Transition to Food

Oh hey… guess I kind of forgot to update here, huh?

Living not blogging is far more fun 🙂

How about an update then?

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I’m officially down 77.9 pounds which is more than my adorable golden retriever weighs!

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More importantly, I received my bloodwork numbers back from my work health screening. A work health screening was what got me started on this whole thing to begin with, so I was very interested to see what the new numbers would be.

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I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped and I let out a little cheer when I read those results!! I had a few other numbers that were higher (LDL) and some that were a little “off” thanks to my recent surgery. Otherwise though, EVERYTHING was in the “healthy” range for the first time since middle school!

Food-wise, I’ve entered the phase of things that I’ve been scared of since the beginning: all REAL FOOD, all the time. A meeting with the dietitian and a food-centered class and I felt confident enough to start with all food all day. Something my dietitian said really stuck with me: “make your choices as mindless as your Optifast choices were.” So I took a trip to the grocery store.

Breakfast: protein shake made with almond milk, coffee, and whey protein

Snack: two light string cheeses

Lunch: greek light yogurt and 1 serving of raw almonds (25 of them)

Snack: either cottage cheese with sugar-free jam OR a bar OR hummus and peppers (it depends on my schedule)

Dinner: This week, crock-pot chicken barbacoa on a giant salad with cucumber, avocado, tomato, cheese, and light sour cream

Snack: sugar-free fat-free pudding made with 1% milk

Next week will likely be the same or similar. So far, it’s gone well! I am noticing that I’m a bit hungrier, so I may need to make my lunch or snack a little bigger. It’s all a learning process!

As usual, I put together a few progress pictures to keep myself motivated:

Two visits to the Botanic Gardens, a few months and 70 pounds lighter!

Two visits to the Botanic Gardens, a few months and 70 pounds lighter!

At the Botanic Gardens

At the Botanic Gardens

Progress: -77 pounds

Progress: -77 pounds

Progress: -73 pounds

Progress: -73 pounds

OH! And I entered the official Optifast “New You” contest too! Maybe I’ll post my whole essay one day… but here’s my official before and after pictures that I submitted:

Before - Summer 2013, 285 pounds

Before – Summer 2013, 285 pounds

Now - April 2014 - 207 pounds

Now – April 2014 – 207 pounds

And with that, I’m signing off! I’ll check in again 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.

171 Days

It’s been 171 days of following my plans.

171 days of high-protein, low-carb, completely different eating (and “eating” in those early days).

171 days of avoiding sweets, pasta, bread, potatoes, and other starchy foods I’d come to call friends over the last few years.

171 days of re-teaching myself how to eat for fuel and necessity rather than solely for pleasure and comfort.

I think it’s fair to say I’ve come a long way.

As of this week, I’m down 68.1 pounds.

According to a fun list I found online, and a few of my own calculations, I’ve lost:

  • 68 guinea pigs
  • a baboon plus an average human brain
  • 3.5 automobile tires
  • 4.25 sperm whale brains
  • An elephant’s penis
  • $1,459,519.20 in gold (at $1339.50 per ounce, today’s cost)
  • 3 bags of our dog’s food
  • 1 of the members of our 6th grade wrestling team
  • 272 sticks of butter

I’ve still got a ways to go…but seeing my progress this far has been SO motivating! I get to eat real food snacks starting this week, so I’m down to three meal replacements! I’m counting down the days until Spring Break, since I’m heading to Phoenix for a few days. Warmth is much-needed after this hell of a winter.

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Me and my bestie, Lizz, at her birthday party last weekend

Week 17: Making changes

The bane of my existence for as long as I can remember has been physical activity or exercise. I mean seriously, why run? Why go lift heavy things for FUN?

I was told when I started my OptiFast journey that exercise and activity were key to not only losing weight, but making the habit of working out was key to maintaining. Damn.

I half-assed the physical activity as soon as I felt up to it, starting with basic Pilates and a class here and there, mostly doing YouTube videos at home. Then, my friend Michele asked me if I wanted to take a boot camp with her, and I figured “sure, why not?”

We bought the LivingSocial deal for a boot camp type place near my house, and went to our first class on Saturday morning. It was a circuit-type workout, and I successfully completed three rounds! I flipped giant tires, I did planks, chest presses, squats, and I ran on a treadmill. RAN!

I felt awesome. Today, I decided to start the Couch to 5K program, and I’m starting Zumba on Thursday. I managed to walk a couple miles with my sister downtown today, and am looking forward to another bootcamp tomorrow!

WHO AM I!? I don’t hate physical activity. I just hated physical activity when I was heavier. I’m wicked sore though. Advil here I come…

The benefits will be worth it though. I’m loving feeling so much better, and definitely loving being smaller…and the clothes are a nice benefit too!

Week 17

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I weighed in a day early this week, and will be for the next couple of months thanks to my insane after school activity. I was THRILLED to see that I had lost yet another 1.4 pounds for a grand total of….

55.9 pounds GONE!

I am still in shock. I think I say that every post. But really. I’m in shock. 

I find myself feeling, as our class said last week, “phantom fat”. I still feel and sometimes see weight that used to be there that isn’t anymore. I’ll grab a favorite outfit or sweater thinking “oh sweet, this is clean, I can wear this!” and find that I look ridiculous. The saggy baggy elephant look is not good on me.

Back in the Weight Watchers days, I once lost 51 pounds. I’m still 29 pounds above where I was at that point, and my first major goal is to get under 200 pounds. I’ve decided though, that my -60 pound reward (my next one!) will be that I’ll get myself contacts again. Not that I’ll wear them every day, but I’d like to have the option again. I was about this weight the last time I got contacts, and only started having issues when i gained weight and my eyes reacted.

Eating is still going well in this transition phase. I’ve learned that I don’t need to have a starchy side with every any dish, and a perfectly roasted vegetable is as satisfying as a bowl of pasta. I’ve also learned that undercooked spaghetti squash is gross.

Oh, and the high protein OptiFast powder, no matter how much it keeps me satisfied, is SO DISGUSTING that I can barely stomach it.

Off to another week…

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 14: Then and Now

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On my first week of eating real food one meal a day, I managed to lose 4.8 pounds. I’m officially down 52.8 pounds in 14 weeks. I’m still in shock and I weighed in on Thursday.

Winter break has been the relaxing time I’ve so desperately needed, and I’ve spent each dinner time (my chosen meal) slightly indulging the cravings I’ve had since I started this program. When I say slightly, I mean slightly.

I thought I’d go through a few “then and now” comparisons.

Then: sushi dinners out would consist of 5-6 big rolls shared between Adam and me, usually full of tempura, mayo, and other delicious yet horrible for me ingredients.

Now: 3-4 ounces of sashimi and cucumbers or daikon.

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Then: Dinner at Wildfire would be half of a chopped salad with dressing, an 8 or 10-ounce filet crusted in bread crumbs and horseradish and wrapped in bacon, a huge baked sweet potato or creamed spinach, and then dessert.

Now: One small plate of chopped salad with less than a teaspoon of dressing, half of a petite filet (so about 3 ounces) and about a cup of steamed broccoli.

Then: Chinese food out would be an egg roll or crab rangoon, followed by Mongolian beef and white rice, and then probably a trip to the fro-yo place afterward.

Now: Shrimp and broccoli, steamed, with brown sauce on the side.

Then: I’d leave most meals stuffed beyond comfort, and still wanting more. My clothes would be uncomfortably tight, and I’d repeat the same behaviors over and over, wondering why I couldn’t lose weight.

Now: dinner out is remarkably freeing. I’ve spent more time talking and less time eating, and am surprised at the end of each meal as to how little I need to be satisfied. I’m used to the sort of “empty” feeling I’ve had while on OptiFast, and I’m finally familiar with the feeling of being satisfied instead of being full.

I’ve had a few milestones this week besides hitting the 50-pound mark: I purchased a sweater at Ann Taylor Loft, something I haven’t done since 2008. On a whim, I went to the sale at Dick’s Sporting Goods to look for a new winter coat, assuming I’d have to buy something from the men’s section. I ended up with my first non-plus-size women’s coat since 2007 (on sale no less!) I booked a trip to Phoenix for spring break,and I’m looking forward to hiking and being active rather than dreading every bit of physical activity.

I’ve been long-winded enough!

Here’s to a great end of the year, and a happy new year to all!