Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Last Blog Post

Gratuitous Selfie
Something funny has happened!

The wonderful people at Wilson Family Chiropractic have offered me a job!  I'm going to help administer the Ideal Protein Diet at their center!

I've felt the calling recently to be a more active source of inspiration and encouragement to others who are looking to transform their life and feel like Wilson is the place I need to be!

I am so excited about this new opportunity and getting started on this new phase of my life!

This is probably the last post on my weight loss blog, but if you stumbled across this blog in an attempt to learn more about the Ideal Protein Diet or how a 300+ lb., 46 year old woman can reclaim a healthy body, click here to go to the first post on this blog and browse around.  

While my weight has fluctuated over the year since I dropped the initial 120 lbs., I've kept most of the weight from coming back on my body.

I am still a size 12.  I am more active than I've been in years (The 200 mile bike tour I just finished was AWESOME) and the depression, self esteem issues and sense of hopelessness are all a thing of the past.

I want to help other "lost causes" feel this good so in two weeks I will be doing just that as my vocation!

Good luck to you in your own journey!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Come See My New Blog!!

I'm in full-on biker chick mode now... time to stop dieting and live life on two wheels for a while!

My tour of the Natchez Trace and other parts of Mississippi begins Saturday.  I will be posting photos and from the tour while I am on the road at my cycling blog, Spokes and the Spirit:


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Week 12, nothing to report... yet

Moving, houseguests, home improvements, and training for the bike tour have interrupted my normal weigh-in schedule! My next weigh in is the coming Monday. The scale at home says I'm doing great... we shall see.... More early next week... I'll be unveiling my new blog, too!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Week 10, 35% body fat (down a small percentage), one pound up! ( ALL MUSCLE!!)

A photo my friend Susi took of me after our rainy-day
bike ride on Saturday before work!  I got MUDDY!!
 In exactly one month I'll be leaving on my bike tour!  Only one month to go!!  That means I'm jumping into more intense training so I'll be ready to bike the long miles in Mississippi!!  I can't wait.

I can't explain how much I need - NEED - this trip!  After being a care giver to a very sick husband (who is FINALLY getting back to his old, wonderful self), moving into a new house and dealing with several busy months at work, I am so ready to get away and do something JUST FOR ME!

Throughout most of my life I've checked everyone else's schedules to make sure it was a good time to go, picked a destination close to relatives, or did something someone else wanted to do when I took time off.

In my 20s and early 30s, I never even took the time for vacation, putting my 9 to 5 job above my own needs. I occasionally took a long weekend to go visit a friend in another town or attend a renaissance faire, but I never took a full week off just to go do something fun, away from home - take a "real" vacation.  Even now, I have rarely taken a full week off of work because everyone is so "dependent on me" and I didn't want to inconvenience anyone with my absence. (Trust me, nobody is THAT important in the work place!)

And the funny thing about all this is that throughout my entire life I've dreamt of travelling to other countries!  I even have a passport I've never used!  I always put the needs and wishes of others above my own. Even funnier is that the people in my life (most of them, anyway) didn't put those restrictions on me - I did it to myself!

I am not getting any younger.  What the heck am I waiting for?

Signing up for a bike tour in another state that will keep me away from work for more than a week is completely out of character for me.  Going completely by myself is something new, too.  This trip is a right of passage for me, a symbol of the different way I'm looking at myself.

I am worth the time and expense of a real, honest to God vacation that *I* want to take!

The needs of the people around me are still important.  I still enjoy taking a fun trip with my husband and when he's back to feeling more like himself, we'll be going on adventures together.  But I am going to make darn sure from this day forward that our trips are more fun and less obligated to stopping off and visiting family and friends (unless that's what we want to do!)

But right now, at this moment in my life I need to be on my own.  "Alone time" and "privacy" are two things I don't have much of in my day to day life.  And for the last several months I've been in crisis mode, my life has completely belonged to others.   My husband needed me, and I was happy to be there for him.  I saw caring for him as a very real expression of my love for him, it was an honor to help him and be there for him. 

I also had to deal with a lot of other crazy stuff during that time from people in my life who were trying to help but ended up creating a lot of irritation and stress in the process. (Don't EVER tell someone how they should feel when they're facing a crisis and when someone says "no" when you offer help, don't bully them into changing their answer, they said no for a reason.)

I think the universe knew I would need this "me time" away from everything when I signed up for the bicycle tour a few weeks before my husband's cancer diagnosis.  Throughout the treatments and illness, I kept wondering if I should cancel the trip but something kept me from doing it.  Now that my husband is getting back to normal and able to do things on his own again, I know that there's no better time than now to get away and decompress.  This trip is exactly the balm my soul needs.

As for the weight, I'm still in the 35% body fat range, but it has dropped a few decimal points (I've been rounding the percentage to the closest number).  My weight went up, which tells me all the training I've been doing is building muscle.  Everything is headed in the right direction!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Week 9, 35% body fat, 3 pounds down.

There's not much to report this week.  It was a cold week, so I didn't get much bike training done.

I didn't get to commute to work via bicycle much, either.

My body is craving movement!

So in spite of the 30-something degree temperatures this morning, I biked to work!

Hopefully the weather men were right when they said it will be warmer this afternoon, because I plan on going for a 10 mile ride after work.

I have just a little more than a month to go before I leave on my bicycle tour!!  I can't wait!  I am getting so excited about going on this adventure, I can't even begin to express everything I am feeling.

The deepest feeling I have is gratitude. I am grateful for my improved health, my husband's improved health, a body in motion, and so much more.  It's this gratefulness that keeps me going through these grey winter days.

More next week!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Week 8, 35% body fat! No weight loss.

 This has been a wild week!

Let me start with the best news I have to share:  My husband and I met with his radiation encologists yesterday and received the wonderful news that he's 100% cancer free!!  Hooray!

And even though I was due at weigh-in later in the day, after we got the all clear from the doctors we went out for a celebratory lunch, on the San Antonio River Walk and treated ourselves to a margarita each!

In spite of the Mexican Food I ate at lunch and the margarita I drank, my fat ratio is down another full percentage point!!  I believe I am fully capable of reaching 31% by the time I leave for the cycling tour on April 10th.

I have been cycling like crazy!  The weather has warmed up and with the cancer battle behind us, I can now focus on training for the trip.  This past weekend I cycled a total of 52 miles - 22 miles on Saturday and 30 miles on Sunday.

My hair dresser has asked me to "strut my stuff" in an ad campaign he's running for his salon.  I've shown some of the photos that came from my modeling session on some of my previous blogs but the final ad is shown above!  I can't believe how much my life has changed in the past couple of years.

Two years ago:
I weighed close to or over 300 lbs. (I had sworn off scales)

I had horrible problems with my female cycles
I was sedentary, spending hours upon hours in front of the TV
I hid from the world, avoiding social interactions as much as possible
I rarely left the house
I was unhappy, I did not like myself or value who I was

Two years ago I decided to change my mind about who I was and what I was capable of achieving. All I did was open my mind and be receptive to making one simple change in my life.

The simple change I made at that time was that I bought a bike and started cycling the one and a half miles to work instead of driving. I think it was this one simple change that saved my life because after I made myself open to the possibility of being only slightly more active, other little changes started happening.... almost without any serious effort on my part.

In what seemed like no time at all I was using my bike as my main mode of transportation around town, had decided to try Ideal Protein to get rid of my excess weight and one day I woke up and realized I had dropped over 100 pounds and bore no resemblance to the woman I was two years ago, physically or mentally!

All it takes to start a blaze is a spark.  A journey starts with a single step.  If you are unhappy with something in your life, whether it's your size, your health or your job, you don't have to make a grand gesture or huge effort to make that change.  All it takes is an open mind, a willingness  to make a change and then take that first step.  Just make a gentle shift in your behavior or lifestyle (and stick with it).  The rest will fall into place!

You are stronger, more powerful, more capable than you ever imagined!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Week 7: Body Fat 36%, Two pounds down!

McCullough Ranch Road - Where I rode 22 miles on Sunday.

The fat ratio is back on the way down, I'm wearing form-fitting clothes again (including my "skinny" jeans from last summer) and I'm feeling really, really good!

I've started intensive training for the bicycle tour in April.  This past Sunday I rode my bike for 22.58 miles over some really hilly terrain.  I fell once due to the new clipless pedals, but overall I was really happy with the ride.

The extra activity caused some balancing issues with the diet.  I'm exercising more than the base protocol calls for and my lean mass was decreasing as a result.  I was also eating a lot of off-program foods (on top of the dinner I talked about in an earlier post) to make up for the calories my body was craving.  All this slowed down my progress.

The diet has been tweaked - I am eating a protein before and after the big rides - and I'm dropping weight again!  My goal is to have my fat ratio down below 30% when I leave for the bike tour.

Tonight I plan to go on a 30 minute bike ride, on top of my regular commute to work.  I need to do these little rides in the evening to get my hiney "saddle ready" and build up my endurance so I am able to cycle every mile of the coming tour.  I don't want to be that girl who didn't plan properly that ends up spending most of the tour in the support vehicle!  I've been dreaming of doing a tour like this since I was 12 and I don't want to miss out on a thing!

A woman pulled me aside this week and told me she tried Ideal Protein but had to give up.  She said she's a compulsive over eater, attends Overeaters Anonymous and just couldn't make the diet work.  My heart went out to her and I surprised her with my answer.

I told her that I have a history of eating disorders, including bulemia and compulsive eating.  I told her that I had also been involved with OA in the past.  Her eyes got wide and she asked me how I was able to stay on the diet.

I told her that I changed my mind about myself and my abilities.  I decided my soul was more powerful than my compulsive eating and that I was worth the hard work to overcome my overeating.

I told her that the biggest, most important thing I did was decide to love and accept myself, just as I was in my 300+ lb. frame, and the rest fell into place.  Her eyes grew wide, as if she never considered that kind of thinking before.

As Wayne Dyer often says, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."

I changed who I thought I was, how I saw myself and the changes started happening, almost by themselves.

My experience with eating issues is that I was using eating to anesthetize myself to the pain I was feeling about things that happened in my past.  I could not allow past hurts, a low self esteem and the eating habits that manifested as a result to control my life.

I am more capable, more powerful - STRONGER - than my past.  It is vital that the past remains in the past and that I live in the moment as much as possible. I put the unnecessary mental baggage I was carrying around in the closet, like a box full of forgotten photographs, and moved on  with my life.

It is my firm belief that anyone can do this, including you!  If a sedentary, 40-something woman who weighed over 300 lbs. can transform herself into an active, trim, vibrant cyclist, NOBODY is a lost cause. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine's Message to You from Me!

Life is a beautiful gift!  Enjoy it with a sense of incandescent amazement and gratitude!
Make a vow today to be your own Valentine and do something loving for yourself!
You are a beautiful, divine child of God!  Appreciate who you are and let your light shine!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Week 6, 37% Body Fat!! Crap!!

I'm ready for my close-up!
Yes.  I know. The body fat ratio is up!  An hour before weigh-in I was at a 98 year old's birthday party with a bunch of women over the age of 70, all of whom were in a party mood. (I want to grow up to be that lively at that age!)

The 98 year old woman who was having the birthday was the closest thing to a grandmother I have and is one of the dearest people in the world to me.  She's one of my role models, so I allowed myself to take a break from the diet for this meal and embrace the celebration whole-heartedly.  (Who wants to be a wet-blanket dieter at those kind of occasions?)

While I ate a salad, I did enjoy a couple of glasses of white wine to toast a woman I admire.

So, of course, an hour after the meal my numbers on the scale would be all messed up!  I'm thinking I'll see a lot more improvement next week, especially since I am fitting into my skinny jeans again!

Some crazy things are happening in my life.  For one, the salon that does my hair asked me to model my new hairdo as part of an ad campaign they're doing in the local papers.  I have never - NEVER - been very comfortable in front of the camera, so the experience took me outside of my comfort zone (which is good for me).  After a few awkward shots, I finally relaxed and had fun with the session.  I can't wait to see how the ads turn out!

For a girl who was the class nerd in elementary and junior high and someone who spent too many years in an obese body, these little experiences have me re-defining the words I use to describe myself.  For too long I saw myself as inconsequential and invisible, someone who didn't have much to give to the world.  Over the past couple of years I've worked hard to see my own value and see myself as a strong, capable woman.  I started on this journey to gain better health and inspire others to get out there and make positive changes in their own lives.

Another word I used to describe myself was "ugly."  This is a word I used on myself from the time I was in first grade.  I look back at old photos of myself and realize I wasn't an ugly kid, but back then you couldn't have told me any different. As I grew older I saw my ugliness as something I had to live with.  Some people have handicaps, mine was ugliness.  As long as I held the word "ugly" next to my identity, it kept me from being who I was destined to be.  I settled for less in life because I refused to recognize my own beauty, my divinity, my worth.

When I started calling myself a "beautiful child of God" a year and a half ago, it changed my life.  Those words ignited a spark in my soul that has changed my life a thousand fold and what was once a spark is now a all-out bonfire.  I feel better about myself, I live a better life and enjoy better relationships with those around me.  Now that I see my own beauty and worth, I appreciate the worth and divinity of those around me.  Like the Bible says, "Love thy neighbor as thy self."  You have to have a love for yourself before you can open your heart to others.

Experiences like the photo shoot only help enforce the new way I see myself. 

You and I, dear reader, are gorgeous, amazing creations!  Embrace who you are! Love and appreciate yourself as you are right now!  Miracles will happen!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Week 5, 36% body fat (monthly visitor)

Gratuitous Selfie with new phone
Sorry for the late posting!  It has been the week from you-know-where!

I'm just going to share a short post I placed on my FaceBook page this week instead of blogging, because I think it's a good message and bears repeating:

For the past seven years I have been working closely with a group of men and women whose average age is around 85.

Up until recently, many of these "elderly" volunteers were in better shape than me.  Two women who are particularly inspiring, aged 81 and 83 respectively, get up every morning and either walk two miles or attend water aerobics.

Both women are adamant that it is the exercise that keeps them younger than their years.

This morning on my bike ride into work I realized that I am in better shape now, in my 40s, than I was in my 20s.  I look better, too!

As much as we hate to hear it when we're stuck in a sedentary lifestyle, it's exercise that's going to keep us young and active into our later years.  That, a positive attitude and a healthy diet will keep my body going long enough to achieve my dream of being the town eccentric - the little old lady on a bike!

Have an empowering day!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Week 4, 36% Body Fat (6 lbs. down!)

A cake made by my friend Misty Beard for last year's Chocolate
Fantasy - coming in just over a week!  Funny thing, I don't crave
chocolate any more - something I once thought impossible.
So, I'm down six pounds and my body fat percentage has gone down a full point!  Cause to celebrate!

Another cause to celebrate: I am coming to terms with clipless pedals!  I did a small ride around my neighborhood yesterday evening without a single fall!

Over the past year and a half I've come a long way.  I've learned that most of my limitations exist in my head. 

Who would have thought that a 300 lb. woman (I am pretty sure I weighed well over 300 at one point in my life) in her 40s would start biking to work, go on a diet, conquer obesity and then start training for a six-day bicycle tour?  I was the last one to think all of that was possible ... until I changed the way I thought about myself.

Too often I hear women say unkind things about their bodies, or that they're too old to make a real change in their lives.  So many of us give up too easily on ourselves, not recognizing the power we each hold within our souls.

Put your fears about finances, what others might think, your physical abilities, or whatever it is that's keeping you from your dreams aside. Stop using the words "can't" and "impossible" and take a single step in the direction you want to go.

At the beginning of my journey all I did was buy a cheap bike and started riding it the mile and a half to work. In a couple of months, without even thinking about it, I lost my first 25 lbs.

I left my mind open to new possibilities and after that, things just started falling into place.  A generous friend gave me a nicer bike because she didn't need it anymore and I started riding longer distances.  A relative drug me (kicking and screaming) to a local chiropractic clinic where I heard a woman who was once close to my size talk about Ideal Protein and I started to believe I could lose weight, too!  After I lost over 100 lbs. I started thinking about what I could achieve with this new body and started to revisit my childhood dream of going on long-distance journeys on a bicycle!

On a whim I bought a copy of Prevention Magazine, not realizing there was an article about bicycling and touring companies in the issue.  In that magazine I learned about Woman Tours, a company that supports all woman bicycle tours all over the US and in Europe.  I could go on an on about the coincidences, the money that just came available or the anonymous gifts that dropped into my lap that helped me achieve my dreams.  I truly believe that my small spark of belief ignited and drew these miracles into my life like moths to a flame.

You can lose weight, go on a European cruise, find a wonderful job, whatever you want to do ... all you have to do is take a small step of faith, believe in your own power and love yourself.

My life is far from perfect.  I am a constant work in progress, but I can tell you my life is so much richer, brighter, happier than it was seven years ago when I was experiencing my own dark night of the soul.  I know from experience that you don't have to stay in that pit of dispair or hopelessness.  The power lies within each of us and a single step in the right direction can change the rest of your life.

God bless you in your own journey!    

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 3, 37% Body Fat

"Clipless" Pedal and Shoe for Bike.  Photo from
This set-up is similar to what I have on my bike.
This has been a week of challenges, both physical and mental.

In preparation for my bicycle tour of the Natchez Trace and other parts of Mississippi, I'm slowly getting new gear and equipment installed on my bike (and biking wardrobe).

The latest additions to my bike are "clipless" pedals.  Up until now I've been using flat pedals and canvas tennis shoes on my bike trips. 

Every serious cyclist I know has suggested I invest in clipless pedals to help make me a more powerful/efficient cyclist, especially if I plan to do a lot of long-distance biking. According to one friend,  "clipless pedals are the best shortcut to becoming a better cyclist."  So this week I invested in new pedals and bike shoes for the bike.  The shoes have a cleat on the sole that snap into the pedal, firmly attaching your foot to the pedal.

As a result, I'm having to learn how to ride a bike all over again.  You see, with clipless pedals you can't simply dismount from the bike when you need to stop.  You have to plan ahead, unclip your feet (which takes a twist of the foot) and get your foot free before you can stop the bike.

I installed the pedals on the bike this week and hopped on, and immediately crashed, HARD onto pavement and continued to fall several times (but I did move off pavement and onto grass so the falls didn't hurt so much).

My husband was there to witness my first few attempts with the new pedals, and he was getting more vocal every time I crashed, threatening to take the pedals back off the bike.  After several more falls I moved the show to the back yard and asked my husband not to watch the process.  I finally resorted to clipping in with only one foot and practiced clipping in and out with that one foot..... and still fell a couple of times.

At the end of the day both the bike and I were covered with chain oil, grass stains and scrapes.  I haven't fallen this much since I first learned to ride a bike when I was six or seven!  And let me tell you, I don't bounce back from injuries like I did forty years ago!!

After limping back into the house, battered from my first experience with the pedals, I indulged in a couple glasses of wine, which is not allowed on the diet. I also got extremely hungry on one day (before the new pedals were installed) when I took a 15 mile bike ride and ended up adding several extra IP snacks to what I ate that day.  The extra calories consumed were close enough to the weigh in day that nothing changed from last week in the numbers. They're exactly the same (but my jeans are fitting looser)!
Dieting is not so easy the second time around, for some reason it's easier to go "off plan."  I haven't done enough soul searching to figure out why I am having such a hard time with this, when it was so easy and straight-forward before.  To add to that challenge I am also having to  prepare high-caloric foods for my husband to help him gain strength and body mass back after the damage chemotherapy and radiation did to his body.  It's so freaking hard not to taste those foods when I'm cooking them!!

In both my eating and cycling endeavors, I refuse to give up.  I'm covered in bruises and ache all over my body and I am not dropping weight as quickly as I did before - but I can do this.  I know in my heart I am destined to be a fit, long-distance biker.  Both a fit body and taking long trips on my bike are things I've dreamt of for years and both goals are completely in my reach and are within my ability to achieve.

Sometimes I have to take a few lumps, or learn humility (I'm not the uber dieter I thought I was) along the way, but this is all part of the process.  I have to be willing to fall every once in a while in order to grow and learn from my experience.  Change is never easy.

The bruises will be worth it if I come out of this a better cyclist ... and doing without the extra calories or resisting the temptation of a favorite snack will be worth it when my body fat ratio is down to 25-28%.  And as I've said before, I am totally worth the effort!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Week 2, 37% body fat

Me, at my heaviest in 2007 
This week is a prime example of why I don't pay as much attention to the number on the scale as I do my body fat percentage.

I dropped a pound - a single pound - during the past week.  A lot of dieters get discouraged over "only losing a pound."  The folks who get discouraged get too wrapped up in the number on the scale, when there's a lot more going on than just weight.
Me today

This week I had my monthly visitor AND I did a lot of biking.  Both of those factors will have a direct impact on what the scale says.  Guess what, my weight didn't drop that much but my fat ratio did!  I actually gained muscle mass (which weighs more than fat) during the week from exercise and was retaining a bit of water because I happen to be female so the drop on the scale didn't show much of a change, but my body mass index did!

Getting back into the flow of the diet has not been as easy as I thought it would be. I had forgotten about the crazy cravings in the first two weeks and how the urge to snack will grab a ahold of you and become an obsession.  I think there's a bit of pride involved, too.

There's a part of me that says, "Oh come on!  You lost the weight.  You're still smaller than you used to be and you look good!  Rest on your laurels and live it up!"  That's my blasted ego talking... and that's the part of me that allowed me to gain 30 pounds over the past few months. This is not the voice I should be listening to.

My soul says I'm better than that, that I have a right to a healthy, fit body and that I am completely capable of achieving any goal I set for myself.

There are other voices I need to work on tuning out.  The voices of others, people who care about me.  The people who warn me that my "empty fat cells are going to be plotting against me to fill up again" and that I'll have to diet the rest of my life.  I also have to tune out the people who say I'm thin enough and I should stop dieting.

The truth is, the numbers don't lie.  I'm back in the obesity zone.  My fat ratio is much higher than it should be.  The mirror doesn't lie, either.  I see the "muffin top" above the waist of my jeans where it wasn't before and I realize I still have some work to do.

I don't want to be that girl who dropped a ton of weight, only to gain it all back.  That's the girl who whines that diets never work, that the weight just comes back.  The difference between me and "that girl" is that I'm willing to change.  Going back to the old way of eating will not only add to my weight, but it will make me old before my time.

So, I am going to hang on to my resolve to get my body back to its happy zone until these nasty early diet cravings go away (It took about two weeks the last time - I'm halfway there), achieve a 20-something % body mass, and keep my mind open enough to learn and embrace a new way of eating!  Today, I promise myself to go through all phases of this program so I have the knowledge necessary to "make it" out in the real world.  I don't think it's impossible.

I deserve a healthy, long life with a body that feels good.... and so do you!


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Week 1 (restart), 39% Body Fat

Me before and after dropping 100 lbs. After a 30 lb. gain
I am back to this place.
When I started with Ideal Protein eons ago, I weighed 288 lbs and had a 48% body fat.  It took me a little over a year to drop 120 lbs. and get my body fat down to 28%.

Back in August, my life went a bit haywire and I stopped the diet in order to focus on other things going on in my life. Unfortunately, I let stress get the better of me and I ate more high caloric foods than I should have and many nights I drank wine in the evenings to help me sleep. 

As a result I put some weight back on.  Friends look at me in surprize when I say I've put on some weight because they don't see a big change in my shape.  After all, I am still wearing the same size jeans I was wearing when I stopped dieting.

Well, let me tell you, I know what I look like under the clothes and I definitely have lost some ground.  I have a pooch on my stomach that wasn't there before and the scale shows not a 20 lb. gain that I thought I had put on, it's closer to 30!

I'm not frustrated.  One of the amazing things I learned about myself while dieting is that I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to doing.  I am not a lost cause! I've climbed a bigger mountain than this in the past and I can continue on to a firm body. It's time I got my groove back, start eating right and get back on the bike!

On Monday I started back with Ideal Protein. This time my goal is to get my body fat ratio down to somewhere around 25-27%.  From here on out I am going to focus on my body fat ratio, instead of pounds, because I think we get too hung up on the numbers we see on the scale when it's the body fat number that tells you how healthy you really are.

More next week!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cancer defeated (we think) ... time to refocus

My husband's chemotherapy and radiation treatments are over and we're focused on healing and getting him off the feeding tube and back to eating "regular" food.

The doctors are optimistic and think the treatments beat the cancer, but we won't know for sure until a fresh round of scans are taken in February.

Now that the holiday madness is in the past, I'm taking stock and taking a good hard look at the last few months.

I am still fitting into a size 12 jean, but it's a tight squeeze.  My favorite pair of "skinny jeans" are in the closet, too tight to wear.  I stepped on the scale to see I've put on about 25 lbs. since August.

I can't say I'm completely happy about how I did once I was off the program, but I'm not discouraged, either.  After initial success on a diet, many people are too willing to throw in the towel when the weight starts creeping back up. They say, "See!  Those fad diets never work!  You only gain the weight back after you're done!"

I am not defeated.  I know what caused the weight gain and I take full responsibility for what happened. I know I can easily get back to where I was before my husband received his diagnosis.

Sitting for hours on end in waiting rooms and sticking close to home in case I was needed made me more sedentary than I wanted to be.  I didn't get to go on regular bike rides but now that my husband is feeling better and he doesn't have daily medical treatments, I can get back on the bike and start riding regularly (Besides, I have a bicycle tour in April that I need to start training for!)

The sedentary lifestyle along with the the foods I ate over the past few months are what started packing the pounds back onto my frame.  I ate what was convenient - or comforting - instead of what my body really needed.

So am I going to wring my hands in frustration?  Give up?  Beat myself up for making bad choices?

The answer is a resounding NO!

I was able to reduce my weight by 120+ lbs. not that long ago.  25 lbs. is nothing!  I know how to get this weight off and it won't take me long to do it!  I LOVED the way I felt and looked 25 lbs. lighter and love myself enough to do what's best for me.  To be completely honest, I think I need to get a little bit beyond where I was before.  So I'm guessing I need to reduce about 40 lbs. total.

Not only that, but I didn't get beyond Phase II of Ideal Protein when I was on it before.  It's time to finish the program and make it all the way to Phase IV! I think Phase IV is the phase where you learn how to cope with the world post-diet, and I could have used those tools over the past few months.

This morning I called the center where I was on Ideal Protein and scheduled an appointment to weigh in on Monday.  My weekly blog posts will resume on Monday, too!

Starting this week, I am back to commuting to work via bicycle (more than I drive) and begin a serious training routine for my bicycle tour of Mississippi.  I've got to be up for 30-50 mile daily bike rides by April!

So I start this year about where I was this time last year, weight-wise, and with just as much faith in myself and determination as I had before.