Weeks 15 & 16

You know what’s really amazing to me?

I had so many thoughts those first few weeks on Optifast… things were changing quickly, I felt so different, and then I got into a pattern and out of my old habits. Instead of cooking a cheese and carb laden dinner every night, I came home, ate some soup, and that was that.

Relearning how to eat and cook has been an adventure in and of itself. Dinners are simple, even when we go out. I’ve been snapping photos of most of my meals, mostly so I remember what they are when I go to input them in MyFitnessPal. (follow me there! I’m marafaye)

The really odd thing? I’m still in shock as to how little food I need. I’m not talking want. Do I want to sit and eat every tempura-laden sushi roll I can think of? Sure. But I know that I’ll feel like garbage afterward.

Instead, I ordered a cucumber-wrapped spicy roll, with about an ounce of 3 different fishes. It was phenomenal and hit the sushi spot.

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Over the weekend, I roasted a whole chicken and we’ve been eating it over the past few days. On salad:

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and mixed with roasted veggies:

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I’ve rediscovered grated parmesan cheese as a condiment, and find myself craving protein and vegetables more than I ever have. I’m still having shakes and bars during the day, and am loving the sugar free caramel syrup I found at HomeGoods!

My latest progress photos, at 16 weeks in and 54.6 pounds down. I’m wearing a sweater from Anthropologie, something I never thought I’d be able to do again!

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Oh, and we had to take one of our cats to the vet, and he finagled his way out of his carrier on the way home…

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I still kind of can’t get over the difference in myself. I’m down 4-5 dress sizes, 5 pants sizes, and can wear clothes from just about everywhere now. I still have so far to go, but the progress is SO encouraging!!!

In the coming week, I’ll likely be making another pot of my favorite chili. It’s comforting and delicious without being awful for me. A small serving plus some roasted veggies is a beyond great meal, and a little work once (for the chili) pays off all week.

I’ll try to post a bit more… darn things keep getting in the way 🙂

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 10: Day 1

250.4

Another 3.4 pounds down this week for a grand total of 34.7 pounds GONE!

This weight is kind of nostalgic for me. 250.4 was exactly the weight I was the last time I joined Weight Watchers and proceeded to lose 50 pounds. I hit 199 before the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan and I maintained for a year before starting to gain about 15 pounds before our wedding. I was the weirdo who GAINED weight before getting married.

I remember getting on the scale for my first check up with my new doctor after our honeymoon to see 225 lbs. Then I remember seeing 265 last summer. That “I never want to see this number again” number was 250.4

So I’m seeing it again, but I’m on the way down! 35 pounds down is a reward number for me… so hopefully next weekend I’ll be able to go get a facial! My skin is kind of a mess and could really use it.

As for this week… I’m nervous about Thanksgiving. I have great control over what I eat when it’s a choice between something at home or my OptiFast products. My mom is amazingly supportive and is making whatever I need, so I talked to my doctor and am meeting with the dietician on Wednesday to plan out my meal. I’m eating some darn Thanksgiving food! That day, Thursday, is also the first day of Hanukkah and our 4th wedding anniversary. Thanksgivukkahversary as we’re calling it 🙂

I have to remember that it’s mostly about the family, the conversation, the being thankful…not all about the food!

But I’m not going to lie. I’m excited to have a bit of turkey and a few brussels sprouts and some turkey soup. I realized the other day: I haven’t used a fork in 10 weeks. Or a plate. Or chewed more than one snack a day.

(Holy crap I’m rambling today)

Some numbers, to keep me in perspective when I get tired of liquids:

34.7: pounds lost

2: pants sizes down (it’s probably more, but because I wasn’t wearing clothes that fit, I’ll never know)

1: band sizes down (44 to 42)

10 or more: Clothing items I couldn’t wear at the beginning of the school year that are now too big

2: Sweaters returned because I bought them too big

4: Inches away from the steering wheel in my car

0: Inches away from the steering wheel in my car when I started this

12: Crochet projects completed

Ok, I’ll stop rambling now.

Week 8: Days 6-7

Well, it’s no secret that I can’t count.

Yesterday’s post should’ve been days 1-5. Oh well. My students even mock me because I really can’t count. I mess up their paper passing out aaaallllll the time.

Anyway, speaking of numbers:

253.8

That makes a grand total of 31.3 pounds lost so far! WAHOO!

I’m not going to lie, it was a rough week. I ran out of bars fairly early on, and I didn’t realize how much I need the whole chewing thing until it wasn’t an option. It got to the point yesterday where I almost froze my shake to a solid so that I would have something to chew. But I ordered more bars, and I’ve already had one. So much better!

I meet with my doctor next week, and I’m curious to see my bloodwork numbers. Also, I’ve realized that, provided I stay on the products-only phase (save for some veggies and a bit of turkey on Thanksgiving) I will get to start eating one meal a day right at New Years.

That’s a heck of a start to a new year!

The other thing keeping me sane? That’s only 46 days from now. I’ve already been doing this for 56 days, so whats another 48? I got this.

Week 5: Day 4 (Planning)

This week is going to be quite the challenge for me.

Today and tomorrow are normal, average, simple-to-plan days.

Wednesday and Thursday though? I have parent-teacher conferences until at least 8 p.m. both nights. How am I supposed to make my soup without my stick blender? How am I supposed to meet with 16 sets of parents over the course of 2 days and not eat loads of chocolate? Wait, I’m going to have to bring powdered shakes to work to make.

So I have to plan.

Rather than powdered soup, I’ll bring containers of chicken broth to warm up. I’ll make sure my shaker bottles are clean so I can whip up a shake whenever. I’ll have my bars.

And, most importantly, I have the support of my friends at work, so if I get the urge to “cheat”, they’ll help me avoid it!

Besides, I’ve come too far to ruin it over the stress of meeting with a bunch of parents. They’re really not THAT scary…

And I have this sweet face to come home to.

Meet Zooey!