May 21, 2015

Kathleen Reaches Her Goal

Today's success story comes from key-friend Kathleen, who has just announced she has reached her goal size. After hearing her story, I asked if I could post her story and photos of her journey. Sit back and be inspired by Kathleen's story...
Kathleen: before and after
Goal.Usually I'm not a fan of four letter words, but I'm thinking I like this one. My one year "Julieversary" is coming up July 1st.
I started last summer a size 30/32. Two weekends ago, a week after celebrating my 10 month anniversary, I went shopping to replace some "must wear with belt so they stay up" slacks and bought jeans, capris, and a skirt all in size 12. Goal!
Kathleen at her goal size 12.
It's odd to admit that it was almost anticlimactic. Almost. I did get verklempt in the dressing room…but over all these months I had thought the moment I hit that size I would be posting pictures and shouting it from the rooftop. Instead, I've kept mum.

I think I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it all, and as I still have some toning to do...especially on my upper arms, hips, and thighs...I don't feel like I'm 100% there yet. Make any sense? Not to me either.

The month of May has brought four interesting events...

First Event
We went to my nephew's Little League game a couple weeks ago...I haven't seen my nine-year-old niece in almost 5 months and she had no idea who I was as she approached her mom and me, even after I called her by name. At first I was taken aback, and a little saddened until my nephew; her father, said with a grin "Well, you are half the person you used to be!"
Kathleen is half the size she was 10 months ago
Second Event
My husband and I went on the Mountain Coaster at Berkshire East! After getting over the initial shock that he was suggesting going (he's neither a fan of roller coasters or heights so this is way out of his comfort zone) just because he knew I wanted to, the kicker came when the attendant asked if we were going to each take a separate coaster or share one. Doesn't seem major I know, except that there's a weight limit for the coasters, and the fact that she looked at the two of us and was suggesting we could take one together without exceeding that limit, well I was happily stunned! (btw, the coaster is awesome!)

Third Event
Last week in the grocery store parking lot I ran into one of my husband's former coworkers and a good friend of ours who hasn't seen me in ages. I headed his way and started speaking to him when I realized he was giving me the "I know you seem to think you know me, but you're mistaking me for someone else as I have no clue who you are" look. I asked him point-blank if he knew who I was, to which he started to shake his head no! I jokingly reached out my hand and introduced myself to him. Could've knocked him over with a feather. His reply... "I didn't recognize all '98 pounds' of you!"

It's no surprise that people don't recognize Kathleen.
Fourth Event
The biggie started last week. I'm being voted on to the Alumnae Board at my high school Alma Mater. I was contacted last Friday about being made the focus of an article in our school magazine. The "new me" had just enough moxie to agree, while the inner "old me" regretted my impulsive act the moment I hung up the phone. Today I spent an hour plus in the company of a professional photographer who shot dozens of photos of me around campus, one of which will be featured with the article in the next issue. Me. In front of a camera lens. Deliberately. By choice. No alcohol involved. LOL! (I only say that because I would've thought it would take liquid courage to ever do so…)

To say I was hugely uncomfortable at the beginning is an understatement. The photographer had the patience of Job however and according to him he got "the shot." Had this request been made of me this time last year…no way in hell! No bribing, pleading, anything would have gotten me in front of the camera lens let alone agreeing to have my photo distributed to every student and alumna! While the new me is still fresh enough to have doubts about my agreeing, I'm leaning more towards being glad I did it than regretting doing so. Obviously, I am still a work in progress in many ways.
It's hard to believe this is the same woman in these photos
Sometimes I still see the old me reflecting back from my mirror or find I am being critical of myself as I would have been in the past. I still get startled when I catch my reflection in a store window etc. as I don't always recognize myself at first either…I am loving the new me, but we're still very much in the getting acquainted stage. 

I am also very much loving that I'm still not tempted by any of my previous "go to" comfort foods despite having had circumstances arise in the past several months that would normally send me gleefully in their direction. I'm still shocked by how relatively easy this process has been for me, embracing both the food plan part of it and immersing myself in an exercise regime. Even my husband gets amused by my enthusiasm about going into places like Sports Authority to get new workout clothes or add to my equipment. We're even shopping for a bicycle for me! This tush. In public. On a bicycle seat. Who knew? 

Now I am facing, albeit with a huge dose of trepidation, maintenance. I'm hoping to go to the refresher in June, just wanting to confirm for myself the process that I need to go through. All y'all that have recently started maintenance and have gone to refreshers for that have been so generous about sharing the information here but I've always just felt that I needed to do that as well for myself. If I can't get into June's refresher I will aim for July's and start maintenance then. I both want and need this to be a once and done so I need to make sure I do it right. I'm confident I can own this portion of the process as I have the swimming in the river part, but there's enough of the old me in me still that has me feeling nervous about maintenance.

It's not an understatement when I say that I owe Julie my life. While unlike others who have had issues with diabetes or blood pressure…it could've been only a matter of time for me to develop either. Prior to Key I was existing. My weight, and the lack of self-esteem from that, had me just coasting through life. I can't say I was truly living life to my fullest. Now I am trying to do just that each day. With renewed energy and a slowly increasing self-worth, I am embracing life! This coming winter I turn 50. A year ago that seemed daunting to me. Now I am eagerly anticipating it as I feel better than I did when I hit 40! It's just a number in so many ways, but now it represents the year I gave myself health and happiness.

Along with Julie, I also owe all y'all. The support system you've have provided...from being cheerleaders to sharing recipes, it's been amazing. From a simple Facebook messenger conversation on 2/5/2014 with Martine came the biggest game changer ever. To you MT.....I owe the world! I love you more than bacon!

So that's my ramble/story.

Thank you all for being a part of my journey until now, and as it continues.
Half her size - wow!
Congratulations and thank you Kathleen for sharing your incredible weight loss story with us!You look incredible.

I'm in awe, as we started at the same size and your journey took you along the fast train to your goal. Good for you! I'm jealous of course, your success fuels my resolve to stay the course and get to my own finish line.

For those of you reading this, I hope you Kathleen's story fills you with inspiration. This is not a race, so if your journey is taking a longer - keep eating clean, exercising, and staying the course and you too will reach your goal size.

Overcome Fear

Losing weight has helped me overcome a number of fears. But what about looking ahead? What fears arise when I look ahead in my life and all I can see is empty space? I've been working on this piece for a few months. Over time I added and deleted stories about how losing weight has helped me overcome fears, but the piece didn't feel finished. A recent life transition has given me the final piece to this story.
Photo by Theresa
The one thing about empty spaces—their very existence seems to send a message that you are ready for something new to arrive. Martha Johnson, author of "Why Not Do What You Love?"
The Ice

Last winter I was walking on ice when suddenly I realized I was walking really faston ice. Walking on ice was a big challenge for me when I was a size 30/32. One freezing cold January day, more than a decade ago, I stood frozen in the middle of a hill on a side road. I was literally frozen. I could not move. The road was solid ice and I was afraid to move. No--I wasn't afraid to move--I was afraid of falling. I was afraid I would fall and not be able to get up. I couldn't budge an inch. Suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere, offered me his arm, and escorted me to the other side of the road where the ground was flatter and the snow was softer. He disappeared as quickly as he appeared and I never saw him again.

It's a great feeling no longer fearing that I will fall. I don't know when this change happened, but it was a great discovery to realize I have one less fear in my life.
Long Pond, Richmond, RI.
The Hike

At the end of May a couple of friends invited me to join them on an 8 hour 7 1/2 mile hike. My only hesitation was a project deadline a few days before the hike. Not wanting to make a promise I wasn't sure I could keep, I told them that I couldn't commit until the week of the hike. Meanwhile, I asked for more details about the hike and that's when fear hit me. There was a long list of details, but the first two freaked me out:
  • Waterproof hiking boots or trail shoes REQUIRED!
  • You will need to be reasonably fit to enjoy this hike. That said, if you engage in a normal level of activity, you should be fine. The first mile is very strenuous however.
I'm confident that I'm in the "reasonably fit" category, but I didn't have hiking boots. I told myself, There's no need for me to freak out, I can buy waterproof hiking boots, but what do they mean by strenuous? Slippery trails? Muddy trails? Rocks? I can do this! I told myself. I am not afraid! 

It was not feat that kept me from going to this event. After learning there were no bathrooms on this all day hike, I decided this hike wasn't for me. After seeing this photo a friend took along the hike, I was even happier with my decision.
This snake is a fear I have that I can live with.
The Hill

It was a gorgeous Sunday morning. My friend and I hiked walked about a half mile from the lake house through the neighborhood to the Mohegan Quarry. At the beginning of the trail lots of tails were wagging at the dog park. A few minutes later, the trail took us over a half dozen rocks, where skunk cabbage announced we were crossing through a wetland. We never saw another person after that until we crossed back over the wetland. It was incredible walking the sunlight dappled trails all by ourselves.

I looked up at steep hill we were about to climb and I realized I was hesitating for a moment and then remembered: Oh, I can do this! Sometimes it isn't until I reflect back and realize I just did something that I used to be afraid of doing, but I'm not anymore. This was one of those times. I had to remind myself that I no longer needed to be afraid of going up a hill and that I would be just fine when the time came for me to go back down the hill.

Two hours later, at the foot of that same hill, I turned and looked back up the hill and smiled. I hadn't hesitated for one second about going down that hill. It was only when I reached the bottom that I remembered my earlier hesitation.

It was the memory my body has of such hills that made me hesitate. My body remembers how physically challenging hills used to be for me. Today I look at this photo and ask myself what hill?
The hill. Photo by Theresa
Empty Spaces

My big transition that I mentioned a few weeks ago: I was laid off from my job. I see the empty space (the transition) as an opportunity to dream big and to change my life yet again. I'm not afraid of the empty space. Yes, there are moments when this feels scary, but I tap those fears away the same way I tap (push) away urges for foods that are not on program. Successful methods that work in one area of our lives can be applies to other areas. Tap, tap, tap!

My weight loss journey has prepared me for this transition. I've changed my life in so many ways since starting this program. All those non-scale victories built a strong foundation and not having to deal with all that extra weight is a big bonus.

After more than three years on this program, my autopilot is to set to healthy eating and exercising and that's exactly what I've done through this transition. Not once did I think about meeting up with my old buddies Ben and Jerry or going on an eating binge. Instead I spend my time networking and envisioning my new life.
Seize the moment to step into the unknown and be not afraid.
Photo and quote by Theresa.
What about you? What challenges are going on in your life that your weight loss journey has helped motivated and inspire you to take on? Tap away (push away) your fears, whatever they are, and keep moving forward. You can do this - you can do this program and when your life gets interrupted, you can stay the course because you have this.

All those times that you felt it was "hard" and you pushed through the tough time and stayed the course - those moments can help you push through other challenges you have in life. Tap, tap, tap!

May 18, 2015

Non-Scale Victories

Being obese for so long, one becomes accustomed to embarrassing moments such as needing to ask for a seat belt extension when boarding a plane, or being uncomfortable the entire length of a movie because your body is too big for the chair, or realizing that you are the largest person in this room of one hundred people. After losing a lot of weight, I discovered some these were no longer issues for me. Some of these moments were embarrassing to admit, but they were too victorious not to share. I began to blog about these non-scale victories and many of you shared your stories too. Join me in a non-scale victory dance, as we look back at some of our non-scale victories. 
You may not know a non-scale victory until it happens - and dance when it does!
Things I Really Love
  • The compliments
  • Finding a pair of pants that fit, without stress
  • That my own brother didn't recognize me
  • My new body
  • The amount of energy I have in a day
  • I don't have to scan the room looking for a chair that I'll fit into
  • I'm no longer diabetic
  • My doctor has taken me off all my meds
  • Shopping in regular store (no more large women's stores for me)
Ah Ha Moments
  • I walked by a mirror and did a double take - OMG - that's me! I forget! 
  • No more chub rub
  • I can bend over
  • I get up from a chair with less pain
  • I discovered a hotel towel fits around me
  • I no longer see my belly protrude while I drive
  • When I sit in a hairstylists hydraulic chair and I know she'll be able to pump me up - with ease
  • Discovering everything I own was too big: underwear, shoes, bras 
  • I just found out my ring size went from an 8.5 to a 7
  • I can cut my toe nails
  • I no longer can use my stomach as a prop to hold up my book
  • I'm can cross my legs
  • I can paint my own toe nails
  • I can shave my legs 
  • As I wait for the movie to begin, I realize my chair has open spaces on both sides of me
  • I no longer worry about my body pouring over to the airplane seat (or any seat anywhere) next to me
Life Fits Me Better Now
  • I have to move the car seat forward after my husband uses the car, I used to have to pull it back
  • I can fit both of my legs in one leg of my old pants
  • My friend and I fit, at the same time, into a blouse I used to wear
  • I fit better in my husband's arms
  • I can walk between chairs in a restaurant - straight through without doing the side shuffle
  • I'm able to walk behind friends and family sitting at my kitchen island without have to ask them to get up so I can pass by
  • I comfortably fit into seats in movie theaters
  • All the clothes I bought last summer and couldn't wear now fit me
  • Feeling the bones in my butt when I sit on the floor
  • I fit comfortably into my camper shower stall
  • Getting up from sitting cross-legged on the floor without effort or contortions. 
  • I not only no longer need a seat belt extension when I fly - and I have extra room in my seat
  • I fit better in my car
  • Sitting on hubby's lab on a plastic Adirondack chair and not worrying about it breaking
  • My underwear doesn't roll down and your shirt doesn't roll up
  • I can tie my shoes without having to prop on a chair 
  • I can wear my ring that I haven't worn for twenty years
I Cover New Distances
  • I can walk through Walmart and Big Y on same afternoon
  • I can trot up to the second floor with a basket full of laundry from the basement without being winded 
  • I am a runner once again
  • I finished my first 5k in twenty-five years
  • Finishing my first 10k in thirty years
  • Finishing my first half marathon 
  • Finishing my first, second, and third marathon
  • I went kayaking for the first time
  • I zip-lined for the first time
Short Victory Stories
  • I was away with friends and it got cold and I had not packed a sweater. A friend offered me hers and I was horrified at the thought of her seeing me struggle to put on her little sweeter and not being able to get my arms in. She insisted and it fit AND closed! She said she knew it would fit, it was a medium! There was a time I struggled to get into a 3x .That was a moment for me. umbrellas are not the only thing that fits me at Victoria Secrets.
  • Every time they check my license at the airport and ask how much I have lost! Or they wonder if it's really me!
  • Going shopping in my own store and fitting into clothes that I have not worn in years! My store is as bag of clothes that have been packed away for years. Some still have tags on them.
  • I used to make excuses for not getting on the floor with my grand babies and now I'm on the floor...running in the yard...playing hide and seek and can find places to hide...and just able to play and make memories with the girls. This made my day, my week, my month!
  • Seeing my tattoo, which is located a little lower than my bikini line. I had forgotten all about it till it appeared recently.
  • I can reach the gas door release lever that sits on the floor of the car without having to open the door to get better angle - my belly is no longer in the way. I was amazed the first time I was able to do it. 
  • I went rock climbing and I couldn't climb up very far. I didn't look around to see who was watching because I felt victorious that I tried and that some day I will try again. 
  • One evening it hit me, as I looked around the large room full of people: I'm no longer the largest person in the room - I'm an average size person. 
It's these kinds of moments we need to remember when something sweet or salty and off-program calls our name.

These are just some of the non-scale victories I've heard from others and I've experienced myself. Life is about living and losing this weight has helped me live a fuller life. I fit better into life and I feel better than I have in decades. There are simple things that I couldn't do when I was obese and there are still a few things I can't do, but when I can do them, I will do a non-scale victory dance.

What about you? What new things can you do today that you couldn't before you lost weight? Stop and do a victory dance for yourself - because you are worth celebrating too! What new things do you want to do that you couldn't do before because of your weight? Keep doing what you're doing until you can celebrate those changes too.

May 15, 2015

The Gift

While searching for an old email this morning, I found a message from my California friend Mary, who I've known since I was six. Her message was in response to my blog post Live in the Moment (7/23/13), in which I expressed my frustration at how long my journey was taking while others passed me by and reached their goals. Inspired by her words of encouragement, I want to share the gift of her message with all of you.
December 2000 (my California friend is on the right)
Going through my email, I reread this piece which feels, to me, so honest. We do so often get discouraged in our journeys and we have to remind ourselves of our successes and remember to keep our eyes on the prize.
Think of it like attending college. Sure, lots of folks finished school before you... and perhaps even the people who started the same time as you finished sooner. And some semesters are better and easier than others—our grades higher, the work more fluid and easy to learn.
It seems like a long process when you are in it, and like so many sacrifices have to be made. And they do. And you make them because the final goal is what is important to you—more important than being able to buy a new car and eat that big piece of cheesecake.
And so all you can do is live in the moment—get through that paper, study for that final, finish one semester and then the next, until one day, you’re standing there with that Master’s Degree in your hand thinking “WOW! I did it!”
You can’t waste time in the middle of it going “Boo hoo, I haven’t graduated yet!” Because the important thing is that you’re there—focused—and intent upon the reward that you know awaits you at the end—a better life, deeper satisfaction, greater physical and mental health, stronger self-confidence and self—esteem.
So you are right. Get into the moment and ENJOY every minute of it because it is your WONDERFUL life and you ARE on the right road and heading in the right direction.

Consider this. Yesterday I spoke with Jane. She weighs 77 pounds now. She has to walk with a walker. She fell last week and broke a rib. Her MS and the complications from the chemo she did to fight her breast cancer have essentially made her disabled and she is barely 60 years old. She is having a hard time coming to terms with her own self-image; she is no longer the buff massage therapist she once was. But she is still Jane, regardless of her body’s strengths or weaknesses. She is trying to focus on that.

Think of what a blessing it is to have a healthy body. Appreciate it. Use it. It is a gift.
I agree with my friend—having a healthy body is a blessing. I only need to look back four years to remember how I unhealthy I was and how I could barely walk five minutes in my size 30/32. I appreciate that I have a choice to be healthy or not—many others do not have this choice. This choice is a gift that I proudly accept.

What about you? Will you accept your choice as a gift?

Related Stories

May 14, 2015


I had a conversation with a key friend yesterday that a few of you may relate to. She gave me permission to share this story, but I changed her name in this story to Nikki.
Homemade ranch dressing
I just ate three spoonfuls of ranch dressing. You know, the creamy homemade hidden valley kind. I ate some with my dinner and then I ate three more spoonfuls after dinner. I ate the dressing like a special treat, as if it was ice cream.
This is something that I've never done before! Since I began this program two and a half years ago, I have never eaten anything I shouldn't have. I know ranch dressing is a condiment and that I shouldn't be eating it by the spoonful.
Some people crave sugar, but I crave saltiness. I've always been more of a tortilla/Doritos chip and dip snacker kind of girl with no sweet tooth. I miss tortilla chips. I don't miss cake or cookies or bread or pasta. I miss salty foods.
I'm not really sure what I'm trying to ask you, but I could use some guidance.
My Response:

The way you interact with ranch dressing is similar to how I am with yogurt. I have trouble with yogurt and no matter how much I promise myself (and everyone else) I'm not going to eat it, I still do. I have long periods of time when I'm able to push yogurt cravings away, but then I cave in again.

I convince myself yogurt isn't going to make me obese again. This is a gray area. This is making up my own program and not following the program as I learned it. This can lead to a plateau.

I've been on this weight loss journey for more than four years and I'm SO ready to be at my goal size. Every time I choose yogurt in an inappropriate way (too much) I'm pushing myself further away from reaching my goal.

I must decide: a) goal size, or b) yogurt.

You have a choice to make too: a) goal size, or b) ranch dressing.

Each time we choose A over B, we teach our bodies not to trust us and our goal size pushes out further from us.

We must choose A so we can reach our goal. Otherwise, this program this will be like a diet that we never get off.

We aren't meant to stay in the river for the rest of our lives. We're supposed to do this program once and be done. We return to the river as we cycle through maintenance and after that a few times a year to drop back to our goal size.

You've inspired me Nikki!

I choose option A.

What about you? Will you choose A too?

Note to Self

Note to self: saying that I want to walk 15,000 steps every day requires having a plan. It does not happen without a plan. Realizing at 10:15 pm that I'm shy 5,000 steps of my daily goal—is not a plan! Having this realization is not a plan either.
My goal is to walk 15,000 steps every day.
Don't let your little mean girl (inner critic) run around telling you failed because you only walked 10,500 steps. There will be days when walking 15,000 steps is not possible. Feel good about the amount of exercise you do and accept the times when it just can't happen.

Last night my little mean girl was all over me because I called it quits at 11,359 steps—I didn't reach my daily goal of 15,000 steps.

Hush little mean girl, hush!

Remember this: there was a time when you couldn't walk for five minutes.

Move on and make a plan so this doesn't happen frequently.

Enough about me—what's you plan to reach your daily exercise goals?

May 13, 2015

About Corn

I bought corn at a local farm this week and I enjoyed every bite of my fresh sweet corn. This morning one of my key-friends mentioned it isn't corn season yet. What? Say it isn't true! This morning I searched online to find out when is corn season and where does off-season corn come from. Here's what I found, along with some great tips for cooking corn...
Grilled Corn. Photo by MassLive
When is corn season?
  • Corn season is mid-July to early October.
Where does off-season corn come from? 
  • I couldn't find the answer to this question. If I really want to know, I'll need ask the farm where I bought the corn.
Tips for cooking corn*
  • Buy and eat corn on the same day. The older the corn gets the starchier it will become.
  • Try to not to refrigerate fresh corn. Like tomatoes, when corn is chilled it loses some of its sparkle.
  • If you prefer to boil corn instead of steaming it in the husk on the grill like I suggest, try this:
    1) Cut the top of the ear off with a sharp knife about 1 to 2 inches below where the silk appears.
    2) Next peel down the husk one section at a time and carefully tug the silk along with the husk. 3) Continue until you are all the way around the cob. This is the best way to remove the silk.
  • If you are in polite company or just got your new false teeth, you always can shave the kernels off the cob (after they have been seasoned) with a sharp knife. Simply make sure the top and bottom of the ear have been cut flat, then hold the corn vertically on a cutting board and run the knife down the ear about 1/2 inch into the cob removing just the kernels. If you get into rough territory and the knife just won’t go through the kernels, that means your knife is too far into the cob and all you have to do is start again with the blade closer to the kernels.
  • Always use fresh lime with this dish. The additional acidity makes this go from a good dish to a sublime taste experience that will change your life forever.
How much corn are we allowed on program?
  • Do you want to eat three ears of corn? Go ahead, but make sure you eat three steaks along with it. Eat as much corn as you want - as long as you have an equal amount of protein to corn. 

Related Posts

*Source: Corn, Mexican Style, by By Rocco DiSpirito, MassLive

Barbecue Mexican Corn

It's summer time and my grill is the focus of my cooking method. I found this Barbecue Mexican Corn recipe and modified the ingredients to fit the key program. You may choose to pass on adding butter or oil since there is also mayo in this recipe. You might also adjust the amount of cotija cheese.
Barbecue Mexican Corn. Photo by MassLive
Cooking Time Start to Finish: 20 minutes

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon barbecue spice rub (use your favorite)
  • 4 ears local corn, in their husks
  • Butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) cotija cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to high.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and barbecue spice rub. Set aside.
  3. Place the corn, in their husks, on the grill or pan and allow to steam cook for about 5 minutes per side.
  4. Peel back some husk and check for tenderness. When corn is tender, remove from the heat but leave the grill on or the pan over the heat. Cut 1 inch off the top of the cobs. Grasp the husk, along with the silk, and peel the husks off the cob like a banana. Continue peeling back the husks around the rest of the cob. Peeling them back together in this way creates a handle for holding the cob.
  5. Lightly coat the corn with butter or olive oil and place on the hot grill or pan. 
  6. Grill until the kernels begin to develop grill marks and become charred, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Turn the cobs occasionally.
  8. Using a pastry brush, brush the mayonnaise mixture onto each cob. 
  9. Sprinkle the cheese and cilantro over the cobs. 
  10. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Related Posts

*Source: Corn, Mexican Style, by By Rocco DiSpirito, MassLive

May 7, 2015

Get the Fat Out of Here

I had just big discovery: I am eating way too much fat. Seriously way too much fat. Why didn't I see this sooner? Because I was living in the grey area of this program. You may be asking what grey area? Great question! There is no grey area —you are either on program or you're off. The grey area is the third program — a program that you and I made up. And guess what — it doesn't work.
Way too much fat in this lunch: Ham salad, sriracha chicken salad, and coleslaw
Here's my discovery as it unfolded for me this morning...

As I mixed salad dressing into a large bowl with coleslaw and carrots, I glanced over at the plastic containers of ham salad and sriracha chicken salad that I bought from the deli last night.

That's when it hit me: I'm not losing weight because I'm eating way to much fat.

I plated the salads, took the photo above, and then I tossed the jar of dressing into the trash, despite the fact that there's still more dressing inside the bottle. I headed upstairs to my computer to eat lunch and begin writing this post.

The right thing to do, I told myself as I took a bite of chicken salad, would be to cut back on these salads. It's too much food and it's too much fat. Or not eat everything on my plate. Or toss everything and go for something else. 

I made the choice to eat everything on my plate. As I ate my chicken salad, I kept looking at the MOUND of ham salad.

I really shouldn't eat all this.

Continuing my inner dialogue: I know that I will eat the rest of the coleslaw for dinner tonight, despite the fact that I know I've already had too much fat today and I'm not even done eating my lunch. 

Despite the fact that I have more coleslaw than chicken in the refrigerator, I know, as I type this, that I will eat all of that coleslaw for dinner tonight.  I'm leaving town for a few days and my kitty-sitter won't eat it.

I debated about posting this today or waiting until tomorrow.

I don't want anyone to call me on my choice to eat the rest of that salad tonight. 

I don't want anyone to call me right now and convince me to stop eating the coleslaw that is on my plate.

This weight loss journey is all about choices. 

I'm going to make the right choice right now. 

Right this moment I am choosing to stop this insanity of eating too much fat.

I'm taking this plate downstairs and throwing away the coleslaw that's on my plate and in the refrigerator.

Done. I took a photo of the plate and bowl, as a photo of the trash, well, it's too trashy looking.
I tossed all my coleslaw into the trash.
I fell into this fatty lunch today because I didn't plan ahead. When I stopped for groceries last night I decided chicken would take too long, so I ordered deli salads and picked up ingredients to make coleslaw.

This is what's between me and the size I want to be: fat, fat, fat.

I'm done with eating all this fat.

I've been making myself promises and lists of foods I'm going to avoid. I never had a list before. Why do I need one now? I needed a list because something was off — I was off program. I was eating too much food and too much fat.

I wasn't tuning into the clue that it felt hard to be on program. Anytime this program feels hard, I'm doing something wrong.

I seized the moment and I took my power back. I choose to eat clean right here and now.

What about you? Are you eating too much fat? Are you eating too much food? Are you playing in the grey area? There is no grey area on this program. The grey area is the third program, the program that we make up instead of following Julie's program.

Get the fat out of here —go back to eating clean and losing weight!

May 6, 2015

Good News and Bad News

Do you resent the efforts you have to put into losing weight? It's time to embrace choices that support what you want: to lose weight and reach your goal size! It's time to become enthusiastic about your journey and allow your enthusiasm to energize your choices and your process.
Here's an outfit I want to wear!
I had a good news / bad news experience this week, but now that I'm on the other side of it, I'm enthusiastic about my journey once again. Here's my good news / bad news story...

The good news: all my Capri's from last summer are too baggy in the waist and they could slide off me at any moment. One pair fit me nicely, so I kept them and put the rest in a bin for consignment.

The bad news: I dropped all my larger clothes at a consignment store last Saturday and yesterday I discovered the pair that of Capri's I wanted to keep were nowhere to be found. I must have put them in the consignment store bins. I have no shorts or Capri's!

The good news: I'm in a size that I can go into just about any store and buy clothes.

The bad news: I discovered that I can not just walk into any store and buy clothes!


I should have listened to my key friend and had those Capri's altered at the waist.

Yesterday I walked into Marshall's full of confidence that I could buy Capri's, shorts, short skirts or summer dresses. I was determined that size didn't matter. I just wanted to buy two or three items.

The summer dresses and skirts were full-length, so I didn't try any of them on. I sifted through the racks and grabbed Capri's and shorts in size 16 and 18. I really didn't want to buy 18's...I want to be a size 14, but I need something to wear. With nine items in hand, I went into the dressing room. Nothing fit me.

I wore jeans all day yesterday and I was hot all day long, so I know I can't survive the summer in jeans. Summer is here and I have nothing to wear? Do I go back to Lane Bryant or the Avenue?


To say I was feeling a little panicked is an understatement.

So, what's a girl to do? Finish my weight loss journey — that's what I'm going to do! I'm going to keep eating clean and bump up my daily exercise. Switch up my menu, eat lower fat foods, and have more chicken and fish. Oh, I'm going to do what Julie teaches! Brilliant.

I'm at a point in my journey where my body doesn't need as much food as I used to eat. I'm starting to listen to my body. This means I'm serving smaller portions. I made chili the other night and instead of eating the whole pot for one meal, which is almost a pound of hamburg, I spread it out over two meals. Each meal time I ate the chili I two bowls, so my goal is to make the same pot of chili last for four meals. Instead of a second bowl of chili I'm going to have a side dish of green veggies.

I've stopped eating mindlessly. I was telling myself the things I was eating were okay because "it's on program." That was true, but it was also true that I was eating too much.

A new thing I've discovered about myself is that when I take a break from working on a project or something I'm focused on (other than food), once I go back to whatever I was doing my hunger goes away. I forget about having more of whatever I ate because my focus is elsewhere.

My meals are like a book — they have a beginning (cooking), middle (eating), and an end (clean up). At the end, I close the book (walk away from the leftovers) and I forget about food.

These guidelines are essential for me at this point in my journey, so I made a stickies note on my computer so I can see this daily:
  • 3 coffees a day (to cut back on the amount of milk I drink)
  • No wings
  • Minimal take out
  • No cheese
  • No bacon
  • No yogurt
  • No stress or mindless eating
  • Cut back on how much I'm eating
  • 15,000 steps daily
I know I won't have to keep looking at this list, but for now, it's what I need to do to evolve my weight loss journey. A friend suggested it may be time for me to switch to a different diet. I understand her thinking, but no this is not the solution for me. My solution is to follow this program, reach my goal, learn maintenance, and then live my life without being this focused on food.

As I write this post, I think about why I'm having to set up these guidelines for myself. Shouldn't all of this be programmed in me by now? Perhaps, but the reality I "got away" with things before now that I can no longer continue if I want reach my goal size. Since I'm no longer a size 30/32 I need to rein in what I'm doing to reach my goal.

This is a solo journey. Julie gave me the tools, but I have to implement them.

None of these thoughts are new to me. This is where I am, once again. No judgement. No little mean girl. I see myself as stuck and that this is an opportunity to change  once again. I'm looking at all of this as if I'm being put through a test of patience and I'm accepting it gracefully. I accept this challenge — bring it on!

Oh, and about that tangerine skirt and white blouse photo at the top of this story — that's the type of look I want to wear. I could have bought the outfit on Saturday, I even tried on the skit and it fit nicely.

The truth is I don't want to spend that kind of money on clothes until I reach my goal, which is why I must stay steady on my journey. If I want to be successful, I have to stay the course. I must see this journey through to the end and then reap the reward of maintaining my goal size.

What about you? Do you need to clean up your eating or kick up you exercise program? Do what it takes to stay on your journey. Let's do this! And let's do this with great enthusiasm!