *I* am worth the effort and the time it took to get me here.  So are you!

Due to my vacation schedule, my next weigh in will be on Monday.  I will write more then!