Spring Came Early!

I live in central Pennsylvania, so I’m normally buried under snow drifts and shivering in sub-zero temperatures this time of the year. This year? No way, Jose! The last few days have been absolutely gorgeous, hitting nearly 70 degrees at times. Is it likely to last? No. BUT I think that makes it even sweeter, and I’m enjoying it while it’s here.

The biggest impact of this weather (other than on my mood) is that it makes me want to be outside to soak it in. I’ve been going for walks with the baby (who is also loving the nicer weather), trying to get those steps in. My daily goal is 5000 steps, but I’ve been aiming for 7000, and I’ve been doing pretty alright! These walks have taken the place of my time on the recumbent bike.

All’s been well on the diet front since Friday. I had a pretty big binge on Thursday that included 2 dinners, but I bounced back. I’ve been journaling to try to nail down my triggers, and honestly… I can’t figure this one out. I was fine, had recently had a snack along with plenty of water that day when all of a sudden, I was pulling into a drive-thru. And later, I pulled into another drive-thru even though I was still full from the first time.

It’s silly of me to hope that I will never binge again, but it doesn’t change the extreme disappointment and shame every time it happens. During the first year of my “rebirth,” I didn’t binge — at all. But as soon as I did it once, it was like my body remembered how  wonderful it felt and never wanted to go without it again. I haven’t been able to get it under control for more than a few weeks at a time since then.

My next doctor’s appointment is on Wednesday, and I’m nervous about how she’ll react when I tell her about the past 3 weeks since she was so pumped up, positive and encouraged at my last visit when I’d lost 12 pounds. I hate disappointing people. I also need to prove to her that I am dedicated to making a change if I ever do decide that I want to move in the direction of a weight loss surgery.

I’m not sure that I’ve explained the way I’ve been doing my meal planning this time around. I don’t have all the time that I had before the kiddo came along to spend so much time prepping meals on Sunday, so I created an Excel template that allows me to 1. Plan my lunches/dinners for the week, 2. Create my shopping list as I go, and 3. Save these plans so I can easily go back through for inspiration. The usual plan is to make enough at dinner to provide leftovers for lunch the following day. I also periodically compile and freeze a few meals to make life easier (oven, crock pot, and skillet meals). Here is my dinner meal plan for the week:

  • Saturday: Skinny Beef Casserole
  • Sunday: (amended) Turkey sandwich
  • Monday: Ground pork and cabbage
  • Tuesday: Ritz cracker chicken with steamed asparagus
  • Wednesday: Meat loaf (freezer meal) served with sweet potatoes and green beans
  • Friday: Eat out/leftovers

Reviews:

  • Skinny Beef Casserole was pretty good, but could have used Worcestershire sauce, though I did use crushed tomatoes from our garden that I canned after a harvest last summer instead of tomato sauce like it called for.
  • Ground pork and cabbage was phenomenal just as written. Could maybe have used a touch more turmeric. I also divided into 4 servings instead of 3.

How’s your week??

I’m Back!

In my last post (way back in July), I talked about my weight struggles since having a baby in May. After that post, things did not get better. I went back to work at the beginning of August, continuing to binge and steadily gain weight until the beginning of 2017. I had a hard time adjusting to going back to work. I’d get a handle on things for a few days to a few weeks at a time, but ultimately, I’d succumb to my demons.

I made some decisions and discoveries near the end of 2016. The main decision was that I needed to get medical treatment for my binge eating disorder. The big discovery was that I was diagnosed with ADHD, which is where much of my impulsive behavior (i.e. binge eating) and anxiety stem from. I’ll delve more into the specifics of this in another post.

So, I’ve been taking a 2-pronged approach to the issue at hand. I see a therapist every other week to address the behavioral issues: ADHD, binge eating, debilitating anxiety, other demons. And I go to the Center for Weight Management and Nutrition at my local hospital once a month to deal with the weight problems; we have not yet ruled out the possibility of weight loss surgery, but at the very least it’s a good, old-fashioned hand-holding.

I’m hoping that the therapy will be effective since I plan to continue breastfeeding for quite some time and am not able to take any medications to treat the ADHD or anxiety. I like my therapist, but I’m not yet sure if she’s totally equipped to deal with an eating disorder. I’m giving her a chance though! I just had an entire week off the rails after being on the right track for over a month, but the last 2 days have been better. I haven’t been weighing myself at home, only at my doctor’s visits, so I am nervous to see how this all pans out at my appointment next Wednesday afternoon.

  • 1/10/2017: 288.1
  • 1/31/2017: 276.4

There! The numbers are back out there in the blogosphere, so now I have to curb my impulses, right? Right??!

Goals:

  • 80-100 g protein per day
  • Less than 24 g added sugar per day
  • Meet daily step goals
  • Recumbent bike 3-4 times per week

Now I need to go catch up on all the blogs I have been neglecting! What’s new with you? Has anyone successfully managed ADHD and/or anxiety without meds?

New Beginning

So, the last time we talked, I announced that I was pregnant. I’ve read one too many weight loss blog that turned into a pregnancy blog that immediately lost me as a reader to know that I didn’t want to go that route with my blog.

That being said, I’m a mom!

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With my second re-birthday on the horizon, I’m feeling a little sentimental, so let’s catch up! The day I found out I was pregnant, I weighed 219.0 pounds. The day I delivered, I tipped the scales at about 282 (I think). I gave birth to a beautiful little 7 pound 2 ounce baby in mid-May and officially weighed 240.0 pounds as soon as the fluid melted away (within about two weeks). Since then, however, I have battled the following things:

  • Breastfeeding hunger
  • My baby’s milk protein allergy (meaning I went dairy free)
  • A lingering sweet tooth from quitting smoking
  • The inability to bring myself to routinely prepare healthful and appealing meals while caring for a needy newborn

As a result, I somehow weighed 257 lbs at my doctor’s appointment on Monday of this week.

In spite of all of this, I need to pause to remind myself that I used to weigh 353.4 pounds and even though I’ve gained weight, I’m still nowhere near 353.4 pounds. So, how do I get back on track? Honestly, I’ve become complacent and fallen into the not tracking and not caring trap once again, though for most of my pregnancy, I did track my food. Lately, I’ve been so consumed by the baby that the “nice” thing I do for myself is eat horrible food that tastes amazing but is leaving this totally saggy gut in its wake.

Since having the baby, I initially started by making one goal each day to get back into the swing of things. My house is now back in order, the baby has a routine, so now I need to take those few poorly executed attempts at meal planning that just haven’t panned out and actually get back in the saddle.

How did I do this before? How did I lose 133 pounds in one year? I started with simple guidelines. I reread my first month’s recap where I discussed the keys to my success that first month. I’ve had so many false starts with tracking my food over the past few months, and now with the baby, the last thing I want to do is to have to remember one more thing like tracking every little thing I eat. The answer? My very own advice:

  1. Simply filling.
  2. No soda or booze for the first month.
  3. If I’m hungry, I’m going to eat.
  4. No obsessing.

The other way I set myself up for success? I religiously wrote in this blog and posted my weekly weigh-ins, milestones, measurements, everything.

I’m going to take tonight and tomorrow to prep my grocery list and pantry for the week ahead. Friday will be my first official postpartum weigh-in!

How are the rest of you doing?

Weight Loss Side Effects

A lot of good things happen when you lose weight the right way. Your body is clean, it works the way it’s supposed to, and you can do things you never imagined you’d be able to.

On the morning of August 21, I stepped on the scale and saw my lowest adult weight–219.0. But another thing that happens pretty frequently when you lose weight is, well… you get pregnant.

Yes, you read that right. I’m pregnant! It seems that I celebrated my first re-birthday a little too vigorously, and on the evening of August 21, I tested. Sure enough, we’re expecting a baby on April 30, 2016.

The past few months have been a bag of mixed emotions. I couldn’t even speak when I read the test result. And the second reaction was abject terror. Yes, it was unexpected, but honestly? My husband and I both thought that we COULDN’T get pregnant. We haven’t used any form of birth control in four years. We always said we were in the, “If it happens, great. If not, we’re fine,” camp, so we’d never had any testing done or anything. But wow. I didn’t realize how much I really wanted it until it happened.

With all that said, it’s been hard, food-wise. My doctor doesn’t want me to gain more than 15 pounds because I’m still morbidly obese, and she encouraged me to switch Weight Watchers to maintenance in order to help with the transition. The thing is, I haven’t just had morning sickness, but all-day sickness and exhaustion. There were about 3 weeks where I was sick unless I was eating. It’s also hard to eat healthfully when you just don’t give a damn and don’t have it in you to do anything but plant yourself on the couch after working all day. I’ve tried to hold it together, but it’s not always gone as planned. Last Monday’s weigh-in was at 224.8, which isn’t bad, but this morning the scale read 236.8! I know that’s not all “real” weight, but wow. How much did I possibly eat to gain 12 pounds in a week?! And for those of you keeping track… that means I’ve already gained 16.8 pounds.

I’m sure many people will say, “You shouldn’t be ‘dieting’ while you’re pregnant.” The thing I’ve learned about myself is that I NEED to track my food, or I go on a free-for-all. After my doctor’s appointment last Thursday, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings, where I had a small order of boneless wings, which set the wheels in motion for a week totally off the rails. It’s harder to say no to things now. I don’t know if I can blame that on the baby, or if it’s all on my shoulders.

For now, I’ll just keep on trucking. I need to pull it together not just for me, but for the health of a certain little someone who is depending on me. I’ve got to keep reminding myself that trans fats are just as bad for the baby (probably worse!) as lunch meat, dippy eggs, cold food, and cigarettes. I’ve given up all of those… which is probably why the only vice I have left is the trans fats.

I really miss dippy eggs.

But… I’m having a baby!

Milestones: One Year On

August 1, 2015 marked one year since I started on my journey to better health. I realize that I haven’t blogged in a few months, but during that time, I did NOT fall off the wagon; I’ve simply been busy with a new job and a kitchen reno. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you know that I’ve still been around (and that I’m still terrible at social media).

The last time I posted, I weighed in at 236.4. On July 31 (my week 52 weigh-in), the scale said 220.4. It’s been a little more up and down in the past few months than in the past, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress, and well, I lost 133.0 pounds in ONE YEAR.

When I started on this journey, my only concrete goal was to get under 300 pounds… and I didn’t really have a timeline for it. For those just tuning in, when I stepped on the scale last August, it read, “353.4.” Even getting under the 300-mark seemed insurmountable. These days, I feel like a whole new person. I realize that sounds like a cliche, but it’s true. I feel incredible.

I can ride a bike again (I got a new one this summer!). I can literally jog up my stairs whereas last summer, my entire body ached so much that it felt like my knees were being ripped out of my body every time I had to walk up or down the steps. I have been able to help with our kitchen remodel far more than I would have been able to in the past, spending hours at a time climbing up and down my little red stool to patch, sand, paint, and more! I’m uncovering “new” bones every day. I’m happier and have more energy, and my marriage is better than ever. We even realized that since he weighs about 160, and I’ve lost 133 pounds, that the two of us together are now about the size that I used to be. That’s really crazy!

Since starting my new job at the end of March, I moved to another building. As a result, I’ve started running into old coworkers who I hadn’t seen in a few years. Many were actually a little standoffish when I first saw them, and then more and more gradually started approaching me to ask about my weight loss. Here’s the thing: they weren’t standoffish because they didn’t like me; they were standoffish because they didn’t recognize me. I think I’ve inspired 3 people in the last month alone to give Weight Watchers a try.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I still struggle. In fact, recently, I think I’ve been struggling more than in the entire year leading up to this. There have been actual binges in the past few weeks. I tracked them, and I know I’ll never be totally binge-free (it’s not realistic), but it’s still scary, scary behavior. I don’t want to go back to where I was. Even though binging inherently makes you feel bad about yourself, I’ve been making it a point not to be hard on myself. I know that will only lead to more binging. I know the reason behind the binges (I’m super stressed at work, my house is in disarray thanks to remodeling, and I feel out-of-control/empty). All I can do is find other ways to cope. AND I have the lovely Rachael to talk me off the ledge/bring me back to reality.

Enough with the reflection! I know what you want to see: the photographic evidence! Because hey, I look amazing 🙂

Before:

During:

Current:

Comparison shots:

Front Compare 8-2015

Side Compare 8-2015

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How have you been doing?

Weeks 42 and 43 Weigh-Ins

So, last week I gained a pound. Not a big deal, especially considering I’d lost a staggering 6.8 pounds in week 41!

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Week 41: 238.4 lbs
  • Week 42: 239.4 lbs
  • Week 43: 236.4 lbs
  • Change since last post: -2.0 lbs
  • Change overall: -117.0 lbs

This week, I lost 3 pounds!

To be honest, I “deserved” a gain. I had a booze and pizza bender on Friday last week, using up ALL of my weeklies in the process, which is something I’ve never done. Subsequently. Saturday and Sunday were wrought with sugar and carb cravings, thanks to the booze. I was certain that I was falling off the wagon because I was back in the 230s and it was some sort of psychological response that I was incapable of controlling.

My good buddy Rachael talked me off the ledge and asked me to pinpoint when these out-of-control feelings began. When I really, rationally thought about it, I realized it was the booze! The same thing happened to me when I got drunk at Christmas! But I handled it much better at Christmas.

I couldn’t bear looking at my negative weekly balance. I knew I was in the red, so I actually removed the offending choices from my tracker and made sure to switch to Simply Filling for the rest of the week. I battled those binge cravings clear through Wednesday. It was terrible, but Simply Filling really was a saving grace. Things now feel back to “normal,” and it was a good reminder not to indulge in excess booze, no matter how much fun it seems at the time, or even if you planned for it ahead of time and left yourself with 18 dailies, thinking that would be enough.

My new job has been very stressful. I’m constantly learning new things and being faced with new challenges. I am having a very hard time getting my mind to just STOP. It’s constantly whirring at about a million miles an hour. I was EXHAUSTED last night after work and had every intention of going to bed early. I laid down at 8 pm, and just couldn’t fall asleep because my brain wouldn’t slow down. I was awake until midnight!

In spite of the stress, I believe I’ve been continuing to make good daily choices (with the exception of the aforementioned booze/pizza bender). I refuse to let this stress make me turn to food. I have been dying to work out to mitigate the stress, but with my foot issues, I haven’t been able to indulge in physical activity! I’m terrified of ending up with one over-compensating injury after another like I did last summer, so I’ve been taking it very easy.

I just almost signed off on this blog post by typing what I type at the bottom of every email I send at work. I’ve been working too much!

How have things been going for you guys?

Week 41 Weigh-In

After 6 weeks of stalling, a week of Simply Filling was just what I needed!

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Last Week: 245.2 lbs
  • Current Week: 238.4 lbs
  • This week’s change: -6.8 lbs
  • Change overall: -115.0 lbs

6.8 pounds in just one week! And I’m in the 230s! I am within 8 pounds of my lowest adult weight.

Simply Filling was great. It was nice to take the focus off weighing and measuring everything, and just focus on the quality of my foods. It was also nice to not be eating simply for the sake of eating or eating because I had a Points allowance to meet. My plan for the foreseeable future is to do Simply Filling Sunday-Thursday, and tracking on Fridays and Saturdays.

I created another Progress page! Check out my “Face to Face” page for my metamorphosis.

In other news, I somehow managed to injure myself last weekend. I honestly have no idea what I did! I went for x-rays, and they didn’t see anything wrong with my foot… I pulled out my trusty old boot, and have been hobbling around all week!

Fashion statement!

Bruising under the second toe??

On a note completely unrelated to weight loss, the series finale of Mad Men is tomorrow. I am alternately sad and excited! Last week’s episode blew my mind!

Catching Up

So, I’ve been absent for about ever. I mentioned previously that I had been promoted, so I’ve been in my new role for a month now. It has been a big adjustment! Pretty stressful and time-consuming as well.

  • Starting Weight: 353.4 lbs
  • Last Post (Week 34): 253.4 lbs
  • Week 35: 248.8 lbs
  • Week 36: 249.0 lbs
  • Week 37: 246.2 lbs
  • Week 38: 246.2 lbs
  • Week 39: 246.2 lbs
  • Week 40: 245.2 lbs
  • Change since last post: -8.2 lbs
  • Change overall: -108.2 lbs

I met my goal of getting under 250 AND my 30% (247.4) goal! Great scale victories. Next up on the goal-front: getting under 230, which coincides with my 35% goal of 229.7 pounds. 230 is a HUGE deal for me, as it is my lowest adult weight. It’s about what I weighed when I graduated from high school. If you remember my story, I was able to get down to 230 a few years ago before gaining back the 95 pounds I’d managed to lose. There’s a definite mental block in place here. I honestly can’t imagine being under 230, even though I’m just over 15 pounds away. And getting under 200 pounds? I still can’t even begin to fathom it. I will get there, but I still have a whole lot of work to do on my mindset.

I think it’s pretty evident that the stress and changes from my new position are affecting me, weight-wise. I have been eating more carbs, not drinking enough water, and using most, if not all, of my weekly PointsPlus allowance. The stall in my weight loss is definitely not due to a natural plateau! More often than not, I’ve found myself wanting to stray from the plan, but I haven’t given in. I’ve had more beer and pizza in the past month than in the past 10 months combined, but I counted every last bit, even when I didn’t want to. And I weighed in, even when I didn’t want to. I haven’t gained, which is great, but the change in attitude is concerning. I have been preoccupied with work and really wanted to fall back into my old habits. Anyway, thanks to Rachael, I’ve decided to make some changes.

  • I changed back to Simply Filling this week to help kick the habit of excessive carbs, granola bars, and pizza. I haven’t decided how long I will stick with it, but the change is refreshing!
  • I switched my weigh-in days from Monday to Friday (my first Friday weigh-in was 5/1/15 (Week 39). I initially chose Mondays to keep myself on track over the weekends. It was good in the beginning, but I’m at the point now that I want to be able to have a beer or two on the weekend and not worry about the water retention ruining my Monday weigh-in. I think this will be a good change!

The thing is, even though I’ve only lost 3.6 pounds in the past 5 weeks, the tape measure still showed major progress! I move around a lot more in my new job, which is awesome. Plus, I think the stall in my weight loss is a good thing – it’s giving my skin a chance to catch up and possibly tighten up. Since March’s measurements, the following changes took place:

  • Bust: no change (41.25″)
  • Waist: -1.75″ (37.5″)
  • Hips: no change (55.0″)
  • R arm: -0.75″ (16.25″)
  • R thigh: -1.25″ (28.75″)
  • R calf: -1.0″ (18.5″)

Do you see that?! My calves have been the same size since at least September 2014 (when I still weighed well over 300 pounds). Boom! Just like that, a WHOLE INCH. Huge deal!


I also mentioned in my last post that I had to fly for work. I was really nervous about it, just because I have avoided flying since I was 18 years old and weighed about 230 pounds – it was a close fit then, so I was worried I wasn’t going to fit. It was still a close fit, and there was more of me spilling into the seat next to me than I would have liked, but I didn’t need a seatbelt extender. This was such a big deal for me! I feel like I can go anywhere or do anything now. D and I have been planning trips ever since! Next big goal? Riding rollercoasters! I won’t try that until I’m closer to 215 pounds.


What else is new? The weather has been gorgeous, and I’ve been spending a lot of time outside doing yardwork and the like. I’m thinking about buying a new bike, and trying to plan for a good weekend to go kayaking with my awesomely handsome husband. Speaking of my husband, he’s lost even more weight too! He’s now tipping the scales at about 165 pounds. Since he’s over 6′ tall, he’s within his healthy weight range. He looks great, and he’s more active than ever!

We also remodeled our pantry. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m really proud of it! We worked together on a concept, and D built the whole thing himself. I was in charge of decorating and organizing… and a little painting.


And finally, I kept up with my tradition of taking bimonthly progress pictures (also updated on my Progress Pictures page). I can’t believe the changes I’m seeing in myself! In spite of being stressed out and exhausted lately, I feel amazing. I can’t imagine how I would have coped with this change a year ago.

I was going to wear the same pink tank in April that I wore for February’s photos. I put it on, and it was WAY too big! Also, I showed a comparison photo to one of my friends recently. She said, “I love that you’re still bootylicious after a 100-lb weight loss!” Excuse me, 108.2-pound weight loss!

And of course – I received my Blogger Care Package from Harley! She was so creative, and I loved everything. I can’t even pick a favorite at this point, though I have been carting that adorable cup around with me everywhere! D has also been enjoying the Crystal Light packets 🙂 I hope everyone else has had as much fun with the package swap as I have! Did everyone get to send out their packages? Tell me about your experience! I need to get back in the loop, stat!

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And because I love comparison pictures…

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Blogger Care Package Swap: Round One Update

I apologize for the delay! I started a new job this week, and things have been hectic, to say the least. I’ve been exhausted!

You should have all received the person to whom you have been assigned to send a care package. If you didn’t receive this email, please let me know as soon as possible (alison@journeytoafter.com).As I said in the email, please try to send this out by the end of the month! When you receive your package, it would be fun for you to post a picture on your blog, but that’s not required 🙂

I hope you all have fun with this! I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out!