Saturday, July 28, 2012

Picasso was sitting in a Paris café when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “No”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years.”

How often do we want the masterpiece NOW, and how often do we want it with no significant cost on our part?

I lost 130 pounds.  I am in the best shape of my life.  When people ask me how I did it, I tell them.  "Oh I could never do that" they say.

And I always wonder, exactly what were they expecting?

And I always know what they were expecting.  The quick fix.  The instant microwave zap-it-and-it's-done solution to health.  As if it came out of a vending machine and required zero work or time, and very little expense.

I will tell you what this journey has cost me.  This journey has cost me to give up everything that was making me sick.  And I was happy to give it up.  Was it easy?  No, it wasn't.  Changing habits of disease in to habits of health is NOT easy.  But it is simple.

Was it quick?  Well I've seen quicker.  Not because the program isn't rapid and effective, but because I was not perhaps as diligent as I could have been in executing the program.  But I committed to the journey and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So now when people ask me how I did it, I tell them "I ate 6 times a day, I drank water, and at some point along the way I started moving my body a little bit more each day."  Of course I then fill in the details, but I want to really put it in terms that indicate that ANYBODY CAN DO THIS.  And anybody can.  If they can get past the concepts and the excuses that may be holding them back, one of those being that age old cry of "but it will take so looooong!"

To that I say the time will pass, you got someplace better to be?  You got something better to do?  Yes, the time will pass!  And when it does, you will wake up one day and be where you want to be too!

Friday, July 27, 2012

We All Want the Medals....

The 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony is tonight.  This next few weeks will be an amazing display of athletic excellence and competition, it is what every athlete dreams of.

We love to ride along in that journey of the Olympic Athlete, don't we?  The performance that gets the medal, the medal ceremony, the glory and the sense of accomplishment. 

But would we have wanted to ride along in their journey for the last 15 years when their alarm clock went of at 4:00 am every day for training?  Would we have climbed out of bed with them, wiped our groggy eyes, gotten dressed in the dark, grabbed our gear bag and headed out into the cold morning to the gym or the track or the pool, ready to pound out hours and hours of routine, mundane training which no one but them and perhaps their trainer sees?  There are no accolades, no applause as they find it within themselves daily to accomplish what they need to accomplish to propel them towards their goal. 

The journey of an Olympic Athlete takes time.  Most of the time is spent doing those seemingly small things day in and day out which will further their primary goal. 

But those seemingly small, routine tasks of improvement, done daily, produce STUNNING results, as we see with every competition.

Our journey is similar.  Getting out of bed.  Eating our first Medifast Meal.  Drinking our water.  Getting enough rest.  Moving our bodies a little bit every day.  Small, mundane improvements done over time.  Produce.  Stunning.  Results.

Conversely, as we know, small, seemingly innocuous acts of neglect done over time produce tragic results.  We have all learned that.  Which is why we landed here, needing Medifast, needing the Habits of Health to teach us how to stop neglecting our bodies. 

So what will it be today?  Will you do those mundane acts of improvement today?  Or will you say "Aw, one day won't matter" and neglect your program for yet another "one day"?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Living Within My Physical Limitations

Living Within My Physical Limitations
I have physical limitations.  Namely, my body stores every extra calorie it isn't using THAT SECOND as fat.  And studies show that because I've been morbidly obese for most of my life, I will ALWAYS need around 20% fewer calories to maintain my weight than those people who have naturally maintained a healthy weight all of their lives.

So that is my physical limitation.  My body likes to be fat.  Tries to be fat.  Wants to be fat.  Works to be.....


I consider this a permanent handicap that I can either resent and be bitter about, or embrace and learn how to best function and meet all my health and life goals WITHIN the framework of my limitation.

You see, I have come to a place in my life where I am coming to peace with food.  Yep.  Peace.  With food.

It's like in Psalms 16:6
The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; Yea, I have a goodly heritage."
The way I apply this verse to my life is that my boundary lines, or the lines of my pasture, are set by God.  I have spent much of my life, my yo-yo dieting, either surpassing those boundaries (grazing in fields that aren't mine to graze in) or being envious of the grass that is on the other side of the fence while I grudgingly chomp my own grass.

Now, I realize, I am not really a sheep.  But the parallels in my own life are too hard to ignore.

My body has certain physical boundaries in terms of calorie consumtpion (type, quantity, etc, insulin resistance and the like) which, when ignored or violated, lead to consistent and virtually non-stop weight gain. 

This leads to morbid obesity every time I have tried it.

So I will eat my own grass.

Now the alternative is for me to eat my own grass and be mad about it.  To resent other people whose grass looks more tasty.  To whine constantly about it not being fair that I'm penned up in my OWN pasture.

Then I realized....

God gave me my OWN pasture.  With my OWN boundaries.  And when I am resting in my pasture with my OWN grass, and being thankful for it, yes, THANKFUL for it, I can enjoy my pasture.  And my limitations.  And live my life.  And be at peace.

So "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" has particular relevance to me in that I have lately been practicing contentment.  Contentment with the process.  Contentment with my physical limitations as regards food.  Content to know that food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food, and food is no longer my idol.  I don't have a "relationship" with it.  I don't "worship" it.  I don't plan my entire day around when I can next have the "yummies".  My church is not sitting on a couch in front of the Food Network, paying homage to.....dreaming about.....wishing I

I have food.  And I am thankful every day for that daily bread, which for me, right now, is the Medifast 5&1.

Have a great week!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Taking Time...Making Time

Taking Time....
For many of us starting out, it is a foreign concept to "take time" for ourselves.  For taking care of ourselves.  For making sure our basic needs are getting met. 

I know when I began I that stab of "I don't have TIME for this" when I had to carefully and deliberately prepare my Lean and Green.  Then I had to take time to EAT it!  Then I had to take time to refill my water bottle...and drink it!  Then I had to take time to make sure I prepared my 5 Medifast meals on time and ate them on schedule.  I had to take time to make sure I didn't run out of food. 

As I continued to lose weight, I began to enjoy taking time to do these things.  What was, at first, a massive imposition of my time (which, I came to realize, wasn't MY time, I was assigning it to everyone else and leaving myself out of the equation), became a ritual of sorts.  A nurturing opportunity for ME.  I was, at long last, taking care of myself.

Then came exercise.  At first I would say I didn't have time for it.  After all, I was already doing all this other "stuff" to take care of me....

Well, no more.  I don't HAVE time, I MAKE time.  I make time for me, putting my own oxygen mask on so that I can be some earthly good to those God has placed in my path.  My family.  My friends. 

If I'm NOT taking care of me, there will be nothing left of me to truly take care of those God has also given me to take care of.  But note this:  God gave me ME also.  He gave me the gift of my body.  And it is as important to take care of the very FIRST thing He gave me to take care of....


Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, July 6, 2012

March 2012-June 2012

"Success is created through the performance of a few small daily disciplines that stack up over time to produce achievements far beyond anything you could have ever planned for."  - Robin Sharma

These little success habits are so easy to do each day that most people don't think they'll make a difference.  And so they don't do them.

"Failure, on the other hand, is just as easy to slip into.  Failure is nothing more than the inevitable outcome of a few small acts of daily neglect performed consistently over time so that they take you past the point of no return." - Robin Sharma

Although I agree with this quote by Robin Sharma, I don't agree that there IS a point of no return...until you are dead, that is.

On the Medifast 5&1, it is easy to become discouraged when we lose sight of these facts.  Firstly, there is no cataclysmic  instantaneous "change" that happens right away.  The results take time to show up.  The body doesn't shrink overnight from a morbidly obese person to a fit and healthy person.

But it is these daily habits, repeated over time, that WILL determine our success or our failure.

So the question is what are our daily habits?  Do they include BLT's?  Do they include fudging on the numbers, skipping meals, adding things that aren't on plan, or not drinking our water?  Because these daily neglects, added up over time, will = failure as regards this plan.  Not failure as in WE are a failure, but our supposed agenda to lose weight and become healthy will have failed due to these small daily acts of neglect.

On the other hand, success will be ours if we DO those small daily incremental things that are proven to bring success on the plan. 

So how does your day look today?  Are you poised for success or for failure?  It's never too late to abandon the failure horse and get on board the success train.  All aboard!  =)
Have you made the decision to stop being a victim of your own life and your own choices?

Are you reacting to life or making it happen?

These are my questions for you today.

I made the decision some time ago that I was going to stop blaming my obesity and my eating issues on everyone other than me.

That decision changed my perspective and it changed my life.

Take a look at your excuses for going off plan.  Excuses are lies we tell ourselves to justify our inaction towards our best life.  And they are convenient, and always have an element of truth in them.  But take a look at every one of your excuses.  Are you comfortably the victim in every one of them?

If nothing changes, nothing changes.  But the first thing that may need to change is the attitude we take towards the situation that we are currently in.  Take responsibility and deal with it.  Act upon your own life, don't just re-act.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!
I bought a belt from Lucky Brand shortly after my son got his kidney transplant.  I had my eye on it for a few months, and then it went on sale so I snatched it up!  Thing is, it was tiny.  Fact is, it was a 30" belt, and the loosest notch was at 34".  But it was beautiful.  And I wanted it

I knew that someday I would wear it.

Someday is today.

The plan works.  Today I reviewed the basics of the plan and made sure that I plan my day accordingly:

5 Medifast Meals

1 weighed and measured Lean and Green with the appropriate number of healthy fats

64 oz (I drink 100) of water

Eat within the first hour of waking, and every 2-3 hours after that

Hmmmm.  That's pretty much it.  Simple.
I have noticed a phenomenon that I can only call The Irony of The Salad.

Ever notice when an overweight or obese person is at a restaurant with a group of people and orders "just" a salad with dressing on the side, everyone seems to pounce on her?

It's like people are uncomfortable with an obese person eating a salad.  It's like they assume "Oh, that person is TRYING to diet....AW-KWARD!" and then they try and try to just "get you" to "eat a little something" like a bit of dessert, or the bread, or have a drink, or something!

But then take a person who is NOT overweight or obese, and they order a salad with dressing on the side, and not a thing is said about it.  Because of COURSE the healthy-weight individual would be eating a salad.  Of COURSE they aren't depriving themselves or on a "diet", THEY are a NORMAL weight.  So, no one tries to get THEM to eat a little bread or have some dessert or "just this little bite" of a blooming onion because they "deserve" it.

No.  They are left alone.

Now, I have learned this from experience.  When we are fat, people feel SORRY for us at restaurants because we "have" to eat light and they think we OBVIOUSLY want to devour the whole table so we MUST be feeling deprived and it makes THEM feel uncomfortable.

But at a normal weight, people just assume that I am ordering exactly what I feel like eating, no more no less, and that happens to be a salad, hold the cheese and croutons (she must not like cheese or croutons), dressing on the side, and ice water please.

Heck no!  I'd love the cheese and the croutons!  I'd love to have a glass of wine, too!  And yes, those breadsticks look pretty good!  But since I am already a healthy weight, no one assumes that I'm actually holding myself in check, that I am actually practicing Habits of Health, that I am showing self-discipline and restraint in my eating.

It's rather amusing to see it happening.  No one is uncomfortable when a normal weight person is eating light. 

That is my random musing for the morning.
As summer approaches, and the graduation parties seem to be piling up, as the summer BBQ circuit and potluck cycle begins, always remember that you have chosen to make a lifestyle change, and to BE different you must DO differently.

As you are DOING differently, people may look at you and wonder what it is you are eating, or why it is you AREN'T eating "normal" foods like fried chicken and corn on the cobb.

You may feel like slinking in to a corner or not going to the party at all.  Don't feel like that.

Be proud that you are changing your life.  Look at my pictures and see what is possible, if only you believe you can.

And you can.
My son is 7.  He received a successful kidney transplant 4 years ago, and he is doing very well.  Every month we get labs for him to make sure his anti-rejection meds are at the right level, and that all of his blood values for kidney function are normal, etc. 

And every month I hold my breath, waiting, as it were, for the other shoe to fall.  So far, praise God, it has not.  But the week I take him is always stressful, and of course my mind goes in to "worst-case-scenario" mode.

This month I happened to inadvertently time his labs and the waiting-for-the-results with my pre-TOM. 

Dang.  The last few days have been tough, but I am happy to say that his labs came back normal and everything is just dandy.  So I can come out of red-alert mode for 3 more weeks until it is time for his next labs.

Meanwhile I will continue to stay on plan, get to my goal, transition to maintenance, and help others in their journey.

Peace out.

Am back in my size 4 Ralph Lauren Capri's from Costco.  That is the smallest size Costco sells.  I am humbled and amazed at this wild journey I have been on, and the advice I have for anyone just starting out is:

Don't ever let ANYONE tell you that you can not accomplish what has thus far been impossible for you to do.

BELIEVE in the power of your dreams.

ACT in accordance with the life you want to create for yourself.

When I weighed 268 for the second time, I was sad.  Very sad.  Deeply sad.  And it was due to my weight.  It affected everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.  Had a cane.  At 40 years old.  Couldn't fit through the turnstiles at Disneyworld, they had to open the stroller gate for me.  Needed a seat-belt extender on the flight.  Couldn't drive my car without my chest assisting in the steering LOL.  Well, really not LOL.  Lots of Sad.  LOS.

And someone believed in me.  And then I believed in myself.  And I lined up one day after the other being On Plan.  And I'd occasionally forget my goals and dreams and succumb.  And then I'd be right back on after giving myself some grace and forgiveness.  Persistence persistence persistence.

I am the queen of persistence.

So please, if anyone is out there and seeing my avatar for the first time, perhaps, YES that is me with the red hair.  At 268 and 5'3" tall.  And the one on the right is 125 pounds down, at 143 and a healthy weight.  Both me.

Which one looks happier?  Here's a clue:  Look at the eyes, and look at the smile.  Everything is better at a healthy weight.  And that dream is waiting for each and every one of you who is willing to submit to the Medifast 5&1 Plan.  Who is willing to invest in a food scale so they can measure their lean protein.  Who is willing to do it by the book.

So do it!
No, really.  What do you WANT?  Not what "should" you do, not what do you "have" to do, not what you "gotta" do.

What do you WANT to do?

If your answer involves eating yummy food, then you will eventually find a way to eat the yummy food.  The tension you are creating in your brain by thinking about but avoiding the yummy food will eventually involve HAVING to eat the yummy food just to resolve that tension.

On the other hand, do you WANT optimal health?  Do you WANT to play with your grandkids on the floor?  Do you WANT your spouse to be proud to have you on his/her arm?  Do you WANT to be more than just "unsick"?

Because if you WANT these things, the positive tension your brain creates in the wanting and in the focusing on THESE things will have to resolve itself by you ATTAINING and MAINTAINING a healthy weight.

So what do you want?  If you are wanting the yummy food, I challenge YOU to challenge your wants.  And then change your wants.  And then focus on optimal health.  You WILL get it.

We usually get what we want, don't we?  We just usually aren't really honest about what it is that we want.
The beauty of this 5&1 plan is that it will work (if you do it) whether you BELIEVE it will work or not. 

You eat 5 Medifast Meals and 1 weighed and measured Lean and Green per day, drink 64+ oz of water, and you WILL lose weight.  You can't not.

So let's all get out of our heads and stop over-analyzing everything.  Just do the plan.  Let it work.  It will.

Is there something preventing you from doing the plan?  Then make a decision to put it aside and do the plan.

Get healthy, or don't get healthy.  Your choice.
I find it curious and odd that many of us have become experts at "adding extra protein" to our plans, and even advising other people to do that at the mere twinge of hunger....

Funny how the 5&1 works as written, yet the advice is rampant on the boards to "add some protein" to your day.

The Medifast guidelines are pretty clear.  5&1.  No more than 45 minutes of exercise.  You start adding protein (which has 4 calories per gram) to your program just 'cuz and your body will burn that protein first before it burns more of your fat reserves....

Just something I've been thinking about today.

Lesson for today? 

Do not modify.
Do not modify.
Do not modify.
Are we the victims of our lives or the creators of them?

What I mean is do we live each day with intentionality or wait for things to happen TO us or come TO us without being proactive?

Many people when they begin the Medifast 5&1 Plan feel like the big ole' victim.  We blinked and somehow our lives "had become" unmanageable and we had gotten fat in the process.  Dang!  I HATE it when that happens!  =)

Then we go about facilitating a change.  We have to.  You see, doing what we've always done we were getting what we've always gotten.  And being fat and unhappy was always the result of that. 

Change is sometimes uncomfortable.  Yes.  It is.  But in order to BE different, we must DO differently.  We must replace our habits of disease with habits of health.  And that is a daily effort.

We must show up in our own lives.  We must make those decisions that are hard.  We must say no to our default setting of "letting" things just "happen" to us.

I am staring at a messy, and by messy I mean nuclear war aftermath messy kitchen. 

And I am scratching my head wondering how that happened.

But to apply the same principle, my kitchen got the way it looks right now because of a lack of planning and a lack of intentionality as I went through my day.  I went about my life yesterday and at no point did I make the decision to create a beautiful kitchen.  So guess what, they didn't get done.  Now I am living with the consequences.  Every time I glanced over to the sink which was filling with dirty dishes, I thought "Oh man, do I really HAVE to do those dishes" and so I resented the fact that I HAD to do them.  I viewed them as a chore, and as a negative deprivation of the free time I otherwise enjoyed.

And guess what, the time passed, I never did them, and now I can't remember what I did with all the FREE time!  =)

So today I choose to CREATE A BEAUTIFUL kitchen, ie do my dishes.

And, today I choose to CREATE OPTIMAL HEALTH in my life, instead of viewing Medifast as a negative deprivation.

Life will not happen TO me today.  I will choose what to invest my time in.  And the results will be beautiful.

What are you creating today?
Ever feel like you have a rubber-band attached to you which, once you lose 30, 40 pounds just begins to snap you back to where you began?

You become sort of comfy where you are, you are looking good (your brain tells you, anyway), you are feeling good, and you wonder how you so quickly lost the motivation you had during the first 2-3 months of the plan.

Then the slow gain...back to where you started.  Seemingly before you even know it you are back to square one, convinced that yet another diet has failed you.

What if....

What if I told you it could be different this time?  What if there was a way you could attach that rubber-band instead to your goal of being fit and healthy, and let that positive tension carry you all the way to complete your weight loss portion of the plan, your transition portion of the plan, and then you could maintain for years?

Does this sound like a pipe dream? 

It is not.

The following concept is lifted from Dr. A's Habits of Health, which is a book sold right here in the Medifast Store.  I highly recommend if you have not purchased it and read it that you DO THAT.

Positive vs Negative goals are very powerful. 

A Negative goal is when you are motivated to do something because of a desire to escape pain or conflict.  It is emotionally driven, and can be described by the thought "Anywhere but here."  This means your weight has gotten to the point that it is causing you emotional and/or physical pain which you will do anything to escape.  Anything, including hitting a "submit order" button for a ray of hope to grasp on to.  You start with vigor, sure that THIS time is THE time.  You just can't live like "this" anymore, and you NEED things to CHANGE.

So the program begins to work, because, well, it does work when it is practiced.

Your jeans start getting looser and you begin dropping sizes.  People at work are noticing.  You are DOING this!  YES!!!  You lose 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 40 pounds, or however many pounds it takes for the emotional pain of being fat to diminish and be replaced with happy thoughts and feelings.

Then what I will call "the incident".  You know the one, that one time where you rationalized it would be OK for you to step outside the boundaries of the 5&1 eating plan.  Because, you know, you've been planning "this" forever, and "this" special event or "this" craving is just different than the others.  But you tell yourself you are choosing to do this, it is a conscious decision (and I'll tell you right now your fat doesn't care whether you consciously ate off plan or not, it really gives a rip about how you feel and will respond EXACTLY the same way to excess calories as it ALWAYS has, ie STORE them). 

Whatever siren call woos you off plan, the fact is you do it.  Sometimes encouraged by people right here on these boards.

Then nothing is easy anymore.  Nothing is the same.  People will tell you it is because you went "off plan" and weren't "100%".  I disagree.  I think it is because you are in an oscillating pattern of lose-gain-lose-gain-lose-gain that you don't recognize the reason for, and can't seem to escape.

When your core reasons for losing weight are to escape or avoid the pain of being big, then when that pain begins to disappear so will your motivation.

You need to replace your negative goal with a positive goal.

How do you do that?

Dare to dream.  Cut that rubber-band that keeps snapping you back to your starting weight.  Throw that rubber-band of positive tension around where you are HEADED not where you've BEEN.  Why are you trying to become healthy?  What will creating health in your life allow your life to look like when you are there?  Who will you be when you get there?  What will you wear? What will you do?  What would it mean to your family?  To your children?  How will it positively impact them?

WRITE DOWN the dreams you have for yourself.  BUY that 75% off White House Black Market dress in that size you never thought you'd be.  Dare to dream.
One of the first questions I am always asked by people when I'm explaining how the Medifast 5&1 Plan works is "Yeah, but how is the food...."

My response.... "Does it really matter?  Edible.  That's all it needs to be."

When people are so hyper-focused on the FOOD part of Medifast, they are treating this just as a diet.  A diet where our primary aim is to make the food as yummy as possible because we loves us some yummy food.

I take a different approach.  I take the approach that the Portion-Controlled Meal Replacements that ARE the Medifast meals are simply a tool.  By all means, get a variety to make it adherable, but if you make it ABOUT the food, how to spice it up, add this, add that, then you are NOT focusing on changing the behavior or the thinking associated with what got you fat in the first place.

And when you're done?  Well, if your goal was to make and eat yummy food then when you are making and eating yummy NON-Medifast food, you will just gain your weight back.

This is about long-term optimal health.  My advice?  Start focusing on how you can be HEALTHY for the long term instead of how to make a double-mocha-whippachino with walden farms marshmallow fluff and cream cheese and call it a Medifast Meal because it had some portion-control-meal-replacement cappuchino powder in it.  Believe me, you have done yourself a disservice, and that Medifast Cappuchino is no longer a Medifast Cappuchino.

And trust me, modifying WILL slow you down.  Clean eating is the key here.  And those who say "well, I eat spaghetti squash cheese taco casserole every night and it hasn't slowed me down" I say great, but how do you know that?

You want an On Plan Lean and Green that will contribute to the optimal health mindset?  Grill up a chicken breast and put it with some steamed veggies, perhaps with a spray of "I can't believe it's not butter" on it.  But to add tomato paste, tomato sauce, laughing cow cheese, this, that, the other thing and my grandmother's kitchen sink?

I don't think you are quite getting the point here, which is to take the focus OFF food as something to consume as entertainment or enjoyment.  I believe one of the objectives of our journey is learning to view food as fuel.

Make it edible, not necessarily "yumm-o".  And you will then be able to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of making the mental shift necessary to keep your awesome new shape once it has been achieved.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!
Ever notice that weekends, for some, seem harder?

Why is that?  Let's break it down:

Unhealthy Habits.

1)  On weekends we feel like we are somehow living in someone else's body.  Someone who can eat whatevertheheck they want and not gain weight.  = DENIAL

2)  On weekends we feel like we have been SO GOOD ALL WEEK so, we are just POSITIVE that a little vodka spritzer can't do THAT much damage, after all we weighed 2.5 lbs down as of Friday morning so we have a little wiggle room, right?  = BARGAINING

3)  On weekends we are hopping MAD that we have to NOT have whatever we want!  Man this dieting stuff is HARD!  WHY is my body like this?!?!?! = ANGER

4)  On weekends we mope around and isolate because we feel like if we can't have what we want we must be the deadbeat of the party so we just won't go = DEPRESSION

Sound familiar?  These are the 4 of the 5 stages of grief.  Are you grieving your way through the weekend?

Well the answer to all of that is to get to the LAST stage of grief which is ACCEPTANCE as fast as you can, before any of the weekend has transpired.  I've got a secret for you.  Get to this stage on your drive home from work on Friday afternoon.  Just get it over with and get to acceptance.  Then treat Saturday and Sunday like your other days of the week that end in "day".  As in stay on plan.  You will be rewarded with success.  And you will also enjoy your weekend a heckuvalot more. 

ACCEPT that your body stores extra calories as fat.
ACCEPT that you are not yet at a healthy weight, so why would you even consider jumping ship for the weekend?
ACCEPT that you are loving yourself and doing the best you can for yourself by STAYING ON PLAN.

ACCEPT yourself.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!

Fat.  Fatty fat fat.  Fat fat fat fat fat.

I remember the bully.  That kid.  The one when I was in second grade who nick named me "Goodyear" because he was saying I was a "blimp".

Then in 7th grade, a different bully calling me "Chicken Legs" while running around the track in group P.E. because my thighs were larger at the top than at the bottom.

Those remarks always cut deep and leave a lasting scar.

I don't know why I was thinking of those incidents today.  I think about those particular "kids" who said those hurtful things and I wonder what they are doing in their lives these days.  Twenty-Five years post-High School and they are probably overweight themselves, since 2/3 of Americans are.

But those things shape us in our formative years.  I am spending THESE years unraveling the picture of myself I had as a child, and re-making it in to a more accurate picture.  Of me now.  Not the me of most of my adult life, who was Class III Morbidly Obese, and slowly killing herself with a fork and spoon.  With God's help I have given myself a new lease on life. 

And if I can do it, lil ole' me, Mrs. Goodyear Chicken-Legs, YOU CAN TOO!  =)

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!

Women will know what this means.  Men no need to read on LOL.

I saved my old bra from when I began, the one I was wearing in my "pink shirt" before picture.  It is a 44H.

I am now comfortably (no overflow, no binding no pinching) wearing the 34D I pulled out of the back of my drawer this morning. 

Hooray for the miracle of Medifast and TSFL.
It sure is a fun thing to be on plan and shrinking.

Are you?
My husband relayed a story to me today of a man who had cancer of the throat.  This man had surgery and they were able to remove the cancer, but they also had to remove the part of his throat which controlled his swallowing mechanism.  As a result, he could not longer swallow.

In order to eat, he had to shove a Nasal-Gastric (NG) tube, which is a long rubber tube a couple of millimeters in diameter, down his throat into his stomach.  He had to do this every time he needed to eat, and then he would pump his liquid formula nutrition down the tube for his feeding.

His life felt miserable.  He hated that tube.  He hated shoving it down his throat and gagging every time.  When it just became unbearable, he prayed to God "Lord, I hate this tube.  I just can't do it anymore.  I will do anything.  ANYTHING!  PLEASE HELP ME!!!! Please help me be able to eat."

There was silence in heaven for a few minutes.  Then the man heard what he recognized as the voice of God.  "Then pick up the tube."

This really hit home to me, about accepting and embracing our limitations.  We can rail against our bodies, feel they betrayed us, we can get mad and throw a hissy fit because we have, ok, say it with me now, SEVENTY DIFFERENT MEDIFAST MEALS TO CHOOSE FROM.  We can say it's not fair that WE are limited in what we can eat or how WE are so deprived.

Whenever I'm tempted to do that, from here on out, I will hear that still small voice.  Pick up the tube.  And I will be grateful.  Grateful for my life, grateful for the fact that I've been able to lose over 125 pounds on a program that is clinically proven, safe and effective.  Grateful that every day I can eat brownies, and soft bake cookies, and oatmeal, and soup, and bars, and bites, and pretzels, and a delicious meal of protein and vegetables.   And I can become fit and healthy as a result.

You want deprived?  Try that man's life out for a day.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat.
I've been reading the blogs lately and it seems there has been a wave of blogs having to do with struggling, being hyper-focused on the psychology of it, craving other things, etc.

I have a challenge that I am going to begin myself, and I wanted to share it with you.

Stop obsessing.

Sounds kinda funny when I type it out, but seriously, how many of us are so stuck inside our own heads, and so lost in the sea of whatever it was we think "made us fat" that we feel like we are drowning?  How many of us are so hyper focused on the carbs and calorie count of Medifast, and so hyper focused on what we are "depriving ourselves of" that we are MISSING LIFE.

Honestly?  To struggle so hard against one's own thoughts?  To fight and claw and immerse ourselves in our own heads?  In my opinion when I do that it makes me utterly useless to myself, AND useless to my family.  And depressed to boot.

Do you know what I have found helps?  When I turn my focus on to OTHERS, and help OTHER people, no matter in what area I choose...helping them lose weight, volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping someone with their taxes, helping someone de-clutter their house, ANYTHING that involves helping someone pulls me out of the deep dark sea of my own swirling whirlpool thoughts.

When I do Medifast in the background, and go out there and live my life, taking the focus OFF both what I CAN'T have and what I CAN in terms of food, then the struggle diminishes.  Medifast becomes something I am doing day by day in the background, and the rest of life moves to the foreground for me to engage in.

So there it is.  Get out of your head.  Help others.  Medifast in the background.  Ready, set, GO!
Do we spend our days wishing for things that we aren't working for? 

How does that even make sense? 

I am a practical person by nature.  I'm also a "fixer" as some of you have, ahem, noticed on these boards.  You have a problem?  I have another way of looking at it which makes it a hurdle instead of an obstacle.  You are finding the food nasty?  Fat is nasty too.  See how I operate?  No nonsense, no excuses, wham bam thank you ma'am.

So when I see people saying "I wish I....." or "I hope I can..." and then leaving it at that, I want to drive over to their house, sit them down, and lovingly tell them that "wishing" and "hoping" are NOT strategies.  Wishing and hoping that my dishes get done do a big fat N*O*T*H*I*N*G about actually GETTING MY DISHES DONE.  Do you know what does? 

A little thing called (say it with me now) "A PLAN of ACTION."

Making a plan and implementing that plan is the ONLY thing that will get us where we want to go. 

Some of us decided that simply ordering Medifast WAS our plan.  Then it came.  Oh goodness.  What now.  Well I guess the logical thing would be to open the box.  Um, Ok.  Done.  Hmmmm....Quick Start Guide....naw, don't need to read that, I think I know enough from the title "5&1" that I need to eat 5 of these little suckers, and then some protein and vegetables I guess.

What the?!?!?!

Then it comes to the events.  "I hope I can stay on my program this weekend...."

Well who else would be staying on it besides YOU?  Whose permission do you need to change the "I hope I can" to "I WILL"?

And ultimately the "I really hope I succeed on this program".  Yes, I do too, but HOW are you PLANNING on succeeding?  See, if you can't answer that question for yourself, then please take yourself on a coffee date tonight, preferably with Dr. A's Habits of Health book (and the Quick Start Guide if you actually HAVEN'T read it yet LOL), and set some goals for yourself.  Dream a little, and turn your DREAMS into a plan of ACTION.  Then follow your OWN action plan.

Simple.  See?  Fixed.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!
It has been my experience that the best way to do Medifast is to do Medifast.  When people begin to add in extra things, a little extra cheese here, a few ounces extra of protein there, they do still tend to lose...if they have a LOT of weight yet to lose.

But as they get closer to their goal, those extras = stall.  But unfortunately, they have built a "habit" of "extras" into their plan, and that is one of the HARDEST habits to break because, well, it has worked for them so far, so psychologically they think they are "doing the plan" and "not losing" now.

I challenge ANYONE who is adding extras in to their plan and calling it On Plan to try a week with ZERO extras.  Try doing a week of 100% ON PLAN as written in the Quick Start Guide.  I'll bet you lose BIG.

Just some observations.
I read an article recently about a mother of two who one day decided that she'd had enough being overweight and out of shape.  She decided that she would learn all she could about how super-athletes ate and how super-athletes trained.  She would then go about doing what they did. 

At first she felt like she was pretending.  Mimicking.  An impostor.  Because after all, she was no super-fit in-shape athlete....or was she....inside?

So you know what she did?  She pretended she was.  She pretended she was by going through the MOTIONS of the super-athletes, by DOING what they did even if she didn't feel like it, or feel like them.

And eventually it was not pretend any longer.  She dropped 80 pounds, and became THE world premier fitness-model.  Her name is Jennifer Nicole Lee.  Google her and see what she has done, because she BELIEVED she could.  It is a variation of her quote "Pretend until it's not pretend anymore" that I used as my blog title.  And anyone can do this.  It takes vision and dedication, and yes, a little bit of pretend.  =)  I posted an attachment of picture of her at the bottom of this blog

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!
I will never be able to "eat like a normal person".  So I'm changing my definition of normal.

Normal for me is NOT living to eat, but eating to live. 

Normal for me is NOT looking to FOOD to provide me with entertainment, security, love, acceptance, a "buzz", endorphins, company, friendship, companionship, or any other feeling I have incorrectly assigned to it in the past.

Normal for me is eating between 1100-1300 calories, GOOD calories not empty calories, for the rest of my life (in maintenance).

Normal for me is strapping on and lacing up my running shoes every week day as soon as my husband gets home from work and running 2 miles.  Because that is normal.

Normal for me is doing 20 minutes of strength training 3 mornings per week at 5:45 am.

Normal for me is NOT succumbing to diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Normal for me is feeling optimistic and energetic from the moment my eyelids flutter open, to the moment they close at night for sleep.

Normal for me is fitting in to size S adult, or Youth Large tops, and size 4 jeans.

Normal for me is being carded at age 42.

Normal for me is KNOWING that nothing is going to happen today that I cannot handle, that NO circumstance is going to arrive which would make me a victim to poor choices, because I CHOOSE WHAT TO PUT IN MY MOUTH.  No one else.  I will accept no one's agenda for my food choices except for my own. 

Normal for me is looking pretty good.

What is your normal this Easter Weekend and beyond?
These were wise words from a wise man that I grasped on to 20 years ago. He was the Principal of a Bible School in England where I attended for 6 months after High School. Although I did not practically learn what he meant when he said it, I know now, 20 years later, all too well, that he was right.

That being said, what am I doing TODAY to conquer my weight issues? Today. Right now. Because there is no magic fairy who is going to come along while I'm sleeping and change me so I can actually start doing "tomorrow" what I say I'm going to do...."tomorrow". And that is really it, isn't it? We put off change until tomorrow morning. Really. I promise I'll be good. Honestly I know I can do this, it's just I have this _________________ tonight and I just know they'll be yummy things on the menu that the group will want to order and I don't want to feel awkward so...but I'll get right back on. Tomorrow.

The thing is, and I really had to get my head around this one and internalize it to my core...tomorrow never comes. For some strange reason, it is always today.

And also for some reason I have trained myself over years and years of failure and yo-yo-dieting that really, I can handle this. Really, I've got it covered, it will just be this once because I have this ______________ today and really it's gonna be the last time I do this. I will get serious. Tomorrow.

And we let ourselves get away with this flawed thinking that has kept us fat and unhappy for years and years.

Ah, but "tomorrow" will be different. Will it? Really?

As you are NOW, so shall you BE. Change happens now. Change happens with your next thought and your next decision. If it is compromise, AGAIN, then you are sealing your fate every day with the promise that you will never REALLY get to your goal.

Just some musings on a philosophical topic. Tomorrow IS today. So I'm going to make my next meal a Medifast one. Rinse and repeat.
When I was overweight I was just mad at the world.  I was mad at myself.  And I was a rebel.  I didn't like being told what to do.  I knew what to do.  No one was going to tell me how to lose weight.  I could do it on my own. 

Enter:  Medifast

Even though I had CHOSEN Medifast as my tool to become healthy, I immediately set about trying to tweak it.  I was going to show the world that Medifast was all fine and good, but that MY version of Medifast would work best.  "For me" I would say.  "For you it is fine to be 100%, but everyone really needs to find their own way."


And guess what?  I restarted the plan 6-7 times doing it my way.  Because I was obviously the expert on my body.  I knew what would work.  I wanted what I wanted.  And I could tell that I was rebelling against THE PLAN.  And feeling justified in doing it.

And going N*O*W*H*E*R*E with my weight loss efforts.

You can already guess the rest of the story, since I have lost 125 pounds and am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been in my life. 

Yup.  I submitted to the plan that I CHOSE in the first place.  Doesn't take rocket science to figure out that one, but somehow I had managed to escape doing it for a couple of years, actually!

So what is YOUR attitude?  Are you waiting for circumstances to be perfect to start to be 100% on plan?  What would those circumstances be?  No stress?  No difficulties?  No events?  No holidays?  The perfect job?  You'll start when XXXX is over?

Really?  OK.  Go ahead and drag your misery out for a few more months...or I did.  I wouldn't recommend it, but if you are a rebel you aren't going to listen to me anyway.  As a matter of fact you'll probably seek to do the OPPOSITE of what I tell you to do.  Or what the Medifast Plan tells you to do.  Well, good luck with that strategy.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!
Lessons learned from "Handy Manny" this morning.....

"Do what you are good at and confidence is sure to follow."

I will be good at following the 5&1 today.  Simple.
We all have the same power to change our own lives this month.  Will we do it?  At the end of the month every one of us could be down 10 pounds or more.  It all boils down to choices.

What will we choose?  I choose to do the plan.  I choose to submit myself to what the experts and 30 years of clinical trials and proven results have figured out.  That staying true to the Medifast Plan as written will provide me with a weight loss of up to 2-5 pounds per week.

What will YOU choose?
With every food choice we have during the day, we need to decide what it is that we want.  This is hard for many of us, because, let's face it, we didn't get to be morbidly obese by actually THINKING about and SCRUTINIZING prior eating decisions in this kind of fashion.

But hard is good.  It is worth it.  My size 4 jeans guarantee it.  My size 26 jeans weren't comfortable scrutinizing every eating decision in light of my greater goals...which is why I wore them.

Now my 7 year old son and I can hop around the house in those jeans, one of us in each leg. 

And that is the power of your next decision. 

Do you want the donut, the beer, the yummy BBQ or the pizza?  Do you want it more than you want to be fit, happy and healthy?  If so, then have at it.  You deserve each other.

But if you want to be fit, happy and healthy above all else, then REMEMBER that when you have a decision to make.

And then choose wisely.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!
I hereby dedicate this blog to the AMAZING people I had the pleasure of having coffee with this weekend out in L.A.

You know who you gorgeous people are!  Thanks for taking the time for coffee!  =)
If you look at my BEFORE picture you will know the full weight of the title of this blog.

The last 10 pounds must have REALLY made a difference in my general appearance, because I am 42 years old but was carded last night both at Cost Plus World Market AND Total Wine.  Both have policies that anyone who looks like they could be under 30 is carded.  YAY ME!  I've been in both of those stores in the last year, and have never been carded before.  YAY ME!

I'll go celebrate with a zero calorie Arizona Iced Green Tea.
Life is always going to throw that curveball.  You know, the one you don't see coming.  The one that has the potential, if you let it, to completely derail your eating program and "make" you go off plan.

Funny how predictable life is.

So I say make a plan.  Make a plan that includes taking care of YOU when life throws you those curveballs.


Create a "go bag".  Everyone should have a small backpack/dufflebag with 3-4 days worth of portable Medifast Meals in it, some "not so portable" meals, (enough to = 1 week of food) a few liters of water, a whisk, a mug, a measuring cup, and a shakey shaker thingy with the little wire ball in it.   Rotate the stock, but make sure you have it.  When the time comes that you need it, throw in your food scale on your way out the door.  

When the emergency comes and you don't even have time to think, and have to travel XX amount of miles by XX to get to XX because XX has had an XX (accident, stroke, fall, birth, crisis, etc), YOU will be prepared to "not even think about Medifast" because you will have already thought about it and prepared.

It is called proactively taking care of YOU.  Because your body doesn't go on hold during a crisis and wait for it to be over to start gaining weight or continue losing weight.  Your body will continue responding to exactly what YOU are putting in it every day. 

I have not had a crisis like that recently, but I DO have a "Go" bag.  Just in case.

Happy Medifasting!  Rinse and Repeat!

Yeah, that's what they were whispering about ME in the summer of 2010 also.  After having dropped 140 pounds in 14 months utilizing Medifast, I did NOT transition (got pregnant instead) and after a miscarraige at 12 weeks went through the stress and trauma of my mom dying and my then-3-year-old son getting a Kidney Transplant (successful!  Yay God!).

Can you say Post-Traumatic-Stress?  My body responded to the opportunity by putting on every single pound I had just lost, in the same amount of time it took me to lose it.

Enter:  HOPE.

Hope you say?  What the heck?  I was back at my high weight, 268 pounds, using a cane, not fitting through turnstiles at Disneyworld (the stroller-gate was my best friend!), needing a seat-belt extender! 

Yes, HOPE. 

My husband really put it in the most logical light for me, which was THE catalyst to get me moving in the direction of health again.  He looked at me as I was contemplating REALLY starting the Medifast 5&1 Plan again, for the 6th or 7th time since my regain, and he said "Honey, you of all people should know and have the faith that you CAN do this, after all you already did it once!"

Way to turn my failure in to just another opportunity for success.  My honey is a gem!  Thanks sweetie!  I think I just needed someone else to look into my situation and to believe in me.  To REALLY believe I could do it.  Then he reminded me that I COULD do it.  Then I believed it myself.

Then I did it. 

This time I'm going for a 150 pound loss.  And I'll get there!  One day at a time!  I'm already in my size 4 Levi's jeans, down from my re-gain high of size 26.  My now-7-year-old son and I each got into a leg of my old jeans the other day and hopped around the house.  It was priceless!

So all this to say, don't give up on yourself.  Have you put on some weight?  Take it off.  You know how.  And if you need just ONE other person to believe in you, know that I do.  I believe in you.  So do it.

Happy Medifasting!   Rinse and Repeat!
I have never felt more authentically ME than I do now. Having lost over 125 pounds on TSFL (and deciding to help others do the same thing!) has allowed me to shine. My outsides finally match my insides, and that "something is really wrong with my life" feeling I used to have I believe can be attributed to the disparity I felt between who I KNEW I was, and the person I projected with my 268 pounds. That inner conflict has been 100% resolved and now I feel like I can fly. I am FULLY available emotionally for myself AND for my family, and the difference it has made in our lives cannot be measured. Medifast 5&1 was the tool, TSFL was the process, and I was the agent of change in my own life and health. I have learned it is NEVER TOO LATE TO BECOME THE PERSON WE 'MIGHT HAVE' BEEN!!