The new me.

As loathe as I am to have to post my “before” picture, I guess the “after” picture can only truly be appreciated by seeing just how successful my journey has been thus far.  So here goes!



While I’ve reached my original goal of 35 pounds, I guess in reality my goal was always stated as 35-40 pounds.  I’ve decided to get to a nice “number” I’m going to try for 3 more pounds before I begin my transition off of the plan.  That will take me to 38 pounds total.  This took me 5-1/2 real calendar months, with a 3 week European vacation in the middle.

Now for the rest of the journey – keeping the weight off!


Who would have thought a new blender would make such a difference!

I’m a little embarrassed!  I mean I’ve been on this plan for 5 months now, and I just started using a new blender for some items that I didn’t eat much of before.  I have a wonderful Vitamix Blender that I love for almost everything EXCEPT single serving Medifast items.  For one, the Vitamix blender container is too big, and since it has a fixed blade (you can’t unscrew the bottom), getting thick things like pudding and soft serve out of it are just a little bit of a challenge, since they are so far down in the container to start with.  Since I’m only eating about 1000 calories a day, every little drop of my Medifast options are important to me!

Pudding wasn’t one of my loves.  Not that I didn’t like the flavor, but I never could get it mixed up to my satisfaction without a lot of work, and in the blender, I felt like too much got left behind under the blade.  Soft serve is also just yummy.  But in my Vitamix blender, it was so hard to get all of it out of the container, and I felt like it was just too much trouble.  So, now that I’m nearing the point to start weaning myself off of the 5 & 1 plan, I’m finding that I have a big stack of pudding and soft serve that I’ve just never bothered to eat.

So, I purchased a HealthMate Blender.  At first it didn’t seem to crush the ice as well as my Vitamix (which made snow of the ice in one or two pulses!).  But after playing around with it a bit, I’ve managed to make some pretty good soft serve with it.  It takes more time and effort than the Vitamix, but at least I can get down to the last drop of the soft serve this way!

As for the pudding, the HealthMate Blender has made a big difference there too.  I use really cold water (on the thick side for me), whip it up in a blender cup and then if I’m feeling really decadent I put a splash of sugar free Torani caramel syrup on the top and pretend I’m having crème caramel.

I wish I had actually thought to do this near the beginning of my journey!  But hopefully it will help some others out there to find ways to get more enjoyment out of some of the Medifast options that really require some power to blend up!


Getting with the Habits of Health

I’ve been re-reading Dr. A’s Habits of Health, and going back through the workbook as I near transition on my diet.  I guess when things start to click, they really click!  I’ve read dozens of diet books in my lifetime.  So many of them “made sense”.  Others were “off the wall” or just plain silly!  But somehow this particular book really struck a chord with me.

While I found great tidbits throughout the book, the entire “Part I” of the book is what helped me turn the corner.  Dr. Anderson seems to have a way to bring home the ideas that:

  1. There are things about our biology, both male and female, that make it difficult to maintain a proper weight, when coupled with the conveniences that have come into our lives in the past 50 years.
  2. We need to find our own motivation to change, but often allowing someone else help us through that change can make all of the difference.  As I’ve mentioned a few times, having a health coach who I could call upon whenever I needed to was the tipping point for met.
  3. Health is about choice.  Every time we eat the wrong food, drink the wrong drink, or fail to do our exercise, we are CHOOSING the path we’re on.
  4. Evaluating our health is an ongoing process.  Where we are TODAY is how we choose for today, tomorrow and the weeks to come.  We need to make that evaluation regularly, and change our choices to reflect where we are today.
This is all going to be very important for my own progress in the coming weeks.  I will be moving to transition and no longer relying entirely on the meal replacement options to keep me on the straight and narrow.  I’m pretty confident that I can make the right choices.  Not only have a decided in my own head that I need to, but I now have a support system, both in my house and outside to help me follow through with those choices.

30 pounds!

I remember going on vacation, being so proud that I had lost 20 pounds up to that point.  And my success at mostly maintaining my weight during the vacation really surprised me.  Obviously, even though I “went off plan” during those weeks to an extent, just the process of doing the Medifast diet, and the support of my coach, helped me to pay closer attention to what I was eating overall.

I have now reached my 30 pound weight loss mark.  I’m nearing time to start transition off of the 5 and 1 plan in the next couple of weeks.  When I look back at how many diets I’ve gone through in my adult lifetime, it’s really quite amazing to see how easily I shed the pounds this time.  Part of that was just my own determination.  Part of it was the products that helped me to get where I am now.  But most importantly, I believe, was a good coach who guided me through the plan on a weekly (sometimes daily!) basis, to keep me honest and help me focus my goals when I was feeling less than focused.  Even though I had gone to countless meetings, checkins and the like on various other diets, having an individual who knows my name, knows exactly where I am in my process when we speak, and has an interest in helping me one-on-one was absolutely the difference this time around.  My own coach Susan lost 20 pounds, and her husband lost 30 pounds on this plan, and both of them have kept the weight off now for over three years. In addition to the great coaching experience, I found the book and workbook associated with this program to be very well thought out.  I’ve read it all before of course (with as many diet books as I’ve gone through), but these books made sense to me, and the workbook really made me think about it all in a different light.  You can see the books here.

After discussing all of this with my coach Susan, we decided that I would probably make a pretty good coach myself!  So I’ve started the process of not only transitioning off of the 5 and 1 plan back to “reality”, but also to transition to being a coach for the plan myself.

If you know of someone who could benefit from losing some weight, or really just learning more about overall nutrition and taking back control of eating habits and health, I’d be thrilled to help out.


Back from vacation

I’ve been back from vacation for about a week now. We went to Switzerland, and saw everyone in my host family (I was a foreign exchange student there 30+ years ago) again.  Then to Italy to visit our former exchange student and her parents.  And finally on to my husband’s family seat in Northern Italy.  I’ve lost about three pounds since I returned, so I’m really back on track. The good news though is that I only gained ONE POUND during the three weeks I was away. I am frankly as shocked as anyone. This makes me back to a net two pounds additional weight lost, and an overall weight loss of twenty-two pounds.

Let me say that I wasn’t sure this was going to be the case. I set out determined to do a 3/3 plan, or even a 4/2 plan (i.e., 3 or 4 Medifast replacements and 3 or 2 Lean and Green meals). This fell apart pretty quickly! We were away 17 days, and 8 of those were spent with family and friends. While I set out to not “indulge”, it quickly struck me how important food is to the people I was with. Not just that they enjoy good food (a given), but that preparing food for special guests is a core part of how they show love and affection. Since we ate home prepared meals (feasts??) at 5 different homes and a three hour lunch at an unbelievable restaurant during our trip, it became almost immediately apparent that I would not be able to turn down EVERYTHING that wasn’t on my plan. I would need to give in on some levels for everyone. Okay, I’ll be honest. I really didn’t want to deprive myself of some of the things offered to me that I only enjoy every few years in Switzerland. I mean really! Tête de Moine? Knöpfli? Rösti? Prepared by some of the best cooks I know? I simply didn’t have the personal resolve or will to pass up these goodies. I DID forgo the chocolate though (but brought some home for when I can start adding other treats back into my life).

About a week into the trip, we arrived at the home of our Italian foreign exchange student, and for the first time saw a scale. Granted, my first time on the scale was in the afternoon fully clothed, but I almost fainted. Four full kilos (8.8 pounds) more than when I left home. In just a week! And a week where we did a 3 hour hike around Bielersee. Two days later, just before we left for our next stop, I was still 3 kilos (6.6 pounds) up. Now of course, who knows if that scale was calibrated the same as mine at home, but it certainly had me feeling a little glum.

However, the final week of our trip was spent in hotels. And sticking to a 4/2 plan and leaving the car parked at the hotel for most of the week seem to have reversed the tide.

So, here’s what I took with me:

  • Medifast Oatmeal. I’m not a huge breakfast eater anyway, and having Oatmeal at my friends’ homes kept me from the bread, butter, jam and cheese! Except for the Sunday morning when our host had fresh baked Züpfe (Swiss braided bread).  I had to try just one little piece of that!
  • Medifast Bars.  Easy to eat when on the run.
  • Medifast Crunch Stuff.  Parmesan Puffs, Pretzels.  Also easy to have on the run.
  • Medifast Cold Drinks.  Raspberry Tea, Peach Tea, etc.

All of those worked well, except we only had a microwave when at our friends’ houses (we had to plug the one in at my host parents’ house – heehee – they really don’t use it at all!).  For the hotel days, I had a coffee (or cappuccino) for breakfast, along with a bar.  Then I’d have a cold drink mix mid-morning while walking about.  A mostly “Lean and Green” lunch (with a bite of the pasta from one of the boys’ plates!).  Another afternoon snack of a bar or pretzels, or a medifast drink.  Since we were eating later, I typically had an late afternoon Medifast snack again, and finally a mostly “Lean and Green” dinner.

Now, could I have actually LOST weight on this trip?  Certainly.  If I had stuck to the diet entirely I’m sure I would have lost weight.  And some might say that I missed an opportunity.  I, on the other hand, realize that it took me years to gain this weight, and even though this diet has been the easiest weight loss I’ve ever experienced, and will take only a matter of 4-6 months of strict adherence to reach my goal, I only really traded 3 weeks of weight loss for a thoroughly enjoyable, stress-free vacation with my family and friends.   It was a trade-off I was willing to make.


Out with the old

It’s been awhile since I posted.  Busy, busy, busy.  But I’ve lost 19 pounds now, and I’m hoping for 20 by next week.  That would be awesome.

One thing I’ve done very differently with this diet, is that I’ve made a pledge to get rid of any clothes that are too large for me RIGHT AWAY.  In the past, I’ve had multiple sizes of jeans and other clothing to choose from, so letting the weight slowly inch up on me has never made me say “I have absolutely nothing to wear”.  I do believe that’s been an unconscious license to gain weight!

So today, as I sit in the sun (well, when the clouds don’t float by and drop the temps too much!) at our annual garage sale, there are a number of items (mostly pants and skirts) that I’m saying goodbye to forever.

The next time I have to shop for clothes because nothing fits, it will be because all of my clothes are GONE.


Exercise, exercise

I’ve made it to 12 pounds lost now.  I will admit that I had a “setback” that my coach attributes to one lousy glass of wine!  Oy!  But, when you really are counting on chemistry coupled with calorie limits to do the work, adding 100 calories of what becomes mostly sugar definitely can derail the chemistry train!  So, the weekend of Easter, I popped up two pounds, and thus have had a bit of a battle getting down to 12 pounds net loss.

The one thing that is helping now I think is exercise.  I had refrained from a lot of exercise early on (at the advice of my coach, since I was slashing my calorie intake, and needed to adjust to that first), and now I’m starting to see the scale move downward again.  I do a combo of treadmill walking (not much of a runner here) and exercise videos.  My favorite is Gilad’s Total Body Workout.  Doesn’t hurt that he’s a hunk, and all of the scenery is Hawaii!

I’m hoping that by the next post I will be down 14 pounds total, because that will dip me below the next “10″ in actual weight on the scale, and dropping down to a 9 at the end of the weight total is very satisfying.


Ten pound mark in 3-1/2 weeks

I’ve hit the 10 pound mark.  I’ve been on the diet for 3 weeks and 4 days now, so I think that’s pretty good!  The weight loss has slowed a bit, but is steady.  In the 25 days I’ve been on the new diet, I’ve only had three days where my morning weight was either slightly up or the same as the day before.  Yeah, I’ll admit it.  I’m one of those obsessive daily weighers.  I will say though that on this diet it has been quite rewarding, and I don’t feel badly that I check in with the old scale every morning.

I do think it’s time to pick up the exercise pace a bit now though.  My doctor recently gave me an inhaler, as he thinks it might help with exercise induced asthma.  Tonight I’m going to try to speed up the treadmill a bit.  I’ve been doing 3-1/2 miles per hour, and while I’ve never really wanted to be a runner, if I can increase that a little bit without feeling like my lungs will burst, it will be another small victory!

Qdoba on a diet

Tonight I had Qdoba!  While my son had a chicken burrito with corn salsa (his favorite),  I had a naked chicken taco salad – just lettuce, chicken, habanero salsa and a tiny bit of pico de gallo.

I’m sure that Qdoba probably marinates their chicken with some oil, etc., but really, I’ve had this once before on the Medifast diet for my “lean & green” portion, and the next morning I had still dropped another 2/10 of a pound.  Part of dieting has to be doing “routine” things, and my family loves Qdoba, so having a “naked taco salad” allows me to be part of the family while I’m dropping the pounds.


If my mother is reading this, she will be laughing.  I’m just not an egg eater!  Scrambled or omelet is about the only way I can manage an egg.  That said, as a child I was known to fry up an egg white in butter and scarf that down!

It’s with amazement that I report that the Medifast “Scrambled Eggs” are really not all that bad (as eggs go in general and powdered eggs specifically).   I haven’t decided whether or not I will actually keep this item on my monthly order, but I’ve eaten about 3 of the 7 packages they sent me.

I’ll point out that I don’t microwave these eggs (although that’s the cooking instructions given).  I just fry them up with a light spray of cooking spray.  I’ve even managed to make a mostly foldable omelet out of them, and I can barely do that with real eggs either, so in my opinion they behave about the same as real egg for an omelet.  I suspect that if you have a non-stick pan for your eggs, you would need no cooking spray at all.  We, however, have NO non-stick pans in our house.  We have birds instead (you can meet them here if you are so inclined).  Bird owners know that an accidentally overheated Teflon pan can kill a bird in less than a minute, so we’ve simply banned the pans from the house.  Honestly, although birds have a much different respiratory system than humans, I think it’s a good thing for all humans to limit their exposure to PTFE when possible!  Now off the soapbox and on to eating eggs!

A little bit of fresh pico de gallo, or some chopped fresh herbs on top makes a huge difference as well.

Down another pound since my last report.  So that’s a total of 8 pounds in  just under three weeks.