Apr 9, 2015

A Bit of Humorous Non-Scale Victories

I haven't posted lately on here. Life has been so busy!

I have a few weeks off from my job at the bakery as we rest up and gear up to a busy summer season with farmers markets (yup, still working at a bakery and staying on program). So I decided to clean out my closet. YUK!  Hate that job!

Anyway, while digging through my closet, way back, in the dark recesses of the closet, I found some clothes.  I had put these clothes away when I first started on Julie's program. These clothes were hidden to remind me of where I was.

Well, first horror, absolute HORROR! Then giggles started in my room!!!!

First is a picture of me with a bathing suit that I thought helped me look THINNER!!!!
I am actually standing inside one side of that bathing suit! What in the world was I thinking when I wore it!!!!

Next is me with my favorite size 28 jumper!!!
Was that really me? PLUS that jumper and that bathing suit were tight on me when I wore them!!!!

My husband and I just got back from a trip! This next picture was a thrill for me!!! I USED TO NEED A SEAT BELT EXTENDER!!!

I had fun that day I cleaned out my closet! Then, I carefully put away those old clothes away for another day when I will pull them out again and remember where I came from.

One thing I noticed, my whole total thought process has changed. On all the other plans I have been on, I always, and I mean always, no matter how I stuck to those plans, deep in my mind, I always doubted loosing all my weight and keeping it off.

This time as I played with those sad old clothes, I noticed, there is no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that I will never gain the weight back again. This program is so ingrained in me, I live it and breathe it. It has become me!

I am 1 or 2 sizes away from my goal. I am looking forward to beginning the maintenance process when I reach that goal.

This has been a journey of intense patience, learning, laughter, tears, victories, soul searching. I have made so many new friends on this journey and shared so much with people!

How are all of you doing?

Everyone's journey is different and unique to themselves! We really do have the tools!!! I have discovered that so many times over and over again!!!


I will close with another picture:
The woman who wore that suit is long gone! I feel like a butterfly who has hatched!

I will never have the perfect body (that is a whole other blog post), but I am so much happier in my skin than I have ever been before!!!!

Apr 5, 2015

What's in Your Way?

Milk: is it the final frontier? Are you mindful of the amount of fats you take in a day? How often do you eat chicken wings, bacon, or cold cuts? Are you eating more cheese and yogurt than we're allowed? How much milk do you drink in a day? Seriously--stop and think about this--do you eat more fat than you should in a day or a week? How much is too much? You know how much is too much, but okay, let's go there...if Julie spent the entire day with you, would you change your food choices?
How much milk or other fats do you have in a day or a week?
Up until recently, I drank 3 cups of coffee every morning, but in early March I increased my coffee consumption to 7-8 cups a day. Coffee wasn't my concern, because my mug is only half filled with coffee. My concern was the amount of hot foamy milk I added to each cup of coffee.

I put a half cup of milk in my frother and after it foams up I add it to my coffee. This equals 1½ cups of milk, which isn't a problem. That is unless I'm drinking 7-8 cups of coffee, which adds up to 3½-4 cups of milk per day. That's a whole lot of fat and that's a problem, especially considering I was also eating too much cheese and yogurt, and I wasn't exercising. Now we're talking about a big fat problem.

In addition to the amount of fat in milk–milk turns to sugar*, which is probably why I started drinking so much milk. I was using hot and foamy milk as a way to deal with stress. No amount of milk, cheese, or yogurt will resolve stress. I know this, but for nearly a month, I battled with myself and continued on with my milk, cheese, and yogurt party.

As my clothes began to feel tight I had an epiphany: Milk is the thing between me and my size 8's. I can't let a little thing like milk get in my way. It's all about the math:
No exercise + extra extra fat = no weight loss or weight gain.
Wait, wait, back up. Did I just say out loud that my clothes were feeling tight? Yes I did. It was a frightful feeling that I walked around with for about a week. I freaked out. I pondered. I freaked out.

I didn't talk about it because I didn't dare. I've been doing this program for over four years and I have never had this happen: my clothes have always become loser–never tighter! I was following the program, so why were my clothes getting tighter? I had to work out the answer by myself, which is precisely what I did.

I realized I could no longer drink that much milk, and that I had to stop eating cheese and yogurt. I realized I had not been following the program.

On March 28th I decided the party was over. The next morning I cut back to 5 cups of coffee a day and five days later I cut back to two cups a day. I also broke up with yogurt and cheese. I have Parmesan in the house for meatballs and meatloaf only. When I eat out I ask them to hold the cheese. If an item comes with cheese, I will eat it, but I don't ask for it.

I looked to see where else was I eating too much fat in my diet. I don't eat chicken wings often, perhaps once a month or less. If you're eating wings several times a week, you may want to reconsider, as there isn't much chicken on them and there's a whole lot of fat. I haven't bought bacon in a long time, but I decided to no longer order bacon on my burgers. I was eating a lot of fatty meats and mystery meats. I'm stepping away from the deli counter, as I was eating bologna and salami far too often. I'm also pulling back on deli coleslaw and focusing on green veggies. I saute kale with onions and garlic a couple times a week. It's really yummy and my new favorite vegetable.

I made one more change: I started walking again. I joined a 7am Saturday morning walking group last Saturday. I walked by myself on Sunday and Monday. On Wednesday I discovered I had lost my FitBit and by Friday I realized I had also lost my motivation to walk. Yesterday morning when I joined my walking group, I used an iPhone app to track my distance. I used the app again later that morning when I walked another 45 minutes with my friend and her dog and again when I mall walked. By the end of the day I walked a total of 11,373 steps (4.90 miles).

FitBit Charge
I'm determined nothing is going to get in my way of reaching my goal size eight this year, so on my way home last night, I picked up a FitBit Charge. My FitBit keeps me motivated plus one of the features of the Charge is it cheers you when you reach your daily goal. Who doesn't love getting cheered? It vibrates, so nobody but you knows. LOL!

This morning I walked 12,900 steps (5.56 miles) as I talked with a friend who walked in Long Beach, CA. It feels great to be walking again. Size eight–here I come!

How about you? What's in your way that's keeping you from reaching your goal? If you've been stuck in the same size, it may be time to take stock of what you're eating and how much activity you're doing.

It's time to spring into action and remove any obstacles between you and your goal size.

*Confused about milking turning to sugar in our bodies? Here's a few articles that explain this:

Mar 23, 2015

Homemade Mayonnaise

This recipe and photo comes to us from key-friends Andrea and Emily. Use this homemade mayo the same way you use jarred mayo. Andrea kicked things up a bit by adding garlic and grey poupon and dill to add a little more flavor to her egg salad.
Garlicky grey poupon mayo topped with dill.
Photo by Andrea
Important Tip: about 1.5 hours before you're going to make this mayo, set out your eggs, lemon, and mustard, so they are reach room temperature when you begin to make this recipe.

  • 2 whole pastured eggs
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. prepared mustard
  • 2 cups light olive oil (not a vegetable blend)
  1. Blend eggs, vinegar, salt, and mustard in a food processor or an immersion blender
  2. While machine is running, VERY SLOWLY add oil.
  3. Continue until all of the oil has been added and the eggs and oil have formed an emulsion or Mayonnaise. 
  4. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Photo by key-friend Emily who followed Andrea's recipe.

Original recipe source: Homemade Mayonnaise

Mar 19, 2015

Foodies Beware

Watch and learn—or in the case of food television watchers: watch and gain. This morning I watched a segment of the Today Show about a new study that suggests a correlation between watching TV cooking shows and weight gain. What?
To top it off, NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports (in the video above) "social media doesn't help because people pass around recipes and the pictures of all the food." Pictures which he refers to as food porn. OMG.

After watching this story, I ran upstairs to my computer to do a little research. Sure enough, I quickly found a handful of articles (see excerpts and links below).

Prior to seeing this story and these articles, I thought watching cooking shows was a healthy indulgence. The thought that these shows may increase my appetite crossed my mind, but I pushed such thoughts away.

Seeing non-key foods on social media doesn't bother me. However, I prefer not to read the details about food dreams or specific food cravings from key people in my social media environments. It just seems wrong to talk about non-key foods, especially deserts, in a group where people are not eating those foods.  They don't trigger me to go off my program, but why put others at risk? Share the dream, but leave out the food descriptions.

The bottom line for me, after seeing this story and reading a handful of articles, is that I'm going to think twice about watching cooking shows. Foodie that I am, I don't need to put my weight loss journey at risk.

Article Links and Excerpts

According to a Cornell University survey of about 500 women in their 20s and 30s, there's an 11-pound difference between the "doers" (the women watching and cooking) compared with the "viewers" (the women who watched but didn't cook). The bottom line: "Being a doer may put you at risk for packing on extra pounds." Do TV Cooking Shows Make Us Fat?, NPR March 18, 2015

Lizzy Pope of the University of Vermont, suggests “Food show executives and hosts need to realize they are social role models and have a role to play in battling obesity and health care costs. They can be part of the solution or continue contributing to a major problem.” —Food TV Could Be Harmful to Your Health, Newswise, March 17, 2015

Mar 18, 2015

To Refresh or Not Refresh?

The question for today is: To Refresh or Not Refresh? Many of you want to know "is it required to go to a refresher?" and "why should I go to one?" The later is a question that only you can answer for yourself. There are various opinions on this--but no, it is not required. I've written a handful of blog posts about my experiences, so today we'll hear what our key-friend Elise has to say about refreshers.
Elise in her before size 16/18 and today size 02 -- look at that smile!
I definitely think refreshers can be useful for folks. For many, I think just hearing Julie's powerful voice is helpful. For others, hearing a repeat of the rules and making a re-commitment to the process is necessary. I even think that, sometimes, making the appointment and committing the funds is enough to keep folks on track.

Here's an elaboration on why I haven't been to one:
  1. I'm lazy. Booking it, waiting for it, and then going all take energy.
  2. It is kind of expensive, although that's OK with me.
  3. Julie said she gave us everything in the first sessions.
When I have had questions or doubts, I sit down and think it through. I decided that if I am ever going to resolve my yo-yo weight, I need to get to a place of peace with myself. I have to learn to read my body and I have to learn to make my own decisions.

So, I have very consciously and deliberately worked through struggles and quandaries with the goal of using the tools Julie gave me to get to the end.

Here's an example: my first year on Key, I was at a plateau. I was frustrated and upset. In the past, I would have handled this by saying 'screw it' and bingeing. But, this time, I thought about how my body needed to heal and reabsorb blood vessels and extra cells that had been necessary when I had more weight on me.

I looked at my eating and thought through the rules and whether or not I was following them. I found some areas that I was being excessive in (um, like drinking a 1/2 gallon of whole milk every day)!

I changed my routine, stopped obsessing...and started losing weight again!

Getting through that was empowering. It made me feel like, yeah, I really can do this! That, in turn, fed my confidence and good behavior.

Ultimately, each cycle and each time I worked through my issues I was creating new habits. In other words, each time I work through something I am practicing Julie's principle of example. If I had gone to refreshers, I would have been relying on Julie for that power instead of believing in myself.

 For little things, it was helpful to also work through it in my head...
Was I really hungry or was I just eating because it tasted good?
Was I really using cheese like a condiment or was I pushing the envelope? 
I didn't want someone telling me the answer. I wanted to retrain my body and my mind to work together, honestly and in synchronicity, to reach the same answers to all the questions I had (and I will continue to have).

But, I also think I've had it easy compared to others. I barely have cravings and I've been lucky enough to escape super long plateaus.

To refresh or not refresh...it's a personal question custom to each person's experience.
Elise in
Elise in February 2015
Hmmm, I don't know about you, but I can relate to Elsie's comment about finding "areas that I was being excessive" far more than I care to admit. This in of itself is a reason you may be on a plateau. Proceed with cation if this is the case. Elsie's suggestion to "stop obsessing" is also wise wisdom!

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Mar 14, 2015

Fish Cakes

Key-friend Gail Ann, who made up this recipe, says "With this diet we have to become creative. Play around with the recipe. I may use turnip next time." It's this kind of willingness that helps us succeed on this program. Thanks for sharing your recipe and your photos Gail Ann!
Fish Cakes
  • 2-1/4 lbs of uncooked cod chopped in blender
  • 1 head of cauliflower steamed and mashed with a pat of butter
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • A bunch of fresh dill chopped
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white whisked
  • Salt, pepper, celery salt, paprika
  1. Mix all together and make little patties. 
  2. Bake 375 on greased cookie sheet for about 20 minutes per side until nicely browned.
Steamed and mashed cauliflower with butter and fresh dill
Mix all ingredients together and make little patties

Mar 11, 2015

Shrimp Scampi & Noodles

This is a recipe I've been making for over a year now and I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe before now. I take a shortcut by using frozen shrimp that comes with pats of herb butter. I know I could make this completely from scratch, but this shrimp goes on sale a lot, so I use my shortcut. I've perfected this recipe and highly recommend it.
Shrimp Scampi with zucchini noodles. Photo by Theresa
You may want to double this recipe, as I eat this all by myself. Also, be mindful of your protein to veggie ratio and adjust the recipe accordingly or have additional meat on the side.
  • 1 package of Bumble Bee Lemon Shrimp with Garlic & Herb - see image below
  • 1 medium sized zucchini (or yellow squash)
  • 2 cubes of frozen basil (or 2 teaspoon of fresh basil) - see image below
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper
  1. Use a spirooli to turn your zucchini into "noodles" (see image below) and keep them nearby to add later to the shrimp. 
  2. Place shrimp in skillet or wok - do not pre-heat pan - and set burner to medium-high. Do not add the butter to the pan yet.
  3. Cook shrimp for 4 minutes, turning frequently.
  4. Leaving the liquid from in the pan, pull the shrimp out of the pan and place in a bowl and put to the side for now.
  5. Add the 4 pats of butter to the liquid in the pan, as this will turn into a delicious broth.
  6. Add red pepper flakes and black pepper on top of the butter.
  7. Stir frequently as the butter melts.
  8. As the butter is melts, peel the skin off the shrimp.
  9. When the butter is almost all melted, add the zucchini noodles to the pan.
  10. Continue to stir for about a minute and then add the shrimp.
  11. The shrimp only need to cook about a minute longer, until they are no longer pink, and the noodles should be done about the same time as the shrimp.
  12. Pour shrimp, noodles, and broth into a bowl with the broth.
  13. Optional: sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top.
Use your spirooli to make noodles from zucchini or yellow squash.
Photo by Theresa
Bumble Bee Lemon Shrimp with Garlic & Herbs
Cubes of frozen basil

Watch Your Step

I'm not referring to icy walking conditions when I say watch your step. I'm taking about not stepping on the scale, because that one step can lead to a major slide on your weight loss journey. The urge to get on the scale can be as strong as the urge to eat sugar (or any non-key food). Avoid getting on the scale using the same technique you use to avoid eating sugar: push away urges to get on the scale.
Watch your step. Photo by Theresa
I kept my scale scale all these years because it was because the most beautiful and the most expensive scale I'd ever owned. Sad, but true. Once in a while I was aware of my scale resting between the bathroom cabinet and the wall, but I never stepped on it once I started this weight loss journey.

That beautiful scale, by the way, is no longer in my bathroom and guess what? I have no memory of who I gave it to or when. None. Zippo. Once in a while I look at that empty space between the bathroom cabinet and the wall and I wonder: why on earth did I keep that scale for so long?

There were many times that I was dying to know my weight and I was fortunate my home scale never tempted me. I coached my nurse practitioner and her staff really well, so they never accidentally told me anything weight related. I really wanted to ask two questions, but I didn't dare ask: Am I under 200 pounds yet? and Have I dropped a hundred pounds?

A recent 'incident' answered both questions for me. Trust me, you are better off not knowing such answers. If you stumble or fall and suddenly the number is in front of you: don't share it with others and forget it as quickly as you can. This sounds easier said than done, but if you don't repeat the number you don't see the number over and over. This is especially true if you post the number in social media- don't share the number with anyone.

By the way, you will not lose all the knowledge you learned from Julie because you saw your weight, whether you sought the number out or it was revealed to you accidentally. It's what you do after knowing the number that determines what happens next in your weight loss journey, so don't repeat the number - just move on. Use the situation as a reminder as to why you should stay off the scale.

Why shouldn't you get on the scale? Because seeing how much you weigh messes with you head and can lead to a big setback on your weight loss journey. There are more reasons than this, but do you really need more reasons than this? No you don't, but let me simplify this for you...

Step on the scale and you risk telling yourself one of two things:
I'm doing so well, I deserve a treat!or
I may as well give up, no matter what I eat this weight isn't coming off.
Regardless of what the scale reads, the truth is this:
if you stay on the course you are on - you will continue to lose weight.
Watch your step - don't get on the scale. If you have a scale in your house and it's calling your name, do something with that scale right now.

Push back on those urges to get on the scale and they will go away--or as I like to say: tap, tap, tap. Share your non-scale victories - these are the stories to share with others - stories of you success. See earlier blog posts of non-scale victories in the related stories list below.

Allow yourself to reach your goal size and to live the rest of you life focusing on living instead of worrying about a number on a scale. You can do this!

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