Saturday, June 29, 2013

"I'm TIRED of THIS!"

What "This?"  You are tired of the struggle?  You are tired of choosing health over the yummy food?  You are tired of the seemingly endless struggle between eating what you want to eat and staying on some "diet?"

Yeah, I'd be tired of "That" too if that is what I was doing. 

But I'm not.

I'm creating health in my life.  And it is exciting, and it is educational, and it is a challenge, and it is stimulating, and it is WORKING!

Here's the deal.  We can focus on health or we can focus on food.  There isn't an in between IF you are desiring to have a level of contentment with the process.

To practice contentment with our physical limitations, to choose to put of something we think we want NOW for something we want EVENTUALLY is the key.  The thing is, I'm here to tell you that you aren't chasing a carrot on a stick that you will never reach.

When you put off NOW something because you want something else EVENTUALLY, EVENTUALLY the EVENTUALLY becomes NOW.

When I started the journey towards optimal health, I could see a version of myself, the ME who I wanted to be.  She was off in the distance, she was in my minds' eye, almost like a figure in the mist standing on an island which I was rowing to.  Constantly rowing.  Constantly moving in the direction of that person. 

I decided that I would STOP focusing on yummy food, I would START focusing on health, so that I would obtain health EVENTUALLY.

My eventually IS NOW.  And I'm here to tell you that we aren't on some hamster wheel here, spinning and spinning and getting nowhere.  If you are working towards optimal health, if it is a priority in your life, it DOESN'T MATTER if you have 10 pounds to go or 100+ pounds to go, you WILL achieve success provided you STAY ON PLAN TODAY.

Just today.

Can I be the voice in your head for a minute?  Do you SEE my before/after pictures?  Picture my before picture with a CANE because I have my cane right here in my Mom Cave where I'm typing my blog right now.  And my after?  That is now.  That was the eventually I was seeking.  And one day, it became my today.

So please don't be discouraged.  Did you "only" lose 2 pounds this week?  Well I'll tell you something, I averaged 1.9 lbs/week for my whole journey.  So that means you are on track! 

But please, hear me on this, you've GOT to be in touch with your "Why".  You've GOT to know where you are heading, and why.  Because if you've got no "person standing in the mist", if you aren't crystal clear on why you want optimal health, the yummy food will always win.  We can only hold our breath for so long.  What is your oxygen?  Mine is health.  Is yours yummy food?

That doesn't change by accident, you need to intentionally decide that your focus is going to CHANGE, then go about changing it.  I did that by internalizing and practicing Dr. A's Habits of Health.  I didn't do that the first time, and I paid the price for it.

Do I still struggle?  When I lose sight of health, yes.  I do.  When I watch Mad Men and they are all drinking wine and spirits in every single episode and I allow my brain to run with those thoughts from the power of suggestion, sure I want a glass of wine (which is OK on maintenance, but I'm on the 5&1 so it's not OK for me right now).  I have to intentionally turn my thoughts back towards health, like reigning in a wild stallion and WILLING it to go the direction I choose it to go.  It is as hard as I make it.

But I'm not ashamed to say, nor do I feel like I am "bragging" or "boasting" to say that I get it now.  And you can get it too.  Do the work.  Read the book.  Stay on plan today.  Eventually, your "eventually" will be now.  Today.

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, June 28, 2013

My Video Log for Friday 6/13

This has been a "Stall Week" on the scale!

Ever had those weeks where it is just a flat-out stall?  Yep.  I'm there.  But during these "stall weeks" I always lose inches.  My clothes always fit better.  Because you see, when we are ON PLAN, we are always either losing pounds or inches.  We are rarely losing NEITHER.  Even in a plateau.  IF we are on plan.

I'm cycling my carbs this week, going extra low for a few days with (the now discontinued) diabetic shakes and lower carb veggies, then I'll cycle higher towards the end of the week and see if we can't shake this mini-plateau.  I am within 10 pounds of where I got the "first" time I did "Medifast" in 06/07, I am 138 and my lowest back then was 128, so I think that perseverance and focus will be paramount for the next month or two.  =) 

I was thinking the other day about my response when people ask me "How long did it take you?"  I think I'm going to change my response from "My whole life" to "The REST of my life".  Because this is a lifelong pursuit for me that is present AND future tense.

I am not the same gal I used to be.  I am not aching to be in maintenance again so I can have that bloomin' onion or the Costco birthday cake.  The only thing I am looking forward to having again in maintenance that I choose not to have now, is red wine, and that I will have a glass a day in moderation in maintenance. 

Chips?  Candy?  Cookies?  Pie?  Twinkies? None of that garbage even interests me anymore because I truly feel like I have CHOSEN to orient myself towards HEALTH in the last several years.  With the help of my own Health Coach, and Dr. A's Habits of Health.  DOING the work.

It has been a long time since I have been obese.  Years.  I still remember the pain of it, but it is as though the pain is getting harder to remember with every year that goes by.  I have intentionally developed a fit and healthy mind, and truly feel I do not have "fat brain" anymore.

It is what I wanted to accomplish.  It is possible.

Rinse and repeat!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Man of Steel - Henry Cavill - Did I get your attention, Ladies?

I don't care if you are married, single, divorced, partnered, or a teenager but Henry Cavill is just attractive.

He is the actor playing Superman in the current Man of Steel movie, and to look at him you wouldn't think HE ever struggled with his weight.

Well, he did.

In High School kids called him "Fat Cavill" and made fun of him.

He decided that wasn't going to be the end of his story, or what he was known for.

And he worked hard.

For the movie "Immortals" and for the movie "Man of Steel", Henry sculpted his body through incredible dedication and strength of mind.

But that is not all!  Apparently Warner Bros. Movie studio had built in to his contract that for the duration of the shoot (4-5 months) he would eat ONLY WHAT THE STUDIO PROVIDED FOR HIM.  There were 4 actors on that set in Man of Steel who had such provisions in their contracts.  And Henry didn't blink.  He signed it, then he adhered to it.  No questions asked, no deviation from the contract.

How many of us make daily "contracts" with ourselves and then by 4:00 pm we are off to the break room or fishing around our car for 3 quarters for the vending machine? 

You see, dedication and hard work, eating a "special diet" is not just reserved for all of us overweight or obese Americans who are trying to "lose some weight".  It was used by Henry Cavill to obtain EXACTLY what he desired to obtain in his life and his career, in the same way as an Olympic Athlete has dedication, hard work, and eating a "special diet" to obtain THEIR hopes and dreams.

So why do we treat our journey as a shameful thing?  Why do we try to hide that we, too, are in training for what WE want out of life?  We are IN TRAINING for the LIFE WE WANT.  Let's not hide that fact or slink off to eat our Medifast Bar! 

Why can't we treat this as an exciting adventure, a journey of transformation, to obtain the life and the health that we so desire?  We CAN do it, in the same way Henry Cavill was able to transform his body into a body worthy of wearing the Superman Suit, without any computer enhancement. 

He was at the studio at 5:00 am on the nose every day for shooting.  He was the last one to leave every day.  He never complained, not once, so says everyone who worked alongside him.

Today I'm saluting Henry Cavill for showing us that creating the health we want IS possible, that it is a beautiful process that will develop strength of character and, let's face it, some eye candy, in the process!

Rinse and Repeat!

Why Do We Make This So Hard? - And I'm down 134 pounds, with a picture!

The hardest part of this journey is truly mastering the 6 inches of grey matter that resides between our ears.

We can do anything for an hour.  Or a day.  Or a week.  Or heck, even 30 days. 

Maybe even, if we are REALLY motivated we can keep something up for 90 days.

But the REST of our LIVES?

Does this sound familiar?  The dread?  The disheartening "Really?  I have to do this for the REST of my LIFE?"

Well, if you've succeeded in turning this awesome hopeful optimistic plan into a big ole' drudgery, if you've relegated yourself to true martyr status and put on that grumpy "I can't have that, why are YOU having that in FRONT of me" face, then I see your point.  Bummer.  Drudgery.  Deprivation.  Poor you. 

Is there an alternative?  Absolutely there is.

Unless you are determined there is not.

You see, it is truly up to you what you make of this plan, firstly, and it is also up to you the attitude with which you live every day of your journey.

Me?  I chose a long time ago to view this as an exciting, hopeful, optimistic tool for true change in my life.  And guess what it has become?  An exciting, hopeful, optimistic, SUCCESSFUL journey. 

I adopted an attitude of gratitude, changed my "I HAVE TO EAT THIS WAY?!?" to "I have the PRIVILEGE of eating this way because I am indeed changing my life and creating something AMAZING here!"

When I developed that attitude I began to live it.  It wasn't and isn't fake.  I'm truly grateful, truly transformed, and am here to tell you that there is so much more to life than being bummed about "having" to eat Medifast Meals all day. 

Someone asked me the other day "How long did it take you?"  because we Americans are all about instant results.  We are all about scheduling in XXXXX amount of days to complete XXXXX amount of tasks, and to check off the box "to lose weight".

Here are some common common questions I get, and the way I WANT to answer them:

How long did it take you?
My whole life up until now.
Is the food good?
It's edible.  Does it matter?
What about the extra skin?
I look great with clothes on, it's none of your business what I look like with them off LOL.
I need to lose 100 pounds and am worried about looking bad with extra skin.
Honey, if you've got 100 pounds to lose you are deluding yourself if you believe you look good NOW.
When I'm done, can I eat what I want?  I'm worried I'll never be able to have pizza or cake again.
You can always eat what you want, whenever you want, in whatever quantity you want.  If that is what you want.  We always get what we want.
But it is just going to take so LOOOOOONG!
You got somewhere else to be?  The time will pass anyway, do you want to be saying in 12 months "I wish I had started 12 months ago?"
But it is so expensive! 
I have found it to be cost-neutral in my own life, because at $12/day I was justifying spending that much on Starbucks and Chipotle before.  And feeling like crud.  Plus, the savings from the diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medication I will NEVER HAVE TO TAKE more than pay for it.

Takes some time.  Food is edible.  Skin is not an issue.  Eat what you want.  Today is the best day to make a change.  Life is expensive.

How is that for everything you wanted to know about the process?  =)
 I cannot stress enough that the only difference between where I am now and where you want to be is a little bit of time.  Oh, that and staying on plan just for today.  Then tomorrow?  Rinse and repeat!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

One Little Bite Won't Matter!

If this were a calorie-counting game, then perhaps that one little off-plan bite wouldn't matter.

But it is no game.

This is your life.  And your health.  And you began this plan with hopes and dreams of being successful.

How is that working out for you?

Are you among those who start something all gung-ho, then after a few weeks or months become bored with it?  And hence, don't finish what you started?

I think all of us can relate to that in some areas of our lives.

Take me, for example.  I, like most 18-year olds, started college directly after High School.  I went two years, then decided not to go anymore.  I was a late bloomer, I didn't know what I wanted to do.  Because I didn't know what I wanted out of the process, what the end result would be, my performance in college for those first two years was lack-luster at best.

In fact, it was downright poor.  Here I was, a former National Honor Student (High School) "Gifted" student, leaving Arizona State University on academic probation because of my 1.4 cummulative GPA.  Yes.  You read that right.  1.4.

I get chills thinking about it, but you see, I did not have a real goal.

My goal of "to go to college" wasn't enough to sustain me actually doing the work OF college in a way that was inspiring to anyone, let alone me.

I'd skip classes.  You see, one day of one class really didn't matter when you took the whole semester as a whole.  Or did it?  I wouldn't study.  You see, I was of the mindset that "C's get degrees".  Although I wasn't holding my expectation of myself even up to the "C" level, obviously, with a cumulative GPA of 1.4.

Paying attention in class?  Boring.  Back then we didn't have all these Ipad gizmos to distract us.  If we had, I'm sure I would have been BOOTED out of college instead of CHOOSING to stop my college education. 

I didn't have a goal.  I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

What is your goal on this plan?  Are you here to "just lose weight" or do you have Optimal Health as your fixed point on the horizon?  Because without a POSITIVE goal to work toward, you will likely struggle with the plan as I struggled with college those first 2 years.  And "To lose weight" is about as inspiring as "to be in college".  College for college-sake is not the best way to go about it, neither is "losing weight for losing weight-sake" going to inspire you to do your best every day.

In fact, it may leave you with the attitude that "this little bite won't matter".  Your calorie GPA may be bordering on 1100-1200 some days, and you are wondering why you aren't losing weight "eating only 1100-1200 calories".  I'll tell you why you aren't losing weight, because you aren't DOING the Medifast 5&1 Plan as written.  You have modified it.  Just as I modified my college experience to suit me at the time.  And it didn't fulfill it's intended purpose. 

My college story ends well, in case you were wondering.  After heading to Bible School in Europe for a 1-year Bible Certificate, then meeting my hubby and taking a few years to re-evaluate my education goals, I re-enrolled at Arizona State and finished my Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition.  If I remember correctly, I graduated with a GPA of 3.49, just one-tenth of one percent below Cume Laude.  It's amazing what having a positive goal can do for someone's moral, performance, and dedication.  Sure I was on the 12-year plan for a 4-year degree.  But it got done.  I finished well.

How are YOU on this plan?  What is YOUR goal?  Have you lost sight of why you are doing this in the first place?  Are you in danger of stopping because you are frustrated with how things are going and your morale and your motivation seems non-existent?

I'm here to tell you that you can turn that around in a heart-beat, develop a positive goal about what you hope to create, to achieve, with this amazing tool and this amazing process, and then you can EXCEL in your performance, your dedication, and your dreams. 

But that little bite?  That one you think won't matter?  Look at it as skipping class.  Skipping assigments.  Not doing the work.  Because it is the equivalent.  And what it indicates is that you have lost sight, momentarily, of your primary goal.  And that is far more dangerous, a far more worry, than how many calories this little bite has in it.  Trust me on that one.

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Is Every Day a "Feel it" Day?

Sometimes I get the question "How do you stay so motivated, day in and day out?"

The answer?  I don't. 

But it doesn't matter, because my actions are not tied to whether I "feel motivated today" or not, my actions are a direct result of a decision that I made, based on what I am creating with this process of achieving optimal health.

No one can "feel motivated" and "amped up" and "totally stoked" and "hyped up" about this process 24/7.  Some days are just kinda "blah" actually.  Normal.  Just days.  Like any other days.  Sometimes even monotonous. 

So if you are waiting for some "trigger event" to "make you stoked" and "keep your head totally motivated and in the game" then you MAY be waiting for a long time. 

Because the magic of this plan happens in the moments in between those emotional highs.  The magic of this plan is accomplished with that quiet steadfast decision you make daily that your eating and drinking decisions will not waver based upon which way the winds of your emotions are blowing today.

You have to believe that every bite you take of every thing you hold in your hand today matters.  You have to believe that this plan works as written, and if you deviate from it you will NOT go to sleep healthier than you woke up, in fact you could put yourself into an absolute stall or gain just by taking a little bite of this or a sip of that.

Why do you have to believe it?  Well, firstly because it is TRUE.  Secondly, because if you think for a second that it doesn't matter then you are missing the point.

It matters.

Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Get the shoes on, get out the door!

Sometimes I have to play a little game with myself, repeat a little "mantra" in order to get my mind on board with my will. 

Is there a difference between the mind and the will?  Oh yes.  My will is an entirely different thing than my mind.  My mind is my immediate thoughts, translating into action.  My will is my overall compass, my orientation, my direction.

Sometimes my mind and my will do not agree.  Like, for example, now.

When that happens, I'm a bit paralyzed.  You see, my WILL tells me that in order to participate in the Habit of Health of moving my body, the BEST thing for me to do is to get my little bum outside and go for a little run.  Nothing big, just about 20 minutes, just about 2 miles today.

But my mind?  My thoughts?  They go something like THIS right this moment (*disclaimer, you are about to enter the maze that IS my brain.)

"But Facebook is much more fun than going outside at 9:10 am in ARIZONA in the SUMMER.  And cooler.  And funner.  So just stay here.  Look at all these awesome blogs of people that you can read and comment, wouldn't that be a more valuable use of your time to offer encouragement to people?  It's hot outside.  You're kinda tired.  You haven't had enough water yet to go out in that hot sun.  Drink some more water first.  Then it will be later.  And hotter.  And then it will be too hot to go.  Are you sure you want to go?  You don't really WANT to go."

This is when a handy little mantra comes in to play, to save the moment.

This mantra, for me, is "Get the shoes on, get out the door."

If I repeat this 10 times to my mind, something amazing happens.  I move towards getting my shoes on.  As I'm getting my shoes on, then I'm thinking about getting out the door, instead of what I WAS thinking about which was all the reasons that I didn't WANT to get out the door. 

Five minutes from how, I will be out the door with my shoes on.  I will have over-ridden my cluttered and protesting mind with the simple commands of "get the shoes on, get out the door."

Once I'm out the door, my mind is on board.  It stops protesting, and I'm happy and content in my current action.  So here's to the power of a little simple phrase.

What is your phrase to get you through the times that your mind is getting in the way of carrying out your habits of health?

Here are a few that have helped me:

"Put the cheese down and walk away.  Put the cheese down and walk away."

Don't buy the wine.  Don't buy the wine.

The hunger will pass.  The hunger will pass. 

Drink some water.  Drink some water.

Get up and get yourself your next Medifast meal.  Get up and get yourself your next Medifast meal.

And, the useful one right now, with my shoes on and my ipod loaded, I am IN FACT getting out the door.

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Honoring the Commitments we Make to Ourselves

Do you ever wonder why it is NO problem to honor the commitments we make to OTHER people, but when it comes to honoring commitments we make to OURSELVES, we so easily ditch them?

Why is that?  We honor commitments we make to other people because we value those relationships, we respect those people, and we want to be people of our word.

What do we say about OURSELVES when we tell ourselves "I'm going to be 100% on plan today" and then at the first sign of temptation, we pitch our commitment we made to ourselves out the window for a little bit of flour, sugar, fat or salt? 

It was fascinating to me to really look at my behavior and realize that what I was telling myself EVERY TIME I did that, was that I was NOT valuable.

People ask me all the time "well what will it hurt to have a glass of wine?"

I tell them "It's not just about what it will do to your plan, but it is what it will do to your commitment." 

The more times we TELL ourselves we are GOING to do something, and then we DON'T do it, we are disrespecting ourselves and devaluing ourselves.

So make sure that you treat yourself with respect and value!  Keep your word to yourself, and not only will you find success on your plan and move towards optimal health, but you will do so with joy and ease. 

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

When you "HOW" is struggling.....

I'm a process person.  I thrive on "how".  I'm a fixer.  A solutions girl.  So it is no small wonder that when I got in a rut regarding the working of the Medifast 5&1 Plan, my first questions to myself were "How do I fix this?  How do I do better?  How do I NOT do the very thing I'm trying NOT to do (eat off plan)?  How do I get this last 20 off?  How do I make myself adhere to the plan 100%?  How do I get past my troublesome time of 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm?  How do I get past my troublesome time of 10:00 am - 10:00 pm (LOL - somehow my "troublesome time" kept expanding to fill the available daylight hours of the day.....).






Fixing a problem.

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks.  It gobsmacked me on the forehead, and as answers USUALLY do, laid me flat on the sidewalk for a few minutes rubbing my sore head.

Two things I learned.

Firstly, I learned, FINALLY, that even though I felt great and happy and pretty awesome with maintaining my 130 pound loss for over a year, that I truly WANTED to continue my health journey to optimal health.  I developed a strong "WHY" as to why I wanted to do that.

Secondly, I learned that I did NOT have to wait to be in a place of emotional conflict or pain, or extreme distress, to DECIDE to take that step in to full commitment to the plan and in to full commitment to achieving ALL of my health goals.

Why is this important?  My whole life up until now I have truly been stuck in the oscillating pattern of lose-gain-repent-repeat.  It took my practically hating myself and being so disgusted with where I was at health-wise, and so disgusted with what I looked like in order for me to begin and stick to an eating plan which would change that. 

So the last year I've been feeling great, and I suppose I was sort of waiting to be motivated by the same thing, disgust and self-loathing, emotional distress and conflict.  The thing is, none of that is on the horizon for me thankfully because I have changed my mind using the Habits of Health, so I won't be gaining my weight back any time soon.

Enter a NEW motivation.  One that is fueled by hope, optimism, a love and respect for myself, and wanted to be the best version of myself possible, even though I'm very happy with where I currently am. 

Enter a "why" that isn't born from pain and conflict, but from hope and optimism.

I needed just such a why.

When our "why" is strong enough, our "how" will emerge.  But for me, my "why" could not be based on negative goals, meaning based on something I wanted OUT of my life.  At this point, I have very few, if any, things IN my life that I don't WANT there.  I've spent the last 2 years organizing my life around what matters most to me, so those things I wanted OUT of my life are pretty much gone already. 

No, I needed a "why" that was based on what awesome and beautiful things I can CREATE or bring IN to my life with this process of getting even healthier.  And I finally sat down and drew up my list.  I look at my list every single day, to refocus my brain on the POSITIVE goals that I am working towards.

I am in a creative space, like an artist with her canvass, or a sculptor with her chisel.  Did you know that before a sculptor makes his first cut he already knows every single cut he will make to cause his statue to emerge out of the marble exactly how he wants it to?  He is deliberate with every stroke of the chisel.  I feel like I serve myself well to remind myself daily who it is that I am becoming. 

I have a strong why.

I needed to remind myself of this fact otherwise, as I said in my opening paragraph, I get into "fix-it" mode even with myself.  How how how.  Now it is why why why.  And the how is taking care of itself because I already KNOW how.  Take Shape For Life, fueled by Medifast.  Simple, really.  Don't over complicate it.

Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Why Alter the Experiment?

Today I was thinking about how we would never modify an experiment if we were a scientist, just because we "felt like it".

Can you imagine running an experiment in a lab, and deciding to alter the amounts or the ingredients or the methodology of your experiment?  If someone before you had gotten the results you are looking for, then why on earth would you change anything about the instructions?

It is the same with the program.  We are always looking for ways to change up things, aren't we?  Why?  What is that compulsion we have to NOT FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS?

Is it our inner teen-ager who doesn't like to be told "what to do"?  Do we throw our fist up in rebellion because we want to do it "our way?"

How has our way been working out for us lately?  Seriously?  Has it been working? 

So why not refresh yourself with the Quick Start Guide, and do ONLY what is IN it, as well as the Condiment/Healthy Fat Publication?  That's what I would do to get results.  Unless results aren't really what you are after.

Rinse and Repeat!

"I was so BAD on my diet" Mythbuster

We hear it all the time, don't we?  We tell it to ourselves.  We see others telling it to themselves.  Does this sound familiar?

"I was SO GOOD on my DIET yesterday!  I didn't CHEAT one BIT!"


"I was SO BAD on my Diet yesterday!  I CHEATED with a few extra almonds."

The first one implies success and "good".  The second one implies failure and "bad".

What if there was another way to look at this, a way which did not tie a moral absolute to your food choices?

Because really?  Eating ON plan does NOT make you a GOOD person, no more than eating OFF plan makes you a BAD person.

I think if we could absolutely identify this and make a paradigm shift in our thinking, it would mean WORLDS of progress to our goal of attaining and maintaining optimal health!

Let me share what I have learned through the years, most of it from Dr. A, and validated in my own life through my personal experience.

For me, part of my hang-up, part of my journey (the part that saw me lose 140 pounds over 14 months and then gain it back over the next 12 months), was staying in a "diet mentality". 

This mentality was highlighted by the goal of "to lose weight", and used self-shame to keep me "on track".  Eating something deemed "off plan" was BAAAAAD and would bring feelings of frustration and shame, an overriding sense of failure to my day.  A "good" day was staying ON PLAN 100% and having a sense of "I'm a SUCCESS!" at the end of those days.  The goal? 

"To Lose Weight".

The second time I did the plan, I actually read Dr. A's Book and began to implement the Habits of Health listed therein.  And I had a watershed moment.

My watershed moment was realizing that my choices to eat "on plan" or "off plan" had nothing to do with being good or being bad.  It was so freeing!  I almost didn't know what to do with that information!

I realized that if I stretched out a timeline and put "Optimal Health on one end of the timeline, (attained by practicing daily, Habits of Health) and I put "Where you came from" on the other end of the timeline, (attained by practicing daily, Habits of Disease), that I could look at each choice in light of where it would take me on that timeline, and NOT as a moral decision of good or bad.

Ergo, eating ON PLAN was a choice I could make to MOVE TOWARDS OPTIMAL HEALTH, and eating OFF PLAN was a choice I could make to MOVE TOWARDS WHERE I CAME FROM.

Since I never want to go back to where I came from, I consistently make choices that will move me towards optimal health.  Simple as that.

And the choices I make that don't take me closer to that goal?  The choices that I make which don't support my primary goal of optimal health are few and far between now because I examine every eating or drinking decision in light of where it will take me on that time line.  And it is NOTHING about being "good" or being "bad".

You know what else I found?  I am a perpetual teen-ager at heart.  Sometimes I just LIKE being BAAAAD!  A little bit of rebellion exists in the heart of this individual, and that was evidenced in the past by "acting out" with my food choices.  "Because if eating a snickers is wrong, baby I don't WANT to be right".  Seems as though with all the structure and responsibilities of being an adult, a wife to an amazing man, and a mother to an amazing 8 year old boy with medical special needs, well that takes structure, organization, discipline, and responsibility and sometimes I just wanted to be a little bit irresponsible and, well BAD! 

My brain would be a bonanza for someone with a psychology degree but I literally diffused the "acting out with food" by taking away all the moral associations with those choices.  Literally.  It was almost an overnight decision.  And I felt the difference immediately.

How did I do it?  How did I just all of a sudden diffuse the moral associations? 

Intentionally.  I DECIDED that if I chose to eat off plan, that I would NOT view myself as a BAD person.  That is was NOT a moral decision, and I just told myself BEFORE eating the off-plan item "Eating this makes me neither BAD nor a failure.  Eating this is a choice I make, which will either take me towards my primary goal of optimal health or farther from it.  Which is it, Sista?"

And you know what?  Taking that brief moment to STOP and CHALLENGE my behavior in a non-moral way, in a non-failure way, put it into perspective for me.  I would REALIZE that what was about to eat would NOT in fact take me closer to my goals (the goals that I said I wanted, BTW, the goals that I chose, not any goal that was foisted upon me....), and 19 times out of 20 I would put the item down and continue my day ON PLAN.

When my goal became "to attain and maintain a healthy weight" is when I feel I made great strides at breaking free from the diet mentality (which is an oscillating pattern of lose-gain-repent-repeat) and making this a lifestyle change.  And if you rolled your eyes at "lifestyle change" like I used to do, then I recommend you get a copy of Dr. A's Habits of Health and begin to thoughtfully read it (with a journal and pen nearby) because I had NO idea what a "lifestyle change" was until I saw it laid out so beautifully and understandably as in that book.

I thought "yeah, I've made a lifestyle change, dieting IS my lifestyle LOL" and I'll tell you right now, that previous diet mentality was all about deprivation and victim-mentality bondage to some system. 

A lifestyle change, on the other hand, is all about HOPE, FREEDOM to live the life I WANT to live, and choosing Habits of Health because it is a JOY to do so. 

A diet mentality is all about what I CAN'T have. 

A lifestyle change is all about what I am choosing to create with this process.  All the good things I am bringing in to my life as a result of my decision to get healthy.

And that's a wrap!

I have become THAT GIRL!

My alarm went off at 4:30 (Pacific) this morning, and I promptly arose, turned the coffee-maker on, and put my work-out gear into the dryer.

It is now 4:50, and I had my breakfast of "peanut-butter-pancake" (last night I combined 3 chocolate chip pancakes with 1 soft-serve peanut butter, 1/2 tsp baking powder and baked it like a cake making 4 servings of Medifast Meals), I had my perfect cup of coffee, and am just waiting a few more minutes for my clothes to dry so I can leave by 5:00 or so to get to my mountain for a trail run before it gets too hot (Arizona in June can be pretty unforgiving after 8:00 am)

Yes.  I have become "that girl".  That girl who is willing to get up before the sun in order to accomplish her exercise goals for the day.  Did I ever think I would become "that girl"?

Yes.  You see, when I began this program at 272 pounds, a BMI of over 47, and walking with a cane, I wanted to be her.  I wasn't her YET, but I had a vision of her, crystal clear in my  mind.  So I did what I needed to do in order to become a healthier weight so that I COULD begin to BECOME her. 

When I hit the "just obese" category of 39.9 I began walking a couple of times per week.  Nothing extreme, just walking.  Once I hit "overweight" of 29.9 I began lightly jogging.  Again, nothing extreme, just jogging a few times per week, starting out very slow. 

I remember one time when I was very close to a "normal weight" BMI deciding, last year, to do a sprint-distance triathlon in San Francisco.  My first ever.  It involved swimming in the San Francisco Bay for 1/2 mile, then biking 13 miles, then running a 10K.  In order to participate in the triathlon, I had to wake up at 3:30 in the morning and, in the pitch black of the San Francisco early morning, bicycle ACROSS town (1 hour ride) to the starting point with all of my gear.  When that alarm went off it was EVERYTHING I could do to get myself out of bed.

What kind of crazy person gets up at 3:30 to accomplish her exercise goals?  I was NOT that girl yet, but I pretended that I was and I DID it.

This is called "identity-based behavior change" and I believe that it WORKS.  It basically says what the great philosopher Epictetus said "First say it is what you would be, then do what you have to do."

It means deciding who you want to be.  Then asking yourself "well, what would THAT person do in this situation?" and doing THAT.

A triathlete gets up at 3:30 to cycle across town for an hour to get to her race.  So I did that.

Within the last 6 weeks I have begun to work with a personal trainer.  I remember our first session was at 5:00 am at a gym across town, so I had to get up at 3:45.  I had flashbacks of the triathlon.  At first my thought was "Who does that??!!!???!! Who gets up BEFORE 4:00 am to go exercise?.....oh yes, I did that already once....ok, I guess I do that."

And I did it.  Because I decided that is who I am.

And guess what?  Because I keep doing the things that fit and healthy people do, I become more fit and healthy every day.

Ever go into a restaurant and see a fit and healthy person pigging out on ribs, beer, a bloomin' onion and cheesecake for dessert?  Honestly I have not.  Fit and healthy people are always making choices that fall in line with them being fit and healthy people.  Choices that make sense for fit and healthy people to make.  In other words, fit and healthy people most always act like fit and healthy people.

When it became the norm for me to be up before 5:00 am to accomplish my goals, I knew I had passed some sort of crossroads from just "doing what fit and healthy people do" to "being a fit and healthy person doing what fit and healthy people do".

I don't know if this makes ANY sense, but the way it can be applied in your life if you are just beginning your journey to health is this:

Decide who it is you want to be.  Is that a fit and healthy person, or is that a person who will always struggle with her weight, never reach her goals and be a martyr trying?

Because the difference between those two journeys is extreme.  The first one is a joyful journey.  It is a journey of creating health in your own life.  The second journey is someone who really is not engaged in their own process, their own decision, still pines for the ribs, the bloomin' onion and the cheesecake, and who will likely never reach his/her goals or if they do it will be very brief because everyone has to come up for oxygen sometime.

Change your oxygen.  Become the person you always knew you could be.  It will change your entire world.  Make a list of the things the person you WANT to become thinks and does.  Then begin thinking and doing those things.  At some point, you BECOME that person, instead of just ACTING like you are that person.  You are changing WHO YOU ARE based on WHO YOU WANT TO BECOME.  One small incremental sustainable daily improvement at a time.

Rinse and Repeat!

Do We Truly Understand the Power of This Tool?

I am always amazed when I see someone who as absolutely transformed their life by transforming their health.  The tool of TSFL is SO powerful, the effect it can have on a life if it is used as directed.

In my community of peeps it isn't uncommon at all to see these successes documented every single day.  The excitement of another successful empowering week.  The non-scale victories that are reported every single day.  It truly is contagious.  And the things all of these success stories have in common, as I have observed them, are quite simple. 

I am about to divulge the secret of success.  Are you listening?  Are you ready to receive it?  There are four of them. 


1)  Follow the directions
2)  Do the work
3)  Never give up
4)  Keep focusing on optimal health

If you have it "in you" to do these four things, you can have the kind of success that will utterly transform your entire life.  And guess what?  There is no expiration date on reaching your goal because the goal IS optimal health, and we never "stop" reaching out for it.

A number on a scale is not a goal.  Well, it was for me the first time I did Medifast.  But that time I did not seek to develop a fit and healthy mind along with my healthy BMI.  I was just seeking a number on a scale, and when I "arrived" that meant I was "done" and I could "relax" and "have whatever I wanted".  So it was fleeting, it didn't last.

The power that seeking optimal health has had on MY life amazes me.  I feel free, I feel transformed, and catch this because it is a BIG ONE:

I am NOT WORRIED about GAINING MY WEIGHT BACK because I FEEL IT IN MY GUT and KNOW WITH ALL MY HEART that I will NOT EVER allow myself to slip back EVER into the "diet" mentality.

You see, the "diet" mentality almost REQUIRES me to gain it back because if I measure my success by "losing weight" all of the time, then the ONLY way I can CONTINUE to feel successful is to always be LOSING WEIGHT. 

If I am addicted to that DROP on the scale to measure my self worth, then I will always create a situation whereby I NEED to drop weight so that I can necessarily feel good about myself again.  In order to do that, I HAVE to always gain weight so I can LOSE it again.

When I realized that I had been exhibiting that kind of behavior since I was in elementary school on my first formal "program" ever, it shocked me.  I had the biggest "A-HA" moment I have ever had.  Realizing that I was a scale junkie  and that I allowed that beast of a thing to dictate to me my value for the day/week/month/year was like waking up out of a fog and realizing that there is SO much more to life than the scale.  I also realized that I was addicted.....TO LOSING WEIGHT.  I was entrapped.....BY MY SCALE.  It had never, up until I began my TSFL journey in July of 2010, been about HEALTH.  Let alone OPTIMAL HEALTH.

It had been about that blasted scale and whether I was losing or gaining, because I was always caught in that oscillating cycle of lose-gain-repent-repeat.

What changed?  Me.  How?  Because I made a decision to change.

"But Stacy, you make it sound so easy!  You make it sound like anyone can do it, that it just takes a decision, and how can that possibly by because if it were that easy then everyone could do it."

Exactly.  Everyone can do it.  I will never waver from being absolutely convinced that everyone can do it.  But not everyone does.

CAN everyone brush their teeth?  Yes.  DOES everyone brush their teeth?  Perhaps not.  CAN everyone pursue happiness in their lives?  Yes.  DOES everyone pursue happiness in their lives?  No.  CAN everyone strive for Optimal Health?  Yes.  DOES everyone strive for Optimal Health?  No.  One lap around Costco on Sample-Sundays will dispel any notion that EVERYONE strives for optimal health.

And I was once one of those super-obese individuals lining up for the cheesecake samples.  I had given up that I had it in me to strive for health.  I was not in a scooter on oxygen yet, but at 40  years old my knees were to the point where I walked occasionally with a cane.  I still have the cane.  I kept it.  I woke up every day wondering how in the world this fat suit came to dwell on my body.  I felt completely detached from my body, like I was observing this massive lumbering entity straining to get in and out of her car, like an out-of-body experience.  My son called my "Sully" after the big blue monster on Monsters Inc.  Yes.  Did I have a reason to be depressed?  Yes, but it was a reason of my own making.  I did that to myself.  Me.  And when I took FULL responsibility for the poor health choices I had made up until that point, when I at the same time FORGAVE myself for doing that to myself, when I realized that I was a VALUABLE person no matter what my size, coupled with the HOPE that I truly had a tool to be able to accomplish what had eluded me for SO LONG......


When I was ready to decide, the decision took about as much time as a heart beat.

The decision to wake up every day and strive for optimal health.

The decision to keep a short record of my failings, to forgive myself often, to love myself and to value myself as worthy of the effort.

The decision to stop, challenge, and choose on a daily and hourly basis only those things that would take me closer to my goal of optimal health.

Was I perfect?  No.  Is anyone?  Perhaps, but I was not.  What I WAS was DETERMINED and PERSISTENT.  I was a bull-dog.  If I stumbled I would pick myself right back up move along toward health again.

Pity?  Self loathing?  Martyr mentality?  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

Entitlement?  Perfection Mentality?  All-or-nothing mindset?  Killing myself at the gym?  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.

What, then?

Accountability.  Support.  Incorporating Dr. A's Habits of Health into my life incrementally, sustainably, daily.  Making the decision to be a master of my body, not the other way around.  Self-Mastery.  This is a concept which was foreign to me until I learned it.  That I was actually able to be a master of my body, and not always live as a slave to it. 

This has been a long blog.  Kudos to you if you are still here.  It really is just me typing out my thoughts as I go.  Sort of as a record for myself.  Thanks for listening.

Rinse and Repeat!

What I remember....

Legs rubbing together, always rubbing.
Arms rubbing against my sides, always rubbing whether I was walking or not.
The "wedge" feeling when I plopped myself into a movie theater chair, then not knowing where to put my arms so I would fold them in front of me, when I could.
The "wedge and panic" feeling when I plopped myself into an airline seat, then the digging around for the seatbelt and praying - to no success - that I wouldn't need to ask for an extender.
The SHEER panic when I had a MIDDLE seat on an airplane and was flying alone.  Knowing that I would overflow my space.
My chest resting on the steering wheel of my car when I drove, because my short legs couldn't reach the pedals if I had the seat back far enough where my chest WOULDN'T rest on the steering wheel.
People scrutinizing the contents of my shopping cart at Costco or Safeway, Whole Foods or Sprouts. 
Salespeople who avoided eye contact.
Clothing salespeople who avoided ALL contact, then asked me if I wanted a gift receipt with that.
Walking from my house to the car, and being out of breath.
Not being able to get up off the floor without the help of a piece of furniture, or else getting onto my hands and knees first, THEN using a piece of furniture.
My 4 year old son calling me "Sully" (think big blue monster from Monsters Inc)
Wearing my size 26 jeans.....again.
Avoiding all social situations because someone there might know me.
Avoiding all social situations because I'll be the biggest one there.
Avoiding all social situations period.
Wearing torn and ragged sweatpants because my size 26 jeans didn't really fit anymore
Wearing XXXXL Men's T-shirts.
Wearing "comfortable" shoes which were not very comfortable either
Plantar Fasciitis in both feet
Walking with a cane
Not being able to fit through the turnstiles at Disneyworld, they had to let me through the stroller gate - without a stroller.
Not being able to fit on the rides at Disneyworld or Disneyland.
Not being able to go on a Hot Air Balloon ride or a Helicopter Tour
Not being able to go on the Carousel at Sea Port Village in San Diego, or Pier 39 in San Francisco due to the 250 pound weight limit.
Having zero energy.
Having zero confidence.
Having zero self-esteem
On the verge of tears all of the time
Feeling like I was stuck in a fat suit of my own making, but it was my prison.
Feeling lonely lonely lonely.
Being disgusted with myself when I'd falter on yet another "diet".
Chest pains.

That was then.
This is now.

I routinely wake up at 4:30 in order to get my exercise in for the day.
I can run 2 miles up a mountain without stopping!
I can compete in a sprint-distance triathlon and feel like I BELONG!
I take my shopping cart full of protein and veggies proudly through Costco, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Safeway, daring anyone to scrutinize.
My son wants to marry me, because I'm his Princess!
I feel free free free!
I am free to be ME, and free to help OTHERS
I can "curl up" in an airplane seat now, and tuck my legs underneath me if I want, with plenty of room on the seat belt! 
I have lots of room in the theater seats!
I can fit my entire lower body up to my waist in ONE LEG of my size 26 jeans.
I am wearing stylish clothes, size 2 jeans, size 4 dresses, and can wear knee high leather boots, which I HAVE now!
I fit into small ladies petite tops.
I am living the life I ALWAYS knew was within me to live, if only I could master the one thing that had eluded me thus far, which was how to control my body instead of letting my body control me.  I have made great strides in that area. 

Self Discipline.  Healthy Habits.  These things may not be easy to master, but they ARE simple.  Action, not reaction.  Healthy choices TODAY which will further my primary goals.

So, who's with me?

I don't want you to fix it I just want you to listen...

Do you ever feel like the man in this video?  Seriously, as I run around town accomplishing my day I see so many people with nails in their head as regards their health.

So.  Many.  People. 

And I was one of them not so long ago. 

Here's the thing about this supportive community, the thing that I think is wonderful.  We have "fixers" and we have "listeners" on this site.  And no one of us needs to be both at all times.  There are many times that my blogs and my discussion board posts strike the tone of "fixing" which may not be what some people on here would like to hear at the time.

But I am mostly a fixer.

I am SO glad we have so many listeners on this site, because truly this community is so caring and so unique because we all bring something to the table.  Now, back to "out there" in the "real world".

I see so many people with nails in their head as regards their health, and I hurt for them.  I want to develop relationships with ALL of them so I can show them what I did to finally get that nail out of my head!

And as I watch the 400 lbs man on oxygen in his scooter waiting for his cheesecake sample at Costco, the sense of urgency is sometimes overwhelming.   It sometimes even overwhelms me to tears.

I am quite often the "man" in this video.  My idea of "fixing" as regards health is asking the questions: 
*Are you following the program as described in the Quick Start Guide?
*Are you engaging in bites, licks and tastes?  Because you will slow or stall completely (or worse) your progress on this plan if you are.
*Are you drinking all your water?
*Are you eating within 1 hour of waking and then every 2.5-3 hours after that?
*Are you doing too much exercise?
*Are you doing lots of recipes with cheese and tomato sauce?
*Are you weighing your lean cooked protein?
*Are you limiting your condiments to 3, and limiting them to those prescribed in the Condiment/Healthy Fat publication?
*Are you logging your intake?
*Are you FOLLOWING the plan and not substituting your judgment for that of the plan?
*Are you solely utilizing Medifast Meals for your 5 Medifast Meals per day?
*Are you reaching out for support?
*Are you reading Dr. A's Habits of Health in a thoughtful way?

These are my "go-to's" for fixing my OWN plan when I find that I am faltering or not getting the results I desire.  These are the questions I ask myself.

Every day that we make a habit out of these practices we go to bed healthier than when we woke up.  Every. Day.

I am just here to say today, one more time, that I am grateful for Take Shape For Life.  I am thankful for the tools that it gave ME to get the nail out of my head.  You know that Bible verse about getting the log out of our own eye before attempting to remove the splinter out of someone else's eye?  Here's to working on ourselves ALWAYS, relentlessly, without tiring, and running the good race.  Because the more I am able to be evidence that this program works, the more I can help other people see the value in this program.

"Because you can't have enough good people around you...."

“You can’t get enough people like him,” Kraft said, according to USA Today. “Life is about collecting good people around you. You can’t have enough good people.”

This was a recent statement by Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, upon signing Tim Tebow on a 2 year contract to play.

I love this sentiment.

Kraft knows that surrounding yourself with good people sets you up for success.

Who are you surrounding yourself with? 

Our support system is SO important.  It is vastly important to surround yourself with like-minded people who are life-givers, who help you to be the best person you can be. 

When you find such people, "collect" them as friendships and pour in to their lives as well.  If you have a desert landscape on your horizon as regards friends such as these, begin to seek them out.  Relationships are so important on this journey we call life, and especially when we are seeking to become optimally healthy.

Is everyone around you a nay-sayer?  Is everyone around you trying to sabotage you or are they telling you that you won't succeed?  Ditch 'em. 

Seriously.  Well, not if they are immediate family. 

What if it is a spouse?  In THOSE cases, lovingly remind them that you DO have what it takes, then go about proving that without using your words.  Do the work.  Do it in the background if you need to, do it quietly and without complaint.

I can't tell you how many times I tried a new "diet program" in the years after I got married to my husband, and he would sit back and watch me try...and fail.  Try....and fail.  Try.....and fail.  So it was no wonder that it was with a bit of skepticism he allowed me to try THIS program. 

So be gentle with your spouse if they are doubting.  Allow your actions to speak LOUDER than your words.  Is he still watching you steal "just one" french fry from your child's happy meal?  Does he KNOW that your little one didn't in fact finish his pasta at dinner, but oh look the plate on the table near the sink is now empty?  Did he suspect that you probably ate "just the crusts" of the leftover pizza that went uneaten at lunch during the game?  Does he see the "horizon line" of the ice cream container inching it's way down down down day by day, knowing that HE nor the KIDS are eating it?  Does he watch as the block of cheese gets smaller day by day in the refrigerator?  Or that the cereal box seems a little more empty in the morning than it was at the end of breakfast the day before?  Does he wonder why none of the brownies actually HAVE crusty edges?

If he is seeing any of this going on, then he knows one thing.  That you are STILL not being honest with yourself or the plan.  So he may bite his tongue, shake his head and hope for a better tomorrow, or he may just ask you why you keep wasting money on "that Medifast stuff" month-to-month because I'll tell you one thing, if you ARE doing those things in that paragraph above, you AREN'T being honest with yourself and you AREN'T being honest with the plan.  Ask yourself one thing:


Aren't you tired of this cycle?  Aren't you tired of this hamster wheel?  I was!  I was tired of MYSELF and the shenanigans I continued to play when I was "playing at Medifast" or "playing at TSFL". 

I was tired of feeling bad.  Of feeling guilty.  Of feeling shame that I couldn't even control what I put in my FREAKING mouth for 24 hours!

Is this you?

There IS hope.

FIRST, you must SAY WHO IT IS YOU WANT TO BE.  Without this, you are directionless.  Formulate in your mind WHO IT IS that YOU want to be.  WHO is the best version of yourself?  What does she look like?  What does she do?  How do others view her? 

Find her.  Then become her.  How?  By doing the things ONLY THAT PERSON would do.

When I decided to become fit and healthy, I was anything BUT fit and healthy.  But look.  Poof.  I'm fit and healthy.  Because I started doing every day what fit and healthy people do every day.  And eventually my outsides caught up with my insides. 


My outsides.

Caught up.

With my insides.

I changed my inside.  I changed my mind.  That junk became "not my food".  At Costco when I'd pass the red wine and black licorice my mantra was "I don't buy that stuff anymore".  And I didn't.  Did I FEEL it every time?  No.  But I DID it every time.

What will YOU do today?

Rinse and Repeat!

I'm Stacy Phillips.  And I'm who I want to be.  I'm fit and healthy.  I've lost 130 pounds and kept it off for over a year now.  Who are you?  Who do you want to be?  Become her.