Week 8: Oh the irony…

Posted in: behavior change, human behavior, life, weight loss- Feb 06, 2014 Comments Off on Week 8: Oh the irony…

Well hi folks! Thanks for stopping by.

universeI’ve always thought the universe had a good sense of humor (<<it’s totally winking) so I’m not overly shocked that the very thing I am doing to become healthier is actually making me sick. Eeyup, turns out my liver is not happy with shakes, soups, and bars (frankly, I think it just wants a cocktail).

My bloodwork shows liver levels that won’t stop climbing. It’s common to see at the beginning of the program but they usually level out and come back down. Mine, apparently, have higher aspirations. I’ve had an ultrasound which checked out ok (well, actually, it showed “mild fatty liver”—the name is an insult in itself but to add injury to insult, the cure is to lose weight. You’re really funny universe) and tomorrow I see a GI doctor (whose office, I have to mention, formats their paperwork in comic sans… funny again Uni.) who will give the yay or nay on continuing.

It’s funny. Not only is it ironic that this diet is making me sick, I also feel like I’m just hitting my stride. My inner addict is finally quieting down and seems to have resigned itself to eating shakes, soups, and bars. Cravings are at a minimum, if non-existent, and I even found my new cocktail–Crystal Light with mineral water (it’s amazing how tastebuds adjust)

If I do need to stop, then I can only think the universe deems it wise. It’s not like I’ll stop modifying my behavior—maybe I just need to start practicing with the real thing sooner. Who knows. I just hope I can continue going to class. I’ve come to depend on my classmates and feel we’re on this journey together figuring out how to navigate our inner world in response to outer stresses and joys without resorting to food. My “change partners” as they’re called in the industry, are solid.

In other matters, I hit the 30lb mark so without further ado, things that weigh 30lbs:

10 cans of Crisco


20 dozen eggs


And this cat










me_020514Week 8
Physical: -30.6lbs
weight = 282.5
first week = 313.1
blood pressure = 118/63
first week = 145/73
heart rate = 72
first week = 77
Mood: Positive. Amused. Happy it’s raining!

Week 7: If you can…

Posted in: human behavior, life, weight loss- Jan 29, 2014 Comments Off on Week 7: If you can…

I don’t have much to say this week but what I do have to say is important.

To my friends: please know how much you mean to me.
To my family: please know how much I cherish you.
To my cats: I love you! 

Without each and every one of you, nothing would be possible.

That said, I give you this:

me_012914Week 7
Physical: -26.6lbs
weight = 286.5
first week = 313.1
blood pressure = 137/66
first week = 145/73
heart rate = 80
first week = 77
Mood: Coping. Dealing. Better.

Week 6: Heavy

Posted in: behavior change, human behavior, life, weight loss- Jan 22, 2014 Comments Off on Week 6: Heavy

It’s been a tough week.

scaleOn this scale, I’m at about 5. I’ve been dealing with stronger cravings and although I said this diet is more about behavior change than weight loss, I think last week’s less than gratifying loss made this week harder. Without that “high” of losing weight, it’s hard to remember why I’m not eating and drinking. It’s hard to remember that now isn’t the end all be all. It’s hard to remember that this is my choice and it’s not a punishment—because much of the time it feels like it.

So now I’m heading into the week after… I was expecting to lose enough this week to make up for last week but again, the scales didn’t obey the equation and I can feel it affecting my mood, my motivation, and my commitment. The voices of craving are saying, “What’s the point? It’s too hard. Just give up.” and “You’ll always be fat. Just eat, drink, and forget about it.”

It’s definitely turning out to be harder than I expected. I don’t remember it being this hard last time – though last time I was on the high of doing it for the first time. All I saw were the numbers going down whereas this time the numbers are going down but I’ve seen them before and I can’t get by them fast enough.

The pull of habit is heavy—like concrete boots dragging me down and under.

Ultimately I know it has to be about behavior change but I kidded myself about it not also being about the weight loss. The motivation to continue abstaining from food and alcohol without major weight loss is hard to maintain. The only thing that is stopping me right now is I don’t like to fail. I am not a quitter. And I am angry.

me012214Week 6
Physical: -23.5lbs
weight = 289.6
first week = 313.1

blood pressure = 129/64
first week = 145/73

heart rate = 71
first week = 77

Mood: Hungry. Wanting. Angry.

The week of indomitable munchies

Posted in: health, human behavior- Jan 20, 2014 Comments Off on The week of indomitable munchies


Don’t worry, I didn’t actually munch but do you ever go through a period where you just want to eat and/or drink incessantly? manhattanThis past week I have definitely had food on my mind.

I guess this is one of the drawbacks to living alone. My inside voice can be like a spoiled brat getting all the attention… fritos-originalnobody to distract me and plenty of time to obsess over obsessing. pizzaDon’t get me wrong. There are many bonuses to living alone (like total control over what’s in my kitchen and not having to cook for anyone) but this is not one of them. chinese food


If I weren’t on this diet, I honestly wonder how I would resist. The urge can be so loud and convincing.

Ah yes, I just remembered the muscle metaphor. I need to remember that I am doing this for my health. That I want to be healthier and happier and choosing not to give in to the craving is taking care of myself (where previously, feeding my cravings has felt like taking care of myself). I need to build that muscle up so it becomes my primary response rather than listening and giving power to the cravings.

Add this to the list of things I’d like to figure out before I start eating again…

Main image above from this interesting read which reminded me of David Kessler’s great book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite

Week 5: Einstein vs. Voodoo

Posted in: health, weight loss- Jan 15, 2014 Comments Off on Week 5: Einstein vs. Voodoo

I stepped on the scale this week and it was not a “wahoo” kind of feeling. Not that the weight has been my primary focus but it does feel like a kick in the gut to only lose 1.2lbs when abstaining from all food and drink (even at wine book club!!!). So my enthusiasm is a little low but I know the math will pan out. The last time I did this type of diet, it was much more focused on calories in/calories out. We learned a nifty equation to figure out what to expect.

relativity-ig-12Step 1: Add a zero to your weight and multiply that by 7 (days of the week). That sum equals the total calories for a week to maintain weight
Step 2: Figure out your net calories for the week (total calories eaten minus calories burned exercising)
Step 3: Subtract step 2 from step 1
Step 4: Divide that number by 3500 (the amount of calories in one pound)

And voila! That is the number you can expect to lose or gain.

Last week’s weight: 294lbs
Step 1: 2940 x 7 = 20580 calories to maintain
Step 2: Net calories = 6720 (960/day x 7 – no extra calories burned from exercising… my bad)
Step 3: 20580 – 6720 = 13860
Step 4: 13860 / 3500 = 3.96

Based on this equation, I should have lost 3.96lbs this week instead of 1.2lbs!!! Why the discrepancy? Alas, this equation does not take into account water weight. It always evens out in the next week or two. Next week I’ll lose more than the equation allows for making up for this week.

voodooMoral of the story: there’s no bad voodoo happening here. I’m not flipping out and calling it quits. This equation takes the emotion out of the week to week “scale drama”. It’s not arbitrary or a curse. It’s predictable and holds ME accountable. No blaming my bad metabolism or the gods. It’s simple. Calories in. Calories out. And there you have it.

In other matters, this diet program monitors us pretty closely. They take labs on a regular basis and follow key blood levels to make sure we’re doing ok.  For the past few labs, my ALT (a liver enzyme) has been rising and is now well above normal so I have to get an ultrasound to make sure nothing horrible is going on. There’s a slim chance I may have to transition back to food if my liver is unable to cope with the rapid weight loss. Stay tuned.

me011514Week 5
Physical: -20.4lbs
weight = 292.7
first week = 313.1

blood pressure = 124/63
first week = 145/73

heart rate = 68
first week = 77

Mood: Pragmatic. Grumpy. and then thankful.

Vulnerability and connection

Posted in: behavior change, human behavior, neuroscience- Jan 11, 2014 Comments Off on Vulnerability and connection

Addictions always originate in unhappiness, even if hidden. They are emotional anesthetics; they numb pain.

The “Warm Embrace” of Addiction, by Gabor Maté, MD is an article I read recently that made a ton of sense to me. (Note I say “me”. I truly believe this is a unique journey for each individual and I’m just putting out what resonates with me.) As I read it, there was a cacophony of bells dinging in my head. “Yes! That’s it!”. “Exactly!”. There may have even been a “Duh!” in there too. So much of it just makes sense!

hug__by_defiesAt its simplest understanding, this article says to me addiction grows out of the yearning for a “warm embrace”. Some people have learned how to fulfill that need in healthy ways. Others, because they haven’t, seek to numb out the absence of that connection by using a numbing agent which, in turn, mimics that warm embrace but ultimately leaves us feeling empty and drives the desire to further numb. All this speaks to the importance, power, and need for human connection.

I am reminded of Brené Brown’s talk, The power of vulnerability (see below). I just watched it again and there are so many echoes of the relationship between addiction, numbing, vulnerability, and the need to connect.

Connection, the ability to feel connected, is neurobiological—that’s how we’re wired, it’s why we’re here.

She goes on to speak about how we numb vulnerability—and because we cannot selectively numb emotions, we numb not only our loneliness, shame, and vulnerability, we also numb our joy, our happiness, our gratitude. Perhaps that’s why our drug or behavior of choice is such an empty mirage for true connection.

Both Brown and Maté point to the importance of an infant feeling unconditional love. Brown says “When you hold those perfect little babies in your hand, our job is not to say “look at her, she’s perfect”… That’s not our job. Our job is to look and say, you know what? You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle but you’re worthy of love and belonging.”

And Gabor Maté:

No matter how much love a parent has, the child does not experience being wanted unless he or she is made absolutely safe to express exactly how unhappy, or angry, or hate-filled he or she may at times feel. The sense of unconditional love, of being fully accepted even when most ornery, is what no addict ever experienced in childhood—often not because the parents did not have it to give, simply because they did not know how to transmit it to the child.

I know I certainly gave my parents a run for their money. I hope they don’t read this and feel any kind of blame or guilt as that’s the last thing I would want. I think what I take away from this is the idea that perhaps, come adulthood, it is our responsibility, our work, to understand how best to transmit that unconditional love to ourselves. To own both our dark and light sides, seek real connections, and dare to feel it all.


Posted in: behavior change, life, weight loss- Jan 09, 2014 Comments Off on Inspiration

Thanks to Ms. Montgomery for this morning’s shot of inspiration!

Lakeisha Shurn made a time lapse video of herself going to the gym for 100 days (and she’s still doing it!).

The site she made it on is actually pretty cool. You can document yourself doing whatever you like for 100 days and then (I assume) it will automagically make a time lapse out of your past 100 days. Check it out: https://giveit100.com/

Week 4: A car tire, both my cats combined, or a 1-year old

Posted in: health, weight loss- Jan 08, 2014 Comments Off on Week 4: A car tire, both my cats combined, or a 1-year old
Answer: things that weigh 20lbs.
Eeyup! Any of these could have been attached to my body 4 weeks ago and no longer are (give or take a few ounces).

This week brought my total weight loss to just under 20lbs but what I’m more excited about is the difference I feel in my body. I can move more easily and get less out of breath. Walking, standing, bending, stretching, even sitting is more comfortable—all of which have given my mood a huge lift. And that, my friends, is what this is all about! 

I love to move (I forgot that!) but the weight has literally been weighing me down. Not only can it physically hurt, it’s also exhausting. Just think if you had to carry however many extra pounds around. Try putting on a backpack with 20lbs of weight and carrying it around for the day. Then times that by 6 or 7, and that’s what I’m carrying around. I’m not trying to make excuses for anything—simply trying to convey what it feels like to be way overweight.

The extra weight saps motivation, energy, and confidence including the endorphins I would normally be getting from exercise. And while I’m losing weight, I’m gaining these back.

Today I am happy and thankful.

Being it’s the new year, the interwebs is flooded with articles on willpower, behavior change, creating habits, and how to stick to your resolutions (New Year’s resolutions are for the birds IMO). Here are just a few that I thought were worth the read. The first is definitely worth a listen—featuring Charles Duhigg, Kelly McGonigal, and Roy Baumeister—all thought leaders in the behavior/habit/gaming realm. Enjoy!


How to Make a New Year’s Resolution, According to Neurologists (With a Flowchart!) via LinkedIn

How to Harness Your Brain’s dopamine Supply and Increase Motivation via LifeHacker

5 Scientific Ways to Build Habits That Stick via 99u

Hacking Habits: How To Make New Behaviors Last For Good via 99u

How to Keep Your Resolutions via NYTimes

me_010814_2sizeWeek 4
Physical: -19.2lbs
weight = 293.9
first week = 313.1

blood pressure = 121/64
first week = 145/73

heart rate = 94
first week = 77

Mood: Light. Energetic. Hopeful.

2014: What I Be.

Posted in: psychology- Dec 31, 2013 Comments Off on 2014: What I Be.

What a most timely find.

enormousThe “What I Be Project” is all about honesty. In today’s society, we are told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these “standards,” we are often judged, ridiculed, and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart.


me123113What I be, what I know, is in accepting–better yet embracing– my most vulnerable fear, it is transformed from something that disables and limits me, to a feeling of living more honestly, living my truth, and living a more full life. It doesn’t necessarily kill the fear but it brings it out of the dark and certainly makes it less powerful. And perhaps even allows me to hold that fear in compassion rather than shame.

Whatever yours is, whatever you be, I’ll meet you there.

Big love and here’s to a full and bright new year, e

See more of Steve Rosenfield’s project here: What I Be Project
And on youtube here: https://www.youtube.com/user/whatibeproject/feed

Week 3: Reshaping vs. embracing the self

Posted in: behavior change, human behavior- Dec 30, 2013 Comments Off on Week 3: Reshaping vs. embracing the self


Sociological accounts of the process of recovery from dependent drug use have emphasized the importance of the individual constructing a non-addict identity for themselves.

via Iron Man: Addiction and the Lives We Tell | The White Noise, Scientific American Blog Network

In other words: if you’re trying to break an addiction, you basically need to rewrite who you think you are. Not necessarily go into denial that you have addictive tendencies or deny your past, but begin to grow a new sense of who you are that does not include the addict persona.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


“Finally, I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obligation to surpass myself unless I first accept myself—and if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way and will continue to do so as long as it is not accepted.”
–Thomas Merton

Thank you Brook for that great quote.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

They both ring true for me.

On the one hand, I need to rewrite the script of who I’ve thought myself to be — or predestined to be.

On the other hand, I must accept myself in the present, fully, and truthfully in order to move forward.

Life. The paradox.

me_123013Week 3
Physical: -14.7lbs
weight = 298.4
first week = 313.1

blood pressure = 144/68
first week = 145/73

heart rate = 80
first week = 77

Mood: Inspired. Curious. Hopeful.