Saturday, June 30, 2012

Practice staying in the moment

I'm feeling sort of restless today.  I sometimes get like that when something is either bothering me or I just can't put my finger on it.  As I was thinking about it, I realized that I have not been in the moment, appreciating today for where I am.  Instead, my head is either in the past or in the future.  Especially right now, it's in the future. 

I have been thinking a lot about the transition phase of getting off Optifast product and onto food again.  I'm months away from doing that, probably not until October or November, but it's been in my head a lot.  Last night I pulled open my Optifast binder and went to the section that describes how we phase food back in.  It's a very sensible plan that I found fascinating.  Part of that process scares me because I've been without real food for so long, but the other part of me is excited to be able to sort of start back with a clean slate having not had any bad food in my body for months.  I was reflecting back on my week between my first Optifast group meeting and the second week, where we didn't start on product yet but we knew it was coming up.  Many people have referred to it as their Last Supper.  I tried to have a big, gigantic last supper, thinking this was my last chance at "good" food for a very long time.  What was my poison?  Kentucky Fried Chicken, with all the fixings.  I bought a family meal with a bucket, side dishes and the chocolate cake (even though I'm not really a fan of chocolate).  I intended to work on that thing until it was all gone before going on the product.  I gave myself several days to do it.  Instead, I got sick to my stomach with all that grease getting caught in my throat in the middle of the night and just regretted that stupid decision.  I ended up throwing it out and lost 6 pounds during that week, probably out of pure disgust!  When I go on my walks, I pass by the KFC near my house and instead of being turned on by the smell of that fried chicken, it makes me turn up my nose.  Yuck.

In trying to think healthier, I've been collecting recipes for low-fat or low-calorie cooking.  I enjoyed cooking and want to do things from a cleaner place.  That's all well and good, but why am I going around collecting recipes now?  It seems like that's a torture device.  Even worse, I've been watching a lot of the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.  Any time they are preparing food, I'm fascinated.  I'm not wanting the food, but I'm watching the preparation.  Today I was watching a Foodography segment on how cakes and cookies are related.  I don't want cakes or cookies, but there I was watching it, commenting to myself on how interesting this or that was.  Or on the Food Network, they have been showing a lot of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri.  That totally is an indulgent show.  You got oil or butter?  Then it's highlighted there!  Again, I honestly can say I am not craving the food, but I am cracking up on how much crap people put into food when there are other ways of cooking and just the looks of pure pleasure they get when they take a big bite.  Yet, I'm not sitting in judgement because I was one of those people that put bad stuff into my food all the freaking time ... the more the merrier. 

I've also been thinking about my upcoming trips.  I'm excited about going on them, very excited, but they're not here yet.  I leave for one a week from this coming Tuesday and then for the other not until July 20th.  I need to refocus and be here in the moment.  One of the things I am working on this summer at home is boxing up my old clothes that don't fit any longer because they're too big and donating them to charity.  As fun as that idea sounds, there's actually an emotional component I didn't even consider when I started doing it.  You would think I would be absolutely thrilled to let go of them.  Don't get me wrong ... I am very happy they no longer fit me.  Talk about swimming in clothes, they are totally ridiculous on me.  The only things I plan on keeping are my original outfit from the body assessment because I need to remind myself in a very visual way where I've come from.  Perhaps someday soon I'll take a picture of me in that outfit and post it just so other people can see what I'm talking about.  I feel like a little girl in a big girl's pants when I try them on. 

Emotionally, though, letting go of those clothes is like letting go of a piece of me.  Being a larger person is safe in so many ways.  You protect yourself from others possibly hurting you and paying attention to you.  If you've been hurt a lot in your life, it's a protective layer you put around yourself that somehow makes you feel safer.  The negative side to that, beyond the physical difficulties that arise, is that you also layer yourself off from other people and their love for you, whether that is in a romantic relationship, friendships or with your family.  So if I'm focusing on other things instead of putting those clothes in boxes, sealing them and calling the Salvation Army to pick them up, then I can stay in a space that is comfy with very minimal risk.  Ugh, I just heard myself ... time to do it.    It will make me feel fantastic to see the clothes that are way too big on me that used to be way too small on me and to let them go.  It symbolizes so much to me, about letting go of the past and past hurts.  I am so much happier these days than I was when I first started Optifast and I know taking this most loving action will even bring me more joy.  Okay people, this is exactly why I blog!  I have my AHA moments when I start typing all the time.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Upcoming road trips

During July, I will be going on two fabulous road trips.  The first one is with one of my very good friends.  We'll be traveling from San Diego, where we live, up the California coast.  We'll be heading to Santa Barbara, San Simeon and Monterey.  Along the way, we will be staying in lovely hotels that we have decided to splurge at.  I would normally never spend the sort of money on a hotel room that we are during our trip, but, hey, I'm on vacay!  They offer killer views of the ocean, luxurious pools and even massages if we so desire.  When we booked them, we made sure they had fridges and gyms so that we can still take care of our needs.  For me, I will, of course, be on Optifast product and she is doing a special program as well.  So the fridges are for keeping our supplies on hand.  The gyms are to ensure we're keeping healthy.  I'm sure we'll be doing lots of walking on our excursions, but we want to not leave anything to chance.  The difficulty I am encountering is my feelings about being on the product while staying in places that offer great dining and wine tasting.  While I didn't get sad about it, I did tell her I will miss not eating while on our trip.  Don't worry ... I'm not thinking of going off product.  I am committed to my success in this program, as well as afterward.  I know that food will be in my future again and that I can keep the focus on great experiences and the company of my friend.  I was just being honest about how I was feeling.  She told me she understood.  While she is not on Optifast, she will have restrictions as well, so at least we can be there to look out for each other.

Towards the end of July, I will be traveling with my mother from San Diego to Vegas to visit my brother and sister-in-law.  My mother is Filipino and I learned how to make delicous Filipino food from her, like chicken adobo, lumpia, pancet, etc.  Whenever we visit my brother, he always begs my mom to make classic Filipino fare because his wife doesn't like making that kind of food and doesn't make it near as well as my family does (I think you might have to have Filipino DNA coursing in your body to make excellent lumpia).  Normally it is like a feeding frenzy at his house when my mom makes the food, with a bunch of his friends there and everyone absolutely gorging on the food.  My mom does not know moderation so she makes enough food to feed an army, or two.  To take care of myself, I think I am not going to join them the afternoon she makes all that food.  Instead, I'll go to the pool at our hotel, pictured to the left.  Looks scrumptious, doesn't it?  It's not as though I am trying to separate myself from all of them and not having time with my family, but I have got to protect my program as much as possible.  I am sure they will understand because they are super supportive of what I am doing.  The truth is that life still happens, whether or not we are on our fasts.  I am fully aware of that.  While I am feeling strong that I won't "cheat" on my program since I haven't done so already, I also don't need to test myself either.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Can't believe it

Well, it turns out that I have been overexercising.  It seems crazy when I spent so much time in my life not exercising enough, but now it's just way too much.  I have been dealing with lightheadedness that's not going away, a feeling of weakness, low blood sugar and slight problems with my bad knee (existing condition from a car accident).  I tried drinking more water, that didn't help.  With that feeling like I'm going to pass out when I get up from a sitting position, I finally decided to consult my clinic's medical staff and the Optifast guidebook.  Yup, exercising too much ... unreal!  Here's what the exercise guidelines are while on the full-fast:

"You can engage in physical activity or exercise while taking the Optifast supplement.  However, if you engage in too much exercise at too high an intensity you can slow down the weight loss process, cause a soft tissue injury, or experience symptoms of nausea and lightheadedness.  By following a few simple guidelines, you can exercise your way to a healthier body.
  • Frequency:  3-4 days per week.
  • Intensity:  Moderate aerobic activities.
  • Time:  30-40 minutes per session, not including any warm-up or cool-down activities.
  • Type:  Walking, swimming, or cycling are the best choices.
  • Strength training is safe if you use light weights and high repetitions (12-15).
  • Be sure to drink extra fluids on workout days.
  • Seek the advise of an exercise physiologist if you have questions or concerns."
Oh man.  So now I'm going to have to curb my exercise a little bit.  I started looking at my weight loss history and while I am still losing a lot of weight, it actually has slowed down for the most part since kicking up my exercise.  Beyond the rate of loss, however, is not wanting to do damage to my body.  If I feel like I'm going to pass out when I get up, that's not good.  Having low blood sugar is not good.  Causing further damage to an already-injured knee is not good.  So, I will pull back on what I've been doing (although I'm definitely not happy about it).  I enjoy the exercise, but I need to follow the rules.  So no more power-walking three miles every day.  I can look forward to increasing it in the future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Round two

Monday night was the end of my 20th week of weigh-ins and a new crop of people came into our group at the Kaiser clinic.  For those that will be continuing in the fasting phase, we stay in the class and new people join us who are just starting their journeys.  About 11 of us are continuing on from the first class, but it was so great to see the eagerness and excitement of the new people.  Our group now has 25 people in it, pretty big for us since the 11 of us were the ones who made it through to the end of the first group.  It was hard to see people dropping out since our group originally started with about 20, but it is what it is.  We are a tight 11, so supportive of each other, and I know we will also be that way with the new people.

Our counselor welcomed them and gave them some highlights of successful stories.  One of our 11, for example, has lost 172 pounds.  Pretty impressive, but she was quick to point out that she has done it over the course of several years with some weight gain in the middle.  Then, he turns to me and says, "Kathy, if you don't mind sharing, can you tell the group how much weight you've lost in the last 20 weeks?"  I just knew he was going to call me out!  He is always so thrilled to see me each week because my rate of loss is pretty astonishing (by his admission, not mine).  He's told me that in the 30 years that he has been a counselor at the clinic, no woman, and very few men, have lost as much weight faster than I have.  So, I addressed the group and told them that as of that night, I had lost 135.5 pounds in the last 20 weeks.  That was followed by a round of applause, coupled with oooh's and aaaah's.  People were asking me if it was all just Optifast or if I was doing something different, almost as if I had the secret to eternal life.  If only!  I described that, no, I just do the Optifast 70 program, but I do exercise a lot now, although that isn't a requirement of the program, just something I enjoy doing now.  When I think about it, it took me about 5 or 6 weeks before I started doing any exercise at all and now I'm up to at least 3 miles each and every day.

When you're starting new in program, they give you a binder full of information, assignments and other things you'll need along the way in the journey, as well as a book called Maximize Your Body Potential.  You are told you will need to bring these two items to class, so I saw all the new people had these things in their hands or under their seats.  I leaned over to one of the 11 and asked her if she had been reading the book or if she was doing the assignments.  She confessed that she hadn't even opened the book.  After a couple of weeks of the classes, we weren't bringing those items in any longer because our support group was not about the topics discussed in the pages but things the counselor would do with us.  I did start reading the book but I had put it down since we weren't going through it.  It sort of felt like homework to me and I figured that when the time came where we were supposed to start reading it, our counselor would let us know.  We both committed to each other that we would, at the very least, start reading the book.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized that they gave me the book and the notebook with assignments or other reading for a reason.  Now that I am in the second round of this phase, I feel I am prepared to really start digging in.

Now that I'm in the book, I can't put it down!  There are sections in there about weight loss, but it is more about being successful in your weight management journey for life.  There is going to come a time when I will be re-introduced to food again and I have to make appropriate choices if I hope to be successful.  It also talks about a very important component that perhaps gets glossed over far too easily ... the emotional and psychological component of weight loss.  How do we deal with thinner bodies?  How do our families and friends deal with us in thinner bodies?  Losing weight is all about us, but it does not just affect us.  I took out a highlighter and really started marking some important components for me, such as:

  • A major part of successful weight management is learning to identify and change underlying beliefs that don't serve you, to find new ways of understanding events, to replace negative self-talk with more adaptive thinking, and to cope more effectively with negative emotions.
  • Weight reduction is a self-centered activity.  To be successful you must give it top priority.
  • You  need to constantly bring your focus back to what you expect to get by losing weight and the costs you will pay for not losing weight.
  • Involving others in your weight management efforts in a way that is nonthreatening to them is important if you are going to achieve and stay at your best weight.
  • In order to speak up for your needs, you may need to challenge and change old ideas.
There were so many more fantastic gems, but really it is all about being successful in managing weight for the rest of my life.  My character trait/defect of being stubborn is going to come in handy here.  I refuse to become a statistic, one of those poor souls who loses a huge amount of weight only to gain it back.  I have already done that with 100 pounds before and I'm not willing to go through that again.  I am already in a place where I'm in a foreign land ... a smaller body, able to do things I couldn't do before, off of all of my diabetes medication and insulin, with so much more energy.  There is no way on God's green earth I am going to give that up, no freakin way!!  I have too many people who love and support me to let that happen.  And, really, I refuse to let that happen to myself.  Unless you've been where I have been - morbidly obese - you can't understand how painful a place that is.  There is obvious physical pain, yes, but I mean more the emotional hurt deep down inside.  It's a place so painful that I hardly could ever talk about it out loud to other people because then I would have to sit in those feelings and I know I would constantly have tears in my eyes.  Instead, I'd just put on a great smile and perhaps joke things away.  I have used humor far too many times to mask pain.  Dammit, I am worthy of so much more than being less than my authentic self.

I have also opened that notebook and taken a look at some of the writing assignments.  I will start working on those, too.  As much as opening the door to the past is very difficult to do, I must walk through that door to get to the other side.  Avoiding doing so got me to 417 pounds.  No more.  I am taking my life back and telling that horrid voice in my head that screams I'm not good enough to take a flying leap off the cliff.  So there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I just have to say thank you

When I first started this blog, it was really just for me.  Having done blogs before, let alone knowing the absolute priceless value of writing through emotions, I knew it was something I would do as I walked through one of the most important journeys of my life.  I thought maybe someone would stumble on it and perhaps glean a little something they could take away from my experiences that might help them in their own journeys.  Being morbidly obese - how I detest that label, by the way - and the journey to losing weight is highly personal ... humilitating at times, humbling at others.  My goal has been, though, to do this with the idea of being 100% transparent because I want to heal.  I want to keep growing and I definitely do not want to be another "statistic".  In the process, I have found a voice within me with something to say as well as amazing, wonderful people who support me while going through their own challenges or even just friends in real life that I have been brave enough to share this website with (if you are someone that knows me in person and I have given you a link to my blog just so that you can follow along in my journey, please know it is because I love you and trust you). 

I was looking at one of the reports Blogger gives in terms of who visits my blog and I seriously have visitors from all over the world.  Of course much of the audience comes from the U.S., but I also have lots of visitors from Russia, Ireland, Germany, Canada and  Australia, as well as some from Gambia, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.  That is amazing!  So anyway, I just needed to say thank you for your wonderful comments, e-mails and your own awesome blogs that I love reading as much as I do writing my own.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekly weigh-in and acceptance

I lost 5 pounds this week, which I'm happy about.  I've been building lots of muscle with all the exercise I am doing, which has been great.  My body really is changing right before my eyes.  For example, I have actual hips.  Sounds weird to people who have not been significantly overweight, but I can see my hips now when before they were not visible. 

One of the things that I am having a rough time with, though, is excess skin.  I know that, intellectually, there will be excess skin when you lose so much weight.  But, emotionally, it's tough because I guess I had the fantasy in my mind that when I lost the weight, the skin would magically tighten up.  Nope!  I know that I'll likely have skin removal surgery in the future when I'm at goal weight or closer.  In the meantime, I need to deal with my feelings about it.  Right now I'm trying to find bathing suits for this summer and it's been a supremely frustrating experience.  It's not that I can't find any that fit, it's that I don't like them on me because of the skin issue.  I've been so critical of myself when I look in the mirror, kind of beating myself up for gaining the weight in the first place.  I also think about being in a relationship again in the future.  Would that man in my life understand the journey I've been on and not judge me or my body?  That's a really tough one for me to swallow.

The truth is, though, I just don't have the power to go back in time and fix the clock.  All I can do is move forward from here and do the best I can.  That starts with accepting that I am here right now, in the present moment, doing my absolute best to love myself.  Afterall, God does not make junk and He does not make mistakes.  Acceptance is easier said than done, that's for sure, but it is also key to having continued weight loss success in the future. 

I am reminded of the beautiful and extemely wise Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

That's not just a route saying ... that really is something to live by.  Who knows why things happen the way they do.  I don't have to blindly accept everything in life without questioning anything, but there are certain things that we just can't do anything about.  I can't do anything about the fact that I gained weight.  Yet, I can do something about letting it go.  Whatever the results are (excess skin vs. tight skin), that's not for me to say.  I am given the courage every day to change the things I can, and now I pray that I continue to embrace acceptance as well.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Letting go

Even though I still have quite a journey ahead of me as I continue on Optifast, a lot of feelings and emotions have been coming up for me lately.  I'm doing my absolute best to not push them away, but to honor them as where I am in the present moment.  First of all, I am the smallest I have ever been in my life probably since the age of 13.  Actually, probably younger than that.  Who knows when you purposely stop looking in the mirror and try to ignore the increasing number on the tags of your clothes.  That's not to say I'm quite in the category of "small" but for me, yes, I am there.  And yet, I'm not stopping.  My body continues to get smaller as I continue on Optifast and exercising.  So, naturally, now feelings of why the weight came on in the first place are really flooding my consciousness and I am having to deal with feelings of myself and my self-worth.

I definitely am not a child any longer and have really lived a life with lots of experiences, so my image of myself today is nowhere as low as it used to be.  I wouldn't even say I think "low" of myself, but I also have challenges that I have to be honest about and work through if I ever hope of keeping the weight off in the future.  As I have shared on this blog before, I was abused and raped when I was a kid.  Those are not easy things to survive, but you live through them and just try to forget somehow.  I tried my best, but I always felt tainted somehow and even, I have to admit, like I deserved it.  I know, I know ... you're shaking your head at how ridiculous a statement that is.  No one deserves any of that, but I was convinced I did.

I would always look in the mirror and just hate myself.  I always thought of myself as ugly, from my earliest memories.  I was always tall and I never felt like I fit in, having had a Filipino mother and Caucasian father.  I mean, what group could I really identify with?  My look, while some people classified it as "exotic," to me was just plain ugly.  My last boyfriend always told me how beautiful he thought I was and I just never believed him, couldn't believe him, didn't want to believe him.  He had to work overtime to convince me that I was wonderful, worthy and lovely... things I would never believe.  I wanted to, but I just couldn't.  As I was judging myself, I ate to cover up the feelings and always put on a jovial smile for the world to see, not only when I was in the relationship with him but, really, for my entire life.  So when I was teased for being fat, I wasn't surprised and fed into that, resigned to the fact that I would feel that way forever.  I felt people were embarrassed to be seen with me and, hey, I didn't blame them one iota.  The sadness that I felt about myself inside was also showing on the outside.  If you look at some of my "before" pictures on my Pics of Progress page, you can see that sadness on my face, even when I was smiling and trying to cover it up.

So, now that the food has been put down and I'm losing a truckload of weight, here I am, back with those dreaded feelings.  But they're different now.  I have people calling me beautiful all the time, which is a different dynamic for me. I'm not saying that because of vanity, but really it is because I am not fighting with them, trying to convince them that they're wrong about me, that they must have me mixed up with some other person.  As I look in the mirror now, I don't look away or even avoid looking in the mirror in the first place.  I don't regard my reflection with hidden shame.  I am facing the image that stares back at me, realizing that I am exuding something altogether different these days.  I am not punishing myself for being abused and raped.  Those are horrible things to live through, but I did live through them.  I am here, alive, thank you God for getting me through.  Time to let go of the past.  I don't need to repeat patterns that were self-destructive for me and my well-being.

There is so much wonderful healing that has happened.  Maybe that beauty is shining through because I finally get the fact that love includes loving ourselves just as much as loving other people.  I can think of hardly any other more loving act towards myself than that of taking care of my health ... physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.  There is power that comes from self-care.  I am not abusing my body in self-destructive ways any longer.  In the process, I am finding joy and happiness.  Those are things I do not need to fear, as if they are going to be taken away from me at any moment.  If I am smiling, maybe, just maybe it is because that is what I am feeling inside.  I do not need to revert to old defense mechanisms, which were standard things I did when I was treated less than I should be.

Those that claim losing weight through Optifast is taking the easy way out frankly just don't have a clue.  When you don't have the food to give you a sense of ease and comfort, it's as if you are left out in the cold, feeling naked and incredibly vulnerable.  I would submit that, actually, a weight loss program involving food is actually the easier route.  This is damn hard!  Yet, I know in my situation, I had gotten to a place that nothing other than some sort of drastic program was going to help me get healthier.  As I continue in my work of letting go, I also get to embrace the beauty of life and all the possibilities that are laid out before me.  Gone are the days where I convince myself I am unworthy of anything good.  I deserve so much better than that, we all do. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heartbreak for her

A story has come out about a bus monitor in New York who was bullied by middle school children while she was working.  They relentlessly teased her about being overweight, "calling her fat and at one point suggesting that her children commit suicide."  When I heard about this story, my heart just broke for this woman.  Sometimes children just don't have a filter (as well as some clueless adults), but to treat another human being like that is not only disrespectful, but just downright deplorable.  I couldn't watch the actual video they took of the incident, but I knew from the clips I saw on the news that she was taking the teasing because she just didn't want to make it worse and probably wanted to have it end as soon as possible.  It brought back painful memories for me.

I have always been overweight, never had those "thin" years and I, too, was relentlessly teased at different points in my life.  Her bus ride brought back an incident that I had on a bus when I was in middle school.  For a solid week, a girl-bully would tease me on the bus ride to school.  She would get in the seat behind me and say just awful things to me about how fat she thought I was, how much of a loser I was, how she said I smelled and all kinds of other awful things to make me feel as big as an ant.  She got off on it and made sure other kids around me would hear her taunting.  Nobody stopped her and I was afraid to do so because she got in fights with people all the time.  Yet, every single day, she was on me.  Finally, that Friday, I calmly got up, turned around in my seat ... and punched her face with all the might I had in my arm.  Boom!  She hit the floor, was bleeding and in pure agony.  The force in my arm was not just for her, but for every other time I had been teased and made fun of, as if I wasn't worthy of being a human being and that it was okay to treat me like that.  Then, I turned around and sat back down, like nothing had ever happened.  I got in serious trouble, but I didn't even care.  The pain she caused me inside was like something I could never describe, but I think people reading this probably understand.

It pains me that people in society think it's okay to hurt someone because they are not the same size and shape as they are.  We all have things that bring us to becoming overweight and it's not a simple put-down-the-fork-and-push-away-from-the-table solution.  Oh, how I wish it was!  I ache for the woman in this story and the indignity she suffered at the hands of bullies, even if they were children.  This is another reminder that losing weight is not an easy feat.  There are emotional issues behind carrying extra weight and, often times, a lot of pain.  Yet, I know, I must work through that pain and any issues that come up so that I don't have to live in a body that keeps me in an unhealthy space any longer. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cheating while on the program

Whenever someone leaves a comment for me on a post from my blog, it comes to my e-mail address.  Someone did that today and I have not been able to find their original post to reply to, so I'm just going to address the question in a new post completely.  The question was whether or not I have cheated while on the program and what are the risks if I do.

Personally, I have not cheated with food while I have been on Optifast.  Except for one time, I have not been even tempted to do so.  When I decided to do the program in the first place, I had hit a bottom and a low in my weight and health I couldn't ever imagine I would experience.  I was willing to do absolutely everything I was told to do.  If the clinic told me that I can only have shakes and no food, then by God that was what I was going to do.  I didn't want to die and that's really the direction I found myself facing.

Sometimes people do cheat while on Optifast.  We are human beings, not perfect by any means.  For me, one of the biggest deterrents from doing this was because then my body would have been knocked out of ketosis and I, for one, did not want to go through those two rough weeks again until I was back in ketosis.  I was so incredibly hungry, lightheaded and irritable during that time.  Some people can go into ketosis in just a few days, but it took me a full two weeks.  No thank you!

Something has definitely come over me in this program.  The things I am doing and have been willing to do were things I tried and failed at many, many times when trying other methods to lose weight.  Something different has happened to me here.  It's actually rather puzzling, but I certainly am not going to question it in the slightest.  I put one foot in front of the other and walk forward ... that's the absolute best I can do.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The coolest thing!

When I was at Kaiser last night for my Optifast class, I did routine blood tests, which is required of my program every other week.  Since I am diabetic, one of the things they test is my hemoglobin A1C level.  This is the daily average of a person's blood sugar level over 2-3 months.  It is a more accurate analysis of how someone is maintaining control of their blood sugar than the daily meter because it takes all numbers into account since we can go high or low.  Kaiser wants diabetics to aim for a number of less than 7%.  I received results of the test this morning.  As you can see from my graph below, I am now under that number, 6.7 to be exact.  Looking at my history over the last three years, that's almost half of where I have been.  I could never begin to express how much this means to me.  This is something so tangible more than just the numbers on the scale.  It's an incredible gift that I have never experienced since I was first diagnosed with diabetes.  Thank you, God, for this.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

I had my Optifast class tonight.  Last week, I didn't lose any weight when I weighed in and decided that I was going to stay positive about it because I didn't do anything wrong at all.  Who knows why things happen the way they do, but I wasn't going to doubt myself or my work.  Tonight the scale showed I lost 9.5 pounds.  That is a lot of weight in a week, especially during my 19th week, so I was pretty happy with that.  Hard work goes into that, for sure.  I am walking every day of the week for 3 miles each time.  That is a major accomplishment for me, actually for any person really.  I have officially crossed over the threshold of being less than halfway to goal weight.  Yahooooo!  I am sitting in such gratitude, I can't even begin to express it.  My life is not only changing, it already has changed. 

Different Optifast choices

When I decided to go on Optifast, it was through my Kaiser clinic.  I wanted to stick with my Kaiser clinic because there are some financial benefits for me in terms of the medical tests and medications I would need along the way, let alone being hooked up to my primary care doctor's office so she, too, could monitor my progress.  You only have two choices there ... going on the full-fast with Optifast 70 or going on the partial-fast with Optifast 800.  I knew that I wanted to do the full-fast, so the choice was clear. 

On my particular program, you must have at least five shakes a day, but sometimes more (as determined by the medical professionals) and your choices are vanilla or chocolate.  You can doctor them with beverages/sugar-free syrups that have no more than 5 calories, which I do so that they taste good.  I can also have two optional chicken broths per day, but I hardly ever have those.  Besides chewing up to four sticks of sugar-free gum a day, that's my program in a nutshell.  I do have permission to take communion, but I do that once a month.  The counselor said the wafer is so small and thimble of juice is so little that there is no effect on my system.  I have a class I go to each week with a counselor where we discuss our progress and have assignments to do at home.  I also meet with nurses every week in addition to a physician's assistant who reviews my diabetes and medication status with me.  The care I get is top-notch and we make adjustments along the way as needed.  If I didn't have that medical care, I would be in serious trouble since I am diabetic.  For example, if I would have stayed on the dosage of diabetes medication I was taking when I started, I am certain I would have passed out numerous times because my blood sugar has dropped way down.

In meeting other people online over these last few months through the fabulous Facebook Optifast page or through my blog, I have discovered there are different programs out there.  Some programs allow for one meal a day in addition to the shakes, higher calorie shakes (Optifast 800 v. Optifast 70), meal replacement bars, sugar-free jello and other such combinations.  Even Optifast programs that are operated outside of the U.S. allow you to just buy the shakes and don't have a requirement that you must see a doctor on a regular basis to do the program, at least from what I understand.

So I thought about this and wondered if I would welcome other choices than my strict Optifast 70 program.  I say it is strict because it doesn't leave any wiggle room for anything other than following the rules.  I can't deviate from my "prescription".  In a strange way, however, that gives me freedom.  The freedom comes from knowing I am doing everything I can to abide by the guidelines set down while I am in the losing phase.  If I had the choice of food during this time, I could easily see myself loading up on the jello or the bars, let alone obsessing about them or calling fried chicken a "lean protein".  Get real, Kathy.  There was this old adage in the Overeaters Anonymous rooms that nobody ever binged on broccoli.  Pardon me, but I did!  If it's all that's there and comes with a delicious little sauce, you bet your sweet little ass I could overindulge on those. 

I know that in time, when I go back to having food again, it will be an adjustment.  By the time I get there, however, I will be able to slowly wean myself back into the world of food but in an appropriate manner.  My fellow Optifast blogger and friend, Melissa, touched on this in her post about naysers recently.  In the meantime, though, I get to be free to deal with my emotions around what got me here in the first place, deal with being in a smaller body and all the issues that surround obesity and good health.  I have confidence that with all of the support I have and the work I would have completed by then, I will make better choices with the food than I did before.  And if I don't, plenty of people will keep me in line.  That's a big reason I have told everyone I'm doing this program:  accountability.

I know that having that meal a day, bar, sugar-free jello or whatever else other people are permitted to have on their Optifast programs may work just fine for them, but for me, I think I need the distance until I'm in that space where I'm ready to deal with food again.  That's not to say not eating food is easy.  By no means imaginable is it easy.  It's damn hard, if you want to know the truth.  Not hard in the sense of having cravings all the time ... I've only experienced that one time, thank you God.  It's just that it's hard living in a world where everyone around you eats something and you don't.  It leaves me feeling like an outsider sometimes, except that I am surrounded by loving, supportive people who are rooting for me and check up on me to make sure I'm okay (I love you guys for that soo much!!).  Yet, I know I will be in that world again in no time flat.  I probably have another 4-5 months of being in this stage.  I am dropping serious weight and that is worth it a hundred-fold.  So, I'm going to happily stick to my shakes and look forward to that gum that gives me a burst of delicious flavor every now and again.  Have you ever tried the sugar-free Extra Dessert Delights gum?  They are super yummy and make me happy that I can chew them and not go crazy with wanting the real thing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Feeling it today

This morning when I got up, the sun was already shining through the windows, beckoning me to throw on my workout clothes, lace up my shoes and get out there for a glorious walk.  I love beautiful, gorgeous days like these and couldn't wait to feel the sunshine on my face.  As I headed out, I felt invigorated.  Yesterday was a pretty emotional day for me.  I spent the afternoon with friends from work at a going-away party for someone that got a promotion.  We all were sad to see him go, but happy for him and his new opportunity.  As I was looking around at the other people there, I was just so grateful that I work at the high school where I work.  I am surrounded by so many wonderful people on a daily basis who are so supportive of me, and I feel the same way for them.  Then, later in the day, I received a letter in the mail from my determatologist saying that the biopsy he just performed turned out to be benign.  I wasn't sitting in fear everyday about that like I would have been previously because I was living in faith about the results, whatever they would be.  As I was walking down the street, I just felt so good inside.

Then, as I turned the corner to head up a hill, I started crying as I listened to music in my headset.  Not sobs, but just the release of these emotions that have been building for a while.  I felt overwhelmed, like I needed to drop down to my knees right then and there in thankfulness to God.  Last year was a horrible year for me - I had cancer that required two surgeries to get rid of, I had an additional surgery due to a work injury on my hand, the man I was dating ripped my heart to shreds and I weighed 417 pounds with compounding medical issues such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, foot problems and so much more.  Contrast that to me on a 3 mile walk that I do everyday in a body that is 121 pounds lighter after just four months on Optifast, I am cancer-free, I am practically off all my medications and I was feeling, wait for it ... joy.  God has supremely blessed me and does so repeatedly.  I am just so grateful and incredibly humbled.  Who knows what He has designed for my future, but I'm excited to not only be in the moment but greet that unknown with a trusting heart for the first time in a very long time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

So THAT's why I was feeling lightheaded!

I had some sort of epiphany today.  For the last several weeks, I had been feeling lightheaded when I would get up from a sitting position and naturally assumed I wasn't getting in enough water with my Optifast product.  So, as a result, I kicked up my consumption, which was a good thing for me.  Yet, I still was feeling lightheaded and couldn't figure it out.  This week, though, it hit me against the head in a Homer Simpson moment.  Doh!

It wasn't until I stopped working for the summer and increased my exercise that I realized my lightheadedness is because my blood sugar is too low.  I have been walking every day for at least three miles, which is fantastic for me, but exercise naturally lowers your blood sugar.  Since I inject a little insulin every morning and every night, I had to account for the increased exercise.  It's not even just increased exercise, it's a lot of exercise, but I wasn't really paying attention to that until this week.  I was feeling bad, not quite myself, and would test the blood sugar not just when I got up and went to bed, like normal, but at sporadic times as well.  Each time I would test after I had a shake in my tummy, I was actually in the 70-80 range, instead of the normal fasting range of 90-120.  Fasting means nothing in my tummy, so I can't imagine how low I was dipping during the in-between-shake times. 

Having low blood sugar on a routine basis is so weird for me.  I could never have a normal blood sugar level to save my life, except when I injected so much insulin to force the issue and, even then, it wouldn't last very long at all.  And now, here I am, needing to decrease the amount of insulin I'm taking because I'm too low ... again.  What a joy!  This is an immense benefit of the program.  I'm injecting 6 units right now in the morning and at night.  Before going on Optifast, I was injecting 35 units in the morning, 75 units at bedtime, as well as taking a ton of oral medication.  It looks like I'm going to need to decrease the insulin I'm taking to the point where I see that it won't be too far in the future before I'm not taking any insulin at all.  This is reason to be on Optifast indeed, let alone the wonderful weight loss that comes with it.  It has been a dream of mine to one day be off the diabetes medications.  Is it possible this dream is coming true?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Wearing clothes that actually fit

One of the surprising things that I have had to deal with in terms of weight loss is not about clothes that are too small, but clothes that are too big.  I don't fit in my old clothes any longer (news flash to me apparently).  They are way too big on my body and I need to accept that.  It sounds like something easy to deal with or even a non-issue, one would think, but my head has not quite wrapped itself around that truth.  I still keep trying to put on things that just don't fit me any longer and when I go out in them, I am constantly flashing undies, bra straps and grabbing my waistband before pants fall right off of my body. 

So one of the things that I recently decided to do was let go of all my workout pants and get new ones that fit my body.  It's been a weird experience for me because they feel body-hugging now.  They're not, of course, they actually fit me but it's been hard not hiding in my pants that are 5 sizes too big.  This morning when I went out walking, I felt like my ass was on display because you could actually see I had one instead of pants that were swimming on me.  I kept staring at it in the mirror before I left the house wondering if I looked okay and then thought, "Screw it, I'm out there to exercise!"  Who cares if I am on display, although I hardly think I am.  It actually felt very good to see my legs in pants that fit because it was so clear to me that I have lost a lot of weight in them.  There are muscles there now that I just couldn't see or feel before.  There is power behind those legs that help me take good care of myself.  When I go walking, I start out a little slower to make sure I'm getting a good stretch before I kick up the speed, but I do turn it into a power-walk eventually.  I get lost in my music and before I know it, I've done three miles without even feeling like I went very far at all.

At another truth that has been shocking to me is that I have discovered I love exercising.  This is crazy, I realize, but it's true.  I have always felt there was this athletic girl hidden somewhere in the depths of me, just fighting and clawing to get out.  As I continue to drop weight, she is emerging more and more.  Each time I know I am going to exercise, I actually am full of excited anticipation.  Excuse me, but who is this??  Certainly not the Kathy that detested going out there, out of breath, not wanting to sweat.  Yet, I love knowing I am going to hit the pavement.  I am happy when I'm lacing up my shoes, happy when I am heading up a hill that I couldn't make it up before, happy to feel my feet take me mile upon mile.  Oh my gosh, that's it ... I am happy!  The fact is that I am out there, doing my thing, going beyond my wildest expectations for myself, taking care of my body in a way I could have never envisioned for myself before.  These are things that make me want to drop to my knees in gratitude to God.  It's a thankfulness I just can't really articulate, except I think you know that gratitude I have in my heart if you're on the same journey I am on and experiencing things in the same way I am.  I'd even classify that things that I am able to do now and want to do now as miracles.  The change in me is incredible and I can't wait to see more!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Strength and courage

Last year at this time, I was diagnosed with melanoma, a very deadly form of skin cancer.  Almost nothing brings your world to a screeching hold as does the diagnosis of cancer.  I went through surgery, lots of recovery and was left with a scar from the bottom of my shoulder blade to almost my waist on my back as well as a small scar under my left arm when the doctor checked to ensure the cancer hadn't spread to my lymph nodes.  Thankfully they were able to successfully remove the cancer.  Every three months, I am required to see my dermatologist for follow-up appointments.  I had one such appointment today.

I was thrilled to share with him my Optifast journey and he was utterly amazed at the weight loss, especially with how fast it was.  It was nice to reflect on something so positive.  During these visits, he does a full body scan to see if I have any new spots or moles that are irregular in shape, the wrong kind of color, etc.  I pointed out a new mole I have on my chest that wasn't there during my last visit.  Since it was new and it was white in color, he was concerned the more he looked at it.  To be safe, he wanted to do a biopsy on it.

The word "biopsy" used to scare me to no end.  In my mind, that word was the doorway to cancer.  However, since last year, this is my fourth biopsy.  Yes, it told me I had cancer before but I've also had two other times where the news was benign.  Hopefully this time will also be the same result. Upon visual inspection of what he was removing, he said it looks like an innocent cyst but, of course, he would be sending it to the lab to have the necessary tests performed.  I laid there in silence as he did what he needed to do.  He did warn me that there would be a small scar on my chest.  There are certain times in your life where a scar is the last thing you want.  Then there are other times when you would happily take that scar, almost as a badge of courage. 

I have thought a lot today about fear and courage.  There is some fear that the cancer has returned.  You are never safely out of the woods once you have cancer in the first place and there are times when people have had melanoma return.  Yet, I know that there is a lot of courage in me because I didn't just wish this away.  I was the one that pointed out the spot to the doctor and ultimately the one to make the decision to have the biopsy done.  There is pain in my chest as I type this because of how deeply he had to cut to remove the spot, but I am being present and facing this fear.  God gives me that strength.  I pray for His healing touch and I know other people are praying as well. 

Strength and courage are both something that is not necessarily easy to come by.  I think that they are required in life more than just waiting for the results of a biopsy.  It takes tremendous strength and courage to love ourselves enough to want a better life, such as the journey we go on with Optifast.  There is such tremendous change out in the horizon and it takes an incredible amount of courage to be willing to unearth the rocks that have stood in our way and to break down the iron walls in front of us to a new life full of peace and love.  We find strength from within that will allow us to do things like move mountains if that was the task we are given.  Losing weight, especially when there is a significant amount to lose or excess weight has been with us for a long time, is incredibly difficult.  Emotions come up that sometimes are very unexpected and hard to deal with.  Yet, here we are, putting one foot in front of the other.  I feel like a very brave person in this moment, feeling fear but picking up my sword anyway.  Thank you, God, for that.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekly weigh-in

I had my Optifast class tonight.  Unfortunately, I didn't lose any weight this week.  However, I was perfectly okay with that.  It was actually pretty surprising.  The last time this happened, I was very upset.  However, I really think I have grown a lot in my program and I recognized that the scale is not the only indicator of success in the program.  Sure, I was slightly disappointed, but I know I did everything I was supposed to do this week and I didn't cheat by eating food at all.  I did kick up my exercise and fluid consumption, so perhaps that accounts for not losing anything.  Regardless, I've gone down five sizes, 5 inches around my waist and I have a great deal of energy.  So it really is okay that I didn't lose.  I will keep working at it and I know I'll lose again next week. I can't complain about losing 121 pounds in 4 months.

Despite what I think, changes have happened

Despite what I may think, I am not the same person that started this journey back in February.  The core of my character is still there, but my body is significantly changed and the hopes and dreams that I have had hidden deep inside are starting to come to fruition in small but very significant ways.  The truth of the matter is that I haven't just lost 10 or 20 pounds.  My weight loss is significant and I am the last one to admit that.  I guess part of the reason for that is that I can't see it as easily as other people.  Case in point:  I went to out to breakfast with my friend after church yesterday.  When I say breakfast, I mean she had breakfast and I brought my chicken soup with me.  We went to IHOP.  Normally, we would get a table so that she could sit in the booth and I could sit in one of the chairs because of not fitting well inside a booth.  So when we went yesterday, she asked me if we should still get a table and I said yes, definitely.  It was yes because I still think I can't fit in the booth.  As we were walking by them, I looked and realized, "Um, Kathy, you sooo can fit in the booth now."  Even when I was getting dressed yesterday for church, I selected these cute little capri pants that I have and didn't put my belt on.  The belt is too big for me now anyway, I rationalized, and I really was convinced I wouldn't need it.  Well, on the way into the building, my pants started falling down and I had to hold them up by a belt loop to save from flashing everyone.  The pants are way too big on me now, but in my head they feel like they are not. 

When I think about hopes and dreams for myself, I not only think about maybe being in a normal body size someday but also about allowing myself to have hopes and dreams in the first place.  They are about being happy and not a slave to a body that dictates my life.  They are about being normal and living normally.  When I say the word "normal", I mean in the sense that I am not treated differently because I'm obese, about blending into a crowd instead of being the fat girl, about feeling pretty and not this grotesque monster that I always envisioned myself to be.  They are about having the courage to do the things that I would have never done before, like going for my master's degree to become a school counselor, like putting myself out there to new people without the overriding fear of being rejected and definitely about letting go of the hurts of the past, whether the recent past or long ago.  I was incredibly hurt by a man that was going to marry me in October and it keeps this wall up between me and other potential relationships because I fear some guy will do the same thing to me again.  I have a wall up in relationships with friends because of fear they will hurt me like I have been hurt by other friends in the past.  I have a wall up with family members because of the years of physical and emotional abuse my mother put me through.  My hopes and dreams include knocking down those walls and letting trust and love come in.  It is so hard when I have been hurt so greatly to try to let it go and march onward.  Yet, this process of weight loss is bigger than physical changes ... it is allowing me to be who I am supposed to be.  In many ways, I feel like I'm coming out of my cocoon into a beautiful butterfly who is fluttering around with a lovely smile, sharing her gorgeous colors with others. 

In so many ways, this is the greatest time in my life.  I feel like I am glowing with these very bright embers all around me.  It's a feeling that is so hard to describe, but I think perhaps you get it.  God has got my name etched in the palm of His hand and is not only blessing my life but somehow allowing me to positively affect other people as well.  I pray that I continue to be open to receive His strength and love.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

If you remember anything, drink water!

I am so glad that I am on break now so I can regroup.  The last 1-2 months have been completely insane in my life between working a very full-time, stressful job that I happen to love, going to school almost full-time, an injured arm that is not getting better, a cancer scare, etc. etc. etc.  Oh, let's not forget about losing weight on Optifast, too!  I just have not been doing well with getting in all of my shakes in a timely fashion and definitely not drinking near enough water or other fluids on a consistent basis.

And what was the result of all of that?  Not to get into gory details, but constipation reared it's oh-so-ugly head several times coupled with the feeling like I was going to pass out if I would get up from a sitting position.  The latter would happen practically every day at work.  I'd get up from my desk to go to the copy machine or help a student, start walking and then have to stop because it felt like I was going to pass out and hit the ground any second.  We had graduation for our seniors at the high school where I work and I purposely chose not to walk in the ceremony because I was afraid of the dizziness I have been feeling coupled with the sun in a black robe that makes everyone hot as it is.  I was just fearful that I would be the talk of the graduation when I passed out in my seat, lying flat on the grass below us, captured on YouTube to remember forever.  That's a great, lasting impression for our 600 seniors!  I love walking in graduation, getting to hug the kids after their names are called. 

I honestly did not really realize I wasn't drinking enough fluids.  I am a big proponent of drinking the water and advising other people that are doing Optifast to do the same.  While I wasn't measuring what I was drinking, I was trying hard to get everything in that I needed to and also trying to remember to have my shakes as often as I'm supposed to.  Then the other day I looked in my kitchen cupboard and realized I have too many boxes of product left before my next class.  Usually, I get down to the wire on the boxes but not this time.  No excuses, but I just would get too busy. So, I'm making me a priority.  I have got to drink everything I am supposed to drink, not because it is something I am told I need to do in the Optifast program, but because it is a healthy thing to do that is simple and will make me feel a whole lot better.  Healthy people drink water for really good reasons:

  1. It helps with weight loss.
  2. It helps skin look fresh and healthy.
  3. It flushes out toxins.
  4. It gives you more energy.
  5. It keeps constipation away.
  6. It will help keep those headaches and dizziness away.
As a diabetic, I am supposed to have a shake every 3 to 3 1/2 hours and I found myself sometimes going 5-6 hours before the next one.  I know ... tsk, tsk.  It wasn't on purpose.  I just got too busy and kept pushing it off to the next half hour and then the one after that.  I definitely felt bad as a result and me doing this program is not about feeling bad, not at all.  This is about feeling good and feeling healthy.

So, I am vowing right here and right now that I will get all of my water and other liquids in, as well as make sure that no more than 3 1/2 hours pass between shakes.  If you have my cell phone number, you have permission to call me on it or send me a friendly text, "Are you drinking your water?" or "When's the last time you have had a shake?"  This is not to say I have not been doing well, just that I can improve to feel even better than I do now. 

When I compare where I have come from to where I am at now, it is like night and day.  I was out on a 3 mile walk today and I remembered that feeling of barely being able to walk two blocks that were straight on my street.  There were times where I would walk a little and then turn around because I was starting to sweat profusely and was convincing myself that I just couldn't do it.  Sometimes the mind is a terrible thing, making us feel like we're not worthy of even taking care of ourselves.  Today, I was walking up and down hills because I wanted to challenge myself.  I looked forward to those inclines.  So when I say that I need to drink more water and have my shakes more often, it is just about tweaking something that is already going great and much improved from where I used to be.  This week I will likely hit the lowest weight I have ever been as an adult.  That is incredibly exciting, yet I know I am not going to stop there.  This is a thrilling journey for me with a lot of miracles along the way and I'm a very grateful person today.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Perspective of other people

I find it so interesting hearing the view other people have of me in comparison to how I view myself internally.  When I look in the mirror, I see two different versions of myself:  one is the person who has lost the equivalent of small little teenager, who smiles a lot more, who feels a lot younger and more energized.  Then there's other times when I look in the mirror and I can't see the weight I've lost at all and I can only see the weight I have left to lose.  I get critical of the fat still there.  I totally hate that Kathy because she picks on every flaw.

Today at work, we had our end of the year staff meeting before we all head off to summer break since we are educators in a high school.  Some of us had to report out to the group on specific topics and I was one of them.  Since we're not always in the same room, it was the first time since probably the beginning of the year that I was seeing some of the teachers and other staff members.  I wondered to myself if they could see the weight loss like other people can that see me more routinely in the office.  This was all going on in my head while I was speaking.  Vanity run amok!!  Afterwards, I had several people tell me that I looked incredible and amazing.  I had some co-workers tell me what other people told them, which is that not only do I look fabulous, but younger too.  I'm not saying all of this to tout how wonderful I think I am.  I'm actually saying it because of the opposite - there's a part of me that doesn't believe any of this is happening to me, as if it's a dream I'm going to wake up from any moment.

That truth is, though, this is not a dream.  This is reality. Part of that reality is dealing with the emotional issues that come with losing lots of weight.  I had recently posted a side by side picture on Facebook, both on my personal page and on the Optifast page, of my work/school picture from August and the one I had taken a few weeks ago.  The difference is absolutely striking not only to other people, but to me as well.  Not to repeat for those that already saw it, but I wanted to post it here so that it's clear to see where my emotions are coming from. 

When I look at that picture of me in pink, I see sadness.  I'm smiling because that's what you're supposed to do when someone takes your picture but it was just a facade.  My skin is dead and I am just so heavy that breathing is a chore.  When I compare it to the most recent picture, I actually feel very pretty and that's not something I would ever say, let alone own.  There is a glow in my skin, a true happiness that no Twinkie, potato chip, scoop of ice cream or any other food could ever give me. 

How did I live in that unhappy state for so long?  How could I not care anymore?  How did I ever get up to 417 pounds?  My God above, how did that ever happen without me screaming??  It makes me want to cry for that poor girl.  This is not to say I'm at the end of my journey, but I can honestly say I want this more than I have ever wanted anything before up to this point, even more than wanting to be cancer-free during the time I had melanoma last summer.  I want so much to be a part of the living and not a part of the dying.  Let's face it, when a person is 417 pounds, they are dying.  I pray that I always remember these feelings I'm going through right now because I need to appreciate how far I've truly come to get here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekly weigh-in and WOW!

First, I have to say I am just totally wiped out.  Had a very draining day at work today and had to miss my Optifast class.  I came home and collapsed after a huge event at work that took lots of planning and sacrifice on my part.  But it's over now ... ah!  Since I missed my class, I weighed in and I'm officially down 121 pounds.  O ... M ... G!!!  When I first started Optifast, I  was at 417 pounds, I'm now at 296.  I have a "2" in front of my number.  I can't tell you how many years it's been since something like that has happened.  I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, but it feels like it's really happening, you know?  Really, I just want to cry.  God is performing a beautiful miracle in my life and I am present enough to not only recognize it, but to receive it.

When I did this event last year, which requires that I'm pretty much on my feet the entire time, I was in so much pain I had to sit down.  My shoes just couldn't comfortably contain my weight, I was sweaty from being so freaking hot and just generally miserable.  While my feet are still achey, the first thing I wanted to do when I got home was go for a walk and I would have had it not been nearly dark outside.  What a major change that is!  I am in a lot of gratitude today and will go to bed with a nice smile on my face.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I don't know why I continue to be so amazed, but I am

Losing weight through Optifast has been such a surreal experience for me.  The weight is just dripping off, not only in pounds but in inches.  I need to give props to those inches because I think our society (and me!) focus way too much on the numbers on the scale that our worthiness as human beings gets dictated by it.  Although I have lost an insane amount of weight so far, I'm also dropping serious sizes in my closet.  Literally, clothes that didn't fit two weeks ago are now too big on me.  That is absolutely crazy and out of my comprehension.  Thankfully, I have lots of friends who have been giving me clothes of various sizes when I am ready for them.  In my garage are bins of clothes that are just waiting for my body to catch up.  I discovered today that I'm in the next smaller size.  That first photo that I have posted, the one of me in my body assessment outfit, has me in clothes five sizes bigger than what I'm in now.  The belt I wear to keep my pants from spontaneously falling right off my body is too big on me ... I'm past the last hole on it.  There are bones appearing around my neck and wrists that almost feel like they are appearing from nowhere all of a sudden.  In fact, I can't stop touching around my neck because I can't believe how much I feel those bones now when I had to contort my body for the possiblity of seeing them before. 

I was reflecting with someone the other day about the struggle I had in deciding whether or not to do Optifast initially because of the severity, the cost, the sacrifice, etc.  It was a hard decision until it wasn't because my health was declining much quicker than I really have owned up to.  Once I had made the decision in a definitive way, I was and am all in.  If you're reading this and you're newly starting Optifast, looking for motivation or just someone you can identify with, let me just say that doing this program is worth every penny and will give you your life back.  I feel incredibly different than I did before.  I want to exercise now, to get my body moving now is something I crave.  I'm excited that I'll be finished with work for the summer on Friday (yahoooooo!) so that I can get out there and exercise more.  I love the feeling it gives me and that's something the food never could do.