Yesterday I had some disappointing news. Fortunately I had a meeting scheduled for 20 minutes later with my tax guy, which distracted me for two hours. Learning a refund is coming soon cheered me up. However, my 10-minute drive home was torture. Little Mean Girl insisted "if ever there was a time to treat myself — this was the time." Are you wondering if Little Mean Girl won this battle or I did?
Theresa vs Little Mean Girl
Here's the dialogue that went on in my mind all the way home...
I want nachos or pizza with a cold beer and then ice cream.

I'll be home in 10 minutes where yummy pumpkin sausage soup is at home waiting for me. All I have to do is keep driving.

But if ever there was a time to treat myself — this is it!

Keep driving.

My favorite pizza shop is coming up.

Keep driving. 
As I drove past the pizza shop I didn't even see it; I just kept driving. As I waited at an intersection for the light to change, the sound of my turn signal seemed in sync with my heartbeat and extremely loud. As I made the turn, I had another thought.
Thai Place! Yes, I can stop there for a drink.

Keep driving. I can make the same drink at home. 
As I turned into my complex, I felt a great release of pressure!
I'm home — I made it!
I heated my creamy key-friendly soup and I was happy that I stayed on program, although a third bowl was more than I needed. As put down my empty bowl, I thought about what I just did: I chose to stay on program and I chose not to indulge in the foods I was craving earlier. I stood my ground:
Eating never solved anything. No amount of pizza, nachos, ice cream, or other unhealthy foods solved anything in the past and I know that would only result in making me feel worse later. Saying NO to those foods is sweeter than anything I could have eaten; success is so sweet!
After my recent struggle to stay on my weight loss journey, I'm happy to say I've been steady on this course for some time now. Yesterday gave me the opportunity to see that once again I committed to staying on course.

What about you? Are you committed to staying on your weight loss journey? If you're struggling, what's stopping you from making a commitment right now to get back on program? Put away the guilt about what you should have or could have done and start again right now. You can do this!

Related Post
Pumpkin Sausage Soup

Today's key success story comes from Sue, who tells herself every day “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.” Her daily mantra is working, as Sue is eight sizes smaller than she was a year ago!
February 20, 2015 vs April 6, 2016
Believe in Yourself and You Will Be Unstoppable

This week I celebrated my 1 year Julieversary and I cannot tell you how happy I am that I found Julie and the Key lifestyle. When I started on April 6, 2015 I was a size 36W and medically a borderline diabetic. My feet, hips and knees hurt, I had trouble climbing stairs and felt tired all the time. In general, my Doctor was concerned with my health and current weight so she recommend Julie Kibe’s Key Hypnosis Program as her other patients who went to Julie had been very successful on the Key program.

I signed the wait list in December 2014 and April 6, 2015 attended my first session. After session one I came home and wrote down everything I remembered Julie telling me and did the same with session two and three. I have to say that I am so thankful I did that as I often read my notes from the sessions which helps keep Julie in my head, me on program and in the river.
March 5, 2015 vs March 30, 2016
No longer does food dominate my life. I now eat to live, not live to eat. Eating when you are hungry and not when you are not, at first was a real challenge for me. My husband always lived by the clock, so no matter if you were hungry or not he wanted to eat, especially breakfast.

I finally got a handle on that and just started cooking for him. I have been able to adjust many of our favorite recipes to be Key-friendly, as well as trying many new ones from Key friend’s posts. If hubby wants to include potato or rice in a meal, I cook it separately for him. This has worked well when family is over for dinner as well. Everyone has been so supportive.

Remembering how BAD I want this, seeing myself at my goal size, believing in myself, and remembering Julie telling us “If you get out of the river, it is so hard to get back in” has helped me stay in the river and on program. I have kept a journal of my Key journey, how I have felt, what challenges I faced, how I have successfully dealt with them to stay positive, what I am eating daily, recording NSV’s (non-scale victories), and taking measurements to track my progress.

I think keeping a record of my Key journey has really helped me stay honest on the program. Today I am a size 20W. I have gone down eight sizes and have lost 48 inches; 15 on my bust, 19 on my waist, and 14 on my hips.

I know I still have a long way to go to reach my goal size, but I am already so much healthier and no longer borderline diabetic. My energy level is great and I can now walk or climb stairs without breathing hard.

I walk almost every day and track my activity with my GearFit to hit my 10,000 steps. I admit it has not always been easy, but I recognize my mindset has had so much to do with how I make it through the day.

I want this so bad and I tell myself every day “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.”

Year two here I come!!

— Sue
Regardless of where you are on the weight loss journey, in or out of the river (on or off program), believing in yourself is a essential to your success in reaching your goal size.

After months of struggling I'm back on program and as each week passes I'm feeling lighter. I believe in myself and I am unstoppable!
Throughout our weight loss journey, we experience a series of events that help us change. When we discover things that hold us back we've learn to let them go. As we embrace these changes, our lives change in profound and positive ways. When one of our key-friends sought inspiration and instead uncovered a food trigger, she chose to let it go.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all Wisdom.
— Aristotle
What I Recently Discovered About Myself

After 2 ½ years following the Key Program, and 9 sizes down (probably in the ballpark of 130-150 pounds lost), I discovered something disturbing about myself. Even though specific cravings are rarely an issue for me, the food addict is still inside me, and is always close to the surface.

I sometimes watch shows like Extreme Weight Loss, The Biggest Loser, or My 600-lb Life. While my newer, healthier self can certainly relate to many of the victories and lifestyle changes that the participants experience, the strongest connection is to the addict—the inner demon that whispers seductively and promises to numb all the stress.

My 600-lb Life is the worst. In footage of hugely obese people that are bedbound, most unable to even clean themselves of urine or feces—footage that is certainly meant to appall or invoke sympathy in the audience—the part that strikes me deepest is the eating. Every single one of those people, as they are filmed eating enormous amounts of insanely unhealthy food, talks about the escape and comfort that food offers them.

It should HORRIFY me to watch them killing themselves, bite by bite. It should revolt me. Instead, the addict in me pokes me and says, "I remember that feeling. Don’t you want to forget everything for a while? Get lost in that hand to mouth rhythm of eating yourself into oblivion? We’ll just do it once—just to see what it’s like again. Remember how good it felt? Remember how it made the world go away? Then afterward, you can go lie down and nap the day away—everything else can be put off—wouldn’t that be nice?"

At times like that, it takes all my mental strength to remember the reality of my life pre-Julie. Life WASN’T nice.

I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs without panting.

A slow quarter mile walk around the block would exhaust me for the day—and I considered it exercise!

I couldn’t walk into a room without looking around for the chair that looked like it would hold me.

I was ALWAYS the fattest person in the room—there was certainly no blending in.

I couldn’t cross my legs. My knees hurt constantly.

My skin was bumpy and rough.

I had constant issues with IBS, due to the huge amounts of carb and grease-laden food that I’d eat at once—there was no relaxing in a restaurant after a meal—we had to get the check and leave immediately, because it was guaranteed that by the time we got home, I’d be running for the bathroom.

Any activities were passive ones—reading, watching TV or a movie, going on the computer.

I’ve decided that I need to stay away from the show My 600-lb Life. How odd that a show that should terrify me into eating healthy, is instead a trigger to the food demons lurking inside me?

If I need motivation, from now on I’ll stick to the exercise based shows—the ones that remind me how far I’ve come, and how wonderful it feels to be healthy, active, and have a fun, fulfilling life.

So screw you, food demons! Be gone!

— Anonymous

Where are you on your weight loss journey? Are you embracing the opportunities to stay motivated by letting go of things that are holding you back?

I made a decision to embrace what motivates me to stay on my journey. I've been struggling for many months and I'm proud to say I am back on program. I too am letting go of habits and events that are triggers.
Ingrid's weight loss journey is about more than losing weight; it's about her future health. Her decision to make healthier food choices altered her life in a big way: no more inflamed or painful knees. Today when Ingrid sees foods full of flour and sugar, she doesn't see them as yummy temptations, she only sees the pain those foods once inflicted on her body.
Ingrid: Before and After
Ingrid's Story
Hi Theresa, I've read your blog for a few years now, but I've never posted anything on it. I have really enjoyed reading your post and other people's comments.

I went to see Julie in November 2013. It really changed my life from the first day that I walked out of there and in many more ways than just weight loss.

Like your earlier post, Done with Demons, I too struggled with going off-and-on the diet. In the past two-and-a-half years (don't laugh) I think I've gone to five or six refreshers. I would think I could handle eating cookies, cake, and/or chocolate (I'm a sugar addict) and be able to then go right back on program, but I was not able to. The sugar cravings would get a fierce hold of me and not let go. That is why I went to so many refreshers.

Fast forward to August 2015. I learned how to do hypnosis on myself. I created recordings of my own hypnosis and listened to them. Although listening to myself seemed kind of weird to me - it worked great! So now I can do this without Julie.

Bear with me, now it is March 2016. I have completely given up flour and sugar for good! And this last time, of giving them up for good (LOL!) is sticking, without me even using hypnosis on myself.

I learned from going off-and-on and off-and-on the flour that I have a gluten sensitivity. Every time I quit eating flour, I did not have issues with my knees and toes. Every time I ate something with gluten in it, my knees became inflamed. I reached a point last year where I had emergency surgery on my knee; at that time I did not know I had a gluten sensitivity.

The only thing I learned from the surgery in Feb. 1, 2015 was that I had arthritis in my knees. The hospital never figured out why my knee blew up the way it did. Of course I figured it out four months ago. It was from eating gluten! If you have arthritis and it gets inflamed, it can be because of gluten.

I wish the doctors had told me that, but of course they didn't. I had to learn it myself from going off the program and then eating real clean again. I no longer touch anything with gluten, which is all the cakes, cookies, pies, bread, pasta, etc., with a 10 foot pole!

I did not enjoy the nine months it took me to heal from my knee surgery, which had no diagnosis from the hospital. Now when I see those foods - I don't see yummy anymore - all I see is pain.

I also gave up sugar for good at the end of December when my short-term memory was going. It was very noticeable that I was losing my short-term memory. You know it is noticeable when your young children are making fun of you for it. I couldn't or wouldn't eat sweets made with flour anymore, so that just left chocolate! I really believe I was getting dementia from all the chocolate I was consuming.

It got to where a few times everyday I could not remember why I had walked in a room. I couldn't remember my kids' names sometimes. It was bad! I knew it was the sugar doing that to my mind, so I quit on my own and I have never looked back.

I read something recently that really hit home to me. It said one of the reasons why people do not stay on weight loss plans is because the dangers are not real enough for you. The sugars and flours that we eat can cause a lot of damage down the road - but because it is not imminent - people don't stop.

Well, I guess it got real enough for me!

Sorry for the long post, but I just want people to understand that Julie's program is more than just about losing weight, it is about your future health. It is easier to change it now than it will be down the road when you have dementia or Alzheimer's.

A study was done by the Mayo clinic on diabetics. It stated that if your are diabetic you have a 220% chance of getting dementia and/or Alzheimer's. My father, before he passed away, was diabetic and about a year before he passed away he got Alzheimer's and then passed away from a stroke at the age of 71, a textbook case. The study might as well been about him.

So the next time you think about the yummy sweets, flour, and processed foods (going off the program), think about the harm that is really in store for your future if you continue to eat these foods which are so bad for you. I do - whenever I looked at chocolate now - all I see are memory erasers, and I have a very strong aversion or repugnance from it!

Oh, and by the way, my short term memory has improved quit a bit since I have quit eating sugar. I no longer walk in rooms anymore without remembering why.
Thank you Ingrid for sharing your story and for reminding us that when we are tempted by unhealthy foods, remembering the bigger picture of our lives can help us stay the course: the choice we make in this moment determines where we go from here. Each time we choose healthy foods, we get closer to our goals, we maintain our goal size, and we keep a distance from the pain unhealthy foods causes our bodies.

One bite of anything isn't worth the consequences that follow. It has been my experience that "just one bite" of off-program food leads to another, and another, and another, and an uncontrollable desire for MORE. The promise we make to ourselves, to start again tomorrow, never comes. Somewhere after that first bite, we throw away our chances of reaching our goal size. Somewhere after that first bite, we feel a loss of control in making healthy food choices, our former lives creep in and the pain from our former returns.

Pain comes in many forms. The aches and pain your body feels. The pain of all your clothes being too tight. The pain of feeling trapped. The pain of feeling hung-over from the foods you ate the night before. The pain of seeing friends and family having gained weight.

What about you? Have you been on-and-off several times? Are you having trouble staying on-program? Think about Ingrid's message and ask yourself: what kind of pain are those off-program foods bringing into your life?

 Eat clean and say NO to off-program foods now; tomorrow will never come.
Today's post comes from our key friend Chrissie, who shares her perspective on maintenance and the afterlife. The afterlife is what many refer to life after reaching your goal size. Not giving up on yourself is key to reaching the afterlife.
This new lifestyle that we committed to isn’t easy. Losing was easy. Maintaining is hard. Let’s face it, we have (probably) all failed many times with other weight loss programs, and we’re seeing higher degrees of success with this one, so let’s celebrate that.

No, you are not a failure if you put on weight during and after completing maintenance. That’s what you’re supposed to do. The key is recognizing and reacting in a timely manner.

I suck at that. I always go to the point where my pants feel like they’re splitting me in two before I jump back into the river. I just so enjoy my wine and cocktails, and bread, and occasional bites of sweets… that become more and more in volume and frequency... that I delude myself into thinking that I can enjoy them without consequence. I deserve to enjoy them after all the hard work I did. WRONG. I can’t stay fit and healthy by repeating my failed patters of yesteryear.

My 3+ year maintenance pattern has been:
  • Lose in the river for 2-3 months,
  • Put it back on over the next 4-6 months,
  • Start over.
If I could only react more quickly it would never be so hard. I refuse to think of this as failure though because each time, when I’ve made the commitment to myself, I have honored it without a single cheat - ever. And I've never been to a refresher. I am a stubborn woman who refuses to quit on myself. But I need to work on my reaction time.

I think that it’s important for each of us to stop thinking of ourselves as failures because we have to return to the river. That’s what we’re supposed to do. Julie said that she also returns 2-3 times/year, and she’s been at this for many years.

Losing weight is easy. Keeping it off is very hard. But I’m not giving up. Are you?
Chrissie you are an inspiration to the rest of us and thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with us.

The afterlife is not just some far away dream, but it takes making the right choices to transform this dream into reality. Life is full of choices and we get to choose what our life looks and feels like. If your life feels like a black and white movie screen, perhaps it's time to make other choices to change your perspective.

I encountered a pivotal decision point in my weight loss journey today: continue to eat whatever I want or go back on my program. Each choice has a clear path. One will lead me to a size 30/32 and the other will lead me to a 10/12. The built-in default in not making a decision: return to 30/32.
Remembering my weight loss journey
Walking with one of my friends on Mount Tom this morning, she asked me what I'm doing about food these days. After mumbling something about not being sure and that I have a few ideas: get back on program or look at other options.

My friend stopped walking, turned toward me, looked me straight in the eyes, and quite seriously, but ever so gently, encouraged me to do WHATEVER it takes to turn things around or I'll end up where she is: heavier than she was before she lost her weight. She pointed to herself when she said that last part.

I felt the earth shake under my feet.

It was a hard place to be standing in her shoes or mine in that moment, but we both knew she was right; this conversation had to happen.

As I drove home, I ignored the many familiar voices calling out to me.
Pssst! Over here!

You can start later today!

Come on, just once more!"

Wait - where are you going? Why aren't you stopping?
I'm done. I'm not stopping for anything. I have food and coffee at home. No more sugar or junk food! I've had it. I'm on program right this moment!

I've been in seclusion most of the day. I've been looking through old photos, to remember where I've been these past five years and seeing where I really am today. Despite the fact that I feel like I'm a size 30/32, I am not!

I printed photos to have around the house so I don't forget where I've been. Looking through my photos, I remember how good I felt getting into this size. This is a setback—my journey is not over!

We can only change today. We get to choose what we do about food.

Today I know what I'm choosing.

How about you? What will you choose?
You know the drill: a voice in your head tells you, "You can eat this - you can start your diet tomorrow." You're strong on your program and you push away that voice. You do this because you know tomorrow never comes.
Tamarra - tells you to start your diet tomorrow.
Today I put a face and a name to that voice. Her name is Tamarra, which is pronounced in a wicked Rhode Island accent: Taa-maaa-Ra, as in "tomorrow never comes."

I encountered Tamarra this morning while reflecting back on the week I just spent in my head with Little Mean Girl and her sister Negative Nellie. In case you're wondering why were they were in my head for a week, it's because I put them in this five-minute video I created this week.

Before you press the play button, you should know the randomly assigned genre for my video submission to the Northampton Community TV 7-Day Film Sprint was B-Horror Film. B-horror means you can do all kinds of campy stuff. I aimed for more campy than scarey.

If the video doe not appear above, you may view it on YouTube: Going Off Program.

Last week when I went to the sprint kick-off, I had no idea Little Mean Girl or her sister Negative Nellie would end up in my video. They say it's easier to write about what you know, so it was a natural choice for me to write a script about those "voices" in my head that try to entice me to go off my eating program.

I had a blast making this video. After the sprint was over, I debated about adding in a few lines that were cut due to the 5 minute maximum length for this sprint, or fixing a few things here and there, or in the very least changing the title to GOP. Perhaps another time. I spent 80% of the last seven days focused on producing this video and it's time to move on.
I haven't made this recipe yet, but it looks delicious and easy to make.
Eggs in a Cloud
  • 3 egg whites
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 oz. sliced Parmesan (optional, as cheese is not allowed during the weight loss phase)
  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • Chopped scallion
  • 1 egg yolk

Place egg whites in a bowl, and add salt. Beat with electric mixer until stiff, or until peak stands straight up when beaters are lifted.

On a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet, spread 2/3 of the egg white mixture, and make into a nest.

Top with Parmesan, bacon, scallion, and egg yolk.

Cover top with remaining egg white mixture, and smooth into a dome shape.

Bake in oven for 10 to 12 minutes at 350 °F.

Serve, and enjoy!

Source with video: Little
I've been struggling to stay on program. I do great and then I don't. To help me stay on my weight loss journey, I pull strength from a wide range of sources. What helped me stay on program recently are words of wisdom from Bob Harper, Julie Kibe, and Glinda the good witch.
Glinda and Dorothy
A few weeks ago there was a scene on the TV show The Biggest Loser where Bob asked the contestants what brought them there. During their discussion, Bob talked about the importance of believing in yourself and this dialogue followed:
Contestant: How can you fight for something you don’t believe in? 

Bob (speaking to all the contestants): There’s a demon in you and he’s a liar. He’s a liar feeding your head with all these negative thoughts. 

Contestant: I’m done with these demons.
"Me too!" I promised myself, "This demon has been lying to me and I'm done listening!"

One of our key friends recently asked me:
Do you think it's possible to lose Julie out of your head?
I responded with something I imagine Julie might say:
It was you all along – you took the weight off yourself; I just got you started.
This reminded me of something Glinda the good witch told Dorothy and is something for us to remember as well:
You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.
~ Glinda, The Wizard of Oz
We all have the power within us to do this program. The key is to keep coming back to what we know: this program works, but if we continue to go off course, it doesn't. The more we go off, the harder it is to get back and stay back. Keep coming back to the program.

Find wisdom where you can and use it to keep you on your journey. I've been at this for five years now and I'm never giving up. Don't you give up either!
You are capable of more than you know.
~ Glinda, The Wizard of Oz
This recipe for chicken zucchini poppers comes to us from Megan. She didn't have zucchini on hand, so she used green chopped cauliflower instead. Megan reheated them for breakfast with a side of ranch.
Chicken Zucchini Poppers reheated with a side of ranch.
Photo by Megan
  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 3-4 Tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Mix ground chicken and remaining ingredients in large mixing bowl.

Grease a frying pan or skillet and with olive oil and set the burner to medium heat.

Spoon 8-10 nugget sized pieces from the bowl and place in the hot skillet.

Cook the chicken poppers for five minutes on each side.

Serve plain or with your favorite dip or sauce.