I Just Lost It (Again)

Four years ago I participated in a six-week, Biggest-Loser-Style fitness and weight loss challenge called Just Lose It at my gym, Stevenson Fitness.

I wrote a weekly blog post about the program and my process and how terrible it all was.

Actually, it wasn’t terrible. I mean, it was because it was so damn hard. (And I’m not talking about the grueling workouts or the clean eating, I’m talking about the fact that I couldn’t drink wine for six weeks!)

But it was also awesome, because I lost 12 pounds, 4.2% body fat and a whopping 13.5 inches of flab. (Almost 4 inches were from my waist!) Then I continued on working out with my teammates and eating clean(ish) and went on to lose four more pounds. I even started running (something I had never done or had any desire to do) and ran in a 10K race. Yeah, I was rockin’ it.

Weight loss results
Me, four years ago partying it up after my final weigh-in

Well. That was four years ago. I managed to keep the weight off for two years, but then. You know how it is.

Eating healthfully takes planning and that takes time and who has that?

My plantar faciitis flared up again and I was unable to workout for a few months. (What did you say? I could have ridden the bike and done upper body? I can’t hear you because I’m plugging my ears and saying, “La-la-la-la-la.” Also. Shut up.)

And I got a new job a year ago that likes to keep its employees (very) well fed. (Turns out I forgot the word “no” was in my vocabulary when it comes to treats in the breakroom.)

Also, I was drinking a lot of wine. Like, one or two (or, okay, sometimes three) glasses a night. Not every night. But let’s say if a month has 30 days, then I probably had wine 28 of those days. So, okay. Every night.

And blah and blah and blady-blah-blah-blah. (Insert reasons and excuses here.)

So that 16 pounds I lost? It slowly crept back on. With a couple more. I found myself heavier than I’d ever been except for pregnancy and postpartum. Bleh.

And even though I obsessively got on the scale every single day (so it’s not like I didn’t know), I somehow managed to convince myself it wasn’t that bad. I mean, okay, so most of my pants didn’t fit anymore, but I still wore a medium top. (And the same shoe size!)

And then I saw this picture of me and almost cried.

Shane McAnally

And I’m not talking tears of joy because I’m with Shane McAnally, Nashville’s hottest songwriter and producer. And not because my bangs are all jaggedy. (Seriously, WTF is going on there?) Because look at my face. It’s so fat. And my face is always the last place I gain weight. It’s like my body hits maximum capacity and there is nowhere else for the fat to go, so it floats up to my face.

I knew it was time to get serious and do something. And since my gym was starting another round of Just Lose It, I decided to give it another go.

But as excited as I was to participate in the program again (well, maybe excited isn’t quite the right word), I also felt  a bit of dread. Not because I had to give up my beloved wine (okay, maybe a little because of that) or because of the hard work I was going to have to put in (okay, maybe a little because of that too), but because I felt like a bit of a failure. I mean, I succeeded in this program four years ago, and here I was again, three pounds heavier than when I started the first time.

Would everyone think I was a big loser (and not the right kind) for joining this program again?

As it turns out, it was quite the opposite. What I got was encouragement. High fives, and “way to goes” and “you look great.”

We all fall down. And when we do we have a choice: sit there in the dirt and cry about our fat face (as we’re stuffing it) or stand up, dust ourselves off, and cry about the wine we’re not drinking and the dark chocolate almonds with sea salt we’re not shoveling into our gullet because our mean trainer has given us a clean eating diet and making us do hard workouts six days a week.

Okay, that was a terrible analogy, but you know what I’m saying. The real failure is not falling down. It’s not getting back up.

So for six weeks…

I got up every morning at 5AM and did a seven minute workout that at first was really, really hard and by the end was (almost) easy.

I ate clean. (Bye bye wine, dark chocolate and break room goodies, and hello chicken, chicken, more chicken, vegetables, vegetables, vegetables and quinoa.)

I recorded every thing I ate and drank in a food journal. (Boy is that eye opening. If you’ve never kept a food journal, you should try it some time. You’d be amazed at how much mindless eating you do throughout the day. At least I was.)

I drank an ocean full of water. Daily.

I weight trained three days a week at 6AM (good morning!) with these awesome ladies under the guidance of our trainer, the mean, terrible, awful awesome Christy. (I do not think there was one workout that I did not whine at her. Or swear at her. Or both.)

The Iron Maidens (Yes, you are correct. We rock!)

I worked out three days a week on my own doing sadistic cardio routines created by the Just Lose It evil masterminds. (We were encouraged to do our cardio as a group, but our schedules never seemed to line up. Stupid jobs and kids.)

I went to multiple Happy Hours and only had club soda with a (teeny-tiny) splash of cranberry juice with a lime squeeze. (Make that Unhappy Hour.)

Also I stopped drinking wine. And eating chocolate. (Oh, I said that already? Sorry.)

It was terrible.

But also. It was amazing.

I felt great. (When I wasn’t achy and hungry.)

I slept great. (Turns out not drinking wine and being physically exhausted from grueling workouts helps you sleep. Who knew?)

And about half-way through, I started looking great.

In the end I lost 14.4 pounds, 6.9% body fat and 14.75 inches! (5 inches from my waist alone!!!) Even better than the first time. (Okay, okay, I had more to lose this time. But still.)

And did I mention that it was a contest? We competed as a team. (Sadly my awesome team, the Iron Maidens -great name, right?- were robbed and did not win.)

But we also competed as individuals and guess what? All that hard work, clean eating and whining about not drinking wine paid off, because I was the biggest loser of all. (Meaning, I was the winner!)

So, yes, I am a big loser. (Exactly the right kind.)

Me, trying to recreate my Just Lose It post-final-weigh-in photo from 4 years ago. Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with my hair, and I still have (more than) a bit of toning to do, but I’m still kind of rockin’ it.




Cabbage Soup Diary: Day Three

Stupid Cabbage Soup Diet! Yesterday I woke up to a yummy buttery baked potato. Today I get butternut squash and pomegranate seeds. I like butternut squash and pomegranate seeds, but I’d rather have a buttery baked potato. I’m already dreaming of the banana milkshake I’ll be having for breakfast tomorrow.

Also, I miss coffee. Yogi Green Tea is fine. In fact I really like it and it gives me (some of) the caffeine boost I need, but it’s just not the same as my decadent hell-of-a-lotta-cream-and-sugar coffee. I know the cream and sugar isn’t great if you’re trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight, but I only drink 2 cups a day and it makes me happy. I’m 47-years-old. I like things in life that make me happy. I’m not giving up my damn coffee. Well, except for this week.

Yogi Green tea fortune
The only thing multiplying is the hunger in my stomach

I lost another pound and a half, so that’s three pounds in two days. That might be worth giving up coffee for a week. Maybe. (Oh and if any of you are wondering if I’m ever going to disclose how much I weigh – forget it. I’ve already told you how old I am. That’s all you get to know!)

It was a little harder to sleep last night. I forgot the Melatonin because I was so tired (probably from depriving my body of calories) I just sort of fell into bed. I woke up in the middle of the night with that achy muscle deterioration/body detoxing whatever it is pain, but it wasn’t too bad.

I’m not going to lie. I thought this would be a little easier today because of the variety of fruits and vegetables, but it’s not. I’m never tempted to cheat, but I’m conscious almost all day long that I really don’t have enough food in me. At least not the right kind of food.

The morning wasn’t too bad. I had my pomegranate and squash for breakfast, then about an hour later I had some mango, avocado and grapes. That held me over until my delicious (notice the italics to emphasize my sarcasm) cabbage soup diet soup for lunch. Okay, so lunch was at 11:30. But still. That’s not too bad. I snacked all afternoon on snap peas and mini peppers.

Gas-X continues to be my friend. (For the most part.)

Cabbage Soup Diet Tip #3: Do not work out. Be lazy! One of the biggest bummers for me about this diet (you know other than the extreme hunger) is that I can’t work out. Well, it doesn’t say that you can’t work out, but I just don’t have the energy. Or the strength. I know that some of you will look at this as an advantage, but I actually like going to the gym and it kind of seems ironic that to lose weight quickly I have to give up working out for a week.

For dinner I roasted some vegetables and okay, okay, I cheated! I put on the tiniest bit of olive oil on my vegetables. I couldn’t help it. I wanted my roasted asparagus to taste good. (And it did – it really, really did!) But I didn’t slather it on like I usually do. I just sprayed some on with one of those little Misto Olive Oil Sprayers, so even though it is oil, it comes out more like Pam and it’s really just a tiny bit.

Tonight I made my family breakfast for dinner – scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, bacon, hash brown patties and toast and I did not lick my bacony fingers or sneak one bite. So that has to count for something right?

Again, off to bed early. I think I’m going to dream of the bananas smoothie I’ll be having tomorrow!

Cabbage Soup Diet Diary: Day Two

Hooray! I survived Day One and am ready to recap Day Two of the Cabbage Soup Diet – you better believe the first thing I did this morning was get on the scale. I lost a pound and a half. I know that’s a lot for just one day, but I have to admit I’m a tad disappointed. I was hoping for two pounds. (I thought I’d lost at least that much in gas – even with the Gas-X!)

I took a Melatonin so I would sleep well. Last time I did the diet I had an achiness in my body that made it hard to sleep. I thought maybe it was the lack of protein making my muscles deteriorate. (That sounds dramatic and unlikely after just one day!) My friend Lisa thinks it’s my body detoxing. Whatever it is I don’t like it and was glad I didn’t have it last night.

This morning I had my beloved baked potato (with tons ‘o butter) for breakfast. I bought the biggest one I could find – it was 11 ounces. If you want to know the truth I was hoping for a bigger one. Hell, I would have eaten a potato that weighed more than a pound if Trader Joe’s had them. I should have gone to Vons. They usually have nuclear sized potatoes. It shouldn’t surprise you to know that I put the potato in the oven the night before and set the timer so it would be ready at breakfast time. I have to tell you, it might have been the best baked potato I’ve ever had.

Cabbage soup diet baked potato with butter
Don’t be fooled – I put on waaaay more butter than this!

Even after the baked potato I was still pretty hungry. So I had some butternut squash.

Cabbage soup diet butternut squash

I also snacked all day long. Cabbage Soup Diet Tip #2: be prepared and have a variety of fruits and vegetables. This is what I snacked on most of the day:

Cabbage soup diet vegetables
The peppers were delish!

The peppers were delicious and I ate almost a whole package of snap peas. Trust me, you will not succeed on this diet if you were planning on munching on carrots and celery sticks all day. (Ugh!)

For lunch I had the soup. I hate that stupid soup.

In the afternoon I took a nap. I didn’t really take it because I was tired (I was) but because I was tired of being hungry. The funny thing is, as difficult as this diet is, I haven’t been tempted to cheat.

Everyone was envious of my baked potato breakfast, so I made the family baked potatoes for dinner. This is Marley’s (she insisted on posing):

baked potato with sour cream, cheddar cheese and bacon
Yes, my kids still eat their dinner on the Tupperware plates I purchased when they were toddlers – don’t judge me!

Yeah, I cooked freaking bacon and did not even lick my fingers when I chopped it up. I am a diet queen!

I was probably supposed to have the soup for dinner but I didn’t. My dinner was roasted asparagus, butternut squash, Portobello mushrooms cooked in water and balsamic vinegar, and steamed spinach. I would advise not roasting asparagus without oil. Roasted asparagus is one of my favorite things. I love the delicious nutty flavor, but without the oil – yuck! (I might have thrown it away.)

So… Day Two wasn’t too bad. You know, except for the being hungry all day part. Two days down and five to go. Tomorrow I get to have fruits and vegetables. I can do it! (I think.)

Cabbage Soup Diet Diary: Day One

Yesterday I confessed to you all that I was going to torture myself with the Cabbage Soup diet. Understandably, I received a lot of flack. My friend Sarah yelled at me on Twitter. I knew she would. She solves women’s digestive problems. But I don’t have digestive problems. I have my-metabolism-hit-mid-life-and-decided-to-stop-working problems. It might have a lot to do with the amount of cheese I eat.

(Or it might be the wine I drink with that cheese.)

Anyway, I’ve decided good, bad or whatever to do the diet this week and journal about my experience here. (Lucky you!)

Day One:

I think that Day One is the hardest day as it is fruit only and fruit is: a.) not filling, and b.) pretty gassy. Cabbage Soup Diet Tip #1: Gas-X is your friend. Take it first thing in the morning and take it as often as it says you can.

This is what I had for breakfast on Day One:

Cabbage Soup Diet Breakfast
Yes avocado is a fruit!

Looks pretty tasty right? Pomegranate seeds, mango, grapes and half an avocado. Yes, avocado is a fruit. Sure, whoever created this crazy diet probably didn’t intend for you to have avocado, but while the diet strictly says no bananas until Day 4, it doesn’t say anything about avocados. Besides, I gave up coffee. And wine. I deserve something for that don’t I?

At 9:00 I was hungry again and ate more mango and grapes.

At 10:00 See above. (And so on and so on through out the day!)

For lunch I had some yummy Cabbage Soup Diet soup. Doesn’t it look delicious?

Umm,.. Yum?

Well, just close your eyes and plug your nose and pretend it does like I do! (Actually, it’s not that bad. But like I said yesterday, by Day 3 or 4 it really does make you kind of gag.)

In all honesty I really wasn’t that hungry. I mean, yes, I was hungry, but I never felt like I was starving. Probably because I was literally eating all day long. And yes, in case you are wondering I did have the second half of that avocado as an afternoon snack. (Damn it was good!)

And I don’t think I was that cranky. (I tend to be when I’m hungry). Although I did snap at Dave at dinner, coincidentally while he was eating his second chicken burrito and I was slurping more soup. (Oops!)

I did roast some grape tomatoes for dinner. They were pretty tasty. Even without the olive oil I usually slather on before I roast them.

Roasted tomatoes for cabbage soup diet

Tomorrow I’ll be eating vegetables all day and I get my baked potato! You’d better believe I’m looking forward to that! I’ll also be getting on the scale and see if I’ve lost any weight. (Yes, overnight. Shut up!)

But right now I’m going to take another Gas-X and head off to bed.

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Yeah, that’s right. I’m going on The Cabbage Soup Diet today.

I know… yuck! But I’m fat. It’s true. I haven’t seen numbers this high since the days of postpartum. And rumor has it Thanksgiving is next week. That certainly will not help. I need to do something drastic and this is it.

For those of you not familiar with the Cabbage Soup Diet it is terrible. But it works. It’s certainly not a way of life and it is not a healthy eating plan, but it is a 7-day plan where (pretty much by starving yourself) you lose 7-10 pounds in a week. I know what you’re thinking – that I’ll gain it back the second I start eating regularly again. But I won’t. At least not the first day.

The thing is, I can’t go into the holidays at this weight. I CAN’T. I always, Always, ALWAYS gain weight during the holidays no matter how hard I try not to. Thanksgiving, Christmas, extra alcohol, extra desserts, parties, cheese plates – it’s a mid-life metabolic nightmare. And at least if I can lose 7 pounds this week, if I do gain it all back by the first of the year I’ll be where I am now instead of even heavier. Does that make sense?

So, exactly what is The Cabbage Soup Diet? It is this:

Day One:
Eat only fruit (no bananas) and cabbage soup. All that you want.

Day Two:
Eat only vegetables and cabbage soup. All that you want. For dinner you may have a baked potato with butter.

Day Three:
Eat all the fruits and vegetables you want and cabbage soup. (No bananas, no potato.)

Day Four:
Bananas and Skim Milk: Eat as many as eight bananas and drink as many glasses of skim milk as you would like on this day, along with your soup.

Day Five:
Beef And Tomatoes: Ten to twenty ounces of beef and up to six fresh tomatoes. Eat the soup at least once this day.

Day Six:
Beef and Vegetables: Eat to your heart’s content of beef and vegetables this day. You can even have 2 or 3 steaks if you like, with leafy green vegetables. No Baked Potato. Eat your soup at least once.

Day Seven:
Brown rice, unsweetened fruit juices and vegetables. Eat your soup at least once this day.

It goes without saying that I eat the biggest baked potato I can find (with tons of butter) on Day 2 and usually for breakfast – forget dinner! And you’d better believe that I’m stuffing roast beef into my mouth on Day Five first thing in the morning.

What’s in the soup other than cabbage? Recipes vary. This cabbage soup recipe is very popular.

Cabbage coup diet soup
Mmmm… delish???

This is how I made mine:

  • one 32oz boxTrader Joe’s fat-free chicken stock
  • package of shredded cabbage
  • 2 cans Trader Joe’s Diced & Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Peppers and Onions
  • 1 or 2 carrots
  • 3 or 4 stalks of celery
  • Some water to fill up the pot
  • Lawry’s Taco Seasoning

Just stick it on the stove and cook it on low a few hours until it looks ready. I find the roasted vegetables really help with the taste. By Day 3 the soup kind of makes you gag. I usually only have it for lunch.

And worst of all: no alcohol and no coffee! Well, I can drink coffee – but I can’t have cream or sugar, so what’s the point?

Dave says worst of all is the smell of the cabbage soup and my crabby mood! I can’t share the smell of the soup with you, but I can share my crabby mood. I’ll be blogging daily about the torture my progress.

So this week I’ll be drinking my Yogi Green tea for my caffeine fix and looking at my little tea bag fortunes for inspiration. Here’s today’s…

Intuition is your best friend
Always follow your intuition…

I wonder if that means the intuition I had to do this diet in the first place or the thought I had first thing this morning when I almost changed my mind.

I guess we’ll see…


Want to check out my progress? Here’s my Cabbage Soup Diet Diary: Day One