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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout.  I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years!  Bring on fall 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

Week 13 was busy, but really good.  It was my first week of school, and I am so excited by all of my classes.  I have amazing students, and I just know this year is going to be the best one yet.  I’m really proud that even with busy, busy days I was able to stick to my healthy eating and exercise routine.

All good news, so how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 234.6, which is a loss of 1.8 pounds this week, and a loss of 42.4 lbs since surgery!!! I’ve lost a total of 80.4 pounds from my highest weight. I’m really happy with this week’s loss, especially since I had such a huge loss last week.  I also had my period for the 3rd time this month (crazy hormones), so that makes this loss even sweeter.  I am so excited that I’m now down 80 pounds!!

Getting up so that I can get ready, make my breakfast, gather my stuff, and hit the road by 7am actually wasn’t as difficult this past week as it has been in the past.  I can definitely see the difference in my energy levels.  As one of my colleagues put it, “you were a spitfire before, but now, you’re on a whole nother level.” I’m having fun picking out my clothes in the morning, and of course I love the compliments that I’ve been getting.  Even fitting in workouts wasn’t too tough – I’ve made sure to workout on the weekends when I have more time so that I can take my two rest days during the week, which has been working perfectly.  The one area that was kind of boring for me was in my food, especially my lunches.  I’ve been buying TJ’s salads and eating them over a couple of days, but I needed to shake things up a bit, so look for a “What’s in my Lunchbag?” post later this week.  (I picked up some fun foods today).

Since I’m now down 80 pounds, I thought I’d share my latest progress photos:

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The “before” was taken in September 2012, and I remember thinking that my face looked thin in the photo.
The “now” was taken on Tuesday (August 19, 2013).

Now for the rare, full-body shots.  The “befores” were taken in February 2013, the “nows” were taken 6 months later (yesterday, August 24, 2013). The top is the same in both, but the pants are much different.  The befores were 26/28 and the nows are 22/24. I’m down about 60 lbs between the two sets of photos.

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I’m not sure if you can see that much difference in the shots, but I can tell you that I FEEL the difference.  Both sets of photos were taken by my sister, after yoga class.  Yesterday’s class was tough, but much easier for me to complete than it would’ve been back in February.  I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished so far on and off the scale! It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s been worth every single step I’ve taken.

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler, which means that those wonderful fall fashions will keep me motivated. Plus, crisp temperatures mean that it’s never “too hot” to workout.  I’m going to relish my nightly cup of steaming hot tea as another way to keep my water intake up. I look forward to all those hearty, satisfying and wls-friendly soups, stews, and crockpot meals that I’ll create for myself. This year, the changing season will mark new milestones that I haven’t seen in 5, 7, 10+ years!  Bring on fall 2013 – it’s time to reach new heights! Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

(I realize that “officially” it’s still summer, but for my intents and purposes, the beginning of the new school year (which starts tomorrow!) marks a change of season, so I’m taking over the calendar and designating this week the beginning of fall).

Week 12 was wonderful!  I  have to admit, I was a bit worried about how this week would go, considering that I was back to school in teacher meetings, which meant my schedule was greatly impacted.  It also meant that I had to be really organized with food prep, planned workouts, and all the rest of my work and life responsibilities.  I’m proud to say that I handled it all well, and things really couldn’t have gone better!

Fantastic, so how’s the scale looking?

I weighed in this morning at 236.4, which is a loss of 4.6 pounds this week, and a loss of 40.6 lbs since surgery!!! I’ve lost a total of 78.6 pounds from my highest weight. Can you tell how thrilled I am with this week’s results?!  Not only is this the biggest weight loss in a single week since my first week post op, but it also means that I’ve now lost more weight post-op than I did pre-op.  I hit my -75 pound milestone midweek, which was exciting.

That “stall” last week (which Aimee pointed out was not a stall, but a loss, because I did see the numbers  go down on the scale, even if they were only decimals) gave way to a HUGE loss this week, and I think I know why.  I’ve been following Less_of_Sarah on YouTube, MFP, and FB for a long while now.  Her story is incredibly inspiring: She had VSG in November 2012, and since has lost 197 pounds.  The thing that’s so striking about Sarah’s weight loss to me is that although she’s lost this tremendous amount of weight, she still drops 3 or 4 pounds (or more) each week.  So I started really looking at what she was eating (the beauty of MFP), and noticed that her calories are just like mine: 800-900/day, but her protein was through the roof at 90g+ per day.

So I figured I could try to replicate that in my own food diary, and this week my daily totals were all around 80-90g+ of protein.  While I did watch my carbs, I didn’t go completely carb-free, either.  I had overnight oats for breakfasts a few times, I had quinoa for dinner several evenings, and I had Quest bars for snacks. I still ate veggies and fruit, and had a great variety of delicious proteins for lunches and dinners.  The key seems to be in a delicious, little smoothie that Less_of_Sarah clued me in on.  I mix 1 scoop of Mocha Fit Frappe with 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder, add in 1 cup of unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze (Sarah uses a lowcal coconut milk) and the result is a thick, delicious smoothie that has 200 calories, 35g protein, and is a fabulous breakfast/snack. It keeps me satisfied in the morning or fills in that afternoon “gap” well between lunch and dinner.  I love the coffee flavor, and can add plenty of variety using sugar free Torani syrups and/or spices like cinnamon (can you say Mexican mocha?!).

This week my workouts went well, even with my busier schedule, which I’m really proud of.  I did take 2 rest days on weekdays, which I plan to continue throughout the fall.  As Carina pointed out some time ago, it makes much more sense to workout on the weekends when I have a lot more time, and take my rest days during the week when I’m exhausted from the work schedule.  I’m also looking forward to adding in some workouts with my colleagues.  My principal and I were discussing the fact that it would be great to create some fun events where the staff and faculty could get together to go on small hikes in the hills that are right near our school.  Or to a bocci ball  or bowling outing.  Or just walking/running around the track after school.  Another teacher really wants to create a 5K fundraiser, which I think would be fabulous.  The point is that working out has become something I look forward to and find ways to fit into a more social setting.

The other really cool thing I want to share about this week is that it was the first time in three months since I’d seen most of my colleagues, and their reactions to my weight loss were amazing.  So many of them told me how great I looked, even the men, who are often the last to notice things like that.  Our bookroom clerk got tears in her eyes as she said how proud she was of all I’d accomplished, which of course made me get teary-eyed, too.  Lots of people have commented about how truly happy I seem.  I’ve always considered myself a happy person, but I think they’re seeing that inner person that I’ve always known I was on the inside.  As Ani told me yesterday, now they can see past my weight and see the real me.  I also think this happiness stems from FINALLY achieving the success I knew I was capable of, but had previously not been able to accomplish.

Tomorrow is the first day of my 10th year teaching at my current school, and my 14th year of teaching overall.  I have a fun, challenging, exciting schedule of classes, and I’m really looking forward to all that will come with this school year.  My district is in much better shape financially, thanks to the passage of Prop 30 and increased property values (property taxes), which translates into a 7% raise for me this year. (Quite a turnaround from the furloughs and budget cuts of last year). I’ve challenged myself to get my students’ essays graded faster so that they can get the feedback sooner, making it more meaningful.  I’m also determined to be more social with my colleagues during lunch, and not hole up in my classroom.  Lots of goals and plans, which is where I thrive.

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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(I know that this Bellina is the one that I normally use just for workouts, but since this post is all about combating some boredom I’ve been feeling with my food, I figured I needed Super-Bellina’s help).

It’s finally hit – boredom with my food plan.  Every single day for the past 42 days I have had the exact same breakfast, almost the exact same lunch, and pretty much the same snacks.

  1. Breakfast: Premier Nutrition bar (280 calories)
  2. Lunch: Premier Nutrtion shake + Medifast Parmesan Cheese Puffs (270 calories)
  3. Snack (2-3 of the following): string cheese, almonds, Medifast Ranch Soy Crisps, carrots, sugar snap peas, crimini mushrooms (230 calories)
  4. Dinner: Lean and Green (this hasn’t been boring, as I can keep changing it up)

And that spells one thing – BORING!  Plus, 1 bar for 280 calories is A LOT.  And while it’s satisfying, it isn’t what I feel like eating many mornings.  Now that the weather has gotten cold in the mornings, I really would rather have something warmer.  And when the food starts getting really boring, I start looking elsewhere/eating off plan.  Which isn’t going to get me to my goal.

And then I saw my friend BeautyJunkie824’s video about a food haul she had from a (new to me) company selling low carb/high protein snacks and meal replacements.  Similar to Medifast, but as I was soon to find out, half the price

So I looked at the Bariatric Choice website and I loved what I saw:

  • Oatmeal for 100 calories, 6g carb, and 15g protein!
  • Cinna-choco snacks for 150 calories, 15g carb, 10g protein, plus a way to satisfy my nighttime sweet cravings!
  • Lots of new choices for bars and snacks that are around 100-120 calories each.

I filled my cart with enough breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and desserts for 2 weeks and it only totaled $65.  That’s half of what I would’ve paid on Medifast.  And they offered free shipping for orders over $49.  Win! The food should arrive in another week or so, and I can’t wait.  Having some new items to look forward to are going to help me stay on plan.

Which is not to say that I’m going to completely throw out the Premier Nutrtion, because I’m not.  I love those shakes and the bars taste really good. It’s just time to incorporate some other items into my daily plan.

Other than that, things are going well.  I hit a bit of a stall which I’ll blame on the boredom, but now that I have some new foods to look forward to, I know that I’ll be back to losing in no time.

 

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Wow, it’s been FOREVER since I did a weigh-in update, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve really liked this new method of mine – weighing in every couple of days and tracking that progress on MyFitnessPal (more on that in a moment) and then limiting my actual “official” weigh-in posts to once a month or so. It’s a saner, more realistic way for me to see my progress.

This morning I felt so light when I woke up.  I knew I would see good things on the scale, but I felt so good that it didn’t even matter – I’m doing everything right, so I know I’m making strides toward my goal.

20110924-072946.jpg Which means I’ve lost 9.2 lbs since I started my own high-protein/low-carb diet on August 29th (3.5 weeks ago) and 19.2 lbs total. I’m especially pleased with my progress since I started this new “get serious” pre-op plan, and I think that now that I’m going full steam ahead with the diet every single day of the week it’s going to be even more steady. (Note: I recorded 291.8 into MyFitnessPal because the scale was fluctuating between 291.6 and 292.0, so I went in the middle.  The weight loss stats I mentioned above reflects the mid-range number).

And when I refer to this plan as a diet, it really is.  It is a short term, get-the-damn-pre-op-weight-off diet that will get me to my goal.  Period.  Which works out well, because once I have the VSG surgery, I’ll be hitting the “reset” button on the way that I eat, the way that I look at food, completely.  I’m actually perfectly happy in following this diet, too.  For me at this stage, keeping it simple and straightforward works wonders for me.  As some of you pointed out, I can be social with my Lean & Green meal or just with a cup of coffee/tea. Or even better by meeting friends and doing something fitness-related like taking a walk or riding bikes or something.  For example, tonight I have plans to go to dinner with a friend, but I told her I’m staying low carb and she actually said that she is, too.  Perfect!  Tomorrow I have other plans with a different friend to go  to another yoga class.  So it can be done – I can stick to my goals and still come out of the house.

Because in the end, I want to get to this pre-op goal way more than I want to eat carbs. And since I don’t do well in the blurred gray areas, it’s much better for me in the short term to just stick to this strict diet, reach my goal of 266, get the surgery scheduled, and maintain that weight loss until surgery.

I hate predicting goal dates, but I’m feeling like I need to “put it out there” in order for me to manifest it. So I’m going to follow what’s been predicted by MyFitnessPal and say that I’d like to get to 266 by the beginning of November, which is 7-8 weeks. Which is a little more than 3 lbs a week. For someone my weight, this is absolutely do-able, especially following the type of diet I am.

A big thank you to all that commented on that choices post. Your feedback and honesty really helped me know what I needed to do.

My next weigh-in post will be at the beginning of October because I want to keep these posts consistent with when I call into Kaiser’s Bariatric dept. with my progress.  Even thought it won’t be too far from today, I’m hoping to show another drop on the scale and be solidly in the 280s by then.  No need to wish me luck because I have my mind set that it WILL happen.

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In my family, we’ve been eating Joe’s Special since I was a little girl.  I’m not sure exactly where the recipe originated; I thought it was from a local food institution known as Original Joe’s.  Another source says “Joe’s Special is a San Francisco specialty dating to the 1920’s.” Wherever it comes from, it’s delicious, and the best part is, you probably have all of the ingredients on hand.

This is how I made it tonight, but you should feel free to change the recipe so that it’s more to your liking. The “constants” are eggs, spinach, and some sort of meat (ground beef, Italian sausage, ground turkey, etc).  My mom adds potatoes.  Be creative and have fun.

Ingredients:

1 cup onion, chopped (I used a red onion tonight, because it was what I had on hand)
2 tsp olive oil
2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 Jennie-O turkey breakfast sausage patties
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups fresh spinach
1/3 cup reduced-fat shredded cheese
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
Tabasco sauce to taste
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Nutrition Info: (makes 3 servings) per serving – 343 calories, 18.9g fat, 12.4g carbs, 2.5g fiber, 4.8g sugars, 31.3g protein
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Directions:
(When you cook this dinner, you want to begin with whatever takes the longest to cook.  In this case, it was the mushrooms).
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Chop onion and saute with olive in a medium-hot pan.  Add salt, pepper and garlic powder.  Add mushrooms.
Add meat.  Since I was using the turkey breakfast sausage, I wanted to make sure it was cooked through before I added anything else.
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Beat eggs in a separate bowl and add salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste.  By mixing the eggs in a separate bowl, you insure that they’re seasoned properly and that the eggs get beaten well.
It also makes it a lot easier to incorporate into the rest of your dish
Add spinach next.  I used half a bag of spinach because it goes from this…
to this…
I love how colorful and healthy this dinner looks (and is!).
Next, add the cheese at the last minute.
Don’t worry, it looks like a lot of cheese, but remember, this is 3 servings. And when it melts, it looks more like this:

Yum!  This is the perfect dinner for a night like tonight.  It’s cold, rainy, and windy outside and eating something quick and easy, yet good for you is a nice way to start the weekend.

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Of course, I can’t eat any meal that has eggs in it without this:

This is actually the perfect dinner for a Friday night in, because it’s easy to make, and if you keep a fairly well-stocked kitchen, you won’t even have to stop at the grocery store on your way home from work. I hope you try it on a quiet Friday sometime soon, because believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

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