OptiFast New You Prize Trip

**FYI, those on OptiFast Full Fast, this post contains photos of delicious food**

Remember back in June when I found out that I’d been selected as one of the winners of the OptiFast New You contest?

Well, this past weekend, Adam and I set off on our “Luxury New York City Weekend” courtesy of OptiFast! I hadn’t been to NYC since I was 17 and a high school senior, and I was looking forward to seeing the sights, tasting the foods, and enjoying the city as an adult.

After being greeted at LaGuardia Airport by a guy holding a sign with my name (and I totally forgot to take a picture), we were chauffeured (literally!) to Le Parker Meridien, a beautiful boutique hotel in Midtown, a stone’s throw from Times Square.

After settling in to our room and changing into more public-appropriate clothes (as opposed to the loungewear we flew in), we went for the first of many walks. We saw Times Square, Carnegie Hall, the old Paramount building, and loads of others. Our ultimate destination though? A New York standby: The Carnegie Deli.


We split an enormous corned beef sandwich, and I had a childhood favorite: an egg cream! Seltzer, chocolate syrup, and a touch of milk… so good. So New York.

Of course, we took the obligatory Times Square selfie:


After a brief stop back at the hotel, I met up with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school! Chrissy and I met when I was in 5th grade, and we played the flute in band together all through middle school and high school. She went on to be a professional flautist, and lives just outside of NYC. We met for a drink, and later a slice of pizza and dessert. I’ll spare you those photos, but this one is cute!


Friday brought more exploring: East Village, Alphabet City, and an ultimate stop to meet up with Adam’s cousin at Katz’s Deli.


We sat at the very table from “the famous scene” in When Harry Met Sally, and I had the best sandwich of my life, and yes, another egg cream.



We ventured into SoHo for a phenomenal dinner, but I’ll spare you all the photos from that.

Saturday was makeover day! After a relaxing massage at the Moonshine Spa in our hotel, I met up with Marcia (the other female winner) and Arleni, our OptiFast contact. We walked to the salon and I was greeted by my “team” for the day. I got highlights, a haircut, a manicure, and my makeup done… I felt like royalty! The results were phenomenal… I still feel so pretty!



We had a lovely cocktail reception with the winners and our spouses, and then Adam and I went to the famous Iron Chef Morimoto’s sushi restaurant for the sushi of our lives.

Sunday brought more exploring, a trip to FAO Schwarz, a walk down 5th Avenue, and an amazing brunch.

I went in to this trip, as I had with my others, wanting to have no regrets. I didn’t want to regret choices I’d made, nor did I want to regret those I didn’t make. So yes, I indulged, but we also walked a ton. Sure, I had a drink or two, but they were at lighter meals. It’s all about balance! My success was proven at the scale today too, I was only up POINT TWO pounds between my Spain trip and NYC. I call that a win.

Week 17: Weigh In


Down officially 57.9 pounds! WAHOO! I treated myself to some clothes that fit so I could stop looking like a shlub at work… and being me, I made a comparison photo:


Speaking of, I’ve updated my “Progress” page to show a bunch of “before” and comparison pictures, which really keep me motivated.

The fun thing that’s happening lately is that I can truly shop at “normal” stores. I’m back to a 16 at New York & Co. which is almost where I was at our wedding. In the pictures above, the “before” is a 20/22 from Torrid, and the “now” is a 16 and XL from NY&Co… I’m feeling confident lately! It’s a rather odd feeling.

When hanging out with my sister on Monday, I noticed that people don’t get out of my way the way they used to. I actually got run into quite a few times. It was also quite lovely to walk WITH my sister (who walks at typical Chicago pace, a.k.a. really fast) and not be trailing after her, out of breath. And this was AFTER a run/walk workout!

We had such fun eating beautiful veggies at Eataly,


It was really the first time I noticed how different I feel doing normal everyday things. And I loved it!


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 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…


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:


(me, my sister, and my mom)


(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 6: Days 2 & 3

Well, I spent much of the weekend simply enjoying the fact that I actually kind of feel good about myself. It’s been a really, really long time since that happened. I treated myself to my haircut on Friday, and a new pair of fuzzy Ugg boots to wear with skinny jeans. Or as I used to call them, “not so skinny jeans.”

They’re skinny in fit, but they’re still a size 20. But I have to keep remembering that these are jeans I tried on in August and I couldn’t get them past my knees. My dress pants that were embarrassingly tight at the end of the school year now need a belt. But they’re still an 18. I’m still 9 pounds ABOVE my last “I will never see this weight again” weight.

But I’m making progress! Saturday, I didn’t eat popcorn at the movies, and I drank some water while my husband and his mom had corned beef. My mom and stepdad stopped by today to meet our kitten, and I got to talk to my sister in Paris.

I’m still craving ridiculous things, but really nothing new. Salmon sashimi still tops the list. As does chili and a burger.

It was a good weekend, and I’m ready to face this week head-on!

Week 5: Days 2 & 3

A bulleted list of what I avoided having at my friend’s son’s birthday party:

  • chili
  • hot dogs
  • pretzels
  • beer cheese
  • candied nuts
  • tortilla chips
  • salsa
  • guacamole
  • 4 kinds of cupcakes
  • beer
  • hard spiced cider
  • wine

What I did have at my friend’s son’s birthday party:

  • a berry OptiFast bar
  • 2 diet wild cherry pepsis
  • a lot of fun
  • an hour of holding their newest family member, 3-month old Addelyn
  • great conversations

What was funny was that, while I missed the snacking and the eating, I knew exactly what all those things taste like. And it’s not like I’ll never eat them again!

I’m pretty proud of myself for not indulging…it would’ve been too easy!

Also, please say hello to our newest family member, our yet-to-be-named adorable tortoiseshell kitten! She’s 5 months old and a rescue!


After a fun morning of a 3-family photo shoot, we went to PetSmart and adopted her! Can you tell I’m excited? Our dog is über-curious, and the other cats seem to be fairly indifferent. I was so excited that I forgot to eat… circle the calendar, that’s a first.

I’m thinking weekend posts might be mushed together into one from now on… really, they’re never that exciting.

Week 4: Day 4 (On Consciously Doing Nothing)

For the past, oh, nearly 3 years, I’ve spent most weekends doing very little.

Ok, that’s not true. I did a lot of eating, cooking, baking, grocery shopping, futile clothes shopping, ridiculous shoe shopping…you get my drift.

So much of our weekends before were centered around food. We’d go out for breakfast, maybe run a few errands, sit around until it was time for lunch, then more sitting around until dinner, or dinner and a movie.

Suddenly, with less food focus, I’ve found myself with all this free time. I can come straight home after school, no grocery shopping. Weekends, while still “OMG time to eat”, I can just bust a bar out of my purse and be good.

Today was my first day off since Labor Day. We spent a lot of the weekend out and about; I walked for a good 30 minutes at the outdoor shopping center, we looked at adoptable pets, went to a trade show, and saw Gravity in 3D IMAX. (That movie deserves a post of its own…likely tomorrow.) I made the conscious decision that today, my first day off since Labor day, I would do little to nothing.

So that’s what I did. I didn’t get dressed. I tidied the living room and kitchen. I crocheted 12 rows of my blanket. I made one delicious shake and one meh one. I drank lot of water and watched like, 9 episodes of Supernatural. I played with the dog, and took photos of my mom’s dog who we are puppy sitting. Her name is Stella and she’s the fluffiest and sweetest Goldendoodle I’ve ever met!


It was nice to make the decision to not do anything, as opposed to HAVING to do nothing because I was so tired.

Week 3: Day 3

Oh weekends, how I love you…

Sleeping in til 9:30, waking up to bright sunshine, spending a day walking the Chicago Botanic Gardens with my mom, and just enjoying free time was simply a great way to spend my Sunday. It’s finally feeling like Fall here, and while I’d love to put a pot of chili on the stove, or some stew in the crock pot, I’ll have to be a bit more creative with my warm choices.

I walked a lot today, and rather than feeling completely exhausted, I felt pretty energized for a good portion of the day afterward. I need to make sure I’m eating and staying hydrated though. Hydration is my weak point on weekends.

I’ve really got not much else today, so I’ll leave you with some photos I took at the Gardens today.

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