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.
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Weeks 18 & 19

NINETEEN.

i truly cannot believe that it’s been 19 weeks since I ate a high-fat, high-carb, crazy-caloric day of meals and wondered why I felt like garbage all the time.

NINETEEN WEEKS since I had to gear myself up to get up from the couch.

NINETEEN WEEKS since I looked like 10 pounds of fat in a 5 pound bag. I was pale, pimply, tired all the time, and had so little energy that even walking upstairs was a chore.

My last two weigh ins were rather uneventful. I’m now down a total of 59.9 pounds. I know, I could’ve gone to the bathroom and lost that extra .1, but whatever.

I’ve loved eating one meal a day while still having the security of my Optifast products most of the day. I’m a little nervous to move on to two meals a day, so I’m putting it off for a while longer.

Some things I’m proud of accomplishing (and I need to update my list of goals!)

  • I’m down 5 jeans and dress sizes from a 22 to a 14W
  • My feet are no longer wide
  • I can wear low heels for a whole day (not that I do often with all this freaking snow)
  • I can workout without pain (except the kind I’m looking for!)
  • I don’t reward myself with food, at all

And, finally, I can proudly post pictures like this:

59 lbs gone

The left photo was Western Day in July 2013. The photo on the right was taken Friday, January 31 at the Jean Banchet Grand Chef’s Gala where my sister won Pastry Chef of the Year! 59.9 pounds. I’m still in disbelief.

Week 17: Weigh In

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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:

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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,

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

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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!

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:

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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.