Monday, August 26, 2013

Life IS Different Here.....

Riding my pink Vespa to The Coffee Shop to "check in" to my office?  Check.  My pink Vespa was my gift to myself last year, because I was worth it.  I told myself that the moment I wouldn't look ridiculous driving a Vespa (of ANY color) I would get one.

Pre-Healthy-Weight emotions are still right under the surface, about how I used to feel.  Firstly, regarding riding a European-style scooter, at any other time in the last 22 years of married life (save the first 6 months of marriage when I was a healthy weight, and 4 months back in 07 when I was a healthy weight....) whenever I envisioned myself on a scooter thoughts of "Circus Clown" entered my brain concurrently. 

We are so hard on ourselves, aren't we?  I remember being morbidly obese and just feeling strong feelings of disgust about myself, and about my body.  How?  That was the biggest question on my brain.  How had it come to this?  How had I gotten this way?  How had I allowed myself to gain 10-15 pounds a year for 10 years after getting married, and how had I NOT done anything concrete about it yet?

Yes indeed we are unkind to ourselves, we ARE our harshest critic.

When I began this journey with Take Shape For Life in July of 2010, I vowed to myself that I would FORGIVE myself.  AND, I would FORGIVE my body.  After all, it was only doing what I had instructed it to do, and even with a degree in Human Nutrition from a State University I literally had no clue how to lose the weight that was killing me and keep it off.  Until TSFL.  The Medifast 5&1 has the science of fat burning DOWN, it is the best out there for the purpose of attaining a healthy weight, and TSFL has the TOOLS for keeping it off DOWN to a science. 

So I plugged in.  Drank the kool-aid as it were.  The Medifast Cranberry-Mango Drink that is.  I lost 140 pounds.  I've kept a majority of that off for 18 months, returning these last couple of months to the 5&1 in order to attain a BMI of 21 which I didn't even do the first time. 

And I feel liberated on my Pink Scooter.  I feel free.  Free from the bonds of the Lose-Gain-Repent-Repeat cycle.  Free from feeling BAD about myself, or feeling BAD about my body.  It is doing exactly what I am telling it to do now.  It follows my instructions very well.  Always has. 

When I was eating more calories than I needed, my beautiful and precious body would dutifully set about storing every extra calorie, in a super-efficient way, as fat.  It is hard-wired to do that, you know.  That is part of our awesome design.  And before I realized that we are also hard-wired to eat the entire berry bush every tie we come across one, I thought I had a problem with willpower or self control or self discipline.  Turns out I didn't  Turns out we were designed this way also, hard wired as it were, and I simply needed to learn how to handle these two competing desires:  my hardwired (also by design) desire to eat the whole berry bush, and my desire to live an optimally healthy long and productive, fulfilling life. 

I have those tools now in my arsenal.  I am utilizing those tools every day to organize my life around what matters most to me. 

I got this.  Oh Happy Day!  Life is Different here.

At a Healthy Weight, life is about living and loving and laughing and helping myself, my family, and my community in every way I can.  It is about riding pink scooters and dancing the line dance for HOURS at a cowboy saloon, laughing the whole time, not getting tired and loving every minute of it.  Life is about running up a trail in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, NOT being out of breath, and feeling on top of the world.  Life is about being able to go swimming with my son and husband.  It is about riding the roller coasters at any amusement park I want.  Life is about being ABLE to get the seat belt of ANY car around me with plenty of room to spare.  Life is about NOT worrying whether a chair will hold me up, or whether a chair will even contain me if it is an outdoor patio chair with hard metal armrests.  Life is about NOT worrying whether I'll fit in the fixed seat booth.  Life IS about being able to go horseback riding.  Hot air ballooning.  Trampolining.  Surfing.  Entering a triathlon.  Life IS about reaching ALL parts of me in the shower, and FITTING in my bathtub to take a bath.  Life IS about knowing that if people are staring at me it is NOT because I am morbidly obese and they are thankful they aren't me.  Life IS about people holding the door for me now, meeting my smiling gaze with a smile of their own.  Life IS about squeezing every bit of God-given potential out of this amazing person, ME!  I like me.  I love me, really.  And THAT journey, my friends, has been one worth taking.  There IS joy in this journey.  Are YOU on the path to optimal health?

Yeah, life IS better here.

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

If You Don't Take a Stand for Yourself, Who Will?

If you aren't going to take a stand for yourself, who will?

I think many of us believe we are not worth fighting for, and so we don't even fight for ourselves.

I also think those of us who are morbidly obese don't truly understand that we could die today.  I mean it.  Die TODAY.

Oh, we are relatively healthy, we think.  Until we aren't.  Until we have a stroke.  Or a sudden cardiac event which could result in death.  Or we get that cancer diagnosis.

Did we know that the risk for ALL of these  things is drastically reduced if we are NOT obese?  Sure we did.  We just didn't think it would happen to US.

I was there, I was class IV Super Obese, I remember what I thought and felt.  And oddly enough I felt like I was relatively healthy.  That I just needed to lose a little weight, you know, to feel better about myself.

I was kidding myself.

If you are reading this, and you have a BMI of 35 or higher, and you AREN'T SERIOUS about getting heatlhy, I need to tell you this as lovingly and compassionately as I can.  You don't gotta lose this weight for vanity, hon, you don't gotta lose this weight to feel a little better about yourself or to fit into that summer dress you bought last year that you'd love to get back in've got to lose this weight to




Will you listen to me?  I don't know.  Will you get all discouraged today because the process isn't happening fast enough for you?  Are you mad because you can't be skinny tomorrow so you might as well eat this cake today and enjoy yourself?  Did you fall off the wagon yesterday and you are vowing to "do better" today?   If you have a BMI of 35 or greater, 40 or greater, 45 or greater, approaching 50 like I did, and you aren't DEAD SERIOUS about getting healthy, I'm telling it to you straight:





This isn't a game.  This isn't just a "good idea".

Someone had to say it.  Your family is too scared you'll get angry with them.  Your Doctor is so demoralized with fat people coming in his office every day who don't listen to what he says that he may have stopped even saying it.  Heck, you don't even listen to that inner voice you squelched so long ago that is telling you the same thing, because hey, you woke up today, didn't you? 

Be your own hero.  Save your life.  Take a stand for yourself.  You ARE worth it.

If you ARE on the path toward health, if you are TAKING this journey seriously, if you DESIRE to create something beautiful and noble in your own life as regards your health, if you are ON PLAN today then do know this, you ARE doing everything possible to be the best version of you possible.  YOU can rest in the peace and knowledge that this is a process and YOU are on the path, and YOU are taking responsibility for your health.  YAY YOU!

But if not?  If you are "playing at" this program?  And if you are still obese?  Please step back and take an honest assessment of where you are and where you are going.  And fight....for YOU.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One Heck-uv-a Non Scale Victory!

I love driving around my neighborhood, stopping in at all my favorite places to say hello to the staff/proprieters/cashiers etc!  People love to see a friendly face, and I remember when I was morbidly obese I didn't ever see smiles from people (customers) when I would go shopping or get gas or get a refill of green tea at Circle K.  But then, I wasn't smiling back then either.  So can't blame 'em! 

So part of my "routine" during the day is to try to see how many people I can make SMILE!!!  Customers AND staff.  You just never know who just needed to be smiled at that day to make a real difference in their lives.

Call me crazy.

But it is fun!

Every time I engage in a conversation with any of the cashiers or bank tellers or barristas, etc, I always seem to leave the place smiling MYSELF because it is just so awesome to connect with people.

Today, one of the cashiers at Fresh and Easy who has known me for 4 years now, asked me if I was continuing to lose weight.  I told her why yes, as a matter of fact, I was down 20 pounds in the last few months, and had just a little bit more to go.

She shook her head and said "Well, I just have to tell you, you do NOT look at ALL like you have EVER EVER EVER had ANY kind of weight problem or issue.  I mean NEVER."

I just beamed from ear to ear, and she continued "You know how sometimes people will lose weight, and it will be apparent that they did?  They look like they WERE large, and they lost weight?  You don't look like that."

Now that is pretty awesome considering I lost, gained, then lost 140 pounds since 2006!  And I'm 43!

Wow, I thought, I'm comin' in here more OFTEN!!!  Ha ha!

I explained to her that the plan I am on is very much a LEAN BODY MASS SPARING program (when done correctly).  Unlike other programs, the Medifast 5&1 is geared to SPARE our lean body mass (muscle) from being catabolized due to the calorie deficit we are in.  So we can LOSE WEIGHT but lose the RIGHT KIND OF WEIGHT and not just be smaller fat people so to speak.

Isn't that COOL!  Evidence!  It works!  Work it!  And work it AS WRITTEN to get this benefit, which means WEIGH your cooked lean protein, MEASURE your vegetables, DON'T ever skip Medifast Meals, GET all of your appropriate healthy fats in and DRINK all your water!


Pretty awesome.

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Letting the Days Go By....How Did I Get Here? Inspiration Provided by Talking Heads....

Sometimes life gets so humorous you just need to blog about it because otherwise it seems unreal.  Today handed me just such a moment. 

Today I had my pick of Montserrat or Maui. 

Now let me clear, no islands were visited or WILL be visited as a result of what happened today, but I will set the scene for you so that you can laugh and marvel at the irony, too.

Opening scene:  Me, in Sprouts Market, selecting my precious vegetables with care.  Oblivious to my surroundings.  Until (Jaws music commence) I realize that a very fit looking middle-aged man is standing right next to me, selecting (it appears) similar vegetables to the vegetables I am selecting. 

Said very fit man strikes up a conversation about (upon retrospect, how original LOL) the weather.  Apparently it is a scorcher out there today.  I live in Arizona, so that is very believable, and, having just BEEN outside in my car driving around with the temperature gauge reading over 110, I can very well buy in to what he is saying. 

I respond with "Yes, I agree!  I have officially come to the point in the summer where I am DONE with the heat."

Innocent.  Didn't sound like an invitation to me.  Can you see I have a wedding ring on BTW?

"Well, how does Maui sound?  Or Montserrat?  Would 3 weeks on an island with a 45 year old single guy like me be of any interest to you?"

I had a bit of a heart attack right there among the organic cilantro.  But I didn't miss a beat (which is very surprising because I have not experienced an invitation of this sort before....or at the very least since the sweet man from Nairobi asked me to marry him on first sight in Costco but that is a story for another time), and I said "Well, my husband of 22 years would think that would be quite nice, as long as it were HIM accompanying me, but I am flattered at the invitation!" 

"Well, your husband is a da** lucky man".

Irony I tell you.  Irony.  Because I can guarantee you that no fit or otherwise 45 or otherwise year old ANYONE would have been inviting me to a tropical paradise 3 years ago.  

I tell you this story because number one I am still chuckling.  Number two, I have gotten to a place where I am actually relatively comfortable in my skin.  This did not happen on my first journey.  On my first journey to a healthy weight I was completely unprepared for what I would look like once I GOT to a healthy weight.  I was completely unprepared for any extra attention from the opposite sex, in fact it absolutely angered me.  Why did it anger me?  Because I was UNCOMFORTABLE in my skin.  I didn't KNOW how to respond with grace or humor.  I took every glance or double-take as a personal affront, or worse yet, I MISTOOK it in somewhat of a paranoid way, thinking my usual default of "there must be something WRONG with me, they are STARING at me....." because THAT kind of attention I was USED to having, being morbidly class IV Super Obese for much of my adult married life.

This time I had warning.  THIS time I realized that if there is any physical beauty about me, it is God's responsibility because I am certainly not responsible for the shape of my nose, or my chin, or the color of my eyes, or my jawline, or my hair color, or ANY of it.  That part was God's doing.  And I give Him credit for it, and hope that I can use it in a manner that glorifies HIM.  What IS my responsibility is obedience, my obedience, my calling in life, and I believe that He is doing a work in my life regarding my weight.  As a steward of this gift He has given me, this physical body, I feel that I am called to be a healthy weight.  I literally look at it as an act of worship, or obedience, to Him who made me, to submit to my physical limitations and live life at a healthy weight.  Not only for me, but for my family, to model health for my son (who needs to be a healthy weight, so his Kidney Doctors have told us, in order to minimize stress on his kidney transplant that he has had for 5 years now). 

So is it important to me to be healthy?  YES.  Does it matter to my family that I am healthy?  YES.  It matters a great deal.  Could be a matter of life and death, not only for me but for my son. 

Which is why these encounters make me smile, shake my head, and think about the irony of it all.  Montserrat, huh?  Maui?  I am indeed flattered, but I don't do all of this for random propositions from strangers in Sprouts.  I do it because it matters deeply to me to choose health.  I do it because I feel it is a calling on my life to be a lighthouse of sorts, with all of my cracks, and a bulb that is sometimes obscured by fog, or sometimes needs to be replaced when it burns out.  I do this to show the way for my son.  I do this because sometimes we just need a little bit of hope that we CAN GET THERE.  If we do the work, put in the time, and be patient.  One Medifast Meal at a time.  One Chapter of Dr. A's Habits of Health at a time.  One healthy decision at a time. 

Rinse and Repeat.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Look, the Fat Girl is Eating a Salad....

If you walked into a restaurant 3 years ago, when I was just beginning my "second" journey, and saw me sitting alone and eating a salad with no croutons or cheese, and dressing on the side, you may have made the assumption "Oh, look, that fat lady is on a diet. She is eating that salad, I'll bet she WANTED to order something else but she's being SO GOOD!".

If you walked into a restaurant today and saw me (after losing 140 pounds) sitting alone eating a salad with no croutons or cheese, and dressing on the side, your internal dialog MAY be, instead, "Oh look at that fit and healthy lady eating that healthy salad! Of course she wanted that, look at her, that is what she probably eats all the time!".

Same me. Same food. Different assumptions based on what I look like.

But three years ago, I wasn't ordering the salad because I was on a DIET. I was ordering the salad because I WANTED it. It was the fit and healthy food that fit and healthy people eat, and because I was on a journey to become fit and healthy, it is what I WANTED to order.

Three years ago, I decided to go on the journey of a lifetime.  I decided to create optimal health in my own life. 

I didn't decide to "go on a diet".

And it has made all the difference in the world.  For me and for my family.  I wouldn't trade this new "me" for the entire world.

And continuing on the theme of assumptions, fat bias is prevalent in our culture, isn't it?  I mean we all tend to form "first impressions" when we see someone for the first time, or we judge them somewhat even if we KNOW them, based on what we know ABOUT them. 

You never know where someone is on their journey.  Three years ago, I was a fit and healthy girl in the inside, just wanting my outsides to reflect my insides.  I did the seemingly small actions every day which added up to stunning results.  But I have not been on a "diet".  I have been on a quest to create optimal health in my life. 

Our outsides always catch up to our insides.  Are you in a diet mentality?  Odds are that if you ARE, your outsides WILL catch up with your insides, and if your insides are screaming "deprivation, deprivation, can't wait 'til I'm off this thing", then your transformation will likely be ONLY external and ONLY temporary, and you will bounce back in an oscillating yo-yo pattern of "Lose-Gain-Repent-Repeat". 

But if you truly change your insides, if you truly adopt this as a lifestyle, from a position of hope and optimism, if you truly adopt the Habits of Health and practice them daily, if you choose to CREATE health in your own life, then if you are obese right now, your outsides will eventually catch up to your insides and that is an AWESOME thing!  I wish this all for you!

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Myth of "Good" or "Bad" on this Program....

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 garning 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 success, failure, 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 (or, in my own words 'attaining and maintaining a healthy weight') on one end of the timeline, punctuated by Habits of Health, and I put "Where you came from" on the other end of the timeline, punctuated by 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.

You know what else I found?  I am a perpetual teen-ager at heart.  Sometimes I just LIKE being BAAAAD!  A little bit rebellious, 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 9 times out of 10 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 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!

Monday, August 12, 2013

In The Habit Of.....

I'm in the habit of viewing food as fuel. 

To those who don't do this, this is psychobabble.  It was psychobabble to me also, before I began mindfully practicing it and doing the headwork to discipline my brain in to viewing food in, what I believe is, the correct context FOR ME and for MY LIFE.


Dang, did I lose you again?  Yes, I've lost MYSELF many times along the way, but I always go back for me and pick me up off the ground, dust me off, and give myself grace to fall forward.

I had an A-Ha moment, one of many, last spring.

I finally let go of the guilt.  ALL of it.  I let go of the sting of failure.  ALL of it.  I let go of my concept COMPLETELY that food was THE ENEMY and that it was my job to use all of my energy to fight against the enemy all day long until I could collapse either in victory or in defeat at the end of one more, very very long, day.

It was utterly exhausting.  Even the good days!  Even the victorious days!  In fact, the victorious days were MORE exhausting than the defeat days, because I had said "no" to SO MANY TEMPTATIONS, I had dodged SO MANY BULLETS in the form of tasty treats here and there.

Well by now you are saying "Well, get on with it, what changed?  Because that IS how I feel and I NEED to know there is hope that it will get easier, that it will someday not be so hard!"

There is hope.

But it is an ACTIVE hope, and not a PASSIVE hope.  By that, I mean that it takes some action on YOUR part.  Some "changing your mind" about things.  It doesn't magically appear one day without you noticing that the new attitude and mindset about food kinda slipped in the door of your brain one day without you looking, or while you were busy doing something else.  It takes intentionality.

I'm not saying you won't perhaps notice in the first few weeks of the plan that your cravings seem to go away, and some of the same foods that interested you in the past, and kept your attention for hours and hours even days and days don't seem to hold the same power over you.  THAT is a simple side effect of this plan.  THAT will happen almost without you putting any effort or thought into it. 

But it won't last, UNLESS you do the headwork to really change your mind, change your wants, and change your view of food.

And that, my friends, is where Dr. A's Habits of Health steps in.  If you aren't ready to take the plunge of Dr. A's Habits of Health, simply go with it's prequel, Discover your Optimal Health which is a New York Times Best Seller.  The principles outlined in those two books ARE what I absorbed and began practicing, it isn't magic and it isn't hypnotism and it isn't hours and hours on a therapy couch.   Best $14 I ever spent.

My mind and my desires were an active participant in my changing my orientation towards health.  And in the process of changing my orientation TOWARDS health, I began to see that food is NOT the enemy.  I began to really understand that our bodies are hardwired to eat the entire berry bush (high energy, high calorie food) whenever we encounter it.  That signals even beyond my cognitive perception draw me towards acting on that instinct.  I also began to understand that IF I desired to live my BEST life at a HEALTHY weight, and model that for my children, that I was going to need to get ON the path towards intentionally balancing my energy intake with my energy output, in a WAY THAT MADE SENSE TO MY BODY (it isn't JUST ANY calories in, the calorie deficit had to be done in a way that would optimize insulin output to work WITH weight loss not against it) in order to first ATTAIN a healthy weight, and then MAINTAIN it.

It isn't rocket science, but I didn't come up with it myself either.  Some super smart Doctors came up with this plan.  And that is why I follow it, and while I follow it I learn the precepts of how I will eat both now, and for the rest of my life.  How I will view food now, and for the rest of my life.  How I view myself now, and for the rest of my life.

And food, for me, is NOT the enemy.  It was a MYSTERY up until I found this plan and Dr. A's Habits of Health.  The mystery has been unraveled, and I am living proof that it is possible.  I am also living proof that it is possible to stop viewing this as a "diet", and to be able to orient yourself to health. 

What do I want?  Well, you won't see me blogging about the latest recipe.  If you do, it is the exception not the rule.  You won't see me blogging about the food network, or the yummy nummy triple fudge something or other that it took all my strength to say "no" to last night after one little bite.  Because I don't focus on food.  And it holds no power over me.  It is morally neutral, and I have neutralized it's potential power in my life to take me towards obesity and disease and an early death.  I have done that intentionally. 

I don't focus on food.  I focus on health.

Any questions?

Rinse and Repeat!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I Don't Understand Why This Isn't Working!

Aside from my every-other-nightly glass of red wine, my extra goat cheese on my salads, and the TBSP of pine-nuts I add daily, I'm for the most part spot on plan!

I mean, I'm a lot better than I used to be, I don't eat as MUCH cheese, drink as MUCH wine, or use as MANY pine nuts every day! 

My calories are still very close to 1000 most days, because I've substituted the goat cheese, wine and pine nuts calorically for 2 of my Medifast meals, and I eyeball my protein but I'm SURE I'm getting at least 3-4 ounces per day in my Lean and Green.

Lentils are OK for my Green, right?  They are green.

But all that to say that this just doesn't seem to be working for me.  Why does nothing seem to work?  I  must have a screwed up metabolism.  Or maybe, I know, maybe it is the fact that we can't have fruit on this plan.  I mean that is kinda whacked.  How can it be healthy if there is no fruit?  Isn't lots of soy supposed to be bad for you or something?

I don't know, I'm thinking of quitting and doing my own thing.

Did I get you?  =)  Sorry about that, but I wanted to highlight some of the things that have, in the past, run through even MY head about how we convince ourselves that we ARE doing the plan when what we are actually doing doesn't match up with the Quick Start Guide.

I especially liked that last "I'm thinking of quitting and doing my own thing."  Because what I just described WAS somebody ALREADY doing their own thing, convincing themselves that because they were opening 3 little packets of food that said "Medifast" on them that somehow they were "Doing" the Medifast 5&1 Plan.  Far from it.

The plan works, folks.  THE PLAN.  Not OUR plan.  So here is my Sunday suggestion.  Dig out that Quick Start Guide.  Dust off your kitchen scale to weigh your cooked protein.  Get out those teaspoons to measure your healthy fat depending on what protein you choose to have that day.  Grab those measuring cups for your greens, and make sure any vegetable, protein, or fat that you choose is listed as approved in the Quick Start Guide.  ONLY have it in the amount that is listed in the Quick Start Guide.  Yes, that means measuring and weighing it.  KEEP TRACK of your water intake, and have 40 ounces BEFORE noon and 50 ounces AFTER noon.  Limit your condiments, if you have them, to 3 per day.  Don't utilize your optional snack unless you truly need it.  Remember, this Medifast 5&1 Plan was made for 6 foot 4 ex-linebackers who have active jobs just as well as it was designed for us 5 foot 3 short ladies who are sedentary.  Perhaps us shortie short gals don't require that optional snack, but the linebacker does.  =) 

Are you stuck and doing lots of cheesy tomatoey recipes?  Are you stuck and adding a laughing cow wedge to multiple meals each day?  Are you stuck and NOT measuring your half and half in your coffee in the morning? 

Switch it up.  Stick to the Quick Start Guide.  Ditch the cheese if you are not a vegetarian and stick to lean proteins as discussed in the Quick Start Guide.  Just a suggestion.  "Are you suggesting that my weight loss may be stalled because of the cheese?  It is allowed you know!"  Yes, so it is.  But if you are stalled, ditch it for a week and see what happens!

Just some suggestions to bring the best success into your life as you possibly can.

Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Waxing Philosophical on Theory....

Most of my life I TALKED about what the "best method" of weight loss was.  I would read every article I could get my hands on, maybe THIS was FINALLY the solution to my WEIGHT PROBLEM!  I vowed to never take diet pills or injections or get surgery, and I vowed that anything I did had to be healthy for me.

I could talk about the pros and cons of any program out there.  And talk.  And talk.  And talk. 

I spent much of my SUPER-OBESE (Super-Obese is classified as the highest clinical level of Obesity, with a BMI greater than 45) life in my BRAIN attaining HEAD KNOWLEDGE of the proper methods and foods to lose weight in a "reasonable and healthy" manner.

I even got a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Nutrition because I wanted to figure it all out!  Meanwhile I was the largest girl in the room.

Looking back on the years I wasted doing this futile exercise brings me to the only regret of my life that I cannot change, which is that I didn't find and commit to this plan earlier.  That I didn't know about and pull the trigger on it in my 20's instead of my late 30's and early 40's. 

I think of the tears I cried every time I went in to my closet looking for something that would NOT make me look "so big".  That garment doesn't exist, by the way.  At least I never found it.  By the way, the only clothing that I have found which is successful at making me look "less big" are SMALLER SIZES.  I can definitely say that my size 2 Levi's make me look MUCH less big than the "JMS" Just My Size Walmart Brand Stretch Women's 26 Jeans made me look. 

I think of the fact that my chest rested on the steering wheel of my Volvo when I drove it because I could not get the seat far enough back and still reach the pedals without my chest doing so.  Now?  No problem.

I think of the times when people would look away as I was walking down the aisle of the airplane, as they secretly hoped I wasn't headed to their row.  You see, with a BMI of 48 and being classified Super Obese, I felt and probably looked just about as wide as I was tall.  I spilled WAAAAY over on both sides of my seat, so I always prayed for an aisle seat so I could at least lean in to the aisle in a very uncomfortable way that wrenched my back so that the person in the middle seat could put the armrest down and have a prayer.  But even so, my bum was so large that the seat could hardly contain me, and I WAS touching them UNDERNEATH the armrest with my ample rolls.  And I was crying inside, apologizing in my mind for being so fat.  And literally hating myself.

Now I have about a FOOT of extra seat belt after it is fastened, AND I can see both sides of my OWN airline seat even when I'm sitting down.  I can cross my legs if I want, I can put the tray table down and rest my head on my folded arms ON the tray table if I want.  All of these things were UNHEARD of before.

Why am I telling you all of this?  Because if YOU are still in research mode, and if you are not SETTLED ON AND DOING this program, I urge you to stop wasting any more time second-guessing the nutrition, wondering about the artificial sweeteners and whether they are "healthy", listening to your friends tell you that portion-controlled meal replacements CAN'T possibly be the answer long-term, processed foods are bad, blah blah blah BLAH!

I urge you to start DOING and stop TALKING about doing.  Start LIVING and stop RESEARCHING living.

I can promise you that if you yearn for a new lease on life, you have found the vehicle for that in this plan.  But it takes you DOING it.  I can't do it for you.  I can't want it for you more than you want it for yourself.  It is simply an offering of hope.  You actually have to reach out and make the commitment, grasp the life preserver, and DO the plan. 

So what are you waiting for? Or are you so attached to your "yummy fruit" that you can't BEAR the thought of giving it up temporarily in order to gain your LIFE?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Importance of Routine

Routines are very important for me.  Habits that I can develop that absolutely improve my life on a daily basis, with baby steps. 

One of the habits of I developed within the last 3 months is the habit of getting up at 4:30 am.

Back in May, I decided that my morning routine was going to start at 4:30 am so that I could get my quiet time in, my exercise in, my personal development in, shower and be ready to engage my day having already accomplished much of what I wanted to accomplish PERSONALLY that day.  That way, the rest of my day could be focused on my family and my community, without me always wondering when I was going to get my run in, etc etc.

That first morning was the hardest.  In fact, the first morning I rose before dawn was the first morning I met with my friend and personal trainer, and I needed to get up at 3:45 am in order to drive across town for our 5:00 am session.  It seemed surreal, being up before the sun.  I wondered how in the world I was going to rise at 4:30 every day!

Well, I've got news for you.  I have NOT risen EVERY morning at 4:30, there are a few mornings where I have slept in.  But did I throw the towel in on the whole effort that first time I pressed snooze? 

No.  The next morning, my alarm went off at 4:30 again.  Every time I DO get up at 4:30, I make it more of a habit, more a natural part of my life.  So, while I still do not perhaps practice the habit every SINGLE day in a PERFECT manner, my orientation and my desire is still geared towards getting up at 4:30 am to start my day. 

If you knew me a few years ago, I was THE LAST PERSON you would have EVER thought would even DESIRE to get up at 4:30, let alone follow THROUGH with it.

But I have added it in to my routine now because I was ready to do so.  I was ready to take that step, to make that commitment to become an early riser because I saw the benefit and having several focused hours at the beginning of each day to think, to pray, to exercise, and to order my day.  It is important to me now.

As is health.  Health is very important to me now.  And, like the early rising thing, I have not been PERFECT as regards pursuing health either.  I used to be a perfectionist, I used to be all-or-nothing and that mentality always left me with nothing.

Now, that being said, saying I'm NOT a perfectionist does NOT mean that I condone nor strive to be anything LESS than 100% adherent to the TSFL Program utilizing the Medifast 5&1 Plan.  Because I know from my experience personally and from what other people tell me that I am MOST successful when I am lining up 100% On Plan Days, and not MODIFYING the plan in any way from what is written in the Quick Start Guide and the Expanded Condiment/Healthy Fat list. 

What it DOES mean, (me NOT being a perfectionist anymore) is that on days that Plan B arises and I make choices that don't reflect the Quick Start Guide, that I don't throw the towel in on the whole process or even the whole DAY just because I wasn't "perfect".

I remember in my dieting days when I'd have 1 TBSP too much of half and half in the morning, and consider the WHOLE DAY wasted, eating whatever I wanted for the rest of the day because I had already deviated slightly so what was the point in adhering anymore that day?

Well, that was VERY misguided and short-sighted of me.  Why?  Because our "diet clocks" don't "reset at midnight".  Our bodies will respond to what we put into it, anytime we put anything into it!  So had I just made my NEXT meal a Medifast one, I likely would have been OK!  That is what I have learned, that one choice which may not reflect my commitment towards optimal health doesn't have to lead to two and three and four choices of that nature.  The plan begins working again with my VERY NEXT CHOICE, provided it is in fact ON PLAN.

So where am I today?  Well, I'm a FORMER dieter, I am NOT on a diet.  I am living my life in health, and right now that includes the Medifast 5&1 while I continue on in a healthy weight range towards my original goal, which is attaining and maintaining optimal health.  =)  Being the best "me" I can be, as it is in my control and power. 

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How Can I Be So Sure I Won't Gain it Back?

Having "done Medifast" twice since 2006, one time gaining all 140 pounds back, and the second time maintaining for 18+ months, I feel like I can write down a few thoughts about how I can be so sure I won't gain it back.

Because, you see, I AM.  SO SURE.  I WILL NEVER.  GAIN IT BACK.  AGAIN.

The first time I did the plan, I was "doing a diet".  I was holding my breath.  Sure, I would have told you "I got this longterm!" but I was PETRIFIED inside that the moment I hit my "goal weight" that I would "do what I had always done" in the past, and start gaining it back.

I was petrified.  I was fearful.  I felt a sense of panic when I would think about "getting to goal".  I would scour and devour any advice I could on the topic, always thinking "yeah, that is fine for them, but what about me?"

My whole life I had never EVER been able to sustain and maintain any weight loss for more than a few months.  So what would be different THIS time? 

Well, the first time I "did Medifast" in 06/07 I see now that NOTHING was different.  I did not develop a fit and healthy mind in the process of "dieting".  I just put my nose to the grindstone, lifted the burden of following a plan, and had dreams of the day I would be "done with this thing".  And I was a great little dieter, believe you me.   If you go back on my blogs to the early years, you will see how much muscle and passion and spit and fire and "just follow the plan already!" ideas I had.  I knew exactly how to follow the plan "100%" and I had very little compassion on those who couldn't seem to do that.  Because I could.  I was a perfectionist too.  All or nothing mindset.  So of course, I had to be "ON" all of the time, on task on purpose on fire on plan and I ran my little self all ragged and probably was one of the most DISLIKED person around ha ha because I was Miss Dieter.  Miss Expert.  You could almost say that my whole life I had always been the MOST SUCCESSFUL at LOSING WEIGHT.  I was a Professional Dieter and I was GOOD at it.

That MAY be part of the reason I had to gain it all back again, so I could once again feel successful losing it again, but that is probably a conversation for another day LOL.

To paraphrase Dr. A (in his book Dr. A's Habits of Health), I was stuck in an Oscillating Pattern of lose-gain-repent-repeat where my sole motivation for change was "I don't want to be fat anymore".  I was very focused on what I DIDN'T want, what I wanted OUT OF MY LIFE FOREVER.  I had gobs and gobs of negative goals.  (Things you want OUT of your life as result of your actions). 

I was stuck seeing food as the enemy, and my desire for it as "bad" (a moral choice).  When I was "off plan" I was "bad" and when I was "on plan" I was "good". 

I viewed my power to resist temptations as the all-important factor in my success.  And I viewed any lapse or fall as a failure, and consequently I viewed MYSELF as a failure when it would occur.  This is characteristic of a "diet" mentality.  I saw oozy cheezy yummy gooey decadent food as desirable but something I "couldn't" have.  One big deprivation.  Diet focused.  Food-centric.  Holding my breath.  But the one over-riding emotion was FEAR.

FEAR that I would wake up and all of my progress would be erased almost overnight.  FEAR that I couldn't safely give away all my bigger clothes because I'd probably have to pull them out again some day.  FEAR that I ultimately didn't have what it took to be successful in this area of my life.  FEAR that this time would be just like all the other times.  FEAR FEAR FEAR.

That was in 06/07. 

And I DID gain all my weight back.

Fast forward.  Now that I've painted you a picture of what was going through my mind the FIRST time I "did Medifast", I want to paint a very different picture for you.  I want to tell you how my journey in 2010-to-present feels. 

In July 2010 I made the command decision to pursue Optimal Health.  Notice, I didn't say "go on Medifast again". 

I knew that the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.  So, I was NOT going to do something over.  I was going to CREATE SOMETHING ENTIRELY NEW in my life.


Optimal Health.

Ultra Health.

Have I lost you?  I hope I haven't, because this is really SO key to understand. 

IF you make the DECISION to remain FOOD-CENTRIC and DIET-CENTRIC you will likely continue on in FEAR that you are going to gain everything back.

IF you make the DECISION to NOT BE ON A DIET and instead to use the Medifast 5&1 Plan as a tool to ATTAIN optimal health, IF you read and ADOPT DAILY Dr. A's Habits of Health, if you find supportive people who you can be accountable to in your journey in a community or one-on-one, if you DO THESE THINGS, then your journey, like mine, will be a hopeful one.

HOPE.  ANTICIPATION.  DESIRE to bring good things IN to my life.

See the difference?  This time my journey has a hallmark of HOPE.

Not shame, guilt, dread, deprivation, failure, all-or-nothing mindset, yummy nummy food that I can't have, etc etc etc.

Instead, I can describe this most recent journey as one of hope, optimism, the desire to create health in my own life, the desire to be my absolute best self that I can be, forgiveness, understanding, grace, self-love and acceptance, deciding who I want to BE and then doing what I need to DO in order to BE that person, getting up when I stumble, orienting myself towards health, adopting Habits of Health that I can practice daily and consistently over time to produce STUNNING results, staying accountable to those who care about my progress and want to see me succeed, etc etc etc.

And I know in my GUT and every other part of me that this is a permanent change.  I am not biting my fingernails waiting for the hammer to drop.  I have changed my mind.  And that was the hardest thing to change, but once I committed and surrendered to the process it wasn't hard anymore.  Seriously. 

Some things I DID change externally to help me make this change was:

*Turned off Food Network and Cooking Channel PERMANENTLY (we actually canceled our cable altogether).
*Stopped hanging out with the people who were not helpful to my journey.  Yes, some relationships did change, and some discontinued entirely because studies have shown that we tend to adopt the mindset and behaviors of the 5 people we spend the most time with.
*Said no to the "good" to say yes to the "great".  Meaning I raised my bar of expectations on myself.  I expected to stay on plan.  I didn't settle for "good enough", I began weighing my cooked proteins and counting my condiments because those are the things that would get me where I wanted to go, to optimal health.
*Read Dr. A's Habits of Health thoughtfully and intentionally every single day.
*Found one-on-one accountability through Take Shape For Life
*Stopped buying the "junk" for my house. 

*Bought a journal where I could begin to write out my POSITIVE goals, which were the awesome and good things I wanted to bring IN TO my life as a result of the process of getting healthy.

These are just some practical things that you can do to ready yourself to begin developing a fit and healthy mind.  Your action steps will look different than mine.  The doing is up to you.  A fit and healthy mind doesn't just "appear" the morning you hit your "goal weight" you must develop it intentionally over time like a muscle.

It will rock your world if you commit to making these changes.  Even if you have been in a "diet" mentality so far in your plan, you CAN begin to change over to being oriented towards health instead of viewing this as a "diet".  It is NEVER too late to become the person we 'might have' been!

Question is, are you ready?

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, August 2, 2013

What About All The Processed Stuff? I'm Worried About Processed Foods....

If I had a nickel for every time I heard this, I'd be a rich woman with a lot of nickels.

So, I decided to put an end once and for all to the question "But what about all the processed stuff?  I'm worried about that, and I'm worried that this plan won't teach me how to eat healthy...."

Here is a picture of my average weekly intake while on plan getting healthy and burning fat:

Here is a picture of what, per Time Magazine, the average American family of 4 eats in a week.  Pretend there is 1/4th of what is pictured to account for an individual's intake on the average American diet, but pay attention to the TYPES of foods:

Need I say more?

YES, the portion-controlled meal replacements I utilize for this plan are, in fact, processed.  But the ingredients are healthy.  Yes they are processed in to "bars" (and other things, oatmeal, soup, shakes, pudding, brownies, smoothies, pretzels, puffs).  But I can tell you, when it gets into your stomach and your intestines, it pretty much all looks the same, but HEALTHY.  And the purpose it serves is to allow you to CREATE HEALTH in your own life.

I can tell you true that until I was 41 years old I did not truly understand the vital role that glycemic index, portion control, healthy movement, lean proteins, and vegetables in particular needed to play in my health and in my life.  Now look at what I eat in 1 week.  I doubt I ate this many vegetables in a MONTH!  And the lean white fish of Mahi-Mahi and Ono?  Fantastic sources of lean protein.  Olive oil?  Wonderful healthy fat.  Balsamic vinegar?  Great flavor enhancer.

Garlic?  Ginger?  Can't beat them for the phytochemicals and nutrients they pack in a very small amount.

So, if you ask me "what about all the processed foods?" I very well may send you a link to this blog.  If you have any other questions that pertain to your attaining the absolute best health that it is within your power to attain, ask me another question, like "How soon can I begin?"

I can honestly say that Dr. A and this plan taught me MORE about how to attain and maintain a healthy weight than 41 years of government public service announcements, food guide pyramids that were ever changing, and a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition ever taught me.

Don't tell my Dad.  He paid for my college.  Thanks Dad!  =)

Rinse and Repeat!


You know how you get that tacky question every once in awhile, during mixers at parties, or get-to-know-ya meet-and-greets, the question of "If you could meet anyone living or who has ever lived, who would it be?"

Yeah.  That one.  I was thinking about that this morning as my alarm went off at 4:30 am and I dragged myself out of bed to grope around in the dark for my running shoes.

No, I wasn't actually thinking of that at that time, what I was really thinking is "Good Gosh it's early.  Again.  Will I ever get used to this?  Will it every be easy to get up at 4:30?  Wait, why AM I getting up at 4:30?  I could easily sleep in another hour and no one would care.  What, am I crazy?  Am I actually a crazy person?  OK enough, get the shoes on and get out the door get the shoes on and get out the door...."

Conversations with myself at 4:30 am do, in fact, go something like that.

But it was around the time I was completing lap 2 of my trail run, with the sun peeking through the clouds casting Gods-Rays over the dewey Arizona morning desert, it was in THAT moment of inspiration that I began thinking about that question.

Well, firstly I'd love to meet Henry Cavill.  The dedication that actor has to mastering his craft, to doing whatever it takes WITHOUT the complaining bit (unlike me in my personal conversations with myself), him getting up at 3:00 am so that he could work out to look right in the Superman Suit for the 15-hour work day ahead of him, his notorious reputation for arriving on set at 5:00 am and being the last one to leave at night to get up and start it all again the next day.  Yes, I'd like to shake his hand and thank him for being an inspiration.

And then I got to thinking, that a few years ago I had a deep desire to meet......ME.

You see, I knew that I was in there, encased in that fat suit. 

I knew that there was a whole LIFE that I was NOT living, a LIFE that was meant for ME in particular to LIVE, and I WASN'T DOING IT.  I was NOT the ME I wanted to be.....yet.

I knew that I had to potential within my soul, spirit, and mind, to rise above any perceived limitations and to become the person I 'might have' been.  I had lots of God-given potential that frankly, I was squandering by not being a good steward of this AWESOME gift He gave me, my life, my body.




And I deeply desired it.  You see, I'd been a stranger to myself for so long.  I had a fat suit which I had worn for most of my adult life which I felt like an ALIEN inside.  I felt so INauthentic as a morbidly obese person.  And every day, looking in the mirror, I struggled with that disappointment that there was MY LIFE out there and that I had not yet STEPPED INTO IT.

I felt a sense of urgency.  I felt a sense of resolve. 

And finally, the reasons why I "couldn't" do it disappeared, because I ignored them.  Don't tell me I can't have MY life.  Don't tell me I can't be FULLY and AUTHENTICALLY ME.

Because I will prove you wrong.

The funny thing is, that it was ME telling me that I couldn't do it.  For all of those years living trapped in my fat suit, my BMI of over 48 body, I actually listened to that part of me which told me that lie.

Until I woke up.  And I realized that time is ticking.  If I'm not prepared to live MY life, then who will?  No one.  That, my friends, would have been tragic. 

So I am very happy to say that in the last 3 years I am meeting ME.

The ME I always knew I could be. 

How did that manifest itself today?  I decided to be my own hero.  I picked something that yesterday I would have said I probably couldn't do.  And I did it. 

It was lap 2 of my trail run.  And it really gave me pause, what if we could show up for ourselves a little MORE every day?  What if we could STOP those voices that say "you can't" and instead dig deep and listen to that deep deep inner voice whispering "but you CAN".

How will YOU show up for yourself today?  Will you pass on that second cup of coffee with cream because you already used your condiments on the first cup?


Will you take the stairs to the 3rd floor at work instead of taking the elevator?  Who cares if you've never done it before!  You can do it NOW!


Will you eat your meals on time and on schedule and weigh your cooked protein? 


Will you empty that FIRST box in the garage, giving away what you don't need anymore to Goodwill, and throwing out what is trash?


Will you go through your closet and give away all your clothes that are even a LITTLE BIT too big for you because no way you are EVER going back there? 


Will you set the alarm for 1/2 hour earlier tomorrow so you can take a 20 minutes walk around the block?


Will you stay OUT of the kitchen after your last Medifast Meal tonight, just turn out the light and go to sleep?


Will you pour out the bottle of wine that you opened last night because you are still on the 5&1 and wine isn't encouraged until maintenance?


Nice to meet you.

Rinse and Repeat!