It’s My Mediversary!

1 year ago today, I reached my goal weight with Take Shape For Life (TSFL) and began transitioning from Medifast meals to regular foods.  Yay me!  Get it, it’s not just an anniversary…it’s a Medi-versary!

I am extremely proud to say that I weigh right in the range as I did one year ago.  I fluctuate about 2 pounds in either direction at any given time (currently at the upper end of those 2 lbs right now), but I’m basically the same weight as I was a year ago and it feels good!

And it’s still a journey. I’ve spent most of the year being a little ocd with the calorie counting/weighing.  A little too obsessed actually – it’s kinda embarrassing.  I just can’t quit you, Livestrong Calorie Counter (my app of choice).

I’ve kept track of my calories all year and can see that I have been within about the same range all year.  In fact, the couple months I increased my calories a little, I weighed the lowest.  But I had one month where I did not track at all and was at my highest weight.  I think that freaked me out and so I kept on tracking.  I may go on vacation and let all the adding up go on vacation too…but I keep coming back.  I think I’ve been counting for fear that I’ll lose all control and gain those dreaded 30 lbs back.  I feel like the stress of counting and staying in a certain (self-determined) range is not good for me.  I know what a portion size is now.  I’m not serving myself Cheesecake Factory-sized dinners.  And I’m not knocking calorie counting for weight-loss – it’s a great tool.  But I think I can keep it in my toolbox for now and just take it out when I need it, not obsess over it every day.

So for now, for the holidays, until the New Year…I’m letting it all go.  Buh-bye Calorie Counter.  I will not miss you.  I’m going to enjoy the carefree freedom of not knowing and not caring how many calories are in every single bite.  I’m going to eat whole foods, healthy foods, like I have all along.  I’m going to keep on keepin on with the Paleo/Primal thing.  No grains, bread, pasta, processed food or sugar – I still do some dairy (HWC in my coffee every morning and occasionally some cheese).  I have even started adding in *gasp* white potatoes (look at me, gettin’ crazy up in here!).  And I also know I’m going to indulge over the holidays sometimes, but not every day.

And if I gain over the next couple months, then I’ll reassess in January.  I know that TSFL works in minimal time (typical results are weightloss of 2-5 lbs/week and up to 20 lbs in the first month! Results will vary.).  I know that cutting back on dairy and fruit and nuts (and those oh-so-delicious paleo treats!) can get me there.  I know that calorie counting will also work.  I have lots of options and so do you.

But for now, let’s enjoy every bite…

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10 Things I Learned from Transition & Maintenance…and ultimately transitioning to a paleo diet

Today is an anniversary for me.  One year ago today I started Take Shape For Life.  In 4 months and I lost 30lbs.  I have maintained that weightloss ever since.  Here are 10 things I learned from the process of transitioning off of medifast meals and into maintaining my current weight with a paleo diet.  I think they are all things that can be applied whether or not you do TSFL.

1.  Take your time.  TSFL Transition calls 4 stages for adding back in certain foods over a span of 8-16 weeks.  If you want to ease into it and take 2 or 3 weeks to add in each thing, then do it.  This also holds true if you are interested in just weaning yourself off of other conventional/processed foods.  Work on one thing at a time.  Drop the diet coke one week.  Quit dairy the following week.  Stop making sandwiches and start eating salads for lunch the third week.  Or however long it takes.  And if you are the type of personality who just needs to cold-turkey all your changes at once, then go for it!

2.  Cut out the weeks (ie foods) that don’t work for you.  I chose not to add dairy or grains back to my everyday diet.

3.  Don’t obsess over the scale – that’s a hard one for me still.  It moves up, I get worried.  I relax, it goes back down.  I do like having it to track my progress (and maintenance) however, instead of weighing daily, I try to do it once/month (ok….once/week)

4. Figure out how many calories are appropriate for you.  Everyone is different.  I have spent the last several months playing with how many calories work for me…but I’ll save that for another post!  Find out what works for you.

5. Moderation is key!  I’m not going to say I’m never going to have something again.  But I don’t need to gorge on it either.  That goes for dairy, grains, whatever.  I may not have it on a regular basis, but when I do indulge, I don’t need to go overboard.  Enjoy the piece of pizza or bowl of ice cream.  But maybe not the whole pie or the whole container.  Or what about wine?  Not so great for weightloss, but I’m figuring out what works for me to maintain my weight.  And a glass or two on the weekends works for me.

6. The more sugar/carbs I have, the more I want them.  The less I eat them, the less I want them.  The longer I stay away from them, the easier it is to resist them.

7. Try new things!  I have discovered a whole host of new veggies that were never in my repetoire before.  Zucchini, squash, mushrooms are some of my favorites.  I have also discovered the juicy yumminess that is chicken thighs…where have they been my whole life?  Certainly not anywhere near that drab chicken breast that I’m used to.

8. Plan ahead.  I’m the type of person that when I’m hungry….I can get HANGRY!  (hungry + angry)  I gotta eat and when I’m super hungry or even hangry…I don’t always think with a clear head and it’s very easy for me to suddenly veer my car into the closest drivethru.  I’m pretty good at not getting to this point, because now I always have a bar or a paleo kit in my purse…just in case.  Better to eat that than some fast food that I’m going to regret later or worse, that will make me feel like crap later.

9. I dont need to be 100% perfect 100% of the time.  This is another hard one for me.  I’m a perfectionist.  And when it comes to how I eat, I’m either all in or all over the board.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  Stop stressing.  Do the best you can.  If you fall off the wagon, get back on with the next bite.  If you are going to have an extraordinary dessert, savor every bite!  And don’t think twice about it.

10. Trust the process.  You can do it.  Whether it’s the process of losing weight, transitioning back to “real” foods, trying a new sport or exercise, whatever you put your mind to.  You can do it.

10 Things I Learned From Take Shape For Life/Medifast

  1. You can actually survive on 800-1000 cal/day and not starve…I’m here to tell you it’s not only possible, I actually had days where I had to double up on meals to get it all in.  And when you are eating every 2-3 hours, you are never far away from your next meal.
  2. Eating so many times a day means no blood sugar drop – that yucky feeling when you hit the wall and find yourself starving. Otherwise known as hangry (hungry + angry).
  3. I needed to adjust my caloric intake UP to lose weight while working out.  Seems counterintuitive, right?  But when the scale wasn’t moving, I started to eat 100-200 more calories than on non-workout days and the scale slid downward!
  4. I finally understand what a portion size is for myself – and it is not the same size as my boyfriend!  Eating man-sized portions makes me too full and sick to my stomach.  I don’t need 12 oz of chicken to be full, I’m satiated with 6 oz of chicken.  Consequently, I also now understand what a portion size is for the kids too and surprise, surprise, it’s not the same size as the adults!
  5. Water, water, water.  You probably need more than you are drinking right now.  I found that when I drank 60 oz of water, I didn’t lose as much as when I drank 100oz of water.  My magic number still to this day is between 100-120 oz/day.  I remember the days when I would have a coffee (a latte actually) in the morning, a diet coke (cuz I was being good, right?) at lunch and another one at dinner and that would be my total liquid intake for the day.  Did you see a cup of water in that list somewhere?  Me neither.  No wonder I had trouble losing weight!
  6. I chose to power through to lose the weight – I figured it was better to be strict for several months and take the weight off in one fell swoop than to go off the rails every weekend and take a year to take the weight off.  It doesn’t take a year to lose 30 lbs.  It took me 4 months.
  7. And while I wanted to take the weight off quickly – no one is perfect.  It’s ok to get off track and then get back on plan.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Take it one day, one meal at a time.  If you get off track, get back on it for the next meal.
  8. I can be a little obsessive.  I don’t think that’s a good or bad thing.  But it’s something I became aware of as I diligently weighed every serving of food.
  9. Turns out I actually like zucchini! And spaghetti squash!  And mushrooms!  I discovered so many veggies that were never in my repertoire before.  Still unsure of brussel sprouts though.
  10. Finally, I needed to learn to trust the process.  Follow the program and you will lose weight.  We all have good weeks and not-so-great weeks.  Even on not-so-great weeks, I still lost weight.  Might not be much, but I lost weight.  And when I followed the plan, I felt good and lost weight.  You can too!

If you want more information about Take Shape For Life – check out my website: http://reinventedyou.tsfl.com or email me: reinventedyou@gmail.com.

Week 17 of TSFL – Transitioning

Well folks, it is officially week 17 of my Take Shape For Life adventure and I’ve hit my goal. Yay me!!! Today is Day 1 of Transition – Double Yay me!!!

I feel like it took me forever to get here.  And my goal changed several times especially in the last month.  Originally I wanted to be 130 lbs…sounded like a nice round number.  One I haven’t seen since high school probably.  As I approached 140 I realized – dang, this is getting pretty skinny!  So I adjusted my goal to 136 – that would be a total 30 lb weight loss.  Another nice round number.  I am currently 138 and a size 4 jeans (size 4?!?!).  My health coach told me that I might lose a couple more pounds in transition and that now would probably be a good time to start.  So here I am.  To be honest, I don’t care if I lose any more weight.  I think 138 – 140 is a great weight for me.  I haven’t weighed this little since college…maybe even earlier than that?  I finally match the weight on my drivers license (wow I really stretched the truth on that one for quite a few years….er….my entire adult life).  And hey, I’m a freakin size 4!  What more could I want?
My official total losses are:
weight – 28 lbs
inches – 32.25″
I look good, I feel good, and dammit, I’m eating some sweet potatoes tonight!!  Whoo hoo!!!

Take Shape For Life

I teased about a new program several weeks ago and then never wrote about it.  I’ve been a little nervous about writing about it because I wanted to make sure my results were solid and I wanted to make sure I represented this company ethically and in accordance with their policies.  I’ve had a few comments asking for more info so here it is!

In July, my boyfriend had an appointment with his doctor and she recommended a program called Take Shape For Life.  TSFL is a comprehensive program that gives you the tools to lose weight safely and quickly and keep it off for good.  My bf has been so supportive of my dalliances with 4HB and Paleo/Primal, I wanted to support him and join him on this program.  Heck, I was still trying to lose weight and those other programs just weren’t giving me the results I wanted.

TSFL does.  It utilizes the Medifast brand of pre-packaged food to help you lose weight.  It’s low calorie, low fat, low carb.  We eat 5 of Medifast meals/day – which include things like bars, shakes, puddings, soups, brownies, etc.  There are actually over 70 different kinds of foods to choose from.  And once/day we eat what they call a Lean & Green – essentially a paleo/primal meal – of lean protein and non-starchy veggies.  I eat every 2-3 hours and that helps level my blood sugar so I never feel hungry.  Really.  It’s so easy to do, even with the hectic schedules that we all have nowadays.  And the Medifast meals actually taste good too!  Really!

That’s the food – here are our results: I have lost 20 lbs. My boyfriend, who has been on/off the program has lost a solid 35 lbs.  And we’re still going!  *Results will vary.  Typical results on the Medifast 5 & 1 Plan is 2-5 lbs/week and up to 20 lbs in the first month.*  Those are some pretty sweet “typical results” if you ask me.  One of the best byproducts of my weightloss is that my blood pressure has improved!  That is HUGE for me.

What I find even more important than the food is the coaching and community – I check in with my health coach once/week.  This helps me stay accountable and get direct feedback.  TSFL recommends a book called Habits of Health by Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen and an accompanying workbook that I’ve been reading and working on that has really helped reshape my viewpoints on food and nutrition in general and given me a strategy to transition off the Medifast foods when I’m ready and keep the weight off.  In addition to the coaching is an online community that is so valuable – they have answered all sorts of questions for me and reading through their blogs and discussion boards has been extremely inspirational.  There are also conference calls several times a week.  There are just so many ways to stay connected.  You can participate as little or as much as you’d like.

So I bet you are wondering – How Much?  There are no sign up fees or hidden costs.  You only pay for the Medifast meals.  An average month is approximately $300.  (The coaching is free.)  I don’t know what your monthly food budget is, but I spend at least that (usually more) on just groceries, not counting eating out or wine.  So for me, eating this way is actually saving me money.

Alright – let’s conclude this infomercial.  These are my own words, my experience.  If I met you on the street, I probably would’ve had the same conversation as what I wrote here.  I’m just that excited about what it’s done for me!  I am so enthusiastic about this program that I’ve become a health coach myself.  If you are interested in the program or just want more information, feel free to email me at reinventedyou@gmail.com.  Or check out www.reinventedyou.tsfl.com.  I can help you save 5%-10% on the Medifast products, get free shipping, 2 free weeks of food, and I will be your free health coach!

This blog was originally intended as a way for me to keep accountable with my weight-loss goals for 2011.  I’ll keep updating here and include some Lean & Green recipes every now and then.  It’s my personal plan to revert back to a more paleo/primal diet once I’ve reached my weight-loss goals.  I don’t know about you, but all that bacon was not helping me lose weight.  TSFL has.