Total Weight Loss

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hip Blob

Towards the end of the summer, I was getting ready for work one day, standing in front of the bathroom mirror.  I was wearing a black tank type dress, that had a little spandex in it.  I noticed that my silhouette on my left side was looking quite nice.  My waist tapered in nicely and then my hip gently curved back out.  I smiled thinking I was developing an hour glass figure.  Then I looked to my right.  I quit smiling.

My waist tapered in nicely just as on my left side, but my hip came out at an almost 90 degree angle.  How had I not noticed that before?!?!?  Surely my dress was hung on something, or my underwear had bunched up somehow, but no.  I had a massive protrusion on my right hip.

I immediately found John and asked if he noticed anything, and he did.  He tried to say that it wasn't noticeable, but it was.  I had already intended to wear something over the dress to be more professional at  work, but now I made sure to wear something that covered that monstrosity up.

I had an appointment with my gyn in the next few days so I showed it her.  She looked and felt, but couldn't find anything. wasn't a tumor.  She wasn't sure what it was and encouraged me to see my PCP.

I had an appointment with him coming up.  He knew nothing of my weight loss, since this was a follow up on my new allergy treatment.   I was looking forward to surprising him with the weight loss, but then this blob popped up and took precedence. 

A month or so went by between appointments, but the blob did not lessen.  Of course, my PCP was quite pleased with the weight loss, but the hip blob was quite shocking still.  He poked and prodded and had me move this way & that, and finally pronounced it as adipose tissue!!  Oh yea, a massive glob of fat, right there for the world to see. 

He encouraged me to see a cosmetic surgeon.  His opinion was that I had worked hard to lose weight and I owed it to myself to have this removed.  Clearly, no amount of dieting and exercise was going to eliminate it.  So I went.

I had never been to a cosmetic surgeon's office before.  It was in Brentwood.  The waiting room was clean and serene.  There as a little waterfall on the table.  The magazines were neatly displayed and current.  Saying that I felt out of place with my gigantic hip blob, would be an understatement.  But the doctor was fabulous!

He took a lot of time looking at the blob.  He agreed it was adipose tissue and could only be removed surgically.  He did not, however, encourage me in that direction at all.  This doctor specializes in skin removal/reconstructive type surgies for individuals that have lost significant amounts of weight.  This guy knew is stuff, for sure.

He spent a great deal of time encouraging me to continue the weight loss, and repeatedly told me how great I looked.  Oh for sure!!  I was wearing one of those paper gowns that was too small to come together in the front and I had a paper 'blanket' across my lap.  Right, I looked good.  He went on to explain that he had seen women that had lost over 100 lbs, and that I did indeed look good.

Of course, that made me feel better about myself, but what really impressed me about this guy was his realism with the whole weight loss thing.  It is hard, and no matter how hard you try, your body will bear the scars of the excess weight.  A lot of people don't understand this, and when they get to their goal, their body isn't perfect, it upsets them to the point that they regain the weight.

He stressed to me that my body shape at 250 was going to be the same shape at 150, only smaller.  I have experience that to a small degree already.  In my late 20's I lost a significant amount of weight and still thought I looked like a pregnant woman that had just started showing.  No matter what, I could not lose that bulge.  Believe me, abs of steel had nothing on me.  I could do any ab exercise out there.  I could have competed in the crunch Olympics if there had been such a thing.  I had the bulge still.  I gradually let my weight go up.  I got so frustrated with my stomach.

He also told me that whatever problems I had at work/home/school would still exist no matter my weight.  So many times dieters develop a utopian mentality with regard to thin-ness.  As if, all of their daily battles will suddenly be gone.  I'm not sure if I have that mindset, but I still appreciated being forewarned, so that I can be on the look out for it developing.

As I have continued to lose weight, I have found his words ringing true over & over again.  I'm developing a turkey waddle under my chin, where my other chins used to be.  I've been doing neck exercises, but consciously remind myself that is a small price to pay and that the changes going on inside my body are far more important than a wiggly chin. 

I have not had any surgery.  The blob is still there. I'm not sure what I'll do about it.  I might give myself a little cosmetic procedure as a reward when I get to my goal, but I'm not yet sure on that.

BTW, I saw my PCP today.  He's still quite proud of my efforts.  I'll blog more about our conversation later.  This is getting too long.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Quick Observation

This morning I weighed 183.8.  My lowest point on this journey was 183.0, so I've floundered for about a month now.  Last Monday, I weighed 190.2, and I decided to get back on track.  I very carefully monitored my intake, absolutely no carbs, and really gave my fullest effort on the elliptical/Wii.  My efforts were handsomely rewarded, and I feel good.  I feel in control again.

Yesterday and today were filled with compliments on how I looked.  Just about everyone I encountered had something nice to say about how I looked.  I began to ponder why.  I look much the same as I did last week, and the week before, and the week before.  Why were people noticing?  I think it was that I felt better about myself.  I'd seized control again and that made me feel better and therefore project a more positive image.

Then I began to think about how I felt at 180 on the way up.  Not good.  I dressed to camoflage the new bulges and bumps.  I didn't feel good about myself and the downward spiral continued all the way to 250+.  It is funny how your perspective changes everything.  Years ago I was hiding on the way up.  Today I'm shouting "Look at me!" on the way down.  I like this feeling much better.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Story of the Black Pants

Last summer my friend S and I taught the 2 years olds on Wednesday night's at church. This involves lots of sitting in very low 2 year old sized chairs and sometimes even getting in the floor. My clothing of choice for this, was pants.

One night, I came home from work and realized that both of my 'go to' pairs of pants were dirty. I really didn't want to wear a skirt or dress, and I didn't have time to wash the dirty pants. I had a pair of black denim jeans, that I'd worn at a smaller size in my life. I decided to put them on to see if I could stand to wear them for the couple of hours required. I'd have to bend over and squat low a few times probably to stretch them out, and see just how much circulation they cut off at my waist.

Imagine my surprise when the pants fit. Not only did they fit, they fit perfectly, like I'd just gone out and bought them. I felt light as a feather. My backside felt positively small. I could hardly wait until time to go to church in my very nicely fitting pants, with no worries about circulation, or those horrible red marks all over my lower body where they'd pressed in. I loved wearing those pants!! It was one of the first marks of progress for me, since I really had not noticed my other clothes getting too large.

In time, the black denim pants got too large. I actually wondered what was wrong with the pants! It even took me a while to realize there was nothing at all wrong with the pants, it was me. I had continued to shrink and they stayed the same size. That was a bit of an epiphany for me. I realized that things were changing with my body, but I was not recognizing it. I was thinking it was whatever was outside of me. I really had to open my eyes and recognize the progress I was making. I was beginning to wonder about myself in this regard. Then I ran across this article -

It gave me comfort to know that what was happening to me was typical as to what has happened to lots and lots of other people that have lost weight. It was a real turning point for me. I consciously acknowledged that I was different and it was good. Maybe it will help the readers as well.

Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


And now a word about exercise - I hate it!! It is boring to me. I also have a very serious aversion to going to a gym to exercise with all those hard bodies around. I feel bad enough about myself as it is.

BUT...exercise is a necessary evil in the weight loss game. I own my own elliptical machine which got me over the going some place hurdle. To get beyond the boredom, I listen to books on tape as I workout. It is low tech and free. I have an old cassette tape player in the room with the elliptical, and I get tapes from the library. It has been very surprising how that helps the time pass. I only allow myself to listen to the tapes when I am exercising. There have been times *gasp* that I have actually kept on working out so that I could get to the end of a chapter! I have discovered, for me, mysteries and other types of books that you really have to pay attention to are the best. Romances, even though I enjoy reading them, just don't do it for me. I've listened to all of the Harry Potter books, lots of Clive Cussler and the like.

I also have a Wii and a Wii fit. That helps with the boredom and helps me keep my workout routine from getting in a rut. While the elliptical has 6 different workout routines and ten levels of difficulty, it still really only works out the same muscles. With the three things, my possibilities are endless. Not to mention that the Wii fit fusses if you miss a day or gain too much weight!!

It works for me...maybe it will work for you too.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cheat Days

Ahhh...cheat days!!! For six weeks, 42 days, to be exact, I had stayed 100% compliant with my eating plan. I strayed neither to the left nor to the right. I stayed on plan without fail. This was not easy to say the least, but one of the motivating factors was knowing that I had a cheat day coming up. I made a list of what all I was going to eat on my cheat days. Any time I got a craving, I'd go write it on my list. I no longer have that list, but two of the top items were ice cream and pizza.

Oddly enough, I could go 6 weeks without eating either thing in my non-diet mode and never think about it. But there is something psychological about saying that something is taboo, that is all that is wanted then. BTW, have you ever noticed how many food commercials there are on TV. Again, one of those things that hardly makes a blip on the radar until it is forbidden. All of the food advertised on TV is in that category no matter how healthy the claim. I've thought a time or two about keeping a list, but haven't yet. If I do, I'll post my results here. Back to the feast...

I have never been a binger. In fact, I held people that binged in some sort of esteem. I was awed by the fact that one person could down a whole bag of Oreos at one sitting. I've even tried to binge a time or two. The closest I ever came was eating a whole box of Tagalongs (Girl Scout cookies) during the course of a day. They only have about 15 cookies, so it wasn't a great feat at all. I even had to force the last couple down, just so that I could say I ate the whole box!! It is sort of a strange way of thinking to be sure, and I should probably seek help for it one day.

I don't say that as any sort of bragging or bravado. Obviously, I overate. One doesn't tip the scales at 250+ by eating light. Once again I was going to give binging a whirl. I'd earned it, right!?!?! I planned my cheat days for Saturday and Sunday. That way, I'd have the most time for eating. People might notice at work, if all I did was pile in the food. I warned John beforehand what the plan was. I didn't want to scare him. I went to the store on Friday night to lay in the supplies. I didn't want to waste a precious moment of my eating time at the grocery store. I don't remember everything I got, but I know the list included Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia. I wandered through the store making sure that I got everything on my list and anything else that looked good. I also ordered pizza from Papa John's for supper Saturday night. I ordered a large pizza just for me. I told John to keep his paws off of mine. I ordered him his own.

I tried, I really really tried, but I got sick of it real fast. I ate the ice cream, pizza, donuts, candy, etc. I practically forced myself to eat by the time Sunday night came around. I thought I would regret not eating the food on Monday when I got hungry. What I regretted was the four pounds I'd regained.

I got right back in the saddle on Monday and lost the weight back rather quickly. I did the extreme diet for 3 weeks, and then low carb for 3 weeks, and 2 cheat days. The next time, I extended the dieting phases to 6 weeks each, with only 2 cheat days after the low carb round. I sometimes shortened or extended the phases to accommodate birthdays or other special occasions. Maybe the low carb might be 7 weeks, or 5 weeks so that my cheat days would fall where they needed to. I did manage to keep the cheat days from being all out binges like I did the first time. During the holiday season, instead of having whole cheat days, I had cheat meals along because I couldn't fit all the parties & celebrations in just two days.

I've got to rethink the cheat days/meals going forward. It served me well on the one hand. It kept me on the straight and narrow with regard to eating since I knew that a reprieve was ahead. At the same time, it also reinforced the all or nothing concept that has plagued me with regard to dieting my whole life. I'm either on a diet or not. The reality is, I can't eat like this forever. I've got to find a real life way of eating that includes ice cream and pizza every now & then. It is just very hard for me mentally to make that OK. Like just about all of this journey, it is in the mind.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Second Three Weeks

I had lost weight beyond my greatest expectation the first three weeks and was totally freaked out that I might gain an ounce back. I spent the second three weeks, doing low carb. The middle week of the three was spent in Destin, eating out every meal. I took nuts with me for a snack in the room, so I had no excuse to go get ice cream or anything like that if I got hungry during the day. John was incredibly supportive and often split entrees with me. He always ate the fries, or potato, or whatever starch was served with the meal, and let me have the green side. We walked a lot while we were there. The place had an indoor pool so I was able to swim too. At the end of the second three weeks, I had only lost 0.8 lbs, and there was no change in my measurements. I considered this a victory since in times past vacation was a good opportunity to over indulge. Something was slowly changing inside of me. It still wasn't easy, but I was making progress.

Next time - Cheat Days!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The First Three Weeks

Exactly one year ago today, I began this journey. On March 11, 2009, I started the first rotation for three weeks. I picked the start date after looking at the calendar and realizing that we were going to Destin in April. I wanted to get started, and I didn't want to wait until we got back. We also had another trip coming up in May. If I waited until after two trips, there is no telling how much I'd weigh and I'd never have time to lose the weight before July 25.

On March 11, some of my stats were:
*Weight - 254.4
*Bust - 50"
*Waist - 47"
*Hips - 53 1/2"
I also measured my arms & legs, but I won't bore you, dear reader, with all of that! I'm not sure exactly what size clothes I wore, but I think it was about 22. I had clothes in all sizes - 16 and up.

I want to stress before revealing the food plan itself, that I am not advocating that everyone do it. If I have learned one thing, it is this - You have to do what works for you. That is what I was trying to communicate in yesterday's post. The people who have been successful in not only losing weight, but keeping it off, chose their own path. They, like me, knew what needed to be done to lose the weight, and selected what worked for them. You can too. Everyone has their own unique circumstances, likes and dislikes. Everyone has to discover for themselves what works and what doesn't within that frame work. So far, for me, this is working.

For three weeks I followed an extreme diet program, and gave myself hcg injections. My daily intake was:
*2 servings of protein (3 1/2 oz.) chicken, shrimp, or lean beef
*2 servings of fruit (3 1/2 oz.) strawberries, apple, grapefruit
*Vegetables - but not the good ones like corn & potatoes, I mostly ate lettuce & cucumbers. Others were allowed like tomatoes, but I don't like them.
*64 oz of water
This is the same diet as was popular in the '90's at places like The Diet Center.

It was grueling. I can't say that I was hungry. The injections took care of that problem. Nothing took care of my brain though. I just wanted to eat. I missed the sensation of it. Clearly, I ate, but not like before. My meals were over with in just a few minutes. I told myself things like "I can do anything for 3 weeks" and "You only have x days left". I also found other things to do in the evening to get out of the kitchen. The battle, was largely in my mind.

John was very supportive and agreed to prepare his own meals while I was doing this. That was a huge help. I also exercised, but I'll discuss that in greater detail in another post.

On Sunday afternoons, I would weigh my food for the week and pack my lunch for the whole week. I even measured out my portions for my evening meal as well. That way, all I had to do after work was heat my food that needed heating and eat. It worked for me because I needed to get out of the kitchen.

My stats after three weeks were:
*Weight - 236
*Bust - 48
*Waist - 43
*Hips - 51 1/2
I really couldn't tell in my clothes yet. Clearly, they had to be not so tight, but nothing was really loose yet. I still wonder about that. My clothes must have been tighter on me than I realized!

Go grab your calendar and find three weeks where you have no excuses, no birthday parties, anniversaries, etc. The sooner the better. Find an eating plan that you know you can follow, one where you've successfully lost weight and make a plan. Let me know, your progress.

I'll tell you about the second three weeks next time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

Clearly, I had to lose weight quickly and keep it off. The more weight I could lose the better. As I began to contemplate what to do, things were somehow different. I wanted this to be it. I didn't want to go through this again. I considered what I'd done in the past to lose weight, what worked and what didn't. I realized that ultimately none of them worked. If they had, I wouldn't be facing this dilemma yet again.

In my middle 20's I lost a significant amount of weight. I wore a size 8, even a size 6 in a few things, depending on the style. I thought, however that I had failed. The number on the scale never got below 134. I couldn't see how thin I was because I couldn't see past that number, and a bit of a tummy bulge. I read someplace that a woman that was 5 feet tall should weigh 100 lbs. For every inch over that she should weigh, an additional 5 pounds. At 5'4", my weight should be at most, according to that theory, 120 lbs. I always wanting to be a little bit better than the rest thought I should weigh 117.

Therein was my whole problem - unrealistic expectations, and "all or nothing" type thinking. I couldn't see the progress I had made because I had not achieved, or exceeded my goal. It is like thinking I failed the test because I made 95% rather than 100%. Besides that I was either on a diet or not on a diet.

The first thing I did was change my mindset about success. It sounds easy but it was a struggle and continues to be from time to time. The greatest majority of my struggles have been in my mind rather than the kitchen. Obviously, I had to get to the maximum skydiving weight, but that was an attainable goal. Losing 10 pounds in 5 months was just 2 pounds a month.

I still needed an eating plan. Like just about every other overweight woman in America, I'd done every diet known at least two times. I considered what worked at least in the short term, and what I could live with. I read everything I could get my hands on, particularly about people that lost 100 lbs or more. The common denominator I discovered was that everyone that was successful created their own plans, picking and choosing parts of various eating plans that worked for them.

I also learned about a weight loss theory in which the dieter develops an immunity to the eating plan. This would explain the plateaus almost every dieter reaches. They finally give up in frustration when the plateau cannot be broken, regain the weight, and the cycle repeats itself over & over again. It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I'd lost weight plenty of times, on plenty of different diets but never reached my goal, because they seemed to quit working even when I'd been 100% compliant. The way to break through the immunity is to switch between two eating plans. Finally, it was what I had been looking for!! It is still an unproven theory as far as science is concerned, but for me it was and is just the ticket!!

I decided to do the diet I'd done in my 20's, where I'd had my greatest success, and switch to low carb. In my next post, I'll fill in a few details about how that all worked.

Thanks for reading.

March 11, addition
If you lived in the Nashville area in the late '70's or early '80's, you may remember the Rotation Diet. Dr. Martin Katahn from Vanderbilt had a theory that our bodies adapted to the caloric intake and he developed the rotation diet in which the calories consumed changed after a certain number of days. The whole city, including me, went on the diet. People went to Kroger to weigh in each week and get their shopping lists. I grew weary of counting the calories, and at that time didn't have much weight to lose anyway, so I gave up. Anyway, it seems that the theory, I ran across on the Internet is similar to the idea Dr. K had years ago.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Why did I decide once again to try to lose weight? Most everyone that has ever gone on a diet knows that success is hard fought and short lived, why set myself up for this trauma yet again? Easy - I wanted to go skydiving.

Since I was a young child, I have wanted to sky dive. The opportunity presented itself, and I became the driving force behind setting it up with a group from church. The website said the maximum weight limit was 225. The lady I spoke with on the phone said 240-245. The problem - I weighed more than that!! I was not about to let my weight stop me from fulfilling a life long dream. Besides, how humiliating would it be to admit that was why I couldn't go.

This was in March, and skydiving was in July. I had to lose exactly 9.4 lbs to meet the very upper end of the weight limit. I really wanted to lose a whole lot more weight than that. I had this vision of having to weigh in front of everyone to prove I was not over the limit. I thought it would be those giant scales like the used to have in grocery stores, where every one could see the hand swirl around when you stepped up. Lots of people were going to be there. Besides those of us that were jumping and our families, others from church were going to be there. They couldn't witness my shame.

Obviously, everyone around me knew I was overweight. All they had to do was look. But no one, not even J-boy (my husband), really knew how much I weighed. As I said in my first post, it is one thing to believe something and quite another thing to have it confirmed.

Then there was the fact that I would be strapped to someone else. That person was going to have to heft my big, fat self around. That person would know just how much woman I really was. I was not about to have that!

I fibbed when I made the reservation and said I weighed 200 lbs. I actually didn't say it was me. I just said there were three people and gave their weight & age. I didn't say which one I was. On the day we jumped i weighed 205.6 lbs. Pretty close, huh?

I had another small victory that day too. They give you a jumpsuit to wear over your own clothes. My trainer, looked me over, and went to the rack to get a jumpsuit for me and came back with a medium!!! It was too small and he had to switch it for a large, but I got a real boost out of him thinking that I might actually wear a medium. Neither one of us broke anything either. There were no snide comments about my size from anyone involved and even better no scales!! No one seemed concerned at all that I might be too fat to jump!!

Here's a shot of me, looking like a stuffed teddy bear, in my jumpsuit.
Part of me wishes that I had documented my progress better with pictures, but the aforementioned pride and previous failures kept me from doing so. I have a few more pictures from this point forward.

In my next post, I'll share a little more about what I did to shed the pounds.
Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A New Old Adventure

With this blog I hope to recap the last year of weight loss struggles and triumphs and chronicle those same issues going forward. I struggled and struggled with the decision to blog about this. Part of me wishes I started a year ago, so that all of this would be documented, and maybe even write a book. Another part, and the one that has won up until now has been too prideful. I don't want to open the deepest, darkest most shameful part of myself for the world to see. It isn't like people couldn't look at me and tell I was overweight. It is, in my estimation, one thing to think something and quite another to know something.

Pride and denial have been my companions for far too long. They are part of the reason I had come to the point to have to lose weight. With this blog, I hope to banish them and move on to a healthier life both physically and emotionally without them.

The first few entries will be a recap of the past twelve months;
*why I started dieting yet again
*what I've done to lose the weight
*phantom fat
*discussions with doctors
*excitement of new clothes

Once I've caught up a bit, I'll keep publishing the highs & lows of the journey. Join me if you'd like. I hope my story will help others walking this same path.