Summer Vacation: Photo Dump

Back in the food blogging days, every once in a while, I would dump a bunch of photos onto the blog for fun. I’ve got a bunch since, to be honest, summer vacation has not been terribly exciting! I’ve done lots of long walks, lots of time outside, time with friends and family, and my fair share of lazy days too. So, below are just a bunch of photos that sorta kinda show what I’ve been up to!

Me and my sister, August 2013 to June 2014.

Me and my sister, August 2013 to June 2014.

Down 82 pounds here

Down 82 pounds here

Last day of camp to last day of school: down 84 pounds

Last day of camp to last day of school: down 84 pounds

One year apart, 86 pounds down

One year apart, 86 pounds down

Meeting my nephew Logan!

Meeting my nephew Logan, born 6/29/2014

Me and Adam at a Cubs game

Me and Adam at a Cubs game

Me and my friend Ericka, who was visiting from Oregon

Me and my friend Ericka, who was visiting from Oregon

Dinner at Cafe des Architectes with Mary and Lara

Dinner at Cafe des Architectes with Mary and Lara

Strawberry Selfie

Strawberry Selfie

365 days: camp 2013 to visiting camp 2014

365 days: camp 2013 to visiting camp 2014

4 quarts of fresh-picked strawberries

4 quarts of fresh-picked strawberries

My progress page is updated with new side-by-side photos, and my non-food rewards page is updated as well! I was able to achieve one of my small goals of wearing lululemon workout clothes, so my “Onederland” reward to myself was a cute workout outfit!

That’s about all over here… more soon!

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Recovery & Milestones

Ever since I lost my gallbladder, things have been a little bit different around here.

I spent the first week home from the hospital doing a lot of nothing, eating bits and pieces of high-protein foods, and trying to heal. Week two of recovery was spent at work. I noticed that I hit an energy wall at about 1:00 p.m. every day. Apparently, this can be a side effect of having anesthesia (a first for me) and recovering from surgery (another first). Who knew?! I’ve noticed, though, that I haven’t had ONE headache since the surgery, which makes me think that things have been funky for a while… I’d had near daily headaches for months.

The hardest thing has been not being as active as I had been. I never thought those words would ever be a sentiment I truly felt, but seriously, I feel so lazy. I’m still sore on the inside after I eat, and I’m not supposed to exert myself for another 2 weeks, and I can’t lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk for another 4 weeks. Apparently post-surgical hernias aren’t too pleasant…

In weight loss news, I lost 5.8 pounds in the week before and after surgery, and gained one back in the week after. It was hard to not let the gain get to me, but I was reminded time and time again that my body had been through a trauma, and the week before I’d had days where I’d eaten next to nothing. So, my grand total of weight lost so far is…

drumroll please…

74.1 pounds!!!!! I did hit 75 pounds there for a week, and hopefully I’ll be back there this week.

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I’m a lower weight now than I’ve been since 2003. I feel better than I have in years, even with the surgical recovery.

When I hit my 70 pound mark, I knew I needed to do something for myself that I’d wanted for a while. Originally, I’d said I’d get a tattoo at 50 pounds, but since that happened a) quickly and b) in the dead of winter, I opted to hold off until 70.

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I’m in love with it, and am so pleased with how it turned out. I went to Metamorph Tattoo Studio in Chicago, in the Wicker Park neighborhood, and would recommend Zac to anyone who needs ink done. He was awesome!

In other news, the sun finally showed its face here after months of clouds… so I put on my prescription sunglasses. I noticed how differently they fit my face than before, and in shameless selfie comparison tradition:

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I’m hoping to heal quickly and get back to activity soon, and I’m continuing with transition to food, and eating anywhere from one to three meals/snacks a day. I’m supplementing with Optifast products, and noticing the change in my feelings about food. Sure, it’s great to have a great meal… but I don’t need to stuff myself to the point of pain. One big sushi roll with no rice, and I’m good to go. And now I want sushi. But in all seriousness, I’m still in shock as to how different I feel about eating. I’m not going to eat things that don’t taste good, but I’m also not eating ALL THE THINGS!

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I eat some of the things. In small quantities. And only when I’m hungry. This is an important part of this whole resetting thing. Food is fuel…delicious fuel, but still fuel.

Six Months

Six months ago, Adam and I went to the gun range after my very stressful doctor’s appointment and followed that with a “last meal” at Red Robin. A Banzai burger, regular soda, and french fries laid heavy in my gut when I went to bed that night, anxious about what the next days would bring. One day at a time… that’s what I’d committed to do.

Day 1 was not easy. Believe it or not, Days 2 and three were harder. On those days, I was so out of it (more than I would’ve admitted at the time) that I taught my sixth graders the same lesson twice… and no one said anything. It was 90 degrees outside, I had all sorts of lovely skin issue from the heat/sweat/friction…I won’t get too into it.

By the end of the first month, I was in shock at my own success. Yet I was still apprehensive. I still had SO FAR to go. Sure I’d lost 20 pounds, and my clothes were fitting better, but I was still solidly in the same clothes I’d been wearing. Nothing really new, no size changes, and I was still in the state of disbelief in myself. 20 pounds could be an accident. Or water weight. Surely it couldn’t have been what I was doing.

It’s been interesting to look back and read my old posts, for a multitude of reasons. Some days, when I feel like saying “screw it” and eating a giant cheeseburger like I would’ve 6 months ago, I read those first few days and remind myself how horrendous that detox was. I never want to do that again. Some days, when I want to see how far I’ve come, I read the posts from a month in.

At first, I didn’t want to take pictures of myself. I thought it was weird, I thought it was vain…but in reality, they’ve been the biggest help to my own intrinsic motivation. I bit the bullet and started posting progress photos on Instagram and Facebook, and every “like”, comment, and “thumbs up” boosts me up a little bit, especially on days when I really need it.

I’ve had an amazing external support system: Adam has been beyond supportive, my mom and sister have been my biggest cheerleaders, and my friends at work are more motivating than they will ever know. But in the end, it’s in my own head. And I’m really glad I have photos to look at.

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August ——————————————————————————————————October

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November ————————————————————————————— February
Six months in, and I know I have a long way to go. But, instead of it being this incredibly daunting task that I had no idea how to conquer, I’m learning how to make it manageable. One day at a time, one meal at a time, one minute at a time. Choosing to eat my OptiFast bar instead of the brownies in the lounge. Choosing to have four ounces of grilled salmon and roasted veggies instead of a giant burger and fries. I’m the same person that I’ve always been… yet I still feel like I’m completely different.

Week 13, Beginning 14 {Transition}

My very first week on this program, the dietician said something that has really and truly stuck with me.

She said “I know this part sucks. It really sucks. You’re hungry, the OptiFast can get old, but you’ll have success and just know, this part is temporary. It’s not like Weight Watchers where, when you start, that’s it. We have phases to keep you going. You’ll get there.”

I started my first step to “there” this week.

At weigh in:

237.0

I’m down a total of 48.1 pounds, and I WILL hit -50 by this week. Shit’s gettin’ real here. I’m noticeably smaller, I can buy clothes at “normal” stores again, and the other major marker? I began transition.

In my weight management clinic, and many other OptiFast clinics, after a set amount of time, patients begin the transition phase rather than jumping headfirst into “real food”.

I had originally planned to go whole hog, balls out, full fast until the end of week 16. That would’ve brought me to the very beginning of the new year, leaving me about 4 days to plan and shop for my first week with one meal a day, or the first transition phase. But I had a week. You know, one of those everything-goes-wrong, stressed-out-all-the-time, full-moon-with-middle-schoolers, PMS-filled, week-before-winter-break kind of weeks.

I had a full-out temper tantrum while making soup on Monday. I made the decision then and there that, for my sanity and happiness, I needed to talk with the dietician about my transition phase. She was amazing (as always) and emailed me the guidelines. She said that full fast for over 13 weeks is within the regular range, and I can still continue to lose weight with one small meal a day. BOOYAH!

My first meal on transition was a no-brainer: sashimi. I’ve wanted salmon sashimi since week 1.

I spent some time looking up how much a typical piece of sashimi weighs, how to track it, etc…

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First, I ate the miso soup (broth based soup, shocking, I know.) I then had about 15 pods of edamame and only about half of the fish pictured. I was STUFFED. Like, “Oh wow, this is what full feels like” stuffed. But the biggest thing was that I STOPPED. I didn’t “power through” like I would’ve before.

The second transition meal brought a bit of a challenge: we were headed downtown to my sister’s restaurant (she’s an amazing pastry chef) and then to the symphony. I ordered off the “DeLight” menu, and received the most glorious snapper sashimi with pineapple miso, citrus caviar, and shaved radish:

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And, a 4-ounce duck breast, sous vide and grilled with wild mushrooms. I only ate about 3/4. Again, full and satisfied.

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My sister treated us to the full array of her talents, and to be honest, I can’t remember what all of these were. I tasted them all and went back for a second taste of my favorite, then sat back and enjoyed the coffee and the company.

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Then today, I conquered a full-on Jewish food brunch at my mom’s to celebrate my stepdad’s birthday. 2 ounces of smoked sable fish, 1 ounce of smoked salmon, 1 Tbsp. cream cheese, and a bite of turkey sausage, all eaten with cucumber slices. SO GOOD!

The interesting thing is that I’m not any hungrier than usual, and I’m already planning my next few days. They won’t be nearly this exciting, but it’s not nearly as scary as I thought. And, my motivation is simple. I want to be the best me that I can… and that best me is smaller, happier, and smarter than the food-obsessed me of 14 weeks ago.

Week 12

It was brought to my attention that I haven’t posted in a while…

Yeah, it’s been a while, and that’s not exactly an accident. I was having a Negative Nelly (or Polly Poopypants) kind of week. It started with that little gain last week, which was the end of one of the LONGEST weeks I’ve had in a long time. I’m talking 12-13 hours out of the house on a daily basis, which during the school year is next to unheard of.

So then I had a half-pound gain, and got into a kind of destructive self-loop. Why am I doing this again? What the heck am I doing eating these monotonous products and avoiding the delicious things that I love? Tell me again why I’m not just “watching what I eat” and taking it slow the way I’ve done (and failed at) so many times?

So I didn’t post. I probably should’ve, since you all have been so supportive…but I didn’t. And instead, it was nose to the grindstone, walking and eating my freaking products, and then my amazing hair colorist (who’s lost a boatload of weight too) told me to take a full-body photograph and compare it to an old one.

I never do that. I hate looking back at old pictures of more than just my face because it’s honestly kind of depressing…but I did it. I mean, I trust Demi with my hair, I should trust her with this. And so, with a typo (originally I put 2014 instead of 2013) I posted this on instagram:

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I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Later that evening, I found an old pair of jeans in a size 16 and tried them on for the heck of it. Not only did they zip, but they fit well and I wore them to work later in the week. I started this at a very tight size 24. My weigh in proved that this wasn’t for nothing…

238.8

Officially down 45.3 pounds.

I’ve got this.

I’m talking to the doctor/dietician about beginning to transition while on winter break, which means one “real food” meal a day. The fact that I’m so excited about 4 ounces of protein and veggies really tells me a lot about how my attitude towards food has changed.

Oh, and also, here’s a picture of what the wonderful Demi did to my hair, while she was giving me some attitude-changing advice. I went back to my brown roots, and am loving how it looks!

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Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season (even though “my” holiday is over). It’s a rough time of year for me…which I’ll get into this week, I’m sure.

Week 10 (the rest) & Week 11: The beginning

I spent the majority of week 10 worrying about what I was going to do about Thanksgiving.

I know, it’s silly.

I had these moments of panic envisioning myself taking one bite of real food and going completely ape-shit, eating everything in sight, then proceeding to get sick, and then deciding to do it all again over the whole weekend, vowing to “start over” on Monday.

I got a little more realistic and realized that, no matter what, I wouldn’t completely blow it. I would definitely eat something. I made an appointment with the dietician for after my weigh in on Wednesday, and planned out what would make for a sensible and satisfying first meal. She was wonderfully supportive, and heard every last one of my concerns and helped me visualize what a good serving would be. We decided on about 2 ounces of turkey, about 10-12 roasted brussels sprouts (not too many, so my stomach didn’t do crazy things) and a few bites of whatever was for dessert.

Oh, about that weigh in…

244.8

FREAKING 40.3 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY HELL!!!!

That gave me the push I needed to keep going with my plan, eat only a small amount of food, and not completely blow it. That’s exactly what I did.

My mom had made some remarkable (really, really amazing) turkey stock which I ate in addition to my 2 ounces of turkey, 10 brussels sprouts, 4 green beans, and bite of mashed sweet potatoes. Dessert was a few bites of pumpkin flan and a pistachio French macaron made by my sister. (Officially can cross that off the cravings list!)

The conversation was wonderful, the company even better, and I was completely satisfied with my choices to eat. The jokes were endless, because after over 10 weeks, I’d nearly forgotten how to use a fork and plate.

A few photos ensued:

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(me, my sister, and my mom)

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(Me and my sister)

I must confess, later in the weekend at a favorite restaurant during a surprise party, I ate one bite of tuna tartare, and one bite of Peking-style chicken. Totally worth it.

A few non-scale successes:

  • Bought a 1X down coat for the upcoming freezing Chicago winter, to replace the size 22 pea coat from last summer.
  • My mom bought me boots for Hanukkah. Knee-high boots. That zip all the way up my calf. This is a first.
  • Bought off-the-rack jeans from Old Navy in a size I haven’t seen (or worn) in years.
  • I had to return an XXL sweater for an XL.

And now, since I’ve been fighting a bad cold since a week ago, I’m going to bed.

Week 9: all the days

How the heck did this week get away from me??

I feel like I just blinked and BAM tomorrows weigh in day again! Last week dragged on forever, and I think it had a lot to do with the whole running out of bars early thing.

I’ve noticed something recently: I’ve been spending a bit more effort on my appearance on a daily basis. I fell into this rut of really not doing much makeup and clothes wise because I figured that it would take too much effort to even make a dent.

I’ve done my hair almost every day since I got it done at 25 lbs, and I’ve worn makeup almost every day too! Even more important: I remember to take off said makeup with an appropriate product, and (gasp!) use facial moisturizers and eye cream.

Less fat = more wrinkles in this face 😦

I posted this photo last night, and just getting so many wonderfully positive comments from friends from all over the country has kept me motivated today.

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I think I may be hitting a bit of a wall…while I love the progress, I’m getting a little bored with the monotony of the shakes/bars/soups and would still love some sushi/a burger/steak/cheese but the progress is really worth it.

I’ve got this… I’ve got this… I’m the little Optifaster that could…