Work in Progress

By the end of Chef AJ’s 21-day program, I was down ten pounds. Encouraged and excited, I decided to continue on, re-joining her Ultimate Weight Loss program. I stuck to her guidelines, listened to lecture after lecture from her, Dr. Doug Lisle & Dr. Alan Goldhamer, learning about calorie density & the pleasure trap. I just kept eating veggies and starches, walking and learning. I was laser focused, only allowing myself an occasional “slip” in the form of my beloved movie theater popcorn and a couple of (vegan) desserts for a birthday or on vacation. Honestly, when I did/do go off program, I feel kinda gross and am more than happy to get right back on track with the next meal!

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May 30, 2019

By July 1st I had lost 14 pounds total. By early August, 20 pounds was gone! I now weigh less than I have since my early 40’s!  I just bought a dress for my daughter’s upcoming wedding, had ordered both a size 10 and a (hopeful) 8. Well, guess what? The 8 is too big! I had to get a 6, and even that will need some alteration. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d ever see single digits again, I am shocked & thrilled, and the best part is truly how easy it has been. This was once my goal weight, the top end of the range on WW, and yet now that I’m here I realize that I still have pounds to lose, that I can do better. So, I’m going to continue on, go for another ten pounds, see how I feel with that number.

So, you’re probably wondering what exactly DO I eat, right? Well, it’s so simple. No weighing, measuring, or counting necessary. No fancy recipes, ingredients, smoothies or supplements. I eat food. Real food. Whole unprocessed food, ad libitum! As many servings as vegetables, potatoes, rice, etc as I want. In fact, not only is there not a limit on these foods, there’s a minimum! Chef AJ requests that we eat at least two pounds of vegetables a day, preferably a pound of them raw, followed by as much starch as possible to feel satiated. That’s it. That’s what I do. As I wrote yesterday, this program is abstinence-based, so it’s more about what you don’t eat than what you do. Avoid those SOFAS, eat the veggies & potatoes, watch the pounds fall off.

More on the specifics next time..

Have a beautiful day,

Michele

Getting off the SOFAs

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Now that the birthday celebrations are over and I’ve had a minute to catch my breath, I’ll take some time to explain how I’ve lost these most recent 25 pounds.

I discovered Chef AJ back in 2015 and became a member of her Ultimate Weight Loss program. It was great, I lost some weight, but I wasn’t able to stick to it for one main reason: alcohol. I’ll dive more deeply into this at a later date, but for now I’ll just say that while I wasn’t an alcoholic nor even a “problem drinker,” my beloved chardonnay had taken up too much space in my life. I wasn’t willing to give up my lifestyle that included happy hours & wine tastings, and the subsequent poor food choices that inevitably followed. I’d follow my whole food, plant-based, oil-free meal plan all day long, and then blow it every evening. I lost a couple of pounds, but grew frustrated and gave up.

For the next few years, I maintained my weight, losing a couple pounds here & there with the help of WW, but it was so freaking hard! I was restricting calories, counting Points, walking my proverbial butt off, and still I couldn’t lose consistently. I was beginning to think I was doomed to be a size 12/14 forever. Then, something changed.

Last July, growing tired of the cycle of drinking/eating/anxiety/headache, I decided to quit drinking. Again, more on that later, but this decision proved to be one of the best I have ever made for my health, both mental & physical. The lack of booze didn’t immediately result in weight loss, but it was a turning point, a launching pad for more positive changes. By eliminating the wine, I was able to make better food choices. My emotions stabilized. My mood improved. My brain got sharper. I felt amazing! Not only physically, but emotionally, and I wanted more. I wanted to get the other monkey off my back. Literally, the 25 pounds that was causing aching joints and back pain.

In May of this year, Chef AJ offered a mini program, a 21-Day challenge called Lose Weight with a Full Plate. It was affordable and offered two things I really needed: accountability & support. There was a group Facebook page, weekly Q & A sessions, recipes, tips & tricks and just so much feedback from Chef AJ and her coaches. I jumped in with both feet. The pillar of this program is abstinence, and the things to abstain from are as follows: Sugar, Oil, Flour, Alcohol & Salt, which go by the acronym SOFAS. So, I cleaned up my environment, tossing my non-compliant food and moving Chip’s to hidden drawers & cabinets where they wouldn’t tempt me.  I’d already stopped cooking with oil years ago, so that was easy. I didn’t eat a lot of sugar but there was some vegan chocolate lurking around. The alcohol was gone, and while I enjoy salt it wasn’t a deal breaker. My biggest problem was the flour. Sigh. I’m a bread-a-holic, and rarely did a day go by where I didn’t indulge some form of it. As much as I love it, I knew it was an issue for me, a red light food that I had a hard time moderating. So, out went the pasta, baguettes, buns & rolls. Even the “healthy” sprouted grain version got bagged up and donated to my daughters. With a clean kitchen, I was now ready to fill it back up again, but with what? What could one possibly eat after eliminating so many foods?! How could I possibly live on such limited options? Well, quite nicely as it turns out!

For 21 days I kept it very simple. Two to three meals a day, depending upon how hungry I was, and a couple of snacks. My days looked like this:

Exercise while listening to Chef AJ podcast. Veggies for breakfast. Potatoes. Fruit. Salad. Potatoes. Fruit. Steamed Veggies. Potatoes. Fruit. Sleep. Repeat. 

The weight started dropping off, sometimes as much as one pound per day! While we were discouraged from obsessing over the scale, I couldn’t help but jumping on because the dropping numbers kept me motivated! I was in shock, honestly, could not believe that I was actually doing this! It was hard sometimes, yes, especially when dining out with family, watching them eat the decadent vegan meals I’d enjoyed in the past. But I kept at it, and it got easier, to the point where I actually preferred my simple food over the highly processed ones. I was on a roll, and it felt amazing!

This is where I’ll leave you, for now. I’ll be back tomorrow to continue the story and share some resources.

Have a beautiful day

Michele

 

New (Birth) Year

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Wow, it’s been over a year since I last posted! So much has happened, where do I even start?! 2019 has been chock-full of beauty..births and engagements and so many happy moments! Our family has grown and I feel so blessed. 

I’ve met some personal goals as well, the most significant is losing another 25 pounds! I did this with the help of Chef AJ and her Ultimate Weight Loss program, which I’ll expound upon more in the future.

I just turned 55 years old which both shocks and delights me! I’ve been reflecting on my life, past and future,and honestly have few complaints. I am in a good place. My children & grandchildren are happy and healthy. I have a wonderful, loving partner. A safe, comfortable home. Excellent health. Security. Loyal friends. So, now what? Where do I want to be, this time next year? What goals do I want to meet? I’ll be spending more time on this, but for now, here are some areas I’d like to work on, this 56th year of life:

  • Mind: I’d like to sharpen this aging brain, maybe take a class. Do more crossword puzzles. Read (even) more books.
  • Body: Lose another ten pounds, see how I feel at that weight. Use my gym membership to tone up & build strength. Continue my eating/wellness program, mentor others if there’s a need.
  • Spirit: Connect more with my community. Discover volunteer opportunities. Travel a little. Learn to meditate. Garden. Create. Grow. Improve. 

So, that’s where my head is today as I plan my weekly menu, organize my desk, and channel the fresh back-to-school feelings of the young friends & families around me.

How about you? Anyone else doing some deep thinking today? Share with me your goals and aspirations!

Have a wonderful day!

Michele