Sunday, July 22, 2012

LIFE HAPPENS!


We have been so busy!  Trips here and there - working occasionally - weeding, mowing, and planting the yard!  And, through it all, we are maintaining our weight by paying constant and vigilant attention to what we are putting into our mouths. 

July 4, 2012, parade - Butte, MT.
 Yes, indeed!  Life does happen!  Through all of the holidays and vacations, I managed to put on an additional 15 - 20 pounds.  I have often commented that when I wore a size 5X, (380 pounds) 10 pounds one way or the other didn't make much difference.  But, now that I have reached my goal weight of 170, 10 pounds means the difference between a size 10 pair of pants and a size 12 pair of pants. 


The best thing that could have happened to me was Bob deciding to go on program when we returned from Jack's graduation the third week of May.  I consented to go back on program with him, and consequently, we are BOTH  slightly below our goal weights, and have a little "wiggle room".  We started on Phase 3 of the Ideal Protein program last Thursday. 

 

WHAT DO YOU EAT?


 I am constantly being asked, "What do you eat?"

Phase 3 Breakfast

 As you progress through the phases, it becomes a little more difficult to make the proper decisions that are required to be able to maintain your new body.  It is imperative to read labels, count calories, and determine if the food you are eating contains the proper balance between calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein, etc.  Thankfully, we are given two weeks of phase 3 before we are dropped into maintenance.  We are now reintroducing fruit, carbohydrates, dairy, and some fat into our diet.

 Toasted wheat rounds, tomato slices, bacon, poached egg and fruit.


The Ideal Protein coaches' manual says:  "Meals (breakfast at this point) should consist of 30g or less of grain carbohydrates, 20g or less of fruit carbohydrates, 15g or less from dairy carbohydrates.  Aim for about 25g of protein and try to keep total fat less than 15g.  Breakfast should be between 400 and 500 calories in Phase 3".




Grilled Asparagus
Chicken stuffed with rosemary and basil
Tomato, cucumber and onion salad
Poached tilapia
Sauteed cauliflower
Steamed spinach
Dinners and lunches are easier.  Two cups of vegetables (from approved list) and up to 8 ounces protein.  As you progress through the phases, the protein supplement packages are reduced.  Phase 1 requires 3 per day; phase 2 requires 2 per day; and phases 3 and 4 are reduced to 1 per day.   



We have been enjoying an Ideal Protein candy bar or cookie following our evening walk.  But, I really miss some of the supplements that have become so much a part of our daily diet.  For instance, I love the IP Mango ready-to-go drink.  And, mixing our morning coffee with the chocolate mix is really delicious.  And the ready-to-go vanilla drink mixed into a Starbucks iced coffee is to die for!

"You don't stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing."  ~ Unknown

 And, that brings up another change.  It is now okay, and even recommended, to add exercise into our daily routine.  That is very hard for me - I have been unable to exercise for so long that it just isn't a natural part of my day.  We have started walking every night.  I have to laugh, though.  There is a walking trail in the park behind our house, which is around .25 miles long.  There are benches situated every few hundred feet around the trail.  The first time I tried walking around the trail, weighing around 350 pounds, it took me 45 minutes to get around once - and I sat on every bench along the way.  We now walk between 2 and 4 miles every night, at an average pace of a little over 3.1 mph.  I tried riding my bike the other day, though, and realized that the bone-on-bone in my knee is still a factor that I must take into account before I get too far from home.

           "Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can."
         ~Danny Kaye

 We have a lot of paint to throw on our canvas, and we are throwing as much as we can as fast as we can.

Next weekend, we will participate in the boat races at Columbia Park, Toni and the girls will arrive the next day (Bob's birthday), the following day we will head to Montana for our 4th annual Stratton family campout, and on August 23, we will embark on our European trip.

 Yes, life does happen!  And, since I have lost weight, life just keeps on getting better. 

I loved this quote, but as I thought about it, I realize that where weight is concerned, we do carry our mistakes with us.  Our challenge is to learn from our mistakes and carry as few of them as possible.




Saturday, June 30, 2012

FORMING HABITS!




Peggy and Bob - June, 2012

I have a very important anniversary approaching.  It was August 4, 2010, that I signed up for the Ideal Protein WeightLoss program.  That was the day that I began my new life!


During that time, I have come to an important conclusion. 

IT'S NOT WHAT YOU DO ONCE THAT MATTERS!

For instance.  I did not become "morbidly obese" by eating one Hershey bar - having one mocha laced with whipped cream - one apple fritter - one dish of broccoli or cauliflower covered in rich, creamy cheese sauce.  It was when I allowed those one times to become habits that I was on my way to obesity.


Conversely, I did not lose all those excess pounds by following the Ideal Protein program for one day - or one week - or even one month.  It was when  I allowed the program to become habit that I truly felt I had conquered my tendency to be fat. 


"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us."- John Dryden


We have made many changes over the past two years!  We put much more thought into our shopping.  As we were told at the IP seminar in Seattle - shop the outside aisles of the grocery store.  That is where you will find produce, dairy, meat, and bread.  The sugary, high carb,  prepared foods fill the center aisles of the store.  Cereals laden with sugar and fat.  Soda.  Chips.  Candy.  All of the things that lead to obesity.  Each has its own healthy claim displayed proudly on the face of the box.  Heart healthy!  Low fat!  Fewer calories!  But, "low fat" doesn't equate to healthy - or to fewer calories.  "Sugar free" can be laden with fat and with sugar substitutes that are equally as harmful as the sugar.  READ THE LABELS! 


When shopping on a weekend, you are faced with - not one, but several - carts with samples of every kind of food imaginable.  And, each tastes so good that it takes super human strength to pass them by and pick up a package of asparagus instead. 


 A 16-ounce mocha with whipped cream contains 410 calories.  If you add a sweet treat to accompany your drink, you have chalked up another 420 calories.  We had formed the habit of having at least one mocha a day, and sometimes - two!  And, at least once a week we would add either an apple fritter or a pound cake or a raisin cookie.  That habit alone accounted for a whopping 170,000 calories a year. 


"Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice;  it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved."  - Winston Churchill


In a few days, we will graduate to phase 2 of the program.  Within a month, we will be on maintenance and on the road to a lifetime of healthy choices.  We will be faced with different choices - ones that are much harder to control.  We will have fruits and breads and even a glass of wine and/or dessert now and then.  We will order off the regular menus when we go to our favorite restaurants.  But, we have learned to question the servers about what ingredients are in the foods.  I have learned to assert myself in asking for my foods to come without heavy sauces or butter.  We have learned to enjoy a glass of iced green tea rather than the mochas that we consumed on a daily basis.  We will step on the scale each and every morning and if we notice an increase in our weight, we will make different choices for whatever time it takes to maintain our new bodies.


"Everyone who got to where they are had to begin where they were." - Richard Paul Evans


Green iced tea - unsweetened
This is a lifetime commitment!   What we did once - and then again and again - became the framework for our new 'normal'.  New habits have been developed, but just as they have become a part of our daily lives, they can be replaced by bad habits if we allow them to.  A dessert once a week will not hurt us.  In fact, it is encouraged during the maintenance phase of the program.  It's when we allow the dessert to become a normal part of our every day diet that new, bad habits will again be formed.


Happy eating!  And may your days be filled with healthy choices!


"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing."  - Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, June 21, 2012

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE!


 “Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”

We never know when we will touch the life of another! And, we also don't know how that touch will affect our own life.

This has been an amazing two weeks.  We were able to accompany our son, Jack, to Kamloops, BC, and meet his new boss and co-workers.  We did many things, but best of all - I walked!  Uphill and downhill - and although I was really tired, I felt wonderful. 

Since my last post, I have some wonderful news!  Bob (my husband) started the program.  He doesn't have nearly as much weight to lose as I did, but he is doing fantastic!  I am so happy that he has made the commitment to join me in this venture.  He has only been on program five weeks, and already had to buy new clothes - a size smaller.  He has lost 25 pounds and 4.5 inches around his waist.
The quote I love is:  "I was shaving this morning and noticed a lump on my throat.  I haven't seen my Adam's apple for years!"

I told Jack that one of the best things about the program is the empowering feeling of success that one feels when they begin to shed those extra pounds and know that they are looking and feeling so much better.  And, it is wonderful to be able to share that feeling with the one closest to me - the one who offered such support and encouragement throughout my journey.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965); Philosopher, Physician, Nobel Peace

Right before we left, a good friend called and asked about the program.  She has been on program for a little over a week, and is beginning to notice changes already.  Her quote:  "I am just tired of always being the fattest person in the room!"  Oh, how I know that feeling!  All too well!

“You will rise by lifting others.”  Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899); Orator, Attorney, Politician

I have felt extremely helpless at times.  Whenever I see an overweight person, I have a terrible urge to go up to them and tell them that there is hope.  There is something that works to take off those pounds.  Of course, I know I cannot do that, and that makes me sad.

If something comes to life in others because of you, then you have made an approach to immortality. ” Norman Cousins (1915-1990); Editor, Writer


So, now to what happened this week!  As I said, you never know when you will touch the life of a stranger.  It was a long day - we were up at 5:00 a.m. and on the road to Spokane by 6:00 a.m.  We worked all day and were on our way home.  I was nonchalantly playing games on my phone when I received a notice that there was a comment on my last blog post.  I went to the post, and what I read brought tears to my eyes.  I read the words again, and could hardly speak as I shared them with Bob. 

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.”  Frederick Buechner (born 1926);  Educator, Writer, Theologian

I am so grateful to this stranger for sharing her thoughts with me.  I know she will be successful on her journey.  There will be detours and rest stops along the way, but when she reaches her destination, she will be able to experience the joy that accompanies her new life.  I have shared her comment below - leaving out her name and home town. 

"Hi, Peg!

I started the Ideal Protein program last Monday and as I was searching the web for more information about the program and success stories, I found your blog. In two days I had read it through from beginning to end

Your story was such an encouragement to me. I have tried again and again to lose my excess weight with very little success and was doubtful the program would work for me. I am a morbidly obese 44 with bad knees and the mobility of an 80 year old - I felt I was a lost cause. After reading your story, seeing your photos and witnessing your positive approach to the program I knew I could do it, too

So thank you for posting your wonderful blog on the web for strangers to stumble across. When I started last week the scale read 288 and today I weighed in at 276. My knees thank you for the encouragement, too! I'm on my way!!"

Everywhere you look, someone is poking fun at obesity.  It is  true that so many of our ailments are self inflicted.  Over eating, alcoholism, drug abuse, to name just a few. 
It is in Your power to change - Each of us has the power to take control of our lives.  Not your family, not the government.  YOU!  Enhance your life!  Take the opportunities that are at your fingertips and live your life to the fullest.
My hope and prayer is that today another stranger will find my words and use them to help in their decision to start down the road to a healthier, happier life!
"When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way." -Wayne Dyer


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

IS IT WORTH IT?

IS IT WORTH IT? It' amazing to me how many times I have been asked the question - "Was it worth the effort?"

I almost laugh when I am confronted with a perspective dieter who wonders if it was worth it? Worth what? The cost? The sacrifice? The tradeoffs that accompany any weight loss program?

For this update, I would like to concentrate on the answers to this question. Yes, the program is costly - about $85 a week. And, with weight loss comes a new wardrobe - I was ordering new clothes every 3 - 5 weeks for almost a year. And, yes, fresh vegetables cost more than pasta and heavy sauces. However, I was no longer buying large quantities of foods that were destroying my body and my life. And, I was able to eliminate the costly prescription drugs that were draining our bank account.

"The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." - Mark Twain

The sacrifice?

I had to learn to not only eat lots of vegetables, but to enjoy them. We have tried vegetables that we never heard of before this program. And, we gave up some of the staples. It was hard to realize that carrots are not allowed on this program due to the high sugar content. Corn and peas had to go. But, we replaced them with so many great vegetables and prepared them in a way that the delicate flavor of each one could be truly appreciated.

The tradeoffs?

Let me share with you the tradeoffs and you answer the question. Was it worth it? At my highest extreme, I tipped the scale at 378 pounds. My knees were shot! I suffered severe depression! I could not walk without stopping to rest every few minutes. I was convinced that nothing would help me. I felt like a complete failure. There was no reason that I could not lose those pounds that were destroying my life. When I discovered Ideal Protein, I knew that I had to at least give it a try. I started the program on August 4, 2010, weighing 350 pounds.


Uncertainty? 
I didn't know what to expect when I started the Ideal Protein weight loss program. Could I change the habits that I had developed over my lifetime?

As I went through the weeks on program, I began to notice that changes were taking place - not only in my body, but in my entire personality. I no longer was the negative person that I had become. I looked forward to each new day with enthusiasm and actually enjoyed trying new vegetables that in some cases I had never even heard of before.
Your success becomes your motivation - and motivation drives you to greater success!

The most exciting part of the journey is that I have been able to maintain my weight for the past 9 months. I have fluctuated, which is to be expected, but I now have the tools to maintain my new lifestyle. I am loving life, and the exciting new adventures waiting out there for me to discover.



"Success doesn't come to you, you go to it." - Marva Collins

Friday, March 9, 2012

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC!

CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC:

It's been a long time since I updated my blog, and there is no time like the present to bring you all up to speed on my life after losing all my excess baggage - all those pounds that made me miserable. I believe that I have the tools and knowledge necessary to manage my weight and also enjoy the sensuous nature of the foods that I so much enjoy.

Bob and I just returned home from a glorious week in San Francisco. The purpose of our trip was to visit Jack - but we were able to spend a lot of time just walking around San Francisco and enjoying the gorgeous sunshine and the tourist spots for which San Francisco is famous. The things that we did that I COULD NOT have done two years ago were many.



First, we took advantage of public transportation rather than cabs. It is amazing how many people can be moved on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). However, it does require being able to walk from point A to Point B in order to catch the trains. I was able to make those connections with very little effort. Most of the stations offer escalators to different levels, but not all of them. I am slow going up and down stairs, but again, I am able to negotiate them. It is about 12 blocks from the BART station to the condo that we stay in, and San Francisco is not known for its level terrain. We only had back packs, and Bob generously packed both of them so I only had to get myself up the hill, but you guessed it! Not bad at all!

The concierge suggested a hamburger shop that is known for the "best hamburgers in the city". It has been almost 2 years since I have had a good hamburger and I was ready for one. We walked to the hamburger stand and I consumed a 1/2 pound hamburger and half a basket of fries and onion rings. I was determined to use this trip as a trial for our Disney trip coming up. Maintenance is different than being on the first phases of the program. I am supposed to be able to go off program for special occasions like vacations and then lose the extra pounds with a return to phase 1 until I am back to my desired weight.

What happened after our hamburger surprised me more than ever. We were only .9 of a mile from China Town. Since that was one of the places that we had planned to tour, I (that's right - me) suggested that we walk there. We walked a little over 2.5 miles to and from and through. I thought my feet would kill me. I was stupid! I wore my dress shoes instead of my walking shoes. After that trip, they stayed in a corner of the room and all my walking was done with shoes that were designed for walking.

Jack came into town that night and spent the weekend with us. We toured the Golden Gate Park, walked the beach, drove a loop through wine country, all of which involved walking. And meals at some very good restaurants.



Bob and I rode the BART to Berkeley to visit Jack on three occasions during the following week. Walking to his house on the first trip, and through campus on one, and meeting at a restaurant for dinner one night. All in all during the past week, I probably walked a little over 50 miles.

I was up about five pounds before we left on this trip, and added another five during the past week. So, I have around 10 to lose to get back down to my goal weight before we leave for Disney World the first week of May. I don't think it should be that hard.

"But before looking to the future, let's glance back at the road we've traveled these past two years because that is the source of much of the optimism we are all feeling about the future." Linda Lingle

In August, 2010, I began the Ideal Protein program. I weighed in at 350 pounds. I knew the program worked because I had seen results in others.

As I began to realize that if could change my body, I I could also change my mind. There are things about myself that I really didn't like, so I theorized that if I didn't like them, probably others didn't either. I have shared previously that reading positive attitude quotes became a daily habit - one that has helped me stay on track and be successful on this weight loss journey.

I have also come to realize that the past is past. Only today and tomorrow are in my grasp. My past is part of me that will always be what it was. I can beat myself up for letting myself get into that condition in the first place, or I can use that part of my life as experience that will help me shape my future.

"Forgiving (yourself) does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future." Lewis B. Smedes

So many people have asked me if I have kept off the weight that I lost. Although I am 10 pounds heavier today than I was on the day that I met my goal, I can answer "yes!" Because I know that all it takes is a return to program for whatever amount of time it takes to get back to that magical number. The secret is to never accept 10 pounds as okay. I know that I possess the tools - both physical and mental - to maintain myself.

"There is abundant reason to believe that optimism – big, little, and in between – is useful to a person because positive expectations can be self-fulfilling." CHRISTOPHER PETERSON

The next thing that I have been asked about consistently is the surgery to remove the excess skin around my tummy. Was it successful? Would I do it again? Was it worth the cost? Did it hurt?

I had the surgery on January 6. I have never had any surgeries before so didn't really know what to expect. Thankfully, I have a wonderful daughter-in-law who came to be with me for the first week following the procedure. She made me take the pain pills when I thought I could get along without them. She kept saying, "Take the prescribed number of pills for at least the first two days following surgery - if you let the pain get ahead of you, you will regret it. It's hard to catch up if you don't stay on top of it!"

So, I dutifully took the pills for the first two days and then began to wean myself from them. It wasn't as bad as I had expected. It was uncomfortable, but I was never in what I considered a lot of pain. It was uncomfortable to cough or clear my throat, etc. Right after the surgery, I had drain tubes from the stomach area into little reservoirs attached to the tight band that I wore around my mid section. I had them for the first week until the excess drainage stopped. During that time, I did sleep on the reclining chair rather than in bed. And, Bob slept on a cushion on the living room floor in case I needed anything during the night. "Thank you, Hon!"

A disappointment after the surgery is that I did not lose weight. I wrongfully assumed that because they cut 3 - 4 pounds of excess skin off my body that I would lose a corresponding number of pounds in my weight. Not so! I was starved following surgery - and so dry. I drank over two gallons of water each day and retained every ounce of it (or close). And, I was eating everything in sight. I actually gained between 3 - 5 pounds. I guess it is normal to retain fluids following surgery - and, your body is working to repair itself, thus requiring calories to do so.

Does my tummy look better? Yes! It is still swollen from the surgery and still slightly numb. My doctor told me it would be close to a year before it is what it will be. I think my belly button isn't quite in the middle anymore. Hoping that as the swelling disappears, that will correct itself. It isn't too far off, but enough that I notice it at times.

What is worth more than any monetary cost is the new life that I am living with my husband. As we were sitting in the sunshine in Union Square, he looked at me and out of the blue said, "Thank you for losing all that weight - it has made our lives so much better and so much more worth living!"

"Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior become your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny."
MAHATMA GANDHI, Open Your Mind, Open Your Life: A Book of Eastern Wisdom

Monday, January 2, 2012

MAINTENANCE IS BRUTAL!

MAINTENANCE IS BRUTAL!

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”—Unknown

It's a new year - the time that we reflect on all of our past indiscretions and vow to do better in the future. Well, I am in that boat with everyone else I know.

“You have the ability not just to observe your life like a historian or a fortune teller but like a sculptor, through vision and painstaking hard work to make of it a life what you will.”—Devon Harris

I was fortunate to lose all the weight and reach my goal the week before we took our anniversary trip to Hawaii. I was able to reintroduce some of the foods that I love - mostly fruit - into my diet. I was amazed at how good the fruit tasted after not having any for so long.

Then came the maintenance part of the program. I have a somewhat restricted diet for five days -then I have a day that I can have anything I want - then back onto phase 1 for one day - then start the cycle over again. Well, that is what I am supposed to do. In actuality, I have had anything I want for 5 days - then the one day of phase 1 - and one day of the restricted diet.

I have had so many people ask, "Don't you feel sick when you eat something really rich that you haven't had for so long?". Unfortunately, the answer is "NO!" I wish I did, but the holiday treats really tasted good to me. I did discover that I cannot eat like I did in the past, or I will regain all that I worked so hard to lose.

“You can decide right now that negative experiences from your past will not predict your future.”—Terri Cole

I have told myself that it is due to the holidays that I have been tempted to indulge in all the goodies that life has to offer. I know that the entire time I was on program I was dedicated to following it exactly - and it worked. The only thing that makes one successful on any weight loss program is your mental attitude. And, your mental attitude is also what makes you fail. I am now committed to losing the 5 or 6 pounds that I gained over the holidays so that I can retain my new body.

I have pondered over the next update to my blog. I revealed in one of my past updates that I have a lot of extra skin as a result of losing all the weight. In fact, I look somewhat like a deflated balloon. As Bob so eloquently put it, "You look really good with your clothes on!". But, with them off, there is a lot of extra skin.

So, I have decided to take the next step in this transformation. I am having tummy tuck surgery on Friday of this week. I have revealed most of my most personal feelings and emotions throughout this journey, but I am not sure how to address this surgery. It is all part of the total make-over, so I will post occasional updates and let you know the outcomes.

“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life—think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is way great spiritual giants are produced.”—Swami Vivekananda

The plastic surgeon said that this is the most painful of all the reconstructive surgeries, and will take the longest recovery time. But, I have lots of areas that need help so if I can handle this one, I am sure others will follow.

I am not entirely comfortable with sharing the (photos) of this next phase, although I did realize during my past updates that when I shared my most personal thoughts I was able to look inside myself and use those posts to assist me in maintaining the perseverance that I needed to reach my destination.

I have taken a 'before' picture, and will take during and after shots just so I can use them for my own knowledge. Whether or not I post them here remains to be seen...

So, until the next update, I am back on phase 1 for a few days - determined to lose the 5 - 7 pounds that I put on during the holidays.
Happy New Year, Friends!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Exploring my destination!





Well, here I am! It was a little over six weeks ago that I reached my goal weight of 170 pounds. Now, I am trying to learn how to maintain that weight. So far, so good! I am very happy to announce that I am fluctuating between 168 and 171 pounds and that is a normal range of fluctuation.

WOW! So much has happened in the six weeks that I have been at a functioning weight! I cannot believe how much we have packed into our lives.

"Life brings simple pleasures to us every day. It is up to us to make them wonderful memories." - Cathy Allen"

Our anniversary is on September 25, and as usual, we made our annual celebration trip. We spent 4 days in Maui, then five days in Kauai, followed up with a 2-day visit with Jack in San Francisco. What an unbelievably wonderful time we had!

We rented a jet ski and played in the warm ocean waters in Maui - then dangled from a cable as we zipped across the canyons in the jungle of Kauai. Yup! We zip lined!

"Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you're going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus." - Oprah


We had told ourselves that we were going to "live outside the box" on this trip. And, for these Montana kids who grew up in isolated areas with no water around for miles, it was intimidating to mount a jet ski and go frolicking through the ocean waters. Neither of us swim, so have to depend on the life jackets to hold us afloat in the unlikely event that we were to be thrown off the ski. My mind tells me that "Yes, this little jacket is designed to keep you above water!", but for a non-swimmer, it is a bit (LOT) intimidating. However, we very soon got over the fear and loved the experience of tearing over and through the waves.



As we prepared to go out on the ski, the young man in charge pointed to the life jackets lined up along one side of the docking platform. "The small ones are on the left - medium in the middle - and large on the other end", he announced. I had no idea what size I would take. He looked at us, and said, "You will need a small and he will be a large.". Really? Me? A small? I haven't taken a small anything for as long as I can remember. That in itself was enough to 'buoy' me up.

I had just graduated from the extreme dieting phase of the Ideal Protein program and was able to legally have fruit with my morning meals. Well, I am here to tell you! Nothing has ever tasted as good as the pineapple in Hawaii! I have to confess! I did have a little more than a cup of fruit while there. But, I did follow most of the plan. I am not sure if a mai tai counts as fruit? Suppose? All but one of the restaurants we chose were super supportive of my food needs and I was able to have lots of vegetables that were either steamed or sauteed in olive oil, and lots of fish prepared without sauces and crusts. That was another way in which we ventured out of our comfort zone a little. We have never been known to expand our diets to include anything other than the foods which we have always eaten. Our fish menu included salmon and halibut - and, maybe in a pinch, a piece of tilapia. Well, on this trip, we chose whatever was being served as the "catch of the day". We had marlin, red snapper, mahi mahi, moon fish, ono, and others that I cannot remember the names. They were marvelous. We loved experiencing the new flavors of Island cuisine.

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go." - William Feather



And, then - the zip line. I have to tell you! Walking off that platform while looking down at the ground that was about 100 feet below was an extremely frightening thing to do. I would walk to the edge - back up - walk to the edge again. Finally, our guide told me to just sit down in the harness and gravity would do the rest. Well, that worked - and what exhilaration! It was so much fun! Another in a long list of things that I could not have done a year ago!




Bob shared a thought with me as we sat on the deck of a lounge in Maui. He said, "I cannot remember you when you were fat!" I laughed and joked, "That is probably a good thing!"

But, as I thought about that statement in a bit more depth, I realized that I was pretty much of a non-partner at the weight of 380 pounds. I could not do anything, so we didn't really have any memories of doing fun things together. I am determined to maintain the new me at a level that we can stuff as many experiences into our lives as humanly possible. Maybe a parachute next year?

"The future depends on what we do in the present." - Gandhi

So, what's next? I am on maintenance. I follow program five days a week, splurge on the sixth day, and go back on a phase one day following the splurge. It is harder than I thought it would be. I did master the "splurge", and I realize that without six days of structured maintenance I could gain back weight with no problem. The five days of normal eating aren't really what was normal for me. I am realizing that our diets had way too much fat, and many more carbohydrates than necessary to maintain a normal body weight.

"Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict." - William Ellery Channing

I am coaching the program two days a week when they need an additional person to fill in some of the gaps. I see people at all stages of their weight loss journey. I can truly empathize with the person who, with tears in her eyes, talks about how hard it is to pass up those treats that added the extra pounds. I have sat and cried with clients as I revealed the struggles that I have had with weight. This experience is so much more emotional than I had expected.

Also, as I mentioned in my last post, I have too much left over skin. There is skin that will never be exercised away. I have consulted with a surgeon about removing some of it, and have made the decision to start the surgical process of skin removal in January. I have been very open with you about the steps that I have taken so far, and have decided to share the surgical journey as well. My blog was originally a weekly journal that was intended to help me along the way to my destination. But, it has become so much more. I want it to be a help to others who have the same issues with eating disorders that I have. I want to share the pain, the joy, and the satisfaction that I have experienced along this road.


Until next time - have a safe and happy journey!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

MILEPOST 182 - "LUCKY 13!"

MILEPOST 182! LUCKY 13!




13 is my new lucky number.

Thirteen months ago, I made a decision. I committed my life to the Ideal Protein weight loss program.

Thirteen months ago, I weighed over 350 pounds. Thirteen months ago, I could not squeeze my body into a normal size toilet stall in a public restroom. Thirteen months ago, I lived on Rolaids to control the terrible indigestion and acid reflux that had become a normal part of my life. Thirteen months ago, I could not close the bath sheet I used as a towel around my body. Thirteen months ago, I controlled my diabetes with oral medications and injections. Thirteen months ago, I snored so loudly that Bob would have to leave the room in order to get any sleep. Thirteen months ago, I used my handicap parking sticker to park as close as possible to the entry of any building, since I could not walk any distance without becoming winded. Thirteen months ago, I wore size 4X or 5X clothing. Thirteen months ago, I was depressed – dependent – and disgusted with myself and with my life. And, thirteen months ago, my husband was ashamed to be seen with me!

“Pause for a moment. Breathe in slowly and deeply. Hold it for a few seconds, then slowly release. Feel the miracle of your breath. Say thanks!” PosPositive

Today, I have met my goal weight of 170 pounds. (168.4) Today, I can fit into any stall, any booth at any restaurant, and any chair with arms . Today, I don’t even know where the Rolaids are – I have not had indigestion since beginning the program. Today, I can wrap a normal sized towel around my body, and there are no gaps. Today, I have eliminated all but one of my diabetes medications, and that one has been reduced from four pills a day to one – my blood sugar level is an average of 86. Today, I no longer snore, and when I awake during the night, my husband is right there next to me. Today, I can walk from any parking spot to the mall – and I enjoy doing it. Today, I wear a size 10 or 12. Today, I am strong, independent, and embracing life with enthusiasm and excitement. And, yes! TODAY, MY HUSBAND IS PROUD TO BE SEEN WITH ME AT HIS SIDE!

I knew I was getting close! I knew that today could be the day! I started the day like any other day – Bob was working out of town, so I made my call to him at 5:30 a.m. I got up and made coffee. I visited with Toni via SKYPE on the computer. I showered and dressed and then went to my weekly weigh-in. I wasn’t sure just what to expect, since I had changed to Phase 2 of the program only 2 weeks ago. I was eating differently, and we had made a trip to Montana, and had spent a couple nights working in Idaho with Rob. I have been pretty successful in managing my diet while on the road, because we are on the road a lot, so it has been necessary.

I stepped on the scale and watched as it approached my new weight. It stopped at 168! I was overwhelmed. I told Misty (my coach for the day). “I think I am going to cry!” And, cry I did! I immediately sent a text to Toni and Bob with the news. As I left the weigh-in room, all of the staff who has been so supportive of me throughout this journey was anxiously awaiting my news! Did I – or didn’t I? They could tell by my face that I had made it! The entire office was sharing tears and hugs. Even my doctor – who has been nothing but professional – gave me a big hug and had tears in his eyes.

I HAVE REACHED MY DESTINATION! But, now what!

I had concentrated so hard on the journey, that I failed to plan what to do once I got there. I will be on Phase 3 of the program for 14 days, then will go into the maintenance phase, which I will have to follow for the rest of my life. The challenge is to manage my diet so that I don’t continue to lose weight, but also refrain from gaining.

I also reached another conclusion. Although this part of my journey is over, my entire life is a journey. As with any road trip, once you reach your destination, you don’t just stop there. There are museums to explore. There are parks, monuments, restaurants – all there for you to discover. There are new people who enter your life – those who leave footprints on your soul.

“The best angle from which to approach any problem is the ‘Try’ Angle.” Unknown

This will be my final post to this blog. I will be facing new and different challenges from this point forward. I will have to learn to maintain the new me. As I mentioned before, I have a lot of extra skin now that I will have to decide what to do with. I will be seeking new activities that will keep me active and entertained at the same time. And, it will have to be something other than shopping – which I have discovered that I do enjoy although for the past number of years, I have convinced myself that I did not.

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein

I have had such positive responses to this weekly update that I have decided to create a new blog that will deal with the new challenges that one faces after losing a lot of pounds. I don’t know what the new blog will consist of, because this is new and uncharted territory. I will need some help from you – my faithful followers – to help me come up with a fitting title for the new blog. One that will relate to maintaining the new me, while referring back to the weight loss. I am kind of leaning towards, "My better half - life following weight loss". What do you think?

There were times during my blogging, that I was a little disappointed that the original post is buried somewhere deep in the bottom of the blog. But, during this journey, I have discovered that my life, like the blog, is today. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is in the future. I must live for today, and face each new challenge on a daily basis.

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”- Kenji Miyazawa

Some of the things I have shared with you are of an extremely personal nature. Some were happy and some were painful. I was not sure that I could share some of those details, but I found it to be a very therapeutic approach to overcoming some of the problems associated with weight loss. Your comments and insight have helped me along the road, and I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated your support and love.

“We cannot control the wind, but we can control our sail as it catches the wind.” PosPositive

Thursday, September 8, 2011

MILEPOST 178 - SO CLOSE!

MILEPOST 178 - 2 MORE POUNDS!

"There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream." - Unknown

I can't believe that only 13 months have passed since I decided to join the Ideal Protein weight loss plan. So many changes have taken place in my life that it is hard to relate to all of them. I must share with you that it is so nice to spend time getting ready for a dinner date, and know that when you get done, you look pretty darn good.



I had prepared myself for a less than successful week. There were three things that I felt could - and probably would - trigger a slight gain this week. And, since I am now a coach for the program, it only seemed prudent to weigh in during the time slot when I would be working.

1. I began a new phase of the program. Although Phase 2 is a pretty basic change, it is still a different approach to my diet.
2. I was exercising more strenously than at any other time on the program,and
3. I weighed in at a completely different time of day, under different circumstances.

So, yesterday, I ate my lunch - drank a full bottle of water - and weighed in. I was devastated. Although I had prepared myself, I was not ready for a 2-pound gain. Bob, Jack and Toni - and my coaches - all tried to console me. It helped, but I resolved that I would not record that weight - I would go back in today at a more regular time and weigh in again. And, if I still registered a gain, I would accept it for what is was - a minor setback.

"Life is not about how fast you run, or how high you climb, but how well you bounce." - Unknown

However, when I stepped on the scale today, I was elated. Another 2 pound loss! And, only a little over two pounds to my destination. I bounced fine.

Montana this weekend - one more very full week of work - and THEN---

I am so ready for Hawaii.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

MILEPOST 175.8

MILEPOST 175.8 - PHASE 2



I have been really surprised - pleasantly so, I might add - that I am still continuing to lose 3 - 4 pounds a week at this stage of my weight loss journey. Another 4.8 pounds last week - that following two 4-pound weeks. I now officially weigh less than the total number of pounds I have lost. My coach put me on Phase 2 of the program this week, mostly because she wants me to be on Phase 3 when we go to Hawaii. She says, "No one should go to Hawaii and not be able to eat fruit!". I hadn't thought of it but, By, Golly! I agree with her.

I also began working as a coach this week. One lady looked at me with a slight look of recognition, then stated, "I know you! I have read your blog!" So, apparently I have followers that I know nothing about. Being a coach involves so much more than just sharing the program with others who are at various points on their journeys. There is paperwork! And the computer program! And remembering to fill in all the blanks on their charts. I am constantly reminded that I am not as young as I used to be - my mind doesn't comprehend details like it once did.

"The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials." - Chinese proverb"

Speaking of not being as young as I was, there are other reminders along the way. One woman who is considering joining the program has expressed one of her concerns. "If I lose all this weight, I will have too much skin!" Well, she's right. I responded with, "Yes, you will have too much skin. But, when I was so much heavier, I didn't look good naked in front of a mirror - and I also didn't look good in my clothes. Now, at least I look good in my clothes. For now, 50% is enough and I will work on the rest."

"If you're interested in achieving success, you'll do what's convenient. When you are committed, you'll do whatever it takes." - John Assaraf

The excess skin is a problem. If it were nice smooth skin, it wouldn't be so bad, but it isn't. I am hoping that the exercise program, lifting weights and doing some cardio, will help in that department. I am planning to give it a year, and if my body still looks as flabby as it does now, I may have to consider surgery to fix it. I have to say, that idea terrifies me! Whatever it takes - right?

" Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want." - Jim Rohn

As I have said before, I am basically a very impatient person. I want instant results. That is one reason that I think I have been able to follow the program so successfully. Each week I was able to see progress. As I look back on previous posts to my blog, I realize that I am really a different person. Not just my body, but all of me. And, I am happy with what I have achieved. Actually, I am just a little more than proud of myself. I wasn't sure that I would be able to stick with this program because it really is restrictive. Now, I am not sure that I want to be off the program. I was really looking forward to graduating to Phase 2, but I find that I am missing my protein packet at noon. I have some favorites that fit very nicely into my daily schedule, and by eliminating the one at noon I feel a little like the proverbial 'fish out of water'.

" You will become on the outside what you believe on the inside." - Unknown

I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. I am hoping to either eliminate - or reduce -my final diabetes medication. I have had blood sugar readings now that are too low, and I have had to have a banana to raise them some. And, I can't see any reason to take medication to lower my blood sugars - and then have to eat special foods to raise them back up. But, we will see what my doctor says. He has the results of my blood work, so the story should be told on Tuesday.

"We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking." — Santosh Kalwar

You, and only you, can choose to make changes in your life. I could see that my addiction to food was not only affecting me and my health, but my marriage was suffering as a result of my weight. My relationship with my children was hindered by my weight. I could not play with my grandchildren like I wanted. But, most of all, my addiction was affecting me. I hated me! I have come a long way, but I believe that I will have to be constantly vigilant and never allow myself to go back to my old habits.

Life is a series of choices. Food, like any addiction, is very difficult to attack. First, you must admit that you have an addiction, and then find something that is worth enough to you that you want to make changes. If I had to choose one thing that was important enough to me to make me want to change, I would have to say it was my marriage. And, after that, the rest fell into place. Yes, I look at my life and hate that it took me so long to decide to change, but I am constantly grateful that I have finally made that commitment.

"The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance. The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life. You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose." Arnold Bennett 1867 - 1931

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MILEPOST 171.8! PINCH ME! I MUST BE DREAMING!

MILEPOST 171.6 - PINCH ME! I MUST BE DREAMING!

I felt as though I had really followed program through the past 2 weeks while we were moving Jack to Berkeley, but you can never be sure until that fatal time - weigh in! You could have knocked me over with a feather. I lost a little over 8 pounds in the 2-week period. I only have 8.4 pounds left to reach my goal. I am elated!

We have had such a busy summer!

What can I say? I have had so much energy since I have lost weight that I must believe we are "super human". I have filled every moment with an activity - usually involving travel of some sort. When we are not traveling for fun, we are running around for work.

I had hoped I would be on maintenance by the time we leave for Hawaii, and I was beginning to believe that was much too optimistic. However, maybe! I still have 8.4 pounds to lose before graduating to Phase 2 of the program. Phases 2 and 3 each are designed to last for 2-week periods. During that time, I gradually wean myself from the protein packets, and reintroduce some carbs back into my diet. I have mixed emotions about this - Phase 1 is so regimented that once you learn the basics, it is easy to follow. Phase 2 looks easy, too, but Phase 3 and maintenance are a little intimidating. Also, some of the protein supplements are delicious. I would just as soon have one of my protein bars as a hot fudge sundae! Never thought I would think that, much less write it down to share with all my best friends.

"It's never too late to become the person you might have been." - George Elliot

We spent last week helping Jack move from Elko, NV. to Berkeley, CA. During our time together, I was able to have him explain the difference between complex and simple carbohydrates. I have never spent much time trying to understand what effect the foods I choose have on my body. But, I have developed a sincere desire to do whatever is required to maintain the new me. He finally likened the different carbs to a stack of Legos (that I can understand). He explained that if I have one Lego, it is easy to pick it up and move it. If I put two Legos together, I have to break them apart before I can move them individually. Still not a difficult task. But, if I have 1,000 Legos - all put together - and I want to move them individually, it would take some effort to break them apart. And, that is how my body reacts to different foods. If I have to break them all apart before using them, it is much more difficult to expel them. As a result, they stay where they are and instead of being washed away, they create -- FAT!

"Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable do nothing." - William Feather

I have always wanted to wait for just the "right" time before I jump into a new project. That may be why I have put off embarking on an exercise program. I have known that we are going to be out of town in a week - or two - all summer. And, I didn't see much advantage of starting to exercise when I would have to lay off for long periods of time in the middle. Well, I have come to the conclusion that this is a cop-out. For years, I put off starting a weight loss program because Christmas was in a couple of weeks - or my birthday - or Mother's Day - or Bob's birthday - just about any activity that involved large quantities of food was an excuse not to get started. And, look where that got me!

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting". – Buddha

This week, I made the commitment to begin an exercise program. I have a friend who is a personal trainer for a health club. I went into the club on Monday and signed up for a year - I have almost a month before we leave for Hawaii. I am very pleased with my weight loss, and I do look a lot better than I did. So, why not go for the 'gusto'? So, stay tuned for the results to follow. And, wish me luck that I can find the same commitment for exercise that I did for the weight loss portion of the program. Until next week----



"What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination." - Zig Ziglar

I have learned to manage my life. I have learned that I - and I alone - am responsible for me. I can choose to be healthy - or I can choose sickness in both mind and body. My journey has been about so much more than simply losing weight. It has been a learning experience - in order to change, one must take a long, hard look at herself. I am constantly amazed at what I have learned about 'ME' and about those around me. Life is, indeed, GOOD!

‎"...I can express gratitude for the simple act of being able to breathe in and breathe out. I can move away from darkness and depression to light and hope. I can be happy with who I am, not what I should be, or what I might have been, or what someone tells me I must be. I am me, the true me; you are you, the true you - and that's good. That's beautiful. That's enough." - Janet Jackson (from her new book "True You")

Thursday, August 11, 2011

MILEPOST 165 - A WEEK IN THE MOUNTAINS

MILEPOST 165 - A WEEK IN THE MOUNTAINS!

Yes, it was a difficult time to stay on program. I have said that I no longer crave chocolate - which is true! However, after passing up Alice's brownies at least twice, I broke down and had one! DELICIOUS! No, chocolate is still not a "safe" food. I think I stayed on program about 75% of the time, and still enjoyed some of the favorites that were being served. And, I lost a little over 2 pounds in the two-week period. I am getting so close to my goal! Only 15 more pounds! I have mixed feelings about reaching that final weight. Some of the protein supplements are so good that I am really going to miss them.

Camping! We used to camp a lot when we were younger and that was the only form of entertainment we could afford. Now, we camp once a year - in the mountains south of Butte, Montana. This was the 3rd Annual Stratton Campout.

Bob grew up in those mountains, and they define who he is. And, the year we courted before our marriage was spent in those mountains. Last year, I dreaded having to go to the campout. Sleeping in a tent was torture! Rolling off the air mattress and trying to stand up to walk outside to the porta potty was a monumental task.

"Nothing is more beautiful than the loveliness of the woods before sunrise." ~George Washington Carver

This year was different. Shedding 163 pounds has made me into a new person. I was so excited looking forward to our camping trip. I planned and planned, packed, shopped. All in anticipation of spending 4 days in the mountains. Bob laughed at me, "You are planning this thing to death!" he told me a couple of days before we left.

"How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!" ~John Muir

Bob and I are usually the first to wake up, which means that we enjoy the silence of the morning dawn together.

Our campsite has a central firepit, which is a fantastic firepit. Bob stoked up the fire and got the flames going, and then we sit with each other enjoying the solitude and glory of the morning sunrise. The pot of coffee begins to bubble on the grate over the fire, and eventually the others join us around the fire. There is no cell service there, so we are able to talk and converse like real people. And, amazingly enough, we all manage without them.

"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful." ~e.e. cummings


The kids love the camping experience. There are 8 kids - ages 7 to 15. The little ones spend hours playing in the little stream that runs through the campsite. This year, they built a teepee - they had some twine and found limbs and lashed them together. They were covered in mud - the socks and shoes may never be the same again. It is amazing to me that they don't see each other for a year, but as soon as they pull into camp, the doors all swing open, and they are off together having a wonderful time. No shyness or bickering - just a love of the great outdoors.

This year, I took hats and lots of decorations so they were able to decorate hats - not only for themselves, but for anyone who wanted one. They are very creative and artistic. We had some beautiful head wear at camp.

No matter how long we have traveled on the wrong road, we can always turn around.""PosPositive:

I was able to do anything I wanted this year. No longer encumbered by 163 extra pounds, I loved being there. I loved being with family and friends, and making new friends. I loved being able to stand and cook a meal in my Dutch ovens. I loved sleeping in our tent. Each thing I did was like a new experience - I actually believe I could feel the excitement known by a child as he takes his first steps.
Bob and I went for some long rides on the 4-wheeler. Last year, I was unable to fit on the seat behind him, but this year we were able to enjoy the rides together.




We hiked up the mountain near the campsite. Not all the way to the top, but it was a great first step - and not only was I able to go up, but coming back down didn't hurt my knees.

I cannot tell you how many times I heard the words, "Peggy? I didn't recognize you!"

I can't wait for next year! The drive home is long and tedious and I had lots of time to think of things to do next year.

"Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it." - Unknown PosPositive:


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

CAMP BREAKFAST - 2010 (A POEM)

I have nothing to report as far as weight this week because my weigh in is tomorrow, and I will be on the road. I dabble with poetry just a little, so instead of my regular weekly update, I am going to share with you the poem that I wrote after last year's camping trip. Based on a true story, of course.

The annual campout breakfast

It's that time of year - the time has come
to meet in the mountains - each and every one
just like the old timers we will gather there
and live off the land so that we are aware
of the hardships they faced each and every day
and the small children would be shown the way.

Many would bring their homes on wheels
with generators that would cook the meals
but not us!
We pitch our tent along the brook
and o'er the campfire, we will cook.

Bob, Me, Rob and Deb and their two grandkids
are the first to arrive
just trying to prove that we can survive
better than all the rest,
that we are tough - up to the test.

Now, we have all the finer things - gas grills,
griddles, generators and all the frills,
but everyone knows the breakfast all will desire
is the one cooked in a Dutch oven o'er the campfire.

Finally, the coals are hot
some beneath, and some on top.
Do we use butter - or oil? Deb asked me
A little of each I replied with authority.

She brought the oil - I added butter to the pan
sausage first, then spuds, eggs and cheese was the plan.
Meanwhile, the coffee began to brew
and we all knew
breakfast would be ready soon
hopefully sometime before noon.

Ahhh! Finally, the time had come
We brought our plates and filled each with some.
Mmmmmnnn! Delicious! Or, maybe not!
Something had gone wrong - we knew not what.

It wasn't that good
but everyone knew that we should
eat it all up - don't mess with the cook.
But on each one's face was a funny look.

Except Cassie! Nana, I just don't like the taste!
You eat every bite - this food we will not waste.

Well, we made it through breakfast and got ready to meet the day
Each of us going our own separate way
Rob and Deb took the kids to town
And we met each new camper as they settled down.

When Rob and Deb got back from their trip
She came directly to me - and I noticed her lip
was trembling as she began to speak
first the words came slowly - tears rolling down her cheek

Mama! All day I've been thinking about the breakfast mess
and I figured out what happened, and I have to confess.
I could not change what I had done - I could only hope...
But, the oil I gave you? It was really dish soap!