I have lost 4 bags of dogfood…

I am still heavier than I ever have been in my life (well before I had my children and hit my obese period- which is kind of like an artisits blue period). I have never been really thin but for most of my adulthood (again until I had children at 30) I was around 185-200 pounds; but I was comfortable in that skin and fairly healthy- but kind of , okay denial setting in-i was really out of shape.

But since I have lost this weight I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders-not a metaphorical weight- but real weight, and yesterday while looking at the 20 pound bag of dog food I bought I thought…”Holy Shooting Stardust-I have lost 4 of those bags-no wonder why I feel so good and why I felt so bad.” At that moment a new feeling of helath and exuberance washed over me. I was feeling really good about myself. I was the weight loss queen! I rocked-I was so skinny-I am the Medifast goddness of weight loss I was, um, I was AWESOME! uh hem….. ( just want to note here that all that sounded so much more like confidence when I was thinking it in my head but once I see it written out it sounds a little conceited if not downright awful. I hardly ever feel good about myself, I have this problem with guilt-maybe my catholic upbringing-but I equivicated feelings of self-worth with the sin of pride. But I guess thats what confession is for.)

Anyway, it got worse as the day went on.

As my evening progressed I had two additional compliments. The first came from a lady I have know for about 6 years. Our kids have played all types of sports together off and on, her husband has coached my boys. I walked by her and she never said a word to me and I wasn’t sure what I had done when all of a sudden she blurted out my name. “Holy cow, I can’t believe thats you, I didn’t recognize you, I forgot you had gotten so skinny.” Now, I need to remind you that even after this weightloss I am still 275 pounds- which is far from skinny, but this friend who used to hit around 200 herself is now closer to that same mark so we can say things like that to each other. If she had been skinnier than me-I mean really tiny, I might have taken offence to it or taken it as teasing, but she’s got my back- and she deals with food issues just like me. At that moment in time, even knowing all this I focused on the words skinny! Yumm-o I like that word and the more I heard it the more I thought I really was, I could actually feel how skinny I was or felt- two emotions i must have a hard time delineating against. Even though I know logically I am now thinner, but not near skinny, it felt good to imagine skinny rather than thinnner in my head.

Do I have an awful sense of body image or what? You know how people with anorexia have images of themselves as being fat, I have the opposite of that. I am not saying this jokingly or offensively, I really do have a warped idea of what my body looks like. I know this especailly well now for two reasons- the reason I am trying to tell about now, but also because I have looked back at the few pictures I have of me that I refused to look at for a long time and I am shocked at how large I was. And its weird because I felt bad but I guess I still felt well enough to be in denial of my true size. I knew I was fat but in my eyes I wasn’t as fat as I was. Does that even make sense?

As I am losing weight I have been slowly accepting and dealing with this. Not really well, but its getting better, just ask my shrink!

Anyway, at the park in the rain I considered it was maybe because of my shorter hair. (I have recently cut and colored my hair-weight loss starts the ball rolling for me on a lot of needed self care and pampering that has been neglected in the recent past). “YEESSS” I thought in my head- I am sooo skinny now!” Okay skinny is a strong word and I knew I wasn’t skinny in the sense the webster uses the word, but thats how I felt at that momet. For the second time that day I was feeling on cloud nine.

A little later on in the eveinging the kids wanted to eat at a Mexican restaurant we used to frequent once a month or better. We live in a small town of about 5000 or so – so when you own a restaurant you may not know everyone’s name but you know their faces and what they order. I had not been since starting medifast in January. (As I get more and more familiar and comfortable with the progam I can do so much more. – I know at Mexican restaurants all you need to do is ask for plain shrimp on a bed of lettuce with raw peppers and salsa on the side). The owners wife had spoken to me a couple other times-one of them being when one of my boys was creating havoc in the mens restroom doing who-knows what to the stall walls while I was drinking a grande cerveza. I guess I knew whe knew of me but never thought she KNEW of me-you know? (probably not…) Anyway.. when I walked in she was there and the second I sat down she stopped over to compliment me and tell me how good I looked. It sure motivated me to stay on plan when I was there (not that I would have chected anyway!) And on top of the last compliment and the dog food bag incident I was flying high now on a magic carpet of pride! Now I felt really skinny!

When I returned home I took the advice of one of my friends I had seen earlier that day and decided to add a new progression picture. I only take pics of myself when I feel good, and I have been in a little weight loss rutt – it feels like anyway- the reality is my weightloss is slowing down, but I am still shrinking. Its hard to look at the numbers on the scale and know I am building muscle which adds to my weight. But I knew by the fit of my clothes I am making progress and I need to slow down due to excess skin anyway. I didn’t take a picture when I started but I did when I was at 22 pounds. Then again at 40 and at 62. So I was due for a new picture soon and today was the day my friend! I was so sure I was going to be skinny looking! So I changed into the shirt I have worn for the last three pics, now so big it borders on ridiculous, but at one time was too small to wear in public, and had my husband took my front and side shots in the same position as I had done before. I was going to look so good!

And thanks to the magic of digital cameras I was forced to face the fact that even though I had lost 4 bags of dog food – I have to lose 4 more (or 6 more to be skinny-which is unrealistic for me, but still possible) All this before I can be what I actually see in my head.

I looked at that picture in disbelief..I wasn’t skinny afterall. I was still 275 pounds. Thats still heavy, still obese, still overweight and still a long way from skinny.

But

and I mean a big “but”

(not mine by the way) haha-still room for fat jokes-

I was an entire 4 bags of dog food thinner.

4 freaking bags. OMG- I had been huge! I know how good I feel now and cannot imagine what 4 more bags will feel like!

And then I thought about the power of suggestion and how influencing compliments and support are.

If I had grown up in a world where all women are beautiful and told they are so~all the time, no matter what they look like-I wonder if I would be fighting this battle of the bulge at all? I know for sure now that I am going to start spreading more compliments to the high school girls I work with.

The power of suggestion is a mighty thing.

But then again, so is a digital camera.

I’m going to go do my elliptical now!

I AM the Fat Lady-No Excuses

I have made a pretty public transformation. I am a teacher at a local high school where I have been part of the community for about 15 years.  I am a well liked teacher who has a lot of friends in the district, and kids (and their parents) don’t miss much!

One of my sweet students came in to class to visit with me during my planning today.  This isn’t unusual.  I have a lot of kids visit me throughout the day- I am known for my listening skills and my attention to their issues.  I am fair and honest and respected by most of the kids. (Or so I think- of course there are always exceptions to every rule, right?)   Sometimes kids come in to share their problems or to tell me exciting news.  In the morning, about 10 kids just come by for a hug- sometimes, kids just need a hug to start their day. One of my students has Down Syndrome and he likes to hug me because I am fluffy!  That makes me smile.  He loves me because I am “fluffy”!   But today, this student came it to tell me something about ..well, me.  The first thing that she said is that the kids were talking about me.  I wasn’t much surprised.  The kids have talked about me in the past for many reasons.

I have taught  high school students for about 15 years and let me tell you they can be quite cruel.  Before I gained all this weight I briefly taught at a Middle School- If I had taught there when I was at my heaviest I would have just been a walking target. Middle schoolers are something else I tell you! 

But still, high school kids are cruel!  And when you are a big person and you are enforcing rules and giving them directions, you become a prime target. So it wasn’t long after starting there that the comments and looks began. (Hey and by the way- you don’t have to be overweight to be made fun of-I could have been Asian or short or have too many freckles-for student this age, anything is comment worthy!) Well, when the names started I wasn’t giving in,  I wouldn’t let these kids take me.

Here is what I found worked- for me anyway-I became brutally honest about myself right in front of the kids.  I called myself the “fat teacher”.  I know right now you just sucked in your breath with shame and hate.  I know I shouldn’t say things like that about myself.  I know, I know.. I should have better self esteem than that.  I get that, but here is how it worked out for me…

If I called myself the “fat teacher” then when they used those same insults -because it was inevitable-especially in my program, I work with kids with behavior issues- but when they called me that-it wasn’t a cut down, I killed their insult.  I took the control of the word. I made it mine.  So what I said the word fat. 

I had a student call me a fat cow once, right there in front of ten other students.  I had caught him cheating on a test and he was mad at the world.  He stood up and shouted it loudly (and angrily) and I had a choice to make right then and there.  This was only my second week at this school and I had to make an impression. I had to think quick and my response? “I am not a fat cow, I am a fat witch and if you call me a cow again, I will fly over there on my broom and make you as fat as I am.”

Silence.

And the student returned to his seat in the back of the room, mumbled under his breath and the other students laughed at him and I had the control and all of a sudden the insult deflated and the word, “fat” wasn’t an option for him  to use to hurt me.

It doesn’t sound very pleasing, I know, but you have to think like a kid to work with them.  This is very hard to do sometimes, since we are not kids-but their brains are different than ours. I suppose I could have thrown a fit and kicked him out of class.  But, the reality is, that later, if he needed to come back at me again it would be very easy to throw a new derogatory term about my weight around.  As I saw it, I was taking away the power of the “fat” insult because, well frankly, the truth of the matter was, I was fat.  I really was huge. I mean big…nearly 400 pounds!  But, I wanted him to know that I knew it and frankly, it didn’t matter, because the weight does not make the person!

This name continued to stay with me through the years as I taught; so when I was trying to squeeze my way through a small spot I would say “Fat lady coming through-move it or lose it”.  When my students were procrastinating getting to class I would remind them that the “fat teacher” was faster than they were.   Once, when a student with Autism said out loud that I had a “double chin”, I bragged that no, actually I had a quadruple chin- which, in my eyes, was really much more attractive.  One of the students, affectionately, later called me chins.  (Affectionate you ask, really?  How is that possible?)  well, argue if you must but I learned one thing, people will call you names to hurt your feelings and when that doesn’t work, they know it.  It stops.  No one had the chance to call me fat anymore, even though I still was. It seemed less important somehow.  People started to see beyond the fat and see me.

Now, I know all about bullying too, and maybe you think I should have been much more defensive of the heavy people in the world.  Maybe I should have lectured the kids about what is right and wrong, but kids don’t listen to that stuff.  Not in a class setting.  Not from a teacher-ick! Unfortunately, I see kids get bullied by others and when that happens, it stops right there, there is no disrespect in my room when it comes to the kids.  I am their guardian.  I know you are thinking right now, ‘This makes all I just said ironic’ (or moronic-your choice). How is it okay to call you names but not the kids.  Maybe you believe that by letting my own insults go I was promoting bullying; but what I wanted to do was show those kids that words are words; are words, are words, are words, are words.  And you?  You are so much moreSo-so-sooo much more.  A student who was also in that room with me the day I was told I had a double chin was also a big guy.  I could see him flinch when it was spoken and knew he felt the slap of the insult intended for me.  But, as it turned out, with my acceptance of the name he laughed and shared his own double chin. This is not a kid who said very much.  He sat in the back of the room and drew pictures of deers and derby cars.  But here, this guy turned out to be quiate a character, maybe someone who had been uncomfortable for a long time and just thought it was time to speak up and this, for him, was his opening line.  “Who really cares how many chins we have at all” came his voice from the back…”China,” he said “had more Chins than we did combined.”  Our joke, coming from an insult, bonded us.

And over time kids got to know me and the insults stopped completely.  (Well about my weight, they never stopped making fun of my clothes-I do have awful fashion sense!)

And this is what did happen…Girls with weight problems themselves saw how I carried myself and I personally dealt with the teasing and were impressed.  It was nothing to have three or four girls come to me a week in tears over teasing (weight related or not) and ask how I dealt with it, and when they saw me blow it off, it also gave the courage to do so.  Once I took the power away from the name caller and the power was mine I could change the outcome of the use of the word. 

I admitted to many people over the years that yes, I was indeed fat.  And guess what, I was fat.  I was fat, fat , fat… and I cannot deny that!

But that did not change my value as a person.  Fat did not equal ugly or dumb or lazy or lonely.  I showed them that I was fat and I was beautiful and smart and organized and clean and hard working and fair and all the other wonderful things in the world that many skinny people may or may not also be.   I gave value and acceptance to me, not “even though” I was fat, I gave value to me and I also happened to be fat.

I gave Me value…So much so that when I started to change and lose weight some of the kids started to talk and that’s when I had to rejustify myself. 

This girl came to me and told me the kids couldn’t get over how much weight I had lost and how much I had changed.  She then got a little mad and said, just when I found a fat person to look up to you go and change.  This broke my heart.  She asked why I was dieting if I had spent the past three years telling her it was okay to be fat.

I choked on those words.

I thought for a minute, caught my breath and told her. 

I never thought it was okay to be unhealthy.  I thought I was a good person and no one should be judged by their own faults.  Being my size was unhealthy and was killing me.  I was tired and miserable and even though I didn’t always show it, I didn’t like who I was.  I… I…. I….

I

Me

Me, me, me

There comes a point when you have to see yourself and take care of  yourself.  No, I didn’t care that others made fun of me behind my back.  I didn’t care they used ugly words when they were mad at me and felt bad about their own selves!  I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt at all but I couldn’t let it change me. I had to put it in perspective.  What others think of me is not as important as what I think of me.

Me

I was unhappy and unhealthy and I deserved to be good to myself.

I had value at 374 pounds and fat

…and I have value now.

And if people want to still call me fat, because, truth be told, I will never be “skinny”, I’ll still call myself fat because it’s just a label.

I am a person who is fat, not a fat person.

And while I am being honest, I may not like the way I handled this in the past, calling myself fat.  I won’t do it anymore.  But it was how I coped in a bad situation.

I told this student that we all make mistakes.  Maybe it was a mistake to call myself the “fat teacher”. 

Maybe it wasn’t.

I am still that person.  I will always be that person.

Fat is a label.

It is not a person!

I am a person

The Dreaded “E” Word

It has finally come down to the dreaded “E” word. 

Exercise…

 I am not a fan, mind you, that’s part of the reason why I am in this weight mess in the first place.  But I hit a plateau and everyone says, get out there and …

EXERCISE! Ugggh, for so long that seemed like such an awful thing.

But, the reality is- I have all this new found energy, I really do, and for the first time in many, many, many, many, years I can walk.  Long story short..(long story perfect for another blog) I had my back done in 2010 to fix a nerve problem and could never fully recover due to my weight.  Unfortunately, the long term damage is done and I will always have nerve pain, but the extreme back pain is gone!  Just in the past month I have regained my ability to walk and stand and do so much I absolutely couldn’t do in January- Yea me!

But back to what I was saying before-see I am avioding exercise once again!

…I hit this brick wall in weight loss and I thought, I really need to exercise.  So I went and put on my cute new shorts and a cute matching work-out shirt and pulled back my hair and went out to exercise. Then, I just stood there and thought….hmmm, exactly what do I do now? 

And then it occured to me that I didn’t know how to exercise.  Is that stupid or what? 

I have not been super big my whole life- I wasn’t really big until after my preganacy 10 years ago.  I was a “plump” girl (or so I thought- Gosh to be back to 185 would be a dream.)  I was, what I thought then, an “active person” or I was highly social anyway.  I had a lot of fun in my adolescence. But with that fun came some pretty awful habits..like smoking-ick, I know, but there it is-out in the open, “Hello my name is Cheryl and I am an ex-smoker of like 20+ years.”  Oh ya, I might as well admit that I did really  LOOOVVE to smoke.  Alas, my deep love aside, it was killing me and so I had to quit-consequently it was to get weight loss surgery (which never happened anyway).  I think about smoking almost everyday.  Honestly, every day!  I think I have addiction issues.  I gained a lot of weight after quitting, which didn’t help my situation at all.   The point is, I could hardly exercise after smoking a pack of cowboy killers a day (or more if I was socializing). Exercise definitely was not in my day planner at all-ever.  Breathing was also a chore, especially the kind needed for exercise. I will never smoke again, but I do miss it.

Again, I digress…

So, after I realized I couldn’t exercise, I did what I always do when I need to learn something-  I head to the library.  Oh gosh, I am an avid reader of everything-part of the reason I was so heavy- and I LOVE the library almost as much as I loved smoking.  I headed home with about 20 books on the subject.  I put them in my office and began to dive into the reading.  My fun titles ranged from, “Gut-Busting” to “The Fat Girls Guide to Exercise”.  I plopped my fat butt down in the chair and began paging through some of them when I realized, holy cow- I was “sitting there” paging through them. That can’t be good. I needed exercise-not reading. The first chapter should have said, “Lesson One: If you are sitting and reading this then you are not exercising.”  Like my sons say…”Epic Fail!”.

So I moved on. 

I did some walking around my street.  This is limiting in itself for a couple of reasons.  First, my street is only 3/10 of a mile in length (I have driven it and measured its distance-honestly I have no life), and while it has a nice steep hill, it does not have sidewalks and way too many teenaged drivers that scare me.  There are two connectiing streets; one is a major highway and one is a gravel road half the length of  our street.  Not a good place to run out and take an after dinner stroll.  Most all the neighborhoods in this rural area do not have side walks, or street lights for that matter, which makes walking not only unsafe but downright dangerous for woman walking alone at night.  But, I am a trooper, and I wouldn’t give up so I tried walking our animals-during the daylight hours-so it looked like I had purpose.  First I would walk one dog and then the next (I have two).  I thought that in that way I didn’t look silly walking back and forth, back and forth-I have some nosy neighbors by the way.  Now don’t laugh but what’s worse, you have to promise not to laugh- but I was walking my pig.  Yes, I have a pet pig- a surprise from my husband we rescued and then could never get rid of – he’s a family pet now.  I can’t imagine what the neighbors really think when they see me walk by with a pot belly pig on a leash.  (again-a subject of another blog).  This walking only lasted a few days when I realized I needed another plan.  The neighbors were beginning to talk.  It wasn’t good!

So I decided to join a gym, but here is my problem.  I live in a small town without a gym and the closest one is 12 miles away from home and even farther away from work.  The school I teach at has a workout room but it is only open for faculty from 4-5 in ther afternoon and that’s pretty inconvenient when I have to get home to get my kids from daycare.   And besides, even if I could join a gym in the next county over, it was ridiculously expensive and with the Medifast food I wasn’t sure I could hack both without selling a kidney.  So I had to come up with a better plan.   Meanwhile, I walked my pig while the neighbors clucked around like hens. (which I am also getting soon- I wonder if I could walk them).

I digress again-boy my ADD is flaring up tonight!

In desperation, I sent an email to all my coworkers and begged for any cheap exercise equipment they could spare.  That’s when a fellow teacher said I could have his elliptical for like 50 bucks.  Now, I had heard of this “elliptical device” before, only because my doctor had actually recommended it for my knees, but I have never seen one up close much less tried one.  I looked up elliptical on craigslist to get an idea of the bargain I would be getting and I thought it looked fun- for an exercise machine, certainly better than a stair master- did I mention I hate stairs!  I browsed awhile for another torture device but the treadmills were over priced, the bikes were not recumbant which my doctor has suggested and, I don’t know who this Tony Little” guy is, but he can sure sell the heck out of the cheap glider apparati.  SO, I figured, I would give it a shot.

I harrassed my husband for two weeks to go and pick up the elliptical nearly 25 miles away.  The excitement bubbled up in me as I anticipated the joy I would get from feeling the burn (whatever the heck that meant) and getting my endorphin high from daily exercise routines.  That’s what “exercising for Dummies” told me anyway- undoubtedly I had to finish some of the books.

So now home and back in my cute workout outfit, I stepped on and went.

Now, I shoud stop right here because I forgot to mention one other small detail.  I am the most uncoordinated thing alive.  The day I went to the library to get books I also checked out Zumba for Wii.  Umm, that was insane.  I thought that I would practice the steps in the basement and be a pro by summer. I wanted to  join the classes they have at out local church for teachers during the summer-how hard could it be?  Everyones doing it (hey thats what I thought about cigarettes too?)  But I was a mess.  I couldn’t catch up and then when I finally did, they moved on and I fell off the stupid balance board three times before I put it away forever!  No more Zumba for me in the future! Nope, can’t say I’m a graceful girl. 

It never occured to me that I needed to be coordinated to do the elliptical until I was actually mid-way into my first 10 seconds.  I caught my foot when I slipped trying to go too fast and then got stuck between the “pedal” and the wall, where my size nines wedged like a vice so that when I moved forward it became painfully more squashed.  My shoe lace then wrapped akwardly  around the bar in such a way that I couldn’t go backwards and un-vice my foot without it pulling my shoe apart.  I hung periously close to death for about a minute before I relized I could hit the stop button, take off my shoe and hop off the adjoing side.  Pretty risky move, but I did it.  I thanked God-first for saving my life and second for having no one witness what had just occured-besides the pig, who I think was chuckling under his breath. 

But…I am no quitter.

On my second go I was able to stay on until I almost died of exhaustion.  Where the heck was the euphoric feelings of pleasure that came with exercise?  Feeling the burn was actually a very unpleasurable feeling I discovered!  My thighs shook and my calves trembled.  And then  finally, my first 2 minutes were up.  Okay, so I lasted a little longer than 2 minutes but not by much.

And the truth is, with practice I am getting better.  And I do like the way I feel when I am done and catch my breath.  I was feeling pretty good about myself until the little teacher next door told me told me how she stayed on for an hour one afternoon.  I had been so impressed with my 11 minutes too!

On the bright side, I have lost some more weight and my clothes fit better.  I can tell my legs don’t rub together in the same places anymore when I walk. (Is that too honest?)

So maybe I am exaggerating when I call this the elliptical of death.  It’s really just a slightly torturous device with benefits.

Maybe it should be called the Elliptical of Life because with each successful workout, that is what I am getting back.

As long as I don’t fall off of the stupid thing in the process.

I am the Chubby Medifast Squirrel

Okay,

I have a confession to make. 

I have become the “Chubby Medifast Squirrel”. 

No, I don’t mean I have a bushy gray tail with a nutty-chocolate shake in one hand and 10 almonds in the other.  Like our friend, the squirrel, I have begun to hoard my Medifast food and supplies.  I’m not hiding it, I swear, its right out there on the counter for all to see.  Oh, and now it’s in the cabinet too.  And I might as well admit that its taking over our fridge as well.  And they are stocked in my purse just in case.

I have it well organized.  Snacks and treats in the cabinet by the kitchen table.  Breakfast items are neatly oganized in a clear conatiner for easy viewing.  They sit next to all the prep supplies (measuring spoons and mixers, a new 1000-piece blender for shakes which I recommend getting if you are serious about your shakes, like me.)Soups and dinners are next to the What-Would-I-Do-Without-You-George-Forman-grill. But, I don’t use my label maker on the packages or anything, though, speaking honestly here, I have thought of it once or twice, fortunately we all have out limits. 

And it gets worse.  I’m not just hoarding, I am preparing.  Mr. Squirrel might start in the fall, but I start each Sunday night before I start my work week.  I use specially bought Glad conatiners that screw on tight (so they don’t spill in transport) and fill them with my clever lunch concoctions.  I even use a sharpie to describe what is in each (1 tbsp of almond milk and 1 tbsp of canned tomatoes added to cream of broccoli soup).  I try something new each week (except for my favorite standby of mac-n-cheese with a 1 tbsp of salsa and 1/4 tsp of Southwestern spice blend).  Early prep works out especially out well for the chili and sloppy joes-soaking them in half the prescribed water for a few days makes them so much better!  (I save those for Friday consumtion, generally speaking.)

(By the way, my breakfast cereal and lunch are the only add-ons I use for my medi-meals. Too many add ons are too many caloreis.  But I digress…)

It’s seeped out to my work place as well.  I have my own medi-cabinet where I keep my stash. I have to fight to keep hungry high school students out of this drawer.  Every couple weeks I take a shopping bag full of goods in to restock.  I line them up, shakes in the front, next my bars and along the side any of the puffs or pretzels- tend to which stay there the longest.  Then each morning before work, I fill my water pitcher -Britta, since I hate the taste of our work water and don’t like to waste plastic with bottle use- and then make my shake for my 10:30 break and store it in the min-fridge.  My students (I’m a high school science teacher) used to make fun, untill they saw the results. 

Right here might be a good time to admit that besides being an organization freak and a hoarder, I am also prone to routine. By prone I mean, if I break my routine I get edgy and out-of sorts and I might rip someone’s face off, which in some ways is actually a successful and acceptable practice with the medifast diet I have found. (not the ripping off of faces, just the routine)  

TSo, today, while on vacation, I recieved another large box of medifast meals.  The excuse for this order was 1) I knew I would be home this week to intercept it before the hubby and 2) the prices were going up and 3) I was running low on tomato soup and to get the free shipping and free fajita seasoning I have to get like 20 boxes! I’d say those are good enough excuses, right?  Well that, and the fact that I’m rockin’ this program and I am only half way there.

And, okay, while I am speaking honestly here (I feel like I am like step nine of the 12 steps of OA “admititting your faults”, or whatever) I also hoard what I now refer to Medifast Allies.  These include all the Walden Farms dressings, atleast the few I like, Walden farms dips and syrups, DaVinci Sugar free syrups in a range of flavors, Ms. Dash and McCormick salt substitutes-there are so freakin’ many, Pam sprays of multiple varieties, almond milk (it can be cabinet stored), and my favorite shirataki noodles-the less offensive tofu kind. 

My family has a few items in the kitchen here and there.  And it’s gotten healthier; apples and Kashi snacks.  Some 35 cal/slice bread somewhere and veggies, veggies, veggies.  When my boys asked what they could have for snack and I suggested carrot sticks in the fat free ranch dip there was an awkward 30 second pause before this response, “No really mom, I mean a snack for us.”  It was so bad that one day my kids asked me why they had nothing to eat even though the kitchen was full.  I felt awful, for like a minute.  My family is so not underfed and you can see it on them!

As you might have read before, I love this program.  I looooove it!  and when I really like something I tend to go overboard a little (hence why I am in the predicament I am in now with my weight.)

But I think with Medi-fast it’s a good addiction to have.  At least healthy for me and my body.  I will continue to hoard at least until I reach my goal and maintain for awhile.  Its only about 100 lbs away (I’m down 67.8 right now!! woopppeee!!) and I am getting close to my halfway mark.

I am hopping when I get to maintenance I can shift to a better hoard.

Maybe I’ll start collecting new work out equipment for my basement gym.

Or maybe I’ll start getting tons of clothes for the new sexy me.

Or maybe I can do more charity work.

It doesn’t matter really, because, for now, this hoard is saving my life.

And thats a good thing!

My Love Letter to Medifast

My Dearest Medifast,

I am writing to tell you how much I love you. I have loved no other as much as I do you. I have looked for others but have found none.  It always seemed so good at the beginning of my past diet relationships; a pound, here-a pound there.  I thought I was headed in the right direction, but then, the carpet was pulled out from under me and things would go wrong. I felt used and lied to so many times-and then; there was you.

At first your promises were like all the others and so I googled you. Okay, Okay, I have trust issues- but they are warrented, I swear!  I have heard these promises before– “Easy”, “lose weight fast”,” just follow the plan”, “lasting results…” I am prone to fall for all the great pick up lines!  Its hard to know who to trust. And honestly, I wasnt even sure I could even try you out.  I was scared and depressed.  I was unmotivated and in a dark place.  My body felt terrible and achy.  My back hurt, my feet swelled.  I could hardly walk 50 feet or stand for more than 5 minutes at a time. I had stopped doing the things I loved.  I was hurting my family. I was nervous about starting a new relationship with food and there was a lot to be said about you on the internet, good and bad, and so I backed away, too frightened to proceed.

And then one day (an especially hard day) I stayed home from work because I was too tired to go in and consequently I ate all day long.  I would pass by myself in the mirror and think “I hate myself!”, my feelings compounded by what I saw I then would eat more and try to fill up that sadness with all the foods I loved: rice and chocolate and sandwiches and cereal and pizza and leftovers and well, whatever I could find.  I loved it all.  I kept thinking about my fututre and wondering how far this weight gain would go. I thought about my relationship with food.  I went over every excuse in my head.  I played the blame game for several hours and I cried.  I cried because as I looked down at myself I felt like there was no hope.  I had tried and failed so many times!  My only escape was food, and ironically that was what was killing me in the first place!

And I thought about my kids and what kind of future they had without me and what kind of role model I was being and what kind of role model my father had been.  I thought about how he wasn’t here to enjoy his own grandchildren because of his choices.  Was my weight going to kill me before I even had grandchildren? Would I even see my kids grow up at all? How fair would this all be to my husband?  My loving sweet husband. How could I leave him too? I have seen first hand how terribly alone my dad left my mom. Could I do this to my own family? 

And I thought, “what am I going to do to change my future.”  I had tried 4 times to get weight loss surgery but couldn’t get it covered by insurance (insert more excuses here-there are many!) I had lost only 2 pounds during a two week stint on weight watchers (isn’t weight watchers the best solution out there according to, like, everyone). I gained a pound trying southbeach. (But that was a fun “diet”-all the fats I ate were ridiculous!) What was I going to do?  I ate a lot (sometimes, umm, -no-  all the time) but I ate healthy (Oh, I was so misguided!).  I didn’t fry foods (I coated them with crumbs and baked them-yeah right that’s much healthier) I ate veggies (with butter and salt and more butter and cheese), I had whole grains (in huge amounts -I mean vastly huge amounts)…  Was it hopeless for me?  Would I ever understand my relationship with needing food? I have an urge to put food in my mouth for no other reason than I like it!  Unlike Oprah, I cannot find a reason for my food obssession!  I wasn’t abused, neglected, left, hurt, hit, divorced, disabled…  How could I stop if I didn’t know why I was doing this in the first place? Did I need an excuse to stop at all?

And there on tv, literally as I cried, was a commercial for you- Medifast, and I thought ‘this is either dumb luck or divine intervention’, and in either case I AM taking the hint!  I would also take the hit in my checking account by paying an over-draft fee and buying your two week plan even when I knew there was no money in my account (do you think my bank will come after me now?) I had to do it that very gash darn second or I know I would lose my courage and never try again.

And I didn’t look back.

Oh yes, I shoved my face full of obnoxious food for a entire week while I waited for your food to come and then for good measure, I waited two more days after it came to start- I was just waitng for the right moment. I put you on my kitchen table and opened the boxes of mysteriously new foods. I pulled you out and looked at you many times, arranged you in menu pattern then rearranged you according to meal type. I didn’t even read up on how to use you before hand, so I was unexpectedly shocked to find what I did. Regardless, I picked a date, a good one, a day I could be home all day and a day I had an appointment with my orthopaedic surgeon-he had be begging me lose weight for years after my surgery.  I love him because he was proud of me for starting and had faith that I could do it. So, on Monday the 21st of January, a holiday, I drank my first chocolate shake, but was not impressed.  (I don’t know what I expected-my tastebuds had been used to sugar for so long, what did I think would happen?) But, I assured myself, I would do this!  Later, I blew up my chicken soup in the microwave at lunch and cried about it.  And sadly, I was hungry by bed time. But I would do this!  Wouldn’t I?  Couldn’t I? Umm, now, I wasn’t sure I could do it,—but I had promised myself I would give you at least two weeks-after all I had spent the money on it and I wasn’t going to waste it.  When I put my mind to something, I do it.  I have to say that I was scared, it seemed like you were my last hope…

And then it happened…

My first weigh in and I lost 13.8 pounds in one week and my pants started to feel a little bit looser and I thought, “Well, heck, I might give this one more week” and I started to weigh each morning, and I couldn’t wait to log on in the morning to your app to record the new loss. 1 more pound, 2 pounds, and I started to stop craving sweets…3 pounds, and then another.  Each morning I thought this will be the lowest I go or I won’t lose anymore tomorrow.  It was awful to doubt you, I know, but I had been burned by so many other plans in the past!

And then I realized one morning that my two weeks of food were about to run out and I thought, NOOO!!!! I have to keep going and so I rush ordered a full month.  My friends said to me that this would never last, but I didnt listen to them.  In desperation before the order arrived, I ate some atkins bars and slim fast shakes waiting anxiously for your next shipment to arrive and I gained a pound in 3 days! I couldn’t wait to get back together with you. 

With my second order, the weight continued to drop and  again I thought this was going to slow down.  ANd well, it did -a little- but it also kept on going.  I began to feel assured of myself and people began asking me if I had lost weight and by week four I had to take in my pants because of you, but I didnt care at all!  By week six I started to need new pants because after taking in my pants so much my back pockets started to become front pockets! .  I got more creative with my lean and green meals.  A few times I even forogt to eat!  Heck that had never happened before.  My tastes began to change.  I started craving cucumbers.  I was eating and becoming full.  I went to visit my GP in which I have seen for 10 years.  She was shocked when I saw her and that my blood work was better than hers.  Then one day, one bright sun-shiny day…I noticed…

my back didnt hurt anymore

my back…

the pain, was gone. Gone, GONE, G-O-N-E, GOOOOOOOONE!!

And I found myself smiling more and looking in mirrors and putting on make up.

I used the stairs more and parked farther away and I coninuted to lose more and more.

I hit a plateau for awhile and got nervous but you were there for me Medifast and I made it through.

So tonight, medifast, as I was running around the house doing my housework without sweating, without pain, without getting tired, I thought.  I FEEL GOOD!

I FEEL GOOD!

My body moves easier and everything bends better.  And all my parts feel better. I thought, with a smile, for the first time in a long time, I am happy.

Truly happy.

I love you Medifast for giving me my life back.

I am going to Florida this summer and I will be walking on the beach with my family and it is all because of you.

I love you medifast!

Thank You for being there for me.

Its a skin thing now…Too Much of it

I looked in the mirror tonight and my new size 24 pants (this is down from a 30 for me) had a “butt” in the front of them.  I know you you are wondering what the heck I mean, for some of you, You get it.  I am not here because I am little over weight or because I have a few pounds to lose to get back to where I was in high school.

I am here because i am carrying around a few extra people’s worth of weight on me. And most of this is in my stomach!

I have lost a total of 65 pounds as of today and let me tell you I fell AHHH-mazing.  I do. Except for one thing.  I was one of those oddly shaped people to begin with.  When I got pregnant I already had a bigger belly than most.  Then, heres the good part. lucky me- I had twins and that belly got huge and all the fat, it well, it,  like- fell.  Yes, fell into this fat apron that has been supported there by all this gratuitous fat.  I was so fat when I started this journey that the fat apron wasn’t anymore a big deal than my fat butt and upper arms, or my 5 chins.  I know this sounds awfully honest to many of you, but I knew it was there all along and I know you noticed.  I saw you look at it, I had little kids comment on it, I even had a little boy want to touch it when I picked up my sons from daycare. He said he wanted to see it “giggle like a bowl of jelly.” I have have many embarrassing moments like that and you have to grow a thick skin to deal with it, but that hypothetical thick skin has turned into extra skin and I hate it!  I hate you fat apron!  I hate you!

And now, that dang stomach is out to get me.  The weight loss has not helped it out at all.  In fact it has made it worse.  I now have this “hanging skin apron” that I have to shove into my pants and it hits the pleat line and looks like a butt.  UGGGHHH!!  It makes me so mad.  I hope that picture in your head didn’t make you uncomfortable!  Its my reality!  Its my truth and I need to be honest.  Denial adds inches and acceptance shrinks them. 

I know this will only get worse as I go, but when can I go to get it removed?  I will have to wait until I reach my goal and stay there before a doctor will touch even think about touching it and then what do I do?  Go to the doctor and be like, “Um yes, can you remove my gut aparon please, it looks like I my bottom is on backwards!”

Look, you have to laugh at yourself, right?

Up Late

Up Late

I am up late thinking about where I have come so far.  I cannot sleep with all that I have accomlished playing in my head tonight.  A comment by a coworker to me today has just got me re-energized and ready to reach my goals!  But, really, I have this problem with instant gratification -um, duh, why I am fat!-  I want it all and I want it now!  I know what you are going to say (“It took you a long time to gain that weight, its takes longer to get it off..”) but I even gained my weight quickly (most of it during my pregnancy and in less than 10 months.)

I keep reminding myself I will get there and even a loss of 2-3 pounds a week is good-no really, I have to remind myself, its good.  I knew at the beginning my weight loss would slow down, it was inevitable, but i didnt want it to happen.  Its hard for me to reason that a 300 pund woman who eats 800-1000 cal. a day doesn’t just shed weight like crazy!  But it is coming off and I can’t believe it.  I catch myself wondering where I would be if I had started this last year or the year I quit smoking.  And then I stop and remind myself that if I hadnt started in January, I wouldnt be where I am now. 62 pounds gone..G.O.N.E! This is my first weight loss since I gained.  I am not a yo yo weight loss dieter, though I diet all the time, I never lose more than a few pounds. But this time I have really started a whole new journey in a new direction.

And this whole journey is about re-discovery.  About appreciating things i didnt even know I missed… crossing my legs, standing to put on pants, taking a walk to the mailbox without getting winded—But mostly its about looking at my reflection again and appreciating who I am.  For years..I mean years…I would not look at myself in the mirror.  I kept my face down everytime I walked out of my classroom because there is a glass trophey case that shows my reflection.  I looked down at the steps when walking in my house so I couldn’t see my reflection in the front door. I even bought a small hand held mirror to use when I got ready in the mornings because I absoluely wouldnt look at myself when i got out of the shower!  I couldn’t accept what I had become, it was just too painful and by looking at myself I had to accept it.  I had to accept my own failure, I had to accept that I didnt like myself, I had to accept that I may not be around for my own children.  I couldn’t face it!

And today, returning from a long walk and playing basketball with my boys I bounded up the steps in a sweatshirt I hadnt worn for years and I got to the top and looked straight ahead at the door and there was someone there that caught me off guard.  It took a brief second to get it, but it was me, in a new form that I didnt quite process at first. But it was my reflection…one I could be proud of – not because I have reached my goal weight (far from it I have 150 more to go), not becuase I am finally become noticiably different in size (though I am)  but because I wasn’t ashamed of me.  And my head was straight up and facing forward and I wasn’t afraid to catch a glimpse of the person I am becoming. 

And that is exactly why I cannot sleep tonight. Pride has made my mind all tingley and happy- it’s because I have not felt it about myself in a long time!

And I like it.