Category Archive : weight loss

Medifast: A (Long) Testimonial

Before Pictures (notice most of these are from the waist up??):

That’s me on the right. Taken in summer 2010.
The photo that inspired my healthy journey. November 2010. 
From January 2009

AFTER PICTURES!!

I am still hoping to do more “official” after pictures but I couldn’t do a testimonial without some photo proof!

When I started my Medifast journey in January, I was skeptical. Let’s face it, I had been working another program on and off for 6+ years seeing varied levels of success and was basically ready to accept that a 188 pound Joanne is who I was supposed to be. Medifast promised results. I was skeptical.

MY STORY
I have always had issues with my weight dating all the way back to 10 years old when I “developed” faster than the other girls. The truth is that 10 year old boys don’t find curves sexy and the other girls don’t envy you for them. They call you fat. Enduring nicknames from the boys such as “thunder thighs”, I developed a thick skin. Involved in sports, I was able to keep my weight somewhat in check throughout middle school and high school; however, the college freshman 15 hit me hard. Fairly mortified, when I moved back home halfway through my freshman year, I took my health seriously. I took a tennis class and started working out regularly at the community center. When it got warm out, I started inline skating with a girlfriend nearly every day. I was a lean 135 pounds heading into my sophomore and junior years of college. I was grateful to have landed a job working at the front desk at Life Time Fitness my last couple years in college and to me, being fit was an important part of the health club image that I wanted to live up to.

I then entered the workforce and my first career job as an IT Recruiter required a LOT of lunches with clients and consultants on a nearly daily basis. Not taking into account the effect it would have on my body, I steadily gained weight throughout the year I was at that horrifically stressful job and found myself up from 135 in college to 179. Yikes. I even had a boyfriend dump me because of my weight gain. Back to fighting the weight battle. I was able to get down to about 165 and hung out at that weight for a good couple years and that was the weight I was at when I met my now husband. Low and behold… I gained what I like to refer to as “relationship weight.” You know, the weight you gain when you start dating someone because 1) You eat out all the time and 2) You don’t care as much anymore because you landed “the guy”. When we got engaged, my weight had soared to 185 lbs. I joined Weight Watchers but was afraid to lose weight in fear of not fitting into my dress and having to make costly alterations because of weight loss. So, I focused on toning up, doing pilates and making healthy choices and holding my weight steady.

Married and blissful, we wasted no time in starting a family. I got pregnant 5 months into trying and sadly miscarried. Devastated, I began a steady weight climb thanks to emotional eating mingled with fertility treatments. By 2007, I was at 211 pounds and SHOCKED at my weight and mortified at the pictures of me at my sister’s wedding. I rejoined Weight Watchers online and was able to lose around 15 pounds before I got the joyous news (after 2.5 years of zero luck): I was pregnant! Too sick to eat most of the time, I didn’t start gaining weight until well into my 20+ weeks of pregnancy where I put on a startling 30 pounds in the final half of my pregnancy. The day after I gave birth to Jackson, my weight was 240 pounds. Now, I know… you can’t really count the day after giving birth as I was pumped with IV fluids and medications. I was down 20 of those pounds within no more than 3 weeks. It was a slow go of weight loss after that. Exhausted and suffering from postpartum depression, I honestly didn’t care about my weight. I didn’t care what anyone thought. I kind of just wanted to sleep. All the time.

My brother got married in November 2010 and I had lost very little weight for his wedding. When I saw the pictures, I about died. Was that me? Those pictures are going to be on Facebook forever. Ugh. My weight still high at 211 pounds was a wakeup call. I rejoined Weight Watchers (do you see a pattern here??) but this time I got a Monthly Pass and started to attend meetings. You can read more about my initial inspiration here. It took 6 months, but I was able to lose 20 pounds on Weight Watchers. But 6 months after that… I had still only lost 20 pounds and to say I was frustrated is an understatement. I’m sure there were many reasons for my stall: lack of portion control, too many carbs, hormone therapy but most of them really just felt like excuses. I had been following a gal named Erica on Twitter and she had been losing a massive amount of weight on the Medifast plan. I was more than a little jealous of her success at first and of course, Weight Watchers blasts all of “those” programs. But, Weight Watchers was no longer working. Let’s face it, a 6 month plateau isn’t really a plateau is it?

Medifast promised results. I was skeptical, but willing to give it a solid try. Starting my Medifast journey at 188.3 pounds, I put down the money and made the commitment. The first week, I lost 7 pounds. 7 POUNDS! I knew that wouldn’t happen every week, but I also knew after just one week that this was a plan that was going to work. My losses slowed down to an average of 2 pounds a week (totally healthy weight loss by any program standards). Although I didn’t make my goal weight loss of 38 pounds by my  original goal date of April 11, I wasn’t far and for the first time EVER on a weight loss plan, I knew that I would make it. The last 10 pounds were a bear, they didn’t want to let go but I persisted and WON.

Throughout the program, as I kept getting smaller, it was kind of surreal. These little milestones like losing 15, 20 and 25 pounds went by so quickly that I didn’t even have a moment to celebrate them. My celebrations have been kind of ongoing: replacing my entire wardrobe, running 3 miles a pop without falling in a heap of sheer exhaustion, WANTING to have my picture taken and enjoying eating healthy (as in, grilled zucchini is the BEST THING EVER). Probably the craziest part of all of this? My husband has never seen me this small. I can tell he’s checking me out and I know he’s proud. My Medifast journey has inspired him as well. Even though he is not doing Medifast, he has committed to taking his own healthy journey and his habits will help carry me through my transition and maintenance. I am kind of hoping he’ll ask me to marry him again so we can renew our vows as the new and improved US. 

I will shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE MEDIFAST. I would love to tell you that it has been easy, but that is not true. I have been tempted. I have even fallen off the wagon. The support I get from my Medifast counselors on a weekly basis has been the key to getting me to my goal weight. Yes, they scolded me for my discretions but we moved on and worked on finding ways to helping me through those challenging moments rather than dwell on mistakes that were made. They never stopped believing it was possible for me.

I have received a lot of flak for joining this program.
* It’s not a “real” weight loss program and is unhealthy
* I’m just going to gain the weight back when I start eating real food again
* I did something similar once and gained the weight back. You will too.

It shocks me how unsupportive people can be but it is also eye opening- some of these comments came from people I know very well. They are basically saying that I will fall back into my usual patterns and gain weight again. They were simply calling my bluff.

I am counting on Medifast to be there for me through my transition and maintenance. Despite my desire to jump head first off the wagon into a juicy pile of hamburgers and french fries, I know that is no longer my reality. Part of my resolution, starting back in 2011, was to lose the weight and keep it off for good this time. Medifast is giving me the tools I need to succeed; however, it is up to me to make sure I use them.

I want to prove everyone wrong.

I am either donating or selling all of my “big” clothing so there won’t be anything to wear if I gain weight. My husband is embarking on this journey with me and I am counting on him to help me stay accountable. I will need to journal. I will need to continue eating healthy. Medifast was my catalyst to get me to the weight I need to be at and it is up to me to keep it there. I’m not a fool- I know it will take hard work and determination but I am ready for the challenge. I have no excuses to not lead a healthy lifestyle- I want to be around for my son for a long time to come and I will do anything to make that happen. Frankly, I don’t want to ever see 240 pounds again.

It’s not all about the weight. In November 2011, I went in for a general physical with my GP (my weight was around 190 at this time). Here were my numbers back then:
Cholesterol: 202
HDL: 36
LDL: 140
Triglycerides: 132

Here they are NOW:
Cholesterol 165
HDL: 46 (this is the good cholesterol- you want this number to be higher)
LDL: 99
Triglycerides: 97

To say I am thrilled with these numbers is an understatement. It is a total testimonial to the importance of weight loss and a healthy diet.

Need proof? It’s in my numbers.

Could I have really lost 90 pounds over the last 3.5 years? Yes, I did. While I did a great deal of it on my own and with the help of Weight Watchers to get me started, Medifast helped me get rid of the last 40 that I wasn’t sure would ever go away. I am so thankful that I found them and didn’t give up. I am thankful they weren’t the gimmick that everyone thought them to be.

I am no longer staring at a light at the end of the tunnel. I am outside in the light and it is bliss.

Embracing a New Life

Me in my new cube. 

Yes, my blog has been neglected. Yes, I have a good excuse.

I started a new job on July 2nd. The first week was… interesting. I went from scared and miserable to feeling like everything was going to be okay. Fast forward three weeks later: everything is AWEsome. The first week jitters were short-lived as was the lack for work and projects. In just my 2nd week on the job, I was brought in to consult on a very visible corporate initiative. I’m excited for the opportunity but confess I feel like I’m sort of a lost puppy. I went from a small-company world where I had control to this large-company world with policies and procedures for everything. While daunting, I am determined to make a valuable impact.

I have also very much embraced the Downtown Minneapolis working world. I’ve discovered some yummy skyway eats and treats and I fell in love with Thursday’s Farmer’s Market. I also confess that I love taking the bus. The transit station is about 15 minutes from my house, and it cuts my total commute time by about half. The people who ride are about as normal as people come and it drops me off and picks me up just a block or two from my office. My bus and Downtown life annoyances are a post for another day.

One of the things I have loved the most about my new gig is the opportunity to “reinvent” myself. If I ever wore dresses or skirts at my last job it was an indication of a job interview or trying to “impress” someone. Here? It is the norm for most people (perhaps a large corporate office thing?). It has been hotter than the sun lately and it has been so nice to wear cute cotton dresses and fun skirts. I feel comfortable, pretty and important! Did I mention the Ann Taylor store in my building??

There are still many adjustments I am making. I start later and get home later. I am now in charge of dropping off the kidlet in the morning as opposed to picking him up which as most of you mommies (and daddies too) know is really the shitty part of the bargain. Is there anything worse than having to bolt from your sad child because they don’t want you to leave? Or is there anything worse than their being totally indifferent (doesn’t he MISS me??). Since I now get home later, we are also eating dinner later. We have started keeping the kiddo up an extra half hour so I can make sure to muster up all the quality time I can. Dishes stay undone until after his bedtime. DVR shows go unwatched. I worry that these “changes” will have a negative effect on him. He’s been sleeping like crap lately. Is it my fault? So, despite the awesomeness that is my new job, there is a significant level of guilt involved in accepting it. Guilt over choosing my career over my child. Guilt for putting the impetus of making dinner and childcare post-work on my husband. I’m sure this guilty feeling will get better in time. My new company is shockingly flexible and actually cares about work/life balance. It has taken some getting used to coming and going as I please and I still am afraid to push that envelope. It was such a point of contention at my last job- it’s hard to shake yourself of that brainwashing. I know in time, this will be our new way of life. It will just take some time to adjust.

Speaking of the new me… I am in my 3rd week of transition with Medifast and it is going well. I have been able to add vegetables, fruit and dairy back into my diet. Did I mention how happy I am about the fruit? Fruit has been a go-to healthy snack for me all my years on Weight Watchers, so getting the A-OK to start eating it again has been nice. I don’t feel compelled to grab other naughty snacks, because having a banana is truly a treat for me! I thought I’d be really pumped for dairy, but strangely haven’t been compelled to add that much of it back into my diet. So far, so good my weight has held steady fluctuating between 151 – 153. The great part about transition and maintenance? No more freaking out over the scale. No more beating myself up over the numbers. I’m not saying keeping the weight off will be easy, I just finally don’t feel so stressed out over it anymore. I’m in a good place. I’m happy. It’s weird to start this job in this body. Nobody here knows me any other way. While I enjoyed my former colleagues seeing my transition, it is nice to know that this is the way people expect me to be. By setting my healthy standard from the beginning, I know people don’t expect me to be any other way and I don’t feel guilty for saying no to treats. 

So yes, this is the new me. I am really proud of all that I have accomplished in 2012!!

Motivation Monday: The Finish Line

He’s my reason for everything. 

I know, I know… I have been absent lately. The last couple weeks have been very strange for me. Leaving a job that I have been at for 5 years was a huge thing. I think I held onto it for as long as I did because I didn’t think it was possible to “manage” my life starting over somewhere new. You know… full-time job, mom, family, self, etc. I had a good schedule down. I had things figured out. But, something was missing and I knew I was selling myself short professionally.

I have been able to take some time off between jobs. I am proud that I stood up for my need to have this week off, even though my new gig wanted me to start right away. My husband is away on a fishing trip with the “men” this week. While I’m sure I could have worked things out to manage a new job and my kid, I’m so glad I chose not to. As a matter of fact… I am loving my time at home. I feel relaxed and at peace. I don’t feel rushed. I am enjoying time with my boy, just the two of us. As I was getting dinner ready tonight, he ran up to me, threw his arms around my legs and said, “I forgot to give you a hug when you picked me up at school so I’ll give you one now.”

He’s my reason for everything. Especially my weight loss.

Yes, I have enjoyed the “benefits” of my weight loss. The size 8, the shopping for a new wardrobe, the two piece. I still kind of look at myself in the mirror, especially at group fitness classes and wonder if that could really be me. But it was about more than that for me. I wanted to lower my blood pressure (103/70 today… lowest in 4 years). My cholesterol was high. My BMI, a 32 when I started, was considered obese. I wanted to stop the spread of my endo. I wanted to do all these things for my health so I could be around for my little boy for a long, long time.

Today, I did it. I reached the finish line. Goal at Medifast is a little different. They take more into account than that elusive number on the scale. They look at your overall picture. At 151 lbs (just 1 pound from my original goal), they determined that I was ready to start my transition. With all the muscle weight I hav eput on, it wasn’t necessary to lose any more fat. It is possible I will continue to lose weight during transition; however, the goal is to get me back in the real world. This week, I get to add in an additional serving of veggies and I can choose from any of them (corn, potatoes and avocados for example are prohibited during the weight loss phase). Next week fruit. Then dairy. Then grains. Each week I will get to drop down the number of Medifast meals as they teach me how to eat going forward.

A pic of an outfit I tried on at Express.
I still can’t believe I fit in these clothes! 

While I reached the weight loss finish line, I know this isn’t the end of the journey for me. Maintenance will be a lifelong deal and I anticipate it being the hardest part. Let’s face it. I’ve got some food addictions. I’ve got some food issues. Maintaining this weight will not be easy for me.

For today, I am celebrating. I’ve lost 60 pounds over the last year and a half. I’ll be honest when I say that I never, EVER thought I would actually make goal. I struggled for so many years… I can’t even find the words to express what this means to me. I cannot thank Medifast enough for getting me to this milestone. I know there are many naysayers out there who are expecting me to gain all the weight back and all I have to say to them: thank you for the motivation to continue keeping it off. I will prove you wrong. 

My husband will be taking my official before & after photos which of course I will post for all of you to see. The question is… what to wear??? 

A Whole Different Person

I have made some major decisions in my life over the last week. Of course the main one being the start of a new job. For maybe the first time ever, and possibly the only time (and I hope he enjoyed it), I asked my husband to play devil’s advocate when it came to accepting, countering or declining a job offer. For the first time ever, my changing jobs impacts more than just me. It impacts this whole little family we have created. He asked some typical questions such as how much is the offer for, what future opportunities exist, will I have flexible hours, can I start at the beginning of July and will I still be able to take our Disney vacation in August. All questions that were answered at some point during the interview process. It came down to the commute. Savage to Minneapolis is no easy task (for those out of state or country just plug Savage, MN into Google Maps and get directions to Downtown Minneapolis). If that was THE only thing that was holding you back, would you let it? My answer to that was a resounding NO. It is a great opportunity with a great company and I am BOUNCING off the walls with excitement.

Announcing my departure at my current company is what really calmed my nerves over my decision. I think anyone who has spent 5 solid, loyal years with a company would wonder if they are making the right choice in walking away, but it wasn’t a big deal around here and frankly it seems as though everyone was expecting it. As with any job, there were things that I couldn’t stand (drama, no flexibility) but there were also things I loved (location, the people). The one thing they couldn’t offer is career advancement and for me, that is a deal breaker. Of course it would have been easy to keep the same job and do the same thing year after year, but that just isn’t in me. I am driven and need to have change in my environment to keep my mind and my skills fresh. I was ready for a change. I’m proud of the work I have done and the relationships I have cultivated. I am happy to say I can walk away with my head held high.

It’s weird cleaning out 5 years of work. Old memos and projects that you wonder how they ever got signed off on because they look so terrible. Old e-mails with friends. Ultrasound pictures. Jack’s birth announcement. The last 5 years have been a massive life change for me. This job has seen me through infertility, building and moving to a new home, the miracle of my child, the miracle of my dear friend’s child and two of my bestest friends getting married. That girl who started here 5 years ago? I don’t even recognize her. After my resignation was announced today, a colleague came in to give me a hug and said, “Wow. You are really like a whole different person.” I even look entirely different than I did when I started here.

TODAY
May 2008 (I was 4.5 months preggo here…)
Me in the cream sweater- November 2007. Eating. Shocking.
That is me on the lower left. November 2008- 2 months postpartum.

Is change kind of scary? It sure is. I know I’m not going to like being the new kid on the block all over again. It has been 5 years since I’ve worked in large, matrix environment and I’m nervous I won’t remember how to maneuver. I’m scared of mass transit (almost as much as I’m afraid of Wal Mart).

But you know what? I am definitely more excited than I am scared. I’m excited to work in the big city. I’m excited to go to the Farmer’s Market on Nicollet Mall. I’m excited to take on a new challenge and knock it out of the park. I’m excited to start new relationships. I’m excited to have a clean slate. I’m excited to work for an employer that isn’t requiring me to “punch a time clock” but simply expect me to do my job. I am… EXCITED.

I am also happy that I am taking some time out for me. I will have a glorious week and a half off between jobs and am looking forward to having some true ME time. Pretty sure I earned it!

My Medifast Survival Guide

Now that I’ve talked some friends into joining Medifast, I think it is officially time to post some of my survival tips. Before I do, I want to say that the program really is a different program for everyone. The things I may like, the next person will hate. Importantly, I’ve learned a few things along the way.

1) When you start, everything will taste funny. Your taste buds will definitely adjust over time. Try a product you didn’t like a couple weeks later and you might find you like it after all.

2) Soups: Let them sit. Before & After. The longer they soak, the better they will taste.

3) Always eat every 2-2.5 hours. Eat within the first 30 minutes of waking up in the morning. I always start off with a full 20oz of water every morning as well. If you start work as early as I do, put your optional snack in between your first and 2nd meal along with an additional 20 oz of water- it helps with the time gap between meals. My day typically looks like this:
6:15a: 1st meal
8:30a: Optional snack
10:00a: 2nd meal
12:30p: 3rd meal
3:00p: 4th meal
5:30p: Lean & Green
8:00p: 5th meal

4) Check out this blog: Sandy’s Kitchen Adventures. She has tons of Lean & Green recipes as well as recipes for Medifast foods too!

5) Do not microwave the eggs. Stovetop only. Add some seasonings. Use a whisk to stir. Delish. They have become a breakfast staple for me.

6) Use a Magic Bullet or similar type blender as much as possible for your shakes. They turn into a more smoothie type drink and for some reason taste better (definitely less gritty).

7) Pudding: always use a whisk and super cold water to mix. I have made it in the morning, stored in tupperware and refrigerated it for several hours- nice and thick. Another trick is to freeze it for about an hour and top with sugar free chocolate syrup (count as a condiment). Totally cured my ice cream cravings.

8) Hot Cocoa: Mix with just a little bit of water to form a thick paste. Add hot coffee instead of water. Makes a delicious mocha!

9) Soft Serve: This one I loved but found their directions impossible so I make it like a shake. I use about 1/2-3/4 cup of water, add 4-5 ice cubes, soft serve packet and for the Coffee & Peanut Butter soft serves I add a little sugar free chocolate syrup. Switch off between blending & pulsing with the blender until you don’t hear the ice anymore. Makes a super thick shake. SUPER yummy.

10) Pancakes: I was obsessed with chocolate chip pancakes until I had to go soy free. I made them as a muffin in a coffee cup. Prepared as instructed, but instead of using a frying pan/stovetop, pour into a large coffee mug (can use a little Pam if you want, but I found I didn’t need it) and nuke it in the microwave for 1 minute. Pops out like a muffin- top it with the Medifast syrup (or any sugar free syrup).

11) Oatmeal: Sorry… I have no tips. Spackle? I tried making these as muffins as well. The blueberry ones work best for that. I did eat the maple brown sugar regularly in my pre-soy days. I also added a packet of Splenda (or Truvia) to these.

12) Love the crunch bars. Get yourself some bars every week. I found that when I am on the go they are easy to take with you anywhere, are delicious and best of all they are filling.

13) Extra water and a packet of Splenda in the brownies and soft bakes usually did the trick for me. But I’m a gooey brownie/cookie person anyway. Oh how I miss those ones in my new soy free world!

14) If you want to flavor your water, buy the Mio water enhancer over Crystal Light. It is more Medifast friendly.

15) Probably the most important tip I can give you is DON’T CHEAT. I have survived the last 6 months on Medifast because I didn’t stray and if I did, it was very minor in nature. Seriously. JUST a bite. A taste. Nothing more. I know that is hard to do but it fulfills cravings and frankly? The bites weren’t that great anyway. OH OH OH! One more tip. Sugarfree gum has been my lifeline. I know you’re only supposed to have one piece a day, but I have much more. It keeps me from eating when I don’t need to (shouldn’t) be.

Regardless of how tired I am of Medifast food, which I am, I step on the scale and realize how far I have come. You know what? IT WAS WORTH IT. So glad I chose Medifast.

Thinking of joining??? Let me know what questions you have and I’d be happy to answer them!!

Motivation Monday: Dare I Say, It’s Working?

On Fit Friday, I talked about commitment. Making a commitment to something isn’t always easy when it requires a massive lifestyle change overhaul. Determining what your key motivator is will lead to success.

One of my top motivations for a healthy lifestyle was to try and treat my endometriosis holistically meaning no hormone treatment and no more surgeries. Estrogen is known to stimulate the growth of endometrial tissue, so reducing estrogen levels is the key. I was told that reducing BMI and getting regular exercise will naturally lower estrogen levels which in turn will help alleviate pain. I have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) since my laparoscopy/oophorectomy last August and it has not been fun, so the only way to really know if my weight loss has helped my condition was to stop therapy. Upon discovering that Medifast’s heavy reliance on soy protein in their meals was worsening my endo, my first cycle test was a failure and I was in a world of pain. Being stubborn and persistent, I decided to stay off the hormones for another month to see what would happen. I started seeing my chiropractor and added an antioxidant powder and progesterone cream to my daily vitamin regimen. I continued working out 3-5 days a week and started limiting my Medifast meals to their soy-free products (and there aren’t many to choose from). My TOM was wicked late (day 35… if I was TTC I would’ve taken about 100 pregnancy tests by this point), but shockingly… it hasn’t been horrible. Dare I say… normal? Sure the normal bloating and headaches have been present but the cramping has been normal and not “endo” cramping (if you have endo… you know what I mean). This makes me hopeful. I had been seriously considering a hysterectomy next year and the thought of it, at age 36, makes me sad. A hysterectomy to me means losing my womanhood and intensifying the fact that I am indeed infertile. I don’t want to give in. So, being relatively endo pain free this cycle is a huge victory.

I am so freaking proud of myself for what I have accomplished. There isn’t a single part of this journey that has been easy or fun, but knowing that I may have won the battle over controlling my endo pain through diet and exercise is worth every bit of struggle.

Sadly though, I have reached my Medifast exhaustion. I was supposed to be at goal 2 months ago. Yes, I have made extreme changes to my body (most especially by dropping HRT) and I’m trying to work through it. The truth is, I’ve had small cheats. Nothing big, but a couple beers, a couple cookies, a bun with my hamburger… all of those things throw you out of the fat burning stage of Medifast. You can’t do it on the program, but somehow I have talked myself into believing I can which is what got me here in the first place, so WHY am I doing it??? Ugh. Stupid brain.

My weigh in today… *sigh*. I’m back up 3 pounds this time up to 157.5. WTF. I confess I had some cheats. A bit of alcohol. A bite of chocolate chip banana muffin. But 3.5 pounds worth of cheats??? My counselor kind of shrugged it off. Let’s face it, TOM = water retention = bloat. I wasn’t going to win that epic battle. I’m trying not to let it bother me, but it does. I’m frustrated.

I know I have said it in previous weeks, but my goal this week is to be 100% on plan. NO cheats. No little bites or tastes. No alcohol *cries*. I will drink 80+oz of water a day. This goal is lofty, but I was challenged to get two 15 minute bursts of exercise EVERY day and 3 days of strength training in this week. Surely I can manage two 15 minute bursts of exercise, yes? Perhaps if I actually get up when my alarm goes off…

Based on my stress level on this lovely Monday (yes, sense my sarcasm), these bursts of exercise will probably do me some good in that department.

What are your goals for the week?

Fabulous Fit Friday: Commitment

I took Thursday and Friday off from work last week (which was attached to an automatic Memorial Day holiday day off on Monday). I would recommend to everyone to take time off- especially when you have nothing going on. On Thursday, I went to see my chiropractor (ahhhhh massage and back cracking) and then got a pedicure in the afternoon. The rest of the rainy/stormy day was spent curled up in my recliner catching up on DVR and finishing the ridiculous, poorly written trilogy that is Fifty Shades of Grey.

My Friday was busy. I decided to check out a rare daytime Group Fitness class at Life Time Fitness. I usually take The Mixx class (mix of hi/lo, kickboxing and funk) every other Wednesday night so I figured it was a sure bet that I would enjoy it and get a good workout. It was AWFUL. I am all for instructors motivating their class, but this bitch was a drill sergeant. She was in people’s faces yelling at them to work harder. The music was the loudest I have ever heard at a Group Fitness class and my ears were ringing worse than they did following the Nickelback concert just 36 hours prior. Considering it was a holiday weekend, there were a lot of women like me who showed up on a rare day off and the class was packed. No biggie. If you are an instructor teaching folks you don’t normally teach and not sure of fitness levels, they MUST provide low impact alternatives. She did not do this. I am in fairly good shape now and I could not do half of the drills she was teaching. I left early. I NEVER leave early. I was NOT happy. The rest of the day was better thank god! I got an oil change for my car (which really just meant sitting at Starbucks enjoying a light Mocha Frapp and reading my dirty porn book). I stopped at Target and then the hubs and I went to Cal’s Garden Center to get some new plants for our landscaping project. I was fairly unattached to my technology all weekend and I can’t say I missed it much.

Despite going out to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner TWO nights in a row and admittedly not making the best choices, I was happy to see a 2 pound loss at my weigh in on Tuesday. Granted it was only 2 of the 2.5 that I had gained the week prior… *sigh*. Here’s the deal though. Now that I am within 4.5 pounds of my goal, I am really feeling like it is just a number. I am starting to feel like, what is the big diff? 4.5 pounds won’t lose me another size. It won’t increase my 5K speed. A part of me feels as though I have already succeeded. Talking with my dad the other day about my success, he asked, “So, you must be around 120 lbs then?” Which of course I LOL’d. He was stunned that I was 154.5 lbs and agreed with Medifast that I do not need to go lower than 150. Hey, if my 150 looks like 120 then I’m not complaining!

One of THE BEST parts of my success is inspiring others to choose a healthy lifestyle. No matter which program, from SparkPeople to WeightWatchers, it equates to healthy CHANGE. I have had several people approach me about Medifast and ask me if I like it and if it works. Look at me! It works! Do I think it is for everyone? Nope. I had a colleague say he just wanted to “do it for a month to drop a few pounds before Cancun”. Whereas I shook my head in agony. Medifast is NOT, I repeat, NOT NOT NOT a lose pounds quick plan. It has taken me 5 MONTHS to lose 34 pounds. Granted everyone is different, but sheesh, if you are going to commit to losing weight, do it all the way. I told him not to bother going to a Medfast Center because they will make you commit to the whole journey (which takes 1+ years to complete), not to mention flushing tons of $$$$$ down the drain if you only want to do “a month”. It just doesn’t work that way.

Look, I have been there. I get it. Over the last decade, but more importantly over the last 3 years, I “re-committed” to weight loss a thousand times over. I look at it similarly to smoking- you’ll never be able to quit until you’re truly committed. Thankfully, an ultimatum from my husband (just a mere boyfriend at the time) told me it was cigarettes or him. Well… we can all guess what happened (pssst… I chose him). It was a good incentive. Just like my endo and my son are my main incentives for my weight loss. But is it enough? What is YOUR incentive? There is no wrong answer here, but the bottom line is: you really have to be committed and ready to change your life. Yes, people, that means forever. That means passing up french fries and chips and opting for fruits and veggies instead. It means putting the Totinos pizza aside and spending the time to make a healthy dinner at night. After 5 months on Medifast, this strange thing happened: I am happy to make the smarter choices when I am out because despite what my head is telling me (have the french fries, they are delicious), my tummy is saying something different (WoW! Those grilled vegetables were awesome). Plus, I get to walk away from dinner with zero regrets. 

My weight loss wasn’t magic. I had to work hard for it and make many sacrifices to my lifestyle. I had to get regular exercise AND change my eating habits. I had to recognize that I do not have the ability to eat whatever I want. I had to make real and lasting changes. I wish I could tell you that it was easy. It’s not. You’re going to struggle. You’ll cheat at some point. If you are committed, you’ll get yourself back up. You’ll make food tracking/journaling a daily habit. You’ll workout a minimum of 3 days a week. I hate to tell you that you will hate a lot of this. I still do. There is a light at the end of the tunnel of hard work. You’ll be able to shop wherever you want. Feel confident. Have more energy. Not worry about fitting into the seats at Target Field. Your significant other will take more notice. Random strangers will take notice (so weird…) and a million other things that make the hard work worth it.  

I freaking love the new me and I am NEVER giving her up. I am committed for a lifetime.

Motivation Monday: Carry On

As expected, I did not have a good weigh in today. Not only was it weigh in day, but it was body scan day. Feeling very bloated for the last few days, no thanks to my body’s ever changing cycle confusion, I showed a gain of 2.5. After my huge 3 pound loss last week and getting SO, so close to goal this was a major setback in my book. This frustrates me to no end.

However… there is a bright side. My counselor did chalk it up to water weight/retention. I have had that bloated/gassy feeling the past 3 days (related to my girl parts). Even my body scan showed an increase in water. So with that said, we moved on and talked about the excellent parts of my scan. The one that showed me down 2 pounds since my last scan 3 weeks ago. We also cheered the 2 pounds in additional muscle that I gained. My husband will not be as thrilled but I am down another inch in my chest (I’ve never had small boobs… this is so weird to feel compelled to buy a push up bra), a half inch off my waist and another half inch off my hips. Since starting Medifast, I have lost 18 inches from my body, probably closer to 25 inches since I started my journey a year and a half ago. That is a lot and it is something to be proud of.

What is the lesson for today? Don’t despair and carry on. I’m doing everything right.

I’m excited to have a short work week and intend to make the best of my time off. This week’s goals:
1) WATER WATER WATER. 100oz a day minimum to try and get rid of this bloat. (If you have other suggestions, I’m all ears)
2) Workouts for the week:
     Tuesday Night: Cardio & Full Body Resistance
     Thursday Morning: Cardio & Full Body Resistance
     Friday Morning: The Mixx- Group Fitness
     Saturday Morning: Step- Group Fitness
3) My biggest challenge day is Wednesday as I will be going to the Nickelback concert and will be limited on time to eat. I intend to make solid choices although they may be slightly off plan. I will not stray from the plan the rest of the week. I WILL NOT CHEAT!!

My counselor hit the nail on the head when she said, the closer to goal you get, the harder it is to stay on plan. The most important thing I can do right now to get to that all important 150 pound mark is to stick to and trust the plan. The only thing getting in the way is me. Today alone has required an insane amount of self-motivation to not stray despite the temptations that lurk everywhere in an office environment.

I’m ready to get to goal. Let’s do this thing.

What are your goals for the week? How do you stay motivated to keep them?

Wordful Wednesday: Becoming Me

Exhausted and half asleep, I went to my weigh in on Monday feeling confident.

Little did I know, I was down an astounding 3 pounds. Weighing in at 154, I am just 4 pounds from my goal.

WHAT?

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would see the 150’s again. It is even a little hilarious that I am still considered “overweight” according to the BMI charts. Someone at work actually told me I was looking too thin. I’ve never heard anyone say THAT to me before.  I know for many of my co-workers, the new me is very different from the obese girl they have known for the last 5 years. I just say, I am becoming me. The me I am supposed to be.

Celebrating Mother’s Day: 

My sweet Godson, Connor
Snuggles With Connor

 For the first time ever on Mother’s Day, I was willing to smile for the camera as I snuggled with my baby nephew. I was wearing a pair of low rise jeans from Express (which by the way I haven’t been able to wear Express jeans for over a decade and I actually got teary-eyed in the dressing room trying them on) and a black angel sleeve Gap tee with a satin ribbon around my now tiny waist. The entire day I felt like a pretty mommy. I also brought all of my too large clothes for the women in my family to sift through. An important decision I made in my journey was to give away or consign all of my clothing. I figure psychologically, if I don’t have my large sizes around, I’ll never be compelled to stray from my goal weight again. The best part of my Mother’s Day was going to see my favorite band Daughtry at a small club in Minneapolis. I was dolled up from head to toe. Still wearing my low rise jeans but now with a sparkly tank with hair and makeup to perfection, I felt like a very hot mama. I felt confident. Sexy. Amazing. I am becoming me.

Jackson adores his cousin.

Being so close to goal, my counselor this week encouraged me to start mentally prepping for my transition out of Medifast. With an excited smile, I told her I have been prepping for transition for WEEKS. With my recent discovery of how bad soy protein is for my endo, it is important for me to wrap this diet up so I can start focusing on what “real” food I will need to start eating to control my condition. The first week on transition I will get to add in veggies that were previous not allowed on the plan, when she asked me what I plan to add in I exclaimed, “CORN ON THE COB”. Yum. My husband is excited.

My mom w/ her grandbabies

It is very important for me to remember that the journey doesn’t end simply because Medifast ends. I will have to continue watching my portions, making smart choices and exercising. I’m certain I will not always be perfect. I want to show everyone who made negative comments about Medifast and my weight loss that I can lose the weight and keep it off. Yes, someone told me I shouldn’t bother because I will gain it all back. Nice, huh? I think it was meant to be a dig on the Medifast program, but in a lot of ways, it was a dig on me. What does that say about me? My weight gain didn’t happen overnight. It happened over a DECADE. I will never let that happen again. I don’t want to spend the money to lose weight again. I don’t want to eat Medifast food ever again (no offense Medifast… I love you but I really miss human food).

I have become me and I’m never letting her go.

Motivation Monday: Choose Happy

Yup. It’s my birthday week. I can run (and I have) but I can’t hide. So this week, I’m going to choose happy.

I confess. I’ve been a bit of a negative nelly. Between job interviews and life in general, frankly my outlook has sucked. When a couple friends blew off my birthday dinner, instead of looking at the bright side I bitched and moaned about it. I was heading out to the restaurant with my two dearest friends and I realized that, “I’M HEADING OUT TO THE RESTAURANT WITH MY TWO DEAREST FRIENDS.” What more could I want? It was a wonderful night and I had so much fun catching up with my ladies. I chose happy.

While there was nothing I could do about my exhaustion yesterday (coming home at 2:30am will do that to a mama), I didn’t complain about it. I had a great day with my family at the Zoo and even got some preschooler cuddle time which happens so rarely nowadays. Worried about how many horrific choices I was going to make at Burger Jones last night, I stuck to my plan and ordered their Tiny Tummy Tatanka (buffalo burger) and side field greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette and splurged a little on a beer and just a taste of their excellent fries. I feel good about my choices. I chose happy.

Today was my InBody scan at Medifast. Let’s face it. I drank much more alcohol than usual over the weekend. I am plagued with woman issues today. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be a good scan. Negative nelly strikes again. Hanging my head, I walked in to my weekly weigh in and to my surprise:

TODAY’S WEIGH IN: 157.9 (7.9 left until goal!)
I lost 1.1 pounds for a total of 30.4 pounds lost since January
I’ve lost a total of 50.4 pounds since January 2011. 
I gained 2 lbs of muscle in the last month (this is a good thing and explains slow scale movement)
My BMI has gone from a 32.3 down to 27
My PBF (Percentage of Body Fat) has gone from 38.5 to 28
I have lost 4 inches for a total of 16 since January 
I am 12.1 pounds UNDER what my driver’s license says (a first in my lifetime)
I have been struggling with how slow the weight has been coming off because I’m almost to my goal and I am more than ready to be done eating Medifast meals. As much as I hate dwelling on the scale number, graduating from Medifast means having to reach my goal weight. I have been frustrated. Going through today’s scan I got a different perspective. There has been progress in other ways that I have ignored: I gained muscle and I lost inches (3 of the 4 inches I lost came from my abs!). As my counselor said today, “Great job. You should be proud.” Of course I need to be continually conscious of my food choices and I can’t let up on my activity- with that in my arsenal, I will make 150 lbs. I am CHOOSING happy.
My goal this week is to stay entirely on plan. No cheats this week. None. I am also going to get back into the gym to do my workouts. There is something energizing and motivating about being amongst other people working out and I think it will help me to keep my fitness on track.
Time to catch myself in the act of negativity and squash it before it even starts. So my biggest goal this week: 
CHOOSE HAPPY!
How are you choosing to stay motivated this week?